You know by now we only have 2 speeds around here: off, and completely EPIC, right? 🙂
Get comfortable. Here is what happened in last week’s Costa Rica retreat.
Coming down from The Retreat Vibes is something we need to practice (deeply) every time we return from such a life-changing event.
Reentry is a combination of crazy levels of self-care, leveraging The High Retreat Vibes to take massive, aligned action, and looking back at the previous week with genuine AWE— wondering if all of that Divine Precision— the profound CHILLAX, All Those FEELS, and the GLOW unleashed by the Higher Permissions was actually real.
We return to fast-moving lives already in progress. For me personally, it’s getting my arms around the juggernaut of our daughter’s rock band. Sheez, what the hell happened while I was gone?!?
Honestly, I don’t worry anymore if we’ll deliver on the marketing promises of the retreats— that’s not ego, at least I hope it’s not. We just notice the benevolent, Tour De GOD FORCE supporting doing this work in a community.
Divinity favors the bold. The brave Souls who say (whole body) “YES!” create the container. My team and I get the honor of holding it. Our guests get the thrill of playing in it, and hopefully practicing at home to keep it full.
I usually expect to sob Pretty Cries on retreat. (Cuz “Ugly Crying” diminishes our humanity). I usually sob them to my wife, our team, or my coach once the guests are gone. This time though, I chose the harder, more awkward work of being fully in process alongside my team and guests. They saw me Chill, Feel, Glow in the Dark, and Glow in The Light.
Uncomfortable just thinking about it, but how the hell else can a Virgo + Scorpio North Node validate The Work?!?
The miracles both large and small are beyond anything we can plan. They are the content, and the case studies. The euphoric, giddy shrieks of childhood as participants leap 10 feet from a rock into the bubbling waterfall below. Everyone helping to ensure no one gets hurt. The gut-busting laughter mixed with paradigm-shattering bolts of insight. The rampages of acknowledgement for one another beneath literally hundreds of shooting stars on a perfect Costa Rican night.
Connecting deeply with self, others, and All That Is— including our new Costa Rican extended family of allies for life…
These are things no one can take away, and we gave them to one another relentlessly over the course of 5 days and 4 nights. More love than we know what to do with. The willingness to be fully seen, but also to hold our Magic Mirror of (100% fearlessly sober!) eyes up to 25 other Superhumans.
Our eyes saying:
“You will see yourself, so long as I’m here. You will rest. You will feel all there is to feel. You will glow, again and again— as you are healed.”
Willing to be a witness for our own greatness, and even MORE willing to be that for everyone else there. That is what I’m most proud of…
The 3 Permissions hold the power to transform individuals, but also transform the organizations capable of healing our planet. Yogananda reminded me the last day the permissions are simply another iteration of OM, TAT, SAT— the cornerstone trinity of yogic science.
Divine Connection, Wisdom, and Community.
EPIC RECAP ON DECK…
Design + Deliver Your Epic Decade:
Miramar, Costa Rica.
Februrary 26 – March 1st 2020.
In our Welcome Ceremony on Wednesday night, Rodolfo Carrillo and Julie Pham did what they do best— connected us to the sacred land of Costa Rica, and helped us set powerful intentions, before leading us through the “portal and vortex” of the Holy Vida Tree. I shared my new song which wrote itself for our event: “In The Light”.
I’ll share the lyrics and Soundcloud below.
Thursday’s exploration was
PERMISSION TO CHILL.
We started at 6A with a sunrise meditation and chant outside on the giant mandala. Luana Fara then led her first of three incredible yoga classes. Luana is literally one of my all-time Shero’s as far as her devotion to yoga, infinite depth and wisdom in her own practice, and passion for teaching so many teachers in Costa Rica. Having her teach during an Epic Life event was a dream come true. Her phenomenal husband Brian Wcislo captured photos and video. They both blended seamlessly with our staff and guests.
Roldolfo led us through his incredible “RIVER” exercise followed by a profound debrief. People died in that river, and even though it wasn’t “real”, we all felt it. We learned about our leadership, and what the cost is of not giving ourselves Permission to Chill. We also learned what true collaboration and trust could have looked like.
Charlie Gilkey set a powerful reframe on our experience of time, and planning. We explored the “Seasons” of our lives, what we needed to make peace with, and what we needed to release in Costa Rica in order to be fully present. He also turned all of my preconceptions of “productivity” and “planning” on its head. Charlie and I fell into a deep sync— with him owning the boots on the ground delivery of a decade vision.
