Mindcamp ( )* Reflections

According to the little television screen embedded in the seat in front of me, I am 10,363 metres above sea level, somewhere in northern Ontario.  I am enroute to Fort McMurray from Toronto after a full week away.  It was quite a week.

I was feeling all kinds of stress in the days before leaving.  Work pressures combined with accumulated tenstion from a bruised community made the question whether I should be going to Mindcamp at all.  Though I knew it was the best thing in the world for me, it was tempting to pack it inn and acquiesce to the demands of work community, family and my painting life.  If I ever feel hesitant again about Mindcamp, all I will do is take a deep breath in, and slowly let it out, feeling it down through my core, the bones in my legs, through my feet and into the earth.  That's all it will take.

Mindcamp was EXACTLY what I needed to reset some things and remind myself of others.  I'm returning home with a new facilitation process that is adaptable to organizations, families, business, and individuals.  I largely made up "Painting Your Life" - including a guided meditation (my first) that was apparently rather effective.  Toby, Sarah, Nadine, Erik, Karina, Julia, Ashley, Kristina, John, Bob, Janice and Sam gave me a tremendous gift with their courage and vulnerability, sailing through uncharted waters and revealing the personal power of this workshop.  I had to wipe my eyes several times as they shared their paintings and the stories of their lives.  They they released their attachments to their creation and gave it to over to the group.  It was a transference (release), and a ceremony, that was overflowing with meaning.  As they selected a work of someone else's to add something from an appreciative perspective, they did so with intention and resolve.  The results were truly beautiful and affirming.  For more than several, it seemed to be hugely important within the context of their journey.

I'm also coming back with ideas and tools about resilience from Greg Z and strategies for creative leadership from Tim and Laura.  Additionally, I have some homework to dive into:  books from Cecilia Yau ( gracious gifts: Creative Geniuses and Breakthrough and Beyond) and Marc and Samantha Hurwitz (Leadership is Half the Story).

What I'm really coming back with is a stronger sense of "tribe".  I feel a part of the Mindcamp community in a way that is different than before.

The painting of Joe Miguez had an impact, in a way I wish it had not.  At first, it was a get well card and gift.  In the end, it was a memorial.

"Several people have commented that it is the best thing you've done," said Tim Hurson, the amazing man who invited me to Mindcamp 5 years ago.

The paintings of Alberta Einstein and Bruce Baum solidified my role as "The Painter" and probably will result in a few commissions, though that is not why I did them.  Painting at Mindcamp has become an integral component of my journey.

On of the many highlights of Mindcamp was our Kaleidoscope group: Open Space Stars.  Each afternoon, seven of us - Vesna, Peter, Deborah, John, Catherine, Michelle and myself - would gather under a tree next to the water and adjacent to the Labyrinth and debrief about the day.  We formed a special bond and looked forward to our time together, as the breeze made the flags of the Lab dance and the squirrels and chipmunks ran up and down the trees.

I connected in a deep way with a number of people:  Cecilia, Jeanne, Vesna among them.  I strengthened my connection with many more Mindcampers and discovered new resources that might serve our community in the future.

I told the Fort McMurray Fire story during a night flight - workshops spontaneously offered after all the scheduled ones were over.  I shared the Fort McMurray Fire story with Lee Dunne after the closing lunch and brought her to tears several times.

There were many hugs and moments of connection that I will hold in my heart until Mindcampers reassemble in August 2017.  My hope is that Heather and Dylan can join me next time.  Perhaps we can entice Ben to sign on too.

I'm convinced that the extra special magic of Mindcamp (   )* was a gift from Joe.  It was like he was there with us, dancing on a breeze, doing the "Hokey Pokey" in the centre of the Labyrinth under the stars and a brilliant moon.  Thank you Joe.  Thank you Mindcamp.


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