The review of the 2007 I Can Do It! Conference concludes.
Day 4 – Sunday
Steve: About fifteen people showed up to our 8am meetup. Not everyone stayed for the duration, although most did. Fortunately the concourse was not at all crowded and was fairly quiet during that time, so we had a good spot all to ourselves. We talked about the conference, blogging, favorite books, psychic experiences, and several other topics. At first we gathered in a big circle as people gradually trickled in (see the first photo below), but then we broke off into smaller groups.
Here are some photos (Erin and I are both dressed in black):
I really enjoyed the chance to connect with people who’d been reading this blog and/or Erin’s blog for a while. Internet technology is a great facilitator, but nothing beats talking face-to-face.
Throughout the conference, Erin and I were recognized at least half a dozen times, so we had many impromptu meetups too. One involved an interesting discussion about subjective reality.
At 9am Christiane Northrup presented the morning keynote: “Menopause & Beyond: Embracing the Vast Possibilities of Midlife.” Since that topic wasn’t of great interest to me, I didn’t attend, opting instead to spend more time chatting it up at our meet-and-greet. However, the following week I did digest the male equivalent of this topic: Rocky Balboa on DVD.
Erin: I very much enjoyed the meet and greet. Many of the people who came are people I’ve read for and it was wonderful to share energy in person instead of just over the phone. Many people found a quiet moment to chat with me privately and share what has happened since their readings. I love the feedback. I also enjoyed putting my Toastmaster skills to work. Thank you to everyone who commented that I spoke well during our impromptu Q&A portion. Getting experience speaking in front of a group is a goal of mine right now.
A big thank you to everyone who showed up. It made the conference very meaningful for us to be able to connect face to face with our readers. Maybe next year it will be even bigger.
Susan Smith Jones, Ph.D – Choose to Be Healthy & Celebrate Life
Steve: I was originally signed up to see Brian Weiss for this time slot, but after doing his all-day workshop on Thursday, I figured this two-hour breakout session would probably be a condensed version of the same material. I considered switching to a different session, and Susan Smith Jones seemed the most interesting to me. (At this conference if you wanted to switch sessions, you had to stand in line to request a badge change, since your sessions were listed on your badge, and people checked your badge at the door before letting you in.) While Erin and I were eating Chinese food for lunch, I cracked open my fortune cookie and saw the message, “Try something new.” Since I was on the fence anyway, that was all the convincing I needed.
I was really impressed with this session and learned a lot. I thought my health practices were good, but Susan puts me to shame. Her approach to health goes far beyond physical and mental fitness. She presents a complete lifestyle package for total health. She mentioned early in the session that she hasn’t had a cold or flu in about 25 years. Her skin was practically glowing.
Susan espouses a whole foods, mostly raw diet along with regular exercise and weight training — no argument there — but diet and exercise together account for only the first of her 10 steps for radiant health and vitality. Most of the other steps deal with emotional components: minimize stress, take time to relax, meditate daily, be grateful, simplify your life, etc. Her web site has the complete list.
A key point Susan emphasized during her talk was the importance of commitment and self-discipline. Good health needn’t be complicated, but it does require a personal commitment. Without that commitment disease becomes the default. This message was congruent with Bill Phillips’ presentation earlier in the conference. I’m sure Rocky Balboa would agree as well.
A couple interesting health practices I learned about in Susan’s session were dry skin brushing and neti. Dry skin brushing is just what it sounds like. You brush your skin with a dry brush. Susan said that doing this once a day will gradually remove the dead skin and give you baby-soft skin in 30 days. Although Susan didn’t mention it, I realized this practice might simulate what would happen if we spent more time in nature, casually brushing against trees, plants, and rocks. Maybe all that scratching is good for our skin. I love trying out new ideas, so I picked up a dry brush with plant-based bristles. I got it at Whole Foods for about $8. It’s made of wood and has a long detachable handle. I’ve only been using it for a few days, but I’ve noticed the skin on my arms is already smoother, and the areas that were peeling show no signs of peeling now. Softer skin isn’t a big concern of mine, but I’m wondering if other health benefits may result from this practice. Many toxins are naturally released through the skin, so the improvement may be more than just cosmetic.
Neti is the practice of nasal cleansing. My first reaction to it was, “Huh? People actually clean out their nasal passages with salt water?” To perform neti you use something called a neti pot, which looks like a small teapot. You fill the neti pot with a cup of warm salt water and insert the spout into one of your nostrils. Your pour the water into one nostril, and the water goes up into your nasal cavity and drains out the other nostril. Then you repeat it on the other side. It takes a few minutes total. Susan said the practice can eliminate allergies and sinus problems within 30 days.
