Who made the world? Who made the swan, and the black bear? Who made the grasshopper? This grasshopper, I mean— the one who has flung herself out of the grass, the one who is eating sugar out of my hand, who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down— who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes. Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face. Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away. I don’t know exactly what a prayer is. I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass, how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields, which is what I have been doing all day. Tell me, what else should I have done? Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon? Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life? —Mary Oliver
Questions to contemplate What does love mean to me? What are the different types of love I experience or want to experience? What does love feel like? Who or what do I think of when I think of love? What’s one word that describes love to me?
Quotes to explore “Love is like the wind, you can’t see it, but you can feel it.” — Nicholas Sparks
“If you do not know what you feel, then it is difficult to choose love.” — Bell Hooks
“We can only learn to love by loving.” — Iris Murdoch
“When I look at you, I can feel it. I look at you, and I’m home.” — Finding Nemo
“Love is a friendship set to music.” — Joseph Campbell
Songs to flow to in your exploration 1. What is Love? – Haddaway 2. Is this Love? – Bob Marley & The Wailers 3. What is this Love – Blue Rodeo 4. Lovesong – Jessy J 5. Must be the Love (Enamour Remix) – ARTY, Nadia Ali, BT, Enamour 6. This is What Falling in Love Feels Like – JVKE 7. You can’t Hurry Love – The Supremes 8. In the Name of Love – Saxity 9. What’s Love Got to Do with it – Kygo, Tina Turner 10. I want to Know What Love is – Foreigner Playlist (song 1-10)
Mantra to meditate on: “I welcome and choose love”
Day 2 – Self Love
Questions to contemplate Do I believe I am worthy of love? In what ways do I show love for myself? When was the last time I told myself “I love you”? What do I love most about myself? What are my top five personal values?
Quotes to explore “Before life’s purpose comes self-love. You must love yourself before you can love your expression of self.”
“Self-love is the foundation of our loving practice. Without it, our other efforts to love fail. Giving ourselves love we provide our inner being with the opportunity to have the unconditional love we may have always longed to receive from someone else.” — Bell Hooks
“You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe deserve your love and affection.” — Buddha
“If you love yourself, you love others. If you hate yourself, you hate others. Because in relationships with others… the other is nothing but a mirror.”
Songs to flow to in your exploration 11. Love Myself – Hailee Steinfeld 12. Good as Hell – Lizzo 13. If You Don’t Love Yourself – The Script 14. i – Kendrick Lamar 15. Self Love – Jayson Lyric, Nevaeh 16. Be Good to Yourself – Journey 17. Could You Be Loved – Bob Marley & The Wailers 18. Let Me Love You (Until You Learn to Love Yourself) – Ne-Yo 19. Love Me More – Sam Smith 20. LOVE – Jhené Aiko Playlist (song 11-20)
Mantra to meditate on: “I love myself, and every day I fall more in love with myself”
Day 3 – Receiving Love
Questions to contemplate What does it mean to allow another person to truly love me? How do I want to be loved? Do I believe I am open to being loved? How do I know? What is the most vulnerable way I let someone into my life? What does being loved feel like for me?
Quotes to explore “Have enough courage to trust love one more time and always one more time.” — Maya Angelou
“I saw that you were perfect, and so I loved you. Then I saw that you were not perfect and I loved you even more.” — Angelita Lim
“Love isn’t something you find. Love is something that finds you.” — Loretta Young
Songs to flow to in your exploration 21. Just the Way You are – Bruno Mars 22. Love Like This – Faith Evans 23. Let me Love You – DJ Snake, Justin Bieber 24. Own It – Stormzy, Burna Boy, Ed Sheeran 25. Do You – Troy Boi 26. Love Tonight – Shouse, David Guetta 27. Love Me Harder – Ariana Grande, The Weeknd 28. Learn Ya – 6LACK 29. Better Together – Jack Johnson 30. The Heart Asks Pleasure First – Michael Nyman Playlist (song 21-30)
Mantra to meditate on: “I accept and receive more love, abundance and harmony into my life”
Day 4 – Giving Love
Questions to contemplate How do I want to love? What are my love languages? How do I know when I love someone? What do I want people to feel when they’re around me? How has the way my family loved affected the way I give and receive love?
Quotes to explore “When we love, we always strive to become better than we are. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too.” ― Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist
“To be creative means to be in love with life. You can be creative only if you love life enough that you want to enhance its beauty, you want to bring a little more music, a little more poetry, and a little more dance to it.” ― Osho
“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.” ― C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves
Songs to flow to in your exploration 31. Be my Lover– La Bouche 32. My love – Justin Timberlake, T.I. 33. Somebody Loves You – Aly & Fila, Plumb, Paul Thomas 34. I Love You Always Forever– Donna Lewis 35. Only Want You – Rita Ora 36. LOVE – Kendrick Lamar, Zacari 37. I Will Always Love You – Dolly Parton 38. I Just Called to Say I Love You – Stevie Wonder 39. That’s the Way Love Goes – Janet Jackson 40. No Man No Cry – Oliver Koletzki, Jimmy Sax Playlist (song 31-40)
Mantra to meditate on: “Today my heart is open, and I am ready to love.”
Day 5 – Manifesting & Celebrating Love
Questions to contemplate How do I create space for love? Who do I love and what am I doing about it? Are my actions guided by love or by fear? What are three words that describe the aspirations I have for my love life? What does healthy love look like to me?
