World Domination Summit 2018

How to live an extraordinary life in a conventional world!

#wds2018I’ve been hearing about the (World Domination Summit) WDS for many years. Little drips and drabs of “this was amazing” – “this blew my socks off“, etc.  But somehow it never led to me actually attending. I have a high threshold of awesome (visiting Burning Man Place for 14 years does that). And, every time I’d dip my toes into checking it out I’d run into a sales-y website that was very sharp and newish looking and I didn’t see the appeal. I wish I had asked deeper questions about this event years ago because it freaking rocked! It was easily the best conference I’ve ever been to. Granted, I hear 2018 was one of the best years – but still – I would take a terrible version of this thing any day!  OK, so, here goes. I’ve been hesitant to write something about this partly cause I’m still having fun connecting with the other attendees and following up on various links and hand-outs and bits of inspiration.

Know that it’s a beautiful day in Portland. The kind we only see maybe 5 of per year – so I’m sitting here in the shade listening to the KBOO radio screaming the Waterfront Blues Festival at me.  So, at some point I may jump up and get on my bike – or, more likely, my friend Steve Bennett will arrive and we’ll play some tunes together on the porch.

So, #wds2018 – what is it?  What was it?  And, how did I end up going?  In the beginning was a conversation with Terry Tomei on my porch about 8 months ago. Terry and I were discussing various things and I brought up WDS. He followed up and when tickets went on sale, he bought me one. I hadn’t exactly said “buy me one”, but he did – and then I paypal’d him the $707 for the ticket and then spent months hemming and hawing and wondering if I should sell the ticket. By the time of the event I had missed the chance to transfer the ticket to someone else and so I pulled up my britches and started attending on the Wens. before the main weekend events. I’m so glad I did.  Conferees organized and led Meet-ups for one another and you could sign up for them via an easy-to-use app. The first activity I attended was one of the conference-offered academies – it was on turning your hobby into a business.  It was fantastic. The next thing I went to was a meet-up by the Portland Art Museum by Jan Keck.

Jan Keck Jan led the group through a wonderful introduction/deep questions deck that he sells. Check it out @ – that was my favorite physical thing I received all weekend. A deck of these cards.  Jan is very kind and welcoming and is up to interesting things, for sure.

Meet-ups. This conference ran like nothing I have ever experienced.  Participants through meet-ups for one another and each meet-up was listed on the app and was available until registration filled (and some also encouraged you to come even if the event was full).  So, for the next 7 days I went to a mix of meet-ups, academies and then on Sat. and Sunday to main stage presentations – speakers and more – held at the Newmark Theater.  The staff running the event is mostly volunteers (maybe all volunteers) – and people were very friendly, pumped and professional. I always felt held; welcomed and respected.  WDS has attracted a lot of incredible people.

Many of the attendees are digital nomads. Many are people who are experts in their fields – a very inspiring bunch. I learned about masterminding; how to run workshops/events; how to be more vulnerageous; found an accountability buddy; attended a mens’ workshop that was quite ably led; learned some great new facilitation techniques from fellow Portlander, Marli; Amy and Gary led an incredible ice-breaker evening (which Jan joined for round 2 – campfire conversations). Overall, I’m super impressed by the organization and the people who attended. It felt like a big, happy family.

On Saturday, Chris, the founder, announced that there will be only 2 more years of WDS. This was year 8.  Then, he announced that 200 tickets would be available for the next two years and 300 for just 2019.  The first set of tickets sold out quickly. I ended up buying one for 2019, and then came home and bought 2 more for 2 people that I hope will join me. I am excited to share this with friends (and my brother, red rover red rover, let Dan come over!).

OK, now I can play!  And, I’ll have a lot more to say about this – but wanted to share a first draft with you now! Whew – that was quite the firehose!

Here are some pics – sorry for the weird titling – but that’s all I got at the moment. Enjoy! Hopefully you can get some of the flavor of the event here 🙂 (more below as I think of things!)

So, more highlights – one of the last events I attended was on the Tues. after the big weekend. Paul Paul Lopushinsky led an Offers and Needs meet-up.  More of this, please! The idea is that people can write up their offers or their needs or both and then find one another – people posted offers of consulting; personal coaching and a hundred other things while other people posted their needs. It was remarkable to watch community building and support in action! 

