Monday, June 13, 2011

World Domination Summit, Part Uno

Well, for once there's simply no excuse about not having the time to write. Naturally, I thought I'd dive back in by tackling what is probably the hardest thing for me to write about, because I love making life easy for myself, and you. Whoever you are.

The topic is the World Domination Summit that I just attended recently in Portland, Oregon. This was a conference unlike any of the others I have attended. But articulating just why is a challenge, to say the least.

So I'll go back to the beginning and trace the path, and maybe this will help explain some of the magic. Back in March I had the great fortune to attend South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas. During the "interactive" week of the festival, I went to many panels, parties, and events. But by far my favorite event was a tweetup near the end of my week, held by Joshua Millburn, one of the two writers of a blog called The Minimalists.

There was nothing overtly extraordinary about the people, the place, or the conversation. And yet, I found that there was the indescribable sense that I mentioned in my last post, a visceral, in-the-gut reaction of delight and joy at simply being with the right people, at the right time. It was extraordinary, and snippets of conversations from that evening have continued to be with me, ever since.

One of the people I met at that tweetup is a writer named Tyler Tervooren. He writes a blog called Advanced Riskology, and based on our brief but interesting conversation in Austin, I became a subscriber. I've been reading the posts as they arrive in my email, and in general, have great respect for his ideas and work. So when Tyler mentioned a couple of months ago that there would be a conference in Portland in June and that it would be "The greatest conference ever to come to Portland," I took a few minutes out of my day to check it out. Of course, the conference was completely sold out. But I put my name down on the wait list, and forgot all about it for a month or so.

To make this long story a bit shorter, I ended up with a ticket, at the very last moment, to a conference in Portland, with no idea what the conference was really even about, how I would get there, where I would stay. Nothing was planned properly. I just kind of showed up, and to make things even worse, because I had custody of my children on Saturday, I didn't even show up until 3AM right smack in the middle of the conference. I drove myself there and back, about 11 hours each way. It was fairly ridiculous, but something kept telling me I needed very much to be there. I still believe I was right.

It was a healing kind of environment. People asked me what I did, and when I answered "I just lost my job," the universal response seemed to be, "Congratulations!" (By far my favorite of these responses came from artist John Unger, who said it with a wickedly big grin, to boot. ;)

Here were people committed to living meaningful, useful, passionate lives. No one expected me to be anything less than myself. It was confusing and yet, illuminating.

I'm still lost, still terrified, still processing. But I'm also filled with hope.

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