I had to hit the ground running when I came home from my not-fully-hiatus-like hiatus — there were Inner Circles to lead and Time to Glow course content to create and client deadlines to meet and technical gremlins to tackle.
Regular life doesn’t grant spaciousness and processing time very readily — I have to grab it with my teeth.
With all that has happened in the past 3+ weeks, that’s a lot of processing to be done. Way too much to share in a single “what I did on my summer vacation” post.
So let’s break it up, shall we? And since Part 2 of my hiatus feels the most time-sensitive for sharing here, we’ll make it Part 1 of what will be a series of report-backs.
Let’s start with:
Part 2 of My Hiatus:
The World Domination Summit Diaries, Entry #1
The whosiwhatsit? you ask.
The brainchild of my role model and hero, Chris Guillebeau, WDS (Twitter hashtag: #WDS2012) is a conference (though that word feels woefully inadequate to describe the experience) in Portland, Oregon, where 1,000 artists, writers, bloggers, travel-hackers, entrepreneurs, philosophers, creators of amazing charities, and generally awesome people converged to ponder and discuss this year’s theme, “How do you live a remarkable life in a conventional world?”
To set the scene for my WDS experience, I had spent the entire week before the summit completely unplugged, making music in the woods at Jazz Camp West. (More on that when I write about Part 1 of my hiatus…)
After eight days in the redwoods, with no demands on my time except to create, learn, play and have fun, I was highly resistant to coming back to regular life.
But regular life didn’t last long: I was home for a mere four days — barely long enough to recuperate from what I refer to as post-Jazz-Camp-jet-lag (’cause coming home from camp hits me in about the same way as flying home from Europe) — before I hopped a plane to PDX to meet with other world-dominators.
Though I was still kinda wrung out from camp, the World Domination Summit was the perfect injection of inspiration and enthusiasm to recharge me for getting back to living a creative life amidst the slings and arrows and constant demands of regular life.
It’s a blessing that the World Domination Summit came after Jazz Camp. I needed that immersion in “can do,” “change the world” energy, and to be surrounded by fellow artists, creative entrepreneurs and bloggers to remind me that yes, I love what I do (even when it’s not making music and doing dance improv all. day. long.), and wonderful as Jazz Camp is, 24/7/365 of it would be lacking in its own way, not to mention physically unsustainable… (When would I write, make art, lead classes and workshops, do yoga, let alone get time with MB and my cat? Oh, and then there’s sleep…)
So back to the World Domination Summit.
What happens at WDS? Honestly, it is impossible to fully explain the power of this conference to someone who hasn’t been there, and of course everyone’s experience there is different, but here are some highlights from my trip:
Okay, I should clarify that Argentine tango wasn’t a component of probably 997 out of the 1,000 WDS attendees’ experiences, but my own PDX/WDS experience got a dramatic, and dramatically fun, start with a WDS meetup at a tango milonga (Argentine tango dance party), posted on the special WDS meetup page by fellow artist and tanguera Alexandra.
I hadn’t danced tango in ages (years, actually…), and had been revving up lately to get back to it, so when I saw Alexandra’s meetup, I crammed a pair of dance shoes in my suitcase. On Thursday evening, a few hours after landing at PDX, I navigated Portland’s wonderful bus system to get to the Norse Hall where the milonga was taking place.
If you’ve ever danced tango you know the indescribable pleasure of being led on a roller coaster ride by your partner. And since dance is my first creative passion, and one that has been woefully neglected for too long, I can imagine no better way to start my trip off than dancing the night away!
(Now to get myself to a milonga here…)
I allowed myself to nourish my inner introvert with a quiet morning in my private guesthouse room. Meditation, ukulele and writing in my journal — all comforting rituals from home. I knew the weekend would be chock full of intensely social activities, and I’ve learned from experience that trying to do everything (my usual m.o., due to a chronic fear of missing out!) is a recipe for exhaustion and a feeling that I didn’t get to fully experience anything.
I finally left my room to go register at the early registration spot, where I ran into a passel of folks from last year’s WDS, a handful of whom walked several blocks together to another meetup over a stone-age meal at Dick’s Kitchen. The restaurant was veritably invaded by WDS attendees, who packed the room and kept the wait staff hopping! By virtue of random seating arrangements, I found myself seated next to Anne-Sophie, fellow survivor of an eating disorder, who’s making big world change by fighting anorexia. (I’m hoping to get Anne-Sophie as a guest for an upcoming LACL hangout about body image.)
