Monday, September 12, 2016

Autism, Analysis and Awakening: Three Books of One Mind and Heart

Without understanding, your love is not true love. You must look deeply in order to see and understand the needs, aspirations and suffering of the one you love. We all need love. Love brings us joy and well-being.
Thich Nhat Hanh, The Heart of Buddha's Teaching  
Interestingly I have recently stumbled onto two Homeopathy books that relate to one of my favorite Thich Nhat Hahn books in my small but growing Buddhist library, The Heart of Buddha’s Teaching. Incidentally, this is good starter or refresher for anyone wanting a sound intro to Buddhism. Like a 101 but totally lovely to read, as it is very poetic. The two Homeopathy books seem worlds apart, but together are immensely helpful to my practice at present. One is One Heart, One Mind by Pierre Fontaine (2015 - just released this year) and the other is Dreams, Symbols and Homeopathy by Jane Cicchetti (2003 - you know it to see it, if you haven’t already read it). Both are interconnected despite their differences. The first is about Autism Spectrum treatment from a unique perspective/method of inquiry (case taking by “Surrogacy”) and the latter one is about the use of Jungian Dream Analysis in treatment/healing. Both ultimately are about deep and transformative healing of patients from anywhere on the spectrum of being human.

Fontaine’s subtitle of “The Case for Healing Autism and PANDAS” and Cicchetti’s of “Archetypal Dimensions of Healing” bring it home: that healing is the name of the game. So, not just getting better in the conventional way of how we Homeopaths sometimes end up treating when dealing not just with Acutes, but, sometimes, unfortunately, when we work with patient’s that just want to get “fixed”. Naturally, any of us are going for gold - cure that is - but sometimes even we have our doubts if Autism (or for that matter even very serious physical pathology) can be touched and turned around by what we do. Well, there is hope for a cure…and I am not talking about any pink ribbon campaign kind of sugar coated cure. These two books and what I am experiencing with the guidance of these kinds of deep and transformative books attest to what Homeopathy can do.

Love is simply the name for the desire and pursuit of the whole.
                                                                         Plato, The Symposium 
Essentially they both are about moving from a place of not being aware of what is happening subconsciously to where one can integrate the contents of our psyche within our daily lives. So, bringing to the fore what is hidden even to ourselves. What homeopathic remedies do effortlessly. However, here’s the rub: to become healthy one has to be conscious. This is the awareness we see as part and parcel of healing that is transformative for our patients. But, as we see, patients often want us to fix them; they don’t sign up initially to go through a full makeover… self-transformation. Ironically, for this to happen one has to consciously choose to become conscious.

Conscious in the first place that there is suffering and then that they are suffering. This is the first of Four Noble Truth’s as per my Thich Nhat Hanh book with the subtitle of “Transforming Suffering into Peace, Joy, and Liberation”. “The Second Noble Truth is the origin, roots, nature, creation, or arising (samudaya) of suffering. After we touch our suffering, we need to look deeply into it to see how it came to be. We need to recognize and identify the spiritual and material foods that we have ingested that are causing us to suffer." Three and Four follow and really are not relevant initially for us Homeopathically (sorry my beloved Buddha), but do, of course, come into play later in the healing they are respectively the cessation of suffering and the way to do this (which is The Noble Eightfold Path or what is known as the Right Practices by the Chinese. So things like Right View, Right Thinking, Right Livelihood...and naturally, being a Homeopath gets you started half way on the Path;-)

Anyways, not to stray any further off the path, I will say that in the case of the first book the conscious choice to go for broke, cure of Autism that is, involves the parent(s) of the child in the work that Pierre Fontaine has been doing. I will be chatting with him one day for a review of the book I am hoping to get out in a print journal in 2017. Somehow, without even asking, I think I can correctly assume that no parent that contacts him is adverse to his Surrogacy Method. These families live their Autistic child's pain and suffering daily - some mothers in fact have sensed something was amiss while their child was still in the womb. His book has 18 cases and you really get a great sense of his method of casetaking because he documents word for word like Massimo Mangialavori...including his questions - definitely the way to do it for us not knowing anything of this method.

Shall I just dive in and explain it? It's basically having the parent give voice to the child who can not speak (children with Autism often act in ways that are about alleviating their pain, as in the very physical pain of their brains and bodies. The arm flapping commonly seen, for instance, serves this purpose - which anyone that puts their mind to it would think, yeah, why do they do that? Think about when you hurt yourself, as in stub your you not do this to some you wail or jump around we often flap our hands calling out, "ouch, ouch..."). So, this is about bringing what subconsciously is there for the parent all along - they deep down know what their child is expressing from the core of their being. His breakthrough of having the parent speak as if they are their child really gets the essence of the case out on the table - to be able to prescribe an individual remedy as we would anyone else.

So, Pierre Fontaine gets a parent, usually the mother, to explain what is going on, in the first person...and in his cases they do it seamlessly from initially describing "objectively" what their concerns are (the history and what they've tried to date/on the programs, schools that the child attends, etc.) all the way to saying "I feel sad and wish I could cry when I can see everyone around me talking and I am not able to say anything but just watch...I know it hurts my mom's feelings"....p.s. - I just made that up as an example to give you an idea of the "Surrogacy Method".

Fontaine's definition of recovery from Autism Spectrum is 1) Spontaneous eye contact, 2) Spontaneous interaction with peers and adults, and, 3) Spontaneous conversational speech. It is a wonderful read, his book - the body of which is made up of cases. They take up 2/3 of the book's length (which is 365 pages). The rest being an introduction to the topic by way of an explanation of both conventional diagnosis and treatment of Autism (in just the amount we need to know) as well as, naturally, outlining his method. My issue with the book is that you have to find the M.M. sources on your own to make sense of the remedies he prescribes for his cases. But, you will see that I jump in to the rescue with info for you on a couple of them, but you are on your own with regards to making sense of how exactly he gets a match to the state of the patient (other than a cursory insight... This would make for a really good read for those that are needing to know this, like me). 

We learn that he started taking cases of Autism Spectrum children in 1997. This is when he started to focus on pregnancy for the purpose of finding a matching homeopathic remedy...but, he didn't do this to determine that something went wrong during pregnancy (as in the state of the mother during the pregnancy and vis versa), "...but because of the closeness or resonance [that] it brings." Then one day, with one particular case, he spontaneously allowed for a mother to continue where she was in deep empathy with her child and speaking from the perspective of her child: "I realized she was having a deeply empathetic experience to the behavior she was describing. In my mind I saw this as a doorway that needed the right question to open and behind it would be an experience not of her own but of her child[s]." (p. 32) He continues, "Though she was simply describing the outward symptom of her child "tapping on everything with his thumb," she was on the very edge literally [of] going into the child...At that moment it became clear there was no need to cut the flow and redirect her back to the pregnancy, but instead to listen and wait for these doorways to spontaneously present themselves and ask the right question...this enables us access to the child's experience or sensation that causes or contributes to symptoms and behaviors. This is autism speaking through the surrogate." (pp 32-3). Wow, eh? totally makes it so we as beginners or never having worked with Autism can take the case - it is a method, one that is repeatable, so, therefore, it's scientifically sound. Seriously, though, it's something that can be replicated. Monsieur Pierre writes so lovingly yet practically and if you have a knack for the art of Homeopathy - being able to tune in deeply and then translate that into good case taking skills - you too can do this! In fact I am so ready to take a case right now.

I had a fear about a year ago to take a "real" Autism case and referred out, but, now with the "Surrogacy Method" I am confident that I too can do it. Again from p. 32 (there are only 4 pages in the 4th Chapter called "Surrogacy" and it has the crux of the book in it (it's the lead up to the cases...hence, all my quoting from these pages). So, back to his realization with this one case: "This was the moment I sensed what I previously described as "strongly feeling a universal principle." Here it is! "These behaviours or habits known as stims, short for stimulation, are meaningful; there is substance behind them if we can access them through the surrogate." I hone in on these, stims, as they are sort of a signature of the pathology, just as a CD4 count is to HIV...and like any disease, no one person despite having the same behaviours - as in Autism Spectrum Disorder - has the same experience of their symptom (if indeed this is a sx).

To be more precise, you see in all the cases that as the mother/parent voices what is going on for the child the reason behind the behaviour is uniquely their own. Seems far out or maybe far fetched to some. But think about it my friends: it is the crux of what Homeopathy is about. Individualized treatment. With everyone that comes to us for similarly diagnosed/labelled diseases getting a different remedy from us.

