rene mey’s emotional medicine

Master Instructor Anilu Fiz (R) at one of her trainings.

I first heard about Rene Mey through a friend who was diagnosed with a herniated disk which caused acute sciatica. She was in agony for a month before she had her first session with a Rene Mey volunteer. Cortisone pills helped only temporarily, the prescribed swimming only made the pain worse, but from the moment she felt her friend’s healing hands, she was filled with immense love and every day brought improvement. After three weeks of daily sessions, she felt completely renewed and six months later has not had a twinge of back pain or sciatica since, even though the MRI showed chronic long standing damage.

I started to research Rene Mey, a French humanitarian who was offering respite to the wider public and teaching energy healing techniques throughout south and north America, and in recent years eastern and southern Europe, and about whom even a movie has been made. A Jesus-like figure, Mey’s message is one of spreading compassion and love throughout the world, by teaching his techniques, which he is said to have received instruction on from light-beings.

Rene Mey offering healing at a workshop.

The techniques are described as Emotional Medicine, based on Mey’s ideology that our emotions rule 85% of our overall wellbeing. There is extensive scientific research proving that emotional injury registers in our physical body exactly in the same way as a physical pain; if we can clear emotional / mental blocks and create flow, our physical health inevitably improves. When you have a loving intent to help another and you focus on both the physical and emotional pain of another, using techniques that include hands-on energy healing and tapping in places that are blocked, the health-giving effect is powerful and reaps high results. There are indeed countless testimonials from people who have been treated by Rene Mey volunteers for periods of time as short as a few months and like my friend, have experienced complete recovery.

His master instructors teach volunteers around the world, who then are encouraged to go on to offer this healing to anyone in need, free of charge. He has also created health clinics for the poor, and his volunteers supply food, education and assistance to those in need.

Intrigued and excited by this news I attended a workshop when master instructor Anilu Fiz came to Greece several months ago. Based in Mexico, she was in Bulgaria offering trainings and two Greek volunteers organised a three day stop-over here to introduce the Cellular Regeneration, the first of the three techniques, to the Greek public. Around 30 of us present were taught the technique, which we practiced on each other, and which can be done in the standing, sitting or lying down position, and were encouraged to offer it to anyone who needed it.

The real objective, as Anilu Fiz says in the video below, is to go out and offer it to the homeless, refugees, the elderly, the sick – ideally not to keep your abilities only to the confines of your immediate surroundings, because real compassion comes from actually having contact with those we don’t know and understanding them better, caring for them, offering them the kind of help no one usually wants to give. Personally I haven’t done that yet, but I intend to every day, and I know I will start to do so very soon. It takes time to digest such a new way of looking at what we can offer to others on a wide scale.

There are currently three energy healing techniques taught, all described as Emotional Medicine.

The video below was conducted on Skype at the end of December 2017. The sound quality is not ideal, as our connection was bad and our calls were interrupted 10 times! So I did my best with what I had, because Fiz is very busy and time has lately not been a luxury for me either, with the sole intent of getting Rene Mey’s message across. Please help by sharing too if his mission resounds in you.

NEWSFLASH!
Rene Mey will possibly be visiting Athens, Greece at the end of January 2018 and Anilu Fiz will be back for trainings in February of this year.

 

the flat-out truth

Throughout life we are told about doors, and I don’t mean the cool ‘70s rock band. “When one door closes, another opens,” they say. Or “make sure you choose the right door to walk through”. Or “close the door to that experience”. The phrase that I haven’t heard before, but that I have been experiencing over the last few two months is “when some important doors open, many doors also also slam shut. In your face.”

Me looking stoical

I have taken on a pretty stoical outlook, to put it mildly, and it’s not really in my nature to be like that. I’ve always considered stoicism to be a rather sad and tedious coping mechanism based on suffering deeply while being too proud to reveal it, and instead pretending – to yourself and / or others that you are cool, collected, brave and well, just fine! Weird. My reason for taking on this alien stoical manner of being is that I felt from the very start of my door-slamming odyssey that I was receiving some kind of coded message from the universe (the type only Benedict Cumberbatch would be able to solve). I knew that I needed to remain patient and see where it was taking me and why it was there.

I won’t go into the ugly details, but the form that this door-slamming took was in a series of rejections, rebuttals, apathy, lack of compassion, meanness and cool disinterest from various parties in various sorts of situations – be it individuals to whom I relied on for friendship, those I reached out to for help, support or guidance, agreements that I had made that were not honoured by the other party, and hurtful or finicky criticism that seemed to come out of nowhere. Basically, the constant and horribly surprising message I kept getting from the universe was something like “Tough shit, girl! Life is tough, you better believe it!” So I chose to soldier on and try to take it in my stride.

After around a month of being unusually stoical, which as I said is a completely new thing for me as usually I immediately face, express and release my emotions, the series of horrid little pokes and bites and shards of broken glass in my feet began to cut me down. I started to feel empty, drained, and well, flat. I even wrote a poem about it.

 

A flat poem

Flat,

that’s how I’m feeling.

Flat.

 

You could doodle on me in the gaudiest colours

or step on me when you pass by.

Make an airplane out of me and hurtle me across the room,

or blow your nose with me when you cry.

Flat, like I have just one dimension,

flat, like I can never again grow or rise,

flat, even when I try to set bold intentions

so flat I can’t even react to my drab demise.

 

I’ve felt depressed or anxious many times in my life, but I have not often felt flat. Flatness is like being a zombie, without the technicolour ’80s clothes and harrowing groaning action; just a half-dead yet curiously alive person who manages to get through every day as normal but when the day ends, and especially when a new day begins, feels like it’s Groundhog Day and that life is not really being lived. But it keeps going nonetheless, with a big, empty, silent part inside, that happens to be thick and spongy like a pillow that’s suffocating the heart moment by moment.


As the disabling flatness spread, a little voice inside of me finally cried out to my resolutely stoic brain. It whimpered “WTF?!”
My stoic brain heard it and said “Shhh, you are fine. You have a loving family, you have your health, you have work you love, you are alive and have choices.” It said that in a monotone, not like it didn’t really believe what it was saying, because it has no personality to speak of to be as complex as that, but like it was automatically the “right” thing to say. But that little voice coming from my heart that was being stifled came from a part of me that was not feeling particularly strong or brave, because those are characteristics you can only have when you have faith, yet it was still able to be a little curious and aware. And that very part with the meagre victim voice started to grow desperately sad, and that sadness started to wear an armour of anger. I became an angry person who felt like having the occasional weeping fit but couldn’t even do that because I was too flat. I started to lose my enthusiasm, vision, passion, interest in doing, even thinking or feeling anything beyond flatness. I wanted to dive into bed and do nothing but read existentialist literature and fantasize about being paralytically drunk in a Paris cafe with Jean Paul Satre, to tell him I finally understood, but I felt so flat I didn’t even really want to do that.

The WTF? was like a root however, and somewhere inside me a plant with answers began to grow, like a unfolding mathematical formula. So the universe is showing me that life is hard, but why now? Especially, as I had recently reached a climax in my life – learning new healing techniques that bolstered my existing understanding and connection with healing, meeting fascinating individuals, having gifts come to me from out of nowhere, shifting into a completely new sense of self, one that I knew was what I had been moving towards for years that had finally come to fruition. Why all the pain of flat-out rejection and heartlessness? I wondered – was I sabotaging myself  via my subconscious – ie. ‘you think you can be happy darling? Ha ha! Now you’ll see how wrong you are, because you don’t deserve that!’ No. I was not, I knew for sure. This was definitely an “outside” job. So what was it all for? Why the damage?

