If you haven’t read the first part, let me take care of that for you here.
Okay, where was I? Yes,
PORTLAND, OR and The World Domination Summit
Before I dive in, I’m going to do my best to articulate my experience but I want to be honest – this trip was beyond articulation. It was an experience using my sixth sense only. My third eye. It ultimately was something I can’t really explain, in a taste/smell/see/hear/feel, kinda way. It’s kinda like asking someone to explain what PEACE is. I can share my experience with the town of Portland, what I saw..etc.. but how I FELT I know I will never be able to truly convey. Just gotta believe me… this trip changed my life.
PS: I’m a chatty Cathy and I know I already want to ramble on and on.. tell you every single thing but I’m writing a blog post, not a book here so I’ll ATTEMPT to shorten it. No guarantees though.
So, my girl friend Kellee and I set to travel across country to both experience Portland for the first time. She is considering a move there and the Summit gave me a reason to check out this town that has been on my Top 3 Cities to visit for quite a few years now. I had heard that the city itself was unlike the rest of the country, and was excited to see first hand what they were talking about. We flew in on the Fourth of July – I thought we were coming in too late to experience any fireworks… BOY WERE WE WRONG! Check this out.
* I left my commentary and the crying baby in there for true flying affects. Cause everyone loves being on a plane with a crying baby, right?
The fireworks were EVERYWHERE. It was one of the most spectacular things I’ve ever witnessed. Everywhere we looked, hundreds (dare I say thousands) of exploding colors filling the sky below us. It was an amazing Red Carpet moment for Kellee and I, I tell ya.
That night before hitting the pillow hard… I was excited and also nervous about what the next few days would bring. Being a extrovert with introverted tendencies… I didn’t know what side of me would stick around. Large crowds of people I don’t know can definitely bring out the wall flower in me… but I kept telling myself to be OPEN to whatever. ‘Be OPEN’ I kept telling myself. My mantra for my trip (and the previous week as well, if I were being honest) was something my amazing coach friend Laura told me…
Practice being comfortable being uncomfortable…
Aye, Aye Captain.
We got there the day before the opening party… which gave Kellee and I some time to explore the town. She definitely did more homework than I did on what was to do there, and I was (and still am) ETERNALLY grateful for that. She was the navigator and I was so damn grateful for that.
One of the first things I noticed was this sense of peace I got when walking around. No people rushing around, not a lot of traffic (It was the day after a holiday, but still) Here comes my first point of AWESOME-NESS about Portland.
- Public Transportation is FREE within the space of downtown Portland. The Streetcar and Rail system were all FREE. We weren’t rushing around trying to find coins/tickets or fare. It was kind of amazing. Taking that stress off our plate as visitors really contributed to our ease as we traveled from place to place.
The weather was absolutely beautiful. An average high of 82 degrees while we were there, sunny, LOW humidity. Seeing as how I just came from 100+ weather with high humidity, Portlands weather reminded me I was NOT at home, thankfully. (Thank you Rain Gods for staying away from Portland while we were there, I know you’re comfortable holding reign (pun intended) over the city.)
After traveling to our recommended breakfast place, we meandered through the city, walking to the river and then hopping the rail to the area called North Williams. Since we didn’t know exactly where we were going, we strolled down the streets, passed amazing parks with huge trees and green green grass, saw some AMAZING craftsman style houses to the sweet spot – the place where all these shops were located. By now Kellee and I were both already in love with our experience and were enjoying soaking it all in. Without having a set plan, we enjoyed finding our way and eventually ended up at a restaurant called Veritable Quandry for dinner – where we enjoyed a good meal and even better conversation.
The next days adventure was just as amazing as the first -Beautiful weather – after getting breakfast, we moseyed over to Early Registration for #WDS2012, as I walked up, I was greeted by Chris Guillebeau (The initiator behind #WDS2012) and immediately saw bloggers that I recognized. Butterflies in the stomach. Picked up my badge, T-Shirt and Gift Bag (with Chris’ book – the $100 Startup inside! Score, I had yet to buy the book and voila! there it was! More on this $100 Startup later) I hadn’t prepared for interaction yet, so we quickly left and made our way to the Lan Su Chinese Gardens. I knew before long I would be among so many amazing people but I was still in touring the city mode. The gardens were amazing. Right in the middle of downtown Portland. It was olfactory overload due to the amazing trees and plants they had there. We continued the theme and enjoyed a light chinese lunch and then I had to make my way back to the hotel to get ready for the opening festivities.
