Henri Craemer | Recovery in Montelibretti
Dealing with illness and the process of healing through rest, relaxation, and meditation is covered. Henri Craemer recounts his experience on the Way of St Francis in the town of Montelibretti.
Montelibretti, recovery, meditation, relaxation, healing, releasing exercise, releasing, psychosomatic, affirmation, Louise Hay, You Can Heal Your Life, Lord’s Prayer
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My room of recovery. (Photo: © Henri Craemer)

Recovery in Montelibretti

Montelibretti, just before 10:00, 19 September 2017. Ilaria hands me the keys to our two bedroomed unit in the Albergo, and a voucher for supper at the pizzeria close by. Today I get the room with the double bed, after having spent the previous three nights on a not quite so comfortable single bed at the end of Stage 25. The room has a very homely feeling to it. I settle in. I take a look around outside and notice how quiet Montelibretti is.

Determined not only to make a recovery from this upper respiratory tract infection and asthma but also to shake the general trail fatigue, I decide to sleep as much as possible. It is a time for healing. I snuggle into bed and fall asleep quickly. I’m glad to notice that my dreams are not quite as much fuelled by fever as the past couple of restless nights.


Meditation and Releasing

When I awake, I feel mentally much clearer. Everything is still extremely quiet. I decide to do a meditation. I start by putting myself into deep relaxation.

Then I do the Lord’s Prayer as a deep meditation. What most people don’t realise is that this prayer has very special properties. It goes far beyond the mere words contained in it. Apart from energising oneself on a spiritual level, it can also be used as a way to align and harmonise one’s spiritual energies. If you are ready for it and let the Presence of God speak to you as you wait patiently after the prayer, you may gain very important insight into your own spiritual path.

As a result, my mind is pointed to a releasing exercise and affirmations noted by Louise Hay, which I saw first in her book, “You Can Heal Your Life.”

I do the very simple releasing exercise. The nice thing about it is that it’s a very strong psychosomatic exercise – a mental exercise with physical consequences. You can release any negative emotion, and if you do it well enough, it will have positive physical health consequences.

You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay. Sales of this book is currently over 50m worldwide.

You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay, 35 million copies worldwide in 30 different languages.

I slow my breathing to a very slow rhythmic tempo, similar to the fourfold breath. Each statement, timed with a cycle of breath, must come from the centre of your being:

           I am willing to release.

           I am willing to let go.

           I release.

           I let go.

           I release the depression.

           I release the sadness.

           I release the frustration.

           I release the blockages

           In releasing and letting go I am at peace.

           All is well.

           The Light of God fills my void.


I follow this exercise with an affirmation to counter my asthma problems, which is one of many affirmations for a variety of conditions in Louise Hay’s book. Many suns and moons ago, this anti-asthma affirmation worked for me, which is probably why I become conscious of it now. I start repeating it slowly, combined with the slow breath cycle:


           It is safe now for me to take charge of my own life. I choose to be free.


Like many things in life, one needs repetition and anchoring before meditations deliver results. It works faster for some people than others. As with all methods of prayer and meditation, one’s intention needs to be right and you need to believe that it will work.

After doing this affirmation several times, I realise how easy it is to sacrifice one’s freedom. This is not a sacrifice in the religious sense of the word. It’s also not simply one sacrifice. Some of them are very small, like not speaking up to avoid unpleasantness. Others are fundamental, like conforming to mental, emotional, and social patterns that have outlived their use. For too long I’ve simply let things slide by not taking charge of my life. There will be no more of this. It is time to move on.


Medical Consultation

When Niels arrives, he tells me that he had a relatively uneventful journey. Apart from passing close to Castello Orsini, I missed nothing. He met up again with the Dutch pilgrims whom we met on the road to Poggio Bustone. When they enquired about me he told them I was ill. They told him that they are both health professionals. He’s a doctor, and she’s a lifestyle health counsellor. He said he’s more than willing to take a look at me. I’m quite willing to do this, although I am already convinced that I’m close to fully recovered.

The view Montelibretti, with possibly Monte Soratte in the distance. (Photo: © Henri Craemer)

The view Montelibretti, with possibly Monte Soratte in the distance. (Photo: © Henri Craemer)


Niels and I do a little trek through Montelibretti. As little Italian towns go, it’s pretty nondescript. The views are stunning. I’m the hell in with myself for leaving the camera in the room. Out of habit, I have my phone on me. That’s quite useless because by now the battery is completely dead. There is no place where I can buy a new battery charger. That means no pics. We find a place that has tasty snacks. It’s close to a pharmacy where I replenish my paracetamol.

At suppertime, we go to the pizzeria next to our Albergo. We meet up with John, the Dutch doctor, and Bridget, his wife. John and I talk about my illness while Niels and Bridget are in conversation.

John notices that I’ve developed a slight tremor. He tells me that all this is most likely a side effect of using salbutamol too often. However, he reckons I’ll be fit enough to walk tomorrow. I’m truly happy about this because cabin fever is beginning to get its grip on me.

We return to our Albergo after supper. I’m truly thankful that I can do a pre-bedtime meditation in my room rather than a cramped bathroom. A good strong healing sleep takes me through to the morning.

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