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This book is a story about Janice and John or at least a series of essays written by us. We have decided to restore a beautiful monastery complex deep in Umbria, Italy and open a special retreat serving special food and running special workshops. Part of this endeavour is this book and we have decided to call it all Metamorefosi, which is the best Anglo/Italian word we could conjure up for healthy change.

Why breast cancer anyway?

The biggest responsibility that is intrinsically yours and mine is to sort out from the box of chocolates which is your favourite. You do have one. Then you must ask yourself why that particular chocolate is. It is amazing just how much clarity this experience will bring. About the self. Because once clarity comes about the self – the authentic self – then one can see clearly the tricks of the trade that others often utilise to create their own worlds. And then one can decide if your participation in those worlds is something that would be wise. I suggest the exercise with a box of chocolates because it is a huge cultural symbol of  love and, often, self-indulgence. And it is not the genuine article at all. Self-indulgence is a carefully guarded, carefully orchestrated blast from the past or hampers from Harrods isn’t it. Not true. Self indulgence on a regular basis is only about easily recognisable addictions (especially those that belong to others ) blah blah blah right? Again untrue. Self-indulgence is about eating mangoes when one lives in the Hebrides or frozen peas in December. We have, perhaps, become so immune to what is we no longer see what is possible. There was a book published some years ago about the families of the world and their possessions. All of their stuff was piled outside their various homes along with their family and a photo taken. The contrast between the various capitalist saturated countries and those not was chasms apart. (Although I am sure in the ensuing years the corporations have not only increased their frenzied pace to ensure that there are more cell phones on the planet than human beings they have energetically pursued their pogroms often sending in the military first to clear away the land mines for their helipads to to safely disgorge (regurgitate?) the appropriate CEO’s arriving to survey their latest colony). The Ethiopian family content with sacks of grain and a charcoal brazier and looking fit on it and the US family with piles of two litre bottles of coke, diet of course, and ding dongs (Avon or was it BP calling again? Isn’t that three times already this month?) and looking decidedly ill on it. But for many to sacrifice a pitcher of iced tea laced with nutrasweet (see the name?…not worth a capital letter that one ) would be unthinkable. Precisely. Unthinkable. These indulgences are just that: without any thought. That’s miles away from a Harrods hamper. And there’s one of the western worlds dragons breathing nice toasty blasts of hot air. The point is is this why it is unthinkable to think about only eating peas in the season thereof. Far healthier. So what other indulgences are part of our daily walk (we are walking further than just downstairs to the fridge to the car to the desk to the car to the fridge to the T.V. to the bed with few variations on the theme of the clay pits of Goshen aren’t we? This is far more important than begging for a few wisps of straw to hold the bricks together…). How about milk in the tea? A cow meant to produce two and a half quarts or so a day is now manipulated with hormones etc to produce about twenty quarts a day. Why only two and a half quarts a day? Because that is all a baby cow needs (aka calf). So why the twenty? To indulge us, awash in cuppas and lattes (pleeease!). Seen a cow with a compromised udder? You won’t see many because – have you noticed – the meadows are bereft of their former inhabitants. (So where are all these cows that are producing all that milk. And cream. And artery clogging creamy pungentness like strong cheddar). Should you see one of these milk machines her udder will be practically dragging on the ground. She suffers chronically from mastitis and so is given an endless dose of anti-biotics which still barely contain the puss from her chronic infections. She lives in misery being raped yearly with the equivalent of a staple gun (so not even the pleasure of mating is allowed her. This is a call to the feminists to look to the rights of all female creatures not just human ones) in order to birth a calf to keep up the milk supply. And, of course, once the calf is barely walking he is taken from her so the milking machine can be latched on instead. Staying at a B+B dairy farm not long ago I listened to a cow mourning for her calf all night every night for my entire stay. I couldn’t sleep and neither could she in her terrible, piteous anguish and loneliness for her baby that she endured the pains of hell to bring into the world. Talking about udders dragging on the ground have you ever wondered why British undie shops carry the biggest bras in the world? And this is regarded as healthy and normal? It isn’t. It is a sign of the indulgent times we have had thrust upon us and we let it happen. When I was a teen about thirty five years ago a woman was considered voluptuous if she was a thirty six b or c . Now that’s regarded as something in there with Popeye’s girlfriend. It isn’t healthy to carry around huge breasts (nor is it healthy to have to have them and give oneself plastic ones but more on that later). It is evidence that most women are swimming in a sea of estrogen and it is this that is causing most of the breast cancer. The body produces its own but when it is regularly laced with this from what our mourning cows ingests the personal balance is upset (there’s a statement) – and of course add that to the birth control pills and add that to the tap water laced with all the millions of BCP effluence that has been peed down into the system add to that the hormone laced milk that has been peed into the system add to that the HRT that has been peed into the system add to that the anti-depressants that have been peed…and huge breasts are the result. Don’t believe the change over the last decades? Look at some film noirs and see if you can find a pair of forty double effs anywhere in sight. Know oneself a little better now? Forest Gump has nothing on us . But the corporations do. They own your chocolate rights (along with your boobs and your surgical procedures and your BCP and your cancer….feel sorry for the cows? Not much difference in how our body chemistry is manipulated to produce disease either). We are free citizens. Right? We are not slaves begging for rights. Right? And the rights of the cow? Milk chocolate anyone?…oh by the way cancer has had healing modalities for centuries….

Janice March 2012

Yo have been reading a sample chapter of our book – See here for more details.