Tuesday, October 14, 2014

On Being on Bowen (A Treat of a Homeopathy Retreat)


Our Seminar Room aka The Living Room at the Lodge at the Old Dorm of Bowen Island

For a number of years I have heard all sorts of enticing details that had me setting my sights on Bowen Island for what turned out to be a Homeopathic Retreat like no other. So, let me back track to get you in the Bowen loop. This summer, in August for one glorious week, Louis Klein's Professional Retreat ran for it's 20th year. Its' attended by Homeopaths that were his original students thru to others newer to his teaching (i.e. - the Homeopathic Master Clinician Course, fondly known to us graduates as the HMC, almost 500 of us!)...with myself a newbie along with one other Homeopath out of the twelve of us that altogether attended this year.

The Location:

Bowen is an Island that is 1 hour away from Vancouver, British Colombia, Canada - on the Sunshine Coast; once a "playground paradise" of recreation with what would have been in the 20's a classy Inn, sailing, tennis and beachside fun for those that took the steamship ride over...in fact as many as 5000 per weekend did so for years. It was and still is pristine and so natural that the "Beautiful British Colombia" of the province's license plate is definitely not a misnomer but beautifully describes this Island. Currently and since the 60's the vib is hippie like, well now it is more just really about being a community-based community (at the local coffee shop, a sweet café, they remembered my name after a visit of only one time, you have to love that!). This Island has been a charming home to residents since 1958 when regular ferry service to Bowen made it possible to reside there. Lou and his wife raised their family on the Island; it has been 23 years that they have lived on the Island - and like many others they too come from different cities/locals, drawn I am sure to the inherently beautiful and peaceful community (I did not ask Aryana or Lou if they had meant to settle down there or did it happen once they set foot on Bowen so many years ago...I know I am ready to now that I have finally set foot there. I have always wanted to live on a boat, the "float homes" that I saw were so darn cute, especially the one with a glass green house and a bike stand on the dock...)...


The People:

Lou and Aryana one evening listening to a local musician
Aryana Rayne, Lou's beautiful wife, is a most delightful woman: deeply perceptive, intelligent and very warm and thoughtful (I had the privilege to dine at the table where she sat a couple of the evenings for our exquisite dining experience at this Retreat)...her hospitable touches added the perfect accompaniment to this superb Homeopathic experience...she filled out the program perfectly. I won't brag about the nightly entertainment, the swag bags and the yoga, massages, recreational activities all lined up for us that all you simply had to do was roll out of bed to be driven over to yoga for instance (why walk up hill when hiking trails at sea level are available?). One could also traipse over to other things, like a paddle or swim in the Pacific Ocean...there was no shortage of relaxation if you made the effort - which was difficult to do as one could simply stay put in our lodgings...literally a Lodge...Aryana operated from their home nearby but popped in regularly and dined with us in the evenings at the Lodge at the Old Dorm, a most accommodating accommodation for us Homeopaths.

I would be amiss not to mention some details about our accommodation, the venue for our studies...thus, this is about Dan the Man! He was totally the best host along with his wonderful assistants Monica and Roberta. This is the place that gets taken over by a bunch of Homeopaths for 6 nights and rolls with the punches (we were well behaved but somewhat zany - all within reason naturally as we all have our VF's balanced, lol). There is plenty of room for all at the Inn and it was just so darn comfortable - a place to hang and socialize as well as to have some reflective time. See the pics in below link for a sense of its fabulousness. The meals were simply wonderful taste experiences, with ingredients that are wholesome, often local and mouth watering. The opening shot has the living room we sat in for our gatherings each day (and evenings after dining)...it was so comfy that I actually sat there each evening gabbing with a few others on the sofas that were made more comfortable with the great company and a glass of wine in hand;-)


Nancy, Judith and Carol...my bestest roomie!
The Homeopath People (a breed unto ourselves no doubt): I first have to say that I had the best roomie ever! Carol Krones. She hosts the HMC from her school that she co-founded in Nashville in 2002. I could definitely imagine her as a great teacher. She and I stayed up later than I would have in a room of my own - there was no need to read to drop off to sleep as Carol and I gabbed and giggled in our respective comfy beds till we were ready to nod off...I felt like an English School girl with her and not just because of her delightful British accent. She had not been to Bowen for over 10 years and I would plan my return to coincide with her as she was great fun and insightful around everything we talked about from Homeopathy to life in general...a delightful woman & wise like her namesake;-) The others Americans and Canadians were great fun and wonderful fellow companions for this Retreat as well. I loved getting a sense of the wisdom of experience and seeing the applied learning styles of some very good Homeopaths: David and John are as smart as the other fellow we had in our bunch, Marty -- my bud from back home (Bring water shoes next time Marty... for the next time we do a repeat of a swim in the Pacific. The beach we hit was called Pebble Beach, it was a very refreshing swim, but water shoes are in order - my flip flops were difficult to swim in).

