What I Learned at Summer Camp

business_not_as_usualI love questions. They cause me to stop and consider. They kick me into action. They’re a way into a conversation with myself and others.

My most recent personal challenging question was: how can I connect three things that I love; summer, camp, and learning into one (very) short vacation?The answer to the question arrived in the mail in the form of a course catalog. I’ve always wanted to go to the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, N.Y. Omega is a learning center, on a lake, in the woods on what they call a campus. For me, it was adult camp with all of the elements of camping; tent cabins, grounds for pitching your own, cabins fully furnished, a dining hall with a porch and giant round tables encouraging conversation over naturally organic and delicious vegetarian food. It is here that I found my tribe and in the class I choose called, “Shapeshifting into Leadership”, facilitated by NY Times best selling author, John Perkins, for more about Perkins, www.johnperkins.org.


So what is shapeshifting? I wasn’t exactly sure myself except it came to me in a dream  that I was a shapeshifter so I decided to trust it.  This experiential program focused us through inward journeys to finding, and clarifying our mission and personal vision for ourselves. We were guided on creating resolve for carrying these missions out into the world. It was astounding, in a way, how easy it was with the expert guidance of John and his assistants to find our spirit guide, to clear the blocks, and to claim our intentions. As a vision coach these unusual visioning techniques and intensified training spoke to me!

integrityAs we progressed through the program, we were divided into 6 clans and began to discover each others passion. It was inspiring how wonderfully varied we were – from interests about insurance to kids and yucky corn syrup filled snacks. My interest is in the corporate world and how to create a one-stop-shopping source for information about corporations and their policies for manufacturing, environmental sustainability, social citizenship, and labor practices.

What has brought me to this rather enormous subject?

In facilitating the workshops and writing about these issues, I’ve to see how nearly impossible it is to create vision when we’re so overloaded with our all the stuff that distracts. So my question has become, what are the forces at hand that has created the monster of ‘there’s never enough’ and how has this belief come to define us?

How are we addicted to our stuff; aided and abetted to always want more? What is the machine and what are the messages that feeds us? Who told us we NEED to buy more, to consume more like it’s a responsibility for citizenship like the call to shop after the 9/11 attack. We’re pummeled with 30,000 messages day and night to buy more, eat more, accumulate more for the fear of any number of reasons. Sadly with more of what we don’t actually need or want, comes the dis-ease of clutter trailing along behind us keeping us from being available for more of the real things of life.

stamp-smallI also want to know about the companies and corporations who are, or who are not, socially responsible and practicing sustainable manufacturing practices. Is their labor pool treated fairly or are laboring families paying the price so we can buy more and cheaper goods. This is where the rubber meets the road.

How can we know? The simple answer is to find out by getting educated. I have some ideas. This is tricky ground and I’m excited about lifting off the blinders and seeing more clearly the real picture of how we Americans have access to an abundance of inexpensive goods and at what REAL COST? I will continue to ask the questions, follow the bread crumbs and take the time to connect the dots……..so stay tuned.