HealingNyoman had begun harvesting the rice. Over many weeks, I had watched it progress from a waterlogged field with sprouting baby grasses to a lush green carpet. Once the grass sprouted, he stretched criss crossed string above with many torn flags and bells hanging from them.

There he’d sit for hours, in the shade of his watchtower made of patchwork wooden slabs and corrugated iron. Every time he saw a bird he’d pull on a piece of the string and all the other criss crossed strings would flutter their flags and ring their bells. No birds would eat the rice on Nyoman’s watch. 

We had worked on Nyoman’s gruffness with a cheerful “Selamat Pagi!”, every morning. Eventually we’d received back a nod and an ever so slight upturn of the lips. On the other side of the driveway his trees were laden with ripening papaya. Perhaps if we keep being friendly he’ll give us some of his juicy papaya…. and also perhaps not. 

We’d had a break from the oppressive heat and humidity of the rainy season and the weather was hot & dry once more. I was walking home, my first venture out in days. I had a nasty chest infection and just wandering across the road to the cafe had exhausted me. I got home and hauled the massive doors open which walled the villa off from the world. Behind the main doors was a garage to park cars and scooters, a room to store surfboards, massage tables and cleaning products and then, the main entrance.

I entered the cool villa, sat down and flipped open my laptop. A stranger had been trying to call me all day for advice. A blog I had written years ago still received many hits and comments from all over the world. On occasion, requests for advice would come in which I really didn’t feel qualified to give. There are more than enough ‘experts’ around these days and I don’t consider myself one of them. I told the man that I was on a much needed extended holiday and that I wasn’t taking calls.  I said that I would advise him as best I could if he sent me an email with his query.  The man wrote in the email that he was at his wits end. He’d had painful physical ailments and depression mixed with high’s for many years. He’d tried everything…. except modern medicine. Desperate for help, he told me that he was against allopathy but with no cure found by the alternatives, he was beginning to consider it as a last resort. He asked if I thought it might help.

Having experienced modern medicine as being successful when the body is in crisis and alternative therapies as my preference for prevention, support and recovery from any negative side effects, I didn’t want to heavily influence him with my own opinions. Instead I gave him my experiences of both and invited him to draw his own conclusion.  I told him that I’ve found modern medicine can have flaws, limitations and nasty side effects and alternative therapies can work instantly, subtly over time, psychosomatically and sometimes not at all.

I pondered the irony of how ten years ago I used to hear about people who, after trying every doctor they could find, resorted to alternative therapies to get well. These days I hear just as often, people who have refused modern medicine without success, only to finally resort to doctors to get well. I noticed the polarity and concluded that a bad experience can cause us to swing towards the opposite to find balance. I found it saddening that in that process we may then then rule the other out as useless or harmful. It seems with us favouring the building and strengthening qualities of alternative therapies these days, ‘modern’ medicine has become the newly reconditioned ‘good old fashioned way’ to heal quickly and effectively when the former doesn’t work.

I told the man I wasn’t qualified to advise him from a place of expertise, however I didn’t think he should rule anything out until he found something that, to put it simply…. worked. I gave him the contact of a medical doctor I knew who specialised in energetic healing and said he may be able to help. I also told him that it was a powerful combination of Western medicine & energetic healing (meditation & breathing) which helped me to heal. What I didn’t say to him, is that I believe often (not always) alternative medicine supports health as well as preserves and extends lives and modern medicine saves them. “Good luck” I told him, “if I can get well, so too can you.”

I flipped my laptop closed, flopped down on a beanbag and swung my legs into the pool. The man had made me think, and I contemplated how much this trip had given me. I had received much needed space, renewal and deep rest. I felt incredibly blessed, healthy and happy, but I’m still not immune to bugs and viruses with a nasty chest infection to prove it. My remedy? Boringly I’ve gone the old-fashioned way with  antibiotics. I’m also supporting the healing process with body strengthening vitamins, nourishing soup, rest, sunshine & love.