WDS 2012 Wrap-Up
Almost two weeks ago, I attended the 2nd World Domination Summit, where the central question posed to us was:
How do you live a remarkable life in a conventional world?
During the two-day summit, many themes emerged surrounding this question: Authenticity, Courage, Action, Goals—as well as the three main ones behind the spirit of WDS:
(you’ll see these three come up again…)
I had quite a few plans while in Portland, in addition to the conference: meetups, events, a road trip, and a volunteer day—plus staying with 15 other awesome people in our own hostel suite!
So, it was going to be a PACKED seven days. Here’s the other question I was looking at:
How can we have the healthiest conference experience possible?
With everything going on, this could easily be an extremely challenging and unhealthy experience; could I (and others) rise above this—could we dominate the world and look/feel/BE 100%?
I was determined to find out!
Here are the events and ways I prepared myself (and supported others) in this pursuit of a healthy conference!
Leading Up to the Event
About 10 days before we all descended on Portland, I recorded a Healthy Travel Q+A Call with Gregory Berg, where he acted as a “man of the people,” and we spoke about how it’s possible to travel and be healthy!
You can listen to that call here!
I also gave away a copy of the Healthy Living: Portland guide to all attendees, so that they’d have access to all the PDX goodness I’ve found!
On the WDS resources page where all this exists, I also offered tips, suggestions, and exercises so that people could start to think about and see how it would be manageable—and maybe even FUN—to do this!
Some prompts included:
- What food do you know you’ll need, that will keep you going? Can you pack it or find it at a nearby store (Portland has a Whole Foods right in the NW)? Take 10 minutes, make a list, and then get to Google!
- What exercise are you committed to? Walking, yoga, stretching—doesn’t have to be an hour-long session, just something you can fit in to keep yourself moving!!
- Are you taking time for yourself to rest and rejuvenate? Might be meditation or a quiet walk. Build that time in. Don’t worry—we’ll be here for you when you get back!
- How can you incline your mind to joy? Do you journal in the morning or keep a gratitude log? Rent your mental space to positivity! :)
Healthy Eats in PDX
Portland is a very lucky place; Oregon has a year-round growing season, and there are many fantastic local vendors supplying the city with fresh fruits and vegetables, farm-raised meats, and other quality products.
There are several farmers’ markets throughout the city where you even have access to the same food sources as the high-end restaurants in town!
So with that in mind, I wanted to share my enthusiasm and knowledge of the place, and take advantage of everything they had available!
Green Juice at Prasad’s
Pure vegetables in the morning?! I’m in—and so were dozens of others! Prasad’s got a bit of a surprise on Friday morning when flocks of people stood waiting for their doors to open.
About a month ago, I was in Portland just for a few hours during a train layover and came by here for breakfast and WiFi. The food (mostly raw and vegan) is so amazing and tasty, I was excited to come back!
This time, I grabbed a juice of apples, carrots, beets, and ginger, connected with friends from last year and people I had seen online, and felt the excitement begin to mount for what was ahead!
Lunch at Dick’s Kitchen
Shortly after the green juice meetup, I had my own event coming up: Healthy Eats at Dick’s Kitchen, a 21st century stone-age diner with local sources and plenty of options!
I called the place ahead of time to let them know a group would be attending, thinking it might be as high as 30.
I had no idea that nearly 50 (!) people would be there—I was absolutely shocked; everyone was totally excited to discover this spot and start the weekend off with some seriously healthy food!!
What I also neglected to realize was that for many people, this would be their first event in Portland (perhaps the first time to the city), and a way to sit down and really connect with other attendees.
The fact that everyone could “break (gluten-free!) bread” over a quality meal was a fantastic start to this amazing weekend!
I had so many people thanking me at lunch (and throughout the conference) for organizing this event; it was an important reminder not to undervalue our skills: even though it was very easy for me to add this to the calendar, the fact that I did that enabled people to learn about this place and come here; and perhaps many of them might not have done so otherwise!
