When you touch minds, people are willing to walk a dozen miles for you; and when you touch hearts, people are willing to walk a thousand miles for you; but when you touch souls, people are willing to walk a million miles for you.
Denmark is among the happiest countries in the world, according to the World Happiness Report. The Danes weather their lengthy, dark winters by gathering with friends to share a warm drink or a gracious meal. The word they use for the feelings associated with those moments is hygge (hoo-gah). Hygge helps them offset the impact of enjoying less sunlight than their counterparts at lower latitudes. By circling around a simple table with loved ones, their hearts are nourished.
“Nourishing hearts” is precisely what we witnessed over the course of our two days together in Tampa Bay, as we came together for Encounter 360°. Enjoy the “backstory” behind this signature gathering here: At Long Last: Close Encounters of the Best (Human) Kind.
Our Amazing SessionMasters
This is the beginning of a new day. You have been given this day to use as you will. You can waste it or use it for good. What you do today is important because you are exchanging a day of your life for it. When tomorrow comes, this day will be gone forever; in its place is something that you have left behind…let it be something good.
While at its core, our Encounter was a “netweaving” event, the foundation for it all was set by the extraordinary ConverSessions led by our esteemed SessionMasters, each bringing “unconventional” fresh and different perspectives to the audience, and each setting the tone for the beginning of a “new day”…
Enjoy this special “captured in the moment” video montage courtesy of Melissa Hughes ⤵︎
We were determined to bring messages from around the world to this gathering, and each of our “Global Voices” delivered with eloquence, including Carolyn Lebanowski (Portugal), Mark Reid (Japan), Kimberly Davis (Costa Rica), Toni McLelland (UK), Minnku Buttar (India), Myriam Ben Salem (Tunisia), and Aneesa Theron (South Africa):
In 2019, the Oxford Bus Company launched the instantly popular “Chatty Bus,” a bus with volunteers on board willing to talk with interested passengers. The route was initiated in response to UK government research which found that 30 percent of Britons go at least one day each week without a meaningful conversation. Four years later the Bus Company has learned that one in three people deliberately catch the bus to have some form of social interaction and two-thirds of bus passengers believe that the bus creates strong community ties.
Our two days together “in person” versus virtual, emerged as our version of a Chatty Bus, mixing, mingling, learning, laughing, and bonding, all strengthening our conscious 360° Nation community. We intentionally resisted the notion of a “hybrid” event, where people