Newsletter September 2020
3rd September 2020
Newsletter April 2020
26th April 2020
Prepare to be forever changed
Nowhere to go, nothing to attain, no one to be.
What sounds like a quote from Buddha or Christ himself has become the 3-dimensional reality for many of us just a few weeks ago. “The Great Pause”, lockdown or social distancing here in Britain and in the rest of the world.
Many of us are struggling with uncertain work situations and we find ourselves being confronted with either physical solitude or crammed into a confined space with relations that more often than not had been avoided by distractions of all sorts, be it the pub, the gym or work.
Meantime nature awakens and the whole planet opens up to higher vibrations, clearer skies and long forgotten sounds.
This is not happening to us, its happening for us.
Behind the veil, more and more visible as time passes, this unprecedented situation has the potential of being a blessing for mother earth and, inevitably, humanity with it.
When we come to the point that we learn to embrace the unknown, surrender to it, only then can we transform our struggles into new expanded perspectives.
Once in motion, everything gathers speed.
The global dimension of this crisis is what makes this a unique challenge and chance. Most of us have lived through critical changes in our personal lives, many have seen or experienced national or international disasters like war, famine or displacement, and have witnessed the profound changes that pain has the potential to induce in us. For the worse but more often for the better. Now, for the first time in history, the whole of humanity is experiencing what potentially is a collective turning point, not just intellectually but emotionally, felt as reality beyond words and thinking.
If I don’t have the answer I have to move into the unknown, into my potential, leaving behind old limitations, learned behaviours and perceptions.
The future is always unknown, not just since Covid-19.
This virus hasn’t created any aspect of the current crisis but it makes it impossible to not see what had been there all along. It puts unmistakably in front of our eyes a dysfunctional health system, the vulnerability of our globalised food supplies, a political system and a leadership that is detached from most individuals in our societies and a financial system that is based on beliefs that no longer work for most of us.
We are taught to be told everything. We depend on a medical system that is predominantly based on patented petrochemical drug prescriptions and this virus too endorses more than just a sneaking suspicion that our modern health care system has little to do with health and much more with maximising revenues for doctors, hospitals and behind it all pharmaceutical industries.
One of the weaknesses of the western medical approach is that we have made the physician, the specialist, the expert the only authority with the patient too often a mere recipient of the treatment. People are deprived of the opportunity to become truly responsible for themselves. But the more we learn about ourselves, our own bodies, the less prone we are to become passive victims.
The same applies in varying degrees to all aspects of our industrialised societies.
Safety is not the lack of a threat. True health is not the absence of illness. Both comes only through connection, community and purpose – not from a gun, a syringe or a pill.
Enhanced by this increasing awareness of being ultimately connected to each other and everything else on this planet we are on a search for more information how to empower ourselves. The need and urge to be able to better take care of us and our families is exploding even though it still is not passed down by the traditional channels or health professionals. This information, these often ancient wisdoms, should dominate our discourse, not the next drug or newest procedure. True messages of health can prevent the need for high tech fixes and in times like this they may be our best chance of not only getting through this pandemic, but coming out stronger, and changed, on the other side.
Separated as we might seem in a 3-dimensional reality, we are all together in this.
You are not alone!
Prepare to be forever changed.
Cut out the noise. Now is the time to be conscious of what you put into your body and mind, the food you eat and the channels you watch.
Be slow. Allow yourself to be distracted, not by shutting down but by opening up.
Listen. Listen to your feelings, to your fellow woman, to the sounds of the earth and the stars. They are your best guides.
Have faith in the process. No matter what happens next, you will be ready to serve what is calling you.
Play. Sing. Dance.
I was about to finish with: Be safe.
But I rather say: Be adventurous, open to the unexpected, curious about yourself and kind from your heart!
Much love and gratitude
P.S. I attach a couple of links that inspired me:
– Charles Eisenstein’s long and inspiring piece “The Coronation” (also as audio)
– The celtic tale Finnegas
– a just as poetic as political 12-year-old Swiss movie on Universal Basis Income (Grundeinkommen), in my opinion an obvious solution to the current economic situation, and the way Spain as a first European country has decided to embark on.
Please follow your national and local guidelines in how to reduce your own risk of infection as well as the risk of infecting others. All advice I’m giving here is for information purposes only. It is not intended to replace or substitute medical treatments or prescriptions from your physician or other health care professionals.
Metamorphosis – based on a true story
22nd April 2020
This is a story I was told many years ago by a wise woman. It’s the story of the becoming of a beautiful creature, matured to it’s highest potentials, beautiful in sight and gently adapted to it’s environment.
But earlier in it’s life this creature was all but gentle, not much more than an eating machine, an organism that’s only purpose was to devour it’s environment whilst growing faster and faster, greatly harming not just the world around it but even itself. Immature and unsustainable, creating havoc to most other beings wherever it appears in greater numbers.
Let’s call it a Caterpillar.
Inside it’s organism, in very small numbers to begin with, are little cells that are very different in behaviour from the great majority of the other cells. Called imaginal cells because they perceive, they react differently, they are able to imagine a different way of life. At first the other cells don’t take much notice of them since they are few and far between. But these imaginal cells are becoming more and more, eventually recognised by the organism as intruders, attacked and heavily fought by it’s immune system. Still, they continue to multiply, imagining and preparing for a different life, more than just eating, than just destroying everything around it. Maturity harmonious with themselves and all other beings.
Then comes a moment when the imaginal cells are connecting with each other. They begin forming small communities, they become aware of each other, they communicate.
This is when the caterpillar stops eating, coming to a complete halt. It looks for a place to rest and locks itself into a cocoon. From the outside it looks like dead, a motionless shell of it’s former self, a chrysalis.
Inside something happens that was not predictable to anyone involved. The imaginal cells are building larger structures, becoming legs, antennae, wings. The other cells begin to eat each other, destroying the whole organism to a purposeless mass of cells, and the imaginal cells begin to teach them, show them, use them to build different structures, creating an entirely different organism.
On a more scientific note, in this clip Bruce Lipton and others are making a point from an epigenetics’ or quantum physics’ point of view:
2 weeks into lockdown..
Listen to your body, as the quote goes, so it doesn’t have to scream at you. Now: Listen to your planet…
We’ve heard the Planet, Gaia, most of us, for some time. She was whispering, crying, even shouting and screaming lately. We began to hear it but didn’t know what to do. We knew with the brain between the ears that we had to change, our kids even started telling us, but we couldn’t feel it in our hearts enough, not enough to be changed.
Now we are, unprepared, all of us, in many ways and to different degrees. And we are beginning to feel, to feel her.
And for some time and to different degrees we will hold on, grieving the time gone, some very hard, less so over time, coming and going in waves. We all are grieving the way of life that needed shedding for a new, a more beautiful to embrace.
We can feel her already. We can hear her. She is breathing more freely. Already.
And maybe most of all, she will help us in unforeseen ways when we help her.
Just for a while, just for today:
Listen. And you will hear her calling you.
Best wishes for the new year and decade
7th January 2020
Newsletter December 2019 Breathing, the gut biome and new feathers
24th December 2019
Newsletter December 2019
Breathing, the gut biome and new feathers
“Perhaps these days of less sunlight are opportunities for more contemplative time, more looking deeply to see what perhaps can only be seen in the dark.” Sylvia Boorstein
I hope this lines find you all well and in not too hectic preparations for the festive season and the change into the New Year. I am spending the holidays first with family and old friends in my hometown Frankfurt and then with my partner for a week somewhere in Wales to snuggle with the dog in front of an iron woodstove.
So here are my last contemplations of the year, a year not without struggles but I remember most many positive moments both in my professional and private life. It feels that some seeds planted earlier are beginning to grow roots and fruits.
Breathing. The connection between soul and body. Tibetan Buddhism claims that the amounts of breaths we take in our lifetimes are counted. Most meditation and mindfulness techniques center on the breath and even though breathing is mostly automatic and unconscious, unlike other automatic physical functions we can consciously alter and influence our breathing patterns. But many of us often breathe improper, too shallow, too fast, which is affecting both our physical and mental wellbeing. I mentioned here earlier that I’ve been practicing for a year now as one of my daily routines an exercise known as “Wim Hof Method”, which is claiming, together with cold exposure and meditation, to influence both the autonomic nervous system and the body’s immune response. A similar succession of hyper- and hypo-ventilating is also endorsed by others here and here and has origins in ancient eastern Ayurveda and yogi traditions, and has been supported recently by scientific research.
