“Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside awakes.”
As chiropractors we are often witness to the process of healing and transformation. This may be the fundamental role of the chiropractor. We hold the vision that allows the person to go through their process, knowing that there is magic in it, even when it hurts, when there are symptoms, when it seems impossible. Trust in this process is essential to the success of the healing.
When Sue Brown, D.C. founder and developer of Bio Geometric Integration, first started to teach in Europe it was challenging because what worked so effortlessly for her in the US was not so easy in Europe. I will never forget the first seminar we taught in Italy. It was at a lovely hotel in Fiesole, outside Florence. Everything had been organized by Anna Maria Palma from Ralph Belig’s office and the hotel package came with breakfast, break service (morning and afternoon), lunch and dinner. People came late to the seminar because the breakfast room was so beautiful, and no one believed that the seminar would really start on time. We were in Italy, after all!
Once everyone was finally back in the room Sue finally hit her teaching stride. Not more than ten minutes passed before the break service carts came barreling into the room. I watched the attention shift from her to the coffee.
She literally asked the room, “do you guys really need a break? We just started.”
Why, yes, yes, they did. And a cigarette break and… She was definitely thrown off by this schedule.
Then, what seemed like moments later, it was time for lunch. Sue was used to eating a salad or a sandwich for lunch, a quick bite and back to work.
Her eyes nearly bugged out of her head when people started pouring the wine from the carafes placed at the center of every table.
“They are going to DRINK at lunch?” To Sue this meant that they were going to get wasted like American football fans at a tailgate party: it meant they weren’t going to be teachable after lunch.
“They aren’t drinking, they are having a glass of wine with lunch. It is different.”
Lunch was, of course, several courses. It was frustrating for her and totally normal to all the chiropractors who practice in Europe. For Sue it felt like time lost, for the chiropractors it was a way to celebrate, to connect, to digest the contents of the seminar as well as lunch.
We came back into the room ready to hammer out our last four hours before dinner started at 8. We were significantly behind on the material. Two hours later the break cart came in for coffee service. She nearly lost it. It meant another half hour delay.
When the seminar ended for the night she asked me to tell the hotel that we would skip the break service the following day. On Sunday people simply left the room at those times to have their coffee and cigarette. The original metaphor we used to describe a dormant disconnect was like a teacher trying to present new material to the class when half the students were missing. There was an actual dormant disconnect in the seminar and we needed to establish continuity before moving onward. It was a pesky disconnect that kept coming back. It was uncomfortable and unfamiliar yet we had to trust in the process.
The symptoms manifested: people were lax about registering in advance, and nearly everyone wanted to pay cash, which was difficult for the accounting. Some chiropractors needed a specific kind of receipt for their accountant that Sue’s American business couldn’t provide. That created further tension and exasperated organizers on both zones of the Atlantic. We simply didn’t have the continuity required to make it work for both sides.
Through all of this, during the actual seminars, we taught time and time again that BGI is not a technique because there is no right way to “do” BGI. Not only that, the way any particular person applies the concepts is and MUST be a reflection of all the experiences, all the knowledge, all that that person is and has ever had. Someone who has a background in CRMT is going to apply the concepts differently to their practice than someone who uses Gonstead. In the era of BIG EGO chiropractic, this was a monumental statement because it actually encouraged people to be their authentic selves rather than try to be someone else, and then wonder why the results were disappointing.
Over time, we have been able to embrace what made seminars in Europe special and different than BGI seminars in America. Just as there is not just one way to apply the BGI principles in practice, each continent is a reflection of its own experience, history, values and traditions. Is it serendipity or kismet that two of the original BGI teaching staff are now residents in Europe and consider it home? We are exactly where we are supposed to be at the moment we are supposed to be there to learn the lessons we need to learn for our growth and evolution. Here we are. Both Valerie Pennacchio, D.C. and I made a commitment to Sue that we would continue to share this work that changed our lives and touched us deeply in ways that progressively unfold and amaze us.
BGI Europe Seminars is growing. We are expanding and we are transforming. We welcome you and hope that this beautiful, inclusive inspiring approach feels like your chiropractic home in Europe.