2019: A year of transformation
Part-time work, daily meditation, six-weekly osteopathy… Isn’t that enough?
September 2019: For several months now, I have felt that I was approaching another crash. My body started protesting again, my head didn’t ignore it this time. I thought to myself: I know this, but why is it happening again?
Time to switch back. I went to the doctor and had blood taken. I turned out to be short of just about everything that gives you energy: B12, vitamin D and iron. OK, then I take supplements for a while, and in no time I am back the energetic, cheerful Margot.
A month later, I had gained some physical strength, but I kept on feeling that I was dragging myself through life. I didn’t understand a thing. I had changed my life since my crash in 2015! Part-time work, daily meditation, six-weekly osteopathy… Isn’t that enough?
I felt the need to get away from it all. I didn’t want to go on holiday, I wanted to retreat to nature, be irritable. Ideally, I could stay somewhere where the weather was still good, and I was served super tasty and healthy food.
Then the magic started.
I expressed my wish to my colleague. As we often do, he then shared a podcast in which Dr Will Cole (guest at Tom Bilyeu) shared his vision on holistic medicine. The podcast reminded me of a book I read a long time ago: Homo Energeticus by Dr Peter Aelbrecht. I recommended the book to my colleague and immediately sent him the link. The book had just been revised and was available in a new edition.
That same day, in the evening, I scrolled through my Facebook and saw a post by the dear top therapist Johanna Pien Savonije. She announced that she would be working for Dr Aelbrecht in the Marnes health clinic in Spain. Funny, I thought, talked about him today and now my therapist is going to work with him. I clicked on the link www.marnes.com, and it immediately became clear: this is precisely what I was looking for.
I left my details on the website and was contacted the next day by Dr Aelbrecht himself. I told my story in short: diagnosis of autonomous dysfunction by Prof. Dr Moorkens – highly sensitive and highly gifted by psychologist Dr Elke Van Hoof – in short, highly sensitive nervous system – all the problems that go with it – various complaints from birth – finally a significant crash in 2015 – since then life has been adapted: 3/5th works, meditation, osteopathy, psych K, psychotherapy and much more on the side.
After I gave him this short summary, he immediately noticed where he thought the missing link was: the body. To get your autonomic nervous system in balance, you have to go through the body. Body directed therapy. OK. His words resonate, and I meet him for an intake.
Monday evening, I sit with my sweetheart and the mother in his practice. He explains a lot of medical matters and does the story of the three layers of the brain. I think, yeah, I give training on this myself so I know how the brain works. But in the end, he provides some new insights, and I get convinced that he understands what is wrong with my system. The autonomous nervous system is the reptilian brain, and you can only access it through your body, he explains. He is convinced that he can help me, but to reverse a pathology from birth, he recommends a stay of at least 4 weeks. After a short discussion with my sweetheart, I decide on the spot to go for it.
As I fly to a congress in Athens the next morning and he also leaves for Marnes, there is no time to waste. My microbiome is mapped, my blood is tested on an orthomolecular level, and my neurotransmitters are measured via a 12-hour urine sample.
Three more weeks and I leave for Marnes. The countdown begins.
The magic of Marnes
On November 11th in Zaventem, I say goodbye to my sweetheart. After about three hours of flying, I arrive in Alicante and am greeted by the first warm Marnes hand of Jos. A friendly Dutch person who will take me to Marnes. It’s already past midnight, and I’m broken. Around 2 o’clock at night we reach the top of the mountain where Marnes is located. Dr. Aelbrecht is waiting for me or may I say Peter? “Of course, you’re home now!” I am brought to my room and enjoy the beautiful starry sky and the view of the immense domain that is bathed in the glow of the full moon. I take a picture and want to send it to my sweetheart, but I can’t do it. No network. My Marnes retreat has begun.
After a short night, I start the day at 8 a.m. with yoga and immediately meet the other guests. Stretching for an hour has woken me up well, and I am asked to sit down at the left table for breakfast. The auto-immune table. The strictest diet. Damn.
It clicks right away with my two table-mates, and although it can be adapted to hot food for breakfast, I like it pretty much. I look at the other table and still get a bit jealous: they get oatmeal and eggs, but that’s out of the question for us.
“Don’t saw”, I think, “it’s for my own good.”
