As I write this, I’m soaring 33,000 feet somewhere over Montana on the final leg of my journey from Florida to Portland, Oregon for the third annual World Domination Summit (affectionately known as WDS). By the time you read this, I’ll be immersed in the juicy mix of 3,000 bloggers, entrepreneurs, travelers, artists, nomads and seekers responding to the call of chief nonconformist Chris Guillebeau to live a remarkable life in a conventional world.
The Transformational Power of WDS
2012’s World Domination Summit was my first, and as I reflect on the incredible connections, powerful speakers and life-altering moments it delivered (more in my before and after posts) I can’t help but wonder how this year’s event will shape up and how it can possibly top last year’s. It is tripling in size, for one, from 1,000 souls last year to three times that many in 2013 and it still sold out six months ahead of time.
After having been a fan of Chris for several years plus hearing about the success of his inaugural WDS in 2011, I attended last year without hesitation but with plenty of trepidation. I ventured forth alone, knowing no one but finding it effortless and exhilarating to meet so many kindred spirits.
What a difference a year makes. One of those kindred spirits turned out to be fellow Huffington Post blogger and author of the forthcoming Confessions of a Middle-Aged Hippie Beverley Golden. Ironically despite being in the same hotel (across the hall from one another no less) we didn’t actually connect until the final day of the event. Then you couldn’t tear us apart. We chatted the hours away until my red-eye flight home, enjoyed a delicious dinner in downtown Portland (an amazing foodie town – yum!) and (because like many WDS 2012 attendees we bought our tickets to this year’s event at the end of last year’s) vowed to keep in touch.
We not only kept that vow but despite living 2,000 miles apart came to know and support one another through the last twelve months of both normal ups and downs and shifting, accelerating times. You see, that’s the kind of event WDS is and the kind of people it attracts – not just nonconformists, but authentic, awakened, courageous introverts and extroverts alike who all have one intangible but undeniable thing in common: we’re determined to live our passions and make a difference even if it’s scary to put ourselves out there and no matter what the conventional world dictates.
Beverley and I agreed last year to unite forces and magnetize fellow seekers, hippies and spirituality enthusiasts to us this year. That goal has come to fruition in the form of a meet-up for Conscious Living we’re holding during the lunch break on Sunday, the final full day of WDS 2013. Initially wondering if the size and scale of this year’s main event would be conducive to getting people to attend gatherings like ours, we’ve since oversold it and are expecting somewhere between 50 and 100 “Accidental Seekers and Hippies” for an insightful discussion on conscious living.
So, while “world domination” sounds both lofty and a little intimidating to me, I’ll be content to inspire my WDS brethren toward conscious living, if not also conscious evolution.
What then, is Conscious Living?
I believe it is the recognition that everything that exists emanates from one all-powerful, all-knowing, all-embracing consciousness and, realizing the implications of this – our intrinsic interconnectedness, infinite potential and essential nature of love – choosing to live from that place of wholeness and open-heartedness. Conscious living recognizes and integrates our various dimensions – physical, mental, emotional and spiritual – into one awakened whole anchored by the essential self vs. the ego.
I think we’re coming to this recognition and realization as a result of several powerful shifts that have taken place in recent years, not the least of which is global interconnectedness and the reality that for the first time in human history, we can consciously and intentionally choose our future. We not only can choose, but also direct our own evolutionary path – individually and collectively – and in that realization rests both great power and great responsibility.
I’ve summarized more in this Conscious Living Manifesto, which you can download a copy of for free. No, it’s not a lengthy political diatribe, just a brief list of ten statements I hold dear and aspire to live by. (It’s even suitable for framing if printed on nice paper – my gift to you).
Of course, this is not the only period of human evolution and it certainly won’t be the last, but it may be the first in which we’re seeing the big picture of who we are, what life is, and how far we and it extend beyond our limited human experience. It’s been building for a long time – greatly aided by the hippie movement of the 1960’s – but this is the culmination of a single much longer cycle of awakening now taking place on a global, multi-generational level.
So, let me ask you: now that it’s 2013, what feels different? Do you sense things accelerating? More happening in less time? Old systems crumbling or morphing to make way for new? Do you feel greater resilience in the face of change and a greater sense of power to be the architect of your life vs. a willing victim? Despite the natural, political, economic and sociological disasters of recent years, can you see the incredible growth in innovation and awareness around the world occurring at the same time – and a sense of hopefulness that it will triumph over challenge and conflict?
As I love to say, nothing is wasted. We need look no further than our known history to realize the blessings of challenge and conflict, for they create the tension necessary to propel our individual and collective evolution.
In preparing for WDS 2013 I’ve come to the conclusion that nonconformity and consciousness have a lot in common. They both break from convention and the accepted past. They both, I believe, require daring, courage, and vulnerability. And whether Chris Guillebeau realizes it or not, consciousness and nonconformity are uniting a small army of extraordinary people ready to light the way for all of us to intentionally and positively transform the world.
Stay tuned for my post-WDS 2013 wrap-up and especially my WDS Luminaries Interview Series through which you’ll get to know many of the remarkable people I’ll be rubbing shoulders with over the next few days. In the meantime, please post your thoughts and answers to the questions above in Comments below.