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August 27, 2010

Chanting…what’s next?
18 months of change, 18 months of growth, 18 months of reflection. Seeing “Eat Love Pray” was kind of an emotional experience for me. Not a great movie, just ok. It’s the heart of the story that really got me and the many many parallels with my own life, particularly the last 18 months. Not just Italy, not just Bali, not just meditation and prayer, not even love. What was becoming a burden is now a labor of love. What once was insurmountable is now “surmounted. What once was strange and odd is now a cherished part of my life. I’ve prayed more, mediated more, even chanted more in the last 18 months than in the entire rest of my life combined. I thought things were different, I thought maybe something fundamental in my life and heart and even my soul had changed. I stood in the Buddhist Community Center in a dumpy Kearney Mesa industrial park looking around the room at all the smiling faces. Truly the most diverse crowd I’ve been with in my entire life. And we chanted and chanted some more until I literally felt my soul turn around, my heart awaken. No, it’s not like that, don’t fear me and my exploration of Buddhism, I still pray every morning, I still revere the religions of my family, I just moved to a different place. I felt like I’d been reborn. Not in a fundamentalist way, but in a very deep and personal way. I flashed back to another difficult time in my life while at an Erykha Badu concert. I wasn’t very familiar with her music, but a friend suggested I go. I was out of place in the crowd, probably the oldest, whitest, stodgiest mofo in the joint. She was showing a soon to be child at the time and had recently separated or at least sung about a recent separation. She talked a bit about how challenging her life was at the time, how down on herself she was. Then she sang “I’m all right with me”. I guess she didn’t just sing it, she projected it. Next thing you know, the entire audience is up, holding hands, singing “I’m alright with me….” Tears were rolling down my cheeks. At first it was sadness and then as I looked around I could feel the tears getting warmer. They turned to tears of joy, tears I was proud of, tears of change. The message that really came through “Eat Love Pray”, at least for me was that you sometimes have to reboot, recreate, reengineer, reimagine….and there was my connection to TEDxSanDiego. Those were the titles of the TED talks in 2009 when I decided that I was done with the agency business. That it was time to do something new, something amazing something that would spread good things to others. I realized my new project, TEDxSanDiego was indeed a “labor of love”, not just work. I realized how far we had come and how amazing the learnings, the people, the experiences were. I suddenly knew that this was all part of my “next” as a friend likes to say….My entire life I’ve searched for my “next”. How would I leave this planet, thinking about all the things I didn’t do, the people I didn’t help, the places I didn’t go? I won’t. My “next” started last week. When will yours start?

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3 comments

  1. I’m such a cornball.


  2. Great post! I really enjoyed learning about your experience in the chanting … though as a “fundamentalist” I would argue that being reborn “in a fundamentalist” way is also very deep and personal; in fact, if it isn’t deep and personal then it isn’t being reborn or, should I say, born again! 🙂


  3. You are absolutely right and i agree 100%. i didn’t explain well that i wasn’t making value judgements.



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