A Message from Ida

by | Jun 23, 2004 | Archives

A midnight breeze kisses hemlock and pine in the deep embrace of an amber moon. Dark clouds race and churn the lunar cream over a cemetery just ahead.

Standing in a cemetery near midnight may not seem the norm. I have a friend that forced me into this. Ida is her name and secrets she shares are the core of good health, energy and long life. These are secrets for weight loss, stress reduction and longevity. Ida has proven this fact by living to be 115!

I listen to what she says, but the only place we can meet is here in a cemetery. These mountain cemeteries are dotted throughout the Blue Ridge, part and parcel of life up here in the High Country. Several of her relatives lay at rest in this burial ground located on Merrily Farms.

When I find myself forgetting what good health really is, I come here and listen to Ida’s tales. We sit with her relatives. John is here. He passed at age 91 and his wife, Jill, aged 95. Two more of the same family name, but an era earlier, were aged 86 and 100 at death.

And then there is Ida, her message is strongest because she passed at 115, born 1794 and leaving this world in 1909. Imagine what she saw living through three centuries!

The secrets from their headstones are clear. First, some places are healthier than others. Second, lifestyle affects longevity more than quadruple bypasses, pacemakers, chemo, radiation, modern medicine and drugs. These people were dirt poor mountain farmers and did not have health insurance, hospitals or regular checkups. Some may have never seen a doctor. Third, a simple, natural life is filled with good health, energy, relaxation and strength.

Clean air, pure water and fresh food are important medicines! These hardy mountain people worked hard and kept life simple. Longevity was their reward. Modern medicine does many wonderful things to intervene in illness. But the imbalanced Western way of life does not do a lot to encourage wellness.

I invite you to join my wife Merri and me to learn Ida’s secrets and much more as you enjoy three or six days of simplicity, purity and rejuvenation at any one of our upcoming Wellness Weekends conducted this July, August and September.

Come up and learn why and how some people today are still enormously long lived without medicines, doctors, hospitals and drugs. Visit the Blue Ridge for a Wellness Weekend. Breath our fresh air, drink our pure spring water and eat our fresh organic food grown right here on the farm as you learn and are immersed in secrets of health.

Wellness Weekends offer a chance to let your stress and extra weight go based on living and learning longevity secrets that have been searched out over many years during our journeys around the world.

These secrets are distillates gleaned from months and years spent with Vaidyas and Pundits of India, Sufi masters, Chinese herbalists, Tibetan Monks and Andean Yatchaks, who specialize in one aspect of longevity and rejuvenation or another. The secrets also come from a continuing research about people who are active but aged over 100.

You do not have to be a Monk or even very disciplined to benefit from these secrets as they have been refined to work for modern people with modern lifestyles.

The program does not aim to cure any specific ill. Wellness Week helps build stamina, vitality, energy and endurance so the body is better able to care for itself. Wellness Week offers a time to renew, rebuild and rejuvenate.

Live and Learn

Wellness Weekends immerse you in a lifestyle garnered by wise people over centuries. Learning is just one of seven parts in the plan. You live the ideas we share while you are here. Each day you are immersed three times in a seven cycle system of oxygenation, purification, coordination, energization, education, occupation and relaxation.

Longevity Secrets

The first of the secrets you’ll live and learn at a Wellness Weekend is so obvious it hardly seems hidden at all. This simple, universally ignored, reality is to restrict your diet. Cut your caloric intake. This is the only scientifically proven factor that increases longevity.

Most of us cannot simply stop eating. Hunger is too powerful a force! During Wellness Weekend you learn how to change eating habits so you have plenty of beautiful food to eat, but less calories. Delegates who have joined us report again and again that they ate more than normal amounts but lost weight and reduced inches in as little as three days!

Don’t think this means you’ll be eating celery, lettuce, cardboard tasting crisp bread and such either. Part of wellness is enjoying your food! You learn to eat more effectively and discover good tasting, balanced, low calorie food. You find out how to prepare this food so it’s more nourishing and filling and finally how to prepare it with herbs and spices that modulate blood sugar levels so hunger fades away. There are many small, simple yet effective secrets that can make us crave good foods instead of bad.

Just one example of spice coordination and energization covers how to use ginger, cinnamon and cloves. When taken in correct amounts, at the right time, in the proper blend, these spices crank your metabolism as they calm your appetite. This is just one of numerous, simple health tricks you’ll experience and learn.

You also learn how to mix protein, carbohydrates and fats for energy and weight loss. You get recipes with easy-to-buy-at-the-supermarket foods. For example you’ll enjoy a breakfast of protein balanced pancakes with organic panella-canela syrup. Every ingredient is inexpensive, easily obtainable yet this delicious sweet meal fills as it turns up the calorie burning process.

The eating secrets include seven easy ways to identify your body type so you can customize a diet and know when and what to eat in the right way.

