Re-Imagining Systems of Health

Orienting health systems towards wellbeing

What would a people-centred and compassionate system look like — one that is oriented to the promotion of health and wellbeing of both providers and the populations they serve? What would an education system look like that supported the development and wellbeing of health professionals and prepared them for interprofessional collaboration? How can we share and scale what we know is working while asking new/different questions and collectively seeking answers for a reimagined health system?

Imagine, your doctor stopping by at your community centre on a Tuesday afternoon to gather with local members of your community and other members of the health services team. They are here for their monthly gathering to find out how the community has been faring with COVID during the past month. Over a cup of tea, the team listens closely to members of the community and together they come to understand how individuals and the community might address some of the problems they face. With their deep experience and understanding of human physiology and interpersonal neurobiology, and the importance of creating a compassionate environment, the team is able to frame questions to the community and deeply listen. Their empathy and way of relating has influenced and helped shape the way the community is understanding and responding to the pandemic.

We all leave our monthly gathering with a renewed sense of purpose around how we can take care of ourselves and one another as we address some of the underlying factors that are still preventing some members of the community from thriving. Our efforts are already visible: the community garden is flourishing and the Welcome Dinner project, which hosts newcomers and brings us into one another’s homes, is part of our community fabric. People are making full use of the local health centre — not only to avail themselves of health services, but also as a gathering place.

Orienting economic systems towards wellbeing

What is the paradigm shift required to orient our economic systems towards wellbeing? What is the action enhancing architecture that would support the emergence of new economic purpose(s)?

The Kitchen

Invited into the kitchen

A gathering of grandmothers hovering over the stove

Relationships are the starting place

The stock exchanged is in the chicken broth, differences of opinion in a beautiful blend of flavours

What helps move beyond this hub?

What shares and moves building out through the diversity of the world?


Relationship with the land is global

Re-establishing ourselves with land and nature and spaces, services, principles, and connection

Respect the land

The key ingredient of the interactions that is needed to transform and give the broth its healing properties

How do you artfully blend perspectives? Ah, this is the cooking of it

Accepting differences in harmony

Acknowledging an imperfect consensus

At the center of the conflict, the grandmothers tend the differences and demands

To shift and grow the tent, they add love

There is a fear of losing love that breeds disharmony

We all rail against it in our separate ways

But in that we are common

We find the collective in individuals

The is the hub

The shared vision

The grandmothers invest in their vision

Allow space for differences to be exchanged in harmony

To be welcomed and reframed

To include many ways forward toward the unknown

Thinking of this as a healing does not mean the pain will disappear

It means the hub is a place of resilience

As we come together to go through what we’re going through

Just recovery

Stop speaking

Just listening


The flourishing of human potential is more than resilience

How do we get to that place of redistribution of responsibilities

that hold it all together

for an equitable distribution across

— Kevin Sutton — Poet, Facilitator, and Freelance Changemaker (Participant in the Wellbeing Economies in Canada Design Lab)

Health permeates all other sectors. The same as education, politics, economy etc.. The same as the spices we put in the dishes we cook.

Scales of health range from an individual organ, to an individual, a community, a nation, etc. The health of the non-human environment (trees, soils, animals etc.) is directly linked to the health of humans. What’s good for one, is good for all, and vice-versa.

If we are healthier we are able to focus on what matters most to us and learn more effectively. If we are healthy we save time, energy and money. If we are able to have healthy relationships, interactions, and rituals we are more likely to be healthy. Can you imagine a more harmonious systems of health for yourself, as an individual? What about for your Community? Country? What might this look like? Perhaps it could be weekly community reflections? Creating spaces where people can discuss the things that are troubling them? Creating communities of practice where people can share skills and wisdom through direct experience?

Perhaps we can learn more from tradition and indigenous ways of healing? Can these traditional ways be integrated with our more modern, scientific, ways of healing?


“It is required of a Taoist healer the heart of a father and of a mother gazing at their children.

If one cannot regard the sick person as one’s relative,

one cannot become a Daoist healer.

Curing the body is low, healing the heart-mind is high.

Salvation is granted in accordance with one’s destiny;

Seek healing faithfully.”

Daoist healer, on the virtues of becoming a healer

Photo by Edgar Castrejon on Unsplash

Lead Author: Megan Seneque (first two paragraphs and first poem)

Megan Seneque is co-host of the Macro Health & Wellbeing Hub (together with Asiya Odugleh-Kolev, Community & Social Interventions, Department of Integrated Health Services with WHO). This is one of many Macro hubs hosted by the Presencing Institute .

She is co-designing and co-facilitating the Wellbeing Economy Alliance Hub in Canada together with Dr Fiona McKenzie, Director, Orange Compass

This Hub is convened and hosted by Dr Yannick Beaudoin, DG Ontario and Northern Canada, David Suzuki Foundation .

Megan is associate with Orange Compass (Australia) and with the Presencing Institute (Boston MA). She is Honorary Research Fellow with the Susanna Wesley Foundation, University of Roehampton, London.

Anchor Author: Daniel Rudolph

Daniel Rudolph is interested in exploring alternative, experiential learning opportunities for people of all ages. He is passionate about forming community, and building public spaces for meaningful, transformational gathering. Currently he is spending a lot of his time learning juggling and facilitating gatherings. He also enjoys writing and sharing poetry. Daniel is a very curious and playful person and is always open for creative collaborations.



Can you imaging a more harmonious future?

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