Adrian Hanks – Psychophonetics Therapist

Interviewed by Prue, edited by Mick.

“… we had a swim in the ocean in the middle of July … and that completely sold us.” – Adrian Hanks

1 Intro pic

Oh my goodness. I have just come back from interviewing Adrian Hanks and had so much fun with him and his wife, Arleen, that my attempt at keeping our chat to two hours was an epic failure. Arleen cracked me up with her version of events on how she and Adrian got together – she was adamant she wasn’t going to have a relationship with him. She had already had two husbands and wasn’t planning on a third. Eh hem! Together their stories are amazing, but Adrian’s in particular is so varied he had me continually back tracking, trying to keep up with what he has done in his life.

Our chat started over a water filter, of all things. Well, not exactly a water filter, but an alkalising system. This gadget sat on the kitchen bench and told you, complete with mock Japanese/American accent, the ph level of the water you were about to consume. Apparently, novice alkaline water consumers should begin their experience on a pH level of 8.5, graduating to level 9.5, the optimum level, after a couple of weeks. Talk about fast track high achieving – I like it. The reason for this graduation is apparently due to the detoxification qualities of alkaline water. If the novice water drinker starts on 9 it could give them a bit of a toxicity rush… it’s too intense. But once the body detoxes a bit, one can graduate to level 9. Woo hoo. As it turns out, Adrian sells these systems… and there I was thinking he was a plain old psychophonetic therapist…

Formerly from Armidale (approximately 500kms north of Sydney), I asked what brought them to this beautiful neck of the woods? 
Well, we had a swim in the ocean in the middle of July … that completely sold us. Think about it… Armidale and ocean??? …and Armidale in the middle of July? Actually what really happened was Arleen was running a week-long course in Tweed and we decided to check out Byron on the way home. After that dip in the ocean, we were almost convinced to move here.

Arleen is originally from Cape Town in South Africa, and when we married (in 2005) and moved to Armidale, it was a bit of an affront for her. She never liked the place. Basically we were there because my kids were there. So when we proposed moving to the Byron area, three of them moved with us.

What, you have more than three?
Yes, we have six between us. You know… blended families and all that.

2 Family picsArleen’s mother (Granny) with Adrian (is it me, or could she pass as Adrian’s mother?), and Arleen with Timeeah – one of the six kids

Crikey, six kids! And only three came to Byron. What did the others do?
Well, Arleen has two kids and I have four. One of Arleen’s, Travis, lives in South Africa with his father, and the other one, Timeeah, lives with us. She’s 12, but moved to Australia with Arleen when she was five. Travis is about to come and visit us for a month because he’s just finished year 12 and is taking a gap year. In the past he has come and stayed with us twice a year. I have Solomon who is 24. He has just come back from being deployed in Afghanistan…

So he’s a soldier? That appears to me to be quite a contrast to how you have lived your lives, given your earlier mention of Rudolph Steiner. Were all the kids educated in the Steiner system?
Yes, and Solomon was the first. He was my intro to Steiner, but he’s always had leadership qualities and he’s taken that through to the army.

What would Rudolph Steiner have to say about producing a soldier?
I think he would say it’s his Karma. It’s his passion, it’s his mission.

As a father, how do you feel about it?
My take is… I support him to follow his life’s journey… I support and follow him but I don’t have to like his choices. I also see the army as an initiation for him. It takes courage to go to deployment.

Oh absolutely. We could obviously talk at length about what it is like to have a ‘child’ deployed but there are three others to cover here, so, back to the other kids…
So the next one is Alexander, who just had his second child and my second grandchild.

Whoa, a grandfather twice and not yet 50! How does that feel?
Interesting, because for a while I struggled with what to call myself, then I spoke with a good friend and she asked, ‘Why don’t you own it’? You know, own the title of being a grand dad and call myself ‘grand dad’. I couldn’t argue with that, so I’m really stepping up to the plate with the ‘grand’ aspect of my life.

