Pickathon 2022

Pickathon 2022 – a Review

Earlier this Summer I wrote a short piece called Gentle Guidance about how to enjoy this summer’s offerings – as I knew they’d be different and we’d be different. Earlier this Summer I had planned to attend the last String Summit – then I got Covid and had to sell my tickets. I thought that attending Pickathon might assuage some of my remorse and sadness, but like Charlie with the football, it didn’t have quite that effect. I’ve attended Pickathon 3 times before and I thought my visit in 2017 would probably be my last – sadly, much of what I found missing/wrong that year seems to have continued to be part of the festival. But Pickathon does a lot well, too – so I’ll start there before adding the “room for improvement” section.

First of all a little bit more back story. This year there was a very welcoming and friendly Pickathon FB group this year. This was something that was missing the last time I attended, and I was grateful to find it. This group led me to the purchase of a weekend ticket for $300. I also posted that I was seeking a parking pass and a friend reached out and sold me his for $70.  That’s also where I found a Spotify playlist featuring music from all this year’s performers.

Positive: the Pickathon ticket system allows easy transfer of tickets between people – well done!

I dilly-dallied around on Friday and then saw a message that Pickathon had oversold their parking and that parking at the festival was sold out and that people should instead make their way to the Clackamas Transit Center and they’d be shuttled from there. OK, minus one point, but luckily in my case I had friends near the festival I was staying with – so headed to their house and got a personal shuttle to the festival. Once there I was able to get my wristband and parking pass in about 20 minutes of standing around in a weaving line. Great – soon after I walked into the festival and started finding my way.

In 2019 there had been a terrible accident when 2 Guildworks workers had fallen to their deaths after the festival as they were taking down the collection of white fabrics that had flown over the main stage area every year for years. I somewhat expected that that area would have had some sort of memorial, but instead, it felt very empty and simple compared to other years. I met a few friends on the way which was nice as I was traveling solo.

One of the cool things about Pickathon is that it takes place at Pendarvis Farm which is a big property with a lot of woods on a hill. So, all of the stages are on hillsides – either in the woods or in a clearing. There are pathways everywhere and you can go get lost in the woods which is where thousands of participants and volunteers make their homes for the weekend. When I first attended in 2007? or so I recall hardly anyone camping – and even then it was tough to find a place that was level. But nowadays people come early and bring shovels and brush hooks and make camp all over the place. There are also lots of hammocks.

Positive: there are some really fun art pieces that are great to look at during the day and I’m sure are even more fun at night when they’re lit up.

 

Positive: by every music stage there is a DJ stage – when there’s no live music playing a DJ steps up and plays tunes. Most of the DJs are from local stations like KMHD and XRAY.fm – some of my favorite music in 2017 and this year came from the DJs! The DJ stations also had the best fidelity – surprise surprise 🙂

I spent Friday wandering around – seeing some folks I hadn’t seen in a while and trying to avoid breathing in too much dust along the pathways. A couple of people had put together a singles and solos meetup @ 4 pm – and I went to that and had a fun time with those who attended. It reminded me a little of my time at WDS – attending Meetups for a couple of days straight.

Highlight: I got to see Yasmin Williams perform. She’s quite a talent and she also mentioned on the stage that she attended my alma mater – NYU. In all my years of attending musical events, I’d never heard a performer mention NYU before – and my heart nearly leaped out of my mouth. My NYU years were pretty special. It sounds like they might not have been as good for her – but still, it was a fun moment.  The juice/smoothie place at this stage made me ginger carrot apple juice which was delicious!

Another Highlight should have been hearing/watching Nubya Garcia on my favorite stage – The Woods Stage. And here’s where we get right back into a central problem with Pickathon (that I talked about in my 2017 write-up). It’s the same issue I have with many music festivals. I sat for an hour with a new friend leading up to this show. The DJ behind us was from KMHD and was playing some delicious cuts. Eventually, though it was time to get the band ready to play. The sound people spent about a half hour testing out the bass and drums. I think it makes sense to take the time to get it right – but it was the volume that was the problem. Why subject an audience that is there for the music to testing out drums and bass turned up to 11? And this seems to be a common occurrence at Pickathon.