And then it clicked. Exactly because I have shifted into a strong sense of self as a person and as a healer, I have to now work on taking on the full responsibility to heal myself. Not look for the healing, the help, the joy, the confirmation, the answers outside of myself.

For so many years I have gathered so many healing tools, but what’s the point of having them if I don’t put them to good use, starting with myself?! For decades of attending workshops and seminars and yoga classes I have (ok, somewhat judgementally) observed some individuals who are just junkies riding on the things they learn – they go from one workshop to the other and never really heal or shift on a deeper level, they just skilfully surf a wave, and often those very individuals also love to roll off a whole list of what they have learned how to do.

But in truth, you could have attended just one of those workshops and have just one tool and have discovered incredible and multifaceted ways to use it for the benefit of yourself and others. Just like consumers today pack their homes with objects they have bought to make their life better, easier and more exciting (and enviable) that they hardly ever use, the same goes for healing.

So unless I can be my own doctor, teacher, healer, guru, lover and friend, I cannot be happy. I cannot have that spark, that oomph, that success of living life with meaning, purpose and reward that my being has been yearning for. Life and all those in it are not oblivious to my needs, they can feed, enhance and colour it in a million ways, and so can I, but if I get stuck on the pain of not receiving what I need and want in the way I have envisioned, I’m lost, I am no longer living, I become flat. And all I will be able to keep seeing is the doors that are being slammed in my face, rather than the ones that are open, and perhaps always have been, but I’d never seen them because I stood fretting in a dark, dank corridor, and they were just round the corner.

And yes, the world and life and all those in it are also harsh and cold and self-centred and ignorant, and so am I. That is nature, we are Yin and Yang, we are sometimes cruel to be kind or thoughtless to others because we are so focused on other things. And existence requires some hard choices, the constant conscious practice of loving, discipline, clarity, intelligence, intuitive cunning, patience, compassion and a resilient sense of humour. Every day is a mission with innumerable twists and turns that in moments require serious consideration, decision-making and positive action – if I am exhausted every day I have to go to sleep early, if I feel drained I have to cut out bad habits like that soothing glass of wine at night and focus more on good ones like making a special tonic to drink, going for a walk in the forest, taking an aromatic bath with a hefty dose of Epsom salts.

Above all – is the ability to let go of the pain that comes from facing the hard truths of life – whether it be the knowledge that billions are suffering in so many horrifying and unfair ways every day or that the person whose heart has suddenly turned to stone and consequently broken yours, perhaps always had heart made of stone and although I suspected as much I didn’t want to acknowledge it. 

And finally, prayer. When I first awaken in the morning if I can stop myself from jumping out of bed and leaping into digital / get-things-done day-mode I will lie there breathing, feeling my heart as I clasp my hands together and pray for all I love and feel such gratitude for. In that prayer I will also indulge in asking for the things I truly hope for with all my being. And for a moment, maybe a few hours, days even if I’m lucky, I might savour the relief that I am no longer feeling so flat, because life is for the living and it’s up to no one but me to honour that.

 

travelling with awareness

I first met Joe Tornabene when I attended his Sound Balancing class at Ilium Center of Light, a class that was described as somewhat “legendary” by various of my performer (musicians and actors) friends and not only. Having just actively returned to the world of sound healing after a session and interview with Soul Sounding practitioner David Kennet, I was eager to remain on the powerful flow of auditory therapy.

A New Yorker of Italian origin, Tornabene is an award-winning musician, stage and film actor and sound designer. He has been deeply connected to Greece since 1997, while also teaching workshops  on performance, awareness, sound balancing, improvisation and energy perception in around 10 countries and performing solo and in duets, and playing the baritone saxophone in Europe and the USA.

A few weeks after trying his class, I visited Tornabene in the place where he was being hosted in a charming part of Plaka by his choreographer friend Anastasia Lyra. After I entered a beautiful rustic-style courtyard and then a small but cozy space where Tornabene was staying, he said “Before our interview, let me show you something” and led me through to a laundry room. “I’m not going to show you a laundry room!” he laughed, before heading through yet another door in the maze-like interior of this old Plaka mansion, like the White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland. Intrigued, I followed him through to the other room, seeing mirrors with bubble lights and rows of costumes. “Er, this looks like a dressing room?” I said, confused. “Yes,” he said, opening yet another door, “come!” And on to the next area – dark, until he turned on the lights with a clack and saying “look!” swayed his hand forward to present to me an entire theatre down below us! “We are in the Mikroskopiko Theatro” he told me, as I looked down, completely amazed. “The walls and seats are 2000 year-old Roman walls!” he informed me, just adding to my surprise. It is here that Lyra presents dance and music performances she choreographs, and where Tornabene had the good fortune to rehearse any hour he liked. Back to his “bachelor pad” as he laughingly described it, we sipped our coffee and got on with our interview.

“We work with experiential anatomy, which is accessing the different energy qualities, the different body systems. It’s very powerful work for the performer and also of course on a therapeutic level,” Tornabene says. As he talks, I can’t help looking around me to “listen” to other parts of him spread across the space: his baritone saxophone, books on sound healing, tuning forks in their boxes, and alas, even a telescope. “I lived in Sounio for a summer, and wanted to see the stars from there,” he smiles.

A RoseAnne Spaldin-choreographed performance at New York Live Arts

All the studies and research that I do, feeds into the central core idea of energy awareness – the awareness of the energy transforming, and being able to navigate with that, either in a therapeutic setting, with the intention of balancing and creating a healthy dynamic; in the performance work it’s about expanding your expressive range and getting a much stronger and deeper relationship with the dynamics of space, the rapport with the audience etc. So it’s quite a circular, radial way of researching and developing work as opposed to a linear approach.

HOW DID THIS AWARENESS AWAKEN WITHIN YOU AS A PERFORMER?
There were three major streams – in the Early 80s I was sound-designing and composing for a New York Choreographer, RoseAnne Spradlin, she’s an award-winning choreographer & still quite active in NY. She was studying the body-mind work, Bonnie Cohen’s work, and she started describing the music that I was bringing to her in those terms. I said “What the hell are you talking about?!” She would describe various musical textures as very “bone-like” or “very organ-like” or “accessing skin” and so forth and I got very, very curious about this, I said “what is this?”

John Beaulieu

“So we started doing Body-Level work at her apartment in NY and I started sensing a possibility of developing a much richer relationship with the movement, music, energetic thing that I was involved in. Then I also had a colleague who was studying the Laban work, and so Laban’s space and effort started to also be a stream in this. And then at the end of the ‘80s I went for therapy sessions with John Beaulieu who was working at Polarity Centre at that point (he shows me his book, Human Tuning, Sound Healing with Tuning Forks, published 2010). It was 1989 and we did speaking therapy, he worked with Tibetan bowls and with tuning forks that he designed and I purchased from him at that time, which are based on the Pythagorean numbers which have a very curative aspect, and also hands-on work. And at the end of these sessions he turned to me and said “Joe would you like to do this work on other people?” cause he had a sense that there was something starting to move in me. I got terrified! I couldn’t imagine working with a recipient on a massage table and actually using my voice and the forks. But he had this very interesting smile in his face when I had this reaction cause he knew that something would happen.

“So I started using that particular work – the fork work and voice work – and started developing it so that I could become a better musician, and it has very strongly informed my work through the years. And then I moved to Greece and in 1997 I met Jenny Colebourne.

