The Ultimate In Positive Thinking?

I will never forget an evening in 2003, when I met an amazing gentleman. I had, for several weeks, had a problem with my foot and ankle, having great trouble walking because of the pain. It was a bit swollen, and I thought it was an injury of some sort, although I could not recall how it had happened.

The doctor at the local hospital did not examine it. She looked at my age on the notes, glanced down towards my foot, and said: "Oh, that's gout. It comes with your age." As I was only 53, and feeling quite healthy, I was not impressed. I never went back; I knew for sure it was nothing arthritic. I had long experience of arthritic pain in my younger days. This was not right; I was convinced it was an injury, but was baffled.

I decided just to rest it as much as I could for a few days, and it did show some sign of easing, but not a lot. I had started to fathom out how it may have happened. I lived then, and now, in Palawan, a beautiful province of the Philippines, something of a tropical paradise. Then, I still slept with the air conditioning on, albeit down low. More often than not, my feet would become uncovered during the night, and they were right under the air conditioning unit. So, I was waking with cold feet every morning.

Then came that evening I will not forget. A friend had told me she knew of a herbalist who people turned to when conventional western medicine had failed. That evening, she brought him to our apartment. We all sat around and there was polite chatter, with the gentleman sitting opposite me. As he came in, and then sat down, I had admired his agility and remarkably healthy appearance.

I noticed that he was observing my foot; and I had been observing him, too. I thought to myself that he was probably about 65, but as he was so healthy, only looked about 58. He had a young face, and good skin. My friend looked over with a big smile.

"Roy, Mr ??.. is 100 years old."

I was shocked, and aghast. I think he is used to that reaction.


My friend laughed: "Yes, 100 years old. And he has 45 children from 4 wives."

I observed him from a different viewpoint now, and with disbelief. I was too polite to ask at what stages each of his wives died, but he had outlived them all. All his children had been successful one way or another, and he was a proud and happy man.

What was his secret? He was a man of the forest. Palawan is still blessed with historic rainforest, which hide many secrets in and below its trees. It was the trees of the forest that he used to treat people, and had achieved some wonderful results over the years. He was too modest to have told me that, it was my friend who told me of his successes. He shrugged if someone asked his secrets about his being 100 years old, and appearing so healthy and young. His answer was a fairly short one:

"I eat only good healthy food. I have never drunk alcohol. I have had a happy life. I pray every day, and believe in God."

There was one more reason he gave for his longevity: "I always wanted to live to be very old. I always saw it that way. Every day I imagined myself over 100."

Now, those may not be his exact words, as my friend translated for me as he spoke. But one thing I do know, he spoke with great sincerity, calmness and a subdued authority. He was the epitome of confidence. I was in awe at this small, lithe, 100 year old Superman.

My ankle and foot? Eventually he sprung out of his chair, and examined my foot.

"No arthritis," he said, and I did understand that as he spoke. Then my friend had to translate. He had observed, I walked on cold tiles. He said I would go from the outside, where it was hot, and come in and immediately walk on cold tiles. The blood was no longer reaching my feet properly.

That reminded me of what I had been thinking about the air conditioning while I slept. I explained, and he nodded knowingly. Each morning I would get out of bed and immediately do over 100 push ups. While the exercise is mostly on the arms, the tendons on the ankles get stretched with each push. Cold tendons being stretched over 100 times? Every morning. For months. That was it; that was probably the cause of the swollen ankle.

He said not to worry, it could be cured in 3 days of treatment. He had to travel down to the south of Palawan, and go into the forest in search of the barks and leaves he needed. It was the rainy season, and he was gone a week. I was still struggling to get walking when he returned, but it was only 2 days to go until I was due to fly to Cebu, so no time for the 3 days of treatment.

I need not have been concerned. He came back twice to apply a hot compress, steaming with the magic ingredients of the rain forest. Then, I had to get my flight. "Don't worry," he said, that should be fine. He was right; apart from an occasional twinge while in Cebu, it was fine, even as I walked around.

All he asked in return was the payment of his travel down to southern Palawan and back, as it was a journey he had not planned to make. He gave his time, knowledge and attention for free.

My ankle, though, was not why I remember that 100 year old gentleman. To me, his was the ultimate example of positive thinking. He always told himself he would live to be 100, and he did.

Ever since then, I have had a plan for my 100th birthday. It is a day I think of a lot. My guest of honour that day will be, if I can track him down, that gentleman of the forest. He will be 147 then, and with the way he was looking at 100, he will still be around, surprising people as much as ever.

This">positive thinking article was written by Roy Thomsitt, owner of the Routes To Self Improvement website.