(Derek Sivers talks about this in “Obvious to You, Amazing to Others“; in short: appreciate the awesomeness of your talents!)
What was my lunch? I ordered the portabello mushroom “burger” on a lettuce wrap (see pic above), along with a couple other vegetable sides, and we shared an order of yam fries for the table, hanging out with Alexis, Will, and Toby. Yes, it was a very good meal.
(check out my article/interview on Dick’s Kitchen from last year here)
WDS: World Domination Smoothies
As many of you know, I’m a big fan of green smoothies in the morning.
So what’s the next logical step? Yes, offer to make these for everyone in your room (all 16 of ’em)!
The instructions were simple: we were all given Kanteens in our gift bag; if you wanted a smoothie, leave yours in the refrigerator downstairs with your name on it, and there will be a smoothie waiting for you when you head out!
A number of people took me up on the offer—so I collaborated with a couple people on a recipe and set out to do the shopping!
The operation required waking up an hour early (6 AM!) on both days of this very-busy-and-late-nights weekend, and I had to make several batches with just one small blender—but it worked!
And you know what? It was totally FUN!! It was quite an operation with assembly-line efficiency (thanks to Ayngelina for being an awesome helper!).
I started with a cashew milk base (water, cashews, dates); my recommendation is to soak the dates overnight as they blend up more easily, and when the fruit is re-hydrated, I believe it’s easier for our bodies to break it down and digest. :)
For soaking, you only need enough water to cover the dates, and you can then use that water in the smoothie!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Makes: 4-5 cups (2 servings)
1.5 cups of water
1 handful of cashews
4-5 dates, soaked overnight and pits removed
2 large handfuls of spinach
1 large handful of kale, chopped
5-6 leaves of fresh mint
Add the water, cashews, and banana in the blender and turn it on.
When everything has blended up, keep the machine running and add the dates, strawberries, spinach, kale, and mint leaves (in sequential order, not all at once), increasing the speed as needed to keep the blending smooth.
Add ice and pulse/blend, or store in the refrigerator. Best served chilled.
- for a lighter smoothie, skip the strawberries
- if it’s too sweet, skip the dates (or add more if needed)
Farm-Fresh Vegetables at the Market!
At lunchtime on day 1 of the conference, I was ready for a break.
I hadn’t slept much the night before as I was anxious about making all the smoothies, leading the group meditation (see below), and the general conference giddiness. One of those times where I was thinking about IF my alarm would go off…
After a short nap in the grass, I wandered into the famed Saturday Portland Farmer’s Market (just one of many!) where I was greeted with dozens and dozens of vendors.
I kept looking for what to eat, knowing I didn’t want pizza or a burrito, or to spend 30 minutes in line. Remembering what I knew about nutrition, I went on the hunt for the most nutrient-dense foods I could find!
I picked up a bunch of chard (ANDI 670) and a cabbage salad (cruciferous veggies!) from a great local vendor for only $5 total (pic of my lunch above).
Add to that the pound of local cherries I also bought, and I had quite a healthy feast—I started ripping that chard apart and munching on it like there was no tomorrow!
I felt full in no time, with no drowsiness!
After a week of 16 people in a hostel suite with 1 bathroom (fun!), I wanted to do something special for our final evening together.
To me, that meant making dinner.
Food is something we all need, and people really appreciate when they get a quality meal (at least I do!). In this case, it’s also about spending time with people who really “get” you! No excuses or defenses for what you’re doing—we all understand, and we all think it’s awesome!
We tossed a few ideas around and came up with tacos: something simple that also involved the build-your-own experience.
Shannon and I cut, chopped, and diced up TONS of veggies (prep was about an hour). It was another super fun experience, and everyone loved it.
Plus, another lesson in frugal health: with Trader Joe’s up the street, it only cost $5 per person for a filling, quality meal!
