Lessons From San Francisco’s First East Meets West Conference
By Rachel Nichols
Do you like spending time with like-minded people, making new friends, learning something (actually a lot of somethings) new, and engaging in interesting, stimulating conversations while expanding your knowledge or questioning your perceptions and beliefs? If you said yes to any of those questions, you must check out East Meets West SF—a two-day conference that I am still giddy over weeks later.
East Meets West is an amazing organization that is redefining the festival and conference experience for a modern, urban audience by hosting events that explore topics in human potential and well-being, creative culture and social impact through engaging talks by thought leaders, yoga, meditation, music and more. It’s an event that, among other commendable goals, aims to modernize the perception of traditional healing techniques and serves as a platform for people in the community to share their voice as well as their work.
East Meets West is produced by Jeff Bausemer and Ravé Mehta, trained practitioners in a wide array of traditional healing modalities who are passionate about introducing people to these practices in a digestible way. The conference first launched in New York in 2014, and in early November, East Meets West made its weekend-long debut in San Francisco at The Center SF.
“The hope is to really be able to modernize the perception of [eastern practices] in people's eyes,” Jeff said. “I wanted to create something that would make these topics accessible for beginners, and that would give people affordable tools. You don't have to wear Free People clothing and a turban and go to yoga and drink juice that you can't afford to be well. There are hundreds of other real and authentic ways to get in touch with yourself and to get healthy.” Another element important to Jeff is using humor while exploring these topics.
I absolutely loved the array of topics explored at this conference, which drew about 200 people over the two days. I also loved learning so much more about the amazing people and resources that are available to us in this amazing Bay Area community that we are lucky enough to live in. Here are a few takeaways and lessons I learned from San Francisco’s first East Meets West event.
1. There is a really cool new groundbreaking healthcare center in San Francisco that you need to check out ASAP.
Parsley Health, which opened in San Francisco in November, combines modern healthcare with integrative medicine. They integrate eastern medicine principles within a western medicine framework. Parsley is a membership-based practice with both medical doctors as well as health coaches that take a holistic approach, focusing on not just medicine, but also nutrition, exercise, supplements, community and more. They say another thing that makes them unique is that patients get more face to face time with doctors. Check out their website to learn more about the their modern approach to medicine.
2. If you’re feeling off, check out Tibetan medicine.
Most of us have heard of Chinese medicine, but few of us know much about Tibetan medicine. Tibetan medicine, known as sowa rigpa, is made up of three doors: the body, energy/breath/speech, and the mind. Sowa rigpa has two meanings: “the healing science,” which is the relative balance of the body, energy and mind, and “nurturing the awareness,” which is the ultimate balance of these components beyond any condition. Treatments include diet, lifestyle, medicine or herbs and a multitude of external therapies, including Ku Nye massage, Horme oil therapy and more. There is a really cool Tibetan medicine practice in SF if you are interested in exploring more: bayarea.sorig.net.
3. Everything in the body is readable.
Alex Rosan, bodywork, massage and yogi practitioner, gave a presentation on the transformative work that he provides clients. His goal with his work is to help merge the lines between instinct and intuition. Everything in the body is readable, he says, noting that there is so much symbology in the body. For example, if you are someone who is tripping all the time, one must take note of their feet. Our feet keep us moving forward, so if you are tripping all the time, maybe ask yourself: Is there something that is keeping you from moving forward? “We are often hiding from ourselves,” Rosan said, but with bodywork we can release emotional and traumatic holds that may be holding us back in life. I actually scheduled an appointment with Alex after and will be writing an article about my experience with his bodywork in an upcoming article for SF Yoga Mag, so stay tuned!
4. Learn to live in the Flow.
Curiosity, vulnerability, service and gratitude are ways to get into “the flow.” Why is being in the flow important? Being present in flow helps pull you out of fear, according to Ravé Mehta, engineer, author, musician, artist and philanthropist, who gave an inspiring presentation on Flow and the Quantum Body. The more we live authentically through the four pillars—curiosity, vulnerability, service and gratitude—the more flow we access. And when you're living in flow, you’re healing your body, Mehta said.
5. Surround yourself with believers.
Adam “Smiley” Poswolski, a millennial workplace expert and bestselling author of The Quarter-Life Breakthrough: Invent Your Own Path, Find Meaningful Work, and Build a Life That Matters, threw out the statistic that 70 percent of Americans are disengaged at work. He had been one of those disengaged employees in the past until he decided to quit his job, follow his dream and write a book. His advice to us when making changes and going after your passion or purpose: 1) Surround yourself with believers. It’s not just about the encouragement. When you find believers you also find accountability. 2) Stop comparing yourself to others. Find our what’s meaningful to you and pursue it—we all have different definitions of what alignment means to us. 3) Keep going. No matter what. ...and speaking of purpose, in another talk by creative entrepreneur Jenn Sodini said: “Look to develop a compass rather than a path to purpose.” I loved that. And on a final note regarding your purpose: take some wild oat flower essence. It works like a charm, according to East Meets West founder, Jeff!
6. To know yoga is to struggle less.
“To know yoga is to struggle less. What’s going on on the mat is a metaphor for how you’re walking around in the world.” I just loved that quote from San Francisco yoga teacher, Jeremy Falk.
East Meets West SF took place on November 3 and 4 at The Center SF, a gorgeous and super zen space with daily movement classes and amazing tea room tucked away on Fillmore street. Saturday’s schedule went from 11am until midnight, and many of the folks who attended popped in and out at their convenience. I showed up early and planned to leave in the evening but stayed for the entire program because once I got there I couldn’t get enough. Jeff and Ravé plan to make East Meets West an annual event both here in SF and in NYC, and I already can’t wait for next year! In the meantime, though, there may be some other smaller meetups happening with a similar theme, until then. And if you want a good daily dose of comedic inspiration, stay tuned and up-to-date with these guys via their website or Facebook and Instagram.
About East Meets West
East Meets West conferences and festivals redefine the festival and conference as a tool for personal, social and cultural revolution by curating international entertainment and elevating the conversation around Human Potential and Well-Being, Creative Culture, Global Entrepreneurial Leadership and Policy, and Social Impact. They believe everyone has a purpose, passion and limitless potential. Their mission is to spark these core principles in their attendees by catalyzing conversation around transformative ideas and facilitating collaborations that lead to human happiness. Through meaningful experiences with original, international and buzz-generating content and entertainment, East Meets West offers unparalleled access to exciting influencers, one-of-a-kind opportunities, revolutionary insights and ideas, and memories that last a lifetime. To learn more and find out about their next event visit: eastmeetswestfest.com.