Ah, the people! They came from all over the world – some live here. We were organized via a FB group – and there’s also a FB group for WDS alumni, too – both are very active. There are also local WDS FB groups, too. The people are an interesting mix. Many accomplished writers; thinkers; world travelers; athletes; coaches; and people busy following their passion. There are many who are doing whatever they can to leave the rat race and take others with them! Many entrepreneurs and business leaders. Then there are the deep thinkers; strategists; and people who are leading in the personal growth field – add them all together and you get a group that is willing to take risks to be more vulnerable with one another and create magic and lasting friendships. I was kind of surprised not to meet more Burners or people I know through other realms – but I was very pleased at who showed up and how they showed up. These people have their shit together – or, so it seems, because…

None of us have our ISHT together – as @yesyesmarsha – shared with us from the stage. She also set up 3 large boards for people to write about ways they are not pleased with themselves. That was one of my favorite parts of the whole weekend. How humbling (you can see the post it notes in the photos above, but there were hundreds of them). It was a good reminder about how everyone has something they are not pleased about. There’s a whole book just on this topic, and I’m signing up for what ever Yes Yes Marsha is selling – her newsletter to start with.

More to follow. Advice Dice – noone talked about the advice dice we all received 🙂

WDS Shwag photo by Armosa Studios

WDS Swag photo by Armosa Studios

While at WDS I worked on workshopping and talking a lot about my dream to have guitar camps in Oregon and Maui. It’s a fun thing I like to do. I’ve been attending PSGW – a music camp outside of Seattle – since 1995. I love it – there are various formats, but key is – camp; 3 meals a day plus fun snacks at night; a group of people who are like-minded and there to play music and sing together; rinse and repeat. I’ve been dreaming that this would be a fun thing to do in Oregon and of course during WDS – the universe pushed back with “really, you want to do this? – OK, here, then. 2 camps responded back to me with interest. So, now I get to move this dream forward 🙂  You can sign up to be notified about when these will happen here.

Downside: of course with all this goodness there must have been some problems or issues, right?  Of course there were. But interestingly, downsides tended to be that there weren’t enough hours in the day to absorb the firehose of information and awesomeness coming my way. A good problem to have and very Burning Man-like. Many of the WDS activities took place in NW Portland – which is one view of the City (I think many attendees probably have a warped view of Portland because of this – they spent most of their time downtown). That said – this is not anyone’s fault and led to a lot of potential meet-ups and HQ all being close – and so everything was pretty walkable.  I think a downside would be each of our own resistances to growth, myself included. I noticed sometimes wishing – OH, I wish this was a little more like RC/Re-evaluation Counseling, or Solsara. Or, being underwhelmed by a fellow attendee’s response to something or having a bright light shining in my eyes from the main stage; or the app not working perfectly with my ancient phone. But otherwise?  From the moment I landed @ HQ I was treated well and so many of my interactions with people started at a good and interesting place. So, kudos to WDS for a job very well-done. Other conferences could learn a ton from attending this.  Kind of like how Vancouver Folk Festival sets the standard in how to run a large music festival (and go Beloved Festival for the mantle for a smaller festival 🙂

Many more pics here. by Tera and Armosa Studios.

Melinda Robino “I’m with you Albert. I’m still processing and thinking deep thoughts. As much as this is a global event (people from all over!), it could be about self-domination (is that weird?). What I mean is, I started opening up and taking control of all those negative thoughts about myself that I just harbored and had adapted as truth. I gave back when someone seemed to need a little confidence. So was this all woo-woo topics? Not a chance. It was play, work, performance, connecting, reaching, curiosity, taking, eating, making and a meet-up on just about anything. The Main Stage speakers were not just people that have “made it.” But more of people that work to live their life on their terms and a willingness to show us their path, tips, tricks and compassion. If that’s woo-woo, I’ll take an extra serving please!


Ecstatic Dance: A Healthy Community Model – Sarah Kreisman

Sarah Kreisman

Sarah Kreisman

Ecstatic Dance: A Healthy Community Model, by Sarah Kreisman

There exist an endless variety of styles and types of communities in the world today. Some are large, some small in size, some are fleeting and some have existed for many generations. Forming into community is a part of human nature. “Our attraction to groups is instinctual; two hundred thousand years of human history have formed us into the group creatures we are” (Bellman, G. & Ryan, K., 2009, p.14). It is true that perhaps all communities in existence are not healthy communities, but there exist many which by nature are good for the people who are within them, as well as for those who are without. The ecstatic dance community is one great example of a healthy community. As a result of its unique nature, shared leadership and relationship to art, the ecstatic dance community is an excellent model of a successful, sustainable community.

