As many times as I have visited Washington D.C. I’ve never been there during the season of flowering cherry blossoms, but this years National Caring Awards were held 2 weeks ago at the height of its glory. The bureaucratic grayness of Washington was transformed into a pink fairyland; trees, streets, statues, your hair, everything covered in pink petals.

I always try to attend this ceremony because the honorees restore my faith in humanity; especially the young people, the kids 10-18 years old who remind me that the American dream still lives. We are a people who; pursue life, liberty, opportunity, identify with underdogs and believe in upsets.

Among this years Young Award Winners was Ashlee Kephart, a 16-year-old girl from Minneapolis who founded Kids for a Better World” which donates books, clothes, toys, household items to orphanages and disaster victims in the U.S. and Africa. She is setting up an African chapter of Kids for a Better World, and partnering with charities in Liberia to build solar-ovens.

What impressed me most about this smiling, blond, energetic bundle of joy was her preternatural wisdom. Her father died before she was born so she only knows him through stories. Her mother and grandmother have inspired in her a meaningful connection with him. She would celebrate her birthday by stuffing notes into balloons telling her father what she was doing, learning, her hopes and even fears. When she released them and watched them drift away she felt his presence.

Ashlee just wrote a children’s book A Special Way of Remembering (www. kidsforabetterworld.com), which speaks to kids who’ve lost a parent. She tells this simple story; don’t forget the important people in your life. Think about them when you’re doing the things you love to do. When you let people know they are not forgotten, and you care about them, then even grief can be used to heal.

Here I am in the administrative center of a current war, a tightening economy, environmental disasters, other assorted crises, and I’m humming Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White doing a cha-cha on the path around the Tidal Basin. No gray buildings, cynicism or despair today, only a pink-petaled fairyland for dreamers.

P.S. Remember the upcoming June 6-8, 2008 workshop “Last Mask of the Authentic Healer” which combines the science and spirit of healing. It is for people interested in expanding their healing abilities. Early registration discount @ www.healingdoc.com.a