Then there’s Oliver. He’s just finished year 12, then Genevieve who’s 16. All the kids have lived with us at some point, but predominantly with their mother.

Ok, so you moved to Byron Bay, did you have anything in place on the business or home front?
Well, first up we found a house on Friday Hut Road, closely followed by studio space in Byron. Then we put the kids into Cape Byron Steiner School.

What did you need a studio for?
We offered a range of healing modalities- counselling and psychotherapy, life alignment and massage.

2 Office details
Office and studio details

Wow. Who did what out of all that?
We both did Psychophonetics. Arleen is the life alignment practitioner and teacher and I’m the massage therapist.

So tell us a bit about Psychophonetics and Life Alignment
Yehuda Tagar founded Psychophonetics at Persophone College in South Africa… it is based on the work of Rudolf Steiner .

It’s a form of coaching, counselling and spiritually based psychotherapy. The essence of the work is working with sound and movement (if needed), hence phonetics. For example, if a client came to me because he/she felt they were struggling to move forward, we would ask them to describe visually how it feels, we call it a gesture… we ask them to gesture the feeling of the experience with their hands and/or full body. Then we might ask them to step away. We call that ‘enter, exit and behold’ so you enter into the process, then you step out of it, take a look at it and observe it. This is beholding it. Our role is to help people find their passions and restore their full potential.

6 Playing the didjThe master didjeridoo maker, and player, carrying out some healing work.

I’ve steered away from counselling to some degree and stepped up coaching with Conscious Life Development Foundation. I have put all the work I do under one umbrella ie my mens work, my eco soul bush experience and coaching and counselling. As you know Prue, I have a regular monthly newsletter which usually discusses a particular topic, for example, endings and new beginnings.  We support local businesses by posting free ads and we do an events page as well. I also do a book review and a people profile.

Wow that sounds like a lot of work. Do you do it solo?
Yes, but I also encourage and accept other peoples articles.

And you also have a blog?
Yes, called ‘The Boy and the Cake’ which is about Little Adrian and Master Adrian. It’s a take on how we can easily get pulled into the emotions, reactions and actions from – if you like – the needy inner child. Through stories I share how I have personally overcome those challenges.

7 CakeThe boy… and the cake… Adrian, you haven’t changed a bit!

So it seems you eat, breathe and practise what you preach?
Yep, I try very much to walk my talk.

I also have a book coming out in mid 2013 entitled ‘Where Am I Right Now’. It’s part personal development, part life story, and it also has exercises and tips on how to stay present and reach one’s full potential.

I understand this is your second book because you self published a kids’ book a couple of years ago.
Yes, that’s ‘Wendy and the Fairy Ring Secret’ which I distribute through my website www.conciouslifedevelopment.com and locally in Byron Bay at outlets such as, Natures Child and Essentially Byron. My second book however, has been picked up by a publisher, which is really exciting.

8 WendyThe author with his first book, ‘Wendy and the Fairy Ring Secret’ – what an achievement.

Seven years down the track, you are clearly set up in business and in home life. What then are the joys of living in this area and what are the challenges?
I love the warmth, I really love it. And I really love living in Bangalow… it has a different energy to Byron and the village atmosphere in Bangalow is really gratifying. In this area there is always something to do whether it’s music, plays, workshops, the beach, bushwalking, snorkelling… there’s just so much.

And the challenges, do you have any?
I think working from home instead of a regular nine to five work place is challenging… although I don’t see what I do as work – more a passion and vocation – living in a holiday and beach environment does make it challenging to focus and requires a fair bit of discipline. For example, when I go down to Byron for a meeting and see the beach, it takes some discipline not to stay.

Oh yes, I’m sure we all get that. But hey, you hold your meetings in cafes, that surely aint all bad? Do you have a fave?
Yes, it’s either at Utopia in Bangalow or Why Not in Byron – they make the best LSD (Latte Soy Dandelion). I also love the Conscious Café in Byron. They are organic, dairy and soy free… and their salads are phenomenal… the colour, the taste, everything. If Arleen and I go out for lunch we struggle to go past the Cardomon Pod and we like The Balcony for their tapas. You can always get good vego with tapas.