Leaving Kellee, and taking the rail to the opening location, I felt a quiet excitement. Holding onto the unknown and sitting with it. I had NO idea how the next two plus days would look, how I would feel and being the planner I am, I was heading toward the event with my mantra already being repeated.
Be comfortable being uncomfortable.
The most uncomfortable part were those first 20 minutes, walking up and not knowing anyone. Recognizing a similar uncomfortable-ness with others who also didn’t know anyone, my eyes immediately landed on a beautiful woman with gorgeous auburn hair and eyes that matched her hair. She meandered in and out of the space, and I knew she was attempting to find a spot where she would feel comfortable. Like me.
She was my first.*And as you know you always remember your first.
In typical Kerilyn “Is comfortable in small groups” fashion, I went up to her and introduced myself. I felt a sense of relief and immediately relaxed, after confirming that she too, didn’t know anyone and I knew I would stick with her throughout this experience. Her big sparkly eyes and beautiful smile made me feel like I wasn’t alone, and immediately felt like I’ve known her forever.
Meet Anna Ray.
*photos by Armosa Studios
We chatted a while and I fell in love with her right away. Little did I know that I would fall in love (literally fall in love) a few times that weekend. We asked each other the usual “Don’t you DARE ask about what she does for a JOB” questions like “What brings you here?”and “What’s your mission?” – I figured out before coming here that this was NOT going to be about how to manage a 9-5, or live WITHIN our means…. NO. This was a “What do you feel called to do?” kinda gathering. Only after I came home did I realize that for the first time, possibly in my entire life, I was with my people – The Searchers.
Amazing fact – Anna Ray came from Dubai. What a long way to come for such an event. I admired her dedication and it only intrigued me to get to know her more.
Then, I spyed Kai from across the room.
In truth, I had already been admiring Kai for a while. Admired her for her bold statements that we’re all superheros and honestly, I also loved that her tagline involved a bit of potty mouth. HELLO.I had connected with her via the Twitta so I knew she was coming and was planning on finding and meeting her in person.
I went up to her, introduced my actual self and introduced her to the amazing Anna Ray. As I expected, she was passionate, cool and as beautiful in person as I’d seen her online.
Fell in love for the second time… all within the span of 15 minutes.
I didn’t know then but we would stick together throughout the summit. Weaving in and out during the speakers and breakout groups.
HOME BASE they were. Here’s a picture of us.
I also knew that I would eventually see a handful of familiar faces. A group of us, going to the summit from DC got together a few times prior so we would know someone there. Another lifeline, if you will. I was counting on connecting with them when I needed a respite from the energy transfer of meeting all these new people. Even if I only saw Lisa, Monique or Chris from across the room, I felt safe. It was that way throughout the weekend and I was really glad for that. Thank you Monique for creating this group – I didn’t even know how needed you all were going to be to me.
At the opening festivities, I saw people whose blog I’ve followed a while, whose e-course I’ve taken to help me figure out what my Declarations were, and a kindred spirit whose mission to help us be well-fed women, just to name a few. I couldn’t believe I was amongst so many inspiring people and had no idea at the time, what I was in for. Food Trucks and Sumo wrestlers, Yoga moves, “Dunk-a-blogger” stations and skee-ball lanes… it was like I was at a carnival. A carnival where amazing people, doing amazing things, were all around me. I fell asleep, after making my way home, buzzing from the residual energy that we were all plugged into. The next morning, I carried with me my badge, and my mantra to be comfortable being uncomfortable, but quickly discovered I wasn’t uncomfortable at all.
Here’s where it becomes difficult…
I cannot explain to you the impact that the next two days had on my life. Truthfully, I am still processing how big an impact it was. Each night as I got back to the hotel and caught up with Kellee.. I could barely explain to her what my experiences were. It was beyond words.
Here is what I CAN say… as I BEGIN to process what I took in. (After chatting with my mentioned above friend Laura, only just a day or two ago)
I have NEVER, EVER.. in my life felt like I fit in more than I did in those two days. Among others who feel like me, a fish out of water. Gasping for breath as I flop around, constantly attempting to make my way to where I belong. THE OCEAN. I have always felt like the odd man out… NOT because I think so differently from most people who want to be happy and live with purpose… but because I have always been unafraid to show my sadness that I have yet to find it and disenchantment (and yes, frustration too) with the trappings of a mediocre, “be happy you have a JOB” kinda life. As the beloved James Kavanaugh said…
I am one of the Searchers. There are, I believe, millions of us. We are not unhappy, but neither are we really content. We continue to explore life, hoping to uncover its ultimate secret. We continue to explore ourselves, hoping to understand.