WHY DID YOU MOVE TO GREECE?
I met a Greek woman in Amsterdam when I was teaching at the School for New Dance Development and using Amsterdam as a base to teach in other countries in Europe in theatrical work primarily. I had the Amsterdam working Group and we met once a week for two years, exploring a work called Experimental Listening, where you listen to a recorded piece of music and we would write down our reaction to it – on any level – the phenomenological level, the emotional level, and then we would do an hour to an hour and a half doing experiential anatomy exploration – for example we would work with the bones through touch, movement, accessing the energy of this body system. And then we would re-listen to the music and we would share and journal and process, and the results were quite astonishing – the perceptual changes, the relationship changes with how we entered the music and what we heard and what we were sensing and how the space transformed and so forth. These results were published in Contact Quarterly the year after in 1997.

“So as I said I met Jenny Colebourne and she said I’m going to organise a workshop for you at Ilium Center of Light. I said “you want me to teach this stuff?!” and she said, “Yes!! Do it!”. We had 17 people in the first workshop, and it was really marvellous – I felt a fluidity with it, an ease with teaching it and working with it.

Jenny Colebourne, who Directs The Ilium Center of Light in Kolonaki, Athens.

“In late ’97 I also started teaching at a prominent theatre school here, where I taught for five years. I started integrating the experiences I was having in the therapeutic work, my own, by that point 20-something years in the performing arts, primarily with dance & theatre, and this integration started to occur. It worked very very well in the theatre setting, the students that i bump into now 20 years later still say they use the work, and how rich it was, etc.

IS IT MAINLY FOR PERFORMERS OR FOR ANYONE?
In the therapeutic work we are using a lot of explorations that I have developed and use in the theatrical training, but it’s designed to have a therapeutic base as well. So these two streams are by now quite integrated in my work.

WHICH PART OF YOU DO YOU FEEL IS MOST PROMINENT?
I think they’re pretty well balanced… In the article  Cycling through awareness protocols, creating music from a body-based energetic perspective” published in Berlin last year – that’s pretty much the essence for me – I create primarily solo work – my performance work and practice regime is driven by my awareness and sensibility of moving through varying body systems, energy systems and so forth, and witnessing the influence of these different energy transformations, and allowing this to manifest in the moment-to-moment creation of the work.

HAVE YOU STUDIED HOW YOUR MUSIC AFFECTS THE AUDIENCE?
I generally get very positive responses – that it’s very warm, and generous and has a healing aspect. But it’s in the development stage – I think in 30 years maybe it will have matured a bit. I’ve only been at it for 35-40 years  – it takes a while! (laughs)

WITH YOUR MUSICAL PERFORMANCES YOU’VE WORKED WITH ALL KINDS OF MUSICIANS AROUND THE WORLD. HOW DO THOSE PARTNERSHIPS EMERGE?
I’ve worked primarily in dance & theatre and I choose the musicians I work with very, very carefully. They have to have a sensibility, they have to be very strong & confident improvisors. With dance & theatre I love entering this wider, energetic context – my sound goes out into a space, there’s a kinaesthetic aspect occurring, perhaps text, and I start to nurture what I call the third entity, this energetic thing that arises between the sound I’m creating and the other aspects on the stage.

SO THATS SOMETHING YOU CAN’T QUITE REHEARSE FOR
When there are rehearsal situations, it’s more about finding how we might walk into form, how we might inter-relate in those terms. But rarely are things set; I work with mature people so we trust our ability to interact moment-to-moment and witness the evolving form and to nurture that. When I do solo performances the only thing I plan is about the first 30 seconds so I can have a tiny bit of comfort to kind of cut the ice a bit. But for the next 30-40 minutes I’m travelling with this awareness process and how I’m sensing the audience, the space, how I’m listening to the silences, what came before the silence will inform what comes after it – and in the ideal situation I really trust this process.

SO EACH TIME IT’S DIFFERENT
Yeah. I try to continually break the syntax of my gestural work, that’s a large process for me. But it’s really driven a lot by how I’m sensing how my body is informing the process moment-to-moment. It’s challenging and quite an amazing energetic place to be.

IN OTHER PARTS OF YOUR LIFE HOW DO YOU FIND THAT PLACE?
The therapeutic work (laughs)…has saved my life, literally! I used it to balance my psychology and my inter-relationships with every aspect of my life. I’m constantly trying to learn; it’s a massive learning process of these minute changes that we continually absorb in our lives because of the complexity of our lives, and to really monitor those and to understand how they’re affecting my energy levels, my general health, my psychology – and to be able to transform the ones that are creating negative issues.

 

“I have this belief that ancient Shamanistic rites were also built around this premise. They were not only going through a curing ritual but also imparting to the health-seeker ways to understand his or her energetic body and all the other parameters of moment to moment life ways so that they could walk away and enter self-healing., If you study the way shamans worked, it’s such an energetic foundation to their work – even the herbs they used – all of this was energetic vibrational type of medicine and approach.

Interview by Alexia Amvrazi

INFO:

TEACHING:

TORNABENE’S SOUND BALANCING CLASS @ ILIUM CENTRE OF LIGHT (Dimocharous 18, Kolonaki) take place every Wednesday. It can be attended as a year-long series or as a one off. For more information call: +302107231397.
Tornabene describes the workshop as follows:
“My workshop at Ilium is really about empowering the individual to find ways to manage their health & psychology & emotional flow, giving the very simple techniques that they can start to travel with, so they can become more self-sufficient and more confident, and trusting in this innate aspect of human beings to balance & heal the energy body. I really believe that this process of healing was also a teaching process for the recipient to become a self-healer.”

Tornabene also teaches at SECRET PLACE in Maroussi

UPCOMING PERFORMANCES:

* 9 -12 December 2017@ KINITIRAS
A presentation of Kinitiras’ Residency for composers and choreographers, presented by Joe Tornabene and Thalia Ditsa.

Children’s performance Stin Hora Tou Giati (In the Land of Why) at Kinitiras Theatre as a musician / mover on December 17 & 24 and January 7 and 14 2018.

* Performance as actor / mover @ Kinitiras Theatre production Deep Sigh (Βαθύς Αναστεναγμός) which opens on February 9th, 2018 and will run until the beginning of March.

PRIVATE SESSIONS:

He also offers private Sound Therapy Sessions  using Therapeutic Touch, tuning forks, voice, movement.

 

JOE TORNABENE ON YOUTUBE

greece’s modern father of homeopathy

Last stop on the ferry line heading into the sunset from Volos off towards the Northern Sporades islands lays Alonissos, an unspoilt, pine-cloaked island. This unique destination chiefly draws visitors who come to swim in its clean emerald waters, dine on langoustines, walk on its many forest paths and visit the rare Mediterranean Monk seal, at the National Marine Park as it’s one of the few remaining habitats of this endangered species.  

Alonissos is home to the beautiful National Marine Park where the Monachus Monachus monk seals live

Alonissos attracts a regular gathering of multicultural visitors for a completely different reason too: as we drove around the Milia area five kilometres from the port town of Patitiri, we were intrigued by the stream of atypical tourists walking along the sides of the road with great purpose in the midday sun. There were women clad in a saris, east Asian ladies holding paper sun umbrellas, northern Europeans dressed quite formally rather that the usual T-shirt and shorts. Soon the mystery was solved when we discovered that these small groups were in fact all doctors who come the island to attend courses at the International Academy of Classical Homeopathy. Yes, it turned out that apart from seals, delectable dinners and lush nature, Alonissos is also home to the only institution in the world that’s dedicated exclusively to the teaching of Homeopathic Medicine.

