Posts Tagged "Portland"

Two Parties, a Funeral, and the World Domination Summit

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Two Parties, a Funeral, and the World Domination Summit

In February of 2012, through a series of serendipitous events the Universe provided me with a ticket to the World Domination Summit. While I’ve attended conferences and workshops via employers over the years, I’ve never personally plunked down my own hard earned cash to attend an event. Even though it felt indulgent and selfish, I muscled through my feelings of guilt and made my plans to fly to Portland. After all, the World Domination Summit was not just any old event. WDS promised to bring together 1,000 individuals intent on using their lives to make the world a better place. I wanted to be there.

I eagerly spent the four months prior to the event preparing myself. I researched the speakers and workshop presenters diligently reading materials they’d written. I worked hard to connect via the internet with as many attendees as I could. I co-coordinate a meet-up for other Atlanta area residents who were heading West with me. I planned to spend the last few days before I boarded the plane shoring up my strength, so I could hit the ground in Portland running and be able to do all the things I planned to do. I didn’t want to miss a minute.

Six days before I was to board a plane to Portland, I decided to add a road trip to Tennessee to celebrate a friend’s birthday and my niece’s shower. Four days before I was to board a plane to Portland, I received news that my grandmother had passed away. Two days before I was to board a plane to Portland, I drove five hours to attend her funeral and then drove another 5 hours to get home that night. As I boarded the plane to Portland, I was tired and my grieving heart was fractured. I worked diligently to shift gears. My grandmother was not a fan of long faces.

And gears were shifted. I landed on Thursday, checked into my hotel, and had a chance to explore the city visiting a food cart or two along the way as I quickly acclimated myself to the cooler Portland temperatures. A wrong turn led to me happily stumbling upon the renowned VooDoo doughnuts where I patiently stood in line to buy one called the “dirt” doughnut. I meandered over to a river side park before heading back to my hotel to call it a night. I had a full slate planned for the next day and I wanted to be ready.

Friday was nothing less than amazing. Every single person I met was open and loving. People who I was just meeting for the first time shared their lives with me and listened patiently as I shared mine. Inside of the first hour, I had dropped my charade: you know that facade I choose to maintain so that I can avoid overt social ostrasziation? I was able to drop my charade because I felt embraced and connected. I felt liked I belonged. It was awesome.

If Friday was amazing, then I can’t even begin to describe Saturday. It was another day of continuous connections with my new like-minded and loving tribe of truly inspiring people. Every conversation opened up a whole new part of my soul. I was touched by even more stories and in awe of how others are making a positive impact with their lives. The speakers on Saturday were just the icing on the cake. Brene Brown had me laughing and crying, often at the same time. Scott Harrison of charity: water had me in tears and filled me with the hope that one person with a vision can make a difference in our world.

So when I woke up on Sunday, I was excited about one more amazing day, but alas it wasn’t meant to be. At least not for me. I returned to my hotel on Saturday night around 6:30 P.M. and decided to “rest my eyes” for just a minute. Instead, I slept through the meet-up I was looking forward to attending that evening (not my style). I had an inkling then that I might be coming down with something and decided to call it a night. I felt fine when I woke up, so I showered and dressed, grabbed a cup of coffee, and happily headed to the beautiful Newmark Theater. I felt energetic as I traipsed up Broadway. I felt great as I chatted with a young women in the lobby as we waited for the doors to open. I felt excited as I found a seat next to a sweet lady who shared her experiences with me as we waited for the day to begin. I was feeling wonderful until about ten minutes until nine because it was then that I knew that something was terribly, terribly wrong.

I dashed out of the theater in a cold sweat and barely made it to the restroom before becoming er…um…violently ill. I’m going to skip the gore. To make a long story short, I made it back to my hotel. I hoped that whatever I had a touch of would be out of my system quickly so I could return to hear the rest of that days WDS speakers. But whatever had a hold of me had other ideas. I freshened up three separate times during the course of the day and even made it to the lobby twice before I finally gave up and crawled under the covers to sleep in a feverish sweat.

As I drifted in and out of consciousness, I reminded myself that the amazing speakers I was missing were all available online or at the bookstore. During my lucid moments, I’d read tweets and fb posts from WDS attendees and texted with several people. Oh, and I cried. Yep, try as I might the only party I attended on Sunday was a big old pity-party.

Thankfully, my trip home was eventless. It took a couple of days to recover from what I’ve concluded was a nasty virus and another couple to process all the wonderfulness of WDS. I truly believe that there is a lesson for everything that happens. I have racked my brain trying to figure out the lesson that left me laid up in a hotel room after investing major time and energy into attending WDS. I only needed nine more measly hours and I could have fully enjoyed Sunday’s speakers and workshops and would have then happily succumbed to the illness. Seriously, I haven’t been sick like this in years. Why now?

The answer hasn’t come. It may not reveal itself for days or weeks or even years. It’s posible, that I may never recognize the lesson of this illness. So, in the meantime, I express my gratitude for the speakers I got to hear. I feel blessed by the people I got to meet. I will remember and hold close to my heart the hugs and handshakes and the smiles and conversations I got to have.

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