And the other Carol - fabulous Carol Jones - that was there...my friend/mentor also from my city, kept the East Coast numbers up and in particular the Toronto representation....with lovely Judith Mapleson being there from Owen Sound, Ontario not far from Toronto. The latter representing along with the 2 Carols the British contingent with Judith being a born and breed Brit - she comes from the lovely British heritage of Homeopaths, like Carol of Nashville. In fact, it seemed they both had been at the same Beatles concert as teens! Both have the exquisite brilliance of the British school of Homeopathy.

There was also another Laura and like myself she has been doing Homeopathy for around the same period of time as I have...she is in Minneapolis, a hot bed of Homeopathy! Also from the East were Linda and Nancy Frederick - the latter runs the school, Baylight Homeopathy School in Portland, Maine (where Lou teaches once a year after the Vancouver gang gets his yearly updates - his HMC grads are such a big continent he has to go coast to coast cause it makes sense for him to fly as opposed to all of us!). Linda is from the Jersey Shore and literally lives on the edge - whereby the disastrous flooding of the shoreline in 2012 hit her home and she is still living with the effects of this.

Linda, aka the Queen, myself, Marty and the "other" Laura
Linda was someone I had as a kayaking buddy and we had the best morning paddle together...that was a traipse to the dock to get geared up and was done half asleep on my part...with my wake up coffee afterwards with Linda at a local café (the one that remembered my name, so sweet). I actually was wide awake with heightened senses kayaking with Linda not only for the wildlife - sea otters folks are big critters - but because Linda was full of interesting stories...including on what I call her Homeopathic Royalty. She had a great, great Uncle that was a North Eastern American Homeopathic Doctor and was right out of our history books...she also learned her Homeopathy with some of the first after George Vithoulkas was brought over to North American  - who taught Louis Klein and the others we have as teachers and are world renowned Homeopaths right here amongst us. Linda learned from these teachers right at her career start: I refer to Jeremy Sherr and Vega Rosenberg being some of her teachers along with Louis Klein. Talk about an initiator, she and some others brought them to their doorstep to learn directly from them for themselves. Yes, books are good, but a teacher that has sound and creative personal experience is invaluable. I too feel lucky that I got Lou's teachings at the beginning of my own studies.

So, the peeps in and out of the Inn were just awesome and I will go back just for that aspect of the Retreat. But, believe it or not, I did actually go for the Homeopathy, ha ha. However, the camaraderie was what I do treasure, it was simply the greatest. As Lou himself said, where can you be and not have to explain yourself? I recall Linda on our morning paddle speaking to this: why she comes year after year...as many of those attending do (some annually and some every few years).

Torontonian Homeopaths: Carol and myself
I will also mention that the West Coast was well represented with California, Oregon and Washington States all covered. California by the fabulous David and fantastic Christine (see pic of her and I eating roasted Crickets for breakfast in my Facebook album. They were good - they were an addition from Roberta, and the spicing was actually yummy, Mexican style*).

* - we also did have another moment together, Christine and myself -  on skit night, but that will be kept from you all, my lovely readers. Some things that happen on Bowen really ought to stay on Bowen. Lets just say it was one of those moments that you had to be there for. I will say this: it involved the yoga position Downward Dog. BYW, this skit night was one of our own making, a totally off the wall good time - even without having attended the HMC where Lou plays clips of SNL footage (for educational purposes, lol) you would likely be able to roll with this, as it seems to me that a prerequisite of being a Homeopath is to have a good sense of humour if not to be a little zany. Granted our North American sensibilities would be repertoried I am sure by our brethren from afar;-)

At this point I detour for a sec and mention that the local entertainers, 2 musicians on 2 separate evenings, were totally talented song writers and performers. With one evening being a fellow originally from out East (Kingston Ontario - once a busker with a guitar that reminded of the Irish fellow in the Dublin film, Once. A belt-it-out-kind-of-guy that was very good, no mic necessary)...and the woman that played the keyboard was so great too...wonderful voices/styles with smart repertoires, including a great rendition of Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah. As you know, an iconic Canadian song that makes you want to weep no matter who sings it - even my daughter does her own version and I get a lump in my throat each time she sings along with k.d. lang. Although I did not weep I was moved as I believe everyone was by the music we experienced.

