A handwritten notice in the Arjuna Health Food Store in Cambridge, England, in 1977, brought Clara and her mother to the Coton village bungalow where I saw natural medicine students. When I came to the glass door to greet them, I saw a large shadow and one small extremely slim, small shape, a mother and a daughter.
As they entered, the mother, large, dressed all in black filled the space, and the pitifully thin blond girl, about eleven years old, dressed in a Kings College day school girls uniform, shrunk smaller as her intense blue eyes darted nervously from her mother to me.
As soon as we sat together, the mother complained in heavily accented Italian that her daughter, Clara, refused to eat and drink. I had never heard of anorexia and had met only one person who could have been one, so I had no context, no name of a condition, and no understanding of the cause of the emaciation of her daughter, or why she refused to eat.
I almost said that I had no idea how to help her, but compassion swelled through my heart and compelled me to command, “Leave her with me for three hours.” In a spontaneous mix of surprise and relief, the mother departed immediately.
“I have two daughters, and one is about your age,” I shared. Clara glanced at me from deep blue eyes circled with black shadows on pale white skin, but said nothing in return. “I hope you can meet them one day,” I persevered.
She looked around the room filled with jars of herbs, books, still holding books, and her school bag. “Let’s put your things over here,” I gestured, and she handed them to me, shaking off the weight.
“Your mom’s going to be gone for a while, so let’s make some tea in the kitchen,” I invited, as I headed for the kitchen. Clara Followed. In the kitchen, I tended to the kettle, teapot, and blended two herbal teas. Cups on saucers and a plate of cookies were placed on a tray.
“Are you a student at Kings College?” I questioned. I waited for a while for a response, then before I inquired further, “That must be tough being around all those noisy boys all day?” Surprised, her blue eyes flashed a deeper blue.
“Are there any other girls there?” I questioned, looking directly at her as I stood in front of her and waited for an answer.
“Four others,” she responded softly, looking down.
I poured boiling water into the teapot, an herbal nervine blend of Chamomile and Catnip to ease her entry into the session, and placed the teapot on the tray. We returned to the consultation room where I poured the tea and set her cup on the table by her chair, the plate of cookies beside her. She did not look at the cup or the cookies.
I sipped my tea and asked her where she lived. “Near Letchworth,” she sighed, and a wave of exhaustion seemed to fill the room.
“That’s a long way from Cambridge. How do you get to school?” “My mom takes me to the train station, and after half an hour on the train, I take a taxi to the College.”
“And how do you get home?” “Taxi, train, and then another taxi home.”
“All on your own?” “Yes.”
“You are very brave,” I whispered, trembling from the realization of the strain and exhaustion she must be living with from the travel, long days, including half days on Saturday, and then being surrounded by hundreds of boisterous boys and young men striving for excellence.
“That’s a lot to do every day, isn’t it? It must make you feel very tired.”
She nods and looks at the tea but does not touch it. “What do you do after school?” “Prep. They give us lots to do, and mama and papa want me to get A’s. Then I have a bath and go to bed.”
“When do you see friends?” “I don’t have any friends.”
“What do you do on weekends?” “I rest and read and do more prep.”
“Do you go outside? Walk. Bicycle?”
Clara shakes her head as though speaking is too much for her. I am quiet for a while, sipping my tea, receiving the benefit of the herbs, inwardly loving her strength at the core of her exhaustion and physical weakness. I feel invisible forces of loving compassion fill the room and as I receive a feeling that all will be well, I relax.
“I’m going to make you a foot bath,” I explained, and another surprise flashed from her vivid eyes.
Seemingly without thinking, she picked up the warm teacup and held it in her hands.
“I’ll be back in a moment. Enjoy your tea.”
I had prepared a relaxing herbal foot bath in advance, so I only had to pour hot water in the bowl of strong herbal decoction before I returned to the room and placed it near her feet. I noticed Clara had drunk her tea and one cookie displayed a bite. She also seemed more at ease.
“Let’s take off your shoes.” She tensed, but bent down and unlaced her shoes. I pulled over a low stool and sat comfortably as I moved slowly to remove her shoes, and set them aside. Clara closed her eyes as I gently lifted her left foot and pulled off her sock.
Even though I felt shock waves move through my being at the sight of her black and purple foot, I did not react. Instead, I slowly put down the left foot, reached for the right one, and removed the second sock. Then I lifted both feet together, held both of them in my hands to feel her ice-cold feet with my full attention, and then placed them both into the warm foot bath.
I stood up and quietly placed a pillow behind her head, covered her with a blanket, poured more tea into her cup, and returned to my chair.
Clara’s eyes remain closed, so I closed my eyes and we shared the calm relaxation of the half-hour foot bath session in silence. The pungent herbal scent enhanced the sensation of the room becoming a refuge from the cold Cambridge sleet icing the streets outside the bungalow.
