Born in San Francisco to an American father and Parisian mother, Melchior Arnold has lived in Ibiza since 1974, growing up on the island as it was at its most open-minded, bohemian and creative. It’s no surprise he is a man of many talents, having been surrounded by such fascinating people throughout his life. Today, he is the owner of award-winning restaurant Nagai Ibiza (now in its tenth season), and he added coaching, Kinesiology and energy work to his skillset from 2002 (and continues his learning and education in these fields to this day).
In 2013, Melchior also became an official wedding celebrant and master of ceremonies, and he has performed over 500 weddings, funerals, baby namings plus house and land blessings and clearings. In 2015, as a part of Mecu Collective, he is also the creator of Ibiza Tarot (The Oracle of Tanit), Kisses from Ibiza, Goddess cards and more decks. “We were happy to be back home from our winter travels and had just opened Nagai on March 5, with our first Ethereal Party on March 8,,” he says. “Personally I was at Nagai in the evenings and doing Quantum Reset sessions during the day. I had just launched my personal website.” Nine days later, everything changed. “Imagine being in prison?” he ruminates. “How do they do it? I can only see getting creative and meditating with breathing as the key to unlocking your inner paradise.”
Describe your current Ibiza lockdown situation?
I share an apartment in San Carlos with my girlfriend Catherine, the owner of Gigglewater Prosecco, and the owners of the apartment who cannot leave to go to their new home in Portugal due to travel restrictions. There is a shared pool and outdoor garden area, but one of the neighbours complained so now no one is allowed to be out there.
Did you expect the Ibiza lockdown to be as lengthy and restrictive as it has been?
I had been in Thailand, Madrid and Marbella just before returning to Ibiza and the indications were that it was a far-away thing that would not get here. The lockdown in Ibiza seems to mandated from the central government in Madrid, using their situation there, copied from Northern Italy, without much consideration for the differences in geography, temperature, pollution or population density. Other countries subsequently have made their own decisions. Before it happened, I thought that a modern European democracy would have some consideration for self-responsibility and issue advice on how to stay safe, healthy and active.
How are you feeling on a personal level right now?
I am tired of this, offended at the lack of any voice or opinion, shocked at the level of disinformation, fear and anger that most people are showing. Awed by the total disregard for any intent to cover up the blatant show of power by the powers that be. Seeing the recommendations from all levels of officialdom, one has to really question everything they say, as every alternative, Ayurvedic, or traditional Chinese medicine practitioner, not to mention grandmother’s recipes, all have practical, cheap and proven ways to stay healthy in addition to reducing exposure. How can it be that in 2020, the only way to not get sick is to stay home and wait for a vaccine, when we are sending satellites and rockets through the universe daily?
What is your daily life like now?
I have a daily routine of meditation, reading, working on my website, doing Zoom courses and groups, some phone and distance sessions, occasional shopping and some home deliveries for Nagai, depending on demand, in the evening.
Who or what do you miss most right now?
I miss the beautiful spring in Ibiza, walking in the woods, on the beach, having a leisurely time at a café, meeting people, hugging and sharing. I miss Ibiza!
What’s been most the challenging thing for you throughout this experience?
Finding new ways to make a living, come to terms with the loss of freedom and the realisation that it feels a bit like being a mouse with very few options to actually reverse the situation. Seeing the foreseeable future financial crumble.
Has there been anything about the lockdown experience you’ve enjoyed?
To finally have the time to really dedicate myself to creating something new online.
How do you keep in touch with the outside world?
Some social media, calls, texts and Quantum group Zooms, coaching Zooms. I’m more focused more on healing, sharing and learning rather than just chats.
What’s been educating you during this period?
London Real by Brian Rose for being a real, neutral, journalist in the true sense. Despite being censored and blocked, he has found a way to search for truth and give the possibility for other opinions and voices to be heard. One of my first jobs was at a very large newspaper in a city and I saw first-hand what happened from the reporter’s first draft to the final edited and published version of an article, often to the dismay and frustration of the reporter.
What’s made you laugh during this time?
We watched Sex Education on Netflix which was very funny in a silly, light-hearted way. Just what the doctor ordered!
How is your general health and wellbeing?
All good, improving in several areas, looking forward to be able to swim and cycle soon.
What are your eating habits like these days?
Eating less, more healthy and organic, with some beer and wine in the evening.
Are you factoring exercise and movement into your time spent indoors?
We have a Qi machine which stimulates the energy meridians and I do some stretches.
Have you set yourself any goals during this period?
I have set different goals, mentally, physically, and in business. I have daily habit and mood trackers, do some form of energy work, meditation and exercise daily, we’ve created a new website for Nagai to stimulate and make the delivery and take-away ordering much easier for our customers at home.
How has the lockdown impacted your business and industry?
Most weddings have been cancelled, restaurant are barely covering costs, and it’s not possible to give people in person sessions for healing or coaching.
How do you manage stress during such uncertain times?
Breathe, meditate and journal. Search for new solutions, partnerships and re-invent myself and my offer.
How do you feel Ibiza has come together (while staying apart) as a community during lockdown?
I have participated, and am participating in group projects so it has been good to connect. On the social pages I see a lot of polarity and aggressive posts, which I think are actually separating people more than uniting them. I feel a lot of fear, anger and contempt connected to all the fake news and misleading dis-information out there. I think there will be more friendships lost than made.
Have you seen/felt any differences within your direct local community?
I have seen people collecting food for the poor being totally harassed and fined by the police and local government,. I have seen rude behaviour and outrage as well as fear-based reactions that cloud all reason and normal, intellectual, objective reasoning is not possible.
What are your hopes for Ibiza in the future?
My hopes are that there is more local government awareness and financing, that we become less dependent on Madrid which is a total different reality. Re-structuring the whole legal work-taxes-benefits system doesn’t help the smaller and medium businesses or the whole seasonal model in Ibiza. There is bureaucratic interference and ridiculous outdated rules that block the creation of new schools, new businesses and creativity.
Do you have any fears for the future of the island?
As we have seen with the last years, too much dependence on the ultra-rich and famous is a very delicate game and not in harmony with the Ibiza spirit which is inclusive, relaxed and bohemian. Many interesting people with very valid ideas and projects cannot make ends meet anymore here.
What about your own future – how is that looking right now?
At Nagai, we are going to continue with our home deliveries, improving and making it easier. We will also add take-away options as soon as that is possible and we’ll consider, depending on how prohibitive the requirements for reopening and functioning are, opening the restaurant to the public. I will continue to do Quantum Reset Sessions in person, group healing meditations and will offer some new projects and processes on my website.
Do you feel safe here? Is there anywhere else you’d rather be quarantined than Ibiza?
I feel totally safe from the virus, but not safe from the fines of the police or the political solutions. There are plenty of other places where governments are doing things differently and people are not treated as ignorant, capricious inmates to be punished and told what they can or can’t do for their own ‘safety’, and even more so for the fact that anyone could be an unconscious mass virus-spreading assassin.
What are you most looking forward to when the lockdown restrictions are lifted?
I will go for a nice long Spanish breakfast, followed by lunch at the beach and dinner with aioli, friends and good cheer!
Is there anything you might miss?
A certain peace and calm in the countryside and the extra time to look at what is really interesting, creative and important in my life.
Any other reflections or lessons you’d like to share?
It is obvious to me that everything is changing and the truth is being camouflaged at all levels. We need transparent communication and scientific method testing, so proof that can be proven and corroborated by different, neutral professionals – not only one story being bulldozed over everyone. When this is not the case, it is very normal that all kinds of conspiracy theories arise, simply because the official narrative is too dogmatic, not transparent and totally intolerant to any questions.
Here’s a very simple question: How do vaccines work? By injecting the virus into your system in a reduced amount, to stimulate the body’s natural immune system to create antibodies and become immune to that strain of virus. Which leads to asking: If the goal is to stimulate the immune system by exposing it to the virus, then, wouldn’t it be better for me to strengthen my immune system so any exposure to the virus will produce the same, natural, reaction? The answer might be: ‘No, because your immune system can’t handle the dose of this new, unknown virus and you could die!’
To which I would have to answer: ‘You’re right! So I better strengthen my immune system and limit my exposure to the minimum, but, actually, wouldn’t it be better to get just a little of it, so my system can create antibodies for it, just like a vaccine, but from nature directly?’ If I got sick or was suffering from other illnesses or pathologies, I would take extra special care and have people go out for me.
Which leads to my last little question: What exactly is in the vaccine, what are the possible secondary effects, how effective has the flu vaccine been in the last five years? If it’s so safe and for my own health benefit, without prejudice, then these answers should be easy, right?