This is my third conference, and I think I enjoy each one more than its predecessor. The chance to catch up with friends I only get to see once every two years, and sometimes spend time with online friends that I've known for almost two decades, but never MET before is just sheer joy.
But this year two very special, very validating events happened and I want to share them.
Rhiannon Harris was the keynote speaker Friday morning Her speech was titled "Working at the Coal Face" and she managed to tie together her family's history in the Welsh coalmines to the progress and advances we are making in Aromatherapy. She talked of the tools that the miners relied on and the tools we, as aromatherapy practioners rely on. She talked of the invention of the Miner's Lamp, and our need for the light of education. Of how one small error, one brief lack of focus, can have enormous consequences not only for the team, but for the larger community.
She talked of the different ways to mine coal...and of the different ways and styles of aromatherapy. She spoke of the need for apprenticeship/mentoring in Aromatherapy, as well as Clinical training. (And I am so grateful to those who have mentored me over the years!)
As you advance into the coal seam you need to support the roof. The further you advance in the mine, the greater the need for strong support pillars. In light of the advances in aromatherapy it is essential that progress be supported by solid and appropriate safety measures. Who should set the safety measures? The pillars of the global aromatherapy community, in the US we have:
Laraine Kyle Pounds
That list of names showed on the screen...and I could not believe I was being named in that company.
Later that day, during Lunch, Sylla Sheppard-Hanger did a presentation on the Confessions of a Vintage Aromatherapist. She talked of some of the experiences we had shared, of the work of the UAE. And she honored some of our Seniors (those who had been involved with aromatherapy during the 70's) with Pioneers of Aromatherapy medallions, and some of us (the 80's Ladies) with Vintage Aromatherapist awards.
|Sylla getting ready to present them.|
|My friend and mentor Kathy Duffy receiving HER vintage award.|
|*my* Vintage medallion|
All of us who received one of the Pioneer or Vintage rewards were just delighted, and wore them with pride all weekend. Between being a "Vintage Aromatherapist" and 'being a pillar"... AND the way people loved the gifts Nature's Gift gave everyone, it was a wonderfully validating weekend!
When Robert Tisserand was autographing my copy of his new Safety book, I secretly hoped he would inscribe it "To one Pillar from another"... but it didn't happen that way.
I will be posting some of the most urgent "takeaways" from Robert's preconference workshop within the next few days, and updating the safety information on our website as I make my way through his book. But I wanted to brag a bit, first.