Barbara and John, laid back West Coasters
Also in attendance were John of Oregon (originally of California) and Barbara - with the latter having a practice in the Seattle Market Place...that I simply love and now know can crash her office if in town and need a Homeopathic conversation over coffee. Barbara and I lunched in Vancouver at the other end, once we got off the Island and it was nice to have her, the other newbie this year, to be with for the boat rides to and from Bowen from downtown Vancouver's Granville Market. Also a very nice market that I know and love very much...

To view my Facebook Album of Bowen so that you can see the cast and locale just Friend me on FB.

The "Agenda" or the Homeopathy of this Homeopathic Retreat:

Each year an agenda of topics to be covered is sent out to everyone attending with a Theme, Cases, Provings, etc. for all to go over prior to arrival. So, we had Bacterial Statements to do, see if a Genus Epidemicus could be found for Ebola, Felidae Cases & Scholten Plant System to go over and there was the informal tasks too - little did I know - of having fun, wining & dining and even doing a skit! the inklings I had of these hadn't stuck in my mind but I must say I am still savouring this part of Bowen just as much as the great Homeopathy...oh yes, now I will break down the Agenda and explain what we did and learned together.

"Tell me, I’ll forget
Show me, I’ll remember
Involve me, I’ll understand"
Chinese Proverb

The operative word here is "together" as we really got to be a tight knit working group for the purpose of moving forward as a group; and one lively group of very compassionate and humane Homeopaths we were. All were supportive and this made for a mutually healthy learning opportunity...with Lou leading us not unlike Captain Kirt or Jean-Luc Picard...on the Starship Enterprise (but with a better sense of humour) going where no Homeopath has gone before...okay, not at all like this but somehow felt that we were going into the cosmos on a mission....

So, here is the Agenda broken down so you get a sense of what items we covered over our 5 days of working till we built up hearty appetites to wine & dine guilt free:

Jan Scholten's Plant System & Lou's Orchids book surrounded by our very Plant Kingdom-like masks
1) Plant System work was done in conjunction with Jan Scholten who was skyped in by Lou right off the bat (the second day) so as to get into looking at cases with the newest insights by the man who made the System we were trying to wrangle with...we had prepped by going over Plant cases of Lou's that were successful and then looking at the remedy in relation to Scholten's schema...where the Plant Species sat in terms of Botanical Classification, which is the basis of Jan's work Homeopathically prescribing Plant remedies. We came up after doing cases a list of questions from the group, who more or less with exception of one person, were already attempting and using the System with some success. That was already fun...we Homeopaths are easy to please as long as we can do...well...Homeopathy! I had gone to Bowen with a case that I just had taken prior to departing from home and operated with assumption that it was a Plant and it was throughout the week whenever we did Plant work that I would focus in the back of my mind on the case. A patient with complaints of allergies - she had been the "Allergic Kid", but as stated on her medical intake history she had also had Diabetes since age 9 or 10. It proved the right thing to do because literally in the final hour (I was one of two that were last of the gang to leave Bowen, and it is often the case in the final hour we hit on a rx) I hit upon her remedy and sure enough just heard from the patient the other day that there was a very nice reaction...more on this later as the choice of remedy definitely would not have arisen without Bowen/Lou's stewardship and what I will tell you about that has been a total breakthru for many of us on Scholten's Plant System. Keeping you hanging on this as I am sticking to the Business Agenda and using Robert's Rules of Order....or at very least keeping some order here in my blog posting, lol
Earthy Christine of San Francisco, CA
2) Bacteria Remedy Statements: what the heck is this fun tradition that I speak of? I must admit without former knowledge I would be totally unable to fathom what this could be about. Well, let me tell you about this fun?! activity you all....in previous years what Lou started doing was coming up with statements that are pithy and succinct summaries about a remedy (ones under a Family or grouping) that are for us, Homeopaths, to use as way to speak a common language about the remedy. Acids and Snakes were already done and seemed from what could gage fun times for all...it was for me hard work and made my brain ache but worth it to get sense of Bacterial Remedies (Nosodes for instance in the Miasms and Nosodes book, Volumn I being on the Bacterially based ones as opposed to the upcoming book that Lou will have out one day on Virally based Nosodes). Lou's book eluded us: not a copy to be found even by Lou who forgot to bring his own book from his bookshelves each day...mind you he knew the topic well enough as the others seemed also to...so we did proceed especially as source info was available with WIFI on the Island and in our lodge.

