Sunday, April 25, 2010

Fantastic Movers and Shakers Weekend

Today was the final day of Hay House's Movers and Shakers event in Boston and it was phenomenal. The two and 1/2 day event was lead by Hay House CEO Reid Tracy and best selling author and coach Cheryl Richardson.  Friday night, Reid told us, "It takes 10 years to be an overnight success." Then added that this course knocks a few years off. I have no doubt about that.

Some of the things that struck me most: Movers and Shakers are compelled by a vision to change the world in a positive way.
The Who is more important than the What. The person behind the message is more important than the message.
You must know and embrace your own values. They will guide your vision and message.
A good idea is not enough.
There were lots of practical tips for building your platform from book proposals to iPhone apps. There is a LOT of work to do.

During all the breaks I ended up giving impromptu lessons about social media, iPhone usage and website tips to everyone who dared approach me.  Many people wanted to hire me, but their questions were so basic and simple to solve. This really drove home how much I've grown. Not many years ago, I would have hated being asked all these questions and considered those asking to be stupid, but I truly enjoyed sharing with all the fantastic people at the event. The answers of "right click", visit or solved 90% of people's questions.

Our homework Saturday night was to prepare a 5 minute speech including a brief introduction, our message, a moving personal story and a call to action.  I worked till 12am to come up with something and practiced it a few times to be sure that if I didn't do it, it wouldn't be because of fear. 

The vast majority of the 100 or so participants wanted to speak so only a handful were randomly selected.  At lunch someone had the great idea for us to give our speeches at the table. I thought it was a bad idea at first, trying it in a noisy restaurant and I knew I was going to be emotional doing mine. So we went around our group of seven and it was very cool. We burst into applause for each person and every head in the restaurant turned to see what was going on.  It came to my turn and we had 5 minutes till we were supposed to be back at the event. So I gave a rushed and shortened story of the suicide I witnessed last July in San Diego. I got great feedback and support as we raced back to the hall and throughout that afternoon - so great idea Rena.

The big surprise of the weekend was the presence of Louise Hay herself. She is such an amazing woman and is the author of a book that truly changed my life, You Can Heal Your Life.

Sunday opened and closed with a few words from Louise. She is now 83 1/2 and says each decade is better than the previous one (I sure agree with that!) and so far her 80's are the best yet. Louise took the time to talk with and sign books for everyone in attendance. I felt so blessed to be able to tell her how much she's impacted my life. How I was such a depressed and suicidal mess until I read and acted on her book. She has the most amazing presence; radiating peace, calm, compassion and love in every glance and touch. She sent us out into the world Sunday evening telling us to keep repeating over and over, "Life loves me and and I am safe."

Friday, April 23, 2010

Movers and Shakers

I'm headed into Boston this evening for the start of a weekend long event for aspiring authors called: Movers & Shakers - Building a Multimedia Platform that Brings Your Message to the World!

It is being led by Cheryl Richardson and Reid Tracy (President & CEO of Hay House Publishing), and is all about launching a successful public career via writing, radio, TV, plastic lizards...  Though I'm not sure if I'm more a mover or a shaker, the whole thing sounded intriguing and since I dread public speaking I thought it would be a nice challenge too.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.

The Technologies of Awareness Seminar on Saturday was very cool.  There were about 150 people, and a wide range from students to senior citizens, Buddhist monks, Holosyncers and people just wondering what was up.

The event was at Smith College in Northampton, Ma and Smith's own professor Jamie Hubbard kicked it off with a humorous and provocative lecture on Buddhism, Enlightenment, Nirvana, happiness and "the industry of positive psychology."  As a professor of Buddhist studies, he surprised me when he said he no longer thought Nirvana was a possibility. He discussed the Four Noble Truths, the first being that life is "dukkha", which is often translated as suffering but is more a sense of frustration or stuckness. However, 65% of people report being happy most of the time.

In the break I had a chance to talk with Bill Harris of Centerpointe, he remembered me from the week long retreat I did with him in 2008.  His talks are usually a free ranging stream of consciousness and always quite funny.  He did not disappoint and spent a lot of time with questions from the audience.  He stressed that the key to enlightenment, or just being happy, was awareness.  Awareness creates choice.  Without awareness you run on autopilot - going through your day without making choices of how you respond to situations. That is how most people in our society operate.  I always like talking to other Holosyncers, and this group had people who didn't know what it was, up to people using it for ten years.

Next up was Dr. Andy Oldenski. He read a very dry, academic speech that most of the crowd (including me) slept through for at least portions. He joked that he was a great reminder why we didn't like college.

To close the day, we were treated to Genpo Roshi who didn't bother with lecturing, but rather went straight into leading us through Big Mind for a couple hours. He stressed how effortless it was, you just needed an open mind. There was no straining or trying needed. In fact, he said probably my favorite line of the day; "Anything you get while 'trying' is shit."

Visit to learn more about the process. I'll try to describe it, but it is something better experienced than talked about. We are all made up various, infinite even, aspects or voices. If you attempt to deny or bury a voice it will come out in dysfunctional ways. Big Mind is a process to speak to each voice within you, letting you embrace and transcend it to put all your aspects to their best use. The analogy Genpo uses is that you are a company full of employees who don't know what their jobs are. Big Mind interviews each employee and lets them get clear on their job.

We started off by speaking from the Deluded Ignorant Mind and it was really fun - by the end of the day he had us speaking as The Awakened One. In Genpo's twisted Zen way, "You are the fucking Buddha!"

Lori and I talked with Genpo a bit before we left and plan on visiting his center in Salt Lake City one of these days.  Check out one of his Big Mind workshops, I guarantee you will experience something you haven't before.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Technologies of Awareness

This weekend Lori and I are headed back out to Northampton Ma for a seminar at Smith College featuring Bill Harris and Genpo Roshi. This will be my second event with Genpo and third with Bill, but is the first time they are coming to me instead of me needing to fly across the country. It is titled "Technologies of Awareness: Buddhism and the New Mind Sciences" and is about the intersection of Buddhist practice, Western psychology, and modern technology.

If you aren't familiar with these guys; Bill Harris is the creator of Holosync, a meditation system I've been using daily for close to three years, and Genpo Roshi is a Zen Master who originated the Big Mind process (an amazing experience I've done with him and Bill a few times) and is the author of "Big Mind/Big Heart" (a very cool book that was part of the PhilosophersNotes Challenge I did earlier this year).

The day will also feature; Dr. Jamie Hubbard, the Yehan Numata Professor of Buddhist Studies at Smith College, (No, I have no idea what "Yehan Numata" is either.) and Andrew Olendzki, PH.D. executive director of the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies.

This is another one of those events where I have no idea what to expect, so it is easy to go into it with no expectations.