Tea and Pumpkin Cake

This was the first day I felt almost normal! Lucky for that, too, because I had to go to Menlo Park to complete my performance evaluation with my boss. The day in Menlo Park was quite wonderful. The results of my review were acceptable except for one slight disagreement, which we are in the process of working out. Once the review was complete, we went to lunch, as we had done so many times before. Over all, we spent about two and one-half hours of quality time together, talking about business, raising girls, martial arts, and a variety of interesting topics.

In the evening, I went to the final class of Moving Towards Health with Anna Halprin at her studio in Kentfield. I had been to her studio once before about twenty-three years ago with Gabrielle Roth, and it was even more beautiful than I remembered. The night air was cool and comfortable and the setting in the woods was quite inspiring.

After a check in, in which I shared my progress report, we did some movements on the deck. We each walked around the deck for a while to find our “spot.” Mine was at the East end of the deck facing West with a view of the very top of Mt. Tamalpias. It was gorgeous in the early evening sunlight. We made the movement into a ritual by performing the movement in each direction. Then each member was asked to dance their favorite movement and we did each person’s movement in each of the four cardinal directions.

Next, we took a silent walk in the wood around her three acre estate. At a certain point, she asked us to fan out and find our “tree.” We then spent about one-half hour with the tree, asking it questions, feeling it’s growth, and merging with “treeness.” I picked a rather tall redwood, which I was willing to share with one of the other participants, but she marched off to find another tree. I embraced the tree, listened to it’s growth, and tried to encircle it with my arms, but it was too big. So instead, I walked around the tree, which was no easy task, since the tree was situated at the top of a two or three foot embankment. Towards the end of the time with the tree, I leaned on the tree with my back supported by the tree. It was a comfortable position to observe the connection, and it also allowed me see other elements in the environment. When the bell rang, and everyone headed back to the deck, I waited to the end and urinated on the tree. I had asked the tree if it minded the last vestiges of my disease being sprayed on it’s trunk, and the tree said that for decades all kinds of deer, rabbits, skunks, and other animals had done so and the tree felt nourished by each one. My act was a symbolic representation of cleansing the cancer and drugs from my system, as well as a way of claiming my territory in that little woods.

Back at the studio, we drew pictures of our excursion, and then danced what we drew before sharing our drawings. In the dance, Anna Halprin became my tree and supported my back while we moved together. Eventually, we encompassed the whole troop and focused our healing energies around a woman who was not fine when she arrived. It was a group hug embracing a lot of love, and it felt delightful.

My picture is shown on the left. It is called Yellow Stream, of all things! Note that all of the trees grow clearly past the top of the hillside, and all of the little leaves, branches, and other natural elements that are part of the drawing. The tree is in separate from the other non-tree elements. In fact, the tree depends on the non-tree elements for it’s existence. It derives nourishment from the environment, and my contribution was minimal, if not symbolic. When I shared the meaning of my picture, everyone go hysterical. We had a good laugh for a long time.

At the conclusion of the group, Anna invited us into her house for tea and pumpkin cake. This brought the spirit of the group together and we hung out for about another hour. I found myself swinging on a hammock with two women, two of my favorites. We talked about a lot of things and when I told them that I had an alternative title for the book, Healthy Cells Grow All By Themselves, one of them said rather enthusiastically, that she would by a book with that name. Then I shared my image of “healthy cells grow all by themselves,” and they felt even more comfortable with the title. So here we have it! The bound version of Yellow Stream will be hereafter called, Healthy Cells Grow All By Themselves! It’s the official title now!


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Copyright © 2004-2018, Jerome Freedman, Ph. D.