Today is my last full day in Abadiania and tomorrow we will be flying back to Los Angeles, California. I am grateful that the trip is almost over, I almost can’t wait to be back in Santa Barbara. This journey was much harder than I had imagined and longer than I had hoped for. It was filled with stress, disappointments and struggles. Nonetheless, I have been able to rescue some healthy benefits from being here and going through this experience.
1. Being Far From Home
Being far from home once in a while can be very healthy. Especially if you don’t do it often and especially if you travel to a different country, even more so if it is a place with a different language and culture. It can be eye-opening to realize or remember that things are not always the way you see them and there is much diversity in this gigantic world that we live in.
Being far from home also allows you to miss some of the things that you may be taking from granted. Your friends, your home even your work. By detaching from the things that we are used to we get to see their value more clearly and appreciate them more. This helps you gain a new sense of gratitude for the life you live at home.
On this trip I realized how much I miss offering massage therapy in Santa Barbara and teaching my yoga classes and Foundation Training. It is something I want to jump straight back into as soon as I get back. I also look forward to cooking my own meals, sleeping in my room and going back to some of my health practices and routines.
2. Befriending Different Approaches to Nutrition
By staying in a hostel where all the meals where served for us I was able to detached from my nutritional rules and allow myself to eat things I not normally do. This had its pros and cons. In one hand I was deprived of lots of the delicious and nutritious food I have in Santa Barbara such as many raw fruits, vegetables nuts and seeds. On the other hand I had a chance to see how my body responded to an increased intake of cooked foods and meats, which I had not been eating much of during the last year. I noticed that the meat and the heavily cooked food where not as bad as I saw it in Santa Barbara, at the same time, I proved that eating raw vegan meals has many health benefits that you don’t get with a heavier diet.
3. Conflicting Truths Can Coexist
I spent much time during the first week of my trip to Abadiania doing first had research on John of God and his healing center called Casa De Dom Ignacio. I wanted to know if he was a real healer of a fake. After three weeks of being here I realized that the answer is both. In one hand he does heal and hel people feel better, curing them from many illnesses and diseases. On the other hand he clearly is an unethical man corrupted by his power, wealth and fame. This is a pity because I would have liked to see him differently but we must accept the truth.
This experience was a good reminder that everything is possible in this vast world. We can have real healers and fake healers and we can have good people and bad people. Sometimes real healers are bad people and as baffling as that can be, it is part of this world. Many people would agree that this is also the case with much of what happens in the United States in terms of the services doctors and hospitals provide for ridiculous amounts of money and the controversial practices and products that pharmaceuticals provide for health care.
I know that I want to be, and luckily I consider myself, a real healer with ethical practices. I have not been corrupted by fame, wealth and power and I am being very careful to not go down that road. I constantly check and re-check my business practices and make sure they are in alignment with my ethical and moral values. My purpose is to improve lives and people’s health in a holistic way, this means providing value and consideration to all systems, physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, environmental, social and financial as well.
4. I Am a Skilled and Positive Healer
While being here I had the benefit of receiving positive feedback on my skills and abilities to effectively provide healing for people. We were told upon arriving by the authorities at the healing center that we were not to providing any healing work while we were in town. I figured this was mainly used as another way to control their healing business. I followed the rule for a week while I judged the integrity of the healing center’s rules but after seeing too many of their flaws and contradictions I decided that my judgment was better than their rules. In more than one situation I saw people in need of help who I successfully provided relief to.
One example is from a girl who I found alone having a panic attack. She was completely folded onto herself, smoking cigarette after cigarette and shaking intensely. She was traumatized because a stranger had told her that her mom was about to die (her mom had cancer and all the treatments she was going through here where having adverse effects and causing her multiple reactions). She was totally freaked out. I approached her, sat on a chair next to her and gently placed my hand on her back behind her heart. As soon as I did she started crying. I stayed with her and let her cry it out, I felt her pain, I imagined being in her position.
Once she stopped crying we talked and I offered her emotional support. She felt a bit better but was still shaking and gasping for air. I asked if I could offer some help and she agreed. Then I asked her to uncross her legs, sit up straight, and close her eyes and breathe gently into her chest. While she did this I continued to hold the back of her heart and assisted her with her breading as I shared positive energy with her. It took only 10 breaths for her to calm down. Moments later she opened her eyes and smiled. She was not shaking any more. She told me she felt much better and then started laughing. After that I helped her visualize what she wanted to happen and feel some gratitude for the possibility of her desires becoming a reality. Her mom didn’t die, in fact, she got much better.
There were other situations, like a lady who was having an intense migraine. She was holding her head, trying to massage herself. You could see the agony on her expression. I simply walked to her, leaned on to her feet and held a reflexology point for head pain on her big toe. I continued to hold the toe while I visualized her headache going away. After 15 seconds she started to smile and then laugh, impressed at how quickly her pain had gone away. I was surprised too, it usually takes much longer. I don’t like to brag about my work, and I don’t but it is nice to acknowledge good work when it happens. There were more cases like this one, but let’s move on to the next point.