During those two days, I was among The Searchers. James said he believes there are millions of us but there are BILLIONS of people in the world. That makes us, those ACTIVELY searching and never ceasing to find their calling, their purpose… among the few. Constantly working to find what fills them up, makes time stop and what helps contribute to the greater good.
Not just a campaign to get votes, and hold power – but in all ways… MAKE A DIFFERENCE.
The World Domination Summits tagline was…
“How do we live a remarkable life in a conventional world?”
It’s the same question I ask myself (and beat myself up over) ALL THE TIME.
The Speakers…. again, unless you were there, I know I would not do them justice (and this blog post would go on FOREVER) so I won’t even try. Just know they all, in their own way…spoke directly to every single one of the 1000 of us sitting in that theatre. It was sacred ground… and just like we don’t usually talk about what we pray about… I’m not sure I can share with you how receiving this information has changed me. *Except to see it in my future actions. And that I CAN talk about.
TAKE ACTION, BE UNCOOL, MAKE A MOVE, IT’S GOOD TO BE AN INTROVERT, DO SOMETHING, YOUR PASSION ISN’T ALWAYS THE FIRST PLACE YOU LOOK, FIND YOUR SUPERHERO…
And who shared this message?
Just to name a FEW.
Each one left a different impression with me.
Each day at noon, we broke for lunch, then at the 1 and 2 o’clock hour, there were breakout groups. Mini-Lectures of yet more amazing people. The first day, for lunch, I heard about this AMAZING farmers market to wander to… MAN. It’s without a doubt, the best farmers market I’ve ever been to. Here is a snippet of a really awesome band that was playing. The weather was wonderful, the vibe was so chill and it looked like all the familes in Portland were there. I had a delicous Pulled pork sandwich and Strawberry lemonade. I can still taste it now. I also had this impulse to buy flowers. I LOVE flowers. They make me happy. I originally intended to give them to one of the speakers during the breakout group, but I was amazed at how many people who saw these flowers, stopped and slowed down enough to really enjoy them as well. I ended up carrying them with me the rest of the day. I was walking across the street with my flowers when someone in a car yelled out the window how beautiful the flowers were and when I waved them on to pass me… she said “No, I want to keep looking at the flowers.” It was kinda amazing. Here is a picture of me with the lovely flowers. Nevermind that I look stoned (I wasn’t, I assure you.)
The first day of breakout sessions, I sat in a Chapel, a few blocks away from the main location and listened to Danielle LaPorte and Brene Brown share their insights during an hourlong Q&A. Like listening to a Sunday Sermon, I sat in a pew as Brene Brown helped us understand how shame shows up in our lives and how to work through it (When you’re feeling shameful, bring your brain back to center by saying “Pain Pain Pain”) and Danielle Laporte showed us by way of opening up her trench coat (not literally) and revealing to us how she has worked through the same things we all have. (My takeaway with Danielle has always been not to be afraid to fail. I lean on her when I need a reminder that It’s OKAY to be scared… to keep going anyway… JUST DO IT.) Sadly, I didn’t take pictures as I was holding onto my flowers, just taking in their wisdom. It was amazing to be in the same room as these inspiring women.
At the close of the first day, we were all left to our own devices to do as we wished that evening. Fortunately for me, I already had plans. A month or two prior, there was an invitation to watch the screening of a movie whose trailer had my heart beating faster as I asked myself the SAME questions…
Is this how it HAS to be? Watch the trailer here.
That evening, I met up with my DC ladies as we sat and watched this thought provoking movie. Great way to end the first day, If I say so myself. I was just SO DAMN HAPPY to be among other people who felt the same way that I did… hearing them whooping and hollering throughout the film, even now it gets me feeling a bit choked up to know they’re out there. Questioning and Challenging the status quo.
~For those of you out there, feeling the uncomfortable feeling that it doesn’t HAVE to be this way, that it can be different – I THANK MY LUCKY STARS you exist.
The second day during the breakout sessions, I experienced the energy of two very powerful women who are making big changes in the world. Pam Slim was talking about how to connect with your audience and honestly.. her real time examples she gave us I will never forget. Moving us around the room to help us understand how the energy changes when delivering in person talks.. and how to translate that online was amazing. To feel the energy shifts in every different focus was something I’ll always remember. Then to Tara Gentile, talking about the root of wealth in ALL it’s forms. Money is such a challenging topic to talk about for most of us, but as I listened, she made it so easy, had me feeling like I wanted to. I left her session, SO wanting to sit down with her and have a long conversation. She seemed really easy to talk to, like a sage for the modern womans finances.
