Holy moley. No, that’s not strong enough. Holy fucking shit. That was an amazing conference. There’s NO WAY I could have predicted that level of amazing.
Momentum (the first ever) just happened in Washington, D.C. and I was thrilled to be a part of it. We had fantastic speakers, great organizers, but most of all, everyone there was brilliant. Almost every conversation, every spare moment, every casual fleeting thought felt like the beginning of something big. I could write for a year from this one weekend.
Here’s what’s inspiring: so many people doing good work to make the world fabulous.
Here’s what’s moving: people balancing self-interest with the greater good.
Here’s what’s transformative: being somewhere where you don’t have to explain yourself.
I think it’s called fitting in, and we all want to do it. We all want to feel super-rockin-awesome about who we are, and not be questioned all the damn time about the choices we think are perfectly logical. It’s not about conformity, it’s about not having to think about survival.
See way back in the day, we had to think survival thoughts. And one big one was, “If it’s me vs. the tiger, I most likely lose and the tiger gets lunch. But if it’s eighteen or twenty five of me vs. the tiger, we have much better odds.” Which meant, “don’t piss off the other twenty four people or you will indeed be tiger lunch.”
When you’re able to relax about the tiger, you can do things like invent arrows and discover fire. You can make up words to communicate ideas; you can draw pictures and invent writing to pass on information even when you’re not there. Also, and maybe more important, your stress hormone level goes down and your pleasure hormone levels go up. You can safely make babies (or just have sex for fun!) so you WANT sex in a way that you probably won’t when it’s you and the cold hard world. There’s a place for creativity and sweetness and affection and invention. It’s space to grow and change. It’s space to take on other stresses–voluntarily–because the primary stresses are no longer in place. So you can decide what challenge you’re ready for, and go that way. Individual identities emerge.
That’s right, fitting in makes space for you to see yourself. You’re no longer one of 25 people scared shitless of a tiger; you’re someone named Jo who likes to cook mammoth and makes fabulous jackets from the hides.
Momentum was like that–we all relaxed about the tiger. Some of us live relaxed; some of us don’t have that luxury…yet. But at Momentum we were all relaxed together.
So personalities surfaced. Talents rose. Generosity and joy spiked. The workshops were awesome, the panels were a shiny shiny array of stars, but my favorite thing was the change in everyone there. We felt…good. Safe. Supported. Like we really could take on the world. Twitter and Facebook are good; email is a lifeline. But there’s nothing like looking into someone’s eyes and holding their hand.
Thanks, Tess and Diva, and thanks to everyone who presented and everyone who came. Here’s to 2012!