Sunday, July 21, 2013

After Thoughts - WDS 2013

Two weeks since the World Domination Summit.  And life isn't the same.   There was a lot to take away from the event from the remarkable presenters who not only engaged me with their ideas but also modelled a way of being in the world and also to the organization of the event - full of surprises and a clear vision.  For example, the event is non sponsored.  No advertising anywhere.  Each morning break we were served a parfait of fresh fruit, yogurt and granola.  Lots of thought goes into this event.

On a personal level I was spellbound with the stories of caring.

Not normally a list maker (I like to keep things loose), I decided to write the 10 things that I took away from this event:

  1. Speak your truth.  Speak it from the heart.  This is where we connect with each other.
  2. Think big.  How inspiring it is to hear others' ideas of wanting to make the world a better place.
  3. The intersection of what excites you and how you can help others is the sweet spot.  Our time on the planet is about mixing inner and outer.
  4. Be all the you-ness you can be.  Keep turning over every rock inside of yourself to find out what excites you, what engages you, what gives you that sense of being alive.  
  5. Work hard.  The best we can do is dig deeper to get at the core.  Put your all into your dream.
  6. You aren't alone.  Find your tribe.  They will inspire you, help you, and calm you in ways that you cannot imagine.
  7. Start now.  Many critics abound including those residing inside of you.  Begin your dream now and you can see that perhaps another idea will emerge or a better one.  You can't see that until you start.
  8. Ideas are plentiful; play with them.  We are talking about our lives - exploring needs to be fun.  We learn by playing.  Bring it all out to play.
  9. Be pragmatic about your goals.  This is what steers the rudder when you are going through rough waters.  We need to plan for those times.  Always be thinking of the next step.  One at a time.  
  10. Look for inspiration.  It can often be found in our daily lives.  We need to be intentional.
  11. Pay attention to your feelings, where they reside in the body.  There are always clues about what we need to do.  
I know it is 11 but that is another thing I discovered - creativity doesn't come in a certain pattern. 

Inspiration at Independence Day - Portland 2013

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

World Domination Summit 2013

She writes the order on her note pad.  I comment on her sparkling bracelet.  When she smiles, her face beams.  I am sitting in a pub and grill on our way out of town.  My companion is a dear friend who has hitched a ride with me to Portland for the July 4th weekend.

For the past two days, I have been hanging out in downtown Portland at the World Domination Summit, a gathering of ...  well, it is a bit hard to explain.

That Resonates with Me

The first speaker, Nancy Duarte, is a "persuasion specialist," who incorporates story into business communications.  She studied patterns of famous speeches people who sparked movements - Dr. Martin Luther King, Steve Jobs, Jesus and Evita Peron.  She illustrated how the orator presented the situation as is, and then what could be - repetition and metaphors are elements of speeches.  She explained the STAR principle - when giving a message, offer the audience  
 Something They'll Always Remember.

Who is a dreamer?

Darren Rowse was prompted to look at his life when his girlfriend said to him, "I just don't want to have an ordinary life."  Darren is the founder of 

He encouraged us all to begin to dream again, to regularly set time aside to dream.  He talked about being able to spot the sparks in our lives, about what gives us energy and to check in with this every day.  "Choose one small thing every day that will take you closer to your dreams."

Don't be without direction

Bob Moore, founder of Bob's Red Mill, talked about looking for inspiration in unusual places.

Creative activities create more creativity

Photographer Chase Jarvis talked about the importance of creativity and how it can solve all of the problems facing the planet right now. 

Gretchen Rubin - photo by Armosa Studios

Be Yourself

Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project, said that we will be happiest when we are living
our lives as a reflection of our values and who we really are.  Our negative emotions, she says, are very helpful in giving us clues.

What the hell are you doing?

This question was posed to Tess Vigeland when she quit her dream job.  Part of her exploration was asking, "How do you know when it's time to go?"  As she has been looking at what is coming up for her next, she said, "Sometimes you have to work really hard to figure out your career."

Chris Guillebeau is the founder of the World Domination Summit (WDS).  His three core values for the event are:
  • Community
  • Adventure 
  • Service
The key question was "How do we live a remarkable life in a conventional world?"   Over a dozen presentations offered insights and ideas. 

Cheers - Closing Toast by Armosa Studios

How is it to experience a gathering with 3,000 people who are seeking a remarkable life?  What kind of affect does it have?

Profound.  Sensational.  Life altering.

The percolating is still happening.  Questions are speeding through my body.

Back at the restaurant, the server brings the check, I calculate the 20%.  I have another second thought and pull out my wallet.  I leave a 50% tip.  She won't see this until I go.  I smile.  Spreading wealth is one way to lead a remarkable life.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Slocan Lake

Touring my stomping grounds. 

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Monday, April 01, 2013


Part of what there is to see in Pendleton.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Friday, March 01, 2013

Oasis Tulum

We found a deal.  A couldn't resist kind of thing.  And that is how we ended up on the Mayan Riviera.  It isn't on my bucket list.  Nor is an all inclusive.  And now having been-there-and-done-that, I can say I had a great time.  I like it when stories end up better than I imagined.  (I do hate it when events turn out worse than I imagined - it happened to me once - I'll tell you the story one day - it stars a cop, a courtroom and me.)

The reviews on TripAdvisor weren't grand.  A couple of weeks before departure, I went online to show a friend where I was going.  Three bad reviews in a row!  Where was I going??

The Oasis Tulum is 24 kilometres north of Tulum and 34 kilometres south of Playa del Carmen.  What I was excited about though was what was east of the resort.  Mar Caribe. 