Then, there’s the volume level of the music, in general. A friend send me a video from Pickathon 2010 yesterday and it was so subtle and lovely. You would probably not ever hear that anymore at Pickathon. I sure hope someone at Pickathon reads this – or, perhaps take a freaking poll?  Pickathon goers – do you want to hear all the music at such a high volume that you and your kids should probably be wearing significant ear protection all weekend? People – save your hearing! There’s also the general cacophony aspect – if you click on the fun video image above – you’ll hear DJ music playing at the same time as a nearby stage is playing – this was happening a lot.

It’s Really Simple: Turn Down the Volume

I have a couple of other minor suggestions – but the above is my main beef and probably why I’ll not return. Pickathon does a great job of picking interesting music for all of us – but then makes it challenging for (me, at least) to enjoy. Of course, that leads to people having conversations over the music – but that’s another story.

All that said – I actually had a pretty fun time on the day I attended. The next morning I woke up and thought: do I want to do the push-me pull-ya dance of being attracted to go hear some music only for it to be too loud to handle? And I decided that my one day was going to be it. An interesting part of that is that as I consider my time at Pickathon – there really is so much good going on there. The family area is lovely – and there’s so much encouragement for people to bring their kids (wear earplugs!). And there are a lot of great volunteers and the community that come together to make this big festival happen.  That’s fun to watch.

I imagine that this year’s festival was super challenging to put on. Pendarvis Farm is in a section of Happy Valley that is filling in with McMansions at a quick rate. It used to be possible to park right next to the festival – but that property is being filled in right now and was not available. So, we’ll see if Pickathon tries it again at their current location or ends up moving elsewhere.

Finally, so much would be improved if someone just got serious about the sound levels. I’d come back in a minute and probably camp for the weekend. But I won’t be back until Pickathon makes some sort of public announcement about this issue – which I doubt they will. No one likes to admit publicly they are doing anything wrong. I get that.

I’ll probably add to this review as I think of more things – and until we meet again – enjoy the music! Albert

PS – I am open to feedback – please leave a comment below or write me. Thanks. Also, if you enjoy my writing and thinking, I publish a few newsletters which you can sign up for here.

 

Bizmissive

Bizmissive – a One-Year Summary

I send out a business newsletter called The Bizmissive. Here is a collection of this past year’s newsletters. You can sign up for the newsletter here. I use Constant Contact to send these and I try to send them every month. 

August 2021 – How to put yourself more into your marketing. https://conta.cc/3jfFzyQ

September 2021https://conta.cc/2XihvCU – Why create email newsletters and a success story!

October 2021https://conta.cc/3a8dtAe – Holiday Marketing

November 2021https://conta.cc/3p3cfgK – Thanksgiving message – How newsletters continue to thrive as a marketing channel

December 2021https://conta.cc/3rHpZkf – Info about a free class I offered and why I offered it.

January 2022https://conta.cc/3HFyaT2 – The Value of cross-promotion and recommending friends – word of mouth!

February 2022 – skipped

March 2022 – St. Patty’s https://conta.cc/3KOqSOt – Using holiday templates – Holiday marketing – Small Business Market Trends

April 2022https://conta.cc/3qRKKZh – Deep Dive Webinar that I offered + Info on working from home trends

May 2022 – Skipped

June 2022https://conta.cc/38M2nE2 – Annual Reader’s Survey – Offer to share your newsletter with my readers (still valid!)

June 2022https://conta.cc/3NyhBeh – About Text 2 Join – a fantastic way to build your list!  – you can try this out by texting ALBERT to 22828

 

The Bizmissive

WDSX

World Domination Summit 2022 (WDSX)

All right, I’ll do it! Here are some thoughts about WDSX – this year’s 10th and final World Domination Summit – if you like pictures, here’s an album of ones I (mostly) took. And there are more commentaries linked below. This might get a little weepy as I’m on my 8th day of steroids and I just took 2 pills a few minutes ago – we’ll see. Enough lead-up – here we go!

I first attended WDS in 2018. Then again in 2019. Both years were pretty interesting and my curiosity about this movement/conference/experiment really grew with time. During the pandemic, we all waited patiently for the next in-person gathering. It was fun to hear Chris G. explain this year how he’s learned his lesson never to print a year on swag again – he printed up a bunch of 2020 pins which … are fun keepsakes, but… the event didn’t happen then. What did happen that year, though, was a very interesting weekend virtual event in which I still relish participating in. And really, participating is what WDS is all about. Take a try. Reaching. Trying. Testing the waters. That virtual event and our monthly community check-ins really meant a lot to me during the pandemic. They were the biggest gatherings (besides a couple of co-counseling workshops) that I participated in. And Chris and his able team were able to create some real magic online by making use of some fancy technology and a really great crew of helpers. 