Getting Our Move On
The conference days were packed, so running to the gym (or just plain running!) would have been tough to squeeze in.
For Friday, I went to a nearby park and practiced my Tai Chi, and then sat for Meditation in the sun. There’s just something radically awesome when I do these things outdoors (hint, hint Nathan…).
During the conference days, I took the time to stretch during the breaks; I’d head outside (hello again Sun!), and go into an upward-dog/downward-dog combo, sit in Paleo chair, twist my torso, and generally move wherever I felt stiff.
I usually found others doing the same, so the networking/connecting could continue!
Morning Meditation Meetup
In addition to the Lunch at Dick’s Kitchen, I also added “group meditation” on the schedule, suggesting that we convene at 7:30 am and sit for 30 minutes; people could come and go as needed, and use the time to focus, recharge, or just “be.” :)
On both days, we had about a dozen people and I was thrilled to see quite a few first-timers.
Gotta admit: it was a bit nerve-wracking as I’ve never “led” meditation before, and I’d also be chanting in public, but you know what? It all seemed to go really well—the attendees were super appreciative! In fact, one woman mentioned she had just spent time living with monks and loved that she could keep her meditation going!
It’s been so energizing to hear from people that they’ve kept up (or started) a meditation practice because of the meetup. How cool is THAT?!
Hanging out with Soul Siblings
Yes, the people are the best part about WDS. Don’t let anyone fool you otherwise. The VooDoo Donuts truck doesn’t even come close.
What was special about this group of people is that it included two of my closest friends, perhaps two people who know me better than most, and who I’ve only met a couple times: NY boy Jacob and the Southern belle Electra—so awesome to connect with these two at the same time.
I’ve hung out with Jacob a few times before, and even saw Electra this past year in Greenville; very fun to see them again! Big shout out to the rest of my original Mastermind group. This was the first time more than two of us have ever been in the same place! :)
Inspired Conversation with All New People!
Even if you try not to meet new people, it’s going to happen. And these people are more than likely doing awesome things. And so it goes that you have amazing conversations with new friends about life, business, relationships, possibilities, and potential.
For me, this happened in the lobbies, outside, at the hostel, walking around, and most notably, on the unbelievable road trip to Crater Lake. Speaking of which…
Camping Trip at Crater Lake!
What better way to cap off an outstanding weekend than to venture into the wild to one of the most beautiful natural sites in the world!
No phones, no traffic lights—heck, we even rented a bunch of camping gear from REI (not too pricey, either!)—we were ready to DO THIS!
Seriously, this places looks like a genius at Photoshop just tore it up!
Leaping Into the Deep Blue Below!
Last time I was at the Lake, I had no idea you could actually hike down to the water level. As half the park was closed due to snow (even in July!), this was one of the only trails open, so we took advantage and headed down the one-mile walk. It was gorgeous down there and the sun was still making its ascent.
There was talk of jumping into the lake (which is allowed), but as the reality set in, I didn’t think I’d do it. It looked pretty far down, and heights have never been my thing. I wasn’t super into swimming, so I figured it just wouldn’t happen.
I decided to sit and meditate on the rocks, and funny thing: during my half-hour, a resolve and confidence began to set in: that I was going to jump in! I had come all this way and I was HERE—why not??
I cavalierly said I’d be the first to jump. That changed pretty quickly as I went to the edge and peered over. I told Cory he could go first. :)
Cory took a small run and went over. Yeah, it was pretty far down. He also informed us the water was pretty freakin’ cold. Damn. Well, I saw he survived, and I knew my time had come.
I went a few steps back and took a few deep breaths. I had to calm the fears that were SCREAMING at me inside. I knew that once I started moving forward, I couldn’t turn back; I had to keep going, or I’d never do it.
With each step, I could hear my body shout “STOP!”—but I didn’t listen. I leaped (hopped?) over the edge and let out as manly a scream as possible as I plunged about 25 feet to the frigid waters below.