And although I’ve only recently picked up on cold exposure (a daily 2-minute cold shower and the occasional dip in the river) it feels effective and empowering as both intermittend breathing and even intermittent fasting does – exercising body and mind through temporary stimulation and stress.
Done without any further preparation by lying down (I usually do this right after waking up) it is important to know that you might “pass out” at times, as it happens to me for some moments quite regularly – so don’t ever try this in water or when driving a car. Also, as a word of precaution, people with asthma, severe bronchitis, pneumonia, COPD or other respiratory problems would be well advised to check with their GP before starting these exercises.
One takes a certain amount of deep breaths (from 20 to 70, see audio links below) and then hold the breath after an out-breath (with empty lungs) for up to 3.5 minutes, in the beginning or on a bad day more like 2 minutes.
For me this works by trying to completely relax, in particular letting the brain rest – the more I mentally go through my shopping list or generally engage in thinking the shorter I can hold my breath. These days I usually listen to this shorter or this longer audio guide to skip the counting.
I’ve been recommending and sharing this exercises with friends and clients (we’ve had little breathing parties on the lawn last summer) and I would consider it an excellent “shortcut” into meditation because one can physically endorse to quiten the mind.
As Wim Hof states: you are getting high on your own supply – well, he’s Dutch, isn’t he. On a more serious note, my experiences are very encouraging. My challenge in life has always been raging emotions, the mental drama of my life, that regularly resulted for example in disrupted sleeping patterns. My way of dealing with these emotions has been and is for a few years now the practice of daily meditation, maybe a topic to explore further some other time here. The breathing exercises have had profound effects on my emotional state because they bring on a deep state of relaxation and calm and have a similarly powerful effect on me as the practice of meditation has. I haven’t experienced insomnia for some time now, and if I would have to point out one single most effective element of the various regimes and routines that are part of my daily life, I would probable put the breathing first. So: Breathe in, breathe out!
As mentioned in my last newsletter my interest in nutritional health has let me to meet an experienced and very knowledgable nutritional therapist, Sue Thomas. She has created a 21-day detoxification program that cleanses and rebalances your gut biome. This complex system of bacteria, fungi and microflora resides primarily in your gut and impacts literally every system in your body. If you are suffering from lack of focus or motivation, fatique, IBS, leaky gut, heartburn, bloating, weight problems, menopausal/hormonal imbalances or sleeping disorders this combination of strict dieting (no coffee, refined sugars, alcohol, processed food, “easy” carbs) and nutritional supplements will shift things in the right direction. I’ve gone through a “test run” in October before recommending it to you and my clients, and even though I don’t really suffer from any of the above conditions and my diet is pretty close to the recommended one anyway, I too experienced nothing short of a miracle: I’ve intuitively overcome my addiction to coffee, “the last vice” and those of you that know me, I was “Mr.Coffee” himself (writing this my mother I’m staying with for 5 days tells me that she had bought 200 capsules of coffee in anticipation of my visit, I had forgotten to tell her). Now in January Sue and I are offering this program, Pure21, as introductory offer for the price of the supplements only (£200) to the first five participants signing on, 2 spaces are still available.
This year has been, and still is, a year of learning new skills, adding some more feathers to my boa: Apart from the massage course on lower back and sciatica I mentioned earlier I’ve completed an online course on geriatric massage and a 30hour course qualifying for treating people with cancer. Statistically every other person in the western world will be diagnosed with cancer once in their life, for many a wake up call for a more intimate relationship to their bodies. Usually a contraindication for most complimentary therapists we’ve had to send these people away without a written consent from a GP at a time they needed us most, so this has been close to my heart.