During the community check-ins, Chris would pose a question and people would take a minute each to weigh in on things like “what they were learning”, “what was hardest”, etc. It was heart-warming to hear people’s responses. These are people who are spread all over the world so some of the people were up in the middle of the night. People were in all sorts of situations, too – you could really get a sense of the vast differences in peoples’ situations. Some would be in a closed-off closet – others would be sitting on a balcony overlooking the sea. Sometimes there would be couples happy together. Sometimes, families – it was really all over the map in terms of representation – but one thing that really stood out was how dedicated these (usually) over a hundred people would be to arriving on time, paying close attention, and being interactive. Sometimes people would be asking for help with a venture or just looking for a shoulder to cry on. I really got a sense of community watching the strangers come together and try to connect and help one another through tough times.

Then there was the virtual WDS Weekend. That also had a ton of magic to it. It had the same unconference feeling that much of WDS does. People around the world offered workshops throughout a long weekend – one presenter offered an awesome class on how to make Zoom workshops go better for all participants – he dialed in from New Zealand! There was another great workshop that someone put on from Nairobi, I recall. All throughout the weekend, it was as if we were together – learning, teaching, connecting, crying, laughing. It was quite impressive how well it was organized and it was a shining light in a sea of darkness at the time – thanks to WDS for pulling that together!

Another way I engaged in this community was via a few FB groups dedicated to alums and people about to attend. Each year a new FB group was started for the coming event, and this year was no different. These groups are a great way to hear about each others’ efforts and join a workshop; learn about a book launch; support someone’s efforts in some way. From the group, I learned about a neat font (Teach Font) by Moataz Ehab Ahmed that I’ve used on my new calling cards and I’m working with my brother, Dan, to get some t-shirts going. Team Everybody is one of the phrases that WDS has emphasized over the years and I lost my t-shirt and want one that says that s0… currently, it looks like this.

OK, time for 2022.

This year I was ready for WDS. After having attended 2 previously and all that off-season time – I was ready to dive right in. I went to my first event the night before WDS week actually started. It was a fun evening that Jan Keck (Ask Deep Questions and so much more) led. We met in NW Portland and asked each other deep questions while randomly picking our route through the NW hills. We saw some great views and had lots of laughs figuring out how to get where we were going. The walk ended at the ice cream shop Salt & Straw where more people joined the group and my friend Cherie and I bowed out. I noticed that even that bit of activity was more intense (being around strangers – being forced to do a bunch of challenging things at once…) pushed some buttons for me and I ended up skipping out on all of the fun activities the next day – and instead, spent the day doing something familiar – playing music on my porch with my good friend, Steve Bennett. 

But on Weds. I was ready to participate again and then spent the next 5 days heavily immersed in the event. I went to meetups on retirement and re-why-erment and 2nd acts. That’s a big theme for me at this time in life where I have some freedom to choose what I do with my days. I led a singalong on Weds. night which was a lot of fun. People joined me at the Hotel Zags – WDS HQ this year – and we sang from Mark Bosnian’s excellent collection (and easy presentation) of singable songs. Anytime you want to sing some songs with someone, pull up https://portlandsings.com/and have at it. There are so many great memories of this week – here are some random ones in no particular order to give you the flavor of how this conference/event works. 

