Attending to people while they were waiting for Dr. Weng’s acupuncture needles, giving them a simple massage such as gently rocking their bodies from side to side,letting the Reiki energy flow freely from my hands, answering their questions… I felt in my element.
Being in Sicily and working side by side with powerful healers like Dr. Weng, Lisa Levine and Benedicte Henshien, was an experience that even for a wordsmith like myself is too difficult to articulate right now.
But it confirmed to me, without the shadow of a doubt, that Casa Om, the Healing center that I have been envisioning since I came back from spending two months on the North India Tour with Amma in the spring of 2008, more than a year before Andrew died, is what I want, is where I belong.
Inspired by Anastasia, through her books in the Ringing Cedars of Russia, I have been imagining a Home (Casa) for healing. A home with a plot of land organically designed and cultivated, following Mother Earth suggestions, listening to Her. Bringing into life a garden where every blade of grass has a purpose, is a part of and supports the whole.
Casa Om is a place to go to refresh and soothe the spirit. According to anyone’s inclinations every kind of activity can be practiced as therapy. Music, singing, writing, painting, gardening, cooking, reading, studying, receiving alternative medicine treatments, playing…
I brought with me to Sicily my Hoopnotica Hula Hoop. It was an absolute hit with us, the team, and our patients.
We used it to channel energy, to relax. It made our patients and friends laugh, and sooner or later everybody tried it out.
Dr. Weng with the enthusiasm, innocent and sweet smile of a child, practiced hooping until she could keep the thing going for twenty minutes straight.
Lisa, the fastest learner (on any subject, including languages) became so good at it, that in just a couple of days was experimenting, and succeeding, in walking while hooping, hooping it around her neck and arms and she made me try that too.
I was not allowed to pack my blue-striped hula hoop until the VERY last moment. Oh, and by the way, my lovely shining hula hoop DOES look used now… Oh well.
I don’t know how much any of you know about Chinese Medicine, but I found myself having to tell people (I was Dr. Weng’s interpreter) who had come for say… a back complaint, that the pain in their lower back or their herniated disk, was caused by an angry liver, or a sad kidney…
“I am not going to tell him that his liver is angry, and his wife’s right kidney is sad, and his daughter’s heart is heavy. Look they came with their lumbar sacral x-rays. They are going to think we are crazy and they won’t take us seriously.”
But in the end, I learned how to quickly explain the principles of Chinese Medicine after which sad kidneys, angry livers, and raging pancreas were no longer a problem to explain nor to understand.
I saw a lot of emotional release take place during the treatments. Men who had probably had a hard time crying before, were bawling uncontrollably.
Breathwork circles and laughter yoga conducted by Lisa Levine were further breakthroughs for everybody, us included.
Benedicte, our wonderful yoga instructor, was… a gift to both us, our patients and the Island.
Andrea, our newly acquired lawyer friend turned cook, was another gift from the Universe.
And the support and constant presence of Caterina, my dear friend since we were fifteen year-old adolescents, still bring tears of gratitude to my eyes.
Apart from treating people, we spent part of the week praying, meditating and chanting at various sites such as Segesta, the Church of St. Catherine in Palermo, the beautiful countryside outside Paceco, by the sea in Marausa, the heavenly woods of Ficuzza moments from the town of Corleone, the same town that sadly has been made notorious by the criminal doings of the mafia.
And until we could no longer delay getting on our plane, we prayed and thanked Mother Earth on the tarmac of the airport in Palermo when we were leaving.
“Amore, Gratitudine, Respect – Love, Gratitude, Respect,” Dr. Weng chanted, facing the raw mountain overlooking the airport. And then we left. Strapped in our seats, lost in our thoughts we flew away from my beloved Sicily…
I am grateful beyond words to everyone and everything that has allowed me to carry out this initial foray, this first step into the building of Casa Om.
I am already planning the next one and the one after that, I shall keep cultivating Casa Om’s organic garden mentally until it materializes as I have no doubt that it will.
Right now I still have three chapters of Bruno left to write, but even as we speak, Bruno is being looked at by a producer, fingers crossed everyone!!!
After Bruno I will start working on my Memoir, but before that I will take the second level of Reiki, I will spend some time with my beloved Amma who has now arrived in the States, and on the 21st of July I’ll be off to Sicily again for six weeks of sand, sea and sun.
And of course, not long after I come back, we’ll have the second “Get Your Wellness On” Fair in Washington Square Park, Manhattan.
I am no longer able now, to write every day as I used to do, but I nevertheless think of all the friends I have made along this journey. I am grateful to EVERYONE for the support, love and encouragement that you have given me over the long months of sheer hell that I have been through. I am grateful too, that, as some of you have told me, I too have also been of some comfort to some of you through my writing.
The loss of Andrew is always with me, that sadness is now woven within the fabric of my being. At times it is worse than others, at times it is still unbearable and unbelievable, but for the most part it sits quietly in my heart.
Please email me, leave me comments, share your stories on the blog, let me know how you are, let us keep in touch and I will write from time to time so please stay tuned 😉
With Love and Thanks
P.S. Hoopnotica is selling gently used hula hoops for $19.99, a real bargain.
And a word about the Mafia too. Thanks to the dedicated, courageous and silent work of the Italian Security Personnel, the Mafia has been dealt some pretty mortal blows, and Corleone, I believe, is no longer the Mafia Capital of world.