Two years ago I set out on journey that has taken me to stunning places, off the beaten track, where people that have made a choice to live holistically have opened their hearts and their homes, sharing their happiness, health and good fortune with friends and world travellers alike. I found myself in quite unique places where people from around the world – an eclectic mix of travelers, students, professionals, artists and free spirits- come together to disconnect from technology, connect with one self and with people, to share food and moments, to dance, to think, to walk in nature, to tell stories around the fire and make music with friends they had not met before.
At the same time I started looking into holistic therapies and with that surfaced the idea that the whole of one’s life choices should be holistic, balanced and connected. Easier said than done. Everything is connected.
In medicine, an holistic approach means that the practitioner is looking at a person as a whole being made of a complex array of interdependent systems, therefore taking into account mental, emotional, energetic, social and environmental factors, rather than just treating the symptoms of a disease.
As a philosophy, Holistic is simply based on the belief that the parts of something (a person, a community, the world..) are intimately interconnected and explicable only by reference to the whole. An holistic lifestyle aims to balance all aspects of life: Physical & psychical health, energy flows, relations with inner-self and others, sense of purpose and meaning of life..
There is a common focus on the importance of connection and balance, but there is no universal recipe for happiness. Connection to one’s true self, to others and to the rhythms and cycles of nature; balance, in the individual’s mind, body, and spirit and with all aspects of life. People would recommend me one of the 1k manuals on changing your life. ‘Yes, great! but How do people balance their life, practically, in the everyday? What does A balanced holistic life looks like?’ There can’t be a universal definition of a lifestyle that balances everything for all individuals. So I set out to find out, see by myself and experience what holistic means for people and what resonates with me.
For me, following my inclination meant sea, sunshine and good food. So that is how I have started. One day I left Oxford and headed south, ‘I am going looking for fresh oranges! I’m heading to Sicily, the long way round!’. Two years on, this journey have taken me to meet special people and brought me to magical places, of the kind that you can’t find unless you already know where they are. Following breadcrumbs across Europe, I have met beautiful courageous people that have chosen to make radical life choices to follow their heart and their dreams.
There is the consciousness of being a part of a bigger system: the eco-system. The place we live in, the relations we keep, the food we eat; they all are fuels of human life. The quality of the fuels we chose to aliment our life energies determines the quality of life. Literally. We can be vegan or omnivore, but we understand that what we eat is the energy that sustain our life. We have a symbiotic relationship with food. we put energy to produce our food and our food puts energy into our bodies. If food is prepared with positive energy, or if our relationship with food is positive, we consume positivity. Physical and mental health are directly correlated to diet. Food is the life-force energy that comes from the sun and the earth: yogis call it Prana. The quality of energy in your body is fundamentally the energy of the food you eat.
“Let thy food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food.” -Hippocrates
This I understood living in the Tao Centre Colwyn, gardening with Barry, the Daoist master that moves the energy of the Chi in ancient stone circles in the hills of North Wales, that writes songs about healing your internal organs and offers ancient wisdom blended together with the best fruit & veg smoothies I have ever tasted. His home is a meditation centre, his life a balanced daily practice.
For many the choice of a holistic lifestyle has meant ‘getting out of the mainstream system’ (earn to buy) to invest time and energy directly in gaining a better quality of life that money can’t buy. For many the choice to re-connect with nature and to return to working the land, organically, is the best and obvious option to regaining one’s own time and be able to eat healthily, to give to one’s children the taste of genuine food. So, many have left the sandwich lunch in front of a pc to dedicate themselves to growing their fresh food with love and care, to be able to pick it from the garden, full of taste and Prana – ‘life energy’.