An Acid Statement starts with the words "Burning thru..."...so, Floric Acid is Burning thru sex and status as an example. For Snake Venon Statements an example of overall Family of Elapinae is the "Fate of the Brood", and with Naja being specifically "I am the only one to decide who is king or queen and rules the brood.". Cool eh? Our words for a Bacterial based remedy were "Overcoming boundaries for the purpose of infecting with..."...we were divided into small groups of 4 people to work at a group of Nosodes, which happened once the whole group had isolated as it were the main statement for Bacterial remedies in general...it was hard work let me tell you but effortless as it seemed the brainstorming we did as group had one thing lead to another and Lou facilitated well so as to record up front on the screen what work, draft statements, we accomplished and moved us forward each step of the way....so if we collaborating Homeopaths could just run the world we would solve world peace or global warming right on Bowen Island all the while enjoying ourselves.

3) Ebola as you know is hitting epidemic proportions in Africa and Lou thought if we could work on looking at a more geographically specific remedy from the traditionally used Crotalus horridus and maybe somehow with contacts in Africa we could help with a possible Genus Epidemicus...prior to heading to Bowen I had looked up images of what the effects of bites of snakes look like and interestingly the Southern Africa Green Mamba has the same look of hemorrhagic bleeding and sxs that Ebola produces...what happened was interesting for us as a look at Bryonia showed that it would be a good prophylaxis: to give out to the population that have exposure to the virus and that way help stop the spread...and even a beginner, as you know, would have come to this just by looking at remedy relations (ie - to Crot-h)...so, hopefully, if we can just get the WHO on board with Homeopathy. At least there is acknowledgement of Homeopathy as being used world wide, but to help get the remedies out on a grand scale during an epidemic will be another story. I believe from what Dana Ullman sent out as a newsflash of late that the WHO is going to, at last, do research that will involve Homeopathy...what we did on Bowen was cursory work and just to have us thinking along the lines of going back to what Homeopathy has as a strength.

For further reading on the very important and timely topic of Epidemics and Homeopathy here is a great "piece" by Harry van der Zee in Interhomeopathy. His fascinating ideas/suggestions really should be considered seriously by all of us, as no doubt Louis Klein has done:




4) Lac felinum cases ended up simply being what we touched on as a wrap for the week. And a fitting end on Day 5 it was because true to the spirit of Lou turning the learning into a very sustainable, enriching experience that involved sharing cases that group members had success with. Marty Begin had a great case of tigers urine, Panthera tigris tigris....one that involved him creatively reflecting on the whole Tiger Mother syndrome that effects East Asian families and can be stressful when out of context from a Confucian-based society, and maybe within these days?! Were there or are there Tiger Mothers in China? Beats me but really a great example of using our general knowledge to get us on the right track. Marty and all of us, of course, always move to checking out the details to ensure that the match is tip top. The hunch which proved to be a great one bore out with the beautiful unfolding of cure that was spelt out for us, which was helpful just as much as a description of the CC (which incidently I can not remember the details of). This was a situation maybe of the patient having taken on the traits of their upbringing so as to have her intimate relationship be effected so that even in their downtime all they could do is think and problem solve about work...Talk about a workaholic...as with a general term, just like in our rubrics, it was a specific or unique way of being a high achiever for this individual.

Judith, Lou, Marty with Monica serving a great gazpacho soup.
Finishing up my posting for you here. But, will share something that illustrates a few things: how Louis Klein is insightfully brilliant and also, how the synergy of the Bowen experience worked so as to be able to have a group a ha moment. This might be a little confusing unless you are already working with Jan Scholten's Plant System. But if you are not bear with me and also I will direct you to the piece I did on the Jan's Plant System in this Blog or I would recommend that you look in Interhomeopathy. By now there are a few pieces that explain it including by Jan himself...I will in future hopefully have some of my articles in North American journals in Interhomeopathy to add to the growing body of explanations (mine compare as well with other Plant Kingdom work). Back to what I was saying: Lou gave us a gift that helped me with the case I worked on while away on Bowen and now have applied since Bowen in another Plant case....this one pending successful prescription but will keep you posted on this.

So there we were sharing our own personal insights on the aspect of the numbers - the Homeopathic ones or Jan's numbers - again see Interhomeopathy and hopefully I can actually put my articles here (permission pending - gotta ask those journals on this, if you are the author can you use in your own Blog?). Anyways, the numbers are matched to Botanical Classification in that Jan's numbers bring you to an actual Plant Species or, relevant for us, to an individual Remedy of a Plant Family....well, Lou did a Louis Klein on the spot (well, after a night of work once we parted ways after an evening of music and relaxing). He went home and reflected till he got a piece of working knowledge for us that can only be described as A++  or maybe, well, brilliant.

