Monica King speaks to us on Holistika
October 02, 2013.
I arrived early to the appointment and took the opportunity to relax along the walkways carved in the tropical jungle land of Holistika premises. Having crossed the eye-shaped entrance I immediately felt like leaving everything else outside, so reading the “You are now entering a stress free area” hanging purple sign by the entrance did not surprise me. I had the curiosity urge of a child again and wandered into the land to discover it with my camera. A while later the sound of footsteps in the gravel at a significant distance made me realise I had been immersed in peaceful silence. I could not see who it was because of the foliage, so again I had to listen and focus to follow its sound as if in stereo, moving across from right to left. I was not ten minutes in and was already opening up my senses in a holistic experience. Senses we take for granted or stop relying on out here. I caught up with the footsteps and met their owner, an attentive young lady that lead me to one of the well scattered cottages that the project has achieved to build disguised and intimate with the jungle surrounding them. The only clue I had that I was entering an office space was another wooden sign that read “Holistika team” and had a hanging heart-shaped light green “atrapasueños” (dream catcher). A gamut of light, colours and creative energy pleasantly welcomed me inside. Walls were not. Morning bright white light came shining through every one of the large windows. To my left a wide square white working table with a plan of the property and its construction, still going on, and behind a big corner shelf containing herbal medicine vials that will later be placed at the in-house apothecary also under construction. As I veered to my right and made some snapshots, Monica arrived. We went for a walk as she showed me the property and told us about this wonderful project, brainchild of Tony Burwell.
This is an account of our conversation. It was meant to be written as an interview but it did not happen this way. I did not have a chance to make an opening question then, yet all questions were answered as I walked with Monica. The authenticity of the project came alive through her.
Holistika concept centres around a carefully planned village set in nature, offering integrated living in a healthy lifestyle. It is located in the jungle off Tulum’s southern city limits, on La Veleta, just by the exit to Chetumal. Holistika is thus minutes away from one of the most sublime and protected beaches on the planet.
Monica explained to me that the project is the perfect sum of albeit two very independent parts of it: For one, the holistic approach to healing, through yoga, meditation, alternative medicine and art, within the community services area where we are at, and the other being a real estate development that makes lots available to build your house and be part of this community and also benefit from its healing services. Other activities will also be available for children.
So by integrated living, the emphasis is in Community. Healthy lifestyle includes the practice of yoga, meditation and the availability of alternative medicine treatments when needed, but also and very importantly, it speaks about diet, in the sense of observing that we actually are what we eat. Thus, in-house organic produce goes directly from the orchard to your table, providing tasteful healthy nourishment for you and your family
The project has many merits, but one of them is undoubtedly its aim to rescue the value in the term community, and on healing, regenerating and acquiring healthy lifestyle practices and therapies that balance and improve the life of those living in the community or visiting for treatment.
Holistika inevitably took me back to Bill Mollison ‘s Habitats Award winning Crystal Water Permaculture Village concept. Permaculture is a design system for a permanent culture that was developed in the 1970’s by the Australians Bill Mollison and David Holmgren as a creative design system and as a practical philosophy for the creation of human settlements that are ecologically sustainable and economically viable. Observing and interacting with nature is permaculture’s first principle: care of Earth, care of people, and fair sharing are its ethics. The Omega Center for sustainable living also came to my mind, and so did the Hippocrates Health Institute of Florida. But Holistika is set right here, in Tulum. Right in Paradise land.
The healing spot
An original architectural design is present all over. Along the area we walked, its lines are soft and round. They blend into the jungle and observe the creamy whiteness of Maya stone (chalkstone or limestone that makes for the Maya expression Sac’Be or white path, which indeed you see in jungles off Tulum communicating ceremonial sites and contrasting with the greenness of the wild). Monica and myself spoke about Gaudi.
This design motive was present on the fountain just in front of the office area, where we started walking. The fountain is part of a zen garden area – that includes a round half a meter diameter and about the same height small tower like structure meant as a home for the mystical elves-like creatures of the jungle, the Aluxes. A big grill and a bower covered long wooden table-communautaire and benches lay at the north side of this garden, to join in and eat, or just socialise.
The same design has been applied on the organic orchard planting beds, radially arranged as the petals of a flower, right after the garden, heading south and leading into the in-house restaurant and the Yoga studio that are well under construction and where we stopped a while to listen to a the powerful and passionate healer in Monica, who is Holistika’s advisor in charge of herbalism and healing therapies.
Monica told me how she had dedicated good number of years travelling to places and learning from the ancient wisdom in healing with plants, as she has still found in today’s elderly in many native cultures. She does so listening to what they have to teach, as she describes it, in a connected state of silence, in the impermanence of the state of nothing and learning from there by observing with openness and will.
We resumed the walk and came by an area where staff dorms are being built. The gender separated spaces will harbour specialised staff therapists from many parts of the world, who get the chance and qualify to work at Holistika, while also enjoying the benefits of being and living here. Holistika pursues creating new teachers of the future as well, those who flock here around the body of wisdom and knowledge brought by professionals.
A bit further, we find the beauty of the temascal sweat lodge with its top skylight. Again Gaudi is present in the chimney structure right in front of the temascal.
Near the temascal area, connected by walkways and camouflaged by the jungle, Monica showed to me three ample mini apartment like buildings referred to as healing rooms where customers remain before, during and after treatments, such as energy, crystals, massage, cleansing, and other practices and therapies.
Continuing along the main walkway one eventually returns to the distant office area, but not before passing by the apothecary and the beautiful and intimate community fire circle or kiosk, with a centre open fireplace and stylish floor tile design pattern.
The apothecary building complete with wonderful racks topped by delicate wooden work, is about finished already. This is where all the herbal medicine, oils, balms, extracts and more will be made available.
Bringing it alive for you
Back in the terrace by the office space we had a chance to sit down and talk some more minutes. I was drawn to Monica’s account of a 30 years study that had recently concluded that the number one factor for happiness is social interaction. “If we are lonely we get sick. We need to have conversations. Even in this paradise, if you keep sitting in a hammock for too long, partying at the beach drinking cocktails” you become that” said Monica and it made complete sense to me. “You become lethargic. Staying in or having another cup of coffee will just not help in the long run either”.
So Holistika is “more an exploration of being alive. Of comprehending what makes us tick. Holistika is an opportunity to share and experience another and simply better way to live. We allow people to explore this.”
Holistika is “more an exploration of being alive. Of comprehending what makes us tick. Holistika is an opportunity to share and experience another and simply better way to live. We allow people to explore this”
Awaking to a healthier lifestyle
A new Baktun started on December 22nd, 2012 in the Maya Long Count calendar. It is the period of new light, of enlightenment and of awareness. Our health is in our hands, not our doctors’. True self awareness comes from observing what we eat, how much we sleep and how are we exposed to the elements of nature.
This is the enlightenment Holistika wants you to have. We want you to awake in awe to new sensations, to explore and reach inside yourself to be surprised with such things as walking through the flow of water and never having imagined its impact in you.
Health is a lifestyle, for people that care and get the tools. And health fluctuates. You may get ill, but the important thing is how quickly do you recover. This is what shows your vitality. We offer you a space where you can actually check your physical vitality and that of your consciousness.
If you are looking to diet, we will invite you to think out of the box, to eat local organic produce. To adapt to local food and flavours and thus adapt to local climate, sweat less, eat healthier and, as a side benefit, loose weight if that is the case.
On wellness and being Holistika by Juan Ayza M. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. Based on a work at https://juanayza.wordpress.com.
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