Let me make one other point clear about food. There are a lot of diets today that claim to the be the one and only best way to lose weight. Maybe they work or not. Even those that do work may be inconvenient or expensive and do not work for everyone! Though the nutritional plan you learn is derived from diets created by mystic healers in many distant lands, the entire program has been modified for today’s lifestyles and tastes. Practically all the food you will eat can be easily obtained. Preparation, mixing, timing and method of eating are as important as the quality and type of food!

Unlock the Mystery of Key Muscles

Another nutritional trick unveiled has nothing to do with what we eat. The trick is to energize and coordinate the digestive system by exercising a set of key muscles as we eat. The body has a number of key muscles that regulate breathing, digestion, circulation, elimination and muscular motion. During Wellness Weekend you energize these muscles which in turn coordinates every other muscle and organ in the body. Eating in this way for example (most of the modern world does not) energizes just one key muscle that regulates part of our ability to burn sugars and fat.

Key muscles affect almost every aspect of our health yet this fact is hardly known. During Wellness Weekend you learn how to activate key muscles in easy non-time consuming ways….not weight lifting, just simple easy internal movements.

Secret #2 is to have more than a routine. Create ritual! Those who live extra- ordinarily long lives seem to share this common trait. Whatever they do they do in moderation, in a very similar way and with great gusto. For example, if they drink an ounce of whisky every day, at six o clock, they do not do this at five some days and eight others. They do not have a half ounce one day and two another. They tend to have one ounce at six p.m. every day. This instills discipline, keeps life simple (very important) and allows the body to get used to doing whatever it is it has to do. Take Chris Mortensen one of the oldest documented men in the 1990s who at 113 said of his weekly cigar, “If you take my weekly cigar away from me, I am going to die”. The anticipation and ritual of whatever pleasure he receives from this is far more life giving than the stress. The world's oldest documented woman in the 1990s, Jeanne Clement, at age 122 drank cognac and ate a pound of chocolate a week (but never two pounds).

Secret #3 is to remain independent, challenged, active and needed. One of the most important features found in isolated valleys where people live long lives is that old age was revered. Often people at age 100, even 110 are still active and working! Max Zimmer of Los Angeles came to the US from Austria in 1911 with only a two dollar bill. At age 103 he still had the same two-dollar bill and had built and still ran a multimillion-dollar business.

One medical doctor who specializes in anti-aging points out that most centenarians seldom spend much time with doctors. When they finally get sick, they die quickly and with little expense. They depend on themselves to remain healthy, not others.

Part of Wellness Weekend focuses on how to have financial balance in investing and business so you can remain independent.

Space and time prohibit outlining everything you gain at Wellness Weekend but the partial syllabus and schedule below show why whether you come to wellness week for three or six days you will relax, have more energy, lose weight and feel better.


The schedule provides nine, seven lesson sessions over three days. The week’s goal is to help each individual feel the benefits from immersion in a healthier lifestyle while learning what works best for the individual.

Each seven lesson session follows the same cycle; oxygenation, coordination, purification, energization, education, occupation and relaxation. Here is what you can do if you follow the entire schedule (every portion is optional):

Oxygenation-Coordination: An early walk on the trails through the woods followed by gentle Andean, Tibetan and Indian exercises opens energy centers and awakens key muscles. Exercises include the Llama Walk, Lizard Crawl and the Warrior's Bow followed by activators for the three main key muscles. The session ends with an optional cold water plunge (or shower) to induce oxygenated blood into vital organs.

Purification: Cleansing soaks from steam baths, soaks in sacred Andean purification herbs and drinking purifying teas designed for your body type. This leaves the body, hair and mind clean, clear and aromatic.

Energization: Eating balanced, correctly prepared organic food and drinking herbal teas designed for body type and body imbalances.

Occupation: Physical labor, suited to your body type and condition range from gardening and animal care to path building and clearing the woods.

Relaxation: Meditation, hammocking, labyrinth walks and massage and soaking in the 105 degree pure spring waters of the Indian Sacred Water are sure ways to relieve stress.

Education: Three learning sessions a day follow the partial syllabus below:

Partial Syllabus.

There are three educational sessions each day. Here are some of the subjects covered.

Body Types Made EZ: Three elements create life. Learn how they cause and influence nine body types and their imbalances. You discover seven easy ways to determine your body type and how to keep it in balance.

Healthy Eating Made EZ: Gain delicious, power packed weight reducing recipes. Eat delicious meals creek side and learn how to prepare them. These meals all come from easy to obtain products from super market foods. Coddle Yourself Egg-High Protein Country Cottage Pie-Low Carb-Veggie Chile & Spaghetti- Weightless Bread-High Mountain Pure Protein Quinoa-Better Oatmeal of Steel- Several Soups for Super Strength-Berry Good Crunch Treat and Waist Less Apple Crumble are just a few. You are also given three purifying, one day diets to use as the seasons change, plus you learn a new hot & cold herbal & spice tea each day.

Exercise For Strength and Better Health Made EZ: Medicine is dose. Too much exercise is as bad or worse as not enough. Learn how to let comfort be your exercise guide. Move with momentum-some exercises activate all muscles and provide the benefit of leverage, momentum and convenience so 12 minutes of exercise a day is enough. Blend body and mind-Alpha exercises take you into the zone so you win from the inside out. Spin and bend-blend exercise secrets from India, the Andes and the East for easy and better health. The Gentle Touch-if you have to breathe through the mouth you have done too much. Learn nose breathing that power packs EZcizes.