I lived. It was absolutely terrifying, and I’m not sure I’ll do it again, but the important part is that I faced another fear. :)
This is another example of doing something pretty extreme, having a decent time, and realizing I’m stronger (mentally) than I think. As I press on in this hero’s journey, it’s important to have these moments to come back to: the times when you think, “well if i could do THAT, then surely I can do this….”
For some, overcoming fear/resistance is trying a green smoothie, or snacking on a radish for the first time! We can celebrate the small victories, too!
Habitat for Humanity!
With 16 peeps staying in the same place, we knew that with our powers combined, anything was possible. We tossed out ideas of epic parties, wake boarding, or venturing outside the city limits.
Volunteering has always been important to me, and I thought, “why not take a chance and mention this?” I figured that everyone (who are all mighty busy and engage in plenty of do-goodery the rest of the year) might want to just relax and treat this like a vacation. So, in my head, I was taking a risk.
Again, to my surprise (I guess I’m easily surprised), emails started flying back loving the idea and tossing out suggestions. I offered to do some leg work and research; after a little bit of time, we decided Habitat for Humanity would be a great choice: something that could accommodate a large group, where there’d be minimal paperwork, and no commitments prior to our build day (great option where we’d have to manage multiple schedules)!
We had a group of 12 strong, and we spent much of our day either pulling nails out or hammering in (we joked that another group came in the next day to do the opposite work as us)! While construction, building, and engineering is nowhere inside my zone or “sweet spot,” it was great to get out there.
We learned more about what HfH is doing and how things are done (many of the future homeowners were on the site working, too).
The other part of this experience is the appreciation and gratitude for what I have in my life, and how I currently spend my days. I’m incredibly lucky to attend this conference, hang out with awesome people, and even have the choice not to have a home.
It’s healthy for me to remember this, that I get to type away on a keyboard or be on the phone for my work, instead of enduring the hot sun, carrying around ladders, and breathing in sawdust. This is not to demean the work that others do; it just helps me appreciate what I have—my life could easily have gone a different direction where I were living in a HfH house, not just helping to build one.
I really, REALLY enjoyed this stuff—the meetups, the lunches, the food—it was so authentic, seemed easy, and felt FUN! Making smoothies @ 6 am? Definitely not “work!!!”
Did I find (and help others with) a healthy conference experience? You betcha!!
— Devon A. Mills (@devonamills) July 7, 2012
This kind of organization is really appreciated, and is needed. Again, it may be easy to do the things above, but many people either don’t make the time or don’t think of these things.
To have someone not only share ideas, but also say, “hey, I’m going to do this and you’re totally welcome to join”—that creates the opportunity for action in others and can build community!
My new pal Devon even came up with this phrase to describe what I could offer: Interactive Concierge. I think this captures the experience really well, and I’m excited to develop this idea further.
(In fact, I’m already submitting proposals to hotels—how’s that for speed of implementation, baby!! :)
At the end of WDS, at the very end of my small notebook for the weekend, I have this line written down:
Invest in helping others to improve themselves.
What I DO know is that the quote above resonates with me, and it’s the only true path to take.
So my investment may involve making smoothies for others, or sharing what I’ve learned about healthy travel, or continuing to write. The point is to keep SERVICE and creating VALUE at the forefront of what I do.
Oh – and have I found a use for my $100 yet? Nope. The envelope is still sealed. I’m holding out on this for a bit, to see when it feels right to do something.
That time will come; I just need to keep my eyes and ears open to what the universe is telling me. :)
How do you think I could use the $100 Investment?
Whoa. Well that’s my 3000 word wrap-up. I swear I didn’t think it’d be this long. Hope you enjoyed an inside look to one traveler’s “healthy conference” experience!
How do you create a healthy experience at conferences? Any meetups or other events that have worked particularly well for you?
I’d love to hear your response + any other thoughts you have below.
Looking forward to learning more!