December 5, 2022

A Holiday to Remember - Discovering the magic of healing sound and the gongs



I flew from Canada to the U.K. beginning a two-week holiday with my daughter. She had moved into a new home on the Devon/Cornwall border and I wanted to ensure it met my approval.

Unfortunately, my luggage did not accompany me: it remained in Canada as I discovered on landing at Gatwick. My medication was in said suitcase. I was assured by a harassed agent that I would have my case in three days. I ascended the coach taking me south with no anticipation of what lay ahead.

Upon arrival at my daughter’s charming barn-conversion cottage (full approval given), I changed into borrowed clothes and slippers, descended what I thought were four steps into a delightful living room, stumbled on what I discovered was a fifth step and broke a toe. This was, as I eventually encountered, the first episode of a continuing drama worthy of a T.V. series.

Due to the fog of jetlag, I could not remember the names of my medication, having for some bizarre reason, taken the list out of my wallet before I left home. A trip to the chemist the next day helped to identify two of them but as the kind chemist said, she could not supply me with more without a script. I emailed my family doctor in Canada. A text informed me it was a bank holiday weekend, come back in three days.

I began to feel irritable as I limped around the house, snapping at my daughter at times. The irritation grew. By day three (no suitcase in sight) I had turned into a snarling beast. We went into town; I was limping along as usual when I felt alarmingly shaky.

‘I need to sit down.’ I muttered. My harassed child took me into a fancy café and ordered tea. I drank water and then spectacularly emptied the contents of my stomach all over the table and floor. We departed the premises after my now even more harassed child organised a clean-up. She took me to the local hospital where, after many tests of all of my bodily works, I was told that Iwas having withdrawal symptoms from one of my drugs. ‘I’m so sorry but we can’t give you any pills without a script,’ said the gentle and efficient nurse.

I continued to ‘withdraw’ back at the charming barn conversion. This included not eating, not sleeping and snarling at my daughter frequently, irritation and agitation being part of the withdrawal process. I should also mention that I am an author and had to continue proofreading my book which was due for publication in two months.

Time passed. I began eating but not sleeping. The suitcase had arrived in England. A delivery date: one week after my arrival. I obtained a script from the local clinic on the same day the suitcase was delivered. When does this picture become brighter, I hear you ask?

You will be pleased to hear - NOW. My daughter arranged for us to have a private session with Alex at ‘Sound-Well’. Alex’s website uses the words 'Healing and Magic with Sound’. I use magic in my mystery novels, so I am already sold even though I know nothing of this therapy, but my daughter had been to a group session and found it helpful. Off we drove –to Somerset via Exmoor and arrived at the village of Dunster.

Alex’s National Trust cottage (17th century) sits in the grounds of Dunster Castle. As soon as Alex opened her door, we were drawn into her gentle aura. She led us to an upstairs room, which was lined with gongs of all sizes. Soon we were lying on warm mattresses and wrapped in wool blankets. Alex’s warmed-honey voice soothed me to a relaxed state. When she began to play the gongs, I felt waves of sound envelop me. I became aware of my body lying there, but I had flown beyond.

Afterwards, while sipping hot tea, we each recounted our experience. I said that it takes a lot of effort to transport me, but transported I was.

We spent the rest of our time having a delightful lunch at the Luttrell Arms – recommended by Alex and wandering the main street of the ancient village where I purchased a wool blanket from one of the many shops.

That night, I enjoyed nine hours of blessed sleep, the first time since I arrived in the U.K. I also realised that I had come to terms with an ongoing fear I had struggled with about growing old. I had, without consciously knowing, decided to embrace whatever came. I also stopped snarling at my much put-upon daughter.

Now, back in Canada, on our cold winter nights, I pull my wool blanket over my knees and remember Dunster, Alex’s cottage and the gongs.

Home - Maureen Thorpe