A n t i - A n t i - A g i n g

The use of our ALPHASPHERE and our CLOUD 9 in countless hotels and spas throughout the world has made me – as an artist – an expert, as it were, in the spa and wellness sector.

In fact, I have become party to an exciting field of business; still quite an undefined and unregulated area, a colourful medley of health, lifestyle, design, philosophy, sometimes even psychology and in every case tourism, too. Those areas are not rooted in a so-called primary business (like finance, the food industry or the energy sector), but rather in the luxury segment: a »nice-to-have«, as it were.

As a speaker and a performance artist at countless conferences and industry events around the world over recent years, I have been able to gain deep insights into the topics that motivate this spa world. And a common theme emerged, a basic theme that I kept on coming across. It is a kind of »primal theme« that I would now like to reflect on a little in this text:

The Search for Eternal Youth

At the Spa China Summit in Ningbo/Shanghai, I was invited as an »expert« to be part of a panel and contribute to the topic of anti-aging. I was surrounded by actual experts in this topic: a model, a laser technician, even a stem cell researcher, a marketing expert and a few so-called »leaders« in the spa industry. And they all then explained to me that the topic »Beauty & Anti-Aging« is by far the biggest moneymaker in spas, which is still continuing to see the highest growth rates.

Even today, I am still wondering why that is.

After all, personally I have developed a decidedly ambivalent relationship to anti-aging in recent years. Firstly, because of the »anti« that I used to like so much in my youth – when I was quite preoccupied with being opposed to lots of things… But over the years I have come to realize that I could hardly achieve anything with my anti-attitude. Often it even had the opposite effect, resulting in wrong and unwanted outcomes! Modern brain research has since explained it to me: it is not our pro or con attitude to a topic, but rather it is the topic itself with its emotional weight that is key for our perception.

So now when I say »anti-aging«, then it is first and foremost »aging« – getting older – that pulsates in our cerebral processing centres and hence something that the course of the world has been based on for millions and billions of years. And now we humans want to thwart this process with the tiny word »anti«? Somehow, for me that not only feels quite far from reality, but also feels like arrogance towards »the way things are«. So if anything, I am presumably more of an expert in anti-anti-aging ... ;)

On the one hand, however, it is of course true that the idea is appealing to me, too: protecting myself from losing physical attraction and physical agility in old age – obviously! But what disturbs me at the same time is this one-dimensional directionality – an alignment that is only »forwards«, towards a future that we know nothing about or even if we will have one. To date, no one has been able to prove to me that there actually is a future! Where is it? When?

With that being the case, I prefer to trust in the here and now. After all, we have no choice: the future will only happen now, because we can only really perceive this here and now. So if there is anti-aging, then it could actually mean something else:

Trust in the Present
Trust in Presence

One of the biggest challenges for the spa world will be to solve this conflict between Beautiful >versus< Ugly and Young >versus< Old – or at least to raise us to a more nuanced, sensitive level. Because something very fundamental is growing here. A primal problem is resonating here that is happily being revitalized by the beauty craze in our high-performance society: namely that we – by which I mean in principle men and women, although it currently mostly affects women – are not satisfied with ourselves as we are. Instead, we prefer to have a look at what we are lacking before we can achieve the ideal – which is of course defined by the media. We live in a state of insufficiency. Which means we are missing out on experiencing life.

If we now succeed in revitalizing the feeling of feminine integrity, feminine completeness in spas, then we will have achieved something that, in my opinion, genuinely is relevant to society.

What do we still need to achieve that? A new definition of health:

Being healthy is accepting yourself
as you are.

SHA. © 2015