The cases are all unique, but each child is on the Spectrum - of different ages, temperaments and how they are Autistic, etc. I do have more cases to read on my part. Lets just say of the few that I have already read totally astound me based on how marvelous the work of Fontaine is...which, no doubt, includes his great prescriptions! The first case, M, age 6, is a case of Granite (Lap-gr-m) and the second right after, M, age 6 also, is a great case of Lycopodium. The third case, M, age 13, is a fantastic case of Androctonos amurreuxi hebraeus (that is the Israeli Fat-tailed Scorpion).* In terms of Materia Medica we should all read a case of this remedy state when presented as an ASD case! Truly, the ultimate challenge is finding and using "small remedies" for severe Autism/non-verbal individuals. One thing you really get from reading One Heart, One Mind is that only the simillimum will do. Truly, you will be convinced by the time you are finished reading even the first few cases is that not one case would be turned around with an incorrect remedy.

*The fourth case is a nice one of Thlaspi bursa pastoris, Shepherd's Purse... and so it goes...a beautiful use of small and interesting remedies that at the best of times many miss using. 

The other thing, a subtext, that comes through -  but not directly stated by the author - is that you are doing something to the effect of "Sensation Method". If you can get the sensation, nonetheless, it is like any other case in that you try to find out how the patient experiences their symptoms. You are always really just trying to figure out what is going on for the patient. This is what I have always sensed even Rajan Sankaran does - Sensation or No Sensation.  And with the others we all know and love...Jan Scholten, Lou Klein or Mr. Massimo Mangialavori. They are all really just like you and me plodding away and trying to figure out what is happening from the patient's perspective (okay, they maybe are not plodding but strolling along). We just sometimes need reminders that we are aiming to get behind the symptoms and not just collecting symptoms. Half the battle only, but admittedly, early on I thought the whole battle was trying to get symptoms to repertorize. Reading Fontaine's cases brings home the fact that what is behind the symptoms is where it's at...because he really had to dig deep to get at what was going on for his patients.

The "Surrogate Method" has an element about it that covers the 7 Levels of Rajan Sankaran in that there are Mind symptoms for the children with ASD, it is not just physical. The surrogate gives us the Facts, when stating what they and family/others observe...they give us - when going into the state of child - the Emotions, Delusions and the Sensations. When you read the cases you'll get this. For this alone, you simply must order the book and read it: any Homeopath be you a beginner or an advanced practitioner with an interest (or not) in treating ASD will benefit from the book. You definitely get to witness the work broken down via his cases. He gives you so much detail both at the Intake level and then as the cure unfolds. And all in real time - more than I have felt with some other cases that I have read (and I am reading on average a couple of cases every month now - before I was doing a case a week on average for many years, what, incidentally, I feel has given me the ability to practice almost more than anything else).

I will touch on the 1st of the 3 cases that I mentioned before having a look next at the Cichetti book. The Granite case, for me, is profoundly interesting based on having read the marvelous work of Nuala Eising (Volume 1 of 2 of her books entitled Provings, 2012 & 13 - with Granite, Marble and Limestone as a group of profoundly deep remedies being in the second volume). No doubt I was profoundly struck by the fact that Pierre Fontaine got to a remedy for a case through the "Surrogacy Method" of a remedy that is considered by most Homeopath's to be a "small remedy". Having said that I also was not surprised because (as I said in the above) no other remedy will do for each case other than the one prescribed. And since I do prescribe and ascribe to "small remedies" myself it is natural for this boy of 6 to be what he is since his mother described the state of Granite perfectly: hard, everything sounding metallic, almost as if not alive, not caring, unforgiving, obstacle, spiteful, blockage, angry, harsh, unkind, unreadable, perfection, paralyzing, no power, heavy stone, etc.

This being both what the mother felt and projected onto her own brother over a situation that Fontaine felt imprinted onto her when she was pregnant and, thus, onto the foetus. This was also how she viewed her son as she described him and his "autistic" symptoms. He had the mother describe these words and expand on them. So, with her saying that with the sensation of having "no power" as in her pregnancy she went on further to say that "'re a vegetable, tied down and can't move. What is going to happen to you is not in your hands. It is as if there is nobody and only the mind is left but it is cut off from the body, it is not attached. You can't feel the legs. They are no longer attached to your body. You cannot move. The body is like a heavy stone; it has no life."

Note - if the case taking stopped here would we not think Alumina or maybe a vegetable of some sort? Hopefully not. Or the patient would not get the correct remedy. The mother was asked to describe her words of "heavy stone". At this point will have to give you a "Spoiler Alert", so read no further if you want to savor this delicious case on your own  So, here's the remedy speaking through the surrogate: " A boulder, it is gray, it can't be rolled. It is gigantic, as if it came out of the side of a mountain. It is hard, rough and rigid. Lifeless. Solid. Shatterproof. Almost protective. There is no feeling and you are unable to move. Disabling. Impenetrable. It is hard. Can't chip away at it. It is solid weight that is frozen in place. Massive, and needs Atlas strength to lift the stone. Monumental." (p.p. 82-3) The mother at the start when "objectively" stating symptoms said these words: "At 15 months, he seemed hard to reach. At 18 months, after a vaccination, he went from babbling to not speaking anymore and opening the refrigerator door over and over again. He seemed to have a foggy head and his understanding was totally gone. His main stumbling block is his speech, which somehow seems to be worse when the weather is cloudy." With these opening words, already the grey and block and cold aspects of the case/patient's state come through...and sure enough with the "Surrogacy Method" it becomes abundantly clear that Granite, and not Marble (which doesn't have Autism in its picture/you will see when you read up and do the differential diagnosis of the two...)...or Limestone for that matter. Suffice it to say that when Granite is forming it turns Limestone to Marble, so of course, they are all distinct and even within this family of remedies only the correct one will do!

Nuala Eising found in her first prescription of Granite that all the children (a group of children, treated in Ireland, that were from from the post Chernobyl disaster) had these symptoms: "the idea that something terrible was going to happen", " the sense of invasion", "fear of people", "fear of touch" and "the beautiful haughty 'Platina' fantasy that is also in Granite". By the way, these are the proving symptoms not verbally articulated by the group of children, they did not speak English, but that she brilliantly prescribed based on presenting symptoms and, perhaps, by herself being a surrogate to these children. Even an untrained person observing the children or imagining what they went through in Chernobyl could do a remedy match...okay, that's silly. But you get my point. I will admit here that I have myself never prescribed from this family of remedies but always am wanting to and have used them as D.D.'s many a time and am always disappointed when I do not have a case of any one of these amazing remedies. One day!

I will just quickly mention sources of info for you on the above mentioned Materia Medica, so that when you read the Fontaine cases in the book you have these resources that I found on the internet that enriched my reading of the initial cases I have read of Autism in children and their treatment/curative responses:

1) Nuala Eising's books (there are 3 volumns now!! with the 3rd being from 2014 and with her Provings of Fire, Wind, Fox and more!!)
Here is the link to the one with her Granite proving:

Note - the whole chapter on Granite is available to read as a PDF in the above link. With the repertory of the remedy included. Also the book's whole Introduction. I own and have read most of Volume 1 and just love this quirky, deep and profound woman. She would be grand to sit and have a cup of tea with and to do proving work with! I must say that I would not have had her on my radar had it not been a senior Homeopath that had Louis Klein's notes on Granite, Marble and Limestone...he had a case of Marble. A woman that wore a cat costume...which is so Marble and not Granite. They are "cat obsessed, cat like, smooth and sleek, can also be into wild cats (cougars, etc), obsessed with cat energy (not necessarily collecting cats)." Is this not cool? Cool as in marble and cats;-)

2) Great case.

3) Like the above, this is an article that I keep tucked between the covers of my Eising a reference (for the day I get one of these cases!).

