July 12, 2007, Vol. V Issue 14
I’m off to the National Wellness Conference in Stevens Point, Wisconsin tomorrow. It’s been a few years since I’ve attended, so I’m really looking forward to re-connecting. Besides listening to speakers, which we all know is one of my favorite pastimes, it will be fun to just hang out in the dorm and paint toenails – rainbow toes of course.
To kick things off, I’ll be attending the Women’s Wellness Wisdom Workshop on Saturday. Throughout the week, I’m looking forward to being with Deb Kern, Karen Wolfe, Sandy Queen, Zonya Foco, Jana Stanfield, Elaine Sullivan and Fern Carness. Fern opens the conference Sunday night with her talk, “The Tyranny of Health Promotion: Confessions of a Wellness Queen.” Can’t wait to hear what that’s all about!
Also, my Nia teachers from here in Portland, Carlos and Debbie Rosas, co-founders of the Nia Technique, will be leading sessions, as well as presenting an all-day pre-conference on “Creating and Sustaining Wellness the Body’s Way.” I’ve also heard from some clients who are attending and we’re planning to put faces to voices and email addresses. What a concept . . . if you’re there, I hope we get to meet!
Connecting is what we’re all about and I’m delighted to share a story today that illustrates the magic of the internet, and its capability to be a conduit in the process of making a heart connection. That’s exactly what happened with speaker, Winalee Zeeb and client, Special Tree.
Winalee Zeeb and Special Tree:
A Heart Connection
Heart connections happen in wonderful and mysterious ways. In this case, an internet search by a company in Michigan brought in an inquiry to The Speak Well Being Group for a female motivational speaker to speak to their first corporate nurses aide conference in southeastern Michigan. “We are a rehabilitation company serving clients with brain injury & spinal cord injury,” the email said. “Our conference goals are to corporately recognize and appreciate the contributions of these nurses aides, increase their involvement and leadership in planning future conferences, motivate and improve self-esteem, staff empowerment and to elevate their roles as members of the rehabilitation team.”
As I was to find out later, the company, Special Tree, is a pioneer in the field of brain injury and is one of the Midwest’s leading neurorehabilitation providers for kids, teens, adults and their families. As Mary Jo Hall, NEO Training Coordinator, explained to me, this was their first time providing a special event for their RST’s – Rehabilitation Service Technicians. “These are our direct care staff people who work with our patients every day, and we wanted to show appreciation for what they do and to empower them. We were challenged by the fact that we’re a 24/7 operation. That meant we had to have a 2-day event so the maximum number of people could attend,” she told me.
I immediately thought the perfect person for this job was Winalee Zeeb, who lives in Lansing, Michigan. Winalee has a very special heartfelt way of connecting and relating to people. She’s not only adept at planning for a program like this, but once she’s there, she’s in the moment with the people, sensing the energy and their comfort levels. Having had recent family experiences involving outside caretakers, she was most appreciative of the opportunity to let these people know how important they are to the people they provide care for.”
“I was just so impressed with everything about Special Tree – the people, the leadership, the loving kindness, the facilities, the details,” Winalee said. She arrived the day before the first day’s program and toured one of the facilities. “They were ahead of their time, out of the box. They built a pool and got people in the water long before water therapy was recognized for its healing qualities. They’re very much into the importance of the whole being. The atmosphere is homey. There’s no hospital smell. The patients are talked to and attended to as if they are present. People work as a team and there’s a family sensation – the energy is that the house and everyone in it is family. The care is profound, beautiful to see – loving and sacred. It’s a beautiful company that filled my heart with the possibilities for the healing of Western medicine.”
“Relax, Restore, Renew,” was the title of Winalee’s program and that’s exactly what she shared with her eager audience. “They were amazingly ready to learn,” she said, “I was there at 7 a.m. to set up for my 8 a.m. program, and by 7:15, 85 – 90% of the people were there! They understood that they were going to be fed, that this day was all about them.”
To start things off, Mary Jo told me that they went around to all of the facilities and took pictures of the RST’s. They interspersed the photos with quotes from managers, nurses and company executives and put it all to music in a slide show that they showed during registration.
Winalee “wow’d them,” Mary Jo told me. “They were there and willing to participate, especially for the second day, after word got around about it.”
Winalee not only gave them an experience, but she gave them tools to use on the job and a formula to use anytime they need it. The code for it correlated to the hand – a symbol for their healing hands.
“To them, RST, may stand for ‘Rehab Service Technician,’” Winalee said, “but to me, it stands for ‘Really Special Teacher.’”
I think one of the best aspects of summer (besides great weather, farm fresh food and being outdoors a lot) is that it’s a time of reconnecting. Friends and families get together for reunions, formal and informal, large and small. Vacation and conference travels take us cross country to them and, in turn, bring old friends and family cross country to visit us. The only problem is that it all goes too fast. I hope you’ll savor every moment of these precious get-togethers. The older I get, the more I appreciate and savor them.
In our next issue, I’ll bring you highlights and insights from the National Wellness Conference. Until next time, be good to yourself for your good health and those you love.
Yours truly in good health,