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East West Herbal Seminar 2012: AMAZING!

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That’s the only word that best sums up our East West 2012 seminar – amazing!

While our annual seminars are always great and well received, somehow this one was quite exceptional. Everything seemed to coalesce beautifully – students, teachers, food, setting, classes, guest instructors – you name it, it worked! When all of us at East West compared notes, we agreed about this year’s stellar seminar and felt quite inspired by our attendees’ enthusiasm, appreciation and genuine heartfelt presence. You, the East West Family, are the best ever!

Perhaps one of the elements that helped was a new idea this year: to have our guest speakers, Efrem Korngold and Harriet Beinfield, teach Five Element theory to the entire group on our first day together. As we split into breakout groups to discuss our element types (or brag about them – you know who you are!), we bonded beyond class levels and newbies/oldies. This was such a terrific way to begin the seminar that I plan to schedule an all-group class at the beginning of each next seminar as possible. What better way to get to know each other from the start?

sem12treesWe also offered several spontaneous classes this year. One, the lunchtime herb walks, were so popular that we will need to coordinate more, smaller groups next year. Another new installment was the "Open Mike-ael" evening (my corny name for it – sorry!) that featured a local teashop owner who not only taught us about teas and inspired some to open their own tea shops back home, but also served several delicious teas throughout the night. This was followed by our very own Jerry Angelini, who generously shared his inspiring expertise on medicinal mushrooms. It was a special night indeed!

Another spontaneous class, "Michael Says," highlighted individual students sharing their various areas of knowledge. Everyone like this so much, that next year we’ll give you some advance notice so you can prepare something to bring and share for 5-10 minutes. I find the best learning is from each other, for truly we are all each other’s teachers.

And as if that were not enough, we were fortunate to have excellent guest teachers K.P. Khalsa and Robert Campbell share their wisdom with every group throughout the week.

As a result of this super week, the newly bonded foundation class is staying in touch throughout the year to help each other study, while the intermediate group has threatened to break the mold for advanced groups and be the best ever (we look forward to that!). It was also joyful to share our advanced students’ excitement and relief as they graduated. We look forward to our continued association through mentoring, practitioner classes and perhaps even teaching.

Many commented on Jill’s gift for picking roommates and want to know her secret. Through the years, she seems to always pair people perfectly, creating lasting friendships and study buddies. Well, I wish I could reveal her secret here, but you’ll just have to find it out from her. All I know is that whatever she does, it works brilliantly!

One outcome of the seminar, among new Facebook and study groups, is that Miles Coleman will now offer one materia medica webinar a month. This is a terrific way to study throughout the year. There is so much material to cover in one week and only so much time, that this extends your opportunity to learn in depth and cover more material. Stay posted for the first one, to be announced soon.

As always I take into account all that you share about what you liked best along with your ideas and suggestions so I can plan the best seminar possible for you next year. We are here to serve you and herbal medicine AND to have a blast while doing so. I think this year proved that it’s possible. Many thanks to all of YOU who came to learn, study, teach and share, which is what truly made it such an exceptional East West seminar year!


Photos courtesy of Jessica Young

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