Relaxation. Five secrets of the senses eliminate stress. Gain the spirit of relaxation. Learn one unifying factor of health and how to gain it through relaxation every day.

These are just a few of the lessons you gain in the first three days…but there is much more.

Three or Six Days

Wellness Weekend is divided into three seven cycle sessions, the first beginning Thursday evening and running through Sunday.

However you can extend your weekend into a Wellness Week! You can arrive Thursday in the afternoon and depart Sunday after lunch or choose to stay on for an advanced second three day session which runs from Sunday afternoon through Tuesday and depart Wednesday.

Whether you choose a Wellness Weekend or an Wellness Week, the time we share at our farm can change your life in numerous ways as some of the delegates who have attended previous courses have written. Here is what others have said about staying at Merrily Farms:

Though I ate more than ever, my weight dropped and I lost two inches off my waist.” – S.H. Oregon

I could hardly sleep five hours a night before arriving at the farm. While there I sometimes slept 12 hours!” – J.C. Florida

The life path altering effects from the weekend with you and Merri continue. Thank you again. I have begun to change my diet. Bless you!” – D.B. Connecticut

You are indeed a spiritual pioneer, blending disciplines to create tools and resources for success in this new land of opportunity. Anyone who thinks this is just all about money is missing the real message: This is about life in its most profound implications.” – W.P. Australia

I want to thank you for the wonderful time. I travailed from California to hear you convey your knowledge in the way you do so well, and I wasn't disappointed. The amount of information in the sessions was almost overwhelming, but it's exactly what I went to hear. When I try to engage intelligent, educated people on these subjects here at home, I usually get a blank look or 'That's interesting, but why are you thinking about that?' The setting at the farm felt like we were all sitting in the den after dinner discussing things among friends. The relaxed atmosphere seemed to encourage people to participate, asking pointed questions and relating personal experiences. The international flavor and attitude of the group was very stimulating, particularly when we split up into discussion groups. Those groups, taking walks together, allowed us to get to know each other on a personal level. Anyway, what I'm trying to say is, that's the most fun I've had for four days straight in along time! Thanks again.” – B.R. California

A special warm 'thank you' to Merri for the wonderful cooking and the 'feel at home atmosphere!' I like to give a few comments about the past weekend. It was relaxing, inspiring, informative and a spiritually balanced atmosphere with all these different, same thinking, like people. The technical information I gathered was most not new to me, but I like to compliment you for putting it all in the right perspective and to make it very understandable to all. What was at our opinion one of the most important gaining of these 3 days is the opening of the new world, this new circle of what you call 'normal' people! (I call us 'not normal' as a matter of respect to the majority.) But as we know, all is relative and depends at the point of view of each, His spiritual mind and his opinion about the senses of our being.” – E.V. Florida

For years and years I have searched for truly like- minded people to play with and work with… people who are deeply and honestly SPIRITUAL.” – J.M. Texas

People who, among other things, are active and productive and creative and resourceful, whose word can be counted upon; People who realize that spirituality DOES NOT mean sitting in a cave contemplating your navel and weaving baskets, nor does it equate in the Western culture with living in abject poverty. People who realize that abundance is not a dirty word. People who understand that we are here to ENGAGE life, not to submit to circumstances out of fear and ignorance and apathy; People who don't just use the most current 'buzz words' so they can feel like they are part of the group, but who actually DO something… Builders. Thank you for showing up in my life.” – E.W. Nevada

Low Cost

Considering the high cost of medical care, health insurance and pharmaceuticals, you will be pleasantly surprised to find the cost of a Wellness Weekend or Week is really low, just $499 for one ($749 for two sharing a room). This is the same fee we have charged for our courses for 20 years. Yet here is the best part….

FREE Food and Lodging

Because we love the beauty of our farm and our lives here, we want to share and invite you to be a guest at our farm. We will feed you (including our farm grown organic food) and put you up in one of our rustic, but super comfortable farmhouses or cabins. All without additional charge. The $499 (or $749 for a couple sharing a room) course fee is all you pay. You can see our accommodations at www.littlehorsecreek.com

Stay the Entire Week

You can choose to stay with us for the extended six day course for only $449 more or a total $998 for the entire Wellness Week ($1,398 for two sharing a room).

Won’t you join us amidst the deep forest. Stroll in the cream of an amber moon. Dance in the garden with magical fireflies. Soak in the heated waters of the historic Indian Springs. Sip pure water and savor clean air for a weekend or full week of good health? Come share this special time of healing as we learn why others (and we) can live so long. Stroll up to the cemetery and visit with Ida. She has a profound message for you.

These weekends will be held July 15 through July 18 (or extend to July 21), August 19 through 22 (August 22 through 25 extended) or September 16 through September 19 (September 19 through September 22 extended).