Do you eat out much?
No, mainly at home.

I have discovered working from home entails preparation of three meals a day. Do you ever tire of cooking like I do?
Well, we have a live-in cook… everybody calls her Granny. Her name is Eileen, and she’s Arleen’s mother, and she cooks five days a week and we cook on the weekends. Sunday is often pizza night … I was a baker in a former life.

9 garden pics
Adrian has also studied Bio-Dynamic Agriculture… is it any wonder his veggie patch is thriving? And check out  where the path leads to…
5 shed pics… to his shed… complete with pool. Some shed! I’m sure there are thousands of blokes out there with massive shed envy.

What style pizza base do you do?
I have my secret pizza… it’s one word. Basil! When I make my dough I add basil… generally thin bases and tonnes of garlic.

Whats your fave combo topping?
Slices of tomato, with fresh basil leaves tonnes of sea salt, so the toms soak it up and plenty of garlic and cheese.

So you are total vego… where do you get your protein from?
Eggs… and the natural proteins in organic vegetables.

I am so jealous of Adrian and Arleen with their live-in cook – what an amazing arrangement. Lucky them. There was so much more to explore with these two warm, open, honest people, like Adrian being a master didjeridoo player and maker, how Arleen is Adrian’s psychotherapist (how scary would that be, living with your psychotherapist???!!!) and the story of how Adrian wore down the very adamant Arleen and married her. Perhaps there will be a part two? Thank you Adrian for your time and enthusiasm… it was a complete joy.

Advertisements

Conversation with Deva Nandan – 5Rhythms Dance + Giveaways

Deva Nandan

“For me it was like starting a new path…
Now it is through the 5Rhythms Dance that I express my heart.”

Deva is passionate about following her heart. It’s always been her path. This could also be said about her commitment to the Byron 5Rhythms Dance community. As a qualified teacher, every week, she holds the space with music and heart presence, as people explore themselves and their relationship to others through the expression of dance. 5Rhythms is a powerful tool for increasing self-awareness, and for some like Deva, a spiritual practice. We caught up with her recently to hear about her journey to Australia and introducing her passion to Byron Bay.

We can tell by your beautiful accent you are not originally from here. Where were you born?
In Angola, Africa, to Portuguese parents. Angola was colonised by the Portuguese and my parents lived there for 17 years. We left when I was three because of the colony war. My father was quite wealthy and had a lot of land, which the natives wanted. We fled to Brazil with nothing, lived there (Sao Paulo) for two years, and then went to Portugal when I was six.


Deva returned to her family in Portugal recently to walk some familiar streets
and take in the magnificent views of Lisbon

You came to Australia with your husband, Amito. What brought you both here?
Amito and I were living in Grand Cayman in the Caribbean. He was a dive instructor and I was a jewellery sales person making lots of money selling gold and Rolex’s (laughs). We lived there for 11 months until a category five hurricane wiped the place out in 2004. So we moved to the UK where the second module of my dance training was being conducted. But I wasn’t happy there – the people are very closed unlike the Caribbean paradise we had just come from. We knew we wanted to live in an English speaking country but we didn’t want to live in South Africa where Amito is from and we ruled out the States… our intuition led us to Australia, which felt really right. Amito is a civil engineer and since Australia needed them it was easy for him to be sponsored in a job.


Deva’s husband, Amito, travelled with her to Portugal… umm which one is he? 🙂

How did you come to be in Byron Bay?
I first heard about Byron from a guy I met whilst travelling through India. I went there to do a Vipassana meditation retreat. We travelled for three months and he was always talking about Byron, how amazing it was and especially the dance parties in the forest. When Amito and I came to Australia in 2006, we were looking to establish ourselves in a like-minded community. We first went up to Crystal Waters on the Sunshine Coast but we didn’t find it there so we ended up coming down to Byron. I instantly fell in love with it… the beaches, the beauty, and the weather.
Even though we both loved it here, Amito needed to be in Brisbane for work, so he based himself there whilst I stayed one night in a backpacker’s, and then went to Samaya Retreat in Rosebank. A month later I moved into Byron and started teaching in the scout hall. I was teaching on a Friday night and getting 70 people… the hall soon became too small! Meantime, the Civic Hall in Mullumbimby was being done up, so when it was complete I took the classes there. It is bigger and has a sprung floor…it’s really nice… perfect for dancing.