  1. Fantastic academy by Yes, Yes, Marsha inside the Winningstad Theater. First time inside a venue like that with so many people and I’ll probably have more to say about this event. She also involved Gary Ware and Jeff Harry in helping get the audience to participate in fun ways.
  2. Holding up Happiness Sprinkling signs on Saturday morning while everyone waited to go into the mainstage sessions. I hadn’t slept well the night before – and this brought me up and out of my funk in a big way and brought lots of joy!
  3. Hosting a Saturday Happiness Sprinkling where I had 20 RSVPs and only one person came and joined me! This made me doubt everything and kind of threw me – but I had fun wandering the Farmer’s Market with the signs, anyway, and then ended up canceling the same event for Sunday as I realized people were at that point being drawn all over the place – during Sat. and Sun. afternoons there were so many meetups – it was incredible.
  4. Saturday night we hosted a Campfire Conversations event (pic below) led by Amy and Jan. That was a delicious highlight. So many nice people came and participated – and it was the first time we’d had a fire in a very long time. Louie the cat also had a blast that night being petted by many.
  5. I got to see my long-time friend’s most recent version of her show Plan V which she’ll take to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival soon! Ding! That was a very special event – and so fun to see so many of my fellow WDSers open their minds/hearts to Eleanor’s work. I’ve been following Eleanor’s creativity for many years and she always brings really good things to life. 
  6. Trying to figure out how to stay safe during the week’s events was a little challenging. Eventually, I settled on masking indoors (mostly) especially when sitting in a theater with thousands of people. I did hear a couple of people caught Covid during the event, but it did not seem like a lot – it was somewhat early in the Omicron wave that is currently (7.16.22) engulfing our area. This was not a perfect solution, but luckily I did not get sick and have continued to stay clear of the virus. Time for that 2nd booster, I know!
  7. The SWAG – well done once again. I picked up a lovely mug and a nice t-shirt. I love the imagery that WDS has put forward over the years and I will treasure some of the things they gave us which have a special place in my head/heart. 

The mainstage presentations are a bit of a blur to me now – but I did enjoy being inspired and all of the lighting and interesting use of video-mapping was a lot of fun. I look forward to re-watching some of the mainstage presentations – they are very much like TEDx talks and are often full of great messages and inspiration.

Somehow I managed to write this far without really saying anything super meaningful about it so here goes some ideas. WDS really pushes you to try things as I mentioned, it gives you the opportunity to try things and FAIL and to try things and succeed and to ask for support. And really just offers a chance to get vulnerageous – which is a word I think I heard Jan Keck say for the first time – a combination of vulnerable and courageous. Where you are putting yourself out there constantly to see what you can do; what your limits are; where the edges are – you fall sometimes. You do fall – you get teary.  YOu get happy. You get sad during the event. There aren’t many places where there is enough safety built into the experience where you can actually try and fail. So, I really appreciate WDS for that.

And it also brings together people who are actively working on projects. And who are lifetime achievers  – People who have succeeded sometimes and failed sometimes. You learn a lot from those peoples’ stories and that gives you an opportunity right there during the week to take some chances and see what works and what doesn’t work. And that can be hard. It can bring up some emotions. It can be vulnerageous.

Here are a couple of things that did not go well for me and which I tried to adjust, but had no luck with. 

  1. The opening party on Friday night was in Pioneer Square Park. I would have loved to participate but the sound volume was so high I just couldn’t be anywhere near the event. So, I left early. I attempted to talk to the sound person, but they wouldn’t listen. Also, this party happened on the same day that Roe v. Wade was overturned – and playing sort of crappy 70s one-hit wonder music too loud in the middle of the City felt very tone deaf to me, and I’m sure others. I ended up joining people marching in the streets for a while before heading home early. 
  2. Sort of the same issue @ Sunday night’s closing party – but the music was a little better as the night wore on and it was also not as loud. Perhaps someone heard me. I kind of wish I had pushed myself and attended both parties for more time, but these big parties have generally not done much for me. I much prefer quieter one-on-one time vs. loud unconscious stuff. That said, I’m very sorry I missed seeing DJ Prashant’s closing dance on Sunday night. 
  3. The whole “setting a world record by dressing up in dinosaur costumes” went right past me. Looks like people had a blast, though. 

Well, that feels like a good first approach to this event. I’m sure I’m not alone in wondering how things might move forward. Chris G. did hint that he loves putting on events in one of his closing remarks. So, we’ll see. There are now thousands of people who have had hundreds of thousands of interactions and have been drawn into lots of new relationships over the years. I have a feeling some of them are going to instigate some cool stuff. 

