The sixth annual Healing Summit moved from Berlin to Portugal this year, with a theme of Take a Quantum Leap. Meant to be a call to action for delegates, the theme was also a reflection of the changing nature of the summit, which took the programming and speakers to new heights. The annual gathering – an initiative of the Healing Hotels of the World consortium – brings together like-minded wellness individuals, including leading spa operators, who are drawn to collaborate, raise awareness and inspire change. Held at the Pine Cliffs Resort on Portugal’s Algarve coast in May, it saw 138 delegates from 28 countries meet to debate, discuss and learn from their collective wisdom, with a mission to create a future committed to healing.
“This year’s Healing Summit exceeded my expectations,” says Anne Biging, co-founder of Healing Hotels of the World and the Healing Summit. “It was not just a quantum leap – it was life-changing, and so many of the delegates said they felt that way as well.”
Each day began with sunrise beach activities including swimming, running, hatha yoga, chanting and meditation, which meant participants had the option to start their day with a healthy practice and meet and connect with others. Throughout the summit, through small group work and inspiring speakers, delegates were asked to consider how they might best take their own quantum leap in their business or personal lives.
Dr Marjorie Woollacott, professor of neuroscience at the University of Oregon in the US, opened the summit by detailing the science behind a quantum leap and how it applies to our world. As she explained, a quantum leap is what happens to atoms when they go from one state to another, and it usually begins with an infusion of light in a moment of transformation. This theme permeated the entire event, which included topics from sustainable practices to charity projects and the paradigms of business rooted in a soulful economy.
Speakers included investor and entrepreneur Stephen Kennedy Smith, who gave insight into what we can learn from the 1960s, when his two uncles, John F Kennedy and Robert Kennedy, inspired an idealism in American politics. Actress Arta Dobroshi, who grew up during the war in Kosovo, talked about the importance of believing in peace during times of war.
Meanwhile, Sarah Livia Brightwood, president of Rancho La Puerta, outlined how giving back to the community shapes an entire ecosystem.
Investor and philanthropist Adam Rockefeller Growald gave an inspiring talk about creating the future by following the path of the heart, and investing by trusting intuition. He then moderated an impressive panel on quantum investment that included Kennedy Smith, as well as Catherine Parrish, founder of NextLevel Leadership Consulting; Binod Chaudhary, chair of CG Corp Global; Brian Brazeau, general manager at Comfort Zone; and Sarah Collins, CEO and creator of Wonderbag, an invention which is helping women across Africa cook using less fuel and less time.
On the hospitality front, delegates heard from Marina Efraimoglou, founder of Euphoria Retreat in Greece (see SB18/3 p64), about the importance of self-healing; Diana Stobo, founder of The Retreat Costa Rica, on the power of intention; Dr Shruti Nada Poddar on how she rebuilt the city of her ancestors into a healing abode and cultural centre; Harald Schopf, director of medical spa Kurhaus Schaerding in Austria, on how ancient traditions are in line with the new way of doing business; and Dr Marian Alonzo, medical chief at The Farm at San Benito in the Philippines, on the holistic healing practices there. Claudia Roth, founder and managing director of Soul Luxury, led a panel on the emergence of the spiritualised consumer.
Other highlights included insight into Green Flow Hotel in Russia, and how the climb to the top of Mount Everest inspired owner Alexander Tertychnyy; details from Barry Scherr, president of the Sundar Corporation, on how enlightened real estate can build connection, community and consciousness; holistic psychologist Dr Ellie Cobb on the power of connection; and Julie Bach, executive director of Wellness for Cancer on the importance of healing modalities for those touched by cancer (see SB18/3 p60).
The Healing Summit concluded on a hopeful note. Holly Ornstein Carter, founder of BYkids, interviewed local children, who showed a remarkable ability to understand the complexities of the challenges we face in this modern world, especially when it comes to healing the planet. Finally, Rancho La Puerta’s Brightwood led delegates in a closing ceremony outside on the cliff-side lawn, with a prayer to the planet earth.
“We still feel the incredible spark of energy, creativity and enthusiasm that we experienced at this year’s event,” says Elisabeth Ixmeier, co-founder of the Healing Summit and Healing Hotels of the World. “It was an amazing gathering full of open-hearted people, and we’re already planning another exciting gathering for next year’s event, which will return to Pine Cliffs on 17-19 May 2020.”