Sunday, May 24, 2015

Colon Powell's Back

I have not experienced rectal bleeding (a common symptom of the Crohn's disease that I was diagnosed with in 2006) since I began to pursue colon hydrotherapy and energy medicine at Advanced Colon Techniques School in Boulder in mid-2012.

Colon Powell is back in action. But, yikes. I haven't written a post since February 2, 2014. Almost 16 months. I can definitely feel it. Every day that I haven't expressed myself in written form made it that much harder to sit down and write something new, inspiring, honest. Because, in all honestly, I felt like total shit and didn't want to jump onto the "misery loves company" bandwagon, at least not via the world wide web. I not only distanced myself from a truly powerful way for me to recount my journey, but I additionally found myself back in many of the same situations as before I originally began my trip towards a healthier state... whatever that means. Anyways, I'm here. And I'd like to commence this post with a little/big quote that I found back towards the beginning of this year.

"To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest. To live fully is to always be in no-man's land, to experience each moment as completely new and fresh. To live is to be willing to die over and over again."

To be fully alive -- Thoughts on living an intentional life

Before I do what every good student of literature does (cite the author), I want to tell you that I found these words amongst the useless garbage in the wild world of facebook. I should capitalize facebook--I know--, but I honestly just don't want to. I am feeling, and have been feeling for a long time now, overwhelmed by how much hurtful baggage us humans like to dump on everyone else. And the fact that people are making money of so-called "social networks" like this makes me... well... really irritated. Sad, too. Ok, so... I just found that the quote from the American-born Buddhist author Pema Chödrön was apparently an excerpt from When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times. Sounds nothing less than your average self-help piece of literature, but I know what happens when one assumes what is behind the periphery: One day, maybe I'll read it and comment more. The only thing I know is that this excerpt absolutely resonates with a concept that has been reinforced many a times throughout my 31 years of existence. From a colonial studies/literary/historical/anthropological perspective, I think of that which Mary Louis Pratt called contact zones. In "Arts of the Contact Zone," Pratt said that these are "spaces where cultures meet, clash, and grapple with each other, often in contexts of highly asymmetrical relations of power such as colonialism, slavery, or their aftermaths as they are lived out in many parts of the world today." It's what I know as some kind of a point of discomfort. The points in life where I feel most alive. When I see myself and everything around me from a bizarrely crisp point of view... One that almost hurts, but it feels too cool to hurt because I feel so alive. These feelings I have felt in moments of discomfort--when I am "thrown out of the nest"--have guided me, like cardinal points, or compasses help me navigate this crazy-ass, ever-changing world around me. They remind me that I am human, that everything's going to be OK, and that there is nothing in this world that is within my control other that my very own actions and thoughts. (And many of us know exactly that those are hard to control!) Feeling alive, although at ephemeral moments throughout my brief existence, bring me to what I sometimes feel as my real home.

"Home" -- It ain't just for Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros 

As I really want to delve a little bit further into that last line, I 'got's to get literature-y on y'all for a quick second. When I think of home, I oftentimes think of author Susan E. Ramirez' exploration of the Incan concept of (el) cuzco. As you may already know, Cuzco is known as the capital of the Incan empire in modern-day Peru. However, Ramirez is so cool because she explores that Cuzco wasn't a fixed place, as we imagine cities to be: there is no way of fathoming the relocation of New York City to some measly town in upstate New York, or to Los Angeles, or Austin, etc. etc. etc., without it becoming something totally different. Cuzco moved. Cuzco was, according to this perspective, more of a power, an essence, that moved with the individual that boasted that power.

I loved grad school so freaking much because I got to learn about this stuff all day everyday. I'm pissed that academia in America sucks so much that I couldn't find a way to function in it without seriously dying before I published a fucking article. Maybe one day I'll figure it out and go back. Until then, reading colonial and post-colonial literature--especially about the Incas--taught me a lot about life. About what it means to chocar, to crash or collide, with something. About the crazy-ass reactions that humans are capable of having as a response. About the struggle, the search, the longing for home. Germans even have a brilliant word that embodies the hurt that accompanies that longing: Heimweh, something like a longing for a place that isn’t where you are right now. Portuguese has one, too, that expresses a longing for something one never knew: Saudade. NPR was cool enough to even dedicate an Alt.Latino show to the word. The Radio's Felix Contreras said:

"The concept has many definitions, including a melancholy nostalgia for something that perhaps has not even happened. It often carries and assurance that this thing that you feel nostalgic for will never happen. My favorite definition of saudade is by the Portuguese writer Manuel de Melo: 'bem que se padeçe y mal de que se gosta' (a pleasure you suffer, an ailment you enjoy).'"

It's what the Grinch talked about when he talked about Christmas when he said "It came without packages, boxes or bags..."

I have no clue yet if any of this makes sense to another human being, as I have yet to write an entire page. But, I've got to keep movin', got to keep goin'... It's time. It's been 16 months!

Life and it's crazy experiences 

I hope that what I am about to write does nothing less than honor an individual and show my sincere gratitude for all that I have learned from her. Energy Medicine Colon Hydrotherapist Madeline Angelus is one cool human being. She's a walking, talking, real-life example of the most thoughtful introspection--and love--in my eyes. I cannot begin to imagine where I would be had I not been recommended to seek her out for colon hydrotherapy back in 2012. Time and time again, Madeline has said, amongst many other powerful, soulful insights, that

"Maybe the journey is not so much about becoming anything. Maybe it's about un-becoming everything that isn't really you, so you can be who you were meant to be in the first place."

