On Bali, Snuggly Chickens, and the Creative Entrepreneur
There’s been just over a month between my last post and this one. In that time, a great deal has happened. Happily, my family and I traveled from California, where I filmed back-to-back programs for creativeLIVE (more on that very soon), to Bali (more on that here, with some welcome info for creative entrepreneurs) to Singapore (national slogan: “shopping is my cardio”) and then finally back home. We had a pretty amazing trip, all in all. Now the kids are back in school, routine is mostly back upon us, and I’ve had a chance to glance through some of my images from our trip.
First of all, if you’ve ever been to Bali, you know just how varied and beautiful it is. We traveled through Sanur, Ubud and then back down to Nusa Dua and felt like we had a very different experience in each region, all within hours of each other.
By the way, there’s a great article on travel photography and asking permission here, on Adorama’s Learning Channel.
(I make sure to with humans; I usually don’t ask with trees or water).
Why did we go to Bali? I had the great honor of speaking at the What If Conference, a fantastic gathering for anyone looking to make their next move as a creative entrepreneur. A next move varies greatly for everyone. Maybe, for some, it’s going after an idea that you’ve been obsessed with for some time; for others, it’s about hurdling over roadblocks that your mind keeps telling you are in your way; and, for others, it’s moving a business, a dream, or a concept to a bigger, or more satisfying, level.
I’ve been lucky enough to speak at the What If Conference a couple times – this last time in Bali and, last February, in the Dominican Republic. I can truly say that each experience has been absolutely fantastic because everyone who speaks, and everyone who attends, just goes all in on the experience. And my role, as an Innovator, is to speak on something very dear to my heart: the concept of what I like to call the practice of practical awareness – how much freedom we can find in our lives, in our work, in our relationships, in every facet of our life, through practicing self-awareness and mindfulness on a day-to-day basis. I refer to it as practicing practical awareness because most people I know are living quite busy lives and do not check into an ashram for weeks at a time between work and picking up the kids from soccer, so their goal is to learn how to incorporate more self-awareness into day to day activities. This practice doesn’t just feed into better enjoying your actual life, but into discovering new ways to excel in business and in relationships and more clearly seeing your own self-worth.
If it seems like a relatively simple thing, to practice self-awareness, or mindfulness, in our day to day life. It certainly can be – but it’s often not, or at least not at first. It really does take effort and practice to get your brain on your side, to start seeing how much space we can find between ourselves and our negative influences, from our fear of failure, from our past and our worries of the future and our expectations of ourselves. I love how people share their own experiences of this, like Kathryn does here. It’s incredibly empowering, to realize that we can truly change our lives at any time – and it all starts inside our own heads.
If you missed the Dominican Republic and Bali conferences (and the What If 2014 is already sold out), there is a great opportunity to join myself, conference creator/awareness-practitioner Jen Bebb, and fellow innovator/uber-talented Natalie Norton, along with a few special guests, in one of three upcoming What If Daycamps. We’ll be touring through Brookyln (September 23rd), Nashville (September 25th – I actually think this one is close to sold out!) and L.A. (September 27th). You can see all the details and register here. It will be a pretty intense day, as we’ll be setting up and knocking down all the most common roadblocks individuals have to reaching the next level of what they most want. Unsurprisingly, it’s more often than not the limitations we place on our own selves. Even if you feel like it’s not, it’s striking how often, at the very core of things, it is.
I hope you can make it to camp : )
A short story from Bali:
When we weren’t getting our feet eaten by fish (okay, looks creepy but you’ve never had softer feet, or hands, in your life):
Or checking out eco-beautiful bamboo “factories” or breaking down in a bus while trying to figure out just where our bus driver went as the kids had a blast in the back:
… or piling into an open-bed truck to go find lost members of the conference (long story that was quite funny and ended bizarrely well and, also, open-bed truck rides through Bali are awesome)
Sidenote: Among some pretty fantastic – mostly Australian (yay, Austalia!) peeps, that’s fellow Innovator David DuChemin cheering in the back – check out his beautiful work if you aren’t familiar with it already.
Or walking through so many streets and rice patties and pathways of Bali while our daughters went quite island with the hair.
We also had a chance to make friends with a chicken named Harold.
You can see him here:
He didn’t introduce himself as Harold so much as we named him Harold, but first we had to negotiate his release from the truck packed for slaughter.
Harold’s life cost us the equivalent of five U.S. dollars. I’m not sure I’ve been laughed at as often in such a short period of time as I was walking around with Harold, who became downright snuggly after the first ten minutes of me holding him. Apparently, no one really walks through Ubud cuddling with a chicken. We were rather unsuccessful trying to find sanctuary for Harold, so I eventually found a quiet spot in a rice paddy that seemed to have enough water and food options, as best I could tell. I felt misty saying goodbye to him.
My kids and I like to think that Harold is going to be the patriarch of a new, rogue chicken family that lives freely in the unpoliced back fields of Bali and never gets packed into trucks and starts out all his famous stories by saying, “So, there I was, BEHIND THE BARS, when, all of a sudden, I heard some kids crying about how we looked so sad, and this American human walks over – and the next thing I know, I’m suddenly free and setting out to start our new colony.”
Or something like that.
(Good luck, Harold).
When we weren’t hanging out with chickens, we hung out with mammals. And we got to spend some great traveling time with the Bebbs – to Jen, Steve, Logan and Ethan: THANK YOU. We truly loved our time together and are very happy to call you our friends.
And a last, huge shout out to our kids, our awesome little travelers. For two months, they lugged their backpacks, with their beloved stuffed animals hanging on, and dragged their little suitcases through airports and train stations and bus stops and in taxis and ubers and through forests and fields and more. And, most of the time, they were actually a surprising delight.
By the end of next summer, they’ll have hit six continents already.
They’re pretty cool peeps, and I’m extraordinarily proud of them.
(At least most of the time ; )