In early August, a very special event was organized to take advantage of a visit to Central Florida by Dr. Barry Kerzin, founder of the Altruism in Medicine Institute and the personal physician to his holiness, the Dali Lama. Dr. Kerzin is an American-born Buddhist Monk and also happens to be friends with Patty Maddox, president and CEO of the Winter Park Health Foundation.
Ms. Maddox helped organize several events with Dr. Kerzin including a workshop with non-profit professionals, a talk with Florida Hospital doctors, and a session with children and adults in Eatonville.
The event with nonprofit professionals was organized in response to the identified need of caring for the many individuals who responded to the Pulse tragedy. Staff at the Edyth Bush Institute for Philanthropy & Nonprofit Leadership at Rollins College had reached out to Ms. Maddox to discuss developing programming to support those caregivers and their growing “compassion fatigue.”
Dr. Kerzin talked about the pain and challenges faced by nonprofit professionals during the Pulse response and as part of their ongoing daily work, which often results in fatigue, exhaustion, depression and burnout. He discussed the need for unity, compassion and caring for oneself – in order to better care for others. He concluded by leading the group in a 10-minute meditation and encouraged everyone to continue this practice as part of their daily self-care.
Dr. Kerzin’s final visit was with nearly 70 children and adults in Eatonville. He talked about compassion, kindness and the connections we all share. He reminded the kids that we all have fear; we all want love. We are all more alike than we are different. He also led the group in a walking meditation – and made this request to everyone: Meditate just 10 minutes a day and to keep the kindness and mindfulness going.