An Infusion of Life & A Solution-Oriented Call to Action

“Be unbelievably grateful for the infusion of life.”

These were the words that Yogi and Executive Director of the Urban Zen Integrative Therapy Program, Rodney Yee, spoke, along with his wife Colleen Saidman Yee, Co-Director of the Urban Zen Integrative Therapy Program, as they led a contemplative and reflective meditation on January 18, 2011. These words served not only as a moment of gratitude before dinner, but also to set the tone and intention for the evening.

Last night, the Urban Zen Foundation was home to a remarkable event that took the often-intangible idea of awareness and elevated it into a tactile experience that stimulated the senses and piqued the intellect.

In collaboration with Donna Karan, Dean Ornish, Doug Scott + Ogilvy Entertainment and Agent of Change, the Urban Zen center came together to present footage from, “A Tale of Two Systems: Following a Healthcare Revolution,” a documentary film by Matthew Heineman and Susan Froemke that examines the movement to integrate age-old, low-cost, preventive methods of healing into our high-tech, costly system. The screening featured deeply personal stories of patients, leading doctors, and organizations committed to transforming the way healthcare is delivered. In the words of the film’s outreach material, “The American healthcare system is broken. The current battle over cost and access doesn’t address the root of the problem: we have a disease-care system, not a healthcare system.”

The intention of the evening was to celebrate the mission behind the film (and namesake of the evening), inspire the attendees to rise up and support a team of talented directors, producers, physicians and visionaries committed to fixing the broken healthcare system, and to raise funds for the completion of the film. It’s is a subject matter that deeply resonates with all who have been touched by illness and, so, the structure of the evening was such that guests could sincerely connect with one another.

The ambiance spoke to this intention for connection. The loft was glowing with the fireplace crackling as guests sipped cocktails and leaned into each other to get the most out of intriguing conversations before migrating downstairs for dinner. The studio served as a cozy, welcoming and beautifully created banquet setting with a C-Lab dining table architecturally designed for fluid communication.

A mindful menu was prepared by Michael Hebb of Onepot consisting of conscious chefs from the neighborhood who came together to create delicious dishes promoting optimum health for varying organs of the body. From the coffee and citrus glazed wild gravlax prepared by Chef Sefton Stallard of Blue Ribbon Bakery to the flax and matcha-dusted tuna created by Chef Patrick Connolly of Bobo, the meal beautifully illustrated the many dimensions of well-being.

The dinner was not just about food for the body, it was also about food for thought. Dr. Dean Ornish along with Donna Karan, Gabrielle Roth and Kris Carr took the stage to discuss the multiplicity of details that go into shifting the medical paradigm and what it really means to care for the patient. In the continued spirit of gratitude, Donna articulately and emphatically drove home the truth of the evening saying, “It’s about every single one of us. If there is a problem, there is a solution. Let us collaborate to create this solution.”

The evening closed with powerful musical performances. First, Martha Wainwright, with her beautifully haunting voice and guitar, sang a song written by her late mother, a cancer victim. Next, The Little Death featuring Aaron Brooks, Laura Dawn, Moby and Daron Murphy took the stage. The purpose of the evening was evident in every note that enveloped the crowd.

Guests left with satiated bodies, soothed spirits and lives truly infused with just a little bit more gratitude.

Coming soon: Check back soon for a Q&A with Matt Heineman.


To see how you can support “A Tale of Two Systems,” Click Here
To learn more about the UZIT Program, Click Here
To apply for Urban Zen’s 2011 Integrative Therapist Program, Click Here
Share your story on integrative medicine, Click Here