Beautiful and restful as the place is with its wonderful views, inspiring walks, daily massages and other treatments, labyrinth and inherent stillness, one wouldn't describe it as a culinary delight. In fact, in the past I have said that you don't come here for the food. The detox regime is challenging and takes you right out of your comfort zone into a place of hunger pangs and making do with what you are given, which as it happens is not very much.
This is my third visit. I found the first one tough, the second easier and as I sit here on day one I can't imagine why I made a fuss previously.
This time I have arrived knowing the benefits that are available, knowing how good I feel at the end of the week, how much unneeded weight I will lose, knowing that this will help me break the unhelpful eating habits I have taken on in the last year and knowing that what I am given to eat here has been thoughtfully provided with my well-being in mind, not with some sort of sadistic intent to make me suffer.
Just this simple change in mind-set - understanding that whatever challenges this place may present, they are intended for my good - has made this an expedition to be savoured and favored. It has made day one - generally my least favorite - infinitely more enjoyable and actually a cinch.
Imagine if children could understand that when their parents put their feet down, it is from a place of love and with the well-being of the child in mind.
Now imagine that Life's challenges are for your greater good. Imagine that everything that comes your way is offering you an opportunity to grow and bring out your best qualities, to help you attain an understanding if your highest and most noble self. If this can be your mindset, rather than that Life or God might somehow have it in for you, how then might you approach the challenges that come your way?
Back to St Francis now. Perhaps it IS the food I come for, even if its gifts aren't immediately apparent.