I went on a pilgrimage the first weekend of June 2011.
A pilgrimage is generally defined as a journey in search of great moral or spiritual significance. It is often a path followed by devout and deeply religious people and I am, well, not religious but nonetheless, on a pilgrimage, I went.
My grandmother has been a devout Muslim all her life, not to mention the kindest angel that has ever walked the face of this earth. That’s right, my grandmother rocks the world of kindness like nobody’s business. If I close my eyes, I can watch her offering prayers to heaven and earth during her daily routines. One day, she went on her life-long pilgrimage to Mecca. She made a very long and hard trip on her own, nearly perished in the unfortunate night fires that ensued across all camps, and lived to tell us about her amazing experience.
How would you describe a love-induced, unforgettably rewarding, deeply spiritual, mildly earth-shattering, once in a lifetime gathering of a group of like-minded people coming together for a celebration?
I call it no less than a pilgrimage to a place the heart has longed to find all its life.
It describes what my grandmother felt during her pilgrimage and what I felt during the World Domination Summit in Portland. It is rare and it is subtle and it may even be open to mockery and ridicule but who cares when it is the most powerful experience of the heart and the soul? You know what you feel and that ought to be enough proof.
One day, I will find the adequate words to thank Chris Guillebeau for creating the experience for us, and my good friend Raam Dev who told me back in December that this is the one event I must attend, and my genius husband for putting me on a plane and shipping me off to Portland to “dominate the world.”
Transformation? Oh yes!
Revelations? Too many to count!
Changes? Making them as we speak!
Surprises? One after another!
Connections with others? Instantly, a magnetic pull like no other!
Learning? In a most subtle, new, and unexpected way.
Openness? Of the heart and mind — over and over and over again.
Energy? To the roof, and still going strong!
Weather? A miracle for Portland to host the sun and the breeze so long.
Happiness? Entirely possible to see it, embrace it and be still with it.
In not so short — as there will be other posts — the World Domination Summit rocked my world and turned it upside down and inside out in a very, very good way.
Never before have I met – or even envisioned a desire to meet – people who truly understand the deep yearning for a life of purpose, a life with meaning and a life lived completely on their own terms. Maybe your world runs on a different scale and in a more beautiful medium but to me, meeting people who understood me instantly was a rare chance — I am used to the uphill battles and utter failure when it comes to being understood – and this divine experience alone made the weekend unforgettable and unrepeatable in my mind.
In return, I found myself understanding others instantly. I kept reacting completely naturally to the shining diversity of these amazing stories overheard at WDS:
Of course you are walking across America. That makes perfect sense. Maybe I should walk more.
How brave and brilliant to own all of one bag – some 30 odd items – for your entire possession in this world. It makes traveling easier and you call everywhere your home.
Naturally, you are writing your own Best Seller and not going through the publishing industry, saving yourself two years, multiple rejections and who knows what else. Self-publish, baby and let it fly!
Totally smart to live in a new country every 3 months to learn the local language. Goodness, I need to get started on my Italiano sooner than later!
But of course you gave up your law degree from Harvard to travel the world and prefer it to your insane work schedule even with cockroaches the size of a golf ball roaming around your dirty hostel floors.
While I embrace your smart idea of driving to every roller coaster in America and riding it, I prefer to do that with every yoga studio. I have a lot longer to go, no doubt.
Of course you two smart kids dropped out of college to write what will be the most brilliant code and what is already changing the way we work and play.
No kidding you are going to travel around the world, live in a few different places, without stepping on an airplane, for 3 years — a bit challenging but entirely possible!
My dear new Irish friend, Niall Doherty, who is guilty of the last audacious statement above, said it best when he said that people here “get it”. That everyone seems to completely embrace the lifestyle of their dreams in all its simplicity and quirkiness and eccentricity and authenticity because the most genuine way to live is to do so with intention and purpose — your intention and your purpose, not someone else’s.
Living a life that is dictated by society’s standards and traditional pressures may or may not resonate with your heart and when it doesn’t, it is akin to being shackled to a lunatic with a mask of gold. It takes a long time to see it sometimes and even longer to break free and claim your own path in life.
But oh do break free!
Break free and live free. Find your own version of truth. Define your purpose and own up to it. Live smart but on your own terms and if that means making a radical change to get there, then so be it. Make one radical change or a thousand un-radical ones but make them so that you get there so that you live this way if only for a day.
What is the worst thing that can happen when you do the things that you really want to do? You can always, always find a way to do the things you have to do in order to survive but how many times do you live your life? Once, I do believe. Make it a good one. Now. Right now, baby!
Go on and dominate your piece of the world. I am off to dominating mine.
This is Post 1 of the World Domination Summit post series, a teaser to warm you up and pull you in. Here’s hoping that some of the inspiration and enthusiasm is rubbing off across the cyberspace and into your home and heart.