Thrive Wellness Center

Saturday 23rd & Sunday 24th April 2011

We had the pleasure of meeting a very fine human being this weekend…in fact we met a bunch (as Americans would say) of very fine human beings. We drove about 2 hours north of Seattle to Sedro Woolley to the “Thrive Wellness Center” which is a Retreat Centre positioned out in nature in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains ……… It is set in about 50 acres of rural land… fields and forest all around with mountain ranges rimming the horizon.  

     Fields of English dandelions with the Cascade mountains rimming the horizon…..

I was thrilled to find the centre surrounded by charming fields of English dandelions…. scenes I experience as picturesque and pretty even though they abound everywhere in Washington. As well as being scenic to me they are incredibly healing plants (one of the best plants there is for your liver) yet to Shelton they are just irksome weeds that he has to keep mowing and keep under control in the lawn. Oh how different are our perceptions and hence our reality…

Be Rejuvenated! is the way the “Thrive Wellness Center” heads its publicity and rejuvenated we were. When we were driving on our way home we both commented it felt like we had been away for days instead of just the one day we had been there. It was like we had ‘disappeared’ into another world……a sanctuary that enfolded us….. 

“The mission of Thrive Wellness Center is to provide a space for our guests to rejuvenate; to integrate the principles of holistic health and vitality into their daily lives; and to provide the opportunity for growth and personal transformation and promoting healing through nutritional healing.”

 says their website –

They offer raw food cleanse and detox programs, a daily program that includes meditation, yoga and raw food preparation classes as well as a full-service Bed-&-Breakfast not to mention the absolutely delicious raw food meals. I was delighted to meet the raw food chef Diane who is known as ‘The Raw Auzzie’ who grew up in Sawyers Valley which is about 5 minutes away from Stoneville where I live in Australia and she went to the primary school my children went to. Diane and the rest of the team of dedicated young people who run the Centre made us feel very welcomed and cared for. We left inspired and with some more great tips to improve and expand our already predominantly raw food diet. As a special treat Diane taught us to make her yummie raw truffles which are incredibly easy. We decided it had such a nurturing and healing energy it would be a special place to run a workshop so are in the process of exploring that. 

Another aspect of their mission is to be a community hub and to support and provide events for the community that promote wellness and healing and personal growth. Hence their screening of the movie “May I Be Frank” which led us to finding out about the place and was our main intention in going there. I was so excited about seeing the movie as I had stumbled across it many months ago in a regular e-newsletter I receive and had tried unsuccessfully to get a copy of it to show as part of our regular monthly Movie Nites in Perth and Melbourne. The movie is an independent documentary with very limited screening times and it has been shown on mainly west coast USA as Frank and Café Gratitude that the movie are mainly about is based in San Francisco. And it seems screenings have been mainly organized by groups that have an interest in transformation and topics like raw food, holistic health and healing, addictions and the like.

Here’s a summary of the movie from the website       

May I Be Frank documents the transformation of Frank Ferrante’s life. Frank is 54 years old, obese, depressed and addicted. He stumbles into a local raw, organic and vegan restaurant in San Francisco, Café Gratitude.  When Ryland, a server at Café Gratitude asks Frank “What is one thing you want to do before you die♥” Frank replies,  “I want to fall in love one more time, but no one will love me looking the way I do”.

Ryland, his brother Cary, and Conor, his best friend, are inspired by the possibility of helping Frank.  For the next 42 days, Frank will eat only raw food, practice gratitude, visit local holistic practitioners, and get a weekly colonic.  Ryland, Conor, and Cary get to support Frank’s miraculous transformation.  Frank gets a new body, a clearer mind, and most importantly, a soaring spirit.  May I Be Frank documents the essence of the human condition and what it truly means to fall in love again. 

There is lots of great information on the website as well as on Frank’s own blog site which I highly recommend you checking out. Says Frank – “What started out as a film about raw food evolved into a film about drug and alcohol addiction, broken families, frayed relationships, intention, commitment, healing, redemption and the power of love.”

