Schloss Pichlarn in Austria.
I frowned a little. We had already debated my bowels and their various movements in huge detail and at great length and had established everything was fine and dandy. But hey, this was a German doctor practising Ayurveda (the ancient Indian school of medicine) in Austria - and so I just figured I was getting a triple dose of stool searching.
'No, I'm very rarely constipated,' I said.
He laughed. 'No. I mean...do you...are you...always straining in your life.'
'Am I stressed?' I thought about it.
'Yes, of course, sometimes. I'm a freelance writer so either I have too much work and I worry about getting it all done, or I have too little and I worry about that instead.'
He gave me one of those looks that says 'you've just dodged the question' but he let it lie. In fact, he made me lie on the couch and prodded and pulled and poked my abdomen.
Dr Schaffler is not happy with my abdomen. Which is fine, because neither am I.
'It's weird,' he said.
There you go - official confirmation.
He explains how it's going this way when it should be going that way, and is fat here and thin there (which isn't good) and he tells me I need more yoga (well, yes, if only my yoga teacher hadn't upped and offed to India) and more breathing (proper breathing) and... he gives me two sets of herbal preparations and advises I steer clear of bread for the time being.
Then he looks at me again and says. 'Grief. Your pulses talk about grief.'
'They do. And strain. Not stress.'
And so I smiled vaguely and muttered about language barriers. But then, a little later, as I was leaning against the edge of the outdoor pool looking up at a bright clear sky above snow-capped mountains, I realised I was clenching my jaw so tightly that my teeth were creaking.
Damnit, he's right. I do strain. I always strain. Too darn hard. At everything. All the time. I mean, for heaven's sake, I'm here in this gorgeous spa and I'm even straining to relax. Ye gods.
And you? Do you strain? :-)