What makes a house desirable? The estate agent will say, ‘Location, location, location. Then in the same manner, good health and harmony could be attributed to lifestyle, lifestyle, lifestyle.No matter what we eat and how much exercise we participate in, lifestyle could play a major part in health.
I visited in late November a rejuvenating centre, The Tree of Life, Director Gabriel Cousens, Patagonia in the USA. The tree of life’s website and newsletter promotes itself as the;
‘The Tree of Life’ is medically proven, featured in The New York Times, 21-Day Reverse Diabetes and is the world’s leading rejuvenation and detoxification destination center, plus incredible intimacy, relationships, and spiritual growth workshops.• Vibrant Health• Weight Loss• Clarity of Mind• Self-Love• Private consultant with Cousens is $380 an hour• No refunds
A 21 day program cost me $4400, supplements extra, plus flights.
It is proclaimed that one can achieve a complete detoxification, new cells are made and old ones burnt up by the body. They call it ‘Youthing’ when more new cells are produced than are dying.
Lost of weight and food craving disappears. Senses become sharper. At the tree it has many programs but claims it is not a medical healing centre and yet they publicise the cure for diabetes.I participated in the 7 day fast in the middle of winter. Cold dark mornings followed by snatches of intermittent sun shine in the afternoon.
The guests were well prepared with their cashmere scarves and woolly hats. I had my hiking boots and thermals with me. A member of staff had told me, ‘Just bring your flip flops it get warm by mid morning.’Cousens gave the group a talk on the first evening about the importance of self administered enemas daily, (I booked colonics at $75 a session when a therapist was available. They rely on off site therapists who are freelance.) preferably early in the morning before any juice and purchasing $400 of supplements at the shop. This he said was important to stop any ‘healing crisis.’ There was one comment from Linda, a Canadian business lady, ‘This Cousens sure has a good gig going on with these supplements he is selling. The spa tubs are filthy don’t go in them.’I checked them out. She was correct.
A daily intake of 4 glasses of green juices each filled with 16 ounces of spinach, celery and cucumber. To be taken at 8 am, 12, 3pm and 6 pm. The fresh juice was made at the café and to get there you had to walk up the half mile twisting narrow rutted hill.
A check in at 9 am to 9:30 am. The group could ask questions to Cousens. 9:45am to 10:50am Yoga was taught by Shanti, Cousens wife.Meditation was 11am to 11:50 am Juice followed at 12:00 noon. Free time after and then juice at 3pm, 4pm Meditation, Sunset Ceremony 5:15pm to 6:30pm with juice.
The accommodation was a small spartan room shared with no toilet or bathroom. These were situated outside and would have to be shared. A torch was needed because there was no outside lighting in the court yard. I chose to live off site in a private house with bathroom. This was warm and very comfortable.
The tree of life does not give any refunds regardless of any reason. They ask for payment up front. I had my house burgled in the England so my stay was cut short by 11 days.
I completed the fast but only just. I did not have a medical examination and I was not weighed. I had asked Cousens about my weight before the fast but he said I had nothing to worry about.In his book he does mention that no one should do a fast if they are 10 pound under weight. By his calculation I should have been 160 pounds. I was 135 pounds and when I finished I was 119 pounds.
My body was craving food after 3 days. I felt no energy but exhaustion. Simple everyday tasks that were taken for granted now had to be thought out carefully to conserve energy. I did not participate in any of the yoga sessions because of this. The juices tasted fowl after day 3. I went onto wheatgrass and water and completed the seven day fast.
My conclusion is this. If you do not understand fasting or healing crisis and like creature comforts then you will be in for a culture shock at the tree of life. Stamina and mobility is needed to accomplish the walking up of hills and commuting. The mornings in Patagonia are cold and dark, (sunrise is 7:30am) and there is limited sunshine in the afternoon. Cousens said we should get 20 minutes of sun light everyday but at the tree of life this was impossible because it was winter. Morning and evenings are cold and darkness falls at 5 pm.
The meeting areas are spread too far for Cousens talks and meditation at the temple, unity centre, spa treatments and cafe unless you hire a car.
The café serves excellent raw food by the chefs Frank, Cosan and staff. These people work hard there. I can not phrase them highly enough for their dedication and creativeness with raw food. This was the most important place for me, the café and food after I came off the fast.
My health deteriorated during the fast and I my energy was diminishing everyday I fasted. I felt no energy or ‘youthing’ as stated in his book. I was cold and became weak. The stress on the body proved too much, the immune system in my body did not have the natural nutrients too build healthy cells and fight viruses, hence the reason I got a chest infection and viral cold. It has taken me until February 2008 to recover from this illness. I have fed myself on warm foods and my own juices. I have gained weight and I weigh 150 pounds.
As I said, Location, location, location and lifestyle, lifestyle, lifestyle for health. This location or lifestyle did not improve my health.