There are many elements to the ecstatic dance community which make it unique from the majority of the communities in the world. The community as a whole is very openly loving and passionate in a way that I have never before witnessed. Affection is accepted and even encouraged between men. The community in general focuses strongly on human connection, on facing fears and learning to love and be loved. As community elder Bob Czimbal says, “we are more focused on belonging than belongings” (B. Czimbal, personal communication, August 15, 2013). The emphasis is on embracing truths and being accepted and embraced for doing so. The social norms are to be wild, free, sober and respectful. Czimbal states, “the goal is to increase passion and consciousness simultaneously as opposed to the typical increase in passion and decrease in consciousness correlation” (B. Czimbal, personal communication, August 15, 2013).

I myself have been experiencing the dynamics of the ecstatic dance community as a member for almost five years. During this time I have had the pleasure of befriending Bob Czimbal, a member of the community since 1996. Czimbal has been a community activist since the 1960’s when he began to participate in “human potential” movements. These movements involved an aspect of personal growth and healing which was unique and radical for the times. Czimbal participated as the greater community of the United States came together over external issues such as the Vietnam War. This experience motivated him to begin on his life’s path of merging the concepts of personal growth and community. Czimbal received a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, went on to study community and co-authored Vitamin T and Kindred Spirits with his wife Maggie Zadikov.

Bob Czimbal, as a result of his passion for creating community and teaching others to do the same, has inadvertently become a strong pillar of the community. He has taught many seminars and workshops, and facilitated many gatherings which teach and encourage respectful communication and touch. Czimbal’s primary leadership role in this community has been in helping community members to develop these healthy skill sets as well as teaching them how to form a community of choice. Overall, Czimbal has played a pivotal role in helping the ecstatic dance community to remain healthy and prosper.

The benefits of being a member of the ecstatic dance community are many. When participating in ecstatic dance, we have the opportunity to witness and observe various behavior models and learn from them. The dance space provides an experimental environment which enables people to practice various ways of interacting with others in order to discover new and different manners of relating and setting boundaries. People are able to experience deep connection with each other without fear of expectations or attachments. It’s an environment which gives people the opportunity to learn to feel comfortable with touch and experience an embodied sense of spirituality. The community is also a playful space for people of all ages, encouraging joy, humor and a youthfulness which is uncommon in most adult communities. According to author David Richo, author of How to be an Adult in Relationships: Five Keys to Mindful Loving, there are five necessary elements to having healthy, loving adult relationships: attention, acceptance, appreciation, affection and allowing. This theory applies to any relationship experienced in adulthood. “They are the components of the healthy ego: Attention from others leads to self-respect. Acceptance engenders a sense of being inherently a good person. Appreciation generates a sense of self-worth. Affection makes us feel lovable. Allowing gives us the freedom to pursue our own deepest needs, values, and wishes” (Richo, 2002, p27). As depicted in the description of the ecstatic dance community, it is clear that an environment is created in which the five keys are facilitated. This creates a space of healing and nourishment which individuals may or may not be experiencing outside of this community.

All of the aforementioned benefits are aspects which promote good emotional and psychological community health. Strong friendships and even business partnerships form out of this community, creating concrete social capital for its members. “…Social capital refers to connections among individuals- social networks and the norms of reciprocity and trustworthiness that arise from them” (Putnam, 2000, p.19). With a high level of social capital, community and individual needs are well-supported, leading to an exceptional commitment and participation within the community by its members. Trust and reciprocity are incredibly important factors which attribute to community health and cohesion. “In short, people who trust others are all-round good citizens, and those more engaged in community life are both more trusting and more trustworthy” (Putnam, 2000, p.137). The ecstatic dance community by nature creates and encourages a community of trusting, inter-dependent individuals who are able to take the lessons they learn in this space and apply them in their lives within the greater, surrounding community. According to Czimbal the ecstatic dance community is “the most cutting edge spiritual evolution and revolution in the world today” (B. Czimbal, personal communication, August 15, 2013).

The leadership model in the ecstatic dance community is interesting as well as effective. The community functions in a democratic style, focusing on equality, shared leadership and decision-making within the group. This community functions succesfully as a team, with a structure of varying leadership roles depending on individual’s skill sets and interests. This style of power distribution is part of what makes this community sustainable. In Spencer Klaw’s book Without Sin: The Life and Death of the Oneida Community, we get a close look at an intentional community which existed successfully for 33 years in the late 1800’s. This was a “tightly knit and thriving society of some three hundred Christian communists living in upper New York State” (Klaw, 1993, p.1) who united under a leader who was a charismatic, self-proclaimed divine authority. This group practiced “complex marriage”, had a strong educational ethic, work ethic, and commitment to a leader whom they believe was leading them on the path to the Kingdom of Heaven. “…in a community of true Christians, God did not intend that love between men and women should be confined to the narrow channels of conventional matrimony. All the men at Oneida were therefore considered to be married to all the women” (Klaw, 1993, p.3).

John Noyes, the founder and leader of the Oneida community, ruled in the authoritarian leadership style, keeping tight control over the habits and practices of his community members. This was an effective method of leadership in that it created a large, cohesive, lucrative, community, but given the temporary existence of the community, it clearly was not sustainable. Once the community members began to lose faith in Noyes and his ideals, it wasn’t long before the community itself dissolved. “The Community’s founders had shared, and been united by, the exhilarating conviction that they were a chosen people; having freed themselves from sin, they could look forward to achieving immortality in their own lifetimes” (Klaw, 1993, p.233). The dream slowly died, Noyes lost his credibility, the community divided and ultimately disbanded. This is a great example of how tenuous the strength of a community can be in comparison to the solidity of the Democratic style of the ecstatic dance community.

Another aspect of the nature of this community which helps to make it a healthy, vibrant, sustainable community is its relationship to art. Humanity uses art for many purposes such as communication, entertainment, political/social expression, and healing to name a few. Within the ecstatic dance community art is commonly present. Whether via the medium of dance, musical performances or art exhibitions by community members, this community avidly supports and encourages artistic expression. There is a constant cycle of love, connection, support and creative expression flowing through this community. Through email list serves, social media and personal connections, when a community member offers to share their art publicly the community turns out to encourage, support and reward the courage of the vulnerable artist. The ambience is non-competitive, each person experiencing compersion when someone else succeeds. Artistic expression is celebrated, supporting the truth and freedom of each individual, yet another aspect of good health within this and other special communities.

Art has played an important role in many societies and social movements through human history, one of which was the Harlem Renaissance movement. This was a unique movement in the history of the African American culture in the United States, a movement which is world-renowned for the artistic expression which came out of it. “These years corresponded with an unprecedented artistic outpouring in the form of plays, novels, poetry, music, and visual art representing black life across many social categories- urban and rural, light skinned and dark, upper and lower class, male and female, heterosexual and homosexual” (Ferguson, 2008. p.1). During this movement African American people stood up and called for change. They shined a spotlight on their plight from slavery to segregation, and insisted on full social and political equality. Much of this communication was expressed through art. “The Harlem Renaissance holds a rightful place in African American memory as a time when freedom began to feel free” (Ferguson, 2008, p.2).

The ecstatic dance community parallels with the Harlem Renaissance movement in that it is also a very progressive, forward-thinking group, interested in social evolution and change. This community also uses art as a medium to express their desire for growth as we can see through ecstatic dance community member Eleanore O’Brien’s play series Inviting Desire. Her theatre company, Dance Naked Productions, “believes that the key to human happiness lies in greater compassion and understanding (and of course, more and better sex), and use the medium of theater to further that goal” (O’Brien, 2012). O’Brien’s work is an excellent example of using art to create social change.

As outlined in this paper, because of its unique nature, shared leadership and relationship to art, the ecstatic dance community is an excellent model of a successful, sustainable community. It’s an inclusive model which welcomes the greater community to participate within and enjoy its norms and practices. As this community continues to grow and flourish over time, humanity in general stands to reap the benefits.


Bellman, G. & Ryan, K. (2009). Extraordinary Groups: How Ordinary Teams Achieve Amazing

            Results. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Ferguson, J. B. (2008). The Harlem Renaissance: A Brief History of Documents. Boston,

MA: Bedford/St. Martin’s.

Klaw, S. (1993). Without Sin: The Life and Death of the Oneida Community. New York, NY:

The Penguin Group.

O’Brien, E. (2012). About Dance Naked Productions. Dance Naked Productions. August, 24,

2013, from

Putnam, R.D. (2000). Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of the American Community.

New York, NY: Simon & Schuster.

Richo, R. (2002). How to be an Adult in Relationships: Five Keys to Mindful Loving. Boston, MA:

Shambhala Publications, Inc.

Portland Ecstatic Dance – Video

Sarah’s video on Youtube… 

The Sacred Circle Ecstatic Dance from a while back in the 90s – Village Ballroom days!