Will WDS itself happen again? Will there be a WDS Y?  To be determined. I would go. In fact, I’ve been encouraging people to set that time aside next year. Perhaps we Portlanders will pull something off together. This town is a good one to host such an event, I believe, and I’d be happy to participate. I hardly know what it takes to put something like this on – but the unconference part where people are meeting in various coffee shops and hotel lobbies is something that might be doable. Since I think the mainstage speakers part of the event is less memorable and possibly not as necessary- perhaps we just move to an unconference format. Or, maybe we all fly to Melbourne and go visit Bill Simpson! To be determined! On this note Vanessa shared: 

🎉Many people in our community are asking “What’s Next?” – as an event creator, conference connoisseur, & person who really loves to gather, I’ve been blessed to have been “nominated” by our community to try to answer this & really it starts with each & every single one of YOU! We must create it, share it, build it, invite ourselves to it, & attend it. If you want to know more – whatever that is – go ahead & drop your simple contact details here & I will keep you posted! https://tinyurl.com/TheNextThing2023

So, we’ll see! I’m always open to feedback, questions and comments – feel free to add below 0r reach out to me.  As I mentioned I’ve shared some other thoughts I’ve found posted below and perhaps these will help round out my recollection above.

Service, Community, Adventure – See you out there! Albert

—————————————————————-

Jeff Harry is feeling grateful @ WDS X
As this WDS experience come to an end, it makes me think of the concept of beautiful sadness.
There is an inherent beauty in sadness, especially when an experience comes to an end. It makes me wonder if it has to end to allow us to cherish our WDS memories even more and put that inspiration into action.
If the WDS experiment was about how to live a remarkable life in a conventional world, it would have been the conventional choice for World Domination Summit to go on forever. There is nothing remarkable about that choice.
By ending, WDS has now cleared a path for WDSers to create the next iteration in building a community connected by service and adventure.
I think it can be both nerve-racking and exciting (Nerv-cited) to not know what is next, as it challenges each of us to come up with that answer.
Now, we may attempt to recreate what we’ve experienced this past decade, and we will probably be disappointed because “it just isn’t the same.” But maybe that isn’t the point. WDS is asking what is the next remarkable step each of us is willing to take in our lives and how do we want to do it with the community we cultivated here? It’s not an easy question to answer, but it sure is an exciting and remarkable one.
So, at the same time that I am really sad that it is ending, I’m also excited to see what adventures we come up with next. Thanks, everyone for creating such a magical experience at WDS! I’ll never forget it.
WDS 2022
And, away we go!

Paul Kim

6/27/22
I first learned about Chris after reading his book Art of Nonconformity. After that, he seemed to keep popping up everywhere, and I heard him on a few different podcasts where he kept mentioning this thing called the World Domination Summit. I looked at the website, but couldn’t quite get a clear idea of what it was. I searched all over the web and found a few blog posts here, a couple of videos on social media there, but still nothing. Yet I felt something strangely drawing me to it, so I decided to book a solo ticket to Portland. Fast forward 6 WDSs later, I’m lucky to have brought my daughter with me this year to share this special place and all of you with her. She now finally understands what this thing is that I’ve been gushing about for all these years. This week made a wonderful impact on her and I can’t think of a better way to spend time with her before she heads off to college this fall.
I still think it was the universe sending me to this special place on that initial solo trip where I’ve made so many close friends, met such incredible people, vastly expanded my knowledge and consciousness, and had truly amazing experiences.
Thank you so much, Chris. The positive impact you’ve had on me and on everyone in this community is immeasurable. It isn’t a stretch to say you saved my life in a lot of ways (and your long hair these days does more resemble a certain prominent religious figure after all lol).
Thank you WDS core team and every single ambassador ever for your years of planning, execution, support, and service. And to the larger WDS family, I never knew I needed years ago, I will miss seeing you in person dearly. Take care, travel safe, may your experiences be impactful and plentiful, and I hope to see you again down the road.
———————–

Reflection and Transference prompts (for WDS and beyond) from Iggy Perillo (Iggy@wslleadership.com)

What were memorable moments for you? Who resonated with you? What spaces, systems, or structures made things easier or more challenging for you? What meaningful lessons or ideas stuck with you? Where are you headed from here? And what is your next step on that path? (Extra credit, when, how, and where will you do that next step?) How do you need to be to follow your path or get where you want to go? (This question was stolen from Monica Von’s awesome goal-setting workshop at WDS!)

