PUBLISHED : Friday, 25 April, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 25 April, 2003, 12:00am

'Everyone seems to have heard of me but no one actually seems to know who I am,' says a baffled Kinzie as she scans the packed bar. You get the impression she nevertheless enjoys the mystique, being the cyber-wizard behind Hong Kong Heartbeat, an online community catering for the city's spiritual needs and binding together 880 people who 'desire to live to their potential, achieve their dreams and share ideas along the way'. With regular seminars exploring spiritual and - more recently - health issues, as well as being a practitioner of natural, hands-on energy healing, she denies that she should be regarded as a holistic health guru. 'I'm just making it up as I go along,' she insists.

Brought up on her family farm in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, in Canada, she arrived in Hong Kong 11 years ago. At the time, Kinzie (her surname - her first name being Arlene) lived to a set of priorities that were, she says, 'vastly different to what they are now'. A self-taught natural with computers, she fell into a career in publishing where she worked for a startup magazine, building up a client database whose primary interests were from a holistic/health perspective. Yet the constant pressures of her profession took a physical toll. 'I wasn't living right at all. There was no harmony, no balance,' she admits.

The need to change was thrust upon her after she woke one morning in excruciating pain. 'I had slipped a disc,' she recalls. 'But there were complications - it threatened to sever my spinal nerve.' Forced into convalescence after emergency treatment, she underwent a period of dramatic self-reflection. 'And then, after three months of recovery, on my first day back at work I was given my termination notice,' she declares ruefully. 'I decided then that my life had to change.'

Her growing sense of spirituality was catalysed by the influence of the internationally renowned motivational guru Anthony Robbins, with whom she held a health and well-being seminar last October in Singapore. 'He talks about what we eat and how it affects us, right down to a cellular level. It inspired me to further explore the spiritual possibilities of the big list of contacts I had gathered. People were asking me 'where do I get this, where do I get that?' I'd e-mail the subscribers, they'd give me the answer and then I'd post that back to the community. I was linking people with the information they wanted.'

In February, Kinzie published her 'natural guide for life in the fast lane', the mind.body.spirit directory, with the help of Central's Pure Yoga studio, an idea that has since been snapped up by a company in New York.

She is well aware of the symmetry between her own experience and what Hong Kong is going through at the moment. Her need for change was signalled by physical breakdown, and she is now on a new plane. 'The thing I love most about Hong Kong is how quickly things can change for you,' Kinzie declares (at an exceedingly bubbly 40 years, she clearly practises what she advocates). 'Now the city itself is going through a transformation. Breakdowns are necessary if change is going to come - I mean, look at the place, it's now the cleanest I've seen it, and all because of Sars. And yet my health seminars have been on my map for the past year. It's no coincidence.'

She takes a look around, and leans in, beaming: 'The universe is definitely conspiring. Just you wait - this town is going to have a spectacular rebirth.'

Somehow, she makes you believe the sunshine will indeed soon come.