Quotes to explore “Find love in each moment.”
“We are most alive when we are in love.” — John Updike
“There is only one happiness in life: to love and be loved” – George Sand
“Love doesn’t make the world go ’round. Love is what makes the ride worthwhile.” – Franklin P. Jones
“Love does not dominate; it cultivates.” — Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
“They invented hugs to let people know you love them without saying anything.” — Bil Keane
Songs to flow to in your exploration 41. Big Love– Louis the Child, EARTHGANG 42. All I Want – Tube & Berger, Goatchy 43. When Love Takes Over – Davida Guetta, Kelly Rowland 44. Where Have You Been – Rihanna 45. Lovesong – Snake River Conspiracy 46. Love Life – Desire 47. Realla – TOKiMONSTA, Anderson .Paak 48. Dance for Me Wallis – Abel Korzeniowski 49. Cosmic Love – Florence + the Machine 50. Love Mantra – Dossé-Via Playlist (song 41-50)
Mantra to meditate on: “Every day and in every way, I attract more and more love into my life”
Visited Fall, 2022 School info: Durga’s Tiger School of Tantra Yoga Arts Shamanism, located in Tumbaco, Ecuador Community info: Durga’s Tiger Land -a Sumak Kawsay (good living) community in Rio Verde, Ecuador.
A year ago, I asked my network for recommendations on coaches specializing in elite athletes and transitions.
I had a few responses but nothing really hit what I was looking for and ended up going on an exploration to find the practices, tools and guidance I was seeking. Here’s what I’ve discovered so far (will update overtime):
Athlete Soul– an independent support solution for retiring athletes. Their mission is to support athletes as they transition away from sports, raise awareness about the challenges of athletic retirement, and empower athletes to develop beyond sports. They support athletes before, during and after their transition with educational resources, transition and career coaching, and networking opportunities.
I had the pleasure of attending this year’s HLTH event in Las Vegas on Nov. 13-16, 2022.
#hlth2022 was the first time I had experienced an event at this scale with attendees that included more than just traditional healthcare/biotech players and investors. Attendance also included tech, consumer-focused wellness, and at a smaller capacity – patients and non-profits.
I congratulate the HLTH team for creating an event that acknowledges how we approach health is changing and that the tools and systems necessary to allow everyone the opportunity to be healthy goes beyond what health insurance traditionally covers. I hope the conversations at HLTH lead to more common language and openness for alignment on the scientific rigour necessary for a consumer product to be taken seriously by traditional health players.
Connecting key health stakeholders from diverse backgrounds is a significant step in the right direction, redefining what is considered “healthcare” and who pays for what is needed. Although consumer and retail products have value, affordability is still an issue, especially if payers are not considering these offerings for reimbursement. Many valuable solutions may never reach those who need them most due to the inability to pay out of pocket.
Further, more efforts are required to help improve benefits communication, patient and caregiver education, benefits communication, and guidance around coordinating whole health care. As discussed during the Sexual Healing panel – language matters – we need to meet individuals where they are. Creating complicated reimbursement schemes or unclear patient pathways further deters the engagement of high-need but historically marginalized individuals.
Reimaging healthcare requires greater awareness and more conversations around the inequities and barriers to access that exist to being healthy. I was happy to hear many talks at HTLH discuss inclusion, health equity and social determinants of health (SDOH). However, I found that much of the heavy lifting and progress around these initiatives still comes from female and minority-led start-ups, non-profits and government. Big healthcare, life sciences and tech need to step up and better support efforts through partnerships, acquisitions, and funding versus building lacklustre duplicates or “check the box on DEI” solutions.
For start-ups and capital providers, HTLH also confirmed that a course correction in funding is occurring. Although many blame COVID for creating a funding ecosystem that led to waste and significantly overvalued start-ups, this trend was already apparent in mid-2019. COVID only added fuel to this unfortunate trend.
I stepped away from consulting with digital health start-ups at the end of 2019 due to my frustration of encountering many organizations that had raised significant funds but were not incentivized or interested in genuinely moving the needle in healthcare. Instead, many start-ups chose to take the consumer route to hit early funding milestones. At this time, I opted to join Veeva for 2 years, a rare example of a Healthtech start-up that raised minimal cash ($7M total) and reached $1 billion in yearly revenue within thirteen years of its inception.
Moving forward, I hope fundraising becomes more intentional and investors take the time to build relationships with entrepreneurs and organizations closely tied to the communities they claim to serve. Further, due diligence needs to focus on more than just financial returns. Considering clinical outcomes, societal impact and addressing unmet needs are also important.
I commend HLTH for providing a platform for many aspects of health, including nutrition, sleep, sexual, mental and dental health. I also appreciate the diverse representation of individuals involved and impacted by the health industry, including rural communities, providers, caregivers, incarcerated individuals and athletes.
Where I struggled at HTLH was how much of the focus of networking and connection was around the consumption of alcohol and unhealthy food. I appreciate that there was a group exercise option offered early on Monday and Tuesday morning and some “wellness” features throughout the event. I would love to see more activities, happy hours and networking opportunities beyond drinks and mingling. I am happy to connect with any organizations interested in exploring this (check out Eat Move Meditate for inspiration).
I am grateful for the many insightful conversations with incredibly thoughtful and inspiring individuals throughout my time at HLTH.
Here’s to creating an abundance of intentional partnerships and collaborations in 2023 that allow for improved quality of life for all individuals and decrease the burden and cost of illness on society.