Our Patchwork-ed World

Published March 22nd, 2016

I am back in Miami after a super trip to Europe. Back at the beautiful, ever peaceful Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden and the special Vine Pergola. And guess what? The vines are bursting with color, buds and flowers of all varieties. I know, this should not be surprising, given that yesterday was the first day of Spring in the northern hemisphere. But, I tend to forget — given that the temperature here in S. Florida is that of an endless spring or summer — that there are seasonal changes, especially due to the amount of sunlight and its effect on our floral friends. Wow, such beauty! Mother Nature, you never cease to amaze...

A few days ago, I was in Berlin, participating in the annual Healing Summit. Over 120 people from 27 countries came together to push forward the conversation on holistic health, the future of spas, of well-being and, of business. I hosted a panel entitled "Global Identity: Who is the New Us?" the premise being that an essential part of the well-being of societies is how we interact with each other in a globalized, mobile and patchwork-ed world. What is the larger design we are creating from diverse pieces being sewn together?

I felt we were pioneering new territory. Being in Berlin, a place still healing from a wall being erected through its space, then being torn down, physically, was a perfect place to share ideas on how to interact with people who may look, act, believe and say very different things than yourself. My panel included amazing souls from Persia, China, Syria, Holland, and Russia. We all shared stories about how we define our own identity and the struggles and challenges we face in our lives and in our businesses to maintain our sense of self, our deeply held values and other aspects of culture.

In an effort to give delegates concrete and realistic tools to take away from the Summit and put into practice back home, a moderated group discussion was held after my panel. And gosh, did some excellent techniques emerge...

  • when met by someone who looks so different to you, make no pre-judgement and start with a smile
  • celebrate your own rituals and cultural beliefs while honoring and respecting other peoples. Consider celebrating with others when appropriate
  • sing and / or dance together, moving beyond words
  • periodically check in with colleagues and discuss what people want, noting when wants are the same, and reinforcing shared mission of serving others
  • listen to people's stories. Learn where they come from and appreciate your own story
  • practice seeing a person as a spirit first, dressed in human costume
  • use words that respect the present scene you are in, unadulterated by judgement of previous scenes. In other words, come into as many interactions as possible with curiosity, and an awareness of infinite possibilities for the outcome.

The Healing Summit ended with words from Dr. Edith Eva Eger, a Holocaust survivor and now a clinical psychologist. Hearing her story about watching her mother being taken from her at Auschwitz and how she survived, eventually discovering the power and peace within herself that transforms even the most horrific experiences into opportunities for healing and growth, made us all weep.

I loved being in community with my fellow healers and holistic business visionaries. With all the hostile things happening in this world, there are a lot of reasons to be hopeful. Let's keep our chins up my friends. 


Vines bursting with color at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden