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Leaving the Peak Without Coming Down

Sunday morning, I was quietly meditating— and sobbing in the dark— backstage in upstate, NY.

Four hundred and thirty Campers, and our teams of staff and volunteers were on the other side of the curtain. Our host, and visionary maker Jonathan Fields was delivering the final keynote: Spark Your Life. This was our final presentation in our 5th and final year of Camp Good Life Project. 

Camp – GLP is always simultaneously a point of arrival, and a point of departure. This year is different, in there is a palpable feeling of “What’s NEXT?!” I’ve been tuning out any thoughts of what’s next, choosing instead to be grateful that Jonathan and Stephanie saw the camp concept through for 5 straight years.

In typical fashion, Jonathan’s talk laid planks into the future.

 

Ride with me through Camp on a borrowed bike… Song is “Tables & Chairs” by Andrew Bird

 

In 2011, Jonathan’s book Uncertainty was the first book I read after finishing my guru’s book, Autobiography of a Yogi. In both cases, I felt profound resonance with the author. I would get on their radar. I would serve their work.

Yogananda’s guidance and training can be a multi-lifetime process. In trying my best to attune my consciousness to guru’s Divine will, he tees up the perfect teachers to expand my development.
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1 Guru, Many Teachers.
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No teacher has impacted my life quite like Jonathan. He’s my Mensch, my mentor, and my marketing conscience. He demonstrates the ethos, pathos, and logos of ethically changing lives. The experiences and learning containers he creates are high-flow environments.

I thanked him for this the other morning, because the details of what we pull of as his team should kill all of us! (See the post-Camp photo below) 😀

Beyond all that, and central to it– he’s an exceptional husband, and Dad. The Dude knows the dance of meaning so much to so many, and everything to so few. The Fields Abides. 

Soul-Bros. Bromancing The Stone. Camp 2014.

The culmination of our final Camp moment was overwhelming for me.

Introducing him was tough enough, following a video our camp community produced about the hundreds of small, and massive ways Camp GLP has impacted their lives. As emcee I tried to ease the emotional weight by deflecting to some Beyonce dance moves. My smokescreen worked just enough to get my ass off stage.

Jonathan began the talk as a meditation on purpose, sharing his discovery at a young age of his affinity (and genius) for building things. Always an artist, always a maker. We were all just wrapping up another experience he helped design. Make no mistake, his (incredible) wife Stephanie built Camp Good Life Project™.

Stephanie is a Master in client delight, grace under pressure, and summoning millions of granular details into a seamless experience. She also carries the bags of campers who arrive late, or shepherds them to the emergency clinic– with patience, and humility.

These Fields’ attract powerful contributors, then unleash us to create the experience. The growth this level of trust fosters is ridiculous. Lindsey Fox came to camp the first year, and now leaves as a Chief Operations Officer. Emiliya and I came on as a pair of Swiss-Army knives of party tricks. We head out as teachers, sages, and beacons of possibility. The Camp Magic flows out into countless teams and organizations through all of our work.

I stopped trying to quantify, or understand it. This year I gave up even trying to “do” camp, or perform my role. I surrendered to the idea of “being” camp– for myself, my team, and our campers.

It’s a tweak I planted the seed for in our final meditation. Each morning I’d try to open my eyes a couple minutes early while leading guided meditations. The hundreds (!) of shining faces were just too bright. The Vibe was just too high.

 

The sun rose through the windows,
and exploded through our hearts
as we chanted “This is what it feels like to be free.”

Hear the chant below…

 

 

DON’T STOP BELIEVING.

 

Now a couple hours later, everything was coming to a close. Jonathan shared his journey in guitar luthiery this year, investing countless hours and plenty of money into building his own guitar by hand. I had followed along on Instagram as he built it, and looked forward to playing it someday.

The day prior, we settled on a reveal of the guitar he built, which would then lead into his first vocal + guitar performance of Journey’s Don’t Stop Believing. 

Minutes before the morning kicked off, I huddled our team of badass camp musicians: Gregory Berg (also our photog for 5 amazing years) on keys, Mike Kimlicko on bass, and Wendy Baird on backing vocals. We talked through the arrangement, and the transition from Jonathan’s talk to the final jam.

Camp Staff – 2018. Behold the powerful, beautiful Divine Feminine! We dudes just try to stay outta the way.

 

 

MY FINAL ACT OF SERVICE?

 

 

Jonathan finished his preview of his next wave of work, the 10 Sparketypes. I listened through the curtain as I tuned our guitars, then sat to meditate. I couldn’t figure out what to wear out for my final appearance. All of my crap for the weekend was strewn between backstage and my room in the next building.

Suddenly I realized I hadn’t fully rocked The Unicorn mask this weekend. It began as a bad joke a few years prior, then got more ridiculous, and accepted.

At the moment I couldn’t think of a better way to come full circle than handing my teacher the guitar he built by hand– while dressed as a sparkly-assed Unicorn.

And that’s how we left the peak. We couldn’t improve upon this experience. Every year I wore a shirt that promised: “Best. Year. EverRRrrrr.” Every year it overdelivered. As we jammed some Journey, I told the audience “Fact! Stephanie always wanted to date a guy in a band!”

The moment felt complete.

 

Camp 2018. Pic by Marisa Goudy

 

THE NEED FOR INNER-COMPLETION

 

Last week I decided I’d dedicate the bulk of this week to completion on the last 5 years of Camp Magic. I decided to share the process I use from my coaching accreditation/training through  Accomplishment Coaching. The completion process is extremely helpful between chapter breaks in our lives.

Releasing the past energy isn’t to diminish the experience, but rather to integrate it more fully, and create space for more to flow through. You can’t keep expanding while constantly looking backward, over your shoulder.

Emiliya, Cynthia and I painstakingly recreate the dance scene from Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion. 2016

 

As Accomplishment Coaching describes The Completion Process:

Completion is the opportunity to be present, to release burdensome energy, and to be acknowledged. Activities of completion include: saying what is there, being present to one’s accomplishments and stops, declaring things complete as they are – finished or unfinished. Ultimately, there is forgiveness in completion. 

Below are my answers, with the intent to be complete, acknowledge my accomplishments, sacrifices, and next steps.

Are you willing to be complete with this?

Probably not, which is why I must. Yes. I’m willing to raise our jersey to the rafters and ski jump into all the new adventures.  We’re exiting at The Peak, and rather than coming down I want to check out the next summit(s).

What are you present to? (Thoughts, Feelings, Body Sensations)

My heart is cracked open, and won’t stop expanding to include more. God’s limitless bounty pours through. I’m less concerned about time, or money. My body trembles. Partly because I’m physically sore and in recovery. Partly, because the 1.21 Gigawatts keep firing every time I see some new reflection on Facebook about the experience. The feelings are profound gratitude, love, acceptance, and Divinity. It feels like a vibrational summit.

Joe Ferriss, a first year camper drew this by hand. It hangs in our kitchen.

 

What haven’t you said that there is for you to say? 

My fear is that in my attempt to include everyone at all times, I may blow too fast through rooms, duck out of conversations, or not be fully present. If I ever offended, scared, or intimidated anyone, that was never my intention. It began as a performance and evolved into (I hope) a pure act of service.

To whoever I snapped at out of exhaustion, or feeling frenetic in the moment, I apologize.

Also, I forgive anyone who knocked my guitar over. Including myself.

 

6A sunrise meditations, year 1. 2014. These grew and expanded, as my ability to teach and lead guided meditations evolved. Our last session in 2018 was incredibly powerful.

 

 

What have you accomplished?

We’ve seen 1000 Campers, and we’ve rocked them all! 5 years at my edge of capability. All the packed workshops and 6a meditations, transitioning into Yoga. Mountains of content produced, which now pay my bills. Countless allies and friendships. Clients for life. Proof of concepts. Practicing Full-Life Integration™ with witnesses, becoming the integration of entertainer, teacher, sage, and madman. 10,000,000 hugs. Acknowledgment for how Gayle and I raise our kids.

Our kids trying to explain to their friends what their Dad does for work. “You don’t understand. He IS a unicorn!” All the Vibe that comes back into our home, and into all the homes and families of our community. 1000’s of meditators activated, or reactivated. No more drinks. Launching my biz, leaving corporate forever. Seeing our fellow staff peeps at their absolute peak of expression, then in slap-happy laugh hysterics of total depletion.

Nothing held back, ever!

 

The Campers leave, then we crater. 5 MORE YEARS! 5 MORE YEARS!! 5 MORE YEARS!!!

 

 

 

What stops have you identified?

I need completion so I don’t stay glued to the slipstream of remembrances. I lived it, that is enough. I stop when I can’t pull away from the past. Guru and my work beckons me forward.

