Bonny Casel ~ Teacher and Director of School of Natural Medicine, UK
“I believe that the most important part of finding your life path is to have integrity as a person. Live what you know to be true, and your life path will find you.”
When I was five years old my mother developed breast cancer. Rather than opting for the orthodox medical route, she walked out of the doctor’s office and found her way to the ‘Bodhi Tree Bookstore’ in Los Angeles, California. There she found the book ‘Back to Eden’ by Jethro Kloss and after stocking up on the herbs recommended in the cancer section of the book, drove my sister and I out to a peaceful hot spring in Southern California. There she undertook a 40 day water fast, combined with taking the herbs and massaging her feet; particularly the top of the foot in the breast and lymph zone. At the end of 40 days, on our return to Los Angeles, her doctor could find no evidence of the breast cancer that had been there only six weeks before.
Thus began my mother’s long history with natural medicine. I grew up in a raw food household, and my mother brought leading teachers from around the world to share at conferences. I attended every one. In 1977, she founded the School of Natural Medicine in Cambridge, England, and focused on bringing leading pioneers of Natural Medicine from around the world to share their case histories and approaches to Iridology, Herbal Medicine and Naturopathy.
By the age of 10, I was helping in the herbal dispensary for pocket money. My first teacher was Dr. John Christopher, one of the leading herbalists and naturopaths of the last century. I also studied with Dr. Bernard Jensen, Dorothy Hall, Denny Johnson and many others. By my late teens, I created my own herb company, based on the herbal formulae from Herbs of Grace, by my mother Farida Sharan. I also began to teach my first Iridology and Naturopathy classes. Teaching is something that I have always loved, as sharing this work broadens its influence and provides the opportunity to touch the lives of many people in a positive way.
So one could say that I was destined for this work. I have always been inspired by the search for truth and beauty and natural medicine is the perfect synthesis of both.
How did you come to realize your passion and purpose?
Being the daughter of a pioneer of natural medicine had its advantages and disadvantages. Professionally I have always been my mother’s daughter. For a while this led me to think of taking other directions in life; namely art and writing. As it turns out, self-healing is one of the most creative experiences that one can have, and after so many years of study and practice, I now also have plenty to write about. At 48 years old I sometimes wonder if I am up to the task of completing the many writing projects that I feel drawn to complete. These days I live between Asia and England, so as to give me more time to write. I support students from a distance (so grateful for the internet) and then teach in England in the summers. This is a good balance for me when I have large writing projects, and allows me to connect with my self healing while working, rather than getting into a work rut where I don’t take care of myself. I feel genuinely satisfied, inspired and nourished by my work, and know that I am on the right path.
Any tips or advice you would give to people that want to discover what their purpose in life is and how to pursue it
I believe that the most important part of finding your life path is to have integrity as a person. Live what you know to be true, and your life path will find you. That isn’t to say that finding and following your life path isn’t work. A recent quote I came across by Brandon Stanton, the creator of Humans of New York, strikes me as very true; “There are so many people that use ‘following your dreams’ as an excuse to not work,” he said. “When in reality, following your dreams, successfully, is nothing but work.” If you can genuinely connect with what you are doing, it won’t be long before you become an expert who can genuinely guide or help others; the essence of finding your life path.
What has been your greatest challenge to following your life path?
Like everyone, I have had my challenges along the way. The biggest one for me is that, as a self-employed person, I have to know how to do ‘everything,’ at least it can feel that way. I have had to face major learning curves in a wide range of skills, from creating websites, to learning bookkeeping, to trying to understand the modern world of social networking. When I catch myself fantasizing about getting to do ‘just’ what I love to do, I shake myself up and remember ‘chop wood, carry water.’ It is not what you do, it is the spirit of how you do it. With the right attitude, even double entry bookkeeping can be satisfying : )
What would be your wish for the world?
My greatest wish for the world would be that we all see the connections between things; holistic thinking, holistic doing, holistic being. Everything we think, say and do has consequences that extend far beyond where our imagination can carry us. When we become conscious of the consequences of our actions, in our own lives, in the lives of others, and to our planet as whole, it has the power to change everything.