Welcome to Bahay Kalipay, a house of healing in Palawan, where I found myself on a quiet inner journey for six days barely a month ago.
…and this daily habit of having to take off one’s shoes and walk with naked feet on the floor is simple but it does what it is meant to do… which is to disarm, interrupt, like a cymbal clanging in a church, or maybe more like a flute in a library. It is strange but not unpleasant, maybe even friendly…
Living in a communal setting also disarms– especially for someone who values private space and the comforts of familiar noise or absolute silence.
I went to Palawan to visit my old friend, Pompet, and still no day passes that I don’t go back to those six days and wonder what really happened there.
When you go to a place expecting to live simply and commune with nature, you prepare yourself by leaving behind your city habits… As someone who has no attachment to TV, newspapers, radio and magazines, I didn’t expect to have to adjust much.
I went with a passive mindset–I was there to observe, I was just going to watch.
The days went by quietly, and to a certain extent, uneventful…
There was no novelty to shock or animate something dormant… The Inner Dance meditation was new, but it was very pleasant, and familiar…
Even the raw food aspect of the retreat–nothing but fruits and uncooked vegetables for 6 days–was easy to adapt to, it was a joy for me to eat so healthily.
I felt I had no need for healing, and let myself get comfortable believing that…
Maybe with no expectations, the true healing I needed happened.. quietly, without drama, without external hints.
Something I’ve been asking for this whole year–clarity–came to me so quietly soon after my trip, and I now realize that the search for clarity has always been the search for honesty. To have clarity is to have the path cleared, so that one can see himself wholly and truly, and hear his own voice, follow his own rhythm.
What comes next is the courage to uphold that truth, to pursue it, not without fear, for fear is part and parcel of life, but to press on in spite of those fears.
I’ve always wanted to be brave, and here it is–my most trying test: Do I have the courage to be who I truly am, and also to let go of who I am not?
* * *
Pompet is Pi, healer and in more ways than one, father of Bahay Kalipay.
Bahay Kalipay, as “a self-sustainable community of healers, artists, gardeners, teachers, and earth-conscious people from around the world, some permanent, some in transit,” is a retreat space that offers Healing, Raw Food, Detox, Yoga in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan. It is also the main retreat center of an ancient Filipino Spiritual Healing Practice which is today called Inner Dance.
Bahay Kalipay, Lot 38E, Hagedorn Road Extension, San Pedro, Puerto Princesa, Palawan, Philippines.
* Pi Villaraza: +63 9994512765
* Daniw Arazola: +63 09081391139
Dreams are underway to build a community of healing further north, this time on the mountains of Palawan, which makes my heart leap quietly, especially when I liken it to Tolkien’s Rivendell, The House of Healing which was home to Elrond, Lord of the Elves:
Frodo was now safe in the Last Homely House east of the Sea. That house was, as Bilbo had long ago reported, “a perfect house, whether you like food or sleep, or story-telling or singing, or just sitting and thinking best, or a pleasant mixture of them all.” Merely to be there was a cure for weariness, fear and sadness.
Imagine living in a place of abundant healing energy such as this:
“But it feels impossible, somehow, to feel gloomy or depressed in this place. I feel I could sing, If I knew the right song for the occasion,” said Pippin.
“I feel like singing myself,” laughed Frodo. “Though at the moment I feel more like eating and drinking!”
What do you see?
(Images of Rivendell and Lord of the Rings quotes are fromThe Rivendell Image Gallery)