Some of Deva’s Indian travel shots – where she first heard about Byron Bay

What is 5Rhythms dance?
5Rhythms is a personal growth practice. It is a tool to experiment and reflect on who you are, through dance. My passion is to teach this practice. This is something the founder, Gabrielle Roth, teaches us… it’s a mind-body-spirit practice accessible to everyone.

What are the five rhythms?
The five rhythms are called – flowing, staccato, chaos, lyrical and stillness. They come together to create a ‘Wave’. They relate to different moods, life-cycles, emotions etc… which are expressed through different ways of moving, using five distinctive styles of music. As you dance you tend to find one rhythm that you are most comfortable with. This practice really frees you from conditioning and invites you to embody your truth.

Where did you train in dance?
I moved to London in ‘94 and discovered the classes there. I danced regularly for nine years before training as a dance teacher. The training involved three different modules… each one in a different place. I trained in New York, England and California for one and a half years under the tuition of the 5Rythms founder, Gabrielle Roth.

Deva dancing
Deva dancing 2
Deva in action – expressing her heart through dance

Some people who come to Byron, particularly on a spiritual path, decide to change their names. How did you come to take the name ‘Deva’?
I had friends in London who were Sanyassin so I was exposed to their way of being. It is based on the spiritual teachings of a guru named Osho. So I went and learnt about Osho and the meditation practice he teaches. In India, I stayed in an Ashram, a beautiful environment where I meditated every day. The people really lived fully and celebrated life. They primarily follow their hearts and I too have always followed my heart so it felt completely natural for me to be in that environment.

Is that when you changed your name?
Yes. I was given ‘Deva Nandan’ which means Divine Garden.

Who gave you your name?
At that time in the Ashram there were three options. One was to keep my birth name but do the ceremony to become a Sanyassin, the second was to take a mysterious name… which is what I chose, and the third was a list I could choose from. The mysterious version was where they had a team of people that meditated on your photograph and the information you provided, and they would intuitively feel the name for you.

Did taking this name change your life in any way?
For me it was like starting a new path. I had been bought up in a very conservative family so following the heart, like the Sanyassins, really resonated with me. Now it is through the 5Rhythms Dance that I express my heart.


Everybody can dance the 5Rhythms of life!

What sort of path were you on before you found 5Rhythms?
It’s funny but I originally trained as an industrial and jewellery designer, which I did for 15 years… but even when I was designing jewellery I was following the philosophy of 5Rhythms… I was already bringing movement into my designs and mixing them up. I can feel that I have a longing to come back to jewellery design but now I am studying Kinesiology, which is a whole new area that I love. Once again, it is healing and working with people.

What do you love about Byron?
I love the beaches, the dolphins, and the whales. I lived in Main Arm for two years and I love the forest there…I love walking to Devils Hole which is a bit of a secret… it’s near Mt Jerusalem. I love walking in nature. Minyon Falls is another beautiful walk. I also like the craft at the markets. I love the people here and how relaxed they are. Everyone seems happy. You walk down the street and people smile.
And even though I don’t do much of it, I love horse riding on the beach… Oh and I love going to the farm to get milk…

Where is this milk farm? We keep hearing about it.
It’s on Myocum Road between Mullum and Byron. You go there with your container and pay a dollar for a litre. The farmer is about 90 and he allows people to help themselves to the milk and leave the money.

