“Why are you here?” I asked the man sitting at a conference table with a humble sign bearing only the Ford Motor Company logo. “Our Chairman spoke here last year and we came back to learn how mindfulness can help our people become more productive.”
Oh really! Ford at a “Wisdom 2.0”conference exploring the intersection of technology, business and wisdom traditions held in, wait for it, San Francisco? Yet here they were, ready to learn from speakers like Tony Hseih of Zappos, Eckhart Tolle, Roshi Joan Halifax, and a delegation of Googlers.
Yes the conference delivered its promise of connectivity, creativity, and the criticality of cultivating human-to-human contact in the digital age. But the big take away was Arianna Huffington’s challenge that maybe it was time to stop the talking and start the doing – taking Wisdom 2.0 up a notch, to Wisdom 3.0.
I saw Wisdom 3.0 flowering when Tony Hseih spoke passionately about his work in downtown Las Vegas, investing in small businesses and community building, and his vision that Vegas of all places could become a model for other cities craving revitalization. I learned that a real life U.S. Congressman, Tim Ryan of Ohio, is pushing legislation to bring mindfulness training to kids and teachers. And that a fifteen year old girl got a toxic ingredient removed from a sports drink in record time using the crowd-sourcing site Change.org.
This gave me hope for the success of my work transforming dentistry, where the word “wisdom” usually conjures up the right of passage called getting your wisdom teeth pulled. I considered my journey from successful trial lawyer in a fancy 34th floor corner office to social entrepreneur and standard-bearer in a global movement embodying sustainable business practices and whole person wellness.
I reflected on how by changing the world’s two million dentists, we are creating a ripple of change touching every person that sits in that dentist’s chair. I thought about how dentists, who suffer from one of the highest suicide rates of any profession, benefit from stress-reducing modalities like breathing mindfully, and movements that untangle their bodies after a day hunched over other people’s mouths. I considered how dentist, patient and planetary wellbeing are supported when dental practices are toxin-free and utilizing the best technology has to offer.
I left Wisdom 2.0 grateful to be part of a community of change-makers doing both the work of internal transformation, and taking it to the streets, or in my case, the teeth. Onward to Wisdom 3.0!
Ina Pockrass is the visionary leader of the green dentistry movement. She has been honored as one of the Top 25 Women in Dentistry, and is an attorney and marketing expert. Ina co-created the country’s first green dental office in 2003 and co-founded the Eco-Dentistry Association in 2008. She writes and speaks internationally about green dentistry.