4) Fontaine's prescription of Lycopodium (2nd case of boy, age 6) makes a good read when you experience the life his mother explained/expressed for him. As the sensation is like the plant in that it starts "...large and then squeezed/shrunken down in size" as in how the plant evolved into its modern form. You can get double mileage from reading the case as far as learning more about our M.M. on this polycrest. In Scholten's Plant System Lycopodium has the number: #422.13.06 If you can do the math, you'll know that this makes sense for a case of Autism in a child (with the correct sensations/expression or behaviour to match). This is due to the placement of this plant in the evolution of the Plant Kingdom, its classification. Just read over pgs 60-1 of Wonderful Plants and you'll be liking what you read in relation to how it makes sense of the patients that come to you that "have a conflict...between being oneself and able to survive at one hand and finding a place in the community...". As well, do compare to the Orchids that Klein has found useful for Autism -- that are numbered #633.70 in the Plant System and "...feel they cannot belong to others. They think they will be left alone, rejected or betrayed. Due to that they do not want to commit themselves...their contacts are short lasting." (this from p. 204 of Wonderful Plants)

The double 3 in the Orchids shows that the emphasis is on the Silica Series and so relationships are the point of focus in the case and, thus, the patient that is on the Autism Spectrum might be more Asperger-like or less inclined to being rejected outright. In the case of an Autism patient that needs a remedy like a Clubmoss - evolutionary-wise earlier on, and, therefore, developmentally less sophisticated as a person. As well, Lycopodium is a double 2 and, hence, emphasis is on the Carbon Row of the Periodic Table (Series 2) and so, there is less contact and ability to relate to people/others. Note- Their first number is also a 4 (as opposed to a 6, which is an Angiosperm (flowering plant)) and, therefore, totally simple and like a rx that starts with a 5 in the Plant System. It is basically very simplistic and about survival in whatever area of their it relationships, their body, work, or even their creative endeavors.

See this link on the Klein Orchids book that has cases/proving info that compliments Scholten's System beautifully. N.B. - the link below also has an exerpt of the book, with its Contents and then a good chunk of a chapter (illustrating how Orchids are suited to ADHD in this case).

5) Scorpian case - info on line to read for free -- Androctonus Amoreuxii Hebraeus: Getting to Know the Androctonus patient, A Study based on Jeremy Sherr Proving by Claudio C. Araujo et al. European Congress of Homeopathy 2016...Note- has two female cases, one age 46 that works in the Police Force and the other age 3 at initial consult then age 7 when prescribed Androctonus. See the Dynamis site of J. Sherr can get download for a nominal fee the whole Proving.
So, now we go to the book that many of you have read or have been meaning to read (do we not all have a few of these on our "to do reading lists"...). Jane Cichetti's Dreams, Symbols and Homeopathy was on mine almost 10 years. It is better late than never. Because many of you also might have read it or a proper review of the book I will not say too much other than, firstly, get it and read it and even use it as a basis for a Study Group. Or maybe better yet, take to heart her suggestion of keeping a dream journal yourself. This is in the section, "The 'Dreaming' Physician" that is in Chapter 8 of the book - which is the start of the 3rd part of the 4 parts of the book, where all the preliminary stuff in the first 2 parts gets applied to your practice. The 4th part is what Cicchetti's calls a "Symbolic Materia Medica" with Mineral, Plant and Animal Kingdom remedies covered by a chapter on Trees, "The Archtypal Tree", on Vines, "Healing Entanglements" and also Milks, "The First Food" and finally, Metals, "Of Alchemists".

Incidently, the first 2 parts are integral to getting something out of the book clinically and are just plain awesome reading. But, for sure, the 3rd part is where the meat of the matter lies with headings like these: "Dreams and the Mind-body Relationship: The use of Dreams in Homeopathic Practice" or "Case Taking: Perceiving What Needs to be Healed" or "Communicating with the Psyche: The Subtle Technique of Dream Analysis". Doesn't this all sound so good?!? This is what gets us Homeopaths salivating.

The part on the "dreaming physician" is on how we as healers can work with our dreams to become familiar with the symbolic language of our dreams...with the operative word being "our" dreams. As in understanding not what the meaning of the dream is in so far as any objective reason, but for the purposes of how the dream(s) relate to the conscious life of the patient. Also, as far as case management we learn how dreams reflect what is happening in the healing process (N.B. - Cicchetti tells us also that prior to treatment or just before the intake interview, how the repeated or significant dreams told to the Homeopath are part of a message we can use to understand what needs to be healed. With similar content/symbolism that some interpret as in "traditional" dream analysis Homeopaths are advised that "...the interpretation of the dream is different for different people, depending upon their associations to the symbolism in the dream and circumstances of their lives. No dream is therapeutically meaningful alone and outside of the context of the dreamer." (p. 99) As Cicchetti points out, " the end of his chapter on the practical use of dream-analysis in The Practice of Psychotherapy [states] 'The way of successive assimilations goes far beyond the curative results that specifically concern the doctor,' he writes. 'It leads in the end to the distant goal which may perhaps have been the first urge to life: the complete actualization of the whole human being, that is, individuation. We physicians may well be the first conscious observers of this dark process of nature. As a rule we see only the pathological phase of development, and we lose sight of the patient as soon as he is cured. Yet it is only after the cure that we would really be in a position to study the normal process, which may extend over years and decades.'" (p. 103)

My take away from this quote-within-a-quote is simply that with dream analysis we can work with patients as healers and not just as physicians - which I take meant for Jung psychiatrists and psychologists. For us - who usually have people come for physical health conditions - we can move from operating from more of a medical model or solely focusing on the chief complaint as per "what is to be cured?" only as a condition to a place of getting to the root cause, what is underneath the shift to a disease state for the patient. We can shift to going into the sub-conscious on a journey alongside our patients and, therefore, being more about deep curative results that actually often happen after we stop either seeing the patient - often when they get a clean bill of health from their doctor. Of course, when they stay on with us - just after the condition they wanted addressed is taken care of or really as good as it can get with our initial rx(s) - then they are going for what is better termed "true healing".

The difference here being that after they are treated with Homeopathy...i.e. - have a remedy help bring about a shift to enable them to have a deep awareness to interpret their own dreams (to look into their subconscious mind)....then they are not just coming to us to get fixed, but they are wanting to complete what was not finished in their development as a human being. Homeopathy in modern times seems just as intent and if not more since Hahnemann's fully realize ourselves as a species so "...that our indwelling, rational spirit can freely avail itself of this living, healthy instrument for the higher purposes of our existence" (Organon, Aphorism 9). Note- I use this to refer to all humans as a species that have the potential to live as fully conscious beings connected to the universal life force! or, at very least, as happy, healthy beings on the planet and in their individual lives.

The book is an important one and it is clearly pointed out as to why especially in modern times we need to be in tune with our patient's psyches; the unconscious lives they live and that can be accessed through dreams (which "...lie outside our conscious ability to manipulate them"). Check this out: "In a way, dreams have never had a more important potential role in homeopathic case taking than they have in the present era. When homeopaths in earlier times asked about food desires, physical modalities, and sensations, they could usually depend on clear, straightforward answers. Today, it is rare to find individuals who have not had most of their mental, general, and physical symptoms suppressed. We now live in a very complex and over medicated society that is reluctant to allow any symptom to go untreated or untrained - or to allow any desire to go uncensored and uninfluenced by advertising and media. Most people live a life that is so removed from nature that symptoms become intellectualized and therefore unreliable, making it very difficult to picture who the individual really is". (p. 90) You had me at "food desires". I am so sold on dream analysis for Homeopathy.

As you know the best way to bring theory home for us is with cases and in the book there is a brilliant case in which Cicchetti breaks it down for us. Over a period of one and half years a patient, Linda, age 46, with a C.C. of hair loss has 8 dreams and they are used to illustrate the multiple ways we can use dreams in our work. See it in the chapter aptly entitled "Wholeness: The Archetype of the Self". Aptly it is a case of Alumina, one of most out of touch with oneself remedies in our M.M. This case alone makes the book well worth a read. Anyways, I will touch on what I am talking here by way of 4 of the 8 dreams of this patient (and without too much detail if that is okay with you). So, the first dream is after 1 month into treatment/dosing the rx. This is a case that unfolds via the 8 dreams over a year and half and goes deep with details from the patient's words (a psycholtherapist who had done extensive work prior to Homeopathy) through to a thorough analysis of what goes on from the perspective of dream analysis and the point of healing. Anyways (again) the point that I want to make it is driven home effortlessly to us as the healing is also "effortless" in that is literally unfolds for the patient with time and the remedy doing their Homeopathic magic...and the skilled work of a Homeopath that guides the work with a light touch/rather, with just the amount of effort and of the kind that benefits the patient fully in her healing.