She's always reminding me that she feels this life might actually be about experiences, rather than getting to these invented places we tell ourselves we are going to get to once we follow the proper protocol. It makes a hell of a lot more sense to me. I have to stop here for a second and admit that, at this point, my post is giving me a little chuckle because it is beginning to feel to me as if I am presenting myself as a person who is driven by quotes. This is not how I perceive myself, per se, but rather that I do think that words have moved me and continue to move me (forward), as they have provided me a sense of commensurability--a common language, or nomenclature--that I may utilize in order to express my feelings and thoughts so that I, in turn, may achieve the affirmation that I believe we all really want from our "communities". Madeline's words that I have quoted (above) very helpfully provide me a way to see my experiences without being totally overwhelmed, to the point of crumbling. I sometimes feel like that when I revert back to old habits of thinking and coping with stressors. For me, these words sum up how I perceive the experiences I have had when thrown from my "nest" (what I may put on the same plane as home), exploring feelings of discomfort and the notion of this nest-home while in the moment, the enlightening perspectives that are (or can be) achieved from these experiences, and longing for a (less painful) way back to the feeling of strength I have achieved in those moments, when I completely lacked any control over anything around me. In those moments, I actually go beyond my norms and lack any desire to control at all, for that matter. I am most convinced that, honestly, my experiences have happened for a reason (yup, I said it, as cheesy and cliche as it may sound): I truly believe I needed to experience many things--including my symptoms of Crohn's disease--in order to slowly begin to break down what it is exactly that was going on within and outside of my body. This helped me discover my only responsibility on the face of this (beautiful) earth: to take care of myself. I have been ridden, burdened with an overwhelming sense of responsibility, commitment even, for others for who-knows-how-long. Too long. Dangerous stuff, I say.

In the past three years (especially in the past 16 months), I have experienced a lot. My body is so strong. I don't even know how to express the gratefulness I feel for the creator(s) behind it's resilience. I thank my lucky stars that I was born to be this strong and that, through colon hydrotherapy and energy medicine (and so many other things), I have been and am still able to do it all. Just to enumerate some of the major happenings that I deem culprit of derailing me from my writing: a 1.5 year sabbatical from grad school and returned to my birthplace (where I learned learned new a new, blue-collar trade, pursued this this sometimes called love, tested my limits with alcohol and tobacco, etc.), achieved a dream--I taught at my alma mater alongside one of the most inspiring professors/mentors/friends I have ever come into contact with--, resigned from my 'dream', as I realized it was just that (a dream), lived in the coolest, hippiest, most beautiful house in Rochester, fled to Germany in further pursuit of some more love (without much more than a dime in my pocket, might I mention), and reluctantly came back to my birthplace (of course, not without a failed, yet admirable attempt to get a work visa from the German Ausländerbehörde), where I ended up getting a most fulfilling coordinating and teaching gig at the coolest non-for-profit known to that dinky, little, sad town. I then found my way back to Boulder (where I returned to continue grad school, became ill again, loudly voiced that my illness my corporal reaction to the ridiculous, unnecessary pressures of that program, left, got a job with the weirdest/most fucked-up bosses to date, became ill again, got fired....) And now... here I am. In the past two weeks, after getting fired, I have filed for unemployment (if only my family knew), (finally) completed my colon hydrotherapy certificate that I began at the end of 2013, and finally realized that I am beyond ready for something new and better.

The wild part of all of this is that I have survived despite the chaos that has occurred outside of and inside of me. Some people die from this stupid crap. Despite being a financially broke, and now jobless, financially indebted master's graduate and PhD candidate in a capitalist society (and living in the center of Boulder, where rents are ever-increasing due to the recently legalized pot in this state), my asshole still isn't bleeding. It is absolutely a miracle. And I haven't taken medication since I began colon hydrotherapy, when I began to heal, in 2012. Before, when I was a financially broke, jobless, financially indebted bachelor's graduate and MA candidate, actual blood poured out of my ass--for four months straight, one time. (Remember I told you in that one post?) Sometimes I wonder if I could have died had I go on the way I was living. That would have been so sad, as I know that I am meant to be here.

I truly feel that I am moving forward in this life. This post isn't the coolest or the most organized one I've ever written, but I know it's a good start to getting back to sharing my experiences as I continue to live with intention as I navigate life after a diagnosis of Crohn's disease.

I thank James Allred for generously inviting me to model in an amazing colon hydrotherapy session this morning. It's awesome to see Advanced Colonic Techniques School stay true to the art of teaching. You have helped me learn how to help myself, James! You're one awesome individual.

I definitely needed to get this shit out. And I apologize for being so crude without warning in this post. Sometimes, there's no room for a filter.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

My (very brief) story in German/Meine (sehr kurze) Geschichte auf Deutsch

Hallo Alles:

meine Name ist Casey und ich komme aus Rochester, New York, in den Vereinigten Staaten von Amerika. In Dezember 2013, ich machte ein 100-stündige Training Programm in Colon-Hydro-Therapie an der James Allred Advanced Colonic Techniques School/Clinic in Boulder, Colorado, USA. Da habe ich nicht nur als Studentin über Colon-Hydro-Therapie gelernt, sondern auch als Kundin. In 2011, ich habe eine vier monatige Period von Entzündung der Dickdarm, Blutung der Rectum, Schleim, unter andere Krankheitszeichen von Morbus Crohn (Crohn's Disease auf Englisch), ein „chronisch-entzündlichen Darmerkrankungen“ gelitten. 

In 2006, ein Gastroenterologe in Rochester hat mir mit Morbus Crohn diagnostiziert. Ich müsste täglich neun Tabletten Asacol(R) nehmen, aber ich fand dass, obwohl diese Tabletten vielleicht die Blutung und Schleim geholfen haben, ich fühlte mich nicht 100% sicher, dass ich habe nicht alles getan, was ich musste, meine Situation zu verbessern. Außerdem, ich habe manchmal—viele Mal, tatsächlich—die ganze Tabletten in mein Stuhlgang gesehen. 

Also, wann in 2011 ich ging wieder nach Colorado mein PhD in Literatur zu beginnen, ich suchte auch Hilfe von einige Naturalheilpraxis; ich fand James S. Allred und seine Partner Madeline Angelus und machte mit Frau Angelus ein Termin. Frau Angelus könnte mir leider nicht helfen, weil die Blutstillung ist eine Kontraindikation von Colon-Hydro-Therapie. Aber sie hat mir angeboten, mit andere Metoden wie z.B. Energy Medicine zu helfen. Wenn ich lernte, was ich tun musste, mein Nervös System zu kontrollieren, die Blutung gestoppt hat. Danach, ich sah Herr Allred so dass ich könnte mit ihm eine Session von Colon-Hydro-Therapie machen. Alle die Reste ist aber jetzt Geschichte: Mein Körper hat es so hilfreich gefunden, dass ich kann jetzt die Krankheitszeichen kontrollieren kann. 

