Archive for October, 2011

Wealth and success without losing your soul!…


That was the topic of our expedition of inquiry to the jungles and rivers of Costa Rica this season. Armed with little more than helmets, canoe paddles, yoga mats and insect repellant thirteen fearless adventure/inventurers zipped through high cloud forest canopies, descended tumbling tropical cataracts surrounded by waterfalls and toucans, explored their innermost territories, wrapped themselves in unusual positions and celebrated worlds of new perspectives.

The journey was instigated and led by Lisa Jaffe and myself along with Pura Vida Spa co-founder and president of FreshMinds™ Bruce Benner. The process was entirely experimental. One evening in Encinitas over wine we had wondered: what if we combined our skills as facilitators in our respective disciplines to create a wholly unique and exciting kind of learning expedition?

And so we did.

Bruce brought his FreshMinds™ approach to discussions of life, career and creativity. What exactly is the FreshMinds™ approach? According to Bruce:

A FreshMind is one that is deeply present, intuitive and aware. It is not loaded with the pain of the past or the fear of the future. It is less concerned with how we have done things and more concerned with continuously asking the questions: “What is it we want to do?” and “How can we do it?”

 A FreshMind embraces possibilities with a wisdom that knows the reality of risk. 

A FreshMind is not asleep. It is not stale or in a rut. It is not rigid. A FreshMind is awake, receptive, flexible, productive, creative, and peaceful.

Lisa Jaffe guided us expertly via her unique specialty of combining spiritual discipline with a refreshing irreverence. Outlaw Yoga: “There are no rules – no experience needed. The only prerequisite is breathing. If you breathe you are eligible to participate in Outlaw Yoga.”  And her signature event Meditation and Martinis– Where Spirit meets Spirits:  “Gentle exercizes, guided imagery, breathing techniques… and a whole lot of sheer enjoyment. Play and laughter make us healthier, happier and even more productive. That is where the exotic fruit, all natural strawberry and passion fruit Costa Rican martinis come in!”

Our desire for external adventuring was fulfilled with hikes to volcanic fumaroles, close encounters with streams of leaf-cutter ants, crocodiles and butterflies, white water, catwalks and high velocity high-wire acts through the diversity-rich virgin cloud forest. Inner journeying involved body-work supplied by Pura Vida spa staff, drumming and chanting, yoga, group meetings and seminars. Late night hot tubs and early morning strolls through the magnificent gardens lush with hanging with fruit and bursting with flowers offered solitude. And there was the phenomenal food – exquisite, organic and a lot of it.

Were we successful? Did we answer the question? What is the secret of wealth and success without losing your soul?

There is no single answer but by the end of our journey for most of us the way was clear: While money and power are the external trappings, real wealth and success has more to do with connecting – to friends, to nature, to our bodies and to a sense of adventure not only for the wild and wooly but also to the internal realms of spirit and imagination. These are available to us 24/7 whether we find ourselves at work, at home or even on the train or roadway in between.

Wrote one participant:

“Much of what we will keep with us was the feeling of the trip … the unfolding of our understanding of each other, our reflections on our notions of service, the manifold moments of beauty and quiet and laughter, the ambiance of the surroundings, the fun of the dining room, and the bubbling up of our shared wisdom and heart.”

And another:

It was an amazing week.  Rain seemed to be a key theme – a cleansing thing I think.  It poured every day.  Nice and thunderboomy.  Lots of messages from the universe, to be interpreted at my will or whim.  Transformation, creation, destruction, water, earth, air, fire, metal, and butterfly wings.  Nothing being permanent and yet in every moment an endless, precious universe.

To sum it up let me just say this – whenever Jeff calls me to go on an adventure, I will go gladly, with a sense of wonder and excitement at what I might discover with him.  And I am never, ever disappointed.   I have realized anyone lucky enough to join in is a kindred spirit and are likely to earn my endless admiration and love.

We hope to see you for our 2012 Costa Rican Expedition. 

Jeff...Jeff...Jeff of the Jungle...Watch Out for the Treeeeee.....


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