Monday, June 23, 2008

The Beautiful Tanglewood Wellness Center

We had the good fortune of contacting Loren Lockman, who runs a tropical paradise fasting center - Tanglewood - an hour and a bit outside of Panama city and he graciously accepted our request to come visit and interview him about his wellness center and about his Perfect Health ideology - which makes perfect sense, as he looks to nature for the answers. His program is one similar to the Natural Hygienists, which practices following a very clean pure fruit based diet, but where he differs, it's only in following the laws of nature more closely.

I would love one day to go on a long supervised fast and this was inspiring to do so.
However, doing this, as well as long silent retreats seem challenging and a bit scary to me -
What? Stay quiet for days at a time???? Yikes!!! ..but I know it would be incredibly healthy and great to get more in tune and in touch with yourself and spirit.
On a long water fast, the whole idea is to rest, stay quiet and let you body heal.
I think it would be an incredibly healthy, empowering, and enlightening thing to do.
One day!!

It was so beautiful here!

This trees roots ran out along the ground for a long way, in some places fencing off beds of flowers - I think this might be the namesake Tanglewood!

Beautiful view up in the Panamanian Mountains!

The compost pile - there were lots of papaya trees growing from seeds out of the former compost pile nearby.

Seedlings being protected from the hot sun..

The cashew (Marinion) tree!! In this area there are stands and kids selling bags of cashews by the side of the road for 1$ each.. but they are not raw, they have to be heated to open up the shell. I have heard some people say that the inside doesn't get hot enough, only the outside.. but we bought a bag I had to try them!! - they were very, very soft, but they did look like they had been cooked. O well!! (theres lots of other great raw tropical things to eat here - plenty - this is paradise!!)

The many names of the cashew!:
"Nunca había escuchado anacardo, para mi es marañón. Pero encontré todos estos nombres para "cashew": marañón, merey, alcayoiba, nuez de la india, nuez de cajú, caujil, o anacardo."

The pineapple patch..
Passionfruit!! We tried some, they were delicious!!

This is the passionfruit vine.
Ginger flowers..
I forget, maybe guava..?? (there were breadfruit also in here somewhere) many plants and fruits and trees!!!
Lots of different trees growing in a row..

This is a banan tree. I found this pic interesting, shjowing the base of how the banana trees grow. They have shoots that grow up from the base where a new banana tree will start.They are sort of like Hostas, and more keep growing out from the base mother tree.. I think he said he had about 200 banana trees on the property..!
There are lots of banana trees everywhere in Panama.
& they are very beautiful!

Arlene (our beautiful Panamanian hostess) showing me a fruit, she had lots of good traditional stories about the plants and fruits growing..
Millions of mangoes!

View out the window of mountains on the way home..

..and we stopped and got Arlene to pick us some banana mangoes, a kind I haven't tried (& still haven't, they were not ripe enough & I couldn't bring them on the plane) But I hear they are one of the best kinds..
I'll just have to go back to try another time!


Michelle J said...

Gorgeous, looks so incredibly peaceful! I am glad you are having a good time!! Miss you!!

Kerry said...

Oh wow... the place looks amazing.

I would totally suggest going on a silent retreat. Just start off with a day or two. When I was in Taiwan, I did a buddhist retreat in the mountains for 4 nights and 5 days during my first time. The first day I wanted to run away but the next few days proved to be such an enlightening experience. The retreat helped change the ways I think and do things. I hope you'll find the chance to try it out!


HiHoRosie said...

Wow! The wellness center looks so wonderful and peaceful. Great photos!

Robin 'Keiko' Gregory said...

Hey Michelle - Thanks - yes, it was so much fun!

Kerry - I hear a similar thing from many people who have gone to silent retreats, but every time I hear the amazing experiences it inspires me, one day I will definitely be there -
a buddhist retreat in the mountains of Taiwan - sounds amazing!! : )
Thanks for sharing the experience --

Hi Rosie - thank you - yes, it did feel very peaceful!
Much love!! R

Anonymous said...

I was thoroughly enjoying your blog - until I came across Tanglewood that was...and just seeing these pictures made me get all panicky.

I personally know this man, as I did a water fast under his so-called "supervision" and I would never recommend anyone go there.

Honestly, you didn't get a bad guy vibe from him at all?

Robin 'Keiko' Gregory said...

Anon.. I am aware that his views are a little extreme - like natural hygenist and then some.. and water fasting is extreme also. However, I have limited knowledge on this as I have never personally tried it, only read about it in books. One day I will for sure.. I am really interested in hearing more about your experience, if you would like to e-mail me in person I would appreciate hearing from you.

Thanks for your comment!

Anonymous said...

I also had a terrible experience at his center. Yes, the place is beautiful, but the the way he treats his guests is horrible. I witnessed him telling a guest to get off of all of her meds for her mental illness that she had been taking for decades (he is NOT a doctor, by the way). She followed his advice and SUFFERED. She was going through pretty severe symptoms as the meds were being released from her body, spasms and such. He left the property with her in that condition. She was in a lot of pain and was extremely afraid and was paralyzed from the spasms. He just left her there like that. She ended up leaving early and had a major bipolar episode days afterward which sent her to the mental hospital twice. She is a person who truly does need the medication to keep her safe and stable.

I also saw him knowingly accept a faster who is anorexic. It appeared to me that he cared more about her money than he cared for her healing.

There are other things I witnessed, but this is enough to give you all an idea of what one might experience.

Robin 'Keiko' Gregory said...

wow, Anonymous, its hard to know what to say.
one note: I am quite sure that you cant do a proper fast and be on meds.. its counter productive, the fast is to clean your body of all the toxins.. but I suspect that this person just shouldnt have been doing a fast.
Thats all I have.
I appreciate your comments.
Thank you.
ps. when I read this sort of thing I feel a need to just send out love, love and more love to everyone, enveloping the whole world.. Peace

Juicy Fruit said...

You are so right, just send out love.

I appreciate the people who have spoken up about their negative experience at Tanglewood and have shared it on the web. People deserve to know what they could be getting into. That is why I have finally decided to share my experience.

I interned there and it was a very psychologically unhealthy experience. All of us interns were miserable. On any given day at least one of us would wind up in tears.

I am trying to isolate the whole of the experience into one good example of what we went through. It is so difficult to narrow it down. Pehaps I can just give little snippets that might piece together the type of man that I believe him to be.

There was a woman in our group that is an experienced yoga instructor. Loren would not allow her to teach yoga, even though we all REALLY wanted her to, because he believed that she had ego issues and she did not deserve to be given a position to lead.

He got into many screaming matches with us at several times during the internship. He would dismiss our wishes.

His employees disliked him greatly. They were not receiving pay that he was required to give them by law. They were afraid of him too. They said they stuck with it because people who quit in the past did not receive the unemployment that he was required to pay them, according to Panamanian law. I saw him talk down to them on several occasions. Before I left I was hoping to get the housekeepers and gardeners together so that I could videotape them and put their experiences on the web, but I left early. Actually, we ALL left early because we were so disturbed.

To us intens, he called them (his Panamanian employees) stupid. He also said that they were lazy, which they clearly were not.

One of the his employees from the States was very behind in receiving her weekly payments. While we were there she left because she was not getting paid.

He consistently bad mouthed other people in the raw movement. He became angry if someone talked about Doug Graham in a positive light. I heard him say nasty comments about Doug Graham, Fredric Panenaude, Gabriel Cousens, Storm and Jinjie, and the man who wrote the Sunfood Diet (I cannot remember his name).

Here is a link to a site that another disgruntled faster newly created. He does a very good job at explaining his experience there too.

I hope this helps anyone who is out there looking to find out more about the center before they commit. There are other places where you are more likely to be able to be in an healing, comforting environment.

AnonA said...

I feel compelled to add my comment here. I recently fasted at Tanglewood (2011) and have agree with the negative comments above. While I still believe in the benefits of fasting this was, as one person already put it, "a very psychologically unhealthy experience" and Loren is almost the poison himself. You are so vulnerable while fasting and this man is an abuser in sheep's clothing. While he is trying to get you to the center and talking to you on the phone and responding to emails he is as sweet and candy for the most part. But once you are at the center or have already given your 'non-refundable' money he becomes a power hungry domineering monster ignoring others gifts, intellect, or wisdom about their own bodies. I would never send a loved one to Tanglewood. Also, during my experience as other posts suggest, he yelled at guests, called them stupid and 'absurd' and told one guy to "F*ck off". Yeah. That's healthy while you're fasting. It had such a huge amount of negative energy that it's been some months now and I and a couple other guests that were there agreed the experience was truly nothing short of emotionally traumatizing. The experience made me question why my soul would encounter such a horrible low-energy person (or, without judgement, an unconscious person) who talks so much of "consciousness".