Here goes: if you are trying to figure out the place the patient is within or without the group (Phases) and also trying to figure out the arena of where this place plays out (Series of Periodic Table) a way you can do it according to Lou is ask the question of the patient's problem/current life issue: Is the patient comfortably in the midst (Phase 4) of her relationships (Series 3 or Silica Series)? as an example. Another could be: What kind of Leader is this person? are they impulsive? The remedy number we were looking at for this last question is: #663.41.10

So, the first 6 is an Angiosperm and the second 6 is for the "Leader", or a Lanthanide Plant (in the gold or Leadership Series as you know) and then the 3 is the Sub-Series...in the doubting side still, or still an outsider of the group of the 7 Phases/places one could be...again for those that know or use the Plant System. The 4th number here is a 4, which is in the centre (like Stage 10 of Element Theory, which is the middle of the 7 Phases...there is no 3.5;-) Note- in the rx, the person is like the Matriarch or Patriarch of a Clan...Last number of relevance is a 1, which is the Impulsive Leader. So, if you get to this Plant when using the numbers, you can ask questions as in the above to confirm the Rx for your patient. The remedy incidentally is Dianthus caryophyllus that totally exemplifies what Jan has about the rx in his book (in terms of an actual case we reviewed): caring nurturing matriarch that is "warm and cosy, like to cuddle and cook, care and clean", p. 536 of Wonderful Plants. The common name of this Plant is Carnation or Clove Pink...funny as it's quite a practical flower now that I think of it and is all about the business of loving but in an innocent and practical way...as in it being put in a lapel or used as a corsage for a Prom or put in a vase at a table in a family restaurant, not usually at a high end really romantic place, more a pseudo-romantic establishment...hum...will have to go over cases again to see if I got the right feel for the remedy...Note again: the .10 at the end is the number of the actual Stage of the 18 that are on the Periodic Table...so again 10 signifying in this case/patient the Matriarch.

So, really that is about it on Bowen - of what I feel might give you my reader an insight into a really beautiful experience - this is perhaps our North American version of the Wad Stories of Jan Scholten, or one of his Trituration Proving Expeditions or also maybe of the Bombay Group's (Sensation Method/currently The Other Song) annual seminar...as well, Massimo Mangialavori in North America has a following that I believe must be very much about community just as much so as his insightful MM. I feel all us Homeopaths the world over can truly benefit from having a community - our work on cases and in our constant study can be quite isolating.  A large part of what we do is reflect inwardly on the outside world/patients we see and on ourselves...but, it is so very important to make connections. Study and proving groups, retreats, seminars and journals have all been essential for us to grow our practices and ourselves...even Hahnemann and the early Homeopaths corresponded with each other right from the start, that is how they not just shared info but stayed connected and likely sane!

The 2oth Anniversary of Links in 2007 (where does time go?) exemplifies the spirit of what, again I reference Harry van der Zee (another person I need to meet!), we should all aim for: interconnectedness. The publishers/editors at the celebratory Congress spoke to this, cause really Homeopathy is about being alive and, therefore, evolving/growing...which is about connecting and being together with all life.


I feel very connected to some very special people - from Lou and Aryana to the all others that I took the HMC as well. And I hope that I can continue to connect with everyone on Lou's Webinars and now, fortunately, my 2014 Bowen retreat buddies. So, I thank Louis Klein for the 20 years of his Luminos Homeopathy and will be forever thankful that I found the community he created for many of us in North America to enhance our lives and our patients as well. Thank you Lou so much.

On a Bowen Island Hiking Running Trail
I will end with some quotes I feel speak to my experience of Bowen and Beyond.

For Lou Klein and Aryana Rayne:

Think not lightly of good, saying “It will not come to me.” Drop by drop is the water pot filled. Likewise, the wise one, gathering it little by little, fills oneself with good.

Buddha, from the Dhammapada

And from the poem Lapis Lazuli by William butler Yeats

There, on the mountain and the sky,

On all the tragic scene they stare.

One asks for mournful melodies;

Accomplished fingers begin to play.

Their eyes mid many wrinkles, their eyes,

Their ancient, glittering eyes, are gay.

And last but not least...

We live in a vast and awesome universe in which, daily, suns are made and worlds destroyed, where humanity clings to an obscure clod of rock. The significance of our lives and our fragile realm derives from our own wisdom and courage.

Carl Sagan

Bye Bye Bowen...I will return...

1 comment:

  1. Thanks, Laura, for allowing us to experience the retreat vicariously and for sharing so many of your fascinating insights!