The Gathering 2010
What is the Gathering?
The Gathering has always existed in the hearts of those who have practiced the art of healing. In the last century, it has manifested itself in many ways: through the work of Benedict Lust in establishing naturopathy as a profession, through the work of Henry Lindlahr in formulating and collecting the principles upon which the art is to be practiced, through Jim Sensenig in the establishment of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians, through various student groups and organizations that have strived to learn and practice “The Art.”
The Gathering is a philosophical conference that has the focus of nature cure and other practical “old time” approaches from doctors that practice “the art” of naturopathic medicine. It has become much more than just discussing philosophy, as many of the seasoned doctors that have spoken at the Gathering have shared clinical pearls that have enriched not only my practice but my life. This, I am sure, has been repeated many times with hundreds of others that have attended these gatherings.
The First Gathering
The first Gathering was in 2004 at SCNM and, as with each year since, was only made possible by students that have a passion for learning. At their sacrifice of hundreds of hours, we are able to have an amazing exchange between the youth that are learning in our profession and the “Elders” of the profession that are still learning.
Every year, a new committee made up of students selects a venue, a date, and the speakers. The speakers are selected with just a few things in mind: 1. Must be in practice for at least 15 years (preferably longer), 2. Must be well rooted in naturopathic medicine not just in philosophy but in practice, 3. Not necessary but the committee is encouraged to select doctors that have strongly influenced the profession towards returning to the roots. With these three guidelines and not much else, there have been 6 amazing Gatherings that are open for anyone to come.
Common misconceptions have been: 1. That this is just a conference for students– it is not. One of my fondest memories is Bill Mitchell sitting on the front row at the second Gathering, frantically taking notes, still learning! 2. That only
Naturopathic doctors and students are allowed. From its very beginning, the Gathering has been about promoting the roots of naturopathic medicine, though we recognize that those roots may nourish anyone regardless of degree. The public and other professions are welcome to attend. 3. The speakers must be naturopathic doctors.
The Purpose of the Gathering
The real purpose of the Gathering is to look to the future while remembering the great lessons of the past. As we all know, we are standing on the edge of a brand new future, a future full of possibilities, full of wonderment and dreams, a future bursting with all of our hopes and good intentions for the naturopathic profession, our patients, and ourselves.
As naturopathic physicians, we are all individual in our practice of medicine, due to our unique passions, skills, and desires. But one thread connects all of us, the thread of our passion for this medicine, this amazing system of healing, this scientific art form we call naturopathic medicine. A wonderful lyric, author unknown, illustrates it best:
No matter if a tree grows to more than 1000 feet
In height, each leaf, each day,
Must return to its roots for nourishment.
We must look to our roots as we face the future. For if we stray from our roots, what are we? That is why we will continue to refer to the founders of our medicine over the last hundreds of years as we plan for the next hundred years. What will the face of naturopathic medicine look like in 100 years from now? How will we get there? And how will you contribute? Do you want to be a part of the conversation?
This year’s Gathering is going to be at Bastyr University on November 19-21, 2010.
Come and get nourished yourself, and remember why you chose to become a naturopathic doctor.
Joe Holcomb, ND graduated from Arizona State University with a BS in Human Nutrition and then from SCNM in 2006. After completeing a residency through NCNM, he has been in private pratice in beautiful Cedar Cty, Utah. His goal with his patients is to determine the root cause of disease, so that they may fulfill their greater purpose in this life. Joe is married to Angela, and they have 4 children.