ANECDOTES OF MY PAST
FROM MY ARCHIVES: A TOUCHING STORY FROM A HEALING CIRCLE
During this lockdown I’ve been collating boxes full of archive material stretching back decades. I came across this lovely story from the 1990s, from a lady who had taken part in one of my healing circles:
“One year ago today I participated in your healing circle in Kensington. I remember you saying how much you’d welcome feedback and I have been meaning to write for some time.
“I had been trying to have a baby for five and a half years and had almost given up hope when a friend suggested I went to one of your circles.
“During the course of the hour we sat linked together, I had many thoughts. I worked quite hard at constructing positive mental images of people I knew who were ill but then an astonishingly clear picture of myself with a fully pregnant belly, and one even more clear of a wicker cot on which holly leaves were attached just spontaneously came to mind with no effort on my part.
“My husband is half Chinese but has little contact with his family on that side. I found myself conversing with his Grandfather who had long since died and saying how much I wanted to extend the ‘Lee’ family.
“After the session I went to buy bread in a department store. The cashier was Chinese. I signed a cheque with my married name ‘Lee’. He commented that it was his name too. When I said that mine was also from China, he held the queue up and wrote the Chinese characters on the back of the till receipt saying that the ‘Lee’s’ were a very big family.
“Two weeks later I was pregnant. I hardly dared to bring myself to write to you because I couldn’t believe my luck. On November 23rd, exactly nine months after that day in Kensington, our little girl was born. She is absolute heaven and I am totally convinced that this is as a result of your healing circle.
“For this gift I cannot possibly convey enough thanks. To my mind it is also an extraordinary string of events which can be added to what must be a vast collection of similar such anecdotes from people who have had the benefit of your healing.”
THE EVENING I WAS INVITED TO SPEAK IN THE HOUSES OF PARLIAMENT
In 1997 I was invited to talk to the Parliamentary Group for Alternative and Complementary Medicine about healing. The group had been set up in order to try to give legal status to the various different complementary therapies.
Thanks in no small measure to the enthusiasm of David Tredinnick, MP, it had succeeded in getting such protection for acupuncture and osteopathy and was looking to extend it to include other complementary therapies, including healing.
My visit to the Houses of Parliament on 28 October was quite an experience. The committee room was completely packed with a wide cross-section of MPs who had never previously attended the group’s meetings. I was surprised at the high level of interest shown in healing.
After talking about my work I told them about the antagonism towards healing shown by the German authorities. Earlier that year I had been scheduled to do a healing demonstration in Berlin. Upon arrival at the airport I presented my passport which was promptly taken away whilst I was left waiting, without explanation, for a considerable time. I’d obviously been recognised by the advertising and posters for the event. I was eventually allowed entry but presumably only after the relevant authority had been alerted.
When I later reached the venue, I was met by police officers ready with a threat supported by the relevant documents: if I gave a healing demonstration, I would be arrested and the organiser would be fined the equivalent of £20,000. I had no doubt that they would keep their word and the event was cancelled at the last moment. It wasn’t the first time I had run into problems with the police preventing me from demonstrating healing in public in Germany.
In a letter of thanks David Tredinnick sent me a few days after my talk to the parliamentary group, he seemed to have taken my concern seriously:
“Your experiences in Germany gave a stark warning of the threat to healing in this country, which we must address in Parliament, perhaps at some stage in the near future. Certainly it is essential for us to be vigilant concerning all European legislation and Directives.”
It was later brought up in the House of Commons but was of less importance than other EU subjects being debated. The rest, as they say, is now history - although healing still lacks the same legal protection afforded to acupuncture and osteopathy.
ME AND MY JACKETS!
Just as some ladies amass a large collection of shoes or handbags, I went through a period in the 90s during which I amassed over sixty very bright jackets. I was doing healing demonstrations, often with audiences of thousands, as well as co-presenting ITV’s Beyond Belief with Sir David Frost and other television work. At least I stood out!
David was always intrigued as to which jacket I’d wear next - and he would egg me on. But they started to become a hindrance as the Press often gave them more attention than my healing demonstrations. The Daily Express even went so far as to suggest that I looked like “a celebrity hairdresser”.
At the time I was also frequently working in Australia and in Sydney discovered ‘Joe Bananas’, a shop selling the most extraordinary jackets. I’d often add to my collection from their rails.
On one visit, excited to see their new stock, I found the shop completely empty and assumed they were closing down. After all, was there that much demand for outrageous jackets? Talking to the manager I learned discovered that Sir Elton John had visited them ten days earlier and had bought every jacket, in every size, that they had!
Six months later we met and I complained that he’d deprived me of a new Joe Bananas jacket. He was so apologetic and asked for my address. Not long afterwards I received a large package in the post from Sir Elton. It contained four brand new Versace couture jackets, still in plastic wrapping, and was a beautiful example of the extraordinary kindness for which he is known.
One was a gorgeous purple tartan pattern which I later wore to a party. It was quickly spotted by Andrew Lloyd-Webber who made a beeline to me. He wanted to buy it from me as he said it would be perfect for the Ascot Races. I still have that jacket!
Eventually I accepted that from a PR perspective the dazzling jackets weren’t necessarily helping my cause so I kept a small number and gave the remainder to friends in bands or charity shops. Nowadays a tweed waistcoat suffices.
I was talking recently to Henni, my daughter and PA, about my jackets and joked about what she had to put up with as a child but her response was rather touching:
“Looking at those photos reminds me of being so excited for you to come home and reading ‘Gordon the Ghost’ to me!”
I spent so much time on the road but I always had to get back to the safety and anonymity of my home - and to read bedtime stories to my children.
THE EVENING I WAS INVITED TO ADDRESS THE ROYAL SOCIETY OF MEDICINE
Professor Karol Sikora, Britain’s leading cancer specialist, has long been both a champion of my work and a friend. In 1986 he arranged for me to speak to the oncology section of the Royal Society of Medicine - to the best of my knowledge, I’m the only healer to be awarded that accolade.
I’ve never suggested that complementary therapies should replace medical treatment for cancer patients and over time this has resulted in my work being accepted by numerous doctors and consultants. That evening I talked about the aspects of healing that I knew were important to people but were perceived to be lacking in conventional medical treatment - communication, understanding, empathy and touch. I knew that I was unlikely to win over the entire audience but it was an occasion to at least influence my audience.
I experienced much less scepticism than I expected. The evening seemed to at least signal a willingness on the part of some in the medical establishment to take stock of their traditional attitude of hostility to non-medical forms of treatment. It was a turning point in opening lines of communication.
A few years later I was invited to give a one-day workshop to a group of healthcare professionals from the oncology departments of two hospitals. The venue was Keele University, and the audience was composed of doctors, nurses, counsellors, and several cancer patients. The doctors organising the event were sympathetic to my work, but not all of their colleagues were as open-minded and I’d been warned about a highly sceptical consultant in the audience. I don’t care for confrontation, but I do like a challenge.
When it was time for me to demonstrate healing, I invited him to select somebody for me to treat. I also asked him to examine the person before and after the healing. He introduced one of his patients, who had undergone a mastectomy and radiotherapy for breast cancer. He explained that several muscles had been cut during surgery and that a nerve in her shoulder had been damaged by radiotherapy. As a consequence of these injuries, she was in considerable pain and her ability to move her arm was very limited. He very much doubted that healing would bring about any improvement.
Fifteen minutes later she was moving her arm in all directions for the first time in months and declaring that all the pain had gone. When I asked the consultant if he would like to re-examine his patient, he got up and said, “I’m not getting involved in this circus”, and stormed out of the workshop!
Fortunately such extreme scepticism, even in the face of evidence, has largely disappeared over the decades but I always remember this quote:
“For those who understand, no explanation is necessary. For those who do not understand, no explanation will suffice.”
DID MY LUNCHTIME GUINNESS IMPROVE MY TEST RESULTS IN THE LABORATORY?
In 1980 I was involved with a fascinating experiment at London University with Professor Glen Rein, an American neuroscientist. A decade previously researchers had discovered an enzyme in the blood known as monoamine oxidase (MAO) which appeared to be linked to the onset of migraine attacks.
Rein was involved with research at Queen Charlotte’s Hospital in London to discover why women who suffer with migraines tend not to get them when pregnant. They had found that the level of MAO dropped just before the start of a migraine. It was uncertain if the migraine was causing the drop in the enzyme or the decrease was causing the migraine.
I was asked to try to increase the level of activity of MAO in blood samples in a test tube. According to Rein this would be harder to achieve than the reverse because “it is likely to be easier to cause a (negative) change in the direction the system is already going, e.g. to increase degradation.”
The results of the experiment proved difficult to explain. After receiving healing from me, the enzyme increased or decreased its activity by as much as 40%. In nine of the trials the activity of the enzyme increased - in some cases quadrupling, in seven of them activity decreased, and in two trials the enzyme level did not change relative to the control test tubes of blood I did not treat. Rein thought it “remarkable” that I should be able to reverse the system’s natural tendency.
This unpredictability was what most confused Rein because this particular enzyme would normally break down yet in some of the trials I not only prevented this process, but also reversed it.
“The results are the first to successfully demonstrate a psychokinetic effect on an enzyme in its natural environment using a physiological substrate at both the cellular and subcellular level”, he later reported.
But on further analysis something else in the test results was even more baffling. I would spend a day in the laboratory with one group of experiments in the morning, a break for lunch, and further tests in the afternoon. Those results, it was noted, were always the best.
I’d been escaping to a nearby pub at lunchtime and always had a pint of Guinness which seemed to be a magic ingredient! I think it helped my laboratory performance because I felt more relaxed.