Wednesday, January 26, 2005

integral medicine, breakfast, and tzimtzum

On Monday morning, James O'Dea, who is the new president of the Institute of Noetic Sciences, will be the guest at a breakfast gathering here in Seattle of healthcare practitioners drawn to know more about "integral medicine." IONS has just published a lovely-looking medical textbook called "Consciousness and Healing: Integral Approaches to Mind-Body Medicine"--I can't comment on it yet, since I've only just looked at the Table of Contents, but there is an impressive roster of authors and editors, and a Foreword by Ken Wilber of the Integral Institute.

What's interesting to me about this meeting at the moment is the planning and coordination of it. I would have said that I was "helping to organize" the gathering since I am listed as one of the hosts, but actually I'm not helping very much, and am happy to watch from the fringe (I am, come to think of it, pretty comfortable on the fringe overall). 

At first, it sounded like a pretty simple breakfast meeting, of maybe 20 or so people, with Mr. O'Dea introducing some of the approaches to a new health care paradigm discussed in the book, and then facilitating some dialogue on how we are each incorporating those approaches in our own work, and about how we might work together to help "shift the culture of healthcare". We only started the planning a few weeks ago, so I was all for quickly choosing a place, thoughtfully crafting an invitation, sending it out to whomever we thought would like to come, and to expect that anyone who was really interested enough would show up...and that would be pretty much enough planning for it to be a great meeting (well, along with making sure that one of us, or some of us, would bring enough food!) -- this reflects, I think, on how I have been forever imprinted by the principles of Open Space Technology

As it's turning out though, there were differing ideas amongst the six or so hosts of what exactly the purpose of the gathering was, the wording of the invitation, and who should be invited - and so it's become a very stressful process for some of my more detail-oriented colleagues. I feel both the impulse to say, "oh, for goodness sake, let's just do this and this and this! and then relax, it'll be fine!" as well as a little flick of guilt for being so la-di-da, and not helping with the detail control. My fallback response is to wonder, "how much do I care about this?", realize that I do truly think it'll be fine no matter what happens, and to take a giant step back from the fray (hmm - in only one sentence, I'm both "falling back" and "stepping back" - finding myself trying to emulate this universal principle in other areas of my life as well)

Anyway, there's been lots of interest, which is exciting. Around 40 people have said they're coming--nurses, visionaries, policy-influencers, physicians, teachers, and of course all of us are or have been patients, too.

If I figure out or find out what "integral medicine" is, I will let you know!

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