It was with great honor and pleasure that I was invited to speak at and participate in, the spring edition of the bi-annual Hope in Healthcare Retreat, held April 23-26, an initiative of the the Point of Life Foundation.
Set deeply within the Catskill Mountains at the Peace Village Retreat, Hope in Healthcare benefits from the Village’s beautiful space for freelance meditation and communing with nature. The model taught here is formed from a philosophy of cooperativeness, from an India-based culture of yoga (not the movement-based yoga, but the philosophy-based yoga, where yoga means ‘to unite’ or ‘join’).
The Wellsmart team arrived at the Village on Thursday evening and were greeted with welcoming arms by the Village staff and the Hope in Healthcare design team. During the orientation session that evening, we learned that group classes and lectures would be held in the main cabin, and that there was an adjacent kitchen where staff would prepare homemade vegetarian meals throughout our stay. Each visitor had their own cabin room, which provided a beautiful time of quietude. Miles of acreage through the Catskill mountain trails, as well as a short hike to waterfalls and a reflective labyrinth, were also always available.
Guests and staff alike represented all walks of healthcare: doulas, endocrinologists, university medical school professors, physicians of all specialties, nurses, massage therapists, and dieticians. Group sessions included introductions, ice-breaker events, yoga, and meditation, as well as exercises that encouraged us to look within to better understand how healing ourselves as healthcare providers could translate into improved sustainability in our careers in the medical sciences.
We spent much of our time in small group discussions and in larger group exercises that invited us to merge the head with the heart, by first taking inventory of the quality of our thoughts. It was acknowledged through guided dialogue so that, in this state, the heart of processing is around our feelings of love, authenticity, connection with one’s true inner being, as well as with the divine. In this focus, the essential lesson emerged that our own self-healing is essential to enable us to be ‘present’ and to be the ‘light’ for those we serve.
The entire event and its location was a rare oasis–a peaceful meeting place for like-minded professionals who all want to see the field of healthcare evolve. The true realization in leaving after three days was that it all begins by learning to be our true selves within a system that challenges us daily.