A year ago today, a journey from San Francisco led me to Chennai, India.
It was just three months prior, in July, that I had attended the Level One event in Fiji. Now in India, I faced level two.
It was a time of solitude, enforced silence, to quieten the mind.
My mind, which often races a million miles an hour, took a few days to be content chattering away with itself, so as not to impose it's hectic conversation on others at the ashram. Slowly, my neurons also got the hint to stay silent... and eventually, I entered into the 'gap'.. the space where awareness heightens, expands, and explores deep into the soul.
Each morning, we meandered down to the 'lecture hall,' almost half a mile away from the dormitories. These twin buildings stand proud side by side, a road separating them, keeping the sexes apart. Females to the right. Males to the left.
After our morning session of yoga and meditation, we quietly shuffled next door to the 'kitchen hall' where again the conversation was (mostly) quietly confined to the boundaries within, accentuated only with the clang of cutlery and the scraping of plates, as people 'bussed' their own trays, disposing of the remains of vegan food. Much of it, like goo. Some of it, delicious. But, after a few days I found myself begging the Dasas for some protein.
At the time, I was still eating strictly gluten-free, and protein in my meals helped me to keep my blood sugar levels stable. They had a tendency to dive, sometimes without warning, leaving me confused, irritable, and cranky.
"We do not have any meat on the campus," my Dasa told me. "But we do have eggs. How many would you like, I will arrange to have them boiled and brought to you."
It was now day two, and I was famished for some 'solid' food. My stomach wasn't appreciating all the curried vegetables, without something to substantiate it. My mind startled into response, "I'll have four please!" I say, rubbing my stomach. I'm hoping I don't sound too greedy.
When she sends the eggs to me, I am glad I asked for four. They were a little larger than quail eggs. OK, slight exaggeration, but they were ...small.
With my body's blood sugar satiated, I faced a new challenge throughout the week. The first four days during the lectures, my eyelids refused to stay open. Positioning myself in a spot at the back of the hall, 'hidden' behind a few people, I found myself in a deep sleep for most of the time during that part of the week.
It wasn't jet-lag. It was like I had been 'put' to sleep. Healing.
Yet, on the fourth day I found myself guarding my body with tortuous back pain. It was because of this, that I met Dr. Steven Klayman. A wonderful chiropractor. I watched him do muscle testing on a woman in the lecture hall during a short break. It fascinated me, and led to me asking him what he is doing.
"TBM," he says. "Total Body Modification, which is a technique to balance the body."
"Oh! Can you do some of that on me, please?" I hold short of begging. I explain to him the symptoms of my current back pain.
I met up with him during the lunch break, at the men's dorm entrance. I arrived at the entrance, and left my flip flops on the tiles outside the door. Matching them up in line with the other tens of pairs neatly lined up in rows. Inside the foyer, were mostly men, with the odd woman in attendance visiting her husband, who is also sharing the Oneness experience.
Steven has me stand tall, and instructs me to turn, sit, lie down whilst he works on my body. I have an audience of five men watching. Their humour turns into curiosity as they witness my body shift and align in front of them.
"WOW!" one of the guys say. It's my friend Michael.
I am lying down and felt my hip 'click' without any direct manipulation. Steven 'blocks' me in position with someone's running shoes he has temporarily pinched from outside the entrance door. I lie still for a few minutes until he muscle tests me again.
Then Steven has me stand and muscle tests me for my organs. I'm noticing how much straighter I feel. The pain in my lower back is now a simple ache, dissolving.
Steven's further tests have me intrigued. My stomach test fails. 'Weak'.
He tests further and determines I have some allergies. I nod and confess to being diagnosed with Coeliac (Celiac) Disease.
"What's that?" he asks.
"Allergic to gluten," I say. Then begin to explain further to help him understand.
So he tests me some more and determines other issues I already know about and a few minor things he advises me of. He whispers in my ear, "you have a slight urinary tract infection."
I blush. "Yes," I nod. With the drastic change in diet, packed full of carbohydrates, I had indeed felt the odd 'tingle' sensation.
My mind is buzzing with the congruency of his tests and my body 'speaking' to him with it's truth. I hear a voice in my head, "You need to learn this, and you too will teach it." I briefly roll my eyes inwardly, gently mocking God with "you want me to do yet another course?!" I smile and breathe out. "Lead the way," I whisper back.
When Steve's done, I ask, "how do I learn this? When you were doing this to me, I heard a voice in my head, "You will teach this too."
He writes the details for Dr Victor Frank, one of the founders of this technique, on a piece of paper for me. I learn he is now retired but still lives in St George, Utah and teaches the odd seminar on the technique.
Little did I know of the extraordinary adventure, of the gateway and path this experience was to lead me..... to even more extraordinary adventures...
~*~*~ ...this is a condensed extract from a travel narrative - "Living Adventures of The Heart: A Global Trek & A Journey Within." by Katie Gilbert ~*~*~ ....still being written.
I've thought about this a lot today, with the nature of my back and body, needing re-alignment again with my chiropractor here in Perth, Western Australia. Dr Eric Schwelm, practices with SOT (Sacral-Occipital Therapy). Whilst a little different to the TBM, his philosophy is similar and he is extraordinary with helping to re-align the body.
It's only been this year that I have been exposed to the valuable benefits of balance and well-being from visiting an OUTSTANDING chiropractor. Not the simple 'crack' and 'snap' kind. Instead, the gentle touch and tap on the trigger points to help your body re-connect and communicate with all parts of itself.....
...in order to function the way we are meant to.
To let go of old patterns that once protected us, and now no longer serve us... To communicate with itself, in order to align back into patterns that serve us NOW.