After breakfast, there is a one hour walk every day. Peter asks us to do the walk-in silence and to be aware of the surroundings. All right, then, sir doctor, if you insist. We leave, and I shoot forward like an arrow. We go for a walk, not a stroll, right? Peter comes to walk with me and silently asks me to slow down. I slow down. With difficulty. I soon notice that I’m thinking a lot. Pinball head, check. I try to repeat the mantra of my meditations, but I don’t succeed in calming my mind. When we get back to the resort, he asks what it was like. Before I realised it, I shouted out, “BOOORING!” He laughs. I don’t.
It’s 11 a.m., and the group splits up. Everyone has their own program now: personal training, Shiatsu, psychotherapy, IV-therapy, acupuncture and some other forms of bodywork. Before lunch I only have a personal consultation with Peter. The weather is beautiful, and while I’m sitting at the swimming pool in the lounge chair, Peter comes to sit with me with my file for a while. He tells me that he wants to do as little from the head as possible and that I will have a lot of bodywork during my stay. I don’t know what that bodywork means, but I think it’s all OK. He proposes to start right away. We do what I will call an “energetic session”. I don’t understand, but during the session, I get tears in my eyes. I have no idea why. I let it pass, Peter reassures me. I don’t really feel a difference afterwards but what the heck: time for lunch.
We can sit outside and get delicious avocado with ceviche as a starter. I realise that I am in paradise here. Nothing is allowed, nothing is allowed to enjoy. Johanna has arrived at the domain and accompanies us for lunch. What a wonderful feeling to have someone around here who already knows me through and through.
In the afternoon we have our “intake interview”. As we have known each other for a long time, we fly in immediately. After some chatting, I’m once again being challenged to lower down energetically to “the middle”, out of of sheer survival mechanism. Gestalt therapy, for those who are interested. I manage to get to it pretty quickly and feel an enormous peace and feeling of love coming into my system. For the first time, I really sense what that “middle” means: flow, connection, trust, vulnerability and strength, openness… I get an image (yes, besides being kinesthetic, I am also very visual) of a wave that leaves my belly and flows upwards. However, the power is not yet strong enough to break through my diaphragm to flow into my heart. I open my eyes and see a happy Johanna, my eyes appear to be shining. “Cool,” I think. More of this, please.
Later I hear that female energy flows from below (belly) up and that Peter had set this flow in motion energetically in the morning. He had determined that only my male energy was flowing, downwards. Sounds logical, I now know the computer that is my reptilian brain pretty well. It was programmed in a very masculine yang environment on being big, not crying, emotions are weak, going on, doing your best, standing your ground. I’ve known the program since my last crash, but even though my neocortex tells me all about it, it’s still lurking in my subconscious. KAK, that flow of trust from before is giving way to frustration and impatience. I know what’s wrong, I understand it energetically, endocrine, bio-mechanically and everything. Can it be fixed now, please?!
During dinner, I challenge Peter with all kinds of questions and the answers are always as fascinating as they are confronting. I ask them if they can’t just choose the subconscious program to work on it. “Unfortunately, that’s not how it works. It seems there are a lot of layers to peel off before getting to the core that was formed in my childhood. “Patience, Margot, you’ve only been here a day!” Pff, it’s that patience is my best quality, Peter.
I go to sleep with a feeling of gratitude. I’m surrounded by experts here and, above all, by all kinds of experience experts, all of whom I want to ask out all the time with my favourite neocortex and absorb all their knowledge. Ah no, I was here to get out of my head, wasn’t I? Right.
After a couple of days, I feel lowered, the energy of this place does something special to me. Suddenly I am the slowest during the morning walk. I enjoy the silences at the table during dinner and end up in something I can best call “a process”. Almost all of my treatments work on the body and are subconscious. I feel that things are going on and sleep is getting worse and worse. I sweat myself to death, and where that worries me typically, I am reassured that this is a good sign. My nervous system is looking for a new balance. I feel it’s true, the total number of stimuli in my life in Belgium was divided by 100 or maybe even more. No network, no wifi, so no mails, no Instagram, no TV, no reading. NOT AT ALL. Do nothing, just be.
After two weeks I leave the domain for a week of training to follow Johanna in Javea. I had already signed up for this before I knew about Marnes and it turns out to be a perfect addition to the Marnes story. The training is called Sensitive Soul Journey: HSP for professionals. The training is given by a system-oriented trainer, Linda Gillis and Johanna, who approaches things more from the Gestalt. Both are equi-therapists, and together we work on the beautiful domain of Johanna with her 4 horses.
I meet 8 beautiful women with tons of experience as a psychologist/therapist/coach. All professionals who are HSP themselves. I’m not able to reach the depths that we can achieve on day 1 very quickly. Everyone sinks to the layer that lies beyond the personality. WAUW, what is this?! A training in which in 5 days as much was spoken as I would otherwise be used to on 1 day of training. All of them are people who show themselves to be vulnerable. And those horses seem to have a lot to do with it.