Sie können aber gerne meine Geschichte in lesen (es ist leider nur im Moment auf Englisch). Aber ich wurde mit die folgenden Post starten:

Ich bin in Moment in Düsseldorf, Deutschland. Ich lebte vorher auch in Berlin und Hannover, aber Düsseldorf hat mir dieses Mal richtig gefällt. Ich suche jetzt Arbeit, aber ich glaube es dauert noch ein bisschen wegen die lange Prozess ein Visum zu bekommen. Ich würde gerne wissen, was man tun muss, in Deutschland Colon-Hydro-Therapie umzusetzen. Wenn Sie mir ein Nachrichten unten lassen könnte, ich wäre es sehr schätzen! Ich würde gerne auch einige Sessionen örtliche Praxis zu erfahren. 

Ich danke Ihnen viel Mals, dass Sie mein Blog gelesen hat! 

Mit freundlichen Grüßen,
Casey von der Colon Powell Diaries

Friday, October 25, 2013

My experience with colonics, or colon hydrotherapy

Firstly, I would like to begin this post by saying that I will be updating it as I gather more thoughts, information, questions, etc. I feel a sense of urgency to write this post, though, because many new and old friends have raised many questions important concerning what a colonic, or colon hydrotherapy, actually is, among many other questions. I will not define what a colonic is in this post, but rather tell you about my experience with colon hydrotherapy to date. As I am pursuing colon hydrotherapy training this coming December/January, I hope to have a clearer, more scientific-based definition for you in the near future. Either way, I hope that this entry may be helpful to those individuals who are looking to better understand how I have come to understand colon hydrotherapy, what it has meant to Colon Powell and me, and and how it has helped me manage symptoms of what is commonly known as Crohn's disease.


I have recently moved back to the East Coast, or what I view as the "I-want-results-now" part of the United States. Here, the majority of the people I have come into contact with are not only unaware of natural, alternative, holistic and/or traditional medicinal practices, but appear to be very much intimidated--and seemingly defensive--at the thought of using alternative treatments before utilizing prototypically Western methods (i.e., prescription medication). Alongside this group of individuals, I have found vibrant, open minds who sincerely want to hear about alternative methods as well as their questions answered. Among those questions lie concerns related to what colonics, or colon hydrotherapy is. At this point in time, I can only give my personal experience.

What I knew about colon hydrotherapy before I started doing it

On-line scholarly dictionaries and encyclopedias, as well as non-scholarly, free encyclopedias offered me little, questionably erroneous, superficial, or no information as to what a colonic, or colon hydrotherapy is. I was unsure, at first, if I would feel discomfort or pain, or anxiety from embarrassment of lying bare-butt on a table with some probes of some sort. I am pretty sure that this image, or similar ones, is what runs through many people's heads today. Some people even consider it as way to purge or cleanse your body, but that is absolutely not how I have experienced it.  

Confirming my suspicion, I ask my housemate who tells me that he imagines:

"A tube going in your butt and sitting in an awkward bathtub. Someone with white gloves and asks 'Are you ready for this?', after snapping his gloves, and then shoves the tube right up your butt."

I haven't experienced any such thing, but I have experienced very different approaches to colon hydrotherapy to date. I understand more and more that--just as with every person in life that we meet--each therapist has a different approach as to how they do what they do. The following is a summary of the steps I have found to be regular in colon hydrotherapy sessions, comparing and contrasting when I can according to my personal experiences. 

What is my experience with colonics?

The colon hydrotherapist I have seen the most always seems happy to see me (he always says ("Yay! Casey!"), and always asks me how I am feeling and what is going on in my body and mind that day as I enter the room or when I first lie down. This has become an important step for me, as it has become increasing noteworthy to me how mentally detached one becomes from their own physical body when they involve themselves in daily routine and/or the routine of one's professional occupation. I have also experienced being asked in a more formal setting, while sitting at a desk, taking notes. 

Once I make my feelings clear, I am invited to change into a gown in the restroom, where I additionally find socks, leggings and arm warmers if I want extra comfort. (Everything, from the clothes, to the bathroom is fresh and clean, with all natural cleaners.) The natural cleaners are unclear in the case of one of the therapists, and there are definitely no other articles of clothing besides the gown. Afterwards, when I exit the restroom and walk into the colon hydrotherapy room, I am asked whether or not I am ready to do a session. (I find it very comforting that my colon hydrotherapist has never once pressured me into a session, but rather invites me to consider whether or not a session feels right for me.) I have found that not all therapists emphasize how important it is to be aware of these feelings. 

It becomes increasingly clear to me that my therapist's mission is to simulate or create an atmosphere of utmost comfort and relaxation in order to provide me a positive, safe and healthy experience. In this environment, healing has taken place in me. I think that this has happened because this pleasant, warm, quiet and safe environment allows no space for stressors. It seems to me that, if I were stressed, my thoughts or reactions would compromise elimination. In fact, I have found that when I am uncomfortable, elimination does not happen (comfortably or completely).


After I say I want to do a session, one of my therapists always instructs me on what materials are located on the table/bed before me: they include 1) a mat to go between my back/butt and the table, 2) a sealed bag--which also include a a) large, long waste hose/tube, b) speculum and c) small inflow hose/tube--. Presenting all items still sealed before the colonic assures me that the items are sterile and unused, every time. I love this instruction because I want to know everything that is used in order to better understand the whole process.

It's colon hydrotherapy time

After I confirm that I understand all of the items are sterile and of good condition, I am invited to lie down, which I do. The therapist then puts on a new pair of gloves and pieces all the tubes and speculum together. Afterwards,  the speculum is placed appropriately in my hand. From there, I insert the speculum gently, taking as long as I need. I am instructed to relax and breath. This procedure is not always the same: there are some colon hydrotherapists who choose to insert it themselves, which, for me, is very awkward. So, I tell them that I prefer to do it and therefore do so.

Once the speculum is inserted, I am informed that the therapist will re-position it so that it is in the correct place. It is done slowly and gently. Afterwards, I am informed that I did a great job and that everything is set. I am usually reminded that, now, all I need to do is relax. Relaxing, breathing and communicating are my only jobs during the entire session. Relaxing is always emphasized by one of my therapists.

