Why Lead with Love France

 
 
 

By: Gina Murdock, Founder Lead with Love

One may ask, why would we move our Lead with Love programs to France? Well, obviously it is a place synonymous with love and romance so that’s a good reason to start. I remember somewhat sheepishly waiting on many a bridge in the heart of Paris ten years ago with my then boyfriend Jerry Murdock waiting for him to “pop the question”. You see, he had taken me into a very beautiful shop before we left for this trip, one that specializes in very shiny things, and he asked the beautifully dressed, well-mannered sales woman to try on a few rings to test the size of my finger! I was perplexed and surprised, and even embarrassed at the time to be in such a store where such big shiny objects lived (I was still in a little bit of shock and discomfort frankly around the “abundance” of our lifestyle in contrast to what I was used to.) We had only been dating six months and I was still very steeped in my passionate advocacy for the environment and social justice. I remember saying, “Please do not get me a blood diamond!” as we walked out of the store. But still, he had taken me into the shop where people would get a certain type of ring that only meant one thing; he was planning to propose!

So, I waited on those bridges because one, bridges in Paris are so romantic and obviously he was going to get down on his knees, declare his undying love and ask me to marry him and, two, I was unusually ready for this question even after such a short period of time. I knew something I had never known with anyone before, that I was going to marry this man. I didn’t really know why, frankly. It wasn’t an obvious match, but it was one that we both felt was intended for our own growth and evolution, and, later I would discover, to help serve people, including ourselves, in raising awareness to solve the seemingly intractable problems of our time, those around our health and wellbeing, lack of connection and purpose and the heart of leadership in particular.

 
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Well, Jerry never proposed to me on that trip. As a matter of fact we got in a fight and I thought it was over. So much for the romance of France. A few months later in an idyllic setting on a beach, he did ask me to marry him and I said “yes!” We laughed about the trip to France and WHY he took me into that shop before we left and how tortured I was waiting and wondering. “Timing is everything”, he said. And, that proves to be true.

So, while France is not the place we got engaged, it is a place that Jerry loves and has loved for eternity it seems. He is captivated by the land, the people and in particular the food and wine. It is a place where it seems time has stopped, and those things that are good about a place have remained. The connection between man and nature, between friends and neighbors, the legacy of families, generation after generation, caring for the land and the fruits of the land with precision and care and in harmony with nature.

France, and in particular Burgundy, has been a part of our romance since day one. It was a place I was very reluctant to spend much time at first feeling like a “wine widow” at countless fancy dinners that frankly bored me to death! I resisted the place. It felt like Jerry’s place and somewhere I didn’t quite connect with.

Timing is everything. After several years of resistance, it started to grow on me. And, like many things Jerry introduced me to I found that he had a knack for picking things, whether people or places, that were timeless and embodied a sense of quality and preciousness I often didn’t see at first. As I let my guard down and allowed him to be “right”, I found myself captivated by the place and the people like he was. And so this coming together, this common understanding of something truly special, is what led us to offer up the idea to produce an event in Burgundy, in a place we’ve come to call home, Beaune, the “heart” of Burgundy.
We choose this place because we believe in it and we believe in the people there. We believe what is happening there, and what has happened for centuries is special and it ought to be celebrated and preserved. Just like any magical place, there are many factors that make preservation of the values and circumstances that made it special vulnerable to exploitation. As one of our French friends commented, “I don’t want this place to become ‘wine Disneyland’”. And, indeed, we see and sense that the very things that have made this place so special, just like our home town of Aspen, CO., are the things that start to become cheesy or sloganized when the original essence or intention is lost.

What we intend to do with Lead with Love France is threefold, and we imagine much more will come out of it that this, but this is why we are here and what we hope to achieve:


  1. Leadership and Connection:

    Our goal is to connect about the things that are important and universal and what “The Good Life” actually means and how we can attain it. Through the lens of “Lead with Love” and the experiential inquiry that has made our organization thrive and relevant to so many, we will focus on conversations and experiences focused on leadership, wellbeing, service and connection and what that means to us regardless of nationality. The inquiry here is, “How Can I Lead with Love?” and an exploration together of what works and why it is so critically important.

  2. Experience Optimal Wellbeing:

    We’ve seen and experienced a deep curiosity and yearning (with the women at least) for the practices of yoga, meditation and mindfulness, the latter which comes so naturally to the vigneron (wine makers), especially. We have much to learn from each other in these areas. Our intention is to share some of these practices to uplift all people and feel a sense of connection and optimal wellbeing.

  3. Service:

    Preservation of culture is so important to us. Our co-hosts for Lead with Love France, Gaia Dancy and Diana Snowden Seysses, both have a passion for local food and sustainability. We intend to bring awareness and support to Les Loups Bio to enable generations of people to learn ways of farming that are in harmony with nature. Our intention with Lead with Love France is to celebrate and investigate “The Good Life” and what makes this area one of the most precious and rare in the world. In short, we are inviting you into the Burgundy that we know, including some of the best biking and culture and most delicious food and wine in the world, that isn’t quite so apparent with all the wine and sandwich shops covering the main streets.

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One thing that we know is that what you focus on grows. By setting our focus on France and in particular Burgundy we hope to extract, just like a fine winemaker does, the essence of the terrior by getting out of the way allowing it to do what it has always done. The intelligence of nature, the perseverance and passion of a people who live in harmony with nature and the opportunity to cross pollinate with ideas and experience designed to move, touch and inspire us all to Lead with Love personally and professionally is the purpose of this project. We hope you’ll join us as we explore Lead with Love France 2019.

Gina Murdock