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Letters from our Patients

Its not one thing that heals at Pleroma Farm, rather it's a daily process of being and doing. There were many therapies, some of them scheduled like the essential oil dispersion baths, therapeutic eurythmy, rhythmical massage, music therapy and projected geometry. Some of the healing was just finding myself surrounded by kindness. (People and events that are healing by their very nature).
I came to Pleroma Farm in the middle of January 2007 with anxiety difficulties and liver problems that had not allowed me to sleep well for four months. I didn't know what would happen when I came here; I only knew that I must come.
First it was the food that helped me, fresh eggs from the farm chickens, Yogurt and butter from raw milk and bioorganic pork, beef and chicken. The food was so good, I ate with gusto (no one especially the bathroom scale can say I don't have a good appetite).
The rhythm on the farm is quiet and simple. My "work" on the farm consisted of doing straight forward things like collecting eggs and pruning trees. Being out in the sun, wind and snow, watching birds flock a fly was a clear part of healing for me and my time doing chores can not be dismissed as mere farm handwork. The progression of my own capacities over the six weeks was just amazing.
All the therapies I did (or really were done to me or with me) were, of course, important parts of my time at Pleroma Farm. The essential oil dispersion baths were prepared with reverence and great care. The results were revitalizing and strengthening. My favorite therapy was therapeutic eurhythmy. This is a discipline that combines sound with movement and was challenging, powerful and life giving.
Another important component of my time at Pleroma Farm was afternoon projected geometry "lessons" with Arthur Lups. I was taught to create geometrical forms that, in the end, gave structure, patience and calm to my thinking processes.
I will always remember my morning meetings with Dr.Lups. Together we explored my personal history through biographical writing. She offered sound advice and compassionate wisdoms as well as anthroposophical remedies to help my liver and nerves.
Everyone's journey through life and toward health is unique. Everyone's experience at the farm is also individual. What I know to say about me, with the deepest gratitude, is halleluiah, I am whole!
Janice W. February 16, 2007

Dr. Ana Lups called me back herself within an hour of my first leaving a message that Sunday. Now I am at the end of a two week stay at Pleroma Farm, her retreat / clinic.
The stay was organized quickly and simply after our call. She was clear that we would be working toward physical strengthening and also strengthening my resolve to work the life threatening disease I have.
We worked daily during the time, touching into the very fabric of my being physically and spiritually. We looked together at pathology, symptom, medical history, dreams and symbols (which had meant so much to me in my life work), developmental bumps, constitutional weaknesses, soul longing and my life passions. Dr. Lups listens deeply and reflected the patterns she saw. She brought wisdom, humor, medical knowledge, fairy tales mythology, spiritual insight and depth of intuition to meet me at each stage of the process.
The weather around us seemed to reflect the process and all it held. There were freezes one day, wild winds the next, melt and sun and spring birds the next and than a massive snow storm. The farm itself and its pure spirit provided the container for the work.
The love I have experienced and the warmth and tone I began to cultivate in me in response to every aspect of the treatment was the core of the healing. I experienced it in each person who worked with me.
Finding what was essential for me to work towards in the months to come out of this process, was the GOLD for me. This has been an initiation I am deeply grateful for.
Candace L. March 17, 2007

When I reflect on that experience in the field I have to laugh. My first task on Pleroma Farm was to remove the rocks scattered about an open field that would one day become a garden. Simple one would think, just pick up the rocks, put them in the wheelbarrow, wheel it over to the rock-pile, deposit them, and repeat. At that time in my life, it was anything but simple, how could one do anything when they are too busy thinking about it? "How many rocks are here?" "How long will this take?" "These are so heavy, is it possible to pick them up one by one and actually finish?" "I'd like to pick up that rock over there, oh, it's somewhat buried, alright, maybe this one will, no too big." After hours of mind numbing activity I was successful in clearing what appeared to be nothing. Not even a dent was made in this daunting task, and I was exhausted. By the end of my stay on Pleroma Farm, I was tending the field, which had now become a twenty some-odd bed garden, pretty much single handedly, with no previous gardening experience. Cutting the beds, sowing the seeds, weeding, caring, cultivating, and harvesting. So what happened in-between? I can only say that she happened. The farm happened, and I followed suit.
Chipping away at the past through biography work, and eventually realizing I was not a victim of my life, but rather part of its brilliant educational design, I began to free myself from its tenacious grip. Working with chickens, cows, plants, tools . . . all deep mysteries for one from the city life, I was in a constant state of unknowing, needing to be awake and respond. I was being forced to be present! And I was pissed. My thoughts raging like a hurricane, "why isn't the farmer doing this with me?" "It's his farm." "Why isn't this baby calf cooperating with me?" The world was fighting against me . . . no, I was fighting against me. My thoughts were fighting against me, and my ability to just be.
This all became acutely conscious for me one morning when I was driving the cows back out to pasture. It was a beautiful morning, and I was nervous and anxious, I asked myself, "why on earth am I nervous and anxious," and at that moment I heard my thoughts. Those thoughts said, "God I hope the cows don't stray from their line . . . please God let them stay in a perfect line." When I heard this I was shocked and the layers began to peel away and I realized that it was this line of thinking that was keeping me away from actually experiencing the cows. How could I ever know anything about the nature of a cow if it continuously walked in a straight line? And then I traveled deeper, these thoughts were preventing me from understanding and thus loving the cow, loving the reality of the cow. I was stunned. Everything became quiet and I realized my thought structures had been getting in the way of experiencing the real. Getting in the way of the possibility for loving the world.
This was a painful awakening at first, because I was bumping heads with these thought structures everywhere, me against the world when I wanted so deeply to be with it, but how? Then one day, I was cutting a bed in the garden, my hands were so sore that it felt as if they were black and blue with bruises, I was in so much pain that I started to cry and fell to my knees beside the open bed. I couldn't physically continue, I didn't know how to proceed, and then it happened. I heard it, "put your hands in the soil." This wasn't like those other thoughts, this was coming from the soil and from deep inside me at the same time, gently revealing without motive. So the only thing I could do was it. I put my hands in the cool, rich, dark soil . . . and they began to drink. They began to drink the water of the earth. When they were full, I pulled them out, stood up, and continued to work with renewed strength and no pain. From that point on I realized that everything I needed to learn was right there, open and willing to speak if I could just be quiet enough to hear it.
That become the "how." All the chores, tasks, and dealings with animals became listening activities . . . or shall we say the constant attempt to listen, and bit by bit I started to experience the farm. She started to reveal herself to me, and I to her. This is where I began to understand the term "therapeutic farm." I could make mistake after mistake, and she didn't judge, she merely provided another experience in which to have the possibility of understanding, and the anger that filled me, imprisoned me, began to dissolve and eventually break through to the possibility of gentleness. I didn't have to fight myself to find myself. I had to hold myself, and listen.
Time passed, wellness increased, and I began to meet others coming to the farm. What were they looking for? I asked an 18 year old this very question, and she replied with steady eyes . . . "the truth." Another common answer among people was, "I don't know." It began to become clear to me that deep within we are all looking for the truth, and the reason we don't know it is because we are avoiding the pain of it. The pain of letting go of the illusions that veil it, our thoughts that veil it. This was what happened for me on the farm, my illusory thought paradigms crumbled, and I was left with nothing but the possibility of the activity of finding truth in the present, in the doing, in the conversational interactions with everything that was the farm. I believe I needed to be in that kind of an environment because it is easier to love a daisy on a patch of green than a used needle in my alley-way. It is easier to want to know something that welcomes you, easier to sink into the soil than the concrete. The beauty of the environment openly inviting you in as if to say "it's okay guys . . . the water's fine." This is what I believe to be the most important aspect of the farm. It is a safe, beautiful place to step out into the world, into yourself, and begin to say yes to it. It is a place where life is revealed, and joy found in its revelation. Certainly this eventually translates to the needle in the alley-way. But the initial steps out into the yearning to perceive the world require a certain tenderness . . . the kind that wells up in heart when one sees a new born calf get up and stand.
It is my firm understanding that unless we can begin to perceive and communicate with the forces of life, the joy will dwindle and we will be overcome. Right now the world of technology that sucks the life from us and draws us ever more away from reality is taking a strong hold. It does our doing. It thinks our thinking. It runs our lives. Unless a counterbalance is created we will be in its clutches with little possibility of freedom. The counterbalance is life. The life within, and the life that surrounds us, we must learn to perceive it. This relationship must be cultivated. Nature can help us.
Young people today are raised with and through technology. I am not going to pretend I know the full extent of what that means, but what I do know is that "reality" is becoming lost in translation. With computer games such as "Second Life", where people can live a fantasy life based purely on their desires and thoughts of what they want, and web pages such as "My Space" where people can create a sense of false identity, we are getting further away from the reality of the world and our self. These things must be met and understood, but I believe we need a fighting chance. A healthy starting point.
By connecting with the realm of life and beginning to harmonize our relationship to it we will have a fighting chance. It is my hope that a therapeutic farm could serve to build a foundation of health, a relationship to the real, that could give young people an opportunity at not only surviving in the world, but thriving. Through healthy food, farm labor, work in perception, movement, and learning to disarm destructive thought patterns, we could work to create an educational environment where a young person's true humanity could be given the chance to begin to unfold . . . the chance to flower in the ever challenging harshness of the modern world climate.
Stacey S. February 14, 2008