Once all of the protocol is communicated and I make clear that I am mentally and physically prepared, I am asked whether I am ready for water to be introduced into my colon (the water comes from the "closed system" on the wall, goes through the attached tube, the speculum and then into colon and so on). When I say that I am ready, it is confirmed that he will do so, and begins thereafter. To do this, there is an closed system (which I will explain more in detail after my training in December/January) on the wall--that has dials, lights, a clear section where I can watch material exiting my body! The one therapist situates himself so that he can easily and comfortably reach both me and the system. He pays close attention to both during the entire session. I found, though, that he places most importance and attention to me (how I breathe, the words I say, my tone of voice, my questions, my movements, etc.): This is so comforting and shows me that he is a fantastic listener and careful observer who encourages me to voice how I feel and to voice what it is that I feel going on in my body.
 My other therapist never sits with me and has farm more room in between Colon Powell and the closed system. She also does not talk about the breathe.

Sometimes the therapist will ask you at what temperature you would like the water. This, to me, is a bit awkward considering that I am not a specialist. I have learned that body temperature temperature is where I want it. It just seems safer to me as I do not want too cool or too warm of water.

During my colon hydrotherapy sessions, small amounts of water are slowly introduced. I am taught that this is done to gently encourage the large intestine to distend, but not beyond its natural ability. Apparently, the natural response of the distention of the large intestine is a contraction. This contraction induces the movement of material through the entire intestine. I am told that using a smaller amount of water has proven to provide a more pleasant experience and allows the body to work, rather than the water. (One therapist emphasizes the importance of getting one's body to function properly versus using something else as a crutch, which makes total sense to me.) 

One of my therapists does body work to move things along. So, as I lie there, pillows of a variety of sizes are used to prop me into different--comfortable--positions, so that body work (applying pressure or attention to pressure points, for example) may be done. My whole body is attended to; the therapist looks for different reactions, tender spots, etc. all while watching my breathing as well as the pressure gauges on the closed system. (And, man, oh, man, are some of these spots tender!) He asks me to open my eyes sometimes. I think that he asks me to do so, among other things, to maintain communication and to know that I am alright. His words make it clear to me that communication is key to his method. 

Another therapist does not do this at all. She only tends to the digestive tract (gently "massaging" the different sections of the colon). Her approach is very hands-off. I don't find it to make much of an impact in comparison to body work. It makes me realize just how connected the entire body is, really. I have found that, when body work is not done, my legs feel asleep or have a difficult time relaxing. 

I have been told that squeezing the tube is absolutely not what therapists should be doing, but I don't know why yet, so I need to learn during training  I did have this done to me once, though! (I did not speak up and so no, though, which I hope to do next time.)

Throughout the session, I usually experience a series of bowl movements. I do not push, but breathe, rather, through the movements. When I feel pressure, I tell him or her and I tell them that I would like them to release the pressure. When I say yes, s/he does, and then the direction of the water is reversed; now going in the opposite direction--opposite the rectum--, and back towards the system, material exits, all while the therapist attends to my body. Me being curious by nature, I always want to find my glasses so that I can see the waste that is exiting. (My vision is so poor! Which reminds me that I really need to read this book about vision and the colon... .) In many cases, my colon hydrotherapist recognizes this and hands them to me. But, I learned that it is best to just let things happen and relax. In the waste, you can see all the items that your body does or does not absorb/digest/whatever! It's pretty cool! This physical evidence has taught me so much about what has been going on in my body and why certain foods have proven difficult to digest. It's no wonder to me now when some foods (and medication) have even come out whole! (Sometimes you don't see it all that clearly in the toilet bowl.) Some may choose to go the easy route and react by saying "gross", but I say "noteworthy"!

Anyways, after I am ready, water is reintroduced (again, and as always, my permission is asked first), and we do it all again. This goes on for approximately an hour. After colonics, especially ones with body work, I usually feel, well... awesome. Those who know me know that I love the word awesome, but seriously, I feel truly relaxed and rest, my mind is clear, I feel healthy, free of bloating or any other symptom which leads to me to discomfort. I just love being so aware and calm. 

Ah, so relaxed. Awesome!

Lastly, my therapist sits down with me and asks me how I feel and what is happening in my body. I feel like a completely strong, level-headed and balanced individual every time. I find that the depth of my strength, level-headedness, etc., reflects how deeply relaxed I was in the session. Sometimes this feeling of enlightenment and balance has brought me to tears of joy and contentedness. It is such a relief to feel whole again. This can all be a very emotional experience. 

Thanks to supporters of Colon Powell's health

I am so thankful that healthy colonics are available to me and practiced by responsible individuals who truly want us to better understand our bodies and the way we react to the world in and around us: I have been enjoying sessions since November 2012 and have taken no medication for symptoms of Crohn's disease since.
Pretty awesome, if you ask me! So awesome, in fact, that it has encouraged me to explore colon hydrotherapy more and pursue official training this coming winter. I am excited to share with you what I learn as well as more of my and Colon Powell's personal experiences! 

Thanks so much for reading!

Casey from the Colon Powell Diaries

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Saturday, July 13, 2013

A Period of Transition

(Note: this post may appear very unlike the previous ones, but I feel it necessary to publish just how difficult it has been for me to continue on a path towards healing considering the lack of support and understanding from the community and society that surrounds me. I do no deny a personal lack of motivation and admit feelings of defeat. I am a person who has struggled with symptoms of Crohn's Disease since 2006 and also successfully came out of a flare-up by treating it naturally this past year, though, and want to move forward. My writing style here most likely will appear more chaotic and unclear because of my current state of both fatigue and fear, but my thoughts are true and real. Please bear with me as I find it equally important to try to understand the most difficult moments in this journey towards self-healing.)