After a recuperative micro-nap back at my guesthouse (and I have to tell you, letting myself take a break was a BIG DEAL for me!), I got a text from my business partner (and Portland resident), Cory Huff, asking if I was going to Tara Gentile and Megan Auman‘s meetup at Urban Grind.
Up off the bed I jumped, and I’m so glad I did. Not only did I get to thank Tara in person for the Insight Intensive she gave me, but I got to meet some amazing peeps, including art biz coach Alyson Stanfield; Jess Greene, creator of Seek Your Course and the Jumpstart Creativity Tour; and therapist and leadership mentor, Blair Glaser.
Another meetup beckoned, but it was a loooooong walk from Urban Grind, and honestly, my introvert self was kinda needing a break. Jess and Blair were on the same wavelength, so the three of us went to move Jess’s Mobile Creativity Unit (aka her car), and Jess ended up taking us on an impromptu driving tour of Washington Park and the Arboretum. Aaaaahhhhh! A real tonic for the soul, and a precious memory of the weekend.
The following night, Saturday, Cory organized a meetup for a handful of artists over an Italian meal. Among the attendees: Jody MacDonald, Cynthia Morris, Tzaddi Gordon, Anne Broboff-Hajal, Christine Martell, Kelly O’Neal, Alyson Stanfield, Lisa Call, Alexandra, Yamile Yemoonyah.
Our business card swap was especially fun (you can imagine the range of artistic cards I came home with!) As was the ice cream trek to Salt & Straw after dinner. Flavors on offer included such treats as honey balsamic strawberry with cracked pepper, pear & blue cheese, chevre with marionberry habanero jam, blueberry with Key lime marmalade, and lemon basil sorbet. I must have tasted 6 different flavors in eco-friendly stainless steel tasting spoons before settling on the luscious pear in a waffle cone — well worth the walk and 45-minute wait.
One of the things I love about events like WDS is the random, serendipitous interactions that happen.
Like the conversation with C.C. Chapman, who happened to be sitting near me during the first set of presentations on Saturday morning.
And a spontaneous uke jam and 12-bar blues lesson with Josh Kaufman after the last presentation Sunday night, followed by a long conversation over dinner, just us two introverts — perfect.
Plus a few “guerrilla uke” performances over the course of the weekend. (Though this had the unintended result of making everyone at WDS think that Michelle Ward — who performed her funny and touching original song about tackling breast cancer this past year on the main stage on Sunday — was me. She’s a brunette and I’m a redhead, but hey, we both play ukulele, write witty songs, have short hair (recently short, in Michelle’s case), and a name that starts with M… I’m still getting emails thanking me for my boob cancer song. You gotta love it!)
Then there was another uke lesson and long chat with Milo McLaughlin in the park on Monday, before I headed to the airport.
Not to mention girl talk and sharing my tales of being a (former) Dating Queen with the utterly delightful Miriam Crystal in the bar room at the Crystal Ballroom (no relation), with hundreds of enthusiastic Bollywood dancers shaking out the intensity of the weekend and pounding the floor above our heads.
The Conference Itself
You’ll notice that none of the above even begins to touch on the official programming of the World Domination Summit, and here we are at over 1500 words, already.
I’ll sign off here. More soon! Next up: Some of what happened inside Newman Hall and other official conference stuff.
Now I’m off to wrangle with the slings and arrows of regular life.
PS — Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!
Did you know that I’m co-teaching a week-long creativity workshop (we’re calling it a “creative adventure vacation”) in Istanbul this fall? Yep, it’s true! It’s a joint effort with my partner and fellow Poobah of Play, Kelly Hevel. It going to be amazeballs (hat tip to Michelle Ward for that word), and you know the people joining us will be amazeballs too.
YOU could be one of them!
Read more about this trip of a lifetime, and sign up here. Or just visit us at http://playingaroundworkshops.com. We’d be tickled pink to have you join us. And if you know anyone else who might be interested, we’d love your help spreading the word. 🙂