As the time neared to shift the session to work on her feet, I got up and stood before her. Then I asked softly, “Would you like me to call you by your name?”
Clara opened her eyes and looked clearly at me, “Yes, call me Clara.”
“Well, Clara, would you like to visit me every week and make a book together?”
“A book?” Clara questioned in surprise.
“Yes, a book about your life now, and about the life you will live in the future.”
As the idea stirred in her mind that she could make her own book, she picked up her cup and sipped the fresh cup of tea I had poured, then munched on a cookie.
“Ask your mother to help you find an art book with empty pages, not like a school book, something you can write and draw in and paste things in, whatever you like.
When you come next time, bring pens, crayons, and find a photo from some magazine and paste it on the cover. Would you like to do that? Would you like to come again?” She nods and agrees, “Yes. I do.”
I sat on the stool and took her feet out of the footbath, drying teach one slowly. Clara closed her eyes as I moved the bowl aside. I then moved a stool directly before her and sat with a towel on my lap. After a quiet settling of presence, I lifted her left foot into my hands and begin to slowly massage her foot with gentle, long, slow strokes, varied from time to time by a pause of connected stillness.
The room settled into deep quiet. As she relaxed, I enjoyed the way she snuggled into the blanket with a sigh. Sometimes I held both feet for a while, sometimes moved from one foot to the other, used long connected strokes that stimulated as well as relaxed her nervous system as well as pauses that allow settling. An hour or more later, as the session completed, I noticed that her feet were not so dark. As I lifted each foot to slip on her socks, she stirred.
“That was lovely,” she sighed. “Thank you.”
“We will do the footpaths and massage every time you come, and you can write about each visit, and all the things you learn here in your book,” I suggested with a smile.
She smiled a response in return, a weak smile, but a real one that opened an energetic connection of appreciation.
The doorbell rang soon after and I directed the mother toward the consulting room. She paused when she saw her daughter relaxing under a blanket amidst the potent scent lingering from the herbal foot bath, and noticed the empty teacup and cookie crumbles by her daughter. She looked at me, eyes wide with silent questions.
“We enjoyed herbal tea, and cookies today and I gave Clara a foot bath and massage,” I reported as mother and daughter shared a fresh field of connection.
“Clara, you drank tea and ate a cookie?” her mother asked as Clara smiled calmly, stretched in the chair, and yawned.
While Clara prepared to leave, I took the mother into the living room. There was no other way to tell truth, so I plunged in.
“Do you want your daughter to live?”
Startled, she said, “Of course, that’s why I brought her here. The doctors just want to put her in a hospital and force-feed her, and the thought of that is too awful to contemplate. That’s the sort of thing a girl never gets over, and she needs to go to school,” she replied in a rush of distress.
“If you want my help, this is what I need. Bring Clara for three hours at the end of this week, and then twice a week until she is eating regularly, gaining weight, and her feet are normal. Then we will see if she can come once a week.
You need to take her out of Kings College immediately for health reasons and enroll her in a local girls school. She has to play outside every day, have friends and begin to enjoy her life. She is going to make a book for her work here. If you are willing to do all this, I can help her.”
“Of course, I will do anything,” she promised, and I believed her. We made an appointment for the end of the week and as they left, Clara smiled with a light born from her heart as she said. “I will bring my book for the next visit.”
Three days later, Clara returned, no longer a student of one of the most prestigious schools in the world, but a happier girl carrying her own book to her school of life. Clara showed me the photo of a bee on a flower she had pasted on the cover.
“That’s beautiful, ” I said. “Why did you choose a bee?” “That was me,” she replied, “I was a busy bee, and now I’m going to become the flower.” She opened the book, “See, I wrote about the foot bath too.”
As I read her story of how she felt safe enough to relax, and how good her feet felt after the massage, tears welled in my eyes, and gratitude swelled in my heart. Clara was a true student willing to receive the teachings of health, wellness, and healing.
The mother kept her promises, and as the season moved toward spring, Clara thrived in the girl’s school close to her home. She made friends, learned to ride a bicycle, and took dance lessons. She became friends with my daughters who invite her to visit with them after her therapy sessions. After recovery, some three months later, Clara visited on weekends for playdates and even stayed over a couple of times. Even so, it takes time to rebuild strength, and so we saw her every month for about three months or more.
Clara’s irises were drawn (an iris photography camera was not yet in my world) and I shared educational information with Clara and her mother about the extensive nerve rings, and white iris fibers, and other markings. Healing diets and herbal nutrients were slowly introduced along with Bach Flower Remedies. Visits included footbaths, reflexology, poultices, zone therapy, polarity therapy, massage, flower remedies, and herbal teas. We continued with her book creation, images, words, and enjoyed conversations as I helped her understand how to feel, know and understand her inner world and express her feelings and emotions.