A Period of Transition: The East Coast/“Home”/Upstate New York and the West/My new home/Boulder, Colorado

               “I have been awakened to the fact that 
               the 'community' and society that surrounds        
               me conflict with the environment in which I 
               actually grow, flourish, produce and 
               create most, and in which I am most 
               content and confident.” (January 13, 2013--
               The Colon Powell Diaries)

When I first uttered these words, I was referring to the academic setting that I was in at the time. But this testament proves true also to where I have been living since January. As you can see, it’s been exactly seven months since I last wrote. It’s been the same for practicing Eden Energy Medicine (EEM) and colon hydrotherapy (with James S. Allred, at the Arts for Vibrant Health (AVH) and Advanced Colonic Techniques School and Clinic (ACTSC).  It’s been seven months since I have done fundamental exercises that I know--from experience--provide me the awareness and conscientiousness of that which is occurring inside (and outside) my mind, body and spirit.

Seven months ago, I returned to a place I call(ed) “Home”: to the East Coast, in upstate New York. I did so in order to surround myself with the “love, friendship and family-ship” which awaited me. I was torn, though, as I love my awesome life and dear, supportive friends in Colorado. Why move from a place I saw as sunny, mountainous, healthy, plentiful, and happy to a region I feel as dark, dreary, dirty, depressed?  Before I ever thought to ask myself that question, I had already decided to “stage right” during the first semester of my PhD candidacy, as I found myself on the verge of a mental and physical breakdown (some know this as being "burnt out") and after having begun a significant and intimate relationship with an amazing, old friend in my hometown just east of Rochester. I thought that, since the other half of the relationship was unable to leave his life in NY, I would come to him and to enjoy love with him, to rest, and to gain some perspective.  I departed my dear Boulder with a plan: I would learn to incorporate the tools I had gained while living in CO in order to continue on my journey of healthy living in hopes of peacefully coexisting with my beloved Colon Powell and learning to do so with, well, all the chaos that may or may not occur in and around me. I had hoped to continue this blog as a way to publish my thoughts in order to heal myself and possibly help others understand better my experience with all of this and digestive disorders like Crohn’s Disease. Once I stepped foot in NY, my motivation to write and my ability to remember wanting to live in this way decreased significantly.

This positive plan, although it was well-intended, simply did not worked out as I had so hoped. I fully understand the reasons for which I wanted to come back to NY—my family, boyfriend and dear, childhood friends live there. But, after seven very long months, I have found that I have lost clear sight of the path that I want to take in this life. Luckily, I was able to learn with and from one of the most amazing men I have ever met in my life; he was the first and only lover to have ever listened to my difficult past, complicated present and hopeful future, all while he simultaneously made me feel as if I were the most beautiful creature to stand before him. He just laughed when he listened to my stories of the hippy loveliness that I had gotten myself into out West and was so genuinely happy for me that I had found something to relieve my pain. I do believe that he loves me more than I’ll ever know, and I am truly disheartened at the thought that, this time around, it’s just not happening naturally. But, just as I have learned from James S. Allred in colon hydrotherapy, the act of pushing something will not provide peaceful, painless results. Rather, breathing and allowing things to happen organically will more than likely bring one to a better, healthier place. It is equally important to know who is truly supportive of your health. 

Intuition lead me West

By May, after the love I shared with my boyfriend became overwhelmingly burdened by internal and external factors, I felt inclined to hop in my car and drive westward in order to be able to think… and to (finally) honestly write this blog with a clear mind, body and spirit. The minute I passed the state line from NY to Pennsylvania, I knew that I was headed in the right direction. It was unbelievable what was to come. Only days prior, I used an online accommodations site to find Trudie Crawford outside of Indianapolis. Not knowing anything of neither her nor her “Haven,” I was truly shocked to pull up to her beautiful house, which she immediately claimed provides “a purpose.” The 71-year-old woman showed me around as she slowly unraveled the motivation behind her Haven. She, too, became ill when she was younger and found no hope from medical doctors, although she herself was trained in the field. As a long-time registered nurse, she was shocked to find that her only option was pills and disappointed to see clearly that Western medicine offers temporary treatments to symptoms rather than seek the origin of the problem and find healthy, realistic solutions that require the time (and provide space) to heal. This treatment, just as in my case, was unacceptable and so she took it upon herself to find a natural path so that she could live a long, healthy, and fruitful life. She not only healed her condition, but found a desire to offer a place of healing, a Haven, to do the same for others. What personally struck her in her journey was to see that this country eats, drinks and lives in way that contradicts the way the nature (and our creator) ever intended us to eat, drink and live. (This idea is so interesting to me, and I immediately think of a recent read: Live Beyond Organic (2011) by Jordan S. Rubin.)

Ever since I have been in New York I haven’t met a single person who truly believes that what we eat and drink, how we think and act and how we treat our bodies is directly related to whether or not we are physically and/or mentally balanced.  It is so frustrating and sad for me to feel alone again.  I want to lead a healthy life--and enjoy it and be thankful, always--, but I can't even begin to express how difficult it has been for me to thrive around such attitudes. It is equally heartbreaking and painful to meet individuals of all ages ranges with horror stories of suffering from symptoms of colitis, Crohn's disease, etc.... having had their colons removed... and accepting it all.  They, too, have felt defeated, and some have even confessed that they compromise their health just to "feel normal" and to "fit in" in this environment. What kind of community and society are we living in if hurting (and possibly killing) oneself is what it takes to be accepted?  

Torn between the general attitudes and lifestyles I have found in CO and NY, I have unfortunately found myself making the same exact decisions I made before I became so ill last year.  Although I firmly believe that no one--including myself--can blame another for their own (poor) decision-making, I also have found something of great importance in recognizing the power of persuasion of one's community/society and media, the complex relationship one has with old habits, and just how easy it is to give up and give in to the things that will knowingly hurt oneself.  It is so hard to say no when, each and every single day, food and drink is offered to me that everyone around me knows make me sick, as well as things everyone knows makes everyone sick: alcohol and cigarettes, among so many other things.  It is so hard to say no, from the moment I open my eyes to the moment I fall asleep, to things that have played such a significant role in the person I am today. It is so hard to say no when I, too, want to feel normal around my peers, and even fit into this (fucked up, for lack of a better expression) society that makes me ill. 

The reason why I am releasing this post now is because, in the past weeks, I have seen a change in my bowels, appearance of mucus, and, today, I saw blood. As you can imagine by now, I am so sad to come to see that I got sucked back up into this unnatural and unintentional lifestyle, as I returned to drinking (far too much) alcohol, smoking marijuana as well cigarettes, and eating shitty, shitty food, all on a regular basis. I feel gross, to put it honestly, and have absolutely felt like a failure at treating my body as the temple that it is. I diverted my goals of health and content-ness  and focused on ones concerning being accepted in my community, material goods, like money, and institutions and social norms that have bombarded me for years. 