5. Creating Healthy Boundaries with Spirituality
Spirituality is a very subjective and personal topic. We obviously have the opportunity to learn about the spiritual world from others, but I believe that ultimately we all have the ability and right to decide what we want to believe in and what our spiritual practices are. There are infinite approaches to spirituality and many definitions of what spirituality, and being spiritual, really mean. My ideals stand in that each one of us is unique and at the same time part of a greater whole. I welcome everyone to follow their own spiritual path as long as it does not attack or hurt other people.
Being in Abadiania and attending the healing center at Casa de Dom Ignacio put me in contact with hundreds of people with strong spiritual inclinations. Some were more expressive than others about their beliefs and I always welcome people to share their perspectives and experiences. After all, I want to know what others think and know because it helps me expand my perspective and be able to include more beliefs into my own paradigm. The issue arises when people try to enforce their believes and practices on you, I believe this should not be done. Almost every day I saw and heard people giving advice when it wasn’t welcomed, or trying to induce guilt on others for not doing what the speaker believed was the right thing to do. I saw many people experiencing confusion about their actions and their beliefs systems. Even to the point of exhaustion. This, I know, is a form of abuse. Abuse has many forms, there is physical abuse, sexual abuse, mental abuse and emotional abuse. In this case, I believe what I saw and experienced is called spiritual abuse.
Spiritual abuse is often performed by a person with a certain degree of (real or false) spiritual authority. Spiritual abuse often include, psychological and emotional abuse with the objective of unnatural domination, sexual abuse, humiliation, submission, intimidation, control of freewill, false accusation, repeated criticism, isolation, separation, exclusivity and elitism, dismissal of criticism, withholding information and/or financial exploitation. I can say with confidence that I experienced at least half of these first hand on the three weeks that I was here, but I certainly heard about all of them going on from several separate sources around town as well as in multiple websites online.
Most of the spiritual abuse was done by those people who call themselves “guides”. Taking in consideration the circumstances the term “tour guides” would be more accurate given that most people now days travel to Abadiania in groups practicing what I would call “spiritual tourism”. These guides charge ridiculous amounts of money (sometimes up to $1,500 a week per person) to show travelers around town, give advice on the protocols and provide information and stories about the things that may or may not be happening at Casa de Dom Ignacio and with the work of John of God. The town is filled with these guides who do not have any form of certification and are not regulated by any institution or directive. Anyone can be a guide here, all you got to do is say that you are one.
The issue I found was that these guides, who are technically supposed to execute the role of educators and facilitators for peoples healings, where behaving in highly unethical ways. Many of them withheld essential information from their clients, such as the fact that John of God would not be here for the whole month. Others abused their clients by telling them that the way they were behaving was wrong and that they were wasting their opportunity to heal.
I will not go into much detail but I will say that after a week of seeing this happen I had more than enough and began to draw some strong boundaries between myself and these people. I do resent them to a certain degree because I don’t like to see people hurting other people in any way. My lesson was on learning to take care of myself, to protect my beliefs and my ideals and not let people of false authority impose their ideals and rules on me.
6. Getting Much Writing Done
One of the most clear health benefits of my trip is the large amount of writing I was able to do. First of all I will make note that I consider this a health benefit because I believe that writing, journaling and any form of self-expression can be healing. For me it certainly has as it allowed me to observe my thoughts and the process I have gone while I was here. It helped me take note of what I believe in and what I don’t, what I value and what I don’t, what I stand for and what I don’t.
Writing also allowed me to get in touch with my creative side, it is something that I had been wanting to do for many years but I never found enough time, passion, clarity and structure to accomplish much. This time I did and I know that I will be able to ride this wave even after I get back to Santa Barbara, especially considering that at home I will be able to use my laptop and not this uncomfortable tablet which I have been using to get all my work done during this trip.
7. Composing Songs and Writing Music
Also in the area of creativity I was able to explore my talents and skills as a song writer. For the past two months I have been taking guitar lessons with a friend who is teaching me how to create harmony and chord progressions to compose melodies and add lyrics to them. Before this trip I had written a total of three songs and during the trip I was able to write three more. Including a rap, which is a huge accomplishment that considering English is my second language and that I use to mumble when I was younger. I am actually very proud of my musical skills, I have always been a poet and always thought that I wanted to compose music, now that dream is becoming a reality and this trip certainly allowed for part of it to unfold. Needless to say it is very healing to see your dreams and aspirations manifest. It is empowering and it helps get in touch with our true creative nature which sometimes we lose as we grow older. I also would like to add that I consider my music to be particularly healing as its themes, moods and lyrics are uplifting and revolve round the topics of love, truth and beauty.
8. Stacking Up with Good Karma
The last thing I will mention is that I hope that by coming on this trip I will be stacking up on some good karma for this life and the next one if there is such thing. I came on this trip mainly to help my friend walk again. I knew that this was a 10 year long dream for him and that he had been hoping to come from the day that he had the spinal cord injury that left him unable to walk. I left my home, my friends, my work and much of my comforts to travel to a different continent and spend three weeks in a small town with no much going on other than that which revolves around John of God and Casa de Dom Ignacio healing center. Hopefully the universe will take my goodwill in consideration and bring some good karma my way.
I hope you enjoyed the reading. If you have any comments or questions you are welcome to contact me. May you find health benefits in everything that you on your daily life. Wishing you health and wellness.