As always one thing leads to another; Angela Green, a reflexologist and the teacher of that course, showed us a few tricks of her trade, which literally shook my world. Reflexology feels like the link between my spiritual practice (Reiki/Meditation) and my physical work and interest (physiology based massage therapy/nutrition), even though both is highly interconnected without clear boundaries. And as if made for me a course in Bath came up and I signed on to it. More than any other therapy I’ve been receiving in the past reflexology has provoked unusually strong physical and mental reactions in me. The good news for all of you is that I will need 100 hours of case studies done until May, so if you are interested in trying out one or several reflexology treatments for free (or the price of renting a room if needed) please be in touch.
I’ve finally incorporated an online booking system, which shows my availibilties. Bookings in The Bath Practice still have to be confirmed since I’m booking the room there on demand.
And finally, if you are still short of a sensible last minute Christmas present to yourself or someone you care about, you can order a massage voucher with me by mail and it should be with you in time to put under your Christmas tree.
Wishing you all a relaxing holiday time and much abundance, gratitude and humility in the New Year 2020.
“As you start to walk on the way, the way appears.” Rumi
Newsletter October 2019 – Fasting, Nourishment and the Gut-brain
11th October 2019
“How can a troubled mind
Understand the way?
If a man is disturbed
He will never be filled with knowledge.
An untroubled mind,
No longer seeking to consider
What is right and what is wrong,
A mind beyond judgments,
Watches and understands.
(From: Mind; Dhammapada, Sayings of the Buddha)
It’s been a while since my last blog. Those who know me might have a difficult time believing that I’m actually feeling quite shy, not qualified to write or being recorded on any medium.
But I’ve had some encouraging feedback from unexpected corners and I realize that the longer I avoid the next post the lengthier it gets.
So here is what this summer came up with for me, the stuff that life brought forward and the experiences I’d like to share with you.
For about 6 months now I’m keeping to an intermittent fasting routine, as mentioned in an earlier newsletter, I only eat within a period of 8 hours (usually from 1 to 9pm) and consume no nutrients for the remaining 16 hours of the day. I’m loving it, not only because I’ve got rid of this small but persistent little 50’s belly but much more for the fact that my love and awareness of eating and preparing food has increased, even in some unexpected ways: my felt attachment to food, the comfort in eating. After months of “practice” my body knows very well by now that there will be food coming, no need to panic when supplies are running low in the mornings. Finding myself in emotionally challenging situations I sometimes surprise myself thinking of eating, a bit like my dog that is running for cover to his food bowl when getting too much loving and cuddles. This is quite similar to my experience of smoking, after having kicked the addiction. The thought of a cigarette now leads me to reflect on what it is that I’m trying to avoid by triggering this old reflex.
There are many different kinds of fasting, some more extreme than others, not everybody has to go as far as my friend Alan who says that anything less than 72 hours is not really fasting. I’ve met quite a few people that spontaneously eat only 1 or 2 meals a day. About 12 hours after your last meal your body will be running on reserve, burning the stuff that otherwise would get wrapped up in fat cells for a rainy day that usually never comes. Some background information on this you can find here.
You are what you eat, more to the point though: you are how you eat. This sentiment is initially inspired by Charles Eisenstein’s book “The Yoga of Eating” and now came up again when reading this summer the truly fascinating “Nourishment” by Fred Provenza – both of which I can highly recommend to all interested or working in the field of nutrition. Like in any other domain surrounding us we are seeing a paradigm shift happening in how we are beginning to understand the relationship between our bodies and the natural world as well as the connections between the material and spiritual world. We live in a society obsessed with dieting; a multi billion-dollar industry is thriving on it. But despite of all research, recommendations and regulations it does not look like we are making much progress in terms of healthy and balanced eating habits. Partly this can certainly been attributed to our more and more sedentary lifestyles – what cigarettes were for my generation are chairs for our children – and a systemically corrupted agricultural and pharmaceutical industry responsible for the production and manipulation of most of our food supplies, but truly behind this lies the disempowerment of the individual with regards to both responsibility and judgment/expertise. We trust authorities more than our palates and we consume food with as little awareness as we consume most other things on this planet. A packet of crisps is never big enough when washed down with a couple of pints and an exciting football match on TV; we choose the newest scientifically developed diet before old wisdom innately inside of us. “Newtonian physics cannot offer the whole truth about the human body, let alone the universe. Medical science keeps advancing, but living organisms stubbornly refuse to be quantified.” (Bruce Lipton, The biology of belief) The sheer multitude of components in our food, our hereditary and environmental factors, age, seasons, down to the time of day, and order in which foods are consumed is far too vast an amount of data to grasp or measure for one individual only, let alone for larger groups or societies at large. “The body – not nutritional scientists and medical doctors – is the final authority in our food choices.” (F.Provenza) To support the individual, more often than not out of tune when it comes to food choices, we need to cultivate an inner wisdom, an awareness when eating, with an outer wisdom, personal knowledge of nutrition and physiological digestion processes. Going back to the crisps: Truly aware of texture, the flavour, undistracted by conversation or anything else, my bet is you wouldn’t want to get very far into the packet. Eating consciously we can (re) learn to understand the feedback messages our bodies are sending back to us with the knowledge we have acquired heretically, in the womb of our mothers and in childhood.
