EP: Looking at you now, it’s hard to believe that you were not always so confident and self-assured. Were you one of those kids fortunate enough to he brought up in an atmosphere that promoted these attitudes?
JG: My childhood was spent in a relatively stable family structure. But it was at school where I had the most problems. Constantly fighting with the nuns, teachers, and other sometimes students, I was an academic disaster, and a misfit. Everything bored me and I was always looking for something more exciting. This reflected on my grades badly and I failed more subjects than I passed. If there was a mark lower than in F, I would have gotten it. So I wasn’t exactly good material for success.
JG: As soon as I could. I left for Europe. I lived in Geneva anti Paris for several years, and tried to pursue a career in modeling and entertainment. During this time, I drank and smoked heavily and lived mainly on diet pills. I was burning the candle on both ends. Then for a while, I thought that I had finally found my answer in a relationship with a man that I had met there. But that didn’t work out either. The best thing that came out of it was the birth of my twin daughters. Now, at least, there was something positive on which I could focus my life. When my relationship failed, I came home more depressed, more confused and very much feeling the effect,% of my careless lifestyle. Not only was I emotionally spent, I was also suffering from arthritis, candida and all kinds of pain which I thought was Part of getting old.
JG: It was a long process; something that developed over months. I guess I wasn’t desperate enough to be seriously interested in healing my problems.
Then a friend of mine gave me Viktoras Kulvinska’s book “Survival into the 21 st Century”. That was 20 years ago, and I remember reading it with a cigarette in my mouth and a can of beer in my hand. The immediate effect on me was not dramatic and I didn’t throw away my cigarettes and beer as a result of it; not right away anyway. But subconsciously, I must have absorbed something which grew in time. Then about 10 years ago, I really hit rock bottom. My anxiety level was at an all time high and my self-esteem was way down to zero. I really hated myself, I hated my work, I hated my life. I knew then that I needed to do something drastic or go down the drain. That’s when I decided to go to Hippocrates.
EP: Was there one particular aspect of the program that really helped address your problem?
JG: Yes. When I was there, I met other people with varying degrees of health challenges and I realized that they all came by their own choice. They didn’t have to be there. I saw the courage and willingness to change. This is what truly inspired and motivated me to do the same and I was so grateful for the opportunity to have that choice,
EP: Your before-and-after photographs are more expressive of your transition than this entire interview. What is the most lasting thing you learned from your experience?
JG: I think it is rediscovering my appreciation for the gifts in my life; recognizing the Intelligence that I have to understand my situation and then make a choice to do something about it, This Is particularly helpful to me as a photographer. I used to regard my job as nothing more than just a means of earning a living. Now, whenever I do a shoot, I can see deeper into my subjects and I am able to interact with them in a more meaningful way. And this has given me back that special joy in my profession which I thought I had lost many years ago. It’s like emerging from the darkroom after waiting for a negative to develop and holding up a beautiful, clear photograph in my hand.
Vol 15 Issue 2 Page 4