"When our minds are quiet, that's when transformation can take place."
As I sit here in the cool tranquility of my casita at the 5th Annual Inner IDEA Conference, sights and sounds from the past 24 hours are bubbling up in my mind like a spring. When 450 mind-body fitness and wellness professionals come together with their collective aspiration to live more integrated, more open lives, exciting things happen.
In fact, as we learned last night, just two people coming together with that commitment can bring about big shifts. Shaman Brant Secunda and six-time Ironman winner Mark Allen are about as different as they could be in physique, personality and style, but what Mark learned from Brant about quieting the mind and drawing nourishment directly from nature empowered him to accomplish what until then had been out of his reach. Over and over, Mark was a runner-up--and he knew just what he was up against in his nemesis, Dave Scott: "If I was going to win the Ironman, I was going to need to beat a man who was willing to rinse his cottage cheese." Not something Mark was willing to do. Instead he learned from Brant how to change his attitude, to avoid being ensnared by sabotaging thoughts, to be inspired by Dave instead of in conflict with him--and to be less concerned with winning than with running his best race.
Here at La Quinta, addressing the Inner IDEA community, Brant drummed and sang, and said, "From the heart there is a doorway--that each of us has--that connects us with all of life. . . . With every step, feel the love of Mother Earth coming up from the earth. This empowers your body--it gives you physical strength (it's not just a metaphor). . . . Connect with the sunset, with the sunrise, with midnight, with the winged ones, with birds and flowers and plants, with Mother Earth." Afterward, as we spilled out into the warm desert night, the harvest moon--barely a day old--hung like a beacon in the evening sky, a symbol of wholeness, offering us all a chance for connection.
Today, I've been on the move, catching glimpses of many sessions, from Susanna Moore's lovely morning experience, "The Healing Power of Sound," with quartz crystal and Tibetan gongs, to Michael King's "Spirals," with its fun, expansive movements, to Mehrad Nazari's "Spirit of Hatha Yoga," in which this wise man reminded everyone how tricky the mind can be: how it will attempt to talk you out of your commitment to a path. "Stay in the center," he advised. Just knowing what the mind is capable of will help. And what about when you need inspiration or encouragement? "Don't do affirmations in front of a mirror. Go out and look at the stars. You are that."
Talking of inspiration, this year the Inner IDEA Inspiration Award recipient is Lawrence Biscontini, who has been delighting IDEA conference delegates for years with his creativity, humor, warmth and skill. Lawrence has so much heart. Accepting his award, he thanked a long list of staff members by name, bowed to his fellow presenters ("You all teach me how to conjugate the word love") and then shared a few pithy teachings of his own: "Cultivate your spirit. Think of words from gardening-- till, organize, make organic, fertilize. . . . Fear is nothing but frozen joy. . . . You can't see yourself reflected in running water, so cultivate stillness. . . . And learn TRUST: 'Tomorrow's results ultimately start today.'"