For a quick taster check out the 5 minute video trailer posted on the home page. He and the twenty-something aged young guys who undertook this project are inspiring. We were indeed lucky on the night as Frank himself was a guest at the Centre and we had the privilege of not only seeing the movie but also having the opportunity to listen to Frank as he made himself available to the group after the screening to answer any questions that people had. Frank encouraged people to be forthright about asking about any topics and the questions were upfront and candid and asked about all of the sensitive areas of the film. And there were many areas of sensitivity – to name a few, this is a man who had been addicted to many different types of drugs from a very early age, a man who had gone through a painful divorce, a man whose daughter hadn’t spoken to him for years and a man who was severely overweight struggling with Hep C. Frank was most open and sincere and straightforward with his answers sprinkled with an appropriate lightheartedness and humour and playfulness. He felt extremely humble and coming from his heart as he answered. Some words from his blog best describe for me the man Frank is and the space he created –

“People make poignant remarks and ask heartfelt questions. Last night, a lovely young woman about 20 years old approached me after most of the audience had left. She looked into my eyes and wept. I took her hand and she continued to silently weep. I embraced her and she said thank you. She never told me the meaning of her tears. Sometimes the pain is too big for words. Maybe the most important thing to do is to hold a safe space for someone to express their sadness. For a moment we took the same breaths and held each other in wordless compassion.”♥p=141
“Do I have the courage to look at who I am and live that truth♥ Can I find the strength to expose myself to the woman I love irrespective of the consequences♥ Finding the answer to these questions will generate extremely high anxiety……
The road to self discovery and transformation is not for the faint of heart. Once you start, there is no turning back. Sometimes I procrastinate, but in my gut, I know that I’m compromising myself if I avoid the truth. I used to run all the time. It doesn’t work for me anymore. ….”♥p=152#more-152


We also met up with Frank afterwards to buy a copy of the movie to bring back for our Movie Nites and to sow the seeds for a possible visit to Australia in the future.

Meeting with Frank Ferrante from the “May I Be Frank” movie…..

We in fact got quite a long time to share with Frank as we stayed overnight at the Centre as did Frank. As there was only a small group of people who also stayed we had the extended pleasure of sharing the morning with further chatting with him as we were indulged as well with a morning shot of wheatgrass, a veggie juice, a green smoothie and a breakfast bowl of chia porridge…… the morning going quickly by…..followed by a delicious raw food lunch….

For an inspiring and touching experience I highly recommend you look out for further screenings of the movie if you are in the US and attend in either Perth or Melbourne when we show it. At the moment it is only for sale at the screenings which is why we hadn’t been able to get hold of it before.

Question for you: What touches you hearing about Frank’s story that has been a lesson for you♥ What questions would you like to ask him♥

I’ll leave you with what touched me the most from meeting Frank and hearing his story that I have been left savouring……it’s his ability to inspire and touch people with his openness and his down to earth transparency and honesty and light-heartedness and his genuine caring and remorse that he has hurt people that he loved.

“My biggest regret in life is the hurt I caused. Sometimes inadvertently, sometimes carelessly and worst of all, sometimes intentionally. I have not lived that way for a long time. When I leave my apartment I always whisper to myself, do no harm. I seek progress rather than perfection. I wouldn’t recognize perfection if it bit me on my ass. I just try to do better than I did yesterday.”♥page_id=5
“If I can do it anyone can. There isn’t anything special about me. I would like to think so, but there isn’t. ……..I’m just a regular guy trying to get by in a crazy world. Do something good for yourself and the people that care about you. Take action to improve your health, your looks and your mental agility. Before you know it, your spirit will awaken and soar. I have come to the realization that I did not lose any weight, I let go of what no longer belonged to me.”♥p=120


Much love and transformation to you and may you have the courage and the knowledge to let go of what no longer belongs to you, Susie xx