I’d never heard of neti before this workshop, so I looked it up online after the conference. Apparently it’s an old purification process for yoga. I bought a neti pot at Whole Foods for $17 and decided to give it a try, if only because it would freak out my family.
After Erin stopped rolling her eyes at me, I tried out the neti pot, mixing a quarter teaspoon of salt with one cup of hot water. As I considered what I was about to do, I had to give myself an eye-roll as well. Then I stuffed the spout in my nose and began pouring like I was chugging a beer in my college days. Within a few seconds the water was coming out the other nostril. The sensation reminded me of swimming in the ocean and getting water up my nose. Depending on how I tilted my head, I could also make the water pour down the back of my throat, which wasn’t the most pleasant feeling. Using the neti pot felt very strange at first, but after about a few days I got used to it.
Las Vegas isn’t known for its air quality. When it’s windy here, it gets very dusty, and the hot, dry, dusty air doesn’t go easy on the sinuses. I never had sinus issues when I lived in L.A., but after moving to Vegas 3.5 years ago, I’ve had a lot more nasal congestion, and I often wake up with a stuffy nose. While I wouldn’t say that neti solved everything overnight, it’s made a difference. I’m already noticing I breathe easier through my nose for at least a few hours after doing it, and I don’t have to blow my nose as often as I used to. I’m going to stick with it for a few more weeks to see how it goes.
Feel free to visit Susan’s web site for more info on neti. I have to say the woman in the photo on her site looks just a bit too happy to have water pouring out of her nostril. How does one find a good neti model anyway?
Brian Weiss, M.D. – Mirrors of Time
Erin: After hearing about Steve’s past life experiences I was anxious to see if I could connect with mine. We had some technical difficulties with the lights that kept going on and off during the meditation portion and someone’s phone was beeping in front of me indicating a low battery about every 2 minutes so I kept getting 6 second flashes of a past life and then the beeping brought me back to the present. I was frustrated because I could feel how close I was to something awesome! It would take me 30-60 seconds to get “back there” and then whammo, another beep. Bummer! But many people reported seeing past life experiences.
I had much better luck with the psychometry exercise. I have to say up front that psychometry really isn’t my thing and I have never had much luck with it, but today appeared to be different. I was holding a copper bracelet from my partner. Immediately I got visual images from it. I saw one of those threaded and colorful friendship bracelets made of string. I felt a strong Indian tie to this. And I knew his father was involved in this. What it felt like to me was that my partner owned the copper bracelet and his father had the thread one and that they wore them for some symbolic reason related to being father and son. Afterward my partner confirmed that this is exactly what happened. He wears the copper bracelet and his father wears the threaded one and something about it reminding them of each other since they bought them together at the same time and place. That was probably my first positive experience with psychometry. I’ll have to try it again in the future.
Brian Weiss’ presentation was wonderful. Polished, professional, interesting, and very funny. I would love to finish my past life regression with him some time.
The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success – Movie Screening
Steve: We saw a screening of The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success, a new DVD movie starring Olivia Newton-John and based on Deepak Chopra’s book of the same title. Although the book was one of my all-time favorites, I thought the movie was OK but nothing special.
Erin: I liked the movie and think it did a good job of explaining the concepts. Olivia was a good host. If you get a chance to see it, I highly recommend it. Watch it with friends and discuss.
Deepak Chopra, M.D. – Explorations in Consciousness
Steve: This was by far my favorite keynote of the conference, and it was the first time I’ve seen Deepak in person. He spoke at length about the nature of consciousness and reality. He pointed out that we are not our bodies. We are the consciousness that contains these bodies. He also told some heart-warming stories about family experiences related to ritual and tradition. This man totally exudes inner peace.
He concluded his speech with 15 points about the nature of consciousness, and as he spoke I recognized that he was precisely describing subjective reality, although using different terminology than I use. I found myself nodding in agreement with his points even as I noticed looks of utter confusion on the faces of everyone around me — the same looks I often get when trying to explain this very topic. Deepak definitely gets it, but even with his calm lucidity, communicating these ideas is still a major challenge. We’re so socially conditioned to see the world through an objective lens that we can scarcely fathom that there are alternative lenses. Trying to fathom the nature of consciousness simply cannot be done while clinging to an objective mindset because the objective lens is the wrong tool for the job. It’s like trying to buy enlightenment with money — you can spend a fortune on the pursuit, but it won’t help much. To understand the nature of consciousness, you must release the objective lens and dive deeply into the subjective realm.