As time passed, the nerve rings blended, became less dominant, so that her irises became a more even blue.
The individual iris print reveals the truth of the inner ecology. If anyone observes cause and effect, they will understand the information irises provide. Observe the subtle and sometimes not so subtle changes that mirror changes in our lifestyle and body changes in the iris and you will know from experience. The mother requested her own self-healing consultation and several sessions to assist her participation in her daughter’s healing process and received improved health and a weight loss that pleased her as well.
Anorexia entered my world in the form of a little lost girl. As I guided her gentle healing, I learned wisdom that has benefited my lifework for decades. Clara received the gift of health and confidence born from experiencing the power of life skills gifted with restored truth communication. Her parents received the joy of a happy, healthy daughter. The name of the child was changed for her, and I chose Clara to reflect the beautiful clarity that shone from her eyes.
For me, healing is loving care, tuning to the frequency and essence of someone in need with compassionate simplicity, feeling not analyzing, and then applying common sense with proven natural therapies that assist the body’s inner ecology to return to its own natural functions.
The cause of illness can be discovered if the educator and practitioner is also a detective seeking to understand the complexity of the student’s condition, the message the symptoms are saying that the person cannot reveal, and the simplicity of the overall situation in relationship to Inner and Outer Ecology. However, the living connection needs to take place in a sanctuary of respect and trust born of compassionate feeling and listening with all the sense.
During the late 1970s and 1980s in Cambridge, England, I coined questions for every chronic condition that entered into my practice and classes. What is this ‘dis-ease’ saying that the person cannot say? What is the message mantra from their inner life? For anorexia, I understand the only control the anorexic has to gain attention and manifest change is to direct intense will with fierce determination to stop eating.
There is a dynamic use of the fire chakra energetics to manifest change, but deep down in an upside-down way because most people cannot connect with their inner landscape in all of its dimensions and speak with strength or clarity. Gaining a voice is an essential part of recovery. As they learn to understand their feelings, become aware of their inner landscape, and awaken responsibility to let others know what they think and feel, the learning transforms into an evolutionary process.
In Clara’s case, as a young child with strong even overbearing parents, she could not stand up to her parents and say, “I can’t go on with the schedule and your expectations because it is too much for me,” so her choices and body said it for her. She also said she did not want to disappoint her parents so conflicts occurred within her inner world, as she felt a responsibility to fulfill their desires as an only child.
When the pressures became too much for Clara, her message mantra was a phrase like, “I am helpless and I cannot ask for what I need. The only thing I can do is refuse food. ” Whether she was aware of the phrase at such a young age is not important. Her survival mechanism acted out an energetic truth to commit to not eating as a way to survive a life she could no longer endure, the Anorexia itself was a message from her inner world, a cry for help.
Once the causes were removed by her parents, Clara’s enthusiasm with her self healing was dedicated to regular sessions with a practitioner/ mentor who shared compassionate understanding from a relaxed living connection, experiential healing therapies, and educational life skills. I am often surprised by what I say to students, and in this case, parents, when truth escapes me as a command from an inner well of a pendulum of ‘knowing’ strength.
Anyone wishing to experience and learn this system of natural medicine to discover what gifts you may receive as a student of your own life with the potential to be a professional, feel welcome to complete a contact form, and get in touch.
Evolutionary Education provides the opportunity to Heal and Evolve as You Study. If you are a professional interested to explore Anorexia while mentoring a case study of your own, explore the option of studying therapeutics with One-to-One Coaching and Mentoring, inquire on the website contact form to get in touch with me. I answer personally. Farida
In Coton, in the 1970s, each new student received three hours of conversational consultation, an iris analysis, foot bath, reflexology, educational instruction, cups of herbal tea, and a snack before departing with an herbal nutrient formula specifically blended for them at that time. I did not look at Clara’s irises on the first visit as she needed experiential understanding conversation and a safe place to relax and rest.
I transformed the photo of a sidewalk, with pale worn-out yellow paint depicting a child upside down, a storm drain in the upper right into a magical dream of childhood survival within the illusion of anorexia. The photo portrays the feelings of a young child’s life in a descending spiral toward extreme chronic illness.
Thankfully, Clara and her mother changed their lives. Clara recovered, inspiring me for decades because I understood quiet, patient wisdom is the optimum sanctuary for someone in extreme stress to begin to trust and to want to live. The idea of giving her the task of making her own book was a pure gift of spontaneous inspiration.
She had to read a lot of books in her studies, so now she got to make her own book. Sometimes I imagine she became a writer, perhaps she did.