I remained somewhat sceptical about working with horses but was especially curious to experience it myself. On day 4 I have my personal session in the round pen with Boogie, the brown gelding. I step into the round pen and after 10 minutes I am especially frustrated. “I don’t feel anything here, does something need to be done?” Boogie was clearly not in a good mood because he knocked over the stools I was sitting on one by one. He bit the whip that I had with me to indicate my limit (safety precautions as I am not used to working with horses) in half. I distanced myself and stood aside. Boogie then moved on the other side far away from me. OK then, he doesn’t need to know anything about me, does he?
Eventually, I went to him and quietly stood in front of him. With my lovely neocortex, I still can’t explain what happened then: I started crying. While the tears were rolling down my cheeks, I looked into Boogie’s eyes. I noticed that he looked much softer and suddenly he nodded. He literally said, “go ahead, it’s OK, just cry”. The tears kept coming, and Boogie came one step closer to me. He nodded again. And so I stood there until the tears stopped. I left the round pen and like everyone else, I was asked if I wanted to share something.
Not entirely understanding what had just happened, I just said what was coming to mind: I wanted to do the exercise with the stools when I didn’t really feel like it. I had thought, “just do that, don’t be silly, that’s the exercise”. Boogie literally knocked over all the stools and said exactly “fuck those stools”, I laughed. I finally made contact again. Emotions were released, and they were allowed to be there. Boogie then came closer, when I am vulnerable, there is a connection. If I let go of the form, there is a connection. Something like that.
What. The. F. That is literally my process, I suddenly realise. Happening. With spouts.
What a gift in the middle of my Marnes story.
Back in Marnes, I feel on top of the world. I am so happy to see everyone again and be completely spoiled still with the best food ever! I think that I need some time to land and fully surrender to the deep processes that I unconsciously go through here. After three weeks, I – and not only I – feel that my system has seriously failed. My fire, my female bed, my Hara, or whatever you want to call it, feels increasingly fuller and stronger. My treatments are starting again, and I am already counting on my sweetheart’s visit.
And then my sweetheart arrived. Three hours after his arrival, we were thrown into the deep end. We do a relationship therapy session and are confronted with our most prominent limitations. In this place, you really can’t keep any secret and everything gets magnified. Painful. The following days are one of the most intense in our relationship. We are both triggered by our fears and go through a rollercoaster of emotions to finally arrive at a love we hadn’t dared to feel for a long time. We find each other on the deepest layer that will always connect us: our soul. After four days he returns home, and we both feel that these four days have laid a foundation on which we will continue to work at home. Intense. Not easy at all. But oh so worth it.
The days fly by, the group changes. People leave and new guests arrive. The dynamics in the group remain super. The bond you get by living together 24/7 while going through intense processes is indescribable. Many of us are HSP and that in itself creates a bond. For the first time I feel like I’m sitting at a table with people who really seem to understand me. Blessed! We laugh a lot, but we also share silences and tears. It really has become my home here. Already a home than where I don’t have to cook or wash. Paradise, isn’t that what it is called? And all that thanks to Peter, who has created an incredibly warm setting here together with the people he has attracted to help shape this project.
Caro, the hostess who, with her Antwerp accent and crazy pelvis, always sells a wink and puts a smile on everyone’s face.
Marte, nurse and horsewoman with the softest energy I’ve ever felt.
Diana, bodyworker and at the same time makes sure that everything runs smoothly and her husband Arend, who knows how to fascinate you for hours with his rich spiritual life.
My dearest Johanna, who gave me the key to this magical place. My guide, my spiritual mother.
Leen Steyaert, the life murmur who occasionally comes to help for a week and knows how to share her passion in a way that you have so much desire in life!
Jutta Borms, the new doctor, the beauty of a woman who invests herself with heart and soul into the project.
Joey, the personal trainer who succeeded in making me like sports and introduced me to my love for boxing.
Montse, the golden hands of Marnes.
Damian, the funniest Shiatsu therapist who kicks on letting some Moxa burn on you.
Julie, who helps you wake up in the morning and let you relax in the evening.
The fantastic chefs, Dennis and Rein, the creative minds who let you eat like a royal with a restrictive diet.
All guest therapists who organised a group workshop on Sunday.
But also the larger staff, the gardener, the musicians and much more …
This article was published on Margot’s blog in Dutch: ‘My Millennial Mind’.
Read the original article here: