Love and Grief in the Shadow of War with Dr Gabor Maté, Natalie Lyla Ginsberg, Sima Basel, Sulaiman Khatib and Dr Rosalind Watts

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Fundraiser for Doctors Without Borders - tending to humanitarian crises all over the world.

Join Dr Gabor Maté, Natalie Lyla Ginsberg, Sima Basel, Sulaiman Khatib and Dr Rosalind Watts for an evening of sharing our grief and our love on Valentine’s Day 2024. Come alone, come with a beloved, come with friends (over 18s only).

Western culture often leaves us alone with our grief, yet when we come together in our honest vulnerability we realise that grief and love are two sides of the same coin. Our feelings of heartbreak can teach us what we care about, and what we want to stand for. 

At this time, individualistic consumeristic visions of romantic love fall short of the communal kindness, compassion and cooperation that we need to build together. Often we feel that we want to alleviate the great suffering that we witness and do not know how. We lack structures and spaces for coming together to share how much we are hurting, how the hurting of others devastates us, and how much we care for each other and want to help.

The ACER integration community meets regularly for facilitated online circles where we share our grief and love in a safe container.  These experiences can help us feel held, seen, connected and open-hearted. For this event, many experienced circle facilitators from the ACER family and beyond will hold space for small groups to share their hearts’ truths with care and kindness. This event is a chance to connect together in what unites us, our longing for all beings to be safe and free. 

Attendees will be asked to commit to an agreement of appropriate sharing circle conduct beforehand. If you don’t want to share more than a few sentences or even a few words yourself, that is fine. We ask that you remain in your breakout room to hold space for others while they share.  This commitment to listening to the grief, love, and longing of others is a significant act that helps re-weave a fabric of care.



  • The event will begin with short talks on love and grief from Dr Gabor Maté, Natalie Ginsberg, SIma Basel and Sulaiman Khatib
  • We will then move into breakout rooms for the sharing circles, where all attendees will be invited to share what our heart burns for right now.
  • The event will end with a guided imagery Tree Journey from Rosalind Watts, with music by Finn Petcher, to help us feel the power of our heart’s deepest longing and connect to a source of strength, support, hope and guidance.

Proceeds will go to Doctors without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières)  who are on the ground supporting people in the world’s most harrowing crises: they are turning their grief into love-in-action, and we can do the same by supporting this charity, and offering each other a bit of our time and presence.

Book your ticket now  - tickets on a sliding scale from £5 to £150 depending on how much you are able to donate).  You will be sent a recording of the talks afterward (not the sharing circles which will not be video recorded).

So, don’t go out for an over-priced cringey dinner this Valentine's day! 

Instead, spend some time in a community of people dedicated to being agents of connectedness in a disconnected world.  Rumi said that ‘grief can be the garden of compassion’: we plant seeds in the cracked earth of our broken hearts.



7pm - 8.15 pm: Reflections 'On Love and Grief' by Gabor Maté, Natalie Ginsberg and Sima Basel, hosted by Dr Rosalind Watts

8.15pm - 9.15pm: Breakout Rooms: Facilitated Sharing Circles (groups of 10 people plus a facilitator) topic: Love and Grief

9.15pm - 9.25pm: Break

9.25pm - 10pm: Guided Imagery & Music Journey (Feeling our heart's deepest longing, our deepest grief, our deepest care, our deepest prayer)




Dr Gabor Maté

Gabor Maté M.D., C.M., is a Canadian physician (retired), public speaker and bestselling author of five books, published internationally in 35 languages on five continents. His book on addiction, the award-winning In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction, is used as a text in many institutions of higher learning in Canada and the U.S. His most recent book, The Myth of Normal: Trauma, Illness and Healing in a Toxic Culture, has been and continues to be a #1 Canadian bestseller and was 19 weeks a New York Times bestseller.

After two decades as a family doctor and palliative care director, for twelve years Gabor worked in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside with patients challenged by hard-core drug addiction, mental illness and HIV, including at Vancouver Supervised Injection Site, North America’s first such facility. His other interests encompass childhood developmental issues, ADHD, mind/body health, trauma and parenting. He is in constant demand as a speaker internationally and has addressed judicial bodies in Canada, the U.S. and Australia on the links between trauma, addictions, and dysfunctional behaviors. He has worked with many Indigenous communities around these issues.

He has received an Outstanding Alumnus Award from Simon Fraser University and an Honorary Degree (Laws) from the University of Northern British Columbia. For his groundbreaking medical work and writings, he has been given the Order of Canada, and the Civic Merit award from his home city of Vancouver. For his latest book, The Myth of Normal: Trauma, Illness and Healing in a Toxic Culture Gabor won the Vine Award for Canadian Jewish Literature in the Non-Fiction Category.
A film based on his work, The Wisdom of Trauma, has been viewed by over 10 million people internationally and has been translated into twenty languages. It is shown regularly in many institutions, including schools and prisons, in Canada, the U.S., and abroad. His therapeutic method, Compassionate Inquiry, has been, in the past three years, studied by over 3,000 health care providers in 80 countries.

Gabor is a speaker much in demand internationally on addiction, stress and mind/body health, child development, trauma, ADHD and other topics related to his five best-selling books. He has been featured on some of the most popular podcasts, such as Joe Rogan, Tim Ferris, Jay Shetty, and others.

His next book, co-written with his son Daniel, will be Hello Again: A Fresh Start for Adult Children and Their Parents, based on their popular workshop.


Sima Basel

Sima is a Palestinian-Ukrainian Clinical Psychologist dedicated to helping people reconnect with themselves and live in deeper alignment with their ecosystem. She centers her practice in integration modalities and trauma theory. As a Permaculture designer, she also finds her inspiration from the interconnectedness of our ecosystem and healing power of community. She finds that a fusion of these approaches creates a deeply personal and unique approach to overall wellbeing. Sima has spent the last decade as a researcher at New York University, developing social and emotional intervention programs. She is currently training in Compassionate Inquiry, a method developed by Dr. Gabor Maté.

Sima runs regular online sharing circles for Palestinians to connect with each other and express in a safe space, and witness each other’s experience from a place of compassion and solidarity.

You can sign up to join a circle HERE.


Natalie Lyla Ginsberg

Natalie Lyla Ginsberg received her BA in history from Yale and her Master's of Social Work (MSW) from Columbia. Before joining MAPS in 2014, Natalie worked as a Policy Fellow at the Drug Policy Alliance, where she helped legalise medical cannabis in her home state of New York. She worked to end New York's race-based marijuana arrests. Natalie has also worked as a therapist at an alternative-sentencing court for prostitution and drug-related offences, and as a middle school guidance counsellor. 

At MAPS, Natalie works to disentangle science from political partisanship on Capitol Hill, at the United Nations, and beyond. She is also co-developing a psychedelic peace-building study with Imperial College, working with Palestinians and Israelis. 

Natalie received her B.A. in history from Yale College, and her master’s of social work (M.S.W.) from Columbia University. She currently lives in Los Angeles, CA. Natalie is particularly inspired by psychedelics’ potential role in healing intergenerational trauma and conflict, and for inspiring innovative community-driven solutions. Natalie founded the Policy & Advocacy department at MAPS, and served as its director for 5 years. She also initiated and helped develop MAPS’ Health Equity program. Before joining MAPS in 2014, Natalie worked as a Policy Fellow at the Drug Policy Alliance, where she helped legalize medical cannabis in her home state of New York, and worked to end New York’s race-based marijuana arrests.


Sulaiman Khatib

Sulaiman Khatib is Co-Founder of Combatants for Peace, and was nominated for the 2017 & ’18 Nobel Peace Prize, on behalf of Combatants for Peace. He is a Board Member of ELHAM – the Day After and a local organizer who has been recognized internationally for his contributions to promoting, peace, social justice and equality for all. He is a renown speaker and lecturer worldwide.

In  2006, Khatib was the co-founder and General Director of Al-Qud’s Association for Democracy and Dialogue. The program works with youth in order to create effective and sustainable projects and programs focusing on the promotion of peace, democracy and civic participation in the Palestinian Territories. In 2008, he co-founded the People’s Peace Fund. In 2010, he became the director of Alquds, an organization that organized joint Israeli-Palestinian sports teams for youth.

At the age of 14 Khatib was sentenced to fifteen years in prison and served a term of ten and a half years where he spent his time learning about history, Hebrew, English and about other world conflicts and peace activists such as Ghandi and Mandela.  He acquired his entire education and worldview in jail. This is when he started to have new thoughts about the conflict and the means for resolving it.  As a result he is today a committed advocate for peace in the Middle East and an has been an active member of various programs aiming to promote a peaceful solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict for the last twenty years. During the second Intifada, he was one of the main voices calling for non-violent resistance.

In 2004, he went on a mission to Antarctica with a joint group of Israelis and Palestinians. Their team consisted of eight members: four Israeli, four Palestinian – many of whom were former fighters from both sides. They sailed over 100 km in the world’s most dangerous waters and climbed a previously unclimbed peak. The objective: “to find common ground.”

Sulaiman and Chen Alon, another co-founder of Combatants for Peace, were nominated twice for the Nobel peace prize in 2017 and 2018. Both times the nomination was on behalf of CfP. Sulaiman starred alongside fellow CfP activists in ‘Disturbing the Peace‘, an award winning film detailing the origins of the Combatants for Peace movement, which was released in 2016.

Sulaiman is the author of In This Place Together: A Palestinian’s Journey to Collective Liberation, alongside co-author Penina Eilberg-Schwartz. The work chronicles the powerful experiences that led him to dedicate his life to joint nonviolence, through encountering the deep injustice of torture, witnessing the power of hunger strikes, and studying Jewish history.


Dr Rosalind Watts

As former Clinical Lead of the Psilocybin for Depression trial at Imperial College London, Dr Rosalind Watts led a clinical team which facilitated over a hundred psilocybin treatment sessions. She developed the ACE model for psychedelic-assisted therapy ‘Accept, Connect, Embody’, which has been used in clinical trials of psilocybin and dmt and is now launching a global online integration community, ‘Accept, Connect, Embody, Restore’ (ACER) where members will follow a 12 month process together. She has developed a psychometric tool for measuring outcomes of psychedelic therapy (the Watts Connectedness Scale) is clinical track lead on the Synthesis Institute’s Psychedelic Practitioner Training, and sits on the clinical advisory board of the Usona Institute, a not-for-profit psilocybin manufacturer and research organisation.


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