Bonus share here: During the 2nd day of amazing lectures, I found myself sitting next to Kai. She informed me as we sat down, that she HAD to watch the finals of Wimbleton Tennis match and I melted right there. I LOVED that she felt as passionate about where she was as she was about the tennis match she was watching. Not to mention I too, love watching Tennis, I somehow fell in love with her more that she knew she could have the best of both worlds. As she listened to the speaker, she watched the final match of the game…even handing me half of her ear buds to listen to the award ceremony. Swoon.
At our scheduled breaks, we had a few moments to either randomly connect with someone new, or meetup with someone we’ve yet to connect with… at one said gathering spot the second day (the Highly Sensitive Lounge area) After embracing a kindred spirit who I look forward to being permanently engaged to into the future (Rach, that’s you), I was introduced to Jill – instantly, there was a spark. That did it.
Officially fell in love for the third time that weekend.
After the final keynote speaker, JD Roth, talked about personal transformations, having us all convinced we too, can transform into whatever we’re willing to put the work into, I knew we were coming to a close. If I were honest, I was feeling a bit anxious, not knowing how I would find a way to re-enter into my everyday life after having this experience, my 9-5 job, What was my next step with Married to a Chef? I was sad and frankly a little scared. How was I going to keep this energy going? I knew part of the reason why I came to Portland, was to find a way over the hump that has recently had me feeling paralyzed. I’m at this place with my mission… my obsession where I know I’m needing to swim to the middle of the pool, into bigger things, more fruitful opportunities, and I’m feeling quite scared to swim away from the side of the pool. (READ: I’m SCARED TO FAIL)
As Chris, the creator of #WDS2012 was sharing his final thoughts with us, I had NO idea what was coming.
Here is the video with his closing thoughts and his preceding gift – definitely worth a watch.
He (along with an anonymous donor) gave us all a gift, a $100 Investment it’s been coined, and gave us the only instructions were to INVEST in something.
Yea. I left in shock. Did that just happen? What? I put my Investment in the book by the same author who entrusted me with this, until I can even process what I’m going to do with it.
That last day was frankly a blur. As I re-grouped with Kellee to spend the last day in Portland, I felt really off. (Yes, at this point I was exhausted, overstimulated and on the verge of a very needed tearful release) We connected with someone Kellee had met while I was plugged into inspiration, and he showed us a bit more of the city, the part that you needed a car to get to. (SIDE NOTE: I totally fell in love with this renovated school turned lodging/restaurant/movie theater/smoking lounge…. WHEN I go back to Portland again (maybe for #WDS2013, if I’m not pregnant (fingers crossed) I will definitely be staying HERE.)
So here I am… it’s been about a week since the Summit ended,
Still in this state of suspension.
What do I do with this $100?
Where do I go from here?
A week has passed and I still do not know.
All I know is I’m not the same person I was two weeks ago… before the storm.
No. Somethings different.
I’ve always said that I felt like an eagle tethered in invisible chains to the ground by a large cement block. From an early age, I’ve felt that way. I have, time and time again, attempted to spread my vast wing span to take flight, only having those chains remind me that you can only go so far…not doing what you’re meant to do. For a few days in Portland, I found myself without any chains…flying with 1000 other eagles, letting the wind heal their unused wings and bruised hearts and the sun heat their passions. I hold those Eagles in my heart right now, I support you and I am here if you ever need a reminder who you are. For you helped me remember who I was.
For a series of moments… I was released from “Be Realistic” and “Is that practical” and “If I were you…” statements. I left the worry about how I should be careful behind and was soaring into the wind. Untethered. FREE.
You know why I feel suspended (it just hit me) .. because I’m still flying. My heart and my mind are still amongst the clouds… haven’t yet landed on the ground but am flying close enough not to feel the pull of the chains. In this feeling, I am able to be in the moment… not in the worries of the past or the anticipation of the future rouse me. I am HERE. NOW. I don’t want this feeling to go… but instead use it to keep me moving forward, taking action…to do something,
TO MAKE A MOVE.
After this experience, I feel even more dedicated to learn to LIVE from this place of suspension. It’s been building a while (to let GO of the past/future and live in the PRESENT..to swim toward the middle of the pool), these experiences, from the storm to this very moment, have given me the EVIDENCE that it does exist, that it CAN happen.
Amazing what we can do when we have EVIDENCE to back us up.
To wrap: Chris asked us on the Twitta a few days ago, “#WDS2012 Attendees: One year from now, how will your life be different?”
I responded to him by saying that while I’m still processing everything I took in, I feel confident to tell him that not much will be the same.
So many things are changing in my life right now, with this newfound elevation of flight I’m in… I’m even more excited to see what that will look like, come this time next year.