Saturday, January 20, 2007

Circle of Healers ...

Last week I had the honor of watching a project of mine over the past 10 months blossom in Southern California. About 40 miles outside San Diego, 60+ med students, residents and physician mentors gathered for the seventh annual National Circle of Healer's Conference/Retreat, sponsored by the American Medical Student Association. We had expert led (and volunteered!) workshops on narrative medicine, non-violent communication, communicative/therapeutic drumming and shamanistic journeying.

Initially, I was thrilled to have this opportunity to design a healthy weekend party with a $7000 budget for some of my dear friends (both present and future) and to invest myself around the creation of an intimate space and a vision (using communication to channel personal inspiration into the physician/patient encounter) ... to give authority to my seldom acknowledged hippie/granola side ...

Over the months, though, this project grew to strain me both logistically (attention to minutiae in coordinating something 9,000 miles away) and metaphysically (maintaining some non-attachment so that I didn't overwhelm the project with my own needs and expectations)

In the end, it was a bit of a blur (perhaps due to the jet-lag), but we got rave reviews from all of the mentors and participants (most of whom had spent around $500 each on airfare and program fees to be there that weekend) ... no one was hurt, we home-cooked all of our vegetarian meals, and it looks like we might have come in under budget ... unfortunately, as I consigned myself to the business of making sure things ran smoothly/promptly, I did not put myself in a very good position to properly appreciate the weekend ... but this is a small price to pay for it all.

The project wouldn't have been much without the help and support of my planning committee (Dave, Evan, Sonia, Sonya, Sahana, Amy, Marcy) and I guess the true testiment to the weekend was that while helping to make sure things did not go awful, awry or askew, they all seemed to thoroughly enjoy themselves -- and for that I am very thankful

Continuing with my counter-intuitive winter pattern, I experienced my coldest night of the year in the hills around San Diego ... 15 degrees F ... the coldest temperature on record at the retreat site, with about half an inch of snow as icing on the frozen cake .... I should have expected it, especially when I met the camp site caretaker, who was actually named "Frosty" ... Fortunately, we had a glorious indoor fire pit and enough firewood and space heaters in the cabins to make sure that nobody really noticed ...

Some images from that weekend:


Selma said...

Yep, it was an amazing time. I'm sorry that you didn't get to enjoy it to the depths that some of us did.
I hope you've recovered some from the event. If I had to guess, you probably have already filled the space that's suddenly opened in your life, now that the hard work is done.
Thank you for the recharge. The shamanic journey was above and beyond. No drugs necessary ;)

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