Campfire Conversations with Jan

Campfire Conversations with Jan and Amy

7.23.22- Group Discussion Questions from a hand-out at 2nd Act meetup
  1. Can you paint a picture or articulate a vision of where you want to be in 5 years? 10 years?
  2. What excites you about this vision
  3. What concerns are lurking below, or perhaps even right on top, of the surface?
  4. What is one action you could do in the next month to work towards your vision?
  5. What would future you tell you about how to approach your Second Act?

Q during a mainstage talk where we were all handed sheets of seed paper. Q was: What are things you want to let go of from the pandemic? A: loneliness, being single, lack of touch, lack of connection, lack of purpose, lack of love.

Summer Solstice Healing Retreat 2022 – SSHR

SSHR 2022

Sauna at Breitenbush

The incredible wet sauna which is a world treasure.

I’m just back from this year’s Summer Solstice Healing Retreat (SSHR) at Breitenbush Hot Springs in Oregon. This was my 27th year. I started going in 1995 (thank you, Shelley Glendenning) after I had recently relocated to Seattle, WA. I wanted to talk about this year’s event and also what makes retreats so valuable.

First off, one of the main things that are valuable about a healing retreat is sharing with one another things we know about healing. This post was inspired by a short talk I had with a friend about getting a good night’s sleep. I recommended to him my trick of using construction headphones whenever needed. I go into more detail about the headphones and offer my personal life tips in an 11-part series I created a couple of years ago. And that’s how the whole weekend went. I’d bring up some ailment or issue and someone would likely be the right person to answer a question, provide a book reference or know someone at the workshop to talk to.

home in the meadow

Home in the meadow

SSHR is structured so there is plenty of time to soak in the hot tubs, hot spring pools, and wet sauna. That is a great combination with the delicious vegetarian fare and the sound of the rushing Breitenbush river flowing by. Then there are the workshops put on by participants for one another. This year I participated in a few workshops and offered one of my own. Mine was an introduction to co-counseling which I’ve been doing for over 30 years. I gave a short explanation of what co-counseling is and how it got started, we practiced co-counseling a little bit and then I answered participants’ questions. Here are a couple of the workshops I participated in and I’ll fill in the references further as I figure out contact information for the different teachers.

  1. Leah Tarleton – The Nourished Sensitive led a lovely workshop on nutrition in the River Yurt – there were some great book recommendations and the woman teaching is an RD and had a great mixture of life experience and ideas for weight loss (an issue for me) and how to make eating more fun and interesting. She finished the workshop with a taste experience featuring Honey Mama’s chocolate – having us talk about the differences between different tastes and textures
  2. Evelin Dacker did a great talk called “Let’s Talk about Sex” which was an introduction to her STARS talk. I’ll let that link serve as an explanation of what the workshop was about. If you’ve never heard about the talk it’s a great guide for conversations to have with new partners.
  3. I chanted kirtan with Natavar Knudson in the North Wing of the lodge. We tried to keep things safe all weekend by having masks on when indoors. I played the drum and Natavar ably led us on various chants using his harmonium. He has been doing this for years and his talent is really high level and rich.
  4. Odyssey offered an interesting workshop on erotic hypnosis. Often I find hypnosis workshops kind of hypnotizing 🙂 And I often find myself in a state between sleeping and awake and this one was no different. I think I get the idea, though, and it is a mighty interesting one.

Personally, I took the weekend to take a break from coffee and a downshift from sugar. Actually, I didn’t have any meat except a little bit of beef jerky that someone offered me. It was also a lovely chance for a tech fast – there is no wi-fi available to guests at Breitenbush – so no phone or laptop for 4 days – yeah. This year I could actually feel the distance from the internet hour by hour as my fingers played the guitar or I soaked – and all the work I do in the world had to take a break!

Part of the weekend is also Karma Yoga we all do. Here is a crew headed to remove scotch broom – an invasive that grows well in disturbed areas of forest.

Very important to these gatherings is also the reunion aspect. There’s a chance to reconnect with people you have known for years and also to meet new people. I’ve been feeling for a while that I don’t have enough baby energy in my life – and boy were my prayers answered on that score. There was a 2-year-old girl who I spent the weekend playing peekaboo with and having all sorts of interactions with. There’s nothing like a 2-year-old to bring your attention to the present moment. And she was full of so much joy – bringing a smile to my head and heart all weekend long.