Pulling Together

In my work as a networker, social networker, email marketing, Facebook teaching, activist, kibbutznik, I tend to think big picture much of the time. At one of my recent Facebook classes, one of the participants, Robert, pulled me aside and asked “why aren’t we Portlanders pulling together more of the time?”  He had lived in San Diego and watched as the new age movement prospered there as many of the participants would support each other by buying one anothers’ books, attending each others’ seminars and basically boostering for one another – the helping all boats to rise theory in action.  And, it worked.

I agree with Robert and have often thought that our community could use a directory of services, a bank/fund for helping members through tough times as well as something that might be available for scholarships for dance workshops or similar purposes.  Since I think that ecstatic dancing is the cat’s meow, and one of the best methods for staying healthy and smart and is also a great community creation tool (like), I’ve also been interested in seeing it spread far and wide. To that end, I wrote this piece last year, and also turned it into a cute cartoon.

Since then a few folks from Portland have gone and started ecstatic dance in their new communities – Erik Blender in Orcas Island and Cheri Anderson in Surprise Valley near Phoenix are the two that I’m most familiar with, and if there are more – please let me know about them.  If you know people who live near these areas, please send them Cheri/Erik’s way – as their success will both add to their financial well-being, but will also move more people in the direction of the goodness we have found.  Spreading good ideas = healing the planet.

In this vein, Eleanor O’Brien’s show, Dominatrix for Dummies, is a big shout out for ecstatic dance. Eleanor’s show is playing in Seattle 4 more times – we all know people who live in Seattle – help her show sell out and help your friends find their way to the dance floor (The Seattle ecstatic dance scene is building with new dances starting up at OmCulture and beyond.  They even have a clothing optional dance… Portlandia???)  Eleanor and her show are also about to take the show further afield to Santa Cruz, CA, Orlando, Edmonton (Canada), St. Lawrence, NY and elsewhere.  If you want to help spread the goodness of ecstatic dance and support one of our own, figure out how to track what Eleanor’s doing (her email list is a good start, get on it!) and send your friends and relatives to see her when she comes to their town. She’s probably also up for performing her show in towns that are on her road-trip route if you want to go the extra mile 🙂

Pulling Together for reals

What would our community look like if we were all pulling for each other a little bit more?  I’ve got a list of local healthcare providers who are mostly dancers that I share with the world. What would happen if we routed our buying decisions through a dance filter?  It’s certainly something to ponder. I welcome your comments and involvement.

Thanks for dancing
Thanks for continuing to show up
Thanks for continuing to DJ
Thanks for continuing to make alters
Thanks, Thanks, Thanks!

Albert, Caffe D’arte, April 18, 2012

My birthday is May 11th – garden celebration on May 14th, too!

birthdayMy 50th birthday is on May 11th! I am organizing some times and places to celebrate – join me in person in Portlandia if you can!

Wednesday, May 11th – Albert turns 50! No big plans for the day yet, but in the evening… Ecstatic dance at the Village Ballroom’s Mindful Meltdown Dance at Dekum and 7th NE at 6:30-8:30pm ($8-$12 I believe) – DJ Chris Browne will be spinning the tunes and I’m doing the “intention” – living a bigger, bolder life! Also, I’ve invited those who are also turning 50 this year to come and join in the fun – so if that’s you, please get in touch!

Afterwards, join us for dinner at Queen of Sheba Ethiopian Restaurant @ 2413 NE Martin Luther King Blvd. (note restaurant change).  We’ll gather from 8:30-10pm. Also, you can just come and join us and not eat, that’s fine, too. Yay!

Then, on Saturday, May 14th, come to the new Birthday Garden, 3rd and Hancock NE. From 9am to 4pm we’ll use shovels and other implements of farming to build up some garden beds, shovel compost and turn a big lot into a community garden. I could use some help organizing the day – need someone to fetch a bbq from SE and perhaps others to help create a rain protection system (big tent? Tarp?) in case it rains. From 4-6pm we’ve reserved the Common Grounds Wellness Center on 33rd and Alberta, NE, so 40+ lucky people will get to soak together which should be a blast. I’m still working out the details of food and drink and live music for the day, but things are coming together.

7pm, Saturday, May 14th, healthy potluck dinner and party at The Happy Clam – 1823 NE 13th Ave.

Albert Kaufman
1823 NE 13th Ave.
Portland, OR 97212

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

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