I loved having Charlie’s incredible wife (PHD, and co-owner of Productive Flourishing) Angela Wheeler along for the ride. She added such wisdom and light, and her and Charlie’s marriage is a powerful presence on its own.
We had plenty of gaps to play with, and ways to chill deeply. This helped the travel weariness wear off, and helped each of us show up more fully as the day progressed. Feels were starting to be felt, as we began to understand this wasn’t another exercise in decade planning. Everything would be designed from our deepest corners— once blocks were removed.
Decades ahead will be delivered from our Highest and Best.
We shared many epic conversations over killer organic, Costa Rican cuisine. 3 Epic Family meals per day, which helped us forget about things like phones, or clocks. We soaked in the pool, hiked the property, and worked through the questions designed to unlock Absolute Chill. The loving staff at Vida by Selina kept everything flowing beautifully.
My local Wizard Philip R. Powis worked closely with Edward Zaydelman and the incredible staff to build upon his past events here. The results were Next-Level. Thanks for all the marketing wizardry, but also for loving our guests.
We wrapped “CHILL” day with a fire ceremony, where we torched limiting stories, beliefs, and outdated resentments. One of Yogananda’s affirmations is my favorite for this purpose:
“I will gather all dusty sorrows from the attic of memory, and cast them into the fires of oblivion.”
Chanting faded an epic Day 1.
FEEL ALL THE FEELS
Outside of our kids’ births, it ended up being the best day of my life. Kari Gormley had a pretty good day as well. LOL.
Morning meditation was led by Dr. Janice Powis. I’ve loved watching Janice step forward as an excellent teacher and voice for meditation. Luana aligned her class to the topic and added a ton of chanting before a deep yoga journey through the body.
After breakfast, I played a song I wrote for our departed legend Scott Dinsmore. Charlie felt his feels, and I openly felt mine. He started it by opening his Day 1 Session with “Seasons of Love” from Rent. 525,000 minutes…. It took us both back to Scott’s funeral in 2015, which unleashed you guessed it… MORE FEELS.
At this point, my teachers started showing up. Including Scott. Alice Bandy’s unmistakable joy and wonder danced around the space. Yogananda’s immense depth and love. Scott’s sheer audacity. All of the lessons from teachers long past, and still living— unfolding before me and rippling out to each guest.
We loaded a bus for a tour through a family-owned, organic coffee plantation. Walter and his family were some of the most pristine, sparkly souls we’ve ever witnessed. We learned about REAL hard work, with absolute JOY and SERVICE as the fuel. We drank the nectar of God through an orange, and then boarded a rocket to the Cosmos through organic caffeination. The joy. The love. The gales of laughter!
Charlie rocking that Good Shit Happens Shirt. All of it happened before 1P, and we were nowhere near finished.
We stopped for a hike up a rocky river bed, which lead to a 10 foot jump into the rippling waters. We helped one another. Our driver walked through the river in his street shoes, while moving boulders for our guests. “This is the TRUE human condition” is what I thought… The willingness and reverence to only move as fast as the slowest guest was able, without any rush, or self-centeredness.
We scaled walls up into the next-level adventure. A swimming basin with a couple waterfalls. The perfect blend of cool water, lingering coffee euphorics, and blazing warm sun. Wendy Baird won the Bravery Award in that setting— “Being scared shitless, but doing it anyway.” I got to help us both down the steep rocky ledges, foot-foot-hand-hand.
The conversations only deepened, and never stopped. Guests worked The Feels Questions back down the river, with friendships deepening and discovery everywhere. I changed into unicorn yoga pants behind a rock.
Back at the bus our beautiful guide David cracked open fresh coconuts to drink. More euphorics. Amanda Olafsson bashed the living shit out of a coconut— not unlike cracking skulls. It was dark, and hilarious. We feasted on white meat the whole drive back.
Back at Vida, Shanti was waiting. Shanti is the integration of the Best DJ you’ve ever moved your ass to, and a genius in human thriving. 20+ “Happiness Activations” connecting movement, music, mudras, comedy, and every feel you’ve ever wanted to feel. The entire North end of the human spectrum activated, 1 emotion at a time over 2.5 hours.
I had experienced Shanti last year at the same space, and this was unlike anything… ever. Just the wildest addition to Feel All The Feels Day.
The Men we attracted for this event were heart-centered, and high EQ. Grown men (with powerful careers) hugging one another. Holding each woman with the reverence, and respect they deserve. Holding space for the Mighty Divine Feminine to be unleashed. I rocked my “GRL PWR / Feminist” shirt with just the uni-tights. Somehow it felt appropriate for the torrents of tears, love, and gratitude I couldn’t contain.