Doctors from around the world attending Dr Vithoulkas’ Homeopathy Academy course      

The Academy is directed by the multi-awarded and highly recognised Professor George Vithoulkas, and opened its doors in the early 1990s. We had heard about the internationally acclaimed Greek homeopath and the Alternative Nobel Prize (Right Livelihood Award) he was honoured with in 1996 ‘for upgrading Classical Homeopathy to the standard of a science’, and being fans of complementary medicines we rushed to visit the Academy and ask for an appointment with the professor himself.

Professor George Vithoulkas at his desk in the Academy of Homeopathy on Alonissos

Mind you, it wasn’t easy, as the professor is extremely busy year round. Apart from his courses and seminars, which take place at the Academy as well as online, he also writes books and records lectures that go to universities far and wide in the world. In the past the professor would travel to the universities where he taught, but he now prefers to remain more settled on his beloved island of Alonissos, where lives year-round, apart from attending important international conferences where he is regularly invited to talk.

The illustrious homeopath is a real legend on the island, where everyone speaks of him with awe and respect, and his reputation transmits to medical communities and not only, worldwide. He was a major protagonist in the resurgence of classical homeopathy after WWII, and continues to strive for the better understanding, use and acceptance of homeopathy in our modern age.

After applying for an interview with the professor by fax, we decided to visit the large stone Academy building and peruse its lovely tranquil grounds and the reference library, where one can buy some of Vithoulka’s most famous books such as ‘The Science of Homeopathy’, ‘Materia Medica Viva’, ‘Classic Homeopathy for Anxiety and Jealousy’, ‘A new Model For Health and Disease’ and ‘Homeopathy – Medicine for the New Millenium’ in Greek and in English. It was there that we had the great luck to bump into the Professor himself and introduce ourselves in person. He was friendly and accommodating, and agreed to an interview, which is something he rarely does because of his lack of free time. He offered us plenty of additional background material for our research, showing his no-nonsense efficiency and professionalism, and kindly invited us to visit him at his organic farm villa a couple of days later.

When we arrived at the picturesque location, set away from the road on a hillside covered by pine forests, we were most fascinated to see a red electric car parked in the driveway, and Professor Vithoulkas told us how he had been offered this vehicle as a gift by a German doctor at an international conference. This is only one example of the devotion shown to him by his students and colleagues; the entire, very elegant lecture theatre at the Academy was a gift from a Greek heart surgeon. The car, just like his very home, which is surrounded by olive, plum and apricot trees loaded with plump fruits, sheep grazing the nearby fields, turkeys making a commotion and the deep blue sea sparkling in the background, truly represents his life philosophy of living with awareness and esteem towards the environment, the society, as well as oneself. Nibbling on a plate of freshly-picked apricots, we comfortably began our conversation.

IMVTY: What brought you Alonissos?

GV: I came here in the late sixties to seek out a man whom I had been told was very wise. I found him and we talked; he asked me what I did, and I thought to myself oh here I go again, I will have to explain what homeopathy is to a shepherd, but as soon as I told him he looked at me and gave me an excellent definition, in fact I think it was the precise definition that is in the Encyclopedia Britannica. It turned out that this shepard was extremely knowledgeable, he probably had a photographic memory, but he was not particularly wise.  On the bright side I really liked Alonissos, so I eventually bought this land and have gradually made it my home.

Do you live here all year round?

GV: Yes for a long time now, I used to travel a great deal all round the world you know, teaching and lecturing and currently I am a professor at the Kiev Medical Academy, Medical Faculty of the Basque University in Spain, and the University of Medicine in Moscow, but I do not travel much any more so I do my courses by video mostly. But this has been my base for years, and we therefore built the International Academy of Classical Homeopathy here on Alonissos.

You teach only qualified medical doctors and dentists at your school. Why is that?

GV: Yes.  My aim is to provide these official health specialists and practitioners with a very powerful tool with which to combat or prevent disease and to help their patients get well……. and homeopathy is very difficult to learn, even more so than medicine.  With the growth of homeopathy as a successful method, people are no longer suspicious about it; however there are many charlatan practitioners and teachers who are appearing to fill a need since there are too few properly qualified homeopaths… It is my strong belief that homeopathy’s eventual downfall could occur mainly due to a number of “creative distortions” that are injected into the main body of knowledge by the “imagination” and “projections” of some “modern teachers’ of homeopathy.

Since many of our students are receptive to such myths and stories concocted by flights of wild imagination, many so-called teachers have risen to fill this gap. Believe it or not, there is a Berlin Wall remedy! And some teach that if you look like an animal you need an animal-based remedy; others go so far as to think that if you write the potency and name of the remedy on the bottle, it instills the given attributes (he chuckles in disbelief). After many years of work we have finally managed to create a Postgraduate Degree for medical students to learn homeopathy in the University of the Aegean, based in Syros.

But do you believe that only qualified doctors should be able to learn and practice homeopathy?

GV: No not at all, although this is my policy. I believe that after proper 4-5 year training in a good homeopathy school, any qualified individual may practice.

 

Although millions of people swear by it, there is no scientific evidence proving that homeopathy works.

In your opinion, what lies behind the British Medical Association’s claim in England in 2010 that homeopathy should be cut from the National Health Service, since it is an unproven science?
GV: As I mentioned earlier there are unfortunately some practitioners who are not properly qualified and also some who make claims that are just not based on reality, for instance – that homeopathy can be used as a form of vaccine for epidemic – which is simply not true as every individual needs a different homeopathic remedy specific to their case. So these claims bring the entire practice into dispute.

That’s one of the reasons; the other is that homeopathy is becoming the medicine of the new millennium, so doctors and especially pharmaceutical companies (with multimillion dollar profits) are feeling very threatened (homeopathy is non-chemical and inexpensive), so this is why they attack homeopathy. It is not coincidental to note, however, that countless medical doctors who were asked to examine the principles and effectiveness of homeopathy, on seeing the results and learning more, have become staunch supporters of this method.

What is your main advice for healthy living?

GV: Basically it revolves around one word – cleanliness. Your conscience is the most important thing to keep clean, but so are the body and mind. Health in the physical body is freedom from pain.  But if you don’t have pain is that health? No, you need something else in order to say somebody is healthy – and that is having well being as a general state. But many mentally ill individuals can have strong bodies – a lot of energy, so therefore the definition has to also address the psyche (the emotional part).

Thus, “healthy people” are those who are not overtaken by any passion – the concept of pathos is based on that idea which overtakes and makes a slave the soul (our emotional part). If you are living in the serene state, with freedom from passion, in a state of calm, that is a dynamic state. I feel that I enjoy that state but I do not become a slave to anything.

And this leads to the soul – the soul has to be free from selfishness, from ego.  Once you achieve this there is an inner click and you enter the world of ideas. The ideas of a selfless man help humanity, while the ideas of a selfish man destroy others. Even in disease there can be harmony. I believe this is the ideal to work towards.

A healthy individual is one who is creative, with a double purpose, firstly to help himself, but at the same time being creative and giving to the society, and this the society is equally benefited by what has been created.

Meeting Professor Vithoulkas was indeed a pleasure, for we felt that we discovered the man behind the big name – an individual who has dedicated a 45 year career in which he has personally treated over 170 thousand patients, many of them prominent personalities from the fields of culture and politics throughout the world, such as Indian philosopher Krishnamurti, whose side he stood by for many years as his personal homeopath, and former Greek premier Andreas Papandreou).