What is finished in this area?

Publishing this recap. Getting unpacked. Reentry to Dad life. Processing a bit of it while walking dogs with Gayle. I gave away many of my custom-made Camp GLP T-Shirts to people who exemplified the phrases “Camping my Ass Off” (Lindsey). “Introvert Friendly!!!!” (Harmony). Etc.

What seems unfinished in this area? (List)

  • Reconnect with Gayle after a month traveling in different directions. – Started. Book 1:1 time and kid coverage. by Tonight.
  • Connect with each child individually about their new school year – Started. Ongoing through Labor Day.
  • Temple Services Sunday to commune and reflect. – Sunday! Plan Encinitas sadhana. Regular routine tomorrow.
  • Support reentry and “Bringing the Om Home” for Campers in need – Talk to Cynthia / Steph by Thurs.
  • Launch the 30-Day Meditation Challenge for September. – Alyssa, FB Live today. Friday kick-off.
  • Gift my remaining 3 shirts (“I Say We Do It You Guys!”, “Trying to Impress Susan Piver” and 2017 tie-dye). – By 9/30
  • Creating some shrine of the unicorn head with photos. – By Halloween. Involve the kids in the project. Must look insane.
  • Designing my sked for the rest of the year. Reevaluating client work and projects based on elevated vibe/vision. – By Thursday EOD.
  • Follow-up and connect with new allies (once I’m fully recovered and reintegrated). – Next 4 weeks.
  • Write some Thank You cards to those who made my Camp experience special. – By 9/8. 
  • Revisit my breakthroughs for coaching training. Spiritual Teacher, Trust as access to Power, etc. – This week.
  • Throw myself a celebratory Birthday Bash. – By 9/5.
  • Get facilitated completion by member of coaching team. – By 9/8.
  • Create coaching requests around all new opportunities. – By 9/6.

 

What declarations are you willing to make about EACH of the things that seem unfinished? (Review list)

**See above in pink.

What are you taking with you from this? 

Owning my power, and crazy gratitude around having a place to express it.

What are you leaving behind and/or giving up?

I’m leaving behind Doing Camp. I’m embracing Being Camp (harnessing that ethos). I’m giving up doubting myself, worrying about what’s next. I’m leaving behind any neediness to be included or asked back for whatever the next iterations are.

What gifts has this experience given you?

Too many to mention. Our home, my heart and my memory all runneth over.

What is next for you?

September meditation challenge. Building up my coaching work. Drafting the TED talk. Picking the book back up with Cynthia Morris. Rocking the November Integrated Life Retreat. Completing the Fall Hiking Spree with our kids, visiting Ani in NOLA.

 

Debuting the camp anthem “Raddest Summer of Our Lives!” 2015.

 

IN CLOSING…

 

What else would you like to say to be complete?

Beloved God and Gurudev, you’ve given this random suburban dude This Epic Life! Thank you for your endless blessings of attunement, my vitality and energy, all my teachers…. Thank you for your patience with me. Thank you for your body-rippling inner hugs of acknowledgment when I’m On Purpose. You are my compass. Thank you for the exceptionally high-standards, and your grace and encouragement when I can’t hold myself to them.

Above all, Guru,  thank you for my exhausting obsession with personal and spiritual growth. All experiences lead me back to Being with you.

Gayle. You and the kids are my reason, and reward for doing the work I do. Thank you for holding it down. I love you beyond measure.

Jonathan + Stephanie. Thank You for including us in your vision, and your love for community. It’s been the thrill, and opportunity of a lifetime.

I was a disgruntled, drinking salesman the day I met Jonathan Fields. A great teacher sees in us what we have a hunch may already be in there.

During a break, you snapped this pic of me with your phone.

Over the next 6 years, you generously gave me every opportunity to become The Essence of what you saw in me.  I’ll be your sparkly-assed, unicorn guitar stand ANY DAY, bro.

 

 

I am complete.

[Check out my Year 1 Camp Recap here: Redefining Engagement]

 

When it comes to Camp, what are you most grateful for? Any favorite moments to share? Let’s hear them in the comments below.

 

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Kristoffer Carter “KC” coaches CEOs, founders, and Heads of People in elevating team culture. He is an Executive Coach and meditation expert for rapid-growth teams. Download free culture resources, and at thisepiclife.com
A handful of spots  for The Integrated Life™retreat (November 11-13th in Encinitas, CA) remain. Learn more and enroll here.

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