When I first heard of “World Domination Summit,” I couldn’t help but visualize Dr. Evil (and Mr. Bigglesworth and Mini-Me) laughing maniacally and talking about “magma” and “lasers.” But then I noticed that most of the people who were talking about attending were coaches or teachers or entrepreneurs—in other words, just very down-to-earth, non-evil types.
Then, when I heard that the tagline was “Living a remarkable life in an unconventional world,” I had a fresh round of freaking out. Umm, my life isn’t that remarkable. I have a day job and a husband and an apartment. But luckily, I have a good friend who convinced me that remarkable is what you make of it, and no one else gets to define that for you.
Also, the set of values that define the event are “community,” “service,” and “adventure.” What is not to love about that collection of values? It incorporates helping and connecting to others as well as yourself and your fears and dreams.
Here is just a small sampling of things I experienced throughout WDS:
My very first WDS activity involved an activity I do all the time: walking. But it put a whole new spin on it: walking and meditating at the same time. I’ve heard about all of the massive benefits of meditation, but even from those two minute baby meditation sessions that come at the end of yoga classes, I knew that I wasn’t doing it right.
A few months ago, I was standing in a line in a bookstore and happened to find a small book by Thich Nhat Hanh, where he described how he had once been stopped in an airport by someone because they saw how peaceful he looked and wanted to learn how to walk the same way. Ever since reading that essay, I’ve had the idea of walking meditation in the back of my mind, and when I saw it was being offered as a meetup session at WDS, I decided to join.
Toku McCree guided us through the basics: we would form a line, walk in a circle, lift one foot up as we took a breath in, and put it down as we breathed out.
Yes, walking is a simple activity that I am lucky enough to do every day. But I love the idea of putting a little more thought and intention into it. Who knows—maybe one of these days someone will even stop me at the airport and ask me to teach them how to walk.
A group of several hundred people gathered in Pioneer Square in downtown Portland to attempt to break the world record for the largest number of people eating breakfast in bed at the same time. AND WE DID IT! I even have the certificate to prove it.
What I loved about this event was that on the surface it was just so silly and whimsical, but it actually embodied each of the WDS values. By sitting in a bed with total strangers for a few hours, I had the opportunity to build a sense of community. By attempting to break a world record (even if it was for doing the laziest activity known to humankind), I had the chance to appeal to my sense of adventure. And you might be thinking, how on earth does eating in breakfast in bed relate to service? And the answer is, it DOES, because after the event, the beds were donated to local organizations that help the homeless and people with unstable housing.
Making a Brave Bot
The official speakers at WDS were incredible and inspiring and all the attendees had amazing stories about where they’d been and where they’re going and the friends I met were so enthusiastic and energetic, and at a certain point, it all got to be just a bit too much. I was overstimulated and exhausted, and I just needed a moment to collect my thoughts and decompress. So I was extremely grateful to find a crafts area set up.
I joined the “Brave Bot” table, where I was instructed to design whatever character I’d like to decorate a domino tile. All the tiles we created would then be donated to a local children’s hospital, where children would have the chance to choose their favorite Brave Bot and hopefully use it as a way to gain some superpowers.
I enjoyed having a quiet moment to do something quiet and creative, but I also loved the idea that my crazy little bot might actually bring some happiness or hope to a sick child.
There were many more adventures and inspirations at WDS, and I plan to continue to reflect on them and share more in the coming days.
All photos courtesy of Armosa Studios.