Above all, as he confirmed to us himself in our discussion, his life has been about a challenging and important mission, to reverse thinking processes that prefer the use of pharmaceuticals over treating the individual holistically, to educate not only the elite but also the masses about the power of nature – and of man himself – to heal, as a process that involves the mind, body and spirit, and to offer, as he put it, “powerful tools” to those who have the position, expertise, clarity of intention and intelligence to use them effectively. Such is a mission that requires serious responsibility and commitment, but also reveals a larger, more valiant hope for humankind.

Interview by Adrian Vrettos and Alexia Amvrazi
As first published in www.greektravel.com

the sound of the soul

Although based in the US, Kennet offers sessions and workshops around the world.

I went to my Soul Sounding appointment with David Kennet not quite knowing what to expect, except that I would be receiving some form of sound healing, which I love. The power of sound resonates deeply in all of us, for some more consciously than others, and having tried various forms of sound therapy in the past I was excited to experience Soul Sounding.

The first part of my session with Kennet, a clean-cut, elegant man with a calm voice and polite, gentle manner, was centred on discussing my beliefs about myself and life. “What do you want from this session?” he asked me, adding, “It’s very important to set your intention before the session, as  with everything.”

I too am a believer in the power of intention – we set our intent carelessly most of the time, achieving what our subconscious directs us toward without even realizing it. There are so many books and other media out there about the power of our intent in manifesting our reality – call it the Law of Attraction, Abraham Hicks, The Secret or whatever you like, essentially it is something we already do by focusing or thoughts in a certain direction, our heart ruling the way with its emotions with a force that transmutes the cellular structure of everything within and around us. “My life is so crap!” people complain, often not realizing that they are dedicating almost all their energy to making it that way by visualizing the worst, using technicolour, dynamic and completely realistic imagery that makes them feel what they fear most is actually happening, and which then registers on a physical and conscious level as an actual experience! And even when they stop to imagine what they want, in a hopeful moment, they often crush it with an infernal crashing thunderbolt with the little words “as if!!”

The art and discipline is to connect with our heart and mind and see what emotions and thoughts are there, understand what is true to our being and honour it through love, before altering it to its best potential and directing it with a loving, powerful force toward what it is we truly do want to create. “Holistic healing is very much about us each remembering that we are our own best healers, that the body is designed to heal itself, and again, we just need some tools,” Kennet says.

David Kennet holding a crystal singing bowl that he uses in his soul sounding sessions.
David Kennet holding a crystal singing bowl that he uses in his soul sounding sessions.

Based upon the things I revealed about what I do and do not feel, want and believe, Kennet created some affirmations for me to repeat and then using applied kinesiology and muscle-testing, showed me what my subconscious really does believe and what it doesn’t. It was a fascinating process, as I saw how, for example when I affirmed “I am happy to have money” my subconscious gave the green light, but when I affirmed “I am happy to be wealthy” there was a resistance.

It was an a-ha! moment, because despite years of affirmations in that direction, my deep-seated subconscious belief that money is good because it helps you survive, but wealth is a corrupting force, because after all, look at the line-up of the 1%, has very likely stopped me earning to my fullest potential.

“We can actually unconsciously have an intolerance, a resistance, almost like an allergy, to things we want,” Kennet tells me, “even though we are consciously telling ourselves “I love myself, I love myself, I love myself,” if the unconscious is running a programme that says ‘you are unworthy or don’t deserve love’ it’s very hard to experience the actuality of “I love myself”. So what do we do about it? I ask. Kennet shows me some tools for working on myself using Brain Gym techniques, but the main work will be done on the Soul Sounding table.

Kennet grew up surrounded by music, as his father, Michael Small, was an acclaimed composer for Hollywood film scores.

On the healing table, Kennet uses a variety of instruments including crystal singing bowls, Native American flutes, tuning forks and a giant drum, which he says, laughingly “penetrates and goes , deep – even if there’s a resistance to healing, there’s no hiding!” His main instrument, he tells me, is his voice, which he uses intuitively, however he feels guided to. Kennet grew up with music, as his father Michael Small was a celebrated film score composer for Hollywood (“hearing him compose for movies,  from early at sunrise, or blasting classical music in the house, was definitely influential”, Kennet says), and in fact it cured him of the chronic, life-threatening asthma he was diagnosed with since early childhood.

“My mom had to rush me to hospital when I had asthma attacks so they could save my life, giving me an adrenaline shot which would open up my bronchial tunes and make my heart pound very intensely. So Western medicine saved my life. Ultimately what happened was that I met an amazingly evolved man called Dr. Kenneth Mills, who was a metaphysician, musician and composer, and who revealed the gift of song to me, which was already mine but I didn’t know it was there. The more and more I sang, the greater and more ease I had in breathing.

“The reason for that I think was threefold: the physical component that came through singing was that I was taking deeper breaths; on a very fundamental level when we sing, we open our diaphragm, so I was exercising the muscles in my lungs. On an emotional level, I believe that singing allows us to expand. It opens up or emotions, takes away shyness and allows us to express ourselves. And on the spiritual level through singing we are also connecting to the source, because sound is what we are, so when we make a sound we are aligning ourself to creation. Mills had a singing group called The Star-scape Singers that I was very honoured to have been included in his ensemble.”

Metaphysician, concert pianist and composer Dr. Kenneth Mills

When the singing ensemble disbanded in 2004, Kennet  set off to learn under other great teachers such as the sound healers Tom Kenyon and Johnathan Goldman, learning about how sound is effective in self-empowerment and healing. He also studied at the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition, and the Integrative Natural Technologies School in Canada to study allergies (over the years he has helped a multitude of people of all ages recover from allergies), and trained as a licensed massage therapist. “Above all I’m excited about bridging the world of mysticism with science. Bottom line is that I get a very high percentage of results, and this to me is the validation of the power of sound,” he says.

As I lie listening to the sound of the crystal bowls he is playing, I feel the sound waves vibrate through my chest and back, and my thoughts fall away. I start feeling peaceful. “Sound is a carrier wave that is capable of penetrating our skin and our cells, our bones, it can go right into our bone marrow. So sound is a very effective way of penetrating our ‘walls’,” Kennet says.

When he starts to sing, I am momentarily stunned by the impact, bold colour, sophisticated texture and infiltrating power of his voice, and find it almost impossible to connect this voice, which literally feels like a biblical force, like a flood of light emerging through the clouds, with the low-key individual I was just chatting with over a cup of tea. His singing transports me to a place where I look around and see angels and, as I scan the circle of those around me, I see my grandparents, looking at me with loving smiles. I remember now that whatever is happening in this life, wherever we are, at the same time we are somewhere else, surrounded by the light that we are, that all that we love never leaves us, because it is part of us, and I start to cry with joy and relief. In our session I feel my energy shift and clear on the physical, mental and emotional levels, I see more images, cry a few more tears, breathe deeply, even sleep for a few minutes. I feel like I have been in a whirlwind of sound and light, reconnected with heavenly love and the earth’s dark, rich, grounding energy at once. Thank you David, for reminding me I am home.

