The bliss prescription.

February 28th, 2012

What one weekend of Blissdom taught me about living life everyday.

Feeling the love. @lauriewrites and @zchamu blissing out.

Instead of the usual blog conference summary, where I post of bunch of pictures of fun things you weren’t doing with me last weekend, I thought I’d try to bring back something we can all use. Like lessons learned and values affirmed over the course of three incredible days immersed in the extraordinary community of Blissdom. These are some of them:

  • Demand kindness. At blog conferences, like most large gatherings, there is always a lot of nervous energy. It crackles and pops like static electricity coming up from the carpets, looking for somewhere to leap next. It comes out as sarcasm, drama, gossip, and other expressions of insecurity that pass between people, zapping them both unexpectedly. It’s an inevitable byproduct of bringing that many egos together. Or so I believed until I went to Blissdom, where kindness is demanded, explicitly and repeatedly. It’s demanded in the conference literature, in the welcoming speeches, and in the tone set by the staff and volunteers. I would say it teeters overboard, except that it works. Maybe people bristle a bit at being told how to act, but inner childishness responds to loving firmness just like real kids do. Those brats settled down, and our grown up selves got on with our business and pleasure. It was a powerful display of leadership, and it made me resolve to be more of a standard-bearer for kindness in all my interactions. And in case it all sounds a bit too syrupy and bland, know that I don’t mean “nice” when I say “kind.” People can disagree and even dislike each other in kindness, and nice can strike like a snake.
  • Make a gift of your presence. Every morning I woke up at the conference, my self-consciousness was waiting for me with a clipboard and an agenda. I made a practice of ditching it before I left the room, asking not how the day was supposed to serve me, but how I might serve. It’s an internal posture check that makes all the difference in how I perceive others and what I project. It also left the door open to some wonderful encounters not on my ego’s agenda.  I do a lot of people watching at these events, and I’ve observed that the most charming, charismatic, “it” people are the ones whose focus is trained outward. If you could see thought bubbles above the heads of everyone in a crowd, you’d see most people asking What do I need to get out of this? and a few people asking What can I bring to this? Those few are the magnetic ones. That’s presence. It’s something I’d like to cultivate.
  • Be natural. The best speakers I heard at the conference weren’t the most polished. They weren’t the ones with the best Power Point slides or the most dynamic hand gestures. Sometimes they were nervous or flustered. But they spoke from the heart. They had personal experience and they had conviction. And they were themselves. There’s nothing more effective. Preparation is important. But passion trumps polish every time.

I’ll probably have more thoughts to share with you as I continue to unpack my heart and mind.

But I’m keeping all the swag.


21 Responses to “The bliss prescription.”

  1. sweetney says:

    I miss you already.

  2. Just yes. exactly.

    I can honestly say that meeting you stands out as a genuinely lovely moment and one that I won’t soon forget.
    I love that while reading this, I can hear your voice and see the twinkle and sincerity in your eyes.

    Happy Tuesday, lovely lady.

  3. Tarasview says:

    oh my- that was so beautifully said. Thank-you! I LOVE the lessons you brought back with you :). Thanks for sharing your lovely self with all of us at Blissdom!

  4. zchamu says:

    God, look at me. Totally sprite drunk.

    You are awesome. I miss you. Let’s bunk again soon.

  5. Shash says:

    I want to frame this. It’s 110% truth.

  6. Bev says:

    Another powerful essay..thanks! I love your blog, because I love the way you express yourself through your writing.

  7. Heather says:

    Very well said! I loved how you described the nervous energy.

  8. QuatroMama says:

    This sums things up so beautifully well. Thank you.

  9. angela says:

    I appreciate, so much, the distinction you made between nice and kind. Also the passion trumping polish; sometimes we get so worried about the polishing that some of our (ok, maybe my) voice gets muted in the process.

  10. Of course you said this beautifully, and you wrote what has been repeating in my mind, just not as clearly. I feel so fortunate to have been there with you.

    • KyranP says:

      It’s entirely mutual. The worst is not knowing when I’ll see everybody again! Maybe I should be rethinking Blogher NYC?

  11. This is just a beautiful post. Yes, yes, yes. I so adored getting to spend more time with you and your beautiful, kind self (LOVE how you differentiate between niceness and kindness. WOW is there a difference, but I hadn’t really thought on it before.)

    • KyranP says:

      Meagan, hanging with you was one of the high points of my time at Blissdom. I hope we get to do it again really soon.

  12. Very, very well said. I love your advice to ask What can I bring to this?

  13. Jana says:

    This is just lovely. I don’t really even have words, just gratitude for your eloquence and the smile you put on my face. Thanks doll.

  14. I loved sitting next to you (and Robin, Julia, Kim, Becky and Sandy) during the crafty session. I loved our discussion and have been thinking about my blue mug and your dandelion puffs since then.

    • KyranP says:

      I’m going to have to write a post about the blue mugs. Too good not to share. I sat at that table by complete accident — I would never have picked the entrepreneurial/business track. And it was exactly where I was supposed to be. Love when those things happen.

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