Some of our readers may have known Gene personally and, if you didn’t, I think you will find inspiration in our dedication to him. He was best known for his accomplishment as a savvy book publisher and later as the leader of Steiner books. He used this platform to inspire people all over the world to share their work, especially if it entailed a pursuit of spiritual knowledge and doing good for others. His life and work embody the theme of this newsletter: “Helping Ourselves through helping Others” and was part of the inspiration for this issue.
Gene had great hope for the future of Anthroposophic and Holistic Medicine. He helped publish many, many books. We would discuss this topic over lunch the year before his passing. He was always encouraging about the potential future of the Foundation for Health Creation and about inspiring the world about Anthroposophic and Integrative Medicine, even how these forms of medicine could be more radically transformed to help advance our understanding of health in the future. He inspired me and my colleagues to write a book about mistletoe therapy for cancer which is now in progress. I share this mostly because I think there are probably dozens of individuals who would share a similar story of his warm support. This is what he did so well- inspire multitudes of “spirit seekers” with diverse ideas and from diverse backgrounds to be active and bring their gifts forward into the world. Gene felt strongly that any of us could change the world for the better if we had the courage to share our gifts, no matter how humble. This rare quality could be felt personally if you knew him. It somehow seemed appropriate that he died just after Three Kings Day.
Gene would talk about initiatives from around the world and constantly bring people together he thought needed to know each other. He was truly a “social ambassador” and an advocate for positive social change. He was always traveling somewhere around the world to attend a meeting or conference to meet people and learn about their different impulses and bridge them where he could.
When he shared about these projects, his voice would brim with enthusiasm and his eyes sparkled with light and vitality. He seemed young and vibrant for his age, which is why many of us were surprised that he left us so suddenly. I only got to know Gene during this last year, but I was always impressed how he worked with diverse souls who maybe wouldn’t even agree with each other, and yet I never heard a negative or critical word about the work or initiative of another person. If he determined that a person was sincere in bringing something good into the world, he pushed through any doubts, opinions or fears about their work and encouraged them to do the same. This was my experience of Gene. He was a teacher in this regard for all around him. He embodied by example how to overcome impediments and doubts by seeing through to the higher human being and purpose in the people around him.
Gene created a palpable vitality and mood of hope wherever he went. He inspired person after person to have the courage to bring their ideas forward for others to hear. I believe he, like many good souls who have died, will help us from across the threshold to do good work and will inspire us to overcome our own doubts, disdains and fears which so easily rise up in this polarized world, making us ill in body, soul and as a culture. I have no doubt his spirit will live on in this way and we send him our warm thoughts and feelings of gratitude. I think the best way to honor Gene is to learn from his example. Gene’s way of working inspired people to action and to become ambassadors of good will, to bring us together in order to heal a world which so desperately needs it. May we learn from his example.
Steven Johnson on behalf of FHC