“Just let it pour from you, through you, all around you” is the message that kept coming. “You get the privilege of working here” it said.
We all kept feeling it. Some people couldn’t turn off the faucets, so we headed upstairs to the A/C after dinner. The goal was always to design the decade from THIS place of unstoppable feels at the highest vibes.
So that’s what we did. Gilkey facilitated our asses off. We broke up the sessions with EFT tapping, self-love practice, and more hugs. People settled into their hearts and stayed there for the most part. If the brain weighed in, we shut it up and got back to the real work.
Wendy Baird and (the incredible) Alison “Ali Lew” Lewis were guests, and This Epic Circle members. They also performed an egregious amount of Reiki on one another, and on our staff and guests. Talk about the love flowing… You can’t plan whatever THAT is.
Shauna Wetenkampp. Once my coaching client and retreat guest, who now holds me, and the event together by sharing her Wonderbeast Healing. She custom blended The 3 Permission Oils and gifted each to all of us. She then worked on us 1:1 to dive deep into what we needed, and what was in the way. Her line of questioning goes deep and specific, often with unsettling speed and accuracy. She cracks open the heart, then massages it back into the direction of dreams. She embodies the Divine Feminine. You begin to understand how she healed her body after being completely run over by a Ford F150 in 2016.
And in between sessions, well, we get to laugh and goof off like little kids. Thanks for all your gifts, Wonderbeast. We see you. Thanks for never hiding again.
Saturday was February 29th. We rebranded it #RADDERDAY™ 2020 This Epic Life Enterprises.
GLOW IN THE DARK.
Completely ridiculous. Multi-sensory meditation that morning with ambient beats and chanting into Luana leading trust falls, and guests-launching-guests across the space.
It wasn’t even breakfast.
I led off with my core session for the event “Permissions Granted: How to Glow in the Dark”. We practiced receiving from one another through arm massage. Simple, but profound and completely unplanned.
Rodolfo batted cleanup with his Conscious Leadership Model, “SER”. This was a powerful 7-step process for taking our lessons home and integrating them back into our life and leadership.
Another bus, this time way out to the beach. We ate shaved ice and floated in perfectly still ocean water. I lost my prescription sunglasses AGAIN in Costa Rica. LOL.
We filmed testimonials, played and talked. Laughed, and helped one another get to the closest bathrooms. Monkeys in the trees everywhere, jumping wildly and reminding us “this is what it feels like to be free.”
But when the sun went down, The Glow Began. Charlie cut our closing group share and reflection short— so we could watch the Facebook Live of my daughter’s performance in the Rock Hall High School Rock Off. 1300 people watching the kids in Cleveland, and 25 leaders gathered around my little phone, hanging on every word and movement from Akron’s youngest band. Somehow God gave me the opportunity to share Elliott’s fierce determination to Glow in the Dark.
The kids absolutely destroyed that night, and everyone could feel it through the tiny screen and speaker. My heart was exploding!!!
It was already the OTHER best day of our lives… which ended in an epic acknowledgement rampage beneath the stars. 15 of us or so… encircled head to feet, going deep into loving words about one another and what each of us brought to the experience. God showered countless shooting stars all around us. Profound joy. Deepest feels. Brightest GLOWS.
Nick Vedros alternated between deep, lucid acknowledgements of his fellow guests, and quiet snores. Just the absolute cutest. “I’m not tired at all, Momma and Poppa!” LOL.
I snuck back to my phone to hear that Detention WON the High School Rock Off. Up in my room later I celebrated over the phone with Gayle. We marveled at Elliott’s complete lack of fear and leadership. Then I stayed up and watched Detention Live set 4 more times while laughing and crying…
Sunday departures of retreat-only guests. Unscripted, deeply loving goodbyes. Singing songs, chasing their bus like children.
All 3 Permissions unleashed.…
On Sunday, members of our This Epic Circle mastermind (ahem, Family?) dedicated the entire day to Doing Nothing and Integration. I received one of the most powerful Reiki healings from Alison Lewis. This included the #1 Profound Insight from this retreat. I’ll be exploring this in depth in the coming weeks and months. The inverse relationship between Security and Freedom.
We cannonballed. We chilled. We let tears flow as we talked at the deepest levels about our biggest dreams, and where we go now.
We received massages from the incredible Sophia. We somehow kept eating MORE amazing food, and marinated deeper into all FOUR permissions.
“Wait, there is a 4th Permission?!”
I wondered the same thing the week before the retreat.