As I remembered.  So many shades of blue.  Oasis Tulum is one of many, many resorts that edge Mar Caribe from Cancun south.   Our shuttle from the Cancun airport to our resort was 2 hours, to give a perspective of how many places were built for us winter-escapers.

The evening we arrived we couldn't see that we were in a smallish resort.  By the next morning, we knew the lay of the land.  It was an easy adjustment.  Sun.  Sand.  Water. 

One of the bonuses of a smaller resort (not that I have been to a large one) is that you get to see the same people every day.  Our travel rep, who welcomed us and made sure that we were organized to get the right transportation back to the airport, helped us in ways that are perplexing to a visitor.  He became the person that you want to have in a new country.  A confidante.   How much do you tip the waiter, the maid?  What is that word in Spanish?  And what lies outside of our gates?  Where are the places to go?  What do we have to watch out for?

For the first 6 days, we stayed within our resort.  There really was no reason to leave.  Everything was here.  But we wanted to see more.  And so it was on Day 7 that we decided to go to Playa del Carmen.  It was the first time in nearly a week that we traveled faster than 2 kilometres an hour.

There is something to be said for moving that slow in life.  Once in a while.

Life in a resort is highly organized.  Food.  Drinks.  Events.  Entertainment.  Even the towels.  Piles of them every day.  This was one of the complaints in the TripAdvisors' reviews.  Not enough beach towels.  I expect the hotel staff read TripAdvisor too because it was all corrected by the time we arrived.

Checking in at our hotel, we were banded with a plastic wristlet.   Each resort has its own colour. 

The day we went into Playa del Carmen, I was walking along the popular (and over rated) 5th Avenue when a man rushed up to me.

"Remember me?  I am your waiter from the Oasis Tulum?"

"No, I don't remember you."

"Sure you do."

"No, no.  I don't."

"Why don't you come and look at my shop while you are here."

I kept walking.   I looked at my friend who was walking beside me, a new Mexican who I had met a few days before.  I was perplexed.  He pointed to my wrist band.  Any one who watched tourists knew exactly who I was.  Or more precisely, where I came from.

What was remarkable about Oasis Tulum:
  • two swim-up bars (though one woman's comment left me wondering:  "What do you think people do when they sit at the bar for hours, drink the entire time and never leave the pool?")
  • outstanding activity people (we got two personalized Spanish lessons!)
  • very friendly staff, especially the bartenders
  • food (I discovered on the last morning that the breakfast cook made an outstanding quesadilla)
Great memories:
  • Sitting on the beach chairs after dinner facing the Caribbean Sea
  • Live music - every night!
  • Being tossed around in the sea
  • Having a school of fish surrounding me when I was floating in the waves
  • Rustling palm trees
  • The warmth of the sun on my skin!  

Sunday, January 13, 2013

New Year's Resolutions

Over the years, I have committed myself to new projects in January like many others.  And like many others, the fascination wanes within the first 30 days of the year.  In other years, I resolved to only add fun items to my list - read books, organize a party.   Ultimately I realized that I like the idea of doing a review of my life and setting goals is a proven way of getting things done.   At the beginning of January each year, I now do my year-end review and next year's objectives in 3 activities.

1.  Year-End Review

Years ago, my friend Monique told me of a dedicated journal where she makes one entry a year.  In this entry, she writes about what she accomplished in the previous year and sets out goals for the following year. 

The year I made fabric-covered journals for gifts, I decided to adopt Monique's practice.  In my book, I review the past year in a journalistic style.  Some years I have wrote about my vision of the next year but it is basically a recording of events.  This year marks my 18th entry - 18 years of what I have done. 

This activity provides the foundation for the next steps.  It helps me get into the big-picture mode.
Looking at the Big Picture - January 2, 2012

2.   Annual Review

A couple of years ago when I was taking the travel writing course at MatadorU, I stumbled upon Chris Guillebeau's website - The Art of Non-Conformity.  Chris takes a week every year to do an Annual Review.   Each year since 2005, he blogs about his review and the setting of goals for the upcoming year.

Two questions he asks himself that I have adopted are:

What went well this year?

What did not go well this year?

I write down the answers to each of these questions.

I did a synopsis of last year's goals which is what happens in the next step.  I had created 47 goals.  I completed 33.  I am pleased with the 70% success rate.  Of the goals that I didn't complete, a few were too vague (inviting more greens into my life) or were too big, have been a struggle for me (Australia), or ended up not being important to me.   Chris Guillebeau suggests that if there are goals that haven't been achieved, it is an indication that the bar is raised high. 

3.  Next Year's Goals

The third part of the exercise is setting goals for the next year.  I have chosen a few categories some of which are the same from year to year like travel and career and some of which I decide upon at the time. 

In addition to the categories, I write down what I hope to achieve.  Under Health last year, I wrote:  to care for my body so it ages well.  I had 3 sub-categories under Health last year.  In each of these categories (or sub-categories), I write down 3 to 5 measurable goals.  For example, one of the goals for health was to sign up for a yoga class.

This year's categories are:
  • Writing
  • Relationships
  • Health
  • Travel
  • Work
  • Friends
  • Family
  • Personal
  • Financial
 Why I like this process:
  • I get focussed - I know without a doubt now that a year can go by and important goals get lost.  Day to day life can be caught up in the details.
  • I get energized - Focusing on what is important to me sets a great tone for the year.  
  • It feels like a renewal, just when the body is going through sugar and wheat withdrawal.