Saturday 18 July 2009
The Quenera River to the right of me, Bonza bay
Very soon after I came out of surgery and was diagnosed I was told that at the end of my radiation and chemotherapy I would have three weeks of ‘holiday’. It was then that I had the idea to book myself into the St Frances Health Hydro (hyperlink) to recover from whatever the effects of the radiation and chemo might be. At the time it was just a notion. I had heard from different people that it was a powerful place of healing and in particular I knew two people who had made radical shifts in their lives as a result of having spent time there and being treated in particular by the founder, Ms Cowley. As I neared the end of my treatment I noticed that my holiday coincided exactly with the kids school holiday. Perfect.
So a week after my radiation ended on the 26th of June I booked myself into the St Frances Health Hydro under the healing hands and eyes of Ms Cowley.
Mention St Frances to anybody who’s been there or heard about it and they roll their eyes and say something about the food. I had heard about the ‘food’ so many times that I called Ms Cowley a week before I checked in to confirm that I would be able to eat hot meals in accordance with the principles of Chinese Medicine that I’m currently being treated with. She assured me that there would be hot options for me and that decided it.
The drive up to the Eastern Cape was incredible. There was the fiercest wind blowing the whole way from the Cape all the way up the garden route. We passed fallen trees often. The whole way it blew from behind. When we entered the Eastern Cape I felt myself expanding, like water being poured out on the ground.
I stayed in Grahamstown for two nights to ‘acclimatise’ and booked in on the Saturday afternoon. On the one hand I could run through a list of treatments, consultations and detail the meals we received and all the food we didn’t eat and the food we spoke about at dinner that we drove ourselves a little mad with. But words can’t capture the finesse of the experience. I’ve never had such a tangible experience of how powerfully the food I eat affects me. By the time I left a week later I felt so finely balanced and tuned dare I say. The full impact of this incredible ‘attunement’ only hit me with full force a few days after I checked out when I ate some meat and could literally feel myself stumble and, dare I say, fall about a bit.
Detox diets and reduced calorie intake aside what draws a lot of people to St Frances is the opportunity to work with Ms Cowley, the founder and heart of the centre. She is renowned for her healing arts and powerful intuitive process. Part of me expected the work I did with her to be about the tumour and how or why I had manifested it. No such luck. It seems that there was something far more pressing to release and balance.
Looking back now the reason I felt compelled to return to the ‘scene of the crime’, the Eastern Cape, 10km from where I had the first headache was to unearth and reconnect with something I lost a long, long time ago.
Ever since I discovered the simplicity of living 'in the now' in my mid twenties, I’ve been very happy to let past be just that, done and dusted. I’ve also been more than happy to let the future remain a mystery. So much so that I drive Sarah mad sometimes with my resistance to get involved in any kind of long distance future gazing or planning as she likes to call it. I know the communists liked their 5 year plans (as did Hoover in the States) but I have found just the sound of a 5 year plan far too grown up and potentially mind numbing. This is only the tip of the ice-berg. When it comes down to it I’ve resisted having a picture for my life for a long time.
If you want to get my pulse racing and beads of sweat on my upper lip put me in a room with a facilitator and have them write in big letters on a white board “How to Define a Vision for Your Life” or something suchlike. I’ve been there and I’m always left with this overwhelming sense of, “how can I know what I want tomorrow or who I’m going to be or what I’m going to want!”. Invariably, the times I’ve found myself in those situations I become uncharacteristically quiet and un-participatory. The only progress I’ve managed was in a session last year where I realised that having a vision for your life could be as simple as being able to just see what’s going on right here, right now.
Back to the now.
So imagine my surprise when I discover at St Frances, on hot calorie restricted diet, that within me lies a powerful electrifying and exhilarating vision to transform the world around me through film. A vision that I can feel in my body, in my bones and especially on my skin. Hold onto your hats.