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September 22, 2006

A Healing Resource Center: Food for Thought (and Writing)

I’m imagining, this morning, a place. Perhaps in the mountains of North Carolina, a place like Wildacres Retreat Center. Or on the Pacific Coast, a place like Asilomar.

I’m imagining an old summer camp, but one that’s been refurbished—with modern buildings, and amenities. A fireplace in each of the guest rooms. Decks. Wide porches. A juice bar in the lobby. Perhaps an espresso bar. And then, on the grounds, a short walk from the lodgings—five centers:

• A Nutrition Center
• A Fitness Center
• A Center for Addiction Recovery
• A Center for Creativity
• A Center for Meditation and Rest

Say it’s early afternoon when you arrive at the center. Plenty of time to unpack, take a shower, settle in, rest for a while in your room. When you’re ready you can wander down to the lobby and request a tour.

You have, let’s say, two weeks to spend at the Healing Resource Center. And you’ll be informed upon your arrival that you can spend these two weeks however you like. But first--a tour.

The tour begins at the Nutrition Center—a low sprawling building of stone and glass. You follow the guide into a large room, find a long buffet table arranged with platters. Blueberries and orange sections. Slices of watermelon. Slices of whole-grain bread. An array of cheeses. Also peaches. Plums. Tiny carrots. Bowls of walnuts and almonds and sunflower seeds. Several pitchers of clear water with slices of lemon. It’s late afternoon and, before you go back to tour the kitchens, the guide invites you to take a plate and help yourself to a snack, pour yourself a tall glass of water if you’d like.

As you walk down the length of the table and begin selecting your food, the guide explains: “The goal here at this center is to provide a kind of immersion experience with healthy food. The goal is to engage your senses. Colors. Touch. Smell. Taste. And, eventually, if you wish, you can work with one of the chefs back in the kitchens. . .” As he’s talking you pick up a plum. You bite into the plum. . .

And then what happens? What happens next?
You could, if you wanted, write about it. Like one of those choose-your-own-adventure stories where you get to choose the ending. (Okay, maybe it's not a big adventure. But it could be a little adventure--or it could turn into an adventure---)

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