The Australian aborigines apparently know that humans have three brains. The biggest and most important one being the gut, second the heart and third the smallest one, highly overrated it seems, between our ears. They know it is vital to ensure balance between these different centers. To some degree this has been recognized by recent scientific research; for any signal from the brain to the gut there are about 9 signals from the gut to the brain.
The importance of nutrition and a thriving gut biome for maintaining physical and mental health and in treating diseases – in particular chronic inflammatory disorders – is getting on the forefront of public discourse and scientific research (some interesting articles here and here). What would have been ignored or ridiculed a mere decade ago will most likely be in the center of medical care in the coming years, rather than pharmaceutical intervention aimed at the symptoms, predominant in today’s allopathic medicine. Interestingly, I was invited to and participated in a clinical trial this summer, paid for by a big pharmaceutical company, testing the effects of high doses of natural probiotics on psoriasis patients, an indication that even Big Pharma is catching up on more natural ways of healing. Still, I don’t think that healing comes as a pill, as natural the content may be, but rather requires a more holistic change of lifestyle and living environment in general.
Paradoxically enough, right now I’m finding myself in the middle of a nutritional dietary course called Pure21, a three-week program that cleanses, detoxifies and re-balances the micro biome. I’ve teamed up with a nutritional therapist, Sue Thomas from Worcester, who developed this program around nutritional supplements by the American Company Synergy. It aims at supporting individuals with a wide range of conditions such as fatigue, IBS, leaky gut, heartburn, menopausal and hormonal imbalances, sleeping disorders, weight problems, bloating, irritability, lack of focus and motivation. From my discussions with her I consider Sue a very experienced therapist and she is reporting great results from this program on herself and her clients. After my own “trial” we will be offering a one-off course for the cost of the supplements only as a case study of mine. More about this with a summary of my personal experience you will find in my November newsletter. If you are interested in participating please be in touch.
Look forward hearing from you all.
Take care of your minds and your bodies.
With LOVE and GRATITUDE
Saturday 12 October Family Wellbeing Fair in Bradford-on-Avon
Introduction class to Essential Oils by Dr Thomasina Craster and Jan Erik Posth
5th June 2019
Coming Monday evening, 10.June, I will be running together with Dr Thomasina Craster an introduction to 10+ go-to Essential Oils that will empower you with natural solutions to everyday health challenges for you, your family and friends.
Location is our clinic in central Bath, The Bath Practice, 26 Monmouth Street, Bath BA1 2AP.
The class is free of charge, limited tickets are available here.
We look forward hearing from you!
Newsletter May 2019
24th May 2019
One step at a time, and none at times
“Meet your own self. Be with your own self, listen to it, obey it, cherish it, keep it in mind ceaselessly. You need no other guide. As long as your urge for truth affects your daily life, all is well with you.“
Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj
These are exciting times, fast paced and often riddled with a sense of urgency.
A few weeks ago I had the extraordinary privilege to participate at a much inspiring weekend seminar with Charles Eisenstein in Edinburgh, in my eyes one of the most visionary thinkers, speakers and authors of our turbulent time.
