133: Tim Baker/The Middle Way

Tim Baker, August 2020. Photo: Owen Tozer

Our attitude to mortality is one of the great paradoxes of modern life. It’s the thing we have in common and the thing we all ignore, putting off the inevitable reckoning until we’re usually forced to face it under the worst possible circumstances – grief, loss, sickness. 

It’s a conundrum we will all grapple with at some point, and one that surfer, writer and journalist Tim Baker has spent the last five years becoming intimately familiar with following his stage 4 cancer diagnosis.

Photo: Owen Tozer

During that time, he has written movingly, insightfully and honestly about his experiences; and the approach that has enabled him to cope physically and mentally with the biggest, most fundamental challenge of his life.

In today’s show, we cover this territory and a whole lot more. We discuss the specifics of Tim’s approach to oncological care, a combination of traditional and alternative techniques he arrived at through much open-minded experimentation. We also talk about the ethics of palliative and medical care, and our own shifting relationship to death and mortality. And we discuss Tim’s belief that by facing the great hidden experience of our lives, we can achieve an unexpected happiness and inner peace.

I’m so grateful to Tim for this conversation, which I personally found to be a profound and moving experience. I hope you can take something similar from it.

Tim celebrates his five year ‘cancerversary’. “Just me and a mate and a pod of dolphins on a fun right hand point down the coast”. Photo: Ted Grambeau

Listen to the episode here:

Connect With Tim

Show Notes

  • Recent routines
  • The Covid char
  • The decline of America, and what it says about democracy
  • Tim’s diagnosis.
  • His approach to treatment.
  • Discovering a balance, or middle way, with medicine
  • Exercise as medicine
  • The mental impact of diagnosis
  • Vipassana meditation retreat
  • The difference between curing and healing
  • Natural medicine vs. modern medicine
  • Surfing as therapy
  • Tim’s books
  • Tim’s time at Tracks
  • Advice on cancer self-care. 

People Mentioned

  • Donald Trump
  • Jair Bolsonaro
  • Jeremy Corbyn
  • Hillary Clinton
  • Phil Jarratt
  • Nick Carroll
  • Rabbit Bartholomew
  • Nick Fanning
  • Rabbit Kekai
  • Miki Dora
  • Maurice Cole
  • Ian Gowler
  • Kelly Turner
  • Belle Gibson

Places Mentioned

  • Currumbin Alley
  • Queensland
  • New Zealand
  • United States
  • Soviet Union
  • Melbourne
  • Sydney

Brands/Companies Mentioned

  • Rolling Stone
  • Tracks
  • Penguin/Random House
  • Harper Collins