Then there’s all the catching up with one another. Giving each other health updates and sharing stories of those who we know in common and what’s up in their lives. It can have the feeling of a big family reunion. This year there were only 160 people in attendance, but many years there are 4-500 people – so there were many people missing from our celebration and lots of connections and information to share. Being an extrovert I know a lot of people and that means a lot of stories and updates 🙂 And we also talk about those who are no longer with us like Amira and Ben Bochner. We sang Altar of Love a couple of times – a song that Ben introduced to many of us. Amira used to love this song – Light you Up!

Over the years there have been varying amounts of musicians participating. We had a pretty small group this year and so the number of musicians was also smaller than usual. Luckily, I had the company of Kieran McManus to keep me company. Kieran’s a great person to jam with – not only does he know some wonderful songs, but he’s also an incredible lead player. I think we both upped our game during the pandemic – so, it’s a joy to play together whenever we get the chance as he’s also relocated to Bend, Oregon which is a ways from Portland. We both had many opportunities to play for everyone which added to the healing for everyone. Singing together is one of my favorite things to do – so I suppose it was healing for me and others at the same time.

A lot of people are probably wondering how Breitenbush is doing. Speaking of healing. The place has been under the duress of closing during Covid and then a wildfire rushed through and took out over 70 structures. There are huge patches of forest that are gone and all of the guest cabins and some very precious places are no longer there – like the Sanctuary. The Sanctuary was a lovely building that many of us have come to love over the years. Many workshops were held there, yoga, chanting, and just people doing their own personal retreats. Personally, I sang inside the Sanctuary dozens of times. I never thought this building would ever be gone.

The Breitenbush Sanctuary

The Breitenbush Sanctuary

If you’re curious to see what the result of the forest fires and tree removal look like now – John Holley’s blog is a treasure trove. It also goes back through the years better than any collection of photos around.

There were lots of elements to this year’s SSHR that I could go into – this could be a much longer post. There’s a lovely group ritual to welcome the solstice and a no-talent talent show. During this year’s show and also at the campfire along the flood plain I made up some one-of-a-kind songs that I’ve been doing for years. The first song highlighted the carrots and beets which are usually on the menu at every meal (including salad), but which had been missing for our first couple of meals. What was funny is that the meal which followed my song suddenly there appeared beets and carrots and people came up to me sharing that they loved the song and thanking me for bringing the beets and carrots 🙂  The second song I made up had some fun elements that came to me at the moment – I talked about the VIP treatment we were all receiving (having our cars parked and a bottle of champagne for each tent – all of which was not true, but was funny at the moment). Actually, I spent the weekend in a cold and damp tent – and part of the song focused on how – next year I’m going to upgrade to fancier digs. This also is probably not true, but we’ll see – there are now some nicer tents that are canvas and already set up and have a bed inside them. That’s part of the change at Breitenbush – new housing is in the works and already well underway!  Ah, the chance to sing together around a fire in the woods – priceless. We even saw stars for one brief moment.

The giveaway circle at the end of the weekend is also a fun element that is repeated each year. Everyone puts something into the circle and we take turns finding a new treasure. After that, we hold hands in a circle, sing songs, and then say our farewells until we meet again.

I am so grateful for this year’s celebration. It’s usually the start of my Summer and is such a great way to be reminded of the beauty of the world. Good food, dance, soaking, singing, and being together. What more does one need?  My heartfelt thanks go out to everyone at Breitenbush who worked hard to put this event on and also our Breitenbush Counsel which has been collaborating to make SSHR the best ever for many years! I wish you some time at Breitenbush or a similar place with good friends to celebrate our time on this planet together.