This gathering developed to be a beautiful “murmoration of activist and healers” in the midst of the dilemma of “not doing enough” and “what to do”. Charles, as in his newest book “Climate – a new story”, explains eloquently not only that our current “war on carbon” is misleading, but also that we need to find the time and space within ourselves to hear what the planet really wants from us, what she is singing to us. A “change of mind” rather than re-enacting the world of linearity and problem solving, which created the mess we find ourselves in in the first place, be it environmental, political, economical, physical or mental.
Having said that I don’t mean to appear criticising the ongoing protests, be it XR or our kids, inspired by Greta Thunberg, exercising civil obedience in form of school strikes (a historical first?!) to protest against (us adults running the show so badly).
I believe both, active nonviolent action as well an inner search, fearless and humble, is necessary and asked for. Both of these protests appear to address not just carbon emissions and global warming, the domineering convenient truth, but a much bigger picture.
Speaking of enlightening authors, another current source of great inspiration to me, Stephen Jenkinson, author of the books “Die Wise” and “Come of Age” and protagonist in the documentary “Griefwalker” is coming to the UK. This work, founded on his experience in what he calls “The Death Trade” as palliative carer, is a cultural, political and moral agitation on dying and elderhood. Don’t miss his “Nights of Grief and Mystery” near you!
To catch up where we left it last: In March I attended “Julian House’s” 10th “Big Bath Sleep-Out” in Alice Park in Bath to raise money and awareness for it’s homelessness services. More than 300 participants raised more than £48.000 pound (and counting). That’s what it looked like and here you can still support my fundraiser.
Technically it wasn’t much of a big deal for me, I’ve slept much rougher and wilder in my years as rock climber on a shoestring. In fact I enjoyed a good night sleep in the open under a clear night sky. And to some extend, given the amount of adolescent kids participating, along with many families, it felt a bit like a party on a festival. Very well organised and high spirited, thumbs up, Julian House and it’s volunteers!
Similar to the work with The Dying the topic of homelessness strikes a cord with me. Whilst I feel that many other charities should ideally be financed by state or business, both those affairs concern all of us not just to a certain degree but at any means. By default homelessness comes with homes and dying comes with life. And both of these culturally inherent issues seem utterly neglected and avoided in our dominant Western culture.
I somehow suspect the work that is needed most in our times of loss and being lost begins with our ability and readiness of grieving and allowing, as opposed to quick fixes and more and more control.
About a month ago I began time restricted fasting, a method known as 8/16, in addition to my ongoing gluten and dairy free diet. I’ve always been intrigued by fasting (rather than dieting), as with most things that seem to be going on in human history since forever. Not motivated to loose weight but as a way of detoxing by increasing rates of metabolism, promoting longevity, alertness and mental acuity. Whilst I’ve come across many a diet or detoxing method this one made not only sense but seemed easy enough to give it a go. Just don’t eat or drink (other than water or unsweetened tea or coffee) between dinner and lunch for roughly 16 hours. Originating in the world of workout, weight training and bodybuilding this concept of fasting has become quite popular, is even intuitive for some.
The first two weeks went by easy enough, the charm of novelty and holidays helped, paired with sometimes copious amounts of coffee and almost continuous eating and snacking for the entire 8 hours allowed. Still, my waist shrank and I obviously lost a bit of weight, I guess as much as I could.
The first and only, still pretty serious problem I encountered was when going for a long dog walk along the river without having access to any drinking water. I made it back home on willpower but felt very drained for a couple of hours even after hydrating and eating.
I make sure now to drink plenty and not consume any stimulants (tee or coffee) before food.
Even though the amounts of food, as well as time spend preparing and eating, still feels similar to before the fast (if not more sometimes) I’ve learned to more and more appreciate the daily routine, even the feel of hunger. I consciously and effortlessly drink plenty of water (3-5 liters/day) and I enjoy eating more than ever.
When I find myself in situations that I’m asked “is all this not very difficult to do?” I know that I would have considered the sum of these steps impossible myself not too long ago. I think it is very if not most important to do small steps and do what feels right at a time. And to also try to make the move, sometimes beyond what you think of as your comfort zone.
Keep the stepping up going!
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