An ephemeral time of healing

I do, though, recognize that I am so blessed to have had the experiences I have had (alongside healing sessions with Madeline and James, specifically), because the experiences have poked at me along the way and eventually got me in my car on Tuesday, May 7th, to retreat back to Boulder for some two weeks.

Before that moment, I wrote a personal journal entry reminding me of
“feeling symptoms of depression, as I have often felt like all that I came ‘home’ to continue went—literally—straight to the shitter.  I have always struggled with the idea that returning here meant that I regress into old habits, and, fall back into my old ‘Self.’  Since I have been here, I have drank a considerate amount of alcohol, eaten lots of meat, dairy, gluten, sugar, soy, etc., (all contrary to what I ingested during my time of healing in the Mountains) and let myself get entirely stressed out all the meanwhile dwelling on that.  Writing this [entry] will not be the first for me to write something so that I can actually see and touch in order to work it out in the process.”  

I wrote that, after having seen James and Madeline for two colon hydrotherapy sessions, Colon was “so strong now that even he has resisted all of this nonsense.” I felt so blessed to have such a resilient body, mind and spirit. 

Back to reality my current situation

I often ask that my body just hold on “a little bit longer” as I get my shit together. I have done this for years. Having struggled with substance abuse, self-worth, stretching my body's limits, etc. since childhood, I again find myself face-to-face with big decisions concerning whether or not I am strong enough to overcome temptation and refuse to lead a life of pain and struggle. 

I have tried to reconnect with those exercises which allowed my mind to experience the necessary state to feel what was happening inside me. I have had a massage from Abbey Nedvesky, LMT, I speak with Madeline Angelus via telephone and Skype, I do yoga almost once a week at Molly's Yoga Corner in Fairport, New York, and I went in for a colonic from Annette Barber at Gentle Pathways in Webster. All of those things have been positive steps for me towards maintaining physical and mental balance, but the clarity and the awareness I remember feeling back in Boulder, CO, simply has never been there. Sometimes I feel no independence and find myself lacking zero motivation to do EEM on my own, seek more colonics, meditate, pray, do yoga, cook, laugh, play, and eat and/or drink well. I have found myself not accurately expressing myself, but rather going through motions and throwing up words that I did never are truly an extension of myself.  

Last thoughts

When I went back to Boulder for those couple of months, I loved how no one had told me to come back to the West. I felt so good that I hopped in my car based on my own intuition. But now I am wondering why exactly I don't do it again, as I am even starting to see symptoms of Crohn's Disease occurring. I do have a an awesome adjunct professorship lined up in Rochester for the fall, and so I plan to stay in NY until the contract is up (it's still not clear whether that will be in December or May). But I have made it clear to everyone around me that I fully believe that it’s in my best interest that I return to my beloved Boulder after the semester and look for a way to incorporate my desires of living a healthy lifestyle into my professional life as well. 

Health update (10/25/2013)

Three months later, I can say that driving West was still a great idea! I ended up dodging a full-blown fare-up, as I saw James S. Allred and Madeline Angelus, who helped me help myself to calm my nervous system and get some water good, clean water flowing into my dear Colon. He approves! 

Thanks so much for reading!

Casey from the Colon Powell Diaries

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Sunday, January 13, 2013

Energy Medicine and Colon Hydrotherapy

I am taking a break this semester from graduate school in Boulder, Colorado, in order to focus on myself so that I may gain some perspective on what makes me happy and what makes me grow, produce, create and live. I have decided to relocate and return to upstate New York, where love, friendship and family-ship all happily await me. I believe now that in order to really let myself be happy, I need to first (finally) let myself enjoy the fruits of my labor (10 years of higher education, amongst a million other things) alongside people who make me feel like the competent, diligent, intelligent, beautiful person that I know I am. If I could bring all those people from NY out here to my beloved Boulder or carry along all the dear friends I have made in CO with me out here, I would! However, I am more confident now knowing that I have made such good decisions with relationships in the past years that all those that I love are always with me, no matter where I am. 

Two things that have allowed me to really sit back and take a look at my life like this are the wise words and amazing energy medicine sessions that have been shared with Madeline Angelus and the revelations I have had in colon hydrotherapy with James Allred at Arts for Vibrant Health (AVH) and Advanced Colonic Techniques School and Clinic (ACTSC). 

Energy Medicine

After my great friend Daniel at the School of Natural Medicine at Boulder, CO, convinced me to contact Madeline about the colonics that would "rock my world," I finally made an appointment the seven-year colon hydrotherapist. In October of 2012, I went in with a pale, acne-ridden complexion, low energy, and shots nerves, all the while still bleeding from a Crohn's disease flare-up that began in July. (Yes, you can bleed for three months and still survive, believe it or not. The body is a wondrous--and miraculous--thing!) From summer up to that point in time, I had been experimenting with diet, exercise, essential oils, etc. in hopes of treating my flare-up naturally. I should make it know that no doctor had ever suggested this to me; this was a personal decision that I made after many years of unnecessary suffering. Although I did manage to keep myself alive, I obviously wanted assistance from an individual who understood my pain and struggling, and who had healthy, realist solutions that would help me get through this difficult time and would help me look forward to a long, fruitful future, WITH my beloved Colon Powell (with whom I refuse to part!).  

When I arrived to AVH/ACTSC, Madeline went through their protocol of sitting with me as she looked over my intake form and discussing my past and current experiences. She wanted to know what had brought me there, what I was expecting and hoping for, as well as share with me some of the truth, myths, and lies about colonics and Crohn's disease. For the first time since my doctor's visit in 2006 (where the MD said that rectal bleeding was "just from traveling"), sigmoidoscopy (where my mother and I were told I may have cancer), colonoscopy (before and after which I felt like dying, from shitting laxatives the day prior to extreme nausea following the surgery) and diagnosis soon after (stating that i had Crohn's disease and that I should be prescribed Asacol (R) (Yes, a brilliant name), a real human being with real experience and knowledge, Madeline, listened to me with concerned ears. I am guessing that it was close to obvious that I was desperate for an alternative method of treating these symptoms, as the 9-pills-a-day solution that had been prescribed to me for the past six years were making me feel nothing less than confused, less than energetic, bloated, unstable in weight, etc. Madline was the first to tell me that I will not only get better, but hinted to me that I may find along my journey a way to live a life in which I do not suffer from this condition. These words were the beginning of my path towards self-awareness and healing. 

I explained to Madeline that I was still experiencing symptoms of Crohn's disease, which then included rectal bleeding, diarrhea and bloating. When Madeline then told me that she could unfortunately not do a colonic on me because of the symptoms, I was so disappointed. I thought for a second that I would never get to where I want to be and that my life would be quite miserable because of it.  However, she told me that she wanted me to speak with her partner, James, who had approximately thirty-five years of experience with colon hydrotherapy and individuals with similar experiences. She was so honest and confident about her and James' abilities that I gained a sense of hope once again. She then told me about her current studies and that she was obtaining certification in Eden Energy Medicine in addition to her other studies. I wondered to myself what energy medicine was, but something wonderful about her made me say that I would most absolutely try it out that day. She was so happy for me and spread that happiness to me!

Madeline began by testing my muscles and my energy. Having originated on the scary East Coast in upstate New York, I felt like I had truly began to see the depths of the hippy in Boulder with the energy medicine. As Madeline went on the testing, I found myself laughing out loud... for the first time in months! The laugh came from the fact that this was so different from anything I imagined I would do in order to treat my symptoms, let alone be doing that very day. The experiences I underwent during the energy session were amazing: my body's responses to both my and Madeline's movements brought me to tears. At the end of the session, we spoke about how I felt about my experience and she encouraged me once again that I will get better... I will get better. I never once heard these words from a previous medical doctor or gastroenterologist: not in New York, not in Germany, not in Spain, and not from my previous medical doctor in Boulder (who prescribed me Asacol when "technically" gastroenterologists are supposed to do so). Six years of feeling uncomfortable, ill, ashamed, embarrassed, depressed, out of and at loss of control, and being treated inhumanly… all down the drain with four words: I will get better. 

After the session, I looked at the expenses of visiting Madeline (and later James) as much as I would like to visit with them (which was once to every two weeks). I then made a decision that was an enlightening one: Why not feel great about financially investing in my Self instead of in all of these things that worsen my symptoms and actually hinder me from enjoying my life? Some people may think that this would be a given, but for some fifteen years prior to that moment, I had become someone that had been sucked in by the many things that American society smothers one with. I was a coffee-chugging, alcohol-dependent, cigarette-smoking, party animal and workaholic who washed Saturday (and Sunday, and other day) hangovers away with unhealthy food and drink in between vomiting and slowly nursing myself back to consciousness in order to get work done and pull myself together so that no one saw what was truly happening with me. Between summer and that moment, I realized that it was time to let go of these horrendous things that were not only bogging me down and keeping me from thinking clearly, but killing me from the inside and keeping me from becoming the central agent in my own life. 

The energy medicine sessions I had from October to today (which occurred anywhere from once to twice a month) only increased this feeling of investing in body, mind and spirit in order to really lead a healthy life and to really get the healing process rolling. During these months, I shed many tears as I opened up to the innumerable experiences that had to do with my self-destructive behavior. By the end of each of the sessions, though, these things became less and less a burden on my shoulders and more experiences that made me an incredibly strong, open-minded, and thoughtful person that wants to pay attention and be aware to these truths.

Colon Hydrotherapy

In November, Madeline reiterated her belief of the benefits of colon hydrotherapy for individuals with symptoms like that of Crohn's Disease and the like. I was so nervous up to that point and really hesitant to have colon hydrotherapy done to me, since I could not help but be scared that something would go wrong during the session. If anyone were to do it, I had really wanted Madeline to do so, since I had begun to form a relationship of trust with her. I couldn't help but imagine that James, a stranger at that point, wouldn't know how to make me feel comfortable and I would therefore not be able to relax and benefit from the session. I held images in my head of all the worse possible things that could happen with tube insertion, water flow, devices, etc. Ah!

But, one day, after having really begun to heal with the energy medicine, I felt absolutely different about getting a colonic done with James. I let him know, and he got me in immediately. Like with my first visit with Madeline, James sat with me in the waiting room and spoke with me. He explained in detail how he would run the session, and the importance in communicating during it. I was ready, so we got the session started. Everything went smoothly, but, in all honesty, I was a bit disappointed that my world had not been "rocked" as Daniel told me it would be months prior. 

James assured me that the first colonic is the most awkward. To test out his theory, I challenged it to a second round a couple of weeks later. Indeed, the second one flowed so much more smoothly, and I was quite taken aback by how relaxed I felt. I was so proud of myself for letting myself go so that the water could flow smoothly. It was pretty cool to see everything working. For example, when I breathed the way that James suggested (full, equal inhales and exhales through the mouth), I heard and felt a rumbling from my stomach-area heading down my digestive track. Soon after, I new that I was going to have a bowl movement. I found in many sessions with him that by breathing correctly, material passed with ease through my system. There was no need to push anymore, which Colon Powell really appreciates! It was a truly enlightening experience! 

Like in the energy medicine sessions, colon hydrotherapy has allowed me time to relax and to consider what is happening inside of my own body. I realized that I had spent the past 10+ years living inside of my head and totally forgetting about the rest of me. Getting water inside of my colon has somehow refreshed my senses, and awakened them to a point where I can live independently again, but in the most aware state. How awesome. As I become more conscientious of my own Self, I also realize how much I had experienced in the past years. I found that I had let healthy and unhealthy relationships (with friends, family and boyfriends), experiences traveling, eating, drinking, studying, exercising, etc.,  form how I manage my stress, my interactions with people, and my approach to work and to life. The large amount of time I spent living up to other people's standards, expectations and demands put an overwhelming sense of responsibility on me and had built up to an extreme point by the time I had arrived to the colonic and energy medicine. I have been awakened to the fact that the "community" and society that surrounds me conflict with the environment in which I actually grow, flourish, produce and create most, and in which I am most content and confident. I have learned with these sessions that, because of this awareness, I want to work on building boundaries for myself that allow me to function and be happy in any environment: that way, I can learn how to live (in a way that I could have never imagined before). 

