As I was packing to go home today, I realized that the story of the three days I just spent in Atlanta, Georgia, at a Mastery Coaching Retreat could be told by simply looking at the things that had remained untouched the entire trip.
Here are the most telling ones (in no particular order):
The Pink Running Shoes:
Lonely, dejected running shoes
I had a host of well-intentioned, highly-strategized plans to exercise every day by using these schnazzy, high-tech shoes for the very activity for which they are so meticulously designed. It didn’t happen once. I was awoken every morning at 6:30 am (which translates to 3:30 am for my Pacific Coast attuned mind-and-body) by an overly-enthusiastic roommate who liked to get to the conference venue an hour-and-a-half early to meet-and-greet. I found her dedication to networking and connection admirable, but her methods desplicable. As my other roommates seemed to be in league with her, by the time I finally did drag my ass out of bed I wasn’t willing to make time for anything extra in the wee hours of the morn except stopping by Cafe Intermezzo for a $6 iced latte. At the end of the day I was whisked away by my irresistibly charismatic colleagues to frequent local foodie hotspots and subjected to fried green tomatoes, pulled pork tacos with fresh avocado, grilled shrimp salad, and more than once, bloody marys made with hot-pepper-infused vodka.
(By the way, Jason, m and I decided that it was just as well that I didn’t attempt the pre-conference networking, as I was apt to lose more opportunities than I gained at that hour.)
The Black-and-White Stripey Maxi Dress:
Quite a few of the other coaches looked as glam as this chickie. I did not.
The coaches who come to these events are nothing short of amazing, and specialize in helping others unravel the secrets of just about every topic that we humans have wrestled to understand since the dawn of civilization: health, love, sex, money, business, hormonal balance, creative expression — to name just a few.
In addition to being accomplished and charismatic, these folks are also notably stylish. I brought this dress along with the vain hope that I’d be able to keep up with the hipness, but on the first day spied four other women with nearly the same dress (and in some cases, the exact same dress).
Once I realized that I just couldn’t tolerate showing up in yesterday’s dress of the day, I decided to just go casual and stick with stretchy bottoms and strappy tank tops. So you can throw in turquoise skinny jeans, black and white zippered top and knee-high black boots here, too.
By the way, did I mention yet that Atlanta is swelting and humid at the end of May? And my hotel was a fifteen minute walk uphill to the venue?
The Laptop I Never Leave Home Without:
Don’t bother, it’s dead.
First of all, I foolishly forgot my wall charger in Chicago, so it had no juice. Secondly, nearly every thing we did was experiential. Each day was eight hours of intense coaching, truth-telling about how the work is transforming us as clients of one another and as the coaches who get to witness and facilitate this work, and masterminding about how to use these techniques within our various disciplines and in our personal lives with friends, lovers, and kids. My favorite: the so-called “Never-Ending Exercise,” where we timetraveled to our future and our past in a way that left us speechless with gratitude for the present moment, no matter what challenging scenarios we currently find ourselves in.
Vanity Fair, Afar, and Red Hot & Holy by Sera Beak:
This cat has more use for reading material than I do.
Who has time for reading when you’re keeping this kind of grueling schedule?
Guess I’ll just have to save them for the plane ride home.