And at that moment the sun flooded into our bleak, Ohio Winter.
She steadied my mind and focused my heart.
Divine Mother wrote me a song I had no time to write… Words are below.
All my LOVE an unending Gratitude to these Brave Souls who answer the call to make it happen.
…and for those who couldn’t make this one work, we hope to play together soon!! We’ll be announcing a Summertime event, followed by Costa Rica at the same time next year
I see, and love each of you for being YOU.
-Kristoffer KC Carter
MORE NOTABLE MOMENTS THAT KEEP CRUSHING ME WITH WAVES OF LAUGHTER AND GRATITUDE:
Sara Brannin-Mooser: Peeling back ALL layers, kicking Lana Dingwall’s ass in numerous workouts. Then forming an angelic choir with Wendy while we were walking out.
Kari Gormley: Alternating-ly writing down, or laughing at anything I said. I miss your blinding light all day long!
Jason Woods: One of my longest standing friendships, sharing the dancefloor. I kicked on Time Stand Still for you, and for our hero Neil Peart. You are my Neil Peart!
Robert Kuang: For just being so you— wise, hilarious, and lovable the entire time. Maybe The Camp Champ? Most Favorite Retreatant? While you were leaving, I was wondering if people would give ME half the send-off, or just be celebrating how I finally left. lol.
Kevin Blaushild: All the “holy moley’s”. Witnessing the growth of our community and events through your eyes. Enjoying you enjoying Yaniv Shanti. Knowing that would happen. The joy unleashed. Master everywhere. Jai Guru!
Brian Wcislo: Thank you for being a great MAN, and a wildly talented artist. Your presence was felt everywhere and you added so much. You also captured the magic PERFECTLY!!!
Julie Pham: Thanks for making Doing Nothing look SO EFFING GOOD! lol. Thanks for blowing everyone’s minds. Thanks for calming Rumi the hell down when he was chewing on my ass in unicorn yoga pants. We’ll always have that moment, won’t we? That’s ours to cherish.
Lana Dingwall: Thanks for being such a Giant Powerhouse, and sharing your electric eyes and laughter with everyone, all the time. What a blast to share that space. Thanks for calling me your lesbian older sissy Krissy. So flattering!! 🤪🤩🤓
Angie Cummings: Thanks for wearing all of your transformations, and Ground Taken on your sleeves, and in your smile. You radiate our work around here, and we couldn’t be more proud to know you. Thanks for being proud of YOU.
Erin Koss: Dancing 💃 from her heart, with the physique of a Spartan warrior. Thanks for playing full out and being so open to all the reflection. 🔥❤️🦄
Melanie Simon: Thanks for pausing your full family unit to help lead ours. Massive presence felt by all. Thanks for being a beacon of possibility for all our young women. Marriage Goals! Mom Goals! Handstand Goals!
Garrett Simon: Thanks for showing All The Way the hell up all the time. You inspire us all. Thanks for being a high-EQ, sensitive man, who happens to be the KING of his Kingdom. #MANGOALS #DADBODS
Joshua Harbert :I can’t overstate how grateful we were to have you with us. What a calming, zen light you bring. And the most epic hugs. And drawing all the beasts to your feet. What an epic dude you are. Thanks for everything.
IN THE LIGHT
words + music © 2020 kristoffer carter, this epic life | ASCAP
when did we fall out of orbit?
circling around the night…
when our skin wears thin,
we forget where we’ve been
come in, little dark satellite
rest, rest, rest
feel all there is to feel you will glow, glow again
as you heal
no matter how long you’ve been waiting
you’re never quite ready for Grace
she cuts cloudy skies, pours in through skylights
kneels down, to kiss your face
saying rest, rest, rest
and feel, all there is to feel
you will glow, glow again as you heal
running on stage at the edge of the dream
feeling unprepared, but willing to scream
oh, I will glow, you will glow, we all glow in the dark
i’ve watched you prepare for this all of your life
and you’re open to fail, but you’re willing to fight
i will glow, you will glow, we’ll all glow in the light
in the light
remind me there’s 2 kinds of fire
remind me the danger is real
while 1 fire forges, the other consumes
leaving dust of what could’ve been steel
so let’s rest, rest, rest
and feel, while we can still feel
and we’ll glow, glow again
once we’re healed
now we’re running on stage, wide awake in the dream
feeling unprepared, and ready to scream
i will glow, you will glow, we all glow in the dark
we’ve been preparing all of our lives
we’re open to fail, but willing to fight
i will glow, you will glow
we’ll all glow in the light
in the light