From the beginning of my journey with colon hydrotherapy and energy medicine up to today, I love myself and those around me more profoundly than before. My insight on the food I eat, the investments (financial, relationships, etc.) I make, the work I produce and create, and the living I do is fuller and richer now. Like all things in life, the people I love and who love me have changed. I am not holding onto nightmares or being bogged down by the past, but appreciating that I am aware enough to have made great memories with people who, at one time or another, enjoyed that memory just as much. The independence I have gained has made me stronger, wiser and more confident to continue in a direction that includes not only these two methods, but also meditation, prayer, yoga, cooking, laughing, playing, and expressing myself intimately, emotionally, and spiritually. 

Medical doctors and gastroenterologists prior to meeting Madeline and James told me that I would not get better, considering that the symptoms I had of Crohn's Disease were chronic ones. I did not get better. In fact, although flare-up induced bleeding stopped temporarily, the Asacol and inhumane treatment from these individuals made me feel worse. 

Madeline told me that I would get better. I got better. James told me I would get better. I got even better. I am proud to say that as of today, January 13, 2012, I have not experienced any rectal bleeding in just under one month. And, for the first time in two years (since getting off of poisonous birth control pills that had been prescribed to me since I was 16), my facial complexion has cleared up dramatically! Although there are visible marks (just as I assume there are along my poor Colon Powell), I can finally see my Self, my face! I cannot express what a gift that is to see after so many years of struggle. I am so excited to continue this journey full of abundance of health and love, healing, and living!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

The Colon Powell Diaries

Ever since I began my journey into the world of colon health and gained a genuine curiosity to live well in a state of constant awareness, I have wanted to create a blog which documents knowledge that has been passed on to me and that I continue to accumulate each day. In the past few years, I have been blessed with endless chances to dialogue with friends, family, health specialists, among others, all the while encountering new friends and wise human beings who have helped me build a great foundation that aids me in taking care of my mind, body and spirit. I look forward to sharing much of this with you in The Colon Powell Diaries. Here, I would also like to acknowledge how thankful I am for all of the wonderful, patient and generous people in these old and new-found relationships. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and experiences with me. With you, this journey has been so amazing and I am so excited to see what comes of it all in the future. 

I would like to kick off The Colon Powell Diairies by posting and commenting on some websites that have been crucial in the culinary as well as spiritual portion of my journey towards colon health. Daniel, a dear friend of mine, was the first to turn me on to the benefits of raw foods, both in living well in general and especially in taking care of symptoms of Crohn's Disease. After years of being told by Western medical practitioners that diet and Crohn's Disease are not linked, I followed this traditional medicine practitioner's amazing advice. I am so glad that I did, as it has changed the way I look at the food I ate for so much of my life and the food I eat now--as well as how I eat it. It has altered the way I see how this food is related to symptoms of Crohn's Disease. The Rawtarian: Simple and Satisfying Raw Food Recipes is just one of the sites that has been an awesome way for me to eat food that tastes great and is nutritious!

There's an awesome café and bakery in Boulder, Colorado, where I currently reside, that takes raw food preparation to a level I have never known:

Julia's Kitchen Café and Bakery

At Julia's Kitchen, where one can "Nourish your body, feed your soul", owner Julia Hellermen never fails to offer the Boulder community the tastiest local, organic, and 100% plant-based meals I could imagine! There are lots of raw food options besides plenty of other amazing dishes that will completely satisfy one's appetite and leave one feeling ready to go about the rest of their day. After eating here for breakfast, lunch and dinner, I am convinced that anyone could find something to eat here, even if they claim no interest in gluten-free and/or vegan cuisine and lifestyle. 

In addition to teaching me about the benefits of raw foods, Daniel also introduced me to the world of natural medicines and to one of his teachers, Heidi Jarvis, who is now the founder and director of Earth Pharmaceuticals and Natur's Colorado School of Holistic and Naturopathic Studies. Together, Daniel and Heidi showed me the great benefits of medicinal herbs, teas, and flower essences. As if I couldn't receive more gifts from them, Daniel has also dedicated so much of his time to showing me the art of (self-)healing through reflexology, iridology, and essential oils, all while studying at The School of Natural Medicine at Boulder, Colorado. I am beyond blessed to have become friends with someone as patient and generous a teacher as he is. I have learned so much about my body, nature, and how I can heal if I allow myself to (re)connect with both.  

To end today's blog, I would like acknowledge my dear new friends, hydrotherapist James S. Allred and energy medicine colon hydrotherapist Madeline Angelus. Both in and outside of their clinic--Art for Vibrant Health ('AVH' from here on) and Advanced Colonic Techniques School and Clinic ('ACTSC')--, Madeline and James have been beyond generous in helping me see the light while I experienced the symptoms of a recent Crohn's Disease flare-up. With them, I found out so many things about my own self that helped me make sense of what was occurring with my mind, body and spirit while my body expressed distinct symptoms. As Madeline practiced Eden Energy Medicine on me, she introduced me to James, who in turn showed me the awesome benefits of colon hydrotherapy, especially for people suffering from symptoms of what is known today as Crohn's Disease. These two incredibly individuals have listened to all of my questions, comments and concerns, like no other medical practitioner before them, all while allowing me to calm my own nerves in order to help me stand tall on my own two feet again. I have never felt so in control and independent in my life. I know that I will carry with me everything I have learned from them and sessions with them. 

I hope that this is one of many blogs of The Colon Powell Diaries that helps my friends, family and acquaintances see what I have experienced in order to understand how I got to where I am today, if they should wish to do so. I also hope that by sharing this knowledge, I can continue what my great teachers have done for me my whole life. I feel that by continuing to pass this knowledge on, we can learn so much more about the connection between body, mind and spirit, Mother Earth, Crohn's Disease and more. I am doing this not only for myself and others, but for my dear ol' colon, properly named Colon Powell, with whom I plan on living in peace and harmony for many years to come. 

Thanks so much for reading T
he Colon Powell Diaries! Write questions to thecolonpowelldiaries(at) and check out more posts at