David Kennet offered a sound-gift to the readers of I’m Very Well Thank You, performing an intuitive song:

For more healing sound by David Kennet visit Soundcloud

going with the inner flow

Early last month I attended a workshop presented by Dr. Dwaine Hartman at a beautiful space in central Athens – Inner Flow. I  felt refreshed by the aesthetic of the space, which was nothing like the usual New Agey centres one comes across too often – with golden buddhas and spirals at every turn, the air thick with the smell of Nag Champa incense and cat-hair on a dated armchair (ok that was just creative freedom on my part, but you get the picture). Inner Flow is urban, post-industrial with an upbeat vibe and glossy details – a polished ultra-modern kitchen, two bathrooms with luxurious products (including fragrant hand cream, always deserving of serious appreciation), and a fluffy light grey carpet that incites in one the desire to roll around. Beyond the elegant surroundings, the space feels highly professional and deeply comforting at once, and it’s not by chance, because the person who owns and runs it, Effie Adamidou, has those exact qualities herself. She is fully centred on her professional objectives as a Systemic Psychotherapist who works one-on-one with clients as well as organizing a variety of workshops featuring her own teachings and those of excellent therapists from abroad. Yet at the same time she is so warm and effusive that having a cup of tea (organic of course) and chocolate (one of the soul-soothing treats visitors regularly bring for fellow sufferers/evolvers) with her in the kitchen makes you feel right at home.

Inner Flow has already welcomed some great events and there are many more in the works. Here, Adamidou talks about how she started out and how she slowly transformed Inner Flow into what it is today, as well as what her plans are for the coming year.

“My practice began in the Psychiatric Hospital of Attica, in the Drug Rehabilitation Centre “ 18 Ano” doing Creative Arts therapy – Empowerment & Counseling group work . I was about to go to New York (where she grew up and lived until the age of 12), and continue my studies there, but everything here just started rolling so I stayed & went with the Flow!! I was studying & did trainings in systemic – family psychotherapy, drama therapy, dance therapy, music therapy & also body psychotherapy – Wilhelm Reich Institute -Vegeotherapy & Character Analysis here in Greece. I was also a specialist in Drug Prevention going to schools in Piraeus and the local community & working with children adolescents , teachers, parents , as well as in the Drug rehabilitation program “ Atrapos” for adolescents . For many years I have worked as a psychotherapist at a private center “ Paidi & Oikogeneia” – for children & parents & with distinguished psychotherapists doing group work & workshops in their private offices. At the same time , I had my private practice on the side. I love working in groups where we all are together and can expand , learning and supporting each other. I never had the dream of being in an office behind a desk or something, I love being on the floor, moving around, using various props, doing experiential workshops!

From a very young age, from 1997, I was very fortunate to be surrounded by very beautiful and very experienced therapists and healers and people specialised in holistic techniques and yoga. From early childhood I was also very open to Energy – recognising that there is more than what we see and read in books. Both my parents were very open to a holistic way of seeing life and my godfather, who was very into esotericism, played a big role in helping me develop my way of seeing things. In my youth I studied theatre too – the Stanislavsky Method with Helen Scotes and always had teachers who made a very big difference and influenced me very positively from college. I was never really drawn to classical approaches, despite having studied many of them, what interested me most and made my heart beat loudly, was working with innovative ways of personal development & going beyond conventions!

“Since 2006, I stopped working so actively in the various programs & centers & decided I wanted to create my own space. I never stopped the collaborations I’d had with therapists, running experiential therapy workshops, but I knew it was time to create something more solid of my own. Soon I created Inner Flow Athens City Centre For Psychological Support& Creative Expression and Spiritual Awakening – I know, it’s a long title, but that’s what we do here! People think there are a lot of people running it but it’s only me (laughs). My upbringing in New York has given me a precious gift that I’m open to people of all kinds and from different paradigms. In 2009 I created Inner Flow in Holargos in the northern part of Attica, continuing one to one sessions ,group therapy & workshops – “ Inner Child” , “ Women& Femininity”, “ & many others combining techniques & methods of Energy healing – Reiki- Roizon- Bioenergy- The Healing Codes, Soul- Body Fusion , meditation & of course creative arts therapy , body psychotherapy & Systemic Constellation Work.

Systemic Psychotherapy is not to be confused with Bert Hellinger’s Systemic Constellation work . It is field of Psychotherapy as Psychoanalysis, Rogerian, Gestalt, Existential etc… We focus first on the person- the client – connecting their mind, body, spirit, and then all the ripple circles around that individual – the immediate family, friends, colleagues and neighbours etc and going all the way to the universe. We work on the stories, family patterns, trans -generational schemes , the perceptions & imprints on all levels. It’s important to be in the here and now, so in systemic therapy we always connect to the past by bringing it to the present in a meaningful transformational way.

“In 2012 it all expanded – more people were interested in holistic work and Inner Flow became more of a scene. In 2016 I came to the heart of Athens, thanks to my beloved parents , where I’ve created Inner Flow Athens City Centre. I’ve always been very connected to the energy of Athens from a little girl so this was the ideal location, and this way people can reach Inner Flow much easier.

Many years now I collaborate & also organize seminars , workshops & trainings with teachers & therapists from abroad. Among them are Barrie Musgrave- Systemic Energy Constellation Work, Elizabeth Ann Morris – Spiritual Teacher & Healer, former principal of Diana Cooper Foundation Yorgos Nasios – Certified trainer of “Walking in Your Shoes “, which combines Systemic Constellation work & the Arts. Kaypacha – Tom Lescher- Astrologer, Spiritual practitioner, Roel Fredrix- Shamanism, Energy Medicine & Healing  in the Inca Tradition, David Kennet- Sound Healer , Vibrational Resonance & Brain Gym practitioner, Margo Awanata- Facilitator , trainer in Woman’s Empowerment circles & Retreats, and Co – Founder & Trainer of “ Wild Sisters”

In Greece Inner Flow is connected & collaborates with “brother-spaces ” & teachers , promoting a holistic approach to personal development & spiritual awakening – Some of these are : “ Guru Ram Das Ashram- Kundalini Yoga” with Amar Dev Marina Ktisti , “Be Fluid” – Zhineng Qigong- Chryssi Berou , “The Senteris Method “  with Master Panagiotis Senteris, Philosophical Association “Peaceful Warrior”,  Leda Shantala’s “Shantom – House of Culture, the Angels Nest – Energy Healing, Ioanna Athanasiou, Center for Systemic Psychotherapy & Counseling with Smaro Markou Tsangaraki
& Wilhelm Reich Institute of Greece’s “Vegeotherapy & Character Analysis” .

“Inner Flow is a place where people can come to be at peace and expand. The space is not only me – it has developed a life of its own, and when people come here they see it, sense it, know it. It’s also a lot to do with the people & collaborators who come here , that’s why I am particular about who I bring over, and what they do when they’re here – We are a Community each an important part of the sacred circle. This place is a portal and those who come here have heard a calling. I feel very responsible for this space, that it should offer people what they need to walk their path in love, truth and integrity, opening them up to their divinity. This is how we can make a change in this world, supporting Gaia our beloved planet, being connected to the mysteries & gifts of the universe! All in the Light…!”

 

working it out

Travelling

I have been venturing into a new realm – one that I have stood around and outside of for many years, but never officially entered to seek a place in for myself; it’s the World of Wellness. Honouring a feeling that has been alive in me since early childhood, I have decided to be true to my heart – by trying as best as I can to live my life by doing the things I love, things that will be meaningful to me and to others, things that can create a positive change in the world, rather than just prioritising the need to earn a buck or two.

It’s pretty hard – especially as I am currently out of a regular job, while living in a country where wealth and work are elusive and overtaxed, and I am thus not as able yet as I usually am to help support my family, and myself. Ever since I finished my MA some 20 years ago, I never stopped working. In journalism. I’ve always found ways to live life to the fullest – travelling, experiencing things that drew me, manifesting my passions in what I did, but always staying within a certain realm. My last job was prestigious, a position at a leading business that I had literally wished hard for several years earlier. It was practically handed to me on a silver platter – but I was living quite unhappily trying to live up to standards that made no real sense to me and in fact drained me of the creativity, adventure and purpose that have always felled me. It was no one’s fault, it was just not right for me. It was a perfect place for someone who needed that kind of placement, and that someone wasn’t me.

When that job ended quite suddenly, I was momentarily hurt and scared, but deep down somewhat thankful, because I would never have had the courage to leave a position like that during a financial crisis and as a mother.  Now I had the opportunity to try to start again, afresh, to seek ways to live life in a more meaningful way, more rewarding and true to who I am. In a way that could actually honour my being in this world, and my purpose here.

Working does not have to be one way or another – what working means, in essence, is applying one’s skills, education, expertise and abilities and time to a certain job at hand, to create a result and hopefully earn a rewarding pay. For me, working has always been something that requires focus, energy, commitment, loyalty, an innovative outlook, enthusiasm, playfulness, intelligence, seriousness and gall. Importantly, it can be done anywhere. I have never understood or been able to swallow the concept that work should be done in an office.

The way we work is changing and will continue to change – you don’t need to be a psychic or a genius to predict that, (just Google it!) It simply makes no sense to work in offices when you could be working anywhere and in any way you choose, keeping your freedom as an individual while meeting the commitments of your assignments or business perfectly well. Indeed, the freedom to work as we please infuses our efforts with a different vibrancy. More and more visionary business leaders are realizing this, and making changes accordingly, by offering more flexibility and personal reward to their employees and improving the environment and conditions within and around the workplace. Our society, through technology and ideology, inspires us to think and function as individuals who want their needs met, so paying the price by being part of a conformist mass to a professional system makes no sense.

Some say you come to this earth having chosen your parents so you can learn particular lessons, in most cases the most major ones. If that’s true, I have learned a great lesson from my father, a brilliant, highly intelligent, loving and intuitive man who dedicated himself to his job as a highly successful career diplomat, working even on Sundays, offering his all, only to be betrayed by the very system he gave himself to. The betrayal later led him into depression and a state of never being able to fully recover from the fact that he had been so maltreated by the system he had so staunchly believed in. As his daughter, I carried his suffering in my heart, because children do that – they take on their parents’ pain in order to feel close to them and to connect deeply with them, believing on some level that by suffering with them we are helping them carry their burden. I even went through many years of depression that came and went in my teens and until my early 30s, telling myself I was just like my father, until talking with a CBT therapist led me to understand that I could love my father and feel for him without having to actually take on his pain. So I decided to keep all the good stuff – his dedication, his focus, the seriousness with which he applied himself to his work, his wicked, delightfully surreal sense of humour about life – while also enjoying my very own perspective – that work is a part of existence, not life itself, that it is a way to offer as much as to gain – self discovery, money, ways to discover the world.

For years I have known I must honour my dreams and have faith in all of my abilities, talents and powers – as we all should, although we live in a world that encourages us to buy things because we deserve them, but at the same time slyly tells us that we are never going to be enough, or have enough. None of us is a one-trick pony; excellent accountants can sing, chefs can be masters at maths, lawyers can heal with their hands. I have now carved out a new path for myself, and I am praying and hoping that as I walk – sometimes imbued by fear and trepidation – other times with a confident stride – along it, I won’t be led to a stale pond, but to a sparkling beach with crystalline cobalt waters where I can throw my clothes off and dive in, playing like a dolphin.

I am on a new adventure, with this website as my snazzy new vehicle for driving from place to amazing place. I am actively, dedicatedly exploring, learning, and yes, even transforming every day. I have made so many wonderful acquaintances during the last few months, and I feel I can finally communicate with others as my true self. With most people now I find I can talk mainly on a heart level rather than a mind level because I am more true to my intent, I am not trying to be something I am not, perniciously guarding my every word and action, feeling I might get “caught out” for saying or doing the wrong thing. I am in a state of flow – regularly meeting charismatic, high-minded, big-hearted people who, through their work in wellness, sometimes change other’s lives in incredible, empowering ways. Usually they can achieve this great feat because they are good at reminding them that they can heal their self, and that the power to do so comes from within themselves, not from the outside.

I’ve been trying all kinds of interesting experiences in healing – sometimes through actual study in a workshop, other times just through hearing about various techniques, or just observing. Some of these therapeutic experiences and people shake me up or disturb me, perhaps because I am not ready for them or simply because they are just not right for me, while others make the following day, and the day after, and the day after that, infused with an ebullient new energy, a reviving awareness and heartwarming light, even if only in moments of change. I am learning every day, I am dreaming wildly, I am working delicately yet with absolute devotion, I am rediscovering the meaning of words like respect, communication, exchange, vision and success.

I have no idea where this is all taking me, but it’s exquisite, and every day I am thankful. This new way of life transpires in all areas of my being – in the way I am with my child, my partner, my friends, my self. I have a new sense of self-respect, and at the same time appreciation for life. Yet almost every day I am also visited by fat, persistent flies like dread, guilt and shame, that buzz around my head until I manage to swat them away with my intent, (as at least I’ve learned the trick – thoughts only make them stick harder). “What the hell are you doing?!” they ask. “Who do you think you are, trying to change your professional direction like that? Quit the magical thinking!”

MANIFESTO: I have absolute faith that Greece and the world have so much to be discovered in terms of holistic wellness, incredible locations where just visiting restores your faith in life, individuals who are improving lives in the best possible ways, healing methods  from the scientific to the surreal that are proving effective on many levels, businesses that can earn money and at the same time make the world a better place!

And I want to be part of that – to explore, discover, live, create and share it with anyone who will listen. So here’s to staying on track, and making it work. To live life in all my colours and seeing with my heart, and helping others do the same.

 

 

hawaii to heaven

And now, the time has come for Athens to taste succlent and mouthwatering Hawaiian poke, cubed raw or marinated fish with soy sauce, sesame oil and usually rice and other condiments of choice. On tiny yet increasingly lively Petraki St near Syntagma Sq, chef Yiannis Kandylidis and his partners Yiannis Biniaris and Konstandinos Yiannoutsas have put on their best poke faces and are drawing the crowds with their creative – and healthy – delights. The set menu flavours I tried are succulent, clean, fresh, colourful and delicate, and the ingredients are fresh, seasonal, local and high quality, which adds to the health factor. Raw fish (except the shrimp, which was boiled), fresh herbs like coriander and mint, fresh fruit, caramelised, raw or crunchy onions, edamame beans, chillies and other punchy flavours make the experience pretty exciting.

I interviewed Kandylidis before diving into a variety of dishes created by him (click link below to hear our chat) and went again a week later on my birthday along with hubby and my preschooler for dishes we added our own touches – either is fully encouraged. The prices are between 5.5-8.5 euros for the small or larger portions and beers, lemonade and cocktails are also for sale. As the chef revealed in our interview (below), the autumn / winter season wll also see the addition of heart-warming soups and other dishes.

waking up the god within

I had interviewed hypnotherapist Dr. Dwaine Hartman a week before going to his evening workshop at the urban chic Inner Flow Athens City Centre space in Monastiraki, and I’d watched several of his video talks and interviews. Yet I didn’t expect what I experienced within those four hours at his Feel The Magic event, and how I have been experiencing the world in a different way since. As soon as I saw him in person I felt a certain familiarity that neither shook or confounded me but that felt reassuringly pleasant. As I took my place at the front of the class on one of the few remaining empty cushions, I turned to look at him and our eyes connected for what felt like a long time but was probably just a few brief minutes; there were no powerful messages or feelings, just a comforting connection, like saying hello again in a gentle way to someone you have not seen in a long while. “Separation is the core of all problems in our society,” Hartman says. “Nobody looks into each other’s eyes and says “I see you”.