Love, Albert

Albert and Kieran McManus Closing Circle 2022 – photo by Kaya Singer

Gentle Guidance

Gentle Guidance for the Summer of 2022

Dear Albert,
Here’s some gentle guidance for you this Summer. This Summer looks like it will have a lot of the fun things you’ve enjoyed over the past many years. Music festivals. Music camps. Reunions and camping. Here are some things you might want to keep in mind which might make your time more enjoyable and fruitful. I share this with you after having participated in many 4-5 day events in the past and now with some wisdom garnered for an interesting 2+ years of the pandemic. OK, here goes.
1. It’s not going to be the same as the last time you went. It already isn’t 🙂 So, give up your expectation for that and plan for something completely new.
2. Bring it. As always the experience is going to be better for you and others if you bring your best self. And also bring something extra for others 🙂  Burning Man’s gifting economy is a great model – prepare in advance by planning for your needs – some great snacks, sunscreen, and just the right thing to make you comfortable and happy. And then bring a couple of things to make someone else’s experience a little more sparkly. Those colorful sunglasses. Almonds. Healthy things and colorful things. An extra pair or two of guitar strings and some picks often bring a smile to a musician’s face 🙂
3. Breathe in and breathe out. When you’re interacting with anyone who is putting on an event – be kind. Be kinder. They are operating under situations that are in flux and they are likely stressed. Don’t add to that stress.  Make the experience better by trying to solve whatever issue you’re having yourself. Then ask a fellow attendee. Then ask a volunteer/staff person. Here’s some guidance you once wrote. https://albertideation.com/host – be the host of the event. Take responsibility for your own positive experience and help others, too. Open doors. Pick up trash. Don’t beep your horn to lock your car – care for the ambiance.
4. Lastly – Covid. Take care of yourself and know that others are doing their best to take care of themselves. Be gentle in this area. Everyones’ hackles are up, but generally, people probably are fine with explaining what their approach is – be prepared to listen. If you slow down a little bit that will help with this particular dance.
5. Take it easy on yourself. Rest. Take things slowly. Take your time getting there and enjoy the ride. Get to things early – for many reasons (just try it :).  It’s not the destination, it’s the journey. Oh yeah – be here now!
Have fun out there.

Albert

PS – for WDSers coming from out of town – Portland has changed some in recent years. I highly recommend not leaving anything visible in your car. Also, keep an eye on your things – this is true everywhere, but it’s worth repeating.

PPS – for guitarists – change your strings if you are able – a set of fresh strings makes it better for everyone – especially you! Also, tuning is a great thing. Keep on tuning!

Dating Me

Dating Me Will Look Like:

I’m a musician who loves gathering friends for evenings of good food, friendship, and singing.  I love dancing by myself and would love even more to dance with you. I take care of a cat named Louie who I think is adorable and funny and I hope you will, too. Trying ethnic cuisines of all kinds is one of life’s greatest pleasures and traveling is another.  I enjoy soaking in a hot spring or skinny-dipping under a waterfall.  A good adventure brings me joy, and finding a loving, smart, liberal adventurous partner would make it all that much better.  I’m interested in your passions and all the interesting things that make you tick.  Let’s discover all of these things together!

I’m a good person who treats others with kindness and I look for companions who feel the same.

I’m 61, Live in Portland, Oregon (for 20 years), like kids, and have never had any of my own. I’m a solopreneur (I run my own business), and I’m seeking someone who feels some resonance with the lists below. Feel free to pass this along to someone you think would be a good fit. Thank you! 


Must Haves

  1. Smart person, emotional + intelligence quotient
  2. Likes being massaged (don’t let these hands go to waste!)
  3. Good conversationalist
  4. Laughs easily, positive attitude – a person who is happy, joyful (not all the time, but more cup half full/optimistic)
  5. Nice smile
  6. Does not need a lot of financial support – I am happy to share what I have.
  7. Flexible thinker
  8. Someone with some free time, ie: not overly busy
  9. A people person
  10. Someone who loves music
  11. 4:20-friendly (you don’t have to partake, just ok with it being around sometimes)
  12. Activist or activism supporter
  13. Clear communicator
  14. Positive relationships with ex’s (you give it a try at least)
  15. Democrat or Green politically. Aware of what is happening in society and the world
  16. Has attended at least one music festival, possibly many.

Maybes

  1. Jewish (I put this first cause it moves between Must and Maybe)
  2. Has adult or no kids
  3. Poly (probably not, but I have been there and people who are poly often have great communication skills and open hearts)
  4. Lives in Portland – I have moved for love in the past and I am open to that
  5. Has been to Burning Man
  6. Has BA/MA or greater (or smart)

Must not have

  1. Cig smoker
  2. Republican (or apolitical)
  3. Christian evangelical
  4. Interest in professional sports (ie, watching occasionally with family is ok)
  5. Big drinker
  6. Golfer

Got someone (or are you the person?): Please show them this post – and have them get in touch if they want to meet me! Thank you!

Albert Kaufman

Our soundtrack: