Before I began writing this article, I took a long walk around the lake near my home just to reflect upon the past years and all the experiences that brought me to create a wholistic health center. It didn’t just happen. It began with a vision and a dream. I’ll never forget the night in 1985, when we gathered for a meeting in the geodesic dome built on the land we named “Nexus” in Memphis, Tennessee. It was a mixed group of therapists, cooks, business executives, medical doctors, nurses, construction workers, electricians, students, and me. That night we all shared an excitement about our collective vision. As we began to name, describe, and define our vision and could see it visually in a large diagram drawn on a board, I became aware that this wasn’t just an exercise that would quickly vanish after the initial enthusiasm wore away. This was to be my life’s path. And, on the path I found my way to Dallas, Texas where The Health Institute was founded.
The Health Institute in Dallas, Texas consists of a team of eighteen health professionals who provide integrated and comprehensive health care and wellness programs. It is one of the largest wholistic health centers in the United States and offers a variety of programs specifically designed to facilitate the healing process by addressing a person’s mental/emotional, physical, and spiritual needs. These programs include: Repatterning Chronic Disorders, Life Patterning Stress Management, Healthy Shape, AT Choice: Nicotine Cessation, and Individualized programs. Other practitioners on staff work in a multi-disciplinary team approach.
When asked “What is the role of the leader of a center?”, I say “vision holder.” It is my strong belief that holding the vision of your endeavor is the most important component of its creation and its growth. My vision included and still includes a belief that every one of us possesses an inner healer. It is the purpose of The Health Institute to empower each individual to access this inner healer through diagnosis, treatment, research, and education and to heal themselves and live a healthy life. I believe that this is accomplished more effectively by integrating various alternative, as well as traditional medical, methods of treatment according to the needs of the individual and by addressing a person’s mental/emotional, physical, and spiritual needs. My vision also included bringing together a community of healers who are aligned with the vision, who have a respect for and appreciation of spirituality, compassion and community, and who are willing to do, as well as talk (to match process with vision) and to engage in their own healing process.
This pursuit has been a journey which has gone on in the outer world and at the same time has happened within each of us. It has involved levels of initiation and valuable opportunities for personal and professional growth. There have been many critical times that have required a recommitment to the vision and a decision to continue. Each time, I came back to my original vision and to that place deep within my heart that knows that I must stand up for what I believe to be true for me. I ask myself many questions during these times and now I pose the one question that I feel is most important to those who are interested in creating or being part of a wholistic health center. This question is “What do we have in common, those of us who are willing to step out of the mainstream and create another path of healing?”
I feel that one thing we have in common is that we are willing to take a stand for what we believe. This is not easy, especially when the majority believes the other way. It’s not easy when the majority of the public run to their medical doctor and the nearest pharmacist for antibiotics at the sign of a cold, and we believe in natural healing with herbs, vitamins, exercise, and nutrition. The great man, Martin Luther King, stated “many people fear nothing more terribly than to take a position which stands out sharply and clearly from the prevailing opinion. The tendency of most is to adopt a view that is so ambiguous that it will include everything and so popular that it will include everybody.”
The second thing is that we dare to be different. It takes courage to be different in a society that encourages brand name clothes, fads, and conformity! It takes courage to say to the medical community that we believe in the healing power of prayer, touch, and positive attitude.
The third thing is that we are willing to step out into the unknown. It’s frightening to take a single step into a place that we have no idea where it is leading or what obstacles are in the way and all we have to protect us is our faith. What is faith if it is not turned into action? What we are creating, those of us who have a vision of wholistic health centers, has not been created before. We are in the forefront and there are no role models. Kirkegaard has said, “to dare is to lose one’s footing momentarily, to not dare is to lose oneself.”
The fourth thing that we have in common is that we dare to dream. This means that no matter what happens to discourage us we keep on going.
It’s about having a dream, a vision, an idea that burns in your soul. To paraphrase Ben Cohen of Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream: There are 3 stages to an idea:
- No, it’s impossible.
- Well, who knows, maybe it’s worth a try.
- Of course, how could it have every been any other way.
My sister used to say, “I D-Double Dare You!” Now, I D-Double Dare You to be willing to take a stand for what you believe, to be different, to be willing to step out into the unknown, and to dream. It has taken all of these for me to be where I am today and to keep on going. I reach out to those of you who are fellow travelers and honor your path.