Written by Tom Clarke :
Driving north towards Manila I saw a huge sign; a man's face 30 + feet high with a benevolent smile (elections coming soon) and a caption saying, “How many lives will you change this year?” Without missing a beat, thinking about the Bowen I do and what I was hoping to see the next day, I replied to the sign, “A lot more than you – God willing.
In the December '09, issue of Bowen Hands, where all of our practitioners are listed I found for the first time a listing for the Philippines. After a 6 year wait my wife was returning to her homeland and her family. During three wonderful weeks while she enjoyed all the family things, I was doing Bowen on a few family members and a few friends every day. (family here includes – but not limited to - mother, father, sister, brother, aunt, uncle, cousin, nephew, niece and in laws etc., etc.) So, I kept busy with the usual satisfying results.
Time had run out. Vacations - so long in the dreaming - go so very fast. We will fly back to the U.S. On Thursday. We came to Manila a day early so that I could meet the practitioner I has found in our magazine. We had been in contact back and forth by email for a few days.
Julie Williams - Julie Pocknee Williams, because there is another Julie Williams in the same building where her condo is located - finally established phone contact with me and I knew in her first sentence that she had learned to speak in Ossie's country – an Aussie. We had wanted to have some time to talk but Wednesday was her day to do volunteer work in a very poor section of Pasay, a Metro Manila suburb. I asked to meet her there so that I could work on some people also and share the load. We were to start at 8:30 the next morning.
We were late – a whole other story if one is not familiar with Manila traffic. By the time we were afoot we were going along a passageway maybe six plus feet wide; mostly cemented but with occasional holes, rough spots, etc. We were moving along as quickly as possible stepping over babies an occasional dog or chicken and persons working in the space doing washing, cleaning, meal preparation and what have you. It was unexpectedly clean and almost everyone greeted us with a big warm smile and a good morning. When I started down the walkway I saw poverty with a capital P. After just a few minutes I saw instead a very happy, congenial community where I was most welcome.
Contact with Julie came with instant recognition. Here was a woman bent over four children spaced out on a workout type mat putting in quality Bowen moves on one and moving to the next one and continuing. I had on a shirt that said Bowenwork with my name in smaller letters – besides what other white guy was going to appear in the loft of a smallish chapel complete with wife and the two Australian friends who were visiting her. Introductions were necessarily brief. Julie got back to work and I was able to start working on people on a bench next to Julie's mat. There was only room for me to do one at a time while Julie was doing two to four at a time. With the kids wait time was minimal and I was informed that if I kept a person down for too long they probably wouldn't come back the next week. Depending on the person's problem we were doing things like putting in stoppers then doing an appropriate procedure and maybe a move or two from another procedure then off the bench or floor and another one take their place. The pace of the treatments made me think of the term that Craig Matimoe used in his landmark article on concussions in a Bowen hands article from a few years back – Bowen on the fly.
Personally, I love watching a good practitioner put in really good Bowen moves and that was Julie. It was obvious that she had done a lot of Bowen. She was so good with the the kids, as an example, hugging the frightened, complimenting those being worked on and easily showing them how to lie or turn over. Of course most of Julie's work was done from the left side as she stepped across the little bodies reaching across them instead of going around and of course, for the people on my bench there was no other side. My favorite was seeing Julie hitting the lat with her thumb then reaching quickly across and doing the right side with the forefinger of the same hand on the kids on the mat.
She told me that she would never know how many would show up so she had learned to be able to treat as many as possible and still leave by 11:30 for lunch on the run then on to the Cerebral Palsy clinic where she treats that and similar afflictions and where most patients are showing marked improvement. Since we finished before the deadline there was time to treat two stroke patients who could not come to the clinic and as Julie worked in impossibly dark and cramped conditions she was giving instructions to the family regarding their care. They had both shown considerable improvement I was told.
This was not a typical Bowen office with tables and quiet and high expectations. But as I watched the thought that came to me strongly was – This is what Bowen is about; and as proficient as the hands were, this was Bowen from the heart. No words I write or pictures taken can begin to express the feelings I experienced watching this woman hugging, comforting and treating these children. As I write this article safely back in the United States, I am so overwhelmed that I can't speak and my tears are falling on the keyboard.
Julie Williams, may God continue to bless your work and these hurting, innocent children. Tom Bowen would be very proud of you.
Reedsport, Oregon, USA