It’s easy to talk about all the things we love about Byron and we know you are now moving to base yourself in Brisbane to be with Amito; what have been some of the challenges of living here?
OMG… the challenges of renting! Being at the whim of landlords you get moved around. I was in a place that I didn’t know was an illegal dwelling and the landlord informed me recently of a council inspection so I had to move out of there. It was really annoying but in this case it worked for me because I was ready to move back to Brisbane to be with Amito. I also found it hard to have stable friendships because of the transient nature of the place. You make friends and lose them because they have to move on. This can be a bit sad sometimes.


Markets, beaches and horseriding… just some of the things Deva loves about Byron

And what we say is…

If you haven’t explored 5Rhythms Dance and have been thinking about it… do it! Speaking with a friend the other night, he was saying how dancing two nights a week in Melbourne was like dancing for his sanity. Deva is the original deal of 5Rhythms in Byron and brings to this community a world of experience, professionalism and a compassionate heart. Every Tuesday night you will find her at the Mullumbimby Civic Hall setting up the audio equipment for the thoughtfully chosen music, and creating artistic installations with subtle lighting for atmosphere. She smudges the room with sage for clarity and sacredness so that when the music begins at 7pm and people step into the space, the best of intentions have been set. The rest is up to you… to take the ensuing guidance and opportunity of movement to free yourself. You won’t regret it.

Giveaway – 5 passes to 5Rhythms Dance, Mullumbimby
Deva is kindly offering five single passes to five of our readers to attend one of her classes on Tuesday evenings, 7pm – 9pm, Mullumbimby Civic Hall. If you would like to receive one of these passes please leave a comment at the bottom of this post. Five winners will be chosen at random.


Just love this photo of Deva taken in Portugal…
too many skulls can make a girl feel a bit nervous!

THE BYRON QUESTIONS:

Do you have a favourite café?
Not really. I don’t really hang out in cafes much.

What about restaurant?
Milk and Honey in Mullum

Do you have a favourite shop?
The Piece Gallery in Mullum. I always love going in there. So many beautiful things.

What is your local’s tip for a visitor to Byron?
For sure the lighthouse walk, the markets… and a vist to Bangalow. Oh, my dance class (laughs). It is a really unique thing to do. I love Kiva Spa…I go there often, and also have a massage with Leslie who works at Mullum Herbs… she is great. Oh, and Lucy the ceramicist at the Wheel of Life in Brunswick… I love her work. I bought tea cups recently as gifts for my homecoming in Portugal. I love cats so I love hanging out at the Cat Adoption Centre, too.

What would we find you doing on a typical Saturday?
(Shrugs shoulders)…I don’t have a typical Saturday. Sometimes I’m doing workshops or going for a really long walk. I mean a really long walk… usually along Brunswick Beach. I walk till there is no one around and I feel the space. After coming from Europe where it is so populated I love the space here in Australia.

Carnivale of Life and Death – 11.11.11


The Carnival will be held this weekend Fri 11, Sat 12 & Sun 13 November
at the Civic Hall and Heritage Park in Mullumbimby

We interviewed Zenith Virago, our community ‘Death Walker’,  a few months ago when she shared her plans to create a major event encouraging the community to celebrate life and death in a creative and fun way. Well the day is nigh and Zenith tells us how we can get involved…

Byron is a great place to live, but it is also great place to die.  We are cutting edge of a more natural approach to death and dying, celebrating our diverse lifestyles in a deathstyle that is meaningful and inspiring. For those who don’t follow a traditional faith, the opportunity to connect to something meaningful and sacred is a precious and healing part of saying goodbye and living with loss. This is the 5th year for the Day of the Dead Ceremony and we wanted to create something bigger and more diverse,  to offer a better ‘way to go’ to everyone in any of our various communities.  We are really blazing a trail that others are starting to pick up and run with, as they understand it helps to create a healthier bereavement and thus a more connected community.

An awareness and fund raising event put on by Zenith and the Natural Death Centre (NDC), the Carnival of Life and Death (COLD) comprises several innovative events with an aim to highlight creativity, movement and colour into our experiences of loss of our loved ones and also our own mortality.  The NDC is committed to empowering people around end-of-life choices and to creating a cultural change for the better.

Continue reading