His workshop centred on issues that have been central in my life during the last few years – the importance of being able to connect with myself as well as other beings on a real, deep, heartfelt level, without the mind infringing upon this process; my hungry desire to reaffirm the importance and power in my daily existence of my imagination, (which I rode on throughout my childhood and adolescent years, sometimes with incredible results as I manifested things big and small that I’d relished in dreaming up, but had lost touch with this way of being when I became a busy, stressed and somewhat jaded “adult”). Albert Einstein said it brilliantly when he wrote: Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.”

Another major focus during the workshop was developing the awareness and ability to locate, face, observe and let go of the dastardly internal critic, of which he says:The base to all human suffering is the lack of connection to our supportive unconditional source. So what do you think gets in the way of that connection …. that is right … the internal critic. Now what if I was to share with you that this part doesn’t even belong to you?” Resulting from years, maybe aeons of social conditioning, the inner critic resides in each of us, and manipulatively finds ways to sabotage our best efforts, especially as soon as we start to feel we are finally getting where we wished to be.

Hartman teaches above all the essentiality of connecting to our inner child, who came into this world sill completely in tune with its source. He reminds his students that in our heart we hold an inherent knowledge of truth. He teaches his students to acknowledge, befriend and utilise their own god / goddess nature, that part of them that is the creator of their reality at large.

I watched him work with personally with attendees  to help them let go of thoughts, ideas and physical feelings some had been carrying and felt confined by for many years, and I recalled the concept that miracles don’t have to be huge and dramatic, with thunder, blazing lights and holy visions of biblical proportions – even a small but significant shift in one’s consciousness, a reawakening to our sense of who we really are beyond the ego and a mind inundated with messages of who to be by the media / education systems / certain family practices and society can change one’s life forever. It can bring on spontaneous healing, which will sometimes last for minutes or hours before one stubbornly returns to a prior state – but will have shown them who they can be nonetheless – or can create a forever shift. Either scenario, presenting the actuality of healing whether short-lived or eternal, is a miracle, when the alternative is continuing to live in a stagnant state of hypnotic misery.

This, above all, is what I enjoyed of observing Hartman’s teaching – his combination of creative yet practical, good-humoured techniques with a renewed sense of remembering that it is up to us how we choose to perceive and live our life. He is neither the first nor the last teacher to convey this awareness in others, but he is definitely one of too few inspiring therapists who this world needs in order to shift its consciousness for the better on a mass level.

Amusingly, most of Hartman’s one-to-one interactions with participants ended with shared laughter; the type that comes from relief, when seeing that the horrifying monster in the mind was in fact just a little mouse ingeniously practising trickery with shadows; the laughter that comes from the gratitude of acknowledging that with patience and observation, answers can be found; and of course the giggles that bubble up from finally being able to laugh at one’s self for its long-held, life-defying and ludicrous need for intricately structured drama. That very drama can cripple us in so many ways, which can be very severe, but once we can see beyond it, and detach our self from the clutches we have so kindly paid to sponsor the services of, then we can hopefully laugh.

Hartman calls himself a Trance Alchemist, and works with people on a one-to-one basis through Skype and in person, as well as travelling around the world to teach workshops. His two-day workshop is a more dynamic extension of what we got a taste of on September 11th, and following that, he runs a five-day course for those who want to learn how to be Trance Alchemists who can then use his techniques professionally or personally on clients and friends.

Dr Dwaine Hartman is the author of ‘Value Your Vibration’. CLICK HERE TO VISIT HIS WEBSITE NOW.

 

fourfold massage bliss

The treatment room at the Electra Palace Hotel's Aegeo Spas
The treatment room at the Electra Palace Hotel’s Aegeo Spas

My latest Tried & Tested experience was a four-hands Lucky Treatment at the swanky Electra Palace Hotel, at the Aegeo Spas. Although I have tried and tested massage therapies at some of the world’s best spas – such as the Pimalay Resort in Thailand, Amansara in Cambodia, Ryokan in Japan, Grande Bretagne in Athens – as well as a colourful and impressive variety of smaller wellness centres and quirky, off-road therapy retreats both near and far, I had never experienced a four hands massage. I’ve had plenty of opportunities to do so, but for some surreal reason it never appealed enough. What really piqued my interest in the Lucky Treatment, also known as the Wish Massage was its enchanting concept. Not just a massage carried out by two therapists but an entire ritual in which the client is asked to make a wish at the beginning of the therapy, this had a spiritual element that I could not resist. I feel sorry for those who cynically scorn “magical thinking” – in fact, I think being able to practice it, (with measure of course because we always need to remain grounded to a basic degree) is a superpower that offers strength, resilience, the ongoing capability to dream your world into being, and an important connection to creativity, to the magic that lies within us.

Upon entering Aegeo Spas in the Electra Palace Hotel

The Electra Palace Spa is not fancy or huge, but it’s luxurious, with a relaxing  ambience of dim lights and dreamy aromas. The staff are all extremely warm, professional and comfortingly familial, so as soon as I arrived, very excited about my massage booking no doubt, I felt right at home. After 15 minutes in and out of a hot sauna, I wrapped myself in a fluffy white robe and was greeted by smiling massage therapists Kalliopi and Bora, both beaming and presenting me with a lit candle. In the therapy room, I was asked to make a wish and then blow out the candle. I had thought about my wish while in the sauna and the objective now was to focus on it gently during the therapy too.

Aegeo Spas Electra Palace Hotel Athens
Skilled therapists Kalliopi and Bora who gave me the Lucky Treatment greet me with a lit candle so I can make my wish.

At first I was in mind-mode and got myself into a little spiral of paranoid thinking: “What if they are looking at each other and making faces?” Then I decided to tell my mind to shut the hell up and try and focus on what I actually felt. Starting from my legs, the therapists kneaded and pressed all the tension out of my limbs in perfect synchronisation. “It is like a dance,” Bora told me, that we choreograph spontaneously as we work!” Their movements came in flow with the music that was playing, which made the experience even more immersive as I lay feeling aware of their synchronised massage, the emotive but not overwhelming music, and how I felt.

So how did I actually feel? Like I’d never felt before during a massage. It was as though I had been taken into the hands of some mythological creature that was floating and flying me around while I happily surrendered (if it had been a mythological creature I don’t think I would have been as relaxed!). At various points one therapist began where the other had ended, so there was an ongoing flow of movement, like deep, calming waves of relaxing tranquility. When one therapist massaged my head and the other my feet, I could do nothing but feel that even if the wish I’d made at the start of the treatment was not realised, I was nonetheless experiencing a wish come true, one I’d made a few hundred times on nights when my son wouldn’t sleep, or when I crouched over my laptop trying to finish off an article. I could sense that they were not going through the motions, but instead were working with giving and dedication to help me feel good, and at the end of the session I felt so blissed – and blessed – that my only wish was that these two wonderful individuals have all of their wishes come true!

One and a half hours of the session are focused on the body, while the last half hour is centred on the head (where you think of your wish) and face, with special attention to the lips (from which you speak your wish) and the eyes (from which you see your wish manifest). A cleansing and glow-inducing mask is slathered indulgently onto the skin, and if the client accepts, the head and hair is massaged with hot olive oil. Unsurprisingly, I was pretty spaced out after the therapy, but putting on the clothes that define who I am I soon regained my urban instincts and got back to ordinary life. Not that after that experience I felt ordinary in any way, shape or form.

In the Lucky Treatment, 1+1 = 4!