Deepak’s communication skills were outstanding. Despite the challenging topic, his speech was well-organized and easy to follow. He spoke from his heart, but he offered plenty of mentally challenging ideas to consider as well. The only downside is that by the end of his talk, he was speaking from such a high level that I could tell he had lost much of the audience. But I think that had more to do with the topic than his skill as a communicator. I applaud his willingness to tackle such a topic openly.
Erin: Like Steve I was very impressed with Deepak. His presentation was polished and coherent. He is calm and lucid, like Steve mentioned. I could listen to him for hours. By the end of his presentation I was getting lost because I was still fathoming the previous principle before he went on to the next one. He was very pressed for time so that probably was a factor. I would love to hear him speak again. Deepak’s got it goin’ on! If you ever get a chance to hear him speak in person, take it.
Steve: Here are some improvements I’d suggest to make this conference even better:
- Introduce speakers properly. Most of the keynote speakers were given only minimal introductions, such as, “I’m sure this person needs no introduction. You’ve read her books, and you’ve seen her on TV. Please welcome …” If I were giving a presentation to thousands of people, I’d never want to be introduced like that. Even if the speaker is world famous, they still deserve a decent intro. At a minimum the introducer should tell the audience who the speaker is, why s/he is qualified to speak on this topic, and what the title/topic of the speech is. The intro can end with a line like, “Please help me welcome…” The introducer should remain on stage until the speaker comes out, shake hands or give a hug, and then depart. Ideally speakers should provide their own intros. At least one speaker had a proper intro – I think it was Bill Phillips — and the difference was very noticeable. I recommend doing proper introductions for the workshop speakers as well. It was painful to see presenters get on stage in front of 200 people who were chatting, try to get everyone’s attention and settle the room down, and then introduce themselves. A 60-second intro makes a world of difference.
- Structure presentations with clarity in mind. A good presentation requires an opening, a body, and a closing. A popular bracketing format is: tell the audience what you’re going to tell them, then tell them, then tell them what you told them. A good opening helps the audience follow the presentation, and a strong closing lets them leave on a high note with a final reminder of the key ideas. While some speakers like Brian Weiss and Bill Phillips used this structure, many jumped right into their topics without giving us a clue as to their heading, and their final sentence was a sudden, “OK, I’m going to be doing book signings at that table over there. Thank you.” Often when a talk lacked a good opening and closing, the rest of the presentation was disorganized as well. The opening and closing are the most crucial components of any presentation and should be given sufficient attention; otherwise the speech value declines, and the audience suffers.
- Tone down the rivalry. One oddity I observed throughout the conference was the apparent rivalry between those who gave readings. Erin noticed it too. Several presenters made subtle jabs at others who gave readings using a different style, either poking fun at other styles or defending their own. We saw this happen last year too. These jabs seemed more personal than professional and, in my opinion, didn’t help anyone’s cause.
Steve: Overall the 2004 and 2006 ICDI conferences had a stronger impact on me than this one, but that wasn’t unexpected. The 2004 conference was a catalyst for me, helping to initiate a major change in my life path, and the 2006 conference awakened me to some abilities I hadn’t yet tapped. The 2007 conference mostly provided extra validation that I’m on the right path, happily living my purpose and enjoying the process. Instead of feeling pushed to make changes, I found myself mostly nodding along in agreement.
Erin: I enjoyed this conference very much. Getting to learn from Gordon was a very worthwhile experience for me and worth the price of the entire conference. My suggestion would be to keep the keynotes to 1.5 hours. The 2.5 hour keynotes were too long and the chairs too uncomfortable for that. The exhibits were tough to navigate so I would recommend spreading them out a bit. Often I just looked at the hordes of people crowding the aisles and said, “forget it, I’ll come back during a presentation so I can get in there.” I don’t think they need that many keynotes either, but I understand why they wanted to give certain authors exposure to all attendees instead of trying to get them into a small workshop room. Like Steve, I got a lot more out of the 2006 conference, but I feel that’s a sign that I’m growing and understanding and integrating the material more. My final comment is to bring back Esther and Jerry Hicks and Abraham. The conference wasn’t the same without them.
Read the rest of the conference review: