Part one




So here I am. More than three thousand kilometers from home. Two days ago, at 5:30 in the morning, I boarded a plane for the sunny south of France. Away from my practice in Holland for twenty days. Twenty days to set down my thoughts and theories on the sick and the healthy, which I have developed over the past ten years. Thoughts and theories I have applied during those years to myself as well as to my patients, and through which I gave the hopeless patient a chance to resume living in freedom, the healthy person a chance to achieve his optimal performance, and through which I kept myself going, all those years, despite my punishing daily tempo.  A tempo that is forced upon me from outside, because more and more people appeal to me for help. But I simply believe that everyone has an appointed task in life. This is mine. Yet I too have a right, no an obligation, to maintain my equilibrium so that I can give my optimal performance.  And so far I have been able to do that by following the same thought processes and theories that have helped so many of my patients regain their freedom, because I function in no way different from my patients despite our all being different and unique.

The plane was full. Packed with people who all had their own expectations of the journey: tourists, business people, old-age pensioners going to winter in the sun, computer experts on their way to a congress, foreign laborers returning to their homeland.

How to find one key word to describe all those unique individuals? How to discover one basic pattern in their actions, despite their unique individual talents and despite their unique individual experiences? How to say something about their future, their future health, and their future behavior? How can they retain their freedom and independence? How can they stay healthy, physically and mentally? I want to answer these questions in this book. I have twenty days and two have already gone by without my accomplishing anything, because just before coming here I picked up a flu bug. A simple cold, but severe enough that your thinking is dulled, your head feels plugged and every movement hurts. It restricts you, physically as well as mentally, with a sense of constraint, because the way you function is dependent on your body. There is no question that I can thank myself for this flu. I made myself a target these past few weeks. I had to make preparations for this trip, I had to see extra patients because I was closing my practice for three weeks, and I created a lot of tension in my body in anticipation of the performance I now must deliver. In spite of the years of explaining to many people how the unique basis for one’s optimal functioning lies within oneself, I am nervous.