So, back to where I was: the first dream (after 1 month of tx). It is one where the patient sees herself giving bottles to 5 babies to feed them. The Homeopath at this point asked the patient what she thinks it means. She responds that for her it is about how effortless it was in the dream to tend to the needs of all the babies. It was natural, etc. Take away here for the Homeopath was that this was a great rx and there was the potential for the innate healing mechanism within the patient to kick in (or that it was well underway). I will admit that I had not viewed similarly timed dreams in the past with patients in this manner: as a tool to gage if the healing was moving forward in a positive manner - I was too focused at times on the dream content (but do give me a break as I didn't jump in to interpret any dreams, I did look through a macro lens to determine instead if the subconscious of the patient was coming up and you will see next that, at least, I was not totally off track;-)

Cicchetti states that the dream is about "...the ego connecting with a reality bigger than itself." (p. 80) To contextualize this and the case/dream analysis she beautifully gives this to us; to help us keep perspective with our patient's healing journeys: "In the process of personal development, there must be development of the ego, a sense of personal self, but in the later part of life, the reverse process challenges an individual. After a person has lived a life identified with the ego, their ego must form a relationship to the archetype of the Self if further development is to take place. Premature aging, ossification of the body and mind, or illness may occur if this process is stymied. Midlife crises and other diseases that occur between forty and fifty are often associated with, among other things, the need to move toward the greater wholeness being exerted upon the individual by Self." (same page, that is within the body of the 10 pages of the case). This in particular rang true for me in terms of my own age/stage of development and where I am in my healing more midlife crises! the 2 or 3 that I had are done with, woo hoo.

So, enough about me and back to the case at hand, Linda, 46. The next 2 dreams she has, after another 2 months into treatment, are telling. They bring to the fore of consciousness what had been latent/sitting inside the patient - "her deeper parts". One dream had zombies in trees around her on a road she was walking on in the countryside and the other one was a situation where she was in danger at the hands of her uncle but wherein she knew she was safe despite him welding a knife because she could access and call 911. She basically revisited the horror of her early childhood but in bringing awareness to these dreams she was now able to replay the abuse of her past in a different way. The second of these dreams was a "...wonderful dream of revisiting and healing the trauma". With the session in which the dreams were reported we see how the Homeopath works truly in partnership with the patient in that they are asked what they interpret the dream to mean for themselves. So, the zombies for Linda were in her mind her dead parts, what she had cut off in herself as a way to cope with living within her unsafe childhood. My next Follow-up with a patient will a) hopefully have a dream or 2 to work with, and b) afford me the opportunity to work in this way!

Last dream, her 4th of the 8 dreams: It was one that represented or was, rather, her Shadow (as in what the ego has closed off to/kept hidden) emerging nicely at this point in her tx. This is sometime after only about 3 or 4 months in. Have you ever noticed that if a great rx is at work the time just whips by so quickly....and this is where we have to be in step with our patients, not letting time go by unnecessarily (integral to healing is getting potency and repetition of dose correct just as much as the correct rx). The dream is one that scares the patient - it is a " of people sitting around a table and a man was doing a demo on how to use a pistol - to show them how to put it to their heads to kill themselves". Yep, scary stuff and especially as the patient comes to grips with her interpretation. For her, "the group is my family. It is the group thinking that I took in from my family. It's mindless group think". For her, as in the zombie dream, there is a deadness to her/her life prior to tx. But, what comes up is that self-destruction now is about killing off the " of her psyche that were identified with the "groupthink" of her family. At this point she does seem to be depressed/get down but, this is a necessary part of confronting ones Shadow. "She had previously lost her own identity to the beliefs and attitudes of her family members..."...and as Jane Cicchetti points out with the remedy, "This is something that those needing Alumina are particularly prone to do. They easily identify with the group and lose their individual identity to the group identity".

It gets better (the case that is & in so many ways) and so this is where I leave you my friends. You can read the rest on your own. So, just stand up and grab the book off your shelf and dust it off (or quickly get a copy sent to you and start reading it). All told, on my part, I know that next time I am lost in my work with a patient I will re-read this case to give me inspiration and guidance. To reiterate it is worth a read and its a keeper as it's a reference book in many regards. The other book, One Heart, One Mind, by Pierre Fontaine can be a one time read, but, also get it and do pass it around. I am lending my copy to people that work with children on the Autism Spectrum along with some parents so they can see what Homeopathy can do in this regard.

As always it has been a pleasure to read these books and share some of my thoughts on them with you all. To bid you farewell I will leave this with you...a short and a long version on the concept of "theory and practice" that applies equally to Homeopaths as to Samurai:

"Behind the technique, know that there is the spirit: It is dawning now; Open the screen, And lo, the moonlight is shining in!"
This is from a poem to his son by the famous swordmaster/student of Zen Master Takuan Soho, Yagyu Munenori (1571-1646). It was written with swordmanship and not homeopathic prescribing in mind (just in case you were wondering). He later clarifies the point, with an extended version:
 "There is a Zen saying - "the great action is direct and knows no rules." "Direct means that the action of a man of full inner awareness appears directly; and the fact that the action of a man of such awareness is not bound by any of the training principles he has learned, or by any established ways of doing a thing, is expressed by the words, "knows no rules." The "rules" are the training, the ways of doing, the accepted methods. For everything there are instructions, there are ways and means which are usual. But the man who has attained gives them up altogether. He acts freely and spontaneously. He who is free, outside the rules, is called a man of great awareness and great action.
"Awareness means never to lose inner clearness, to see in everything its real point. If this awareness congeals and grows hard by thinking and thinking, it becomes caught up in the things. This means it is not yet mature. But if practice is continued rightly, in time the awareness will become mature and fill the body, and he will work in freedom. This is called great action."
(See The Book of Five Rings by Thomas Cleary, which includes the translation of The Family Traditions on the Art of War by Yagyu Munerori).  

P.S. - if you are intrigued and want to continue reading cause you just don't want this posting to end...then just read this piece. It will get the old grey matter fired up further:



Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Radical Healing with Marketa & Me

“The reconnection that is the essence of healing is a process that reaches deeper and deeper, reshaping your consciousness and redirecting your energy so that your body is brought into greater and greater synchrony with the pulsing of the larger wholes of which you are a part. The farthest reaches of healing stretch the mind and stagger the imagination. It is a matter of cosmic proportions.”
Rudolph Ballentine, Radical Healing, 1999

My last year of self-reflection and reaching out about my progress has brought me to understand that balanced health always comes down to Awareness and the timing of it, Synchronicity. My last year has been one of  "Being" and "Action" in this regard. With Homeopathy its' amazed me how much I've managed to accomplish internally and externally.

Part I) On "Being" over the Last Year

"Being in the middle of it"; being at a "Standstill", in "The eye of a storm" or the "Vortex"...defined " Cartesian philosophy [as] a rapid rotatory movement of cosmic matter about a center, regarded as accounting for the origin or phenomena of bodies or systems of bodies in space". See the handy dandy online site for Vortex definition(s). Also, see the Kees Dam's Lac maternum piece in Interhomeopathy that has insight on potency* as well as timing for healing (at the end of the case,

* - Something that I am contemplating and experimenting with these days is Potencies as "levels of awareness". So, please send me anything you find that links these two things. And for that matter, anything on Repetition of Dose as it relates to "synchronicity" too.

This place of stillness is not passive, but very active with rapid movement and change. In myself, over the last few years I have lived shifts weekly, granted mostly monthly, but at times almost daily. The state appears to be one of contradiction. It is and it is not. As you know, contradiction interests us Homeopaths. It's where we can get a hold of a patient's state. Often when there is discomfort with contradictions our patients come to us for help (even when they are not aware of it). I have concluded with experience, that there is a dis-ease with living with one's contradictions. Something akin to hypocrisy or, more precisely, the feeling of a disconnect in and to one's life. But, contradiction or being able to sit with discomfort can bring us closer to living in harmony in the end. For instance, there can be a co-existence of opposites: with darkness comes light, etc. With balance and, thus, health we can have polarities reside with each other in peace. In my case, I believe now with the help of Homeopathy that I live with healthy contradictions, not the ones that indicate I am hiding something - and, in fact when I was unhealthy I didn't even know that I was full of contradictions of the kind that couldn't really be integrated.

I feel the new Systems of Homeopathy that exist are what I am all about these days. They can seem contradictory as well, but they are in a good way. Systemizing something but having within the system a freedom to be creative is having things that appear to be polar opposites peacefully co-exist. This is what, I believe, appeals to so many of us with the systemic perspective now of our Materia Medica because it contextualizes the parts to make a whole...Starting with myself, I am a being who is a system: complex and, at last, coming to a simplicity, in that I am not a mass of confusion or parts that are disconnected. Rather my parts are now running together towards an end that makes sense of all the independent pieces. This is an example of the "reconnection" in the opening quotation.

Recently I read the words of the plenary speakers for a conference on "Aging and Spirituality" to

A mystical song from Marketa Irglova's Muna, 2014
be held in Los Angeles (the same weekend of Louis Klein's October Vancouver seminar, so no palm trees for me). "There are circum-stances that must shatter you; and if you are not shattered, then you have not understood your circumstances. In such circumstances, it is a failure for your heart not to break, and it is pointless to put up a fight, for a fight will blind you to the opportunity that has been presented by your misfortune." At times like these, indeed all the time as we grow older, author and gerontologist Jane Marie Thibault suggests that we think of our lives not as a journey, but as a pilgrimage. Mature spirituality is not just about smelling the roses on an endless path. The truth is that like it or not, we are all on our way to the same ultimate destination. "Dignify the shock," she writes. "Sink, so as to rise."(Leon Weiselter on Thibault. See Fierce with Age website for info.).  For the Homeopathy seminar that I am off to next month see here: It'll be all about the New Methodologies and how to actually apply them, always useful - clinically relevant as is Klein's trademark.

Part of the reason I am at last getting into my stride as a Homeopath is that I am integrating my own experiences/traumas - all the parts of my an existence that has all my memories - experiences of them even at the cellular level - coming together to make a whole. Ahhhh, a whole manifested being! This is a big deal 'cause all the reading and attempts made in the past are now finally paying off. Thanks to the transformative power of Homeopathic remedies. Being both a patient and also having my own patients has afforded me the opportunity to witness healing that moves us to a reconnection with the cosmos, the "larger wholes", again from the opening quotation/book Radical Healing.

It is very much a time of transition for me. This is the stuff about me being in flux, but yet at a standstill (in the Vortex). I have had several years of practice with my patients, observing them. Moving from watching their hand gestures to their responses when sharing their stories during the Intake interview to seeing their miraculous cures.

I can fully appreciate what a blessing it is that we can learn and grow ourselves as healers from their journeys towards being whole. As a patient myself I have had the benefit of the healing work of some great Homeopaths that have helped me make the shift that has then enabled me to be better at being there for my patients, and, of course, being a better individual for myself, my family and friends. I wonder which came first, the chicken or the egg? Did I already have an ability for being a Homeopath or did my patients impart this ability on me? My feeling is it's about standing still...long enough, in my case, as I am almost ADHD or at least very impatient at times;-)

Detachment (with compassion as in Buddhist teachings on Attachment) has allowed for a true connection with others. I am not talking here about taking on the issues of our patients, but, rather, hearing with self-awareness what is going on - again the state of the person, what they are about, their stories, their life's themes, their issues or the problem of their case (to be precise and according to Scholten). To paraphrase a Canadian author in an interview I just heard the other day: Empathy is not about pity or even compassion but about getting into the shoes of others, their lives. Good Homeopathy is like Art, a good novel or a beautiful painting with perfectly executed brushstrokes...and in so many ways...including being poor and starving, ha ha.

One aspect of my own case has been coming to terms with my Shadow, one that in the past put me into a state of shame (or guilt on a good day). But with Homeopathy, an acceptance of my Shadow is making it possible to move forward. Although I am not exactly aiming to embrace it, I want to come to a place of acknowledging it and integrating my past "shameful" or at least "regrettable" actions/patterns in order to move thru them to a new place (one that has me detached enough from them so as to be able to recognize in the moment when I am basically behaving in certain ways in order that I can shift gears and act differently). To change habits/patterns is hard, but with energetic shifts that Homeopathic remedies offer we have hope to do be transformed and be closer to being Whole.

In just a sec I will touch on the concrete things I am doing with patients, using specific Families of remedies that I find extremely beneficial for this work, especially in times of change or transition. As many of you know, we see many of our patients at these times of what I see as a discomfort with their old ways. Even if they do not know it, this is when they often turn to Homeopathy. And do I not know it myself. I just had my case taken by an outstanding Homeopath because I too am at a time like this again; on all fronts of my life (or facets of my case). I am shifting and moving but in a still enough place - Hello Vortex or "Eye of the Storm" - so, this time not exactly stuck like I was several years ago. I think, therefore, a snapshot of my state is likely very clear...I certainly love it when I get a patient that comes to me in this state. I hope that my dis-ease is clear, but do hope it gets cleared up sooner than later too...Any day now I will take my remedy - just awaiting its arrival by post and then will hopefully get a nudge in the right direction.

Always a sign for me that a patient has moved from the primary reaction of a remedy - that sets the impetus into action but is doing most of the work - to the secondary reaction with their Vital Force or their own "innate healing action" doing its thing. This is about the inner core of the person...what energizes their actions because the self-awareness has kicked in:-) So, which came first? me witnessing this or me taking the lead to spot out the patient's state based on my own self-awareness? As you know, whenever we ask the chicken or egg question we can never know the answer. It would be about being sure of not only the causative agent(s) but also assuming we know what is the desired outcome. And this is not at all possible to know (even once it is supposedly a "closed case") nor desired...except when we forget to be humbled by the results we see in our practices...remembering to be amazed at the possibilities that unfold before our eyes.

Part II) On "Action" this Recent Year of My Life

When we see the secondary reaction we know it cause the patient is not the source or substance speaking any longer but comes from a place of "Doing" or "Action" (and not "Being the Source"). At the start of any curative action with a good remedy, we see an uncanny - almost comical - reaction of the patient that can only be described as a possession. There's a hold on them that is somewhat like a Proving. But because there are beneficial aspects like being energized, eating or sleeping better, having some meaningful dreams (huge!) well as their old symptoms coming to the fore (as in Hering's Law), we know it is not a Proving.

I personally need to see this clean reaction to know that the remedy is more than just good, but correct - as in the best possible fit I can get or match them to. For me, I believe it is at this place that self-awareness is finally truly possible and that's what is gonna to make it possible for healing to happen for them (myself included). This possibility allows for what we know to be the secondary reaction to kick in. I have come at last to this place: awareness is key and without it I realize I would not have any hope of moving out of a place of feeling ill at ease. I used to be on a path or journey stopping to smell the flowers along the way, but this was not much different from early on (when I had no inkling of myself as a person in need of help) when I was actually just distracting myself with, well, distractions (diversions or diverging off the path) - engaging often in self-destructive and harmful acts to avoid the core issues of my life. I have now shifted with Homeopathy to being a pilgrim.

Unfortunately, I think I have to still sink a little more on this pilgrimage of mine. Shit. But, shit happens, and, therefore, I will hopefully be able to rise out of this shit and come out the other end with dignity: with some wisdom. Cross your fingers for me for the next several months. It is going to get ugly...again, but deeper and better in the end I hope. I am hoping that with early remedies and with "work on my issues" and all that stuff that it'll not be as low as in the early part of my pilgrimage. For me, turning to Buddhism has been helpful and not necessarily a crutch but a pillar of support that I feel has been loving and kind and brings with the meditation (and a sprinkling of yoga) that I've tried to do has rubbed off on me. And with this round, I will be more conscious about it as a practice in my life. So, again cross your fingers for me, cause I feel precariously perched and could easily fall off the wagon without an impetus such as Homeopathy.

More than Once makes this worth a's mystical
and magical music.
I have been listening to some lovely songs with very relevant lyrics...truly spiritual works. They are by Marketa Irglova on her second album called Muna. All the songs are simply sublime and I could listen to them a thousand times. I listen to music when I work on cases, not at first but once on a roll having found at least the direction I feel that is going to get a remedy for a patient. I listen to music when I clean house and cook as well. In the morning it helps me get grounded to start the day and then later on as a steady pulse of energy if I need to be driven and keep going when I am focused. I am listening to music right now as I type out thoughts to share with you. I feel connected to the planet with music...but not if I am in nature - either at the seaside or by big freshwater bodies of water or in the woods. I was fortunate to have a summer just now of all of these with the last being a trip north of Toronto to do some camping and canoeing ("I am Canadian" as one of our beer ads proclaims, lol). Nature and the music I am listening to these days helped me revive after all the activity of the last year (The new Blue Rodeo album In our Nature is excellent as well. Canadian stuff, unlike Marketa - who is in Iceland these days but from the Czech Republic originally - all prior to her Once debut at the Oscars and on Broadway).

Here's my list of what I did in terms of "Action":

1) Lots of great cases/patient work with an expansion of how I prescribe. Part of this focus on my practice came 'cause I made a decision to let go of being the book sales representative in North America for Narayana Publisher's - this was hard to do...but, now I see that I had to or I wouldn't come to where I am ready to go the extra mile - i.e.- full time practice...which enabled me to get good cases of Plants, new remedies (and old ones or ones that are very related/close to Polycrests on the Periodic Table (i.e. - Ozone) or close in new Plant remedies).

2014's 20th Anniversary Issue: The Past, Present
and the Future of Homeopathy
2) Plant System articles/cases, one for Simillimum and one for The American Homeopath (reflective of my coming home, as it were, as I often go seeking outside of my roots/self to connect, i.e. - get approval from outside of myself - so, local publications represent a shift for me).

3) Lacs reviews of books/cases for publication (another Simillimum piece- already published and also The American Homeopath again, this one pending - need that remedy to kick my butt into gear to wrap it up, especially an accompanying case of Lac delphinum).

4) Prescribing for Miasms and Chakras with new remedies -- New Nosodes (Klein), Colours (Ambika Wauters) and Gemstones (Peter Tumminello) -- with work on a curriculum for teaching other Homeopaths...

5) And for patients something I am doing: a Memoir Writing group - that will also be for myself to document my personal life journey (a Homeopathic Autobiography of sorts)...oops, pilgrimage. The latter is going to be made into my Thesis for Louis Klein's Master Clinician Course, as that is what is left to do to be a full graduate of it. What came first, the chicken or the egg here? for sure, it was the chicken in that it grew (albeit from the egg) organically (and free run, lol) so as to then become a proposal for being a Thesis. I will for sure share what I learn from running a group for patients that have had success with Homeopathy with me and who memoir write with me to give meaning to their lives - what the group is going to do over the next several months. I hope all the patients I invited are going to sign up in the next few weeks....many of whom are the ones that I have prescribed, intermittently, remedies for their evolution since doing well for a least a couple of years on their Constitutional remedies. These "intermittent" rxs are the Colour, Sound and Gemstones that I have been working with of late. Love 'em and will share with you all in future on this experience.

6) I will mention that I have on the back burner but always running though my mind (again, need the impetus of my remedy!) the idea or the makings of a Book Club for us Homeopaths. To keep us all up to date with the prolific authors/Homeopaths we have in our midst and that without we can not practice in a way that advances us and our work for the benefit of patients. So, slowly but surely it will happen...if you contact me on this or any of my cases or articles I will send you what interests you. Next I will either have condensed versions here in my Blog of cases or a write up on the Vancouver Klein seminar I attend in less than a month...or on credentials and staking my claim in Homeopathy as a practitioner (see below)...or on the above, #4) or #5). Um, so many ideas, so little time.

So, at last I start to finish up. To show you how slow change is for me and many of the people I see I will say, that also in the last year, I have moved from a place of being an outsider to wanting to be an insider: at last, acknowledging that credentials are a good thing and that it doesn't mean that if I join an association or society of Homeopaths or get licensed and such that I am a sell out. I have always been a renegade to a degree in all that I have done (even Social Work, how? who knows?). On one level it helped me to get a perspective that was unique in order to have insights not possible if I was too much on the inside. But now, I am again awaiting the magic of Homeopathy to do its thing so I can start again!! on my applications. This all is another story and another posting. Patience is a virtue and with the awareness of my own (slow) evolution I am able to at last see that I must be patient with my patients as well. At the start I was always like "Hurry up and heal" but now see it is time and time only that we need to give ourselves and others for healing...being pilgrims that are going at a pace that works for them, so as not to get blisters or end up hobbling or even crawling on the path. So, having said that, give me a few months to reach out again and blog a piece on something for you all.

BTW, my remedy has arrived just today - yikes!@#!! Wish me luck! Until next time, I wish you all the best in whatever capacity you are moving forward in your endeavors, or "Actions". If we all keep in mind, that "Being" is valid and that without it there is no movement/change, or "Action". As you know, it is just the other side of the same coin. Be well in all the ways that you all are able. Peace.


"Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and righting, there is a field. I will meet you there." Rumi

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

On Being on Bowen (A Treat of a Homeopathy Retreat)


Our Seminar Room aka The Living Room at the Lodge at the Old Dorm of Bowen Island

For a number of years I have heard all sorts of enticing details that had me setting my sights on Bowen Island for what turned out to be a Homeopathic Retreat like no other. So, let me back track to get you in the Bowen loop. This summer, in August for one glorious week, Louis Klein's Professional Retreat ran for it's 20th year. Its' attended by Homeopaths that were his original students thru to others newer to his teaching (i.e. - the Homeopathic Master Clinician Course, fondly known to us graduates as the HMC, almost 500 of us!)...with myself a newbie along with one other Homeopath out of the twelve of us that altogether attended this year.

The Location:

Bowen is an Island that is 1 hour away from Vancouver, British Colombia, Canada - on the Sunshine Coast; once a "playground paradise" of recreation with what would have been in the 20's a classy Inn, sailing, tennis and beachside fun for those that took the steamship ride fact as many as 5000 per weekend did so for years. It was and still is pristine and so natural that the "Beautiful British Colombia" of the province's license plate is definitely not a misnomer but beautifully describes this Island. Currently and since the 60's the vib is hippie like, well now it is more just really about being a community-based community (at the local coffee shop, a sweet café, they remembered my name after a visit of only one time, you have to love that!). This Island has been a charming home to residents since 1958 when regular ferry service to Bowen made it possible to reside there. Lou and his wife raised their family on the Island; it has been 23 years that they have lived on the Island - and like many others they too come from different cities/locals, drawn I am sure to the inherently beautiful and peaceful community (I did not ask Aryana or Lou if they had meant to settle down there or did it happen once they set foot on Bowen so many years ago...I know I am ready to now that I have finally set foot there. I have always wanted to live on a boat, the "float homes" that I saw were so darn cute, especially the one with a glass green house and a bike stand on the dock...)...

The People:

Lou and Aryana one evening listening to a local musician
Aryana Rayne, Lou's beautiful wife, is a most delightful woman: deeply perceptive, intelligent and very warm and thoughtful (I had the privilege to dine at the table where she sat a couple of the evenings for our exquisite dining experience at this Retreat)...her hospitable touches added the perfect accompaniment to this superb Homeopathic experience...she filled out the program perfectly. I won't brag about the nightly entertainment, the swag bags and the yoga, massages, recreational activities all lined up for us that all you simply had to do was roll out of bed to be driven over to yoga for instance (why walk up hill when hiking trails at sea level are available?). One could also traipse over to other things, like a paddle or swim in the Pacific Ocean...there was no shortage of relaxation if you made the effort - which was difficult to do as one could simply stay put in our lodgings...literally a Lodge...Aryana operated from their home nearby but popped in regularly and dined with us in the evenings at the Lodge at the Old Dorm, a most accommodating accommodation for us Homeopaths.

I would be amiss not to mention some details about our accommodation, the venue for our studies...thus, this is about Dan the Man! He was totally the best host along with his wonderful assistants Monica and Roberta. This is the place that gets taken over by a bunch of Homeopaths for 6 nights and rolls with the punches (we were well behaved but somewhat zany - all within reason naturally as we all have our VF's balanced, lol). There is plenty of room for all at the Inn and it was just so darn comfortable - a place to hang and socialize as well as to have some reflective time. See the pics in below link for a sense of its fabulousness. The meals were simply wonderful taste experiences, with ingredients that are wholesome, often local and mouth watering. The opening shot has the living room we sat in for our gatherings each day (and evenings after dining) was so comfy that I actually sat there each evening gabbing with a few others on the sofas that were made more comfortable with the great company and a glass of wine in hand;-)

Nancy, Judith and bestest roomie!
The Homeopath People (a breed unto ourselves no doubt): I first have to say that I had the best roomie ever! Carol Krones. She hosts the HMC from her school that she co-founded in Nashville in 2002. I could definitely imagine her as a great teacher. She and I stayed up later than I would have in a room of my own - there was no need to read to drop off to sleep as Carol and I gabbed and giggled in our respective comfy beds till we were ready to nod off...I felt like an English School girl with her and not just because of her delightful British accent. She had not been to Bowen for over 10 years and I would plan my return to coincide with her as she was great fun and insightful around everything we talked about from Homeopathy to life in general...a delightful woman & wise like her namesake;-) The others Americans and Canadians were great fun and wonderful fellow companions for this Retreat as well. I loved getting a sense of the wisdom of experience and seeing the applied learning styles of some very good Homeopaths: David and John are as smart as the other fellow we had in our bunch, Marty -- my bud from back home (Bring water shoes next time Marty... for the next time we do a repeat of a swim in the Pacific. The beach we hit was called Pebble Beach, it was a very refreshing swim, but water shoes are in order - my flip flops were difficult to swim in).

And the other Carol - fabulous Carol Jones - that was friend/mentor also from my city, kept the East Coast numbers up and in particular the Toronto representation....with lovely Judith Mapleson being there from Owen Sound, Ontario not far from Toronto. The latter representing along with the 2 Carols the British contingent with Judith being a born and breed Brit - she comes from the lovely British heritage of Homeopaths, like Carol of Nashville. In fact, it seemed they both had been at the same Beatles concert as teens! Both have the exquisite brilliance of the British school of Homeopathy.

There was also another Laura and like myself she has been doing Homeopathy for around the same period of time as I have...she is in Minneapolis, a hot bed of Homeopathy! Also from the East were Linda and Nancy Frederick - the latter runs the school, Baylight Homeopathy School in Portland, Maine (where Lou teaches once a year after the Vancouver gang gets his yearly updates - his HMC grads are such a big continent he has to go coast to coast cause it makes sense for him to fly as opposed to all of us!). Linda is from the Jersey Shore and literally lives on the edge - whereby the disastrous flooding of the shoreline in 2012 hit her home and she is still living with the effects of this.

Linda, aka the Queen, myself, Marty and the "other" Laura
Linda was someone I had as a kayaking buddy and we had the best morning paddle together...that was a traipse to the dock to get geared up and was done half asleep on my part...with my wake up coffee afterwards with Linda at a local café (the one that remembered my name, so sweet). I actually was wide awake with heightened senses kayaking with Linda not only for the wildlife - sea otters folks are big critters - but because Linda was full of interesting stories...including on what I call her Homeopathic Royalty. She had a great, great Uncle that was a North Eastern American Homeopathic Doctor and was right out of our history books...she also learned her Homeopathy with some of the first after George Vithoulkas was brought over to North American  - who taught Louis Klein and the others we have as teachers and are world renowned Homeopaths right here amongst us. Linda learned from these teachers right at her career start: I refer to Jeremy Sherr and Vega Rosenberg being some of her teachers along with Louis Klein. Talk about an initiator, she and some others brought them to their doorstep to learn directly from them for themselves. Yes, books are good, but a teacher that has sound and creative personal experience is invaluable. I too feel lucky that I got Lou's teachings at the beginning of my own studies.

So, the peeps in and out of the Inn were just awesome and I will go back just for that aspect of the Retreat. But, believe it or not, I did actually go for the Homeopathy, ha ha. However, the camaraderie was what I do treasure, it was simply the greatest. As Lou himself said, where can you be and not have to explain yourself? I recall Linda on our morning paddle speaking to this: why she comes year after many of those attending do (some annually and some every few years).

Torontonian Homeopaths: Carol and myself
I will also mention that the West Coast was well represented with California, Oregon and Washington States all covered. California by the fabulous David and fantastic Christine (see pic of her and I eating roasted Crickets for breakfast in my Facebook album. They were good - they were an addition from Roberta, and the spicing was actually yummy, Mexican style*).

* - we also did have another moment together, Christine and myself -  on skit night, but that will be kept from you all, my lovely readers. Some things that happen on Bowen really ought to stay on Bowen. Lets just say it was one of those moments that you had to be there for. I will say this: it involved the yoga position Downward Dog. BYW, this skit night was one of our own making, a totally off the wall good time - even without having attended the HMC where Lou plays clips of SNL footage (for educational purposes, lol) you would likely be able to roll with this, as it seems to me that a prerequisite of being a Homeopath is to have a good sense of humour if not to be a little zany. Granted our North American sensibilities would be repertoried I am sure by our brethren from afar;-)

At this point I detour for a sec and mention that the local entertainers, 2 musicians on 2 separate evenings, were totally talented song writers and performers. With one evening being a fellow originally from out East (Kingston Ontario - once a busker with a guitar that reminded of the Irish fellow in the Dublin film, Once. A belt-it-out-kind-of-guy that was very good, no mic necessary)...and the woman that played the keyboard was so great too...wonderful voices/styles with smart repertoires, including a great rendition of Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah. As you know, an iconic Canadian song that makes you want to weep no matter who sings it - even my daughter does her own version and I get a lump in my throat each time she sings along with k.d. lang. Although I did not weep I was moved as I believe everyone was by the music we experienced.

Barbara and John, laid back West Coasters
Also in attendance were John of Oregon (originally of California) and Barbara - with the latter having a practice in the Seattle Market Place...that I simply love and now know can crash her office if in town and need a Homeopathic conversation over coffee. Barbara and I lunched in Vancouver at the other end, once we got off the Island and it was nice to have her, the other newbie this year, to be with for the boat rides to and from Bowen from downtown Vancouver's Granville Market. Also a very nice market that I know and love very much...

To view my Facebook Album of Bowen so that you can see the cast and locale just Friend me on FB.

The "Agenda" or the Homeopathy of this Homeopathic Retreat:

Each year an agenda of topics to be covered is sent out to everyone attending with a Theme, Cases, Provings, etc. for all to go over prior to arrival. So, we had Bacterial Statements to do, see if a Genus Epidemicus could be found for Ebola, Felidae Cases & Scholten Plant System to go over and there was the informal tasks too - little did I know - of having fun, wining & dining and even doing a skit! the inklings I had of these hadn't stuck in my mind but I must say I am still savouring this part of Bowen just as much as the great Homeopathy...oh yes, now I will break down the Agenda and explain what we did and learned together.

"Tell me, I’ll forget
Show me, I’ll remember
Involve me, I’ll understand"
Chinese Proverb

The operative word here is "together" as we really got to be a tight knit working group for the purpose of moving forward as a group; and one lively group of very compassionate and humane Homeopaths we were. All were supportive and this made for a mutually healthy learning opportunity...with Lou leading us not unlike Captain Kirt or Jean-Luc Picard...on the Starship Enterprise (but with a better sense of humour) going where no Homeopath has gone before...okay, not at all like this but somehow felt that we were going into the cosmos on a mission....

So, here is the Agenda broken down so you get a sense of what items we covered over our 5 days of working till we built up hearty appetites to wine & dine guilt free:

Jan Scholten's Plant System & Lou's Orchids book surrounded by our very Plant Kingdom-like masks
1) Plant System work was done in conjunction with Jan Scholten who was skyped in by Lou right off the bat (the second day) so as to get into looking at cases with the newest insights by the man who made the System we were trying to wrangle with...we had prepped by going over Plant cases of Lou's that were successful and then looking at the remedy in relation to Scholten's schema...where the Plant Species sat in terms of Botanical Classification, which is the basis of Jan's work Homeopathically prescribing Plant remedies. We came up after doing cases a list of questions from the group, who more or less with exception of one person, were already attempting and using the System with some success. That was already fun...we Homeopaths are easy to please as long as we can do...well...Homeopathy! I had gone to Bowen with a case that I just had taken prior to departing from home and operated with assumption that it was a Plant and it was throughout the week whenever we did Plant work that I would focus in the back of my mind on the case. A patient with complaints of allergies - she had been the "Allergic Kid", but as stated on her medical intake history she had also had Diabetes since age 9 or 10. It proved the right thing to do because literally in the final hour (I was one of two that were last of the gang to leave Bowen, and it is often the case in the final hour we hit on a rx) I hit upon her remedy and sure enough just heard from the patient the other day that there was a very nice reaction...more on this later as the choice of remedy definitely would not have arisen without Bowen/Lou's stewardship and what I will tell you about that has been a total breakthru for many of us on Scholten's Plant System. Keeping you hanging on this as I am sticking to the Business Agenda and using Robert's Rules of Order....or at very least keeping some order here in my blog posting, lol
Earthy Christine of San Francisco, CA
2) Bacteria Remedy Statements: what the heck is this fun tradition that I speak of? I must admit without former knowledge I would be totally unable to fathom what this could be about. Well, let me tell you about this fun?! activity you previous years what Lou started doing was coming up with statements that are pithy and succinct summaries about a remedy (ones under a Family or grouping) that are for us, Homeopaths, to use as way to speak a common language about the remedy. Acids and Snakes were already done and seemed from what could gage fun times for was for me hard work and made my brain ache but worth it to get sense of Bacterial Remedies (Nosodes for instance in the Miasms and Nosodes book, Volumn I being on the Bacterially based ones as opposed to the upcoming book that Lou will have out one day on Virally based Nosodes). Lou's book eluded us: not a copy to be found even by Lou who forgot to bring his own book from his bookshelves each day...mind you he knew the topic well enough as the others seemed also we did proceed especially as source info was available with WIFI on the Island and in our lodge.

An Acid Statement starts with the words "Burning thru...", Floric Acid is Burning thru sex and status as an example. For Snake Venon Statements an example of overall Family of Elapinae is the "Fate of the Brood", and with Naja being specifically "I am the only one to decide who is king or queen and rules the brood.". Cool eh? Our words for a Bacterial based remedy were "Overcoming boundaries for the purpose of infecting with..."...we were divided into small groups of 4 people to work at a group of Nosodes, which happened once the whole group had isolated as it were the main statement for Bacterial remedies in was hard work let me tell you but effortless as it seemed the brainstorming we did as group had one thing lead to another and Lou facilitated well so as to record up front on the screen what work, draft statements, we accomplished and moved us forward each step of the if we collaborating Homeopaths could just run the world we would solve world peace or global warming right on Bowen Island all the while enjoying ourselves.

3) Ebola as you know is hitting epidemic proportions in Africa and Lou thought if we could work on looking at a more geographically specific remedy from the traditionally used Crotalus horridus and maybe somehow with contacts in Africa we could help with a possible Genus Epidemicus...prior to heading to Bowen I had looked up images of what the effects of bites of snakes look like and interestingly the Southern Africa Green Mamba has the same look of hemorrhagic bleeding and sxs that Ebola produces...what happened was interesting for us as a look at Bryonia showed that it would be a good prophylaxis: to give out to the population that have exposure to the virus and that way help stop the spread...and even a beginner, as you know, would have come to this just by looking at remedy relations (ie - to Crot-h), hopefully, if we can just get the WHO on board with Homeopathy. At least there is acknowledgement of Homeopathy as being used world wide, but to help get the remedies out on a grand scale during an epidemic will be another story. I believe from what Dana Ullman sent out as a newsflash of late that the WHO is going to, at last, do research that will involve Homeopathy...what we did on Bowen was cursory work and just to have us thinking along the lines of going back to what Homeopathy has as a strength.

For further reading on the very important and timely topic of Epidemics and Homeopathy here is a great "piece" by Harry van der Zee in Interhomeopathy. His fascinating ideas/suggestions really should be considered seriously by all of us, as no doubt Louis Klein has done:

4) Lac felinum cases ended up simply being what we touched on as a wrap for the week. And a fitting end on Day 5 it was because true to the spirit of Lou turning the learning into a very sustainable, enriching experience that involved sharing cases that group members had success with. Marty Begin had a great case of tigers urine, Panthera tigris that involved him creatively reflecting on the whole Tiger Mother syndrome that effects East Asian families and can be stressful when out of context from a Confucian-based society, and maybe within these days?! Were there or are there Tiger Mothers in China? Beats me but really a great example of using our general knowledge to get us on the right track. Marty and all of us, of course, always move to checking out the details to ensure that the match is tip top. The hunch which proved to be a great one bore out with the beautiful unfolding of cure that was spelt out for us, which was helpful just as much as a description of the CC (which incidently I can not remember the details of). This was a situation maybe of the patient having taken on the traits of their upbringing so as to have her intimate relationship be effected so that even in their downtime all they could do is think and problem solve about work...Talk about a with a general term, just like in our rubrics, it was a specific or unique way of being a high achiever for this individual.

Judith, Lou, Marty with Monica serving a great gazpacho soup.
Finishing up my posting for you here. But, will share something that illustrates a few things: how Louis Klein is insightfully brilliant and also, how the synergy of the Bowen experience worked so as to be able to have a group a ha moment. This might be a little confusing unless you are already working with Jan Scholten's Plant System. But if you are not bear with me and also I will direct you to the piece I did on the Jan's Plant System in this Blog or I would recommend that you look in Interhomeopathy. By now there are a few pieces that explain it including by Jan himself...I will in future hopefully have some of my articles in North American journals in Interhomeopathy to add to the growing body of explanations (mine compare as well with other Plant Kingdom work). Back to what I was saying: Lou gave us a gift that helped me with the case I worked on while away on Bowen and now have applied since Bowen in another Plant case....this one pending successful prescription but will keep you posted on this.

So there we were sharing our own personal insights on the aspect of the numbers - the Homeopathic ones or Jan's numbers - again see Interhomeopathy and hopefully I can actually put my articles here (permission pending - gotta ask those journals on this, if you are the author can you use in your own Blog?). Anyways, the numbers are matched to Botanical Classification in that Jan's numbers bring you to an actual Plant Species or, relevant for us, to an individual Remedy of a Plant Family....well, Lou did a Louis Klein on the spot (well, after a night of work once we parted ways after an evening of music and relaxing). He went home and reflected till he got a piece of working knowledge for us that can only be described as A++  or maybe, well, brilliant.

Here goes: if you are trying to figure out the place the patient is within or without the group (Phases) and also trying to figure out the arena of where this place plays out (Series of Periodic Table) a way you can do it according to Lou is ask the question of the patient's problem/current life issue: Is the patient comfortably in the midst (Phase 4) of her relationships (Series 3 or Silica Series)? as an example. Another could be: What kind of Leader is this person? are they impulsive? The remedy number we were looking at for this last question is: #663.41.10

So, the first 6 is an Angiosperm and the second 6 is for the "Leader", or a Lanthanide Plant (in the gold or Leadership Series as you know) and then the 3 is the the doubting side still, or still an outsider of the group of the 7 Phases/places one could be...again for those that know or use the Plant System. The 4th number here is a 4, which is in the centre (like Stage 10 of Element Theory, which is the middle of the 7 Phases...there is no 3.5;-) Note- in the rx, the person is like the Matriarch or Patriarch of a Clan...Last number of relevance is a 1, which is the Impulsive Leader. So, if you get to this Plant when using the numbers, you can ask questions as in the above to confirm the Rx for your patient. The remedy incidentally is Dianthus caryophyllus that totally exemplifies what Jan has about the rx in his book (in terms of an actual case we reviewed): caring nurturing matriarch that is "warm and cosy, like to cuddle and cook, care and clean", p. 536 of Wonderful Plants. The common name of this Plant is Carnation or Clove Pink...funny as it's quite a practical flower now that I think of it and is all about the business of loving but in an innocent and practical in it being put in a lapel or used as a corsage for a Prom or put in a vase at a table in a family restaurant, not usually at a high end really romantic place, more a pseudo-romantic establishment...hum...will have to go over cases again to see if I got the right feel for the remedy...Note again: the .10 at the end is the number of the actual Stage of the 18 that are on the Periodic again 10 signifying in this case/patient the Matriarch.

So, really that is about it on Bowen - of what I feel might give you my reader an insight into a really beautiful experience - this is perhaps our North American version of the Wad Stories of Jan Scholten, or one of his Trituration Proving Expeditions or also maybe of the Bombay Group's (Sensation Method/currently The Other Song) annual well, Massimo Mangialavori in North America has a following that I believe must be very much about community just as much so as his insightful MM. I feel all us Homeopaths the world over can truly benefit from having a community - our work on cases and in our constant study can be quite isolating.  A large part of what we do is reflect inwardly on the outside world/patients we see and on ourselves...but, it is so very important to make connections. Study and proving groups, retreats, seminars and journals have all been essential for us to grow our practices and ourselves...even Hahnemann and the early Homeopaths corresponded with each other right from the start, that is how they not just shared info but stayed connected and likely sane!

The 2oth Anniversary of Links in 2007 (where does time go?) exemplifies the spirit of what, again I reference Harry van der Zee (another person I need to meet!), we should all aim for: interconnectedness. The publishers/editors at the celebratory Congress spoke to this, cause really Homeopathy is about being alive and, therefore, evolving/growing...which is about connecting and being together with all life.

I feel very connected to some very special people - from Lou and Aryana to the all others that I took the HMC as well. And I hope that I can continue to connect with everyone on Lou's Webinars and now, fortunately, my 2014 Bowen retreat buddies. So, I thank Louis Klein for the 20 years of his Luminos Homeopathy and will be forever thankful that I found the community he created for many of us in North America to enhance our lives and our patients as well. Thank you Lou so much.

On a Bowen Island Hiking Running Trail
I will end with some quotes I feel speak to my experience of Bowen and Beyond.

For Lou Klein and Aryana Rayne:

Think not lightly of good, saying “It will not come to me.” Drop by drop is the water pot filled. Likewise, the wise one, gathering it little by little, fills oneself with good.

Buddha, from the Dhammapada

And from the poem Lapis Lazuli by William butler Yeats

There, on the mountain and the sky,

On all the tragic scene they stare.

One asks for mournful melodies;

Accomplished fingers begin to play.

Their eyes mid many wrinkles, their eyes,

Their ancient, glittering eyes, are gay.

And last but not least...

We live in a vast and awesome universe in which, daily, suns are made and worlds destroyed, where humanity clings to an obscure clod of rock. The significance of our lives and our fragile realm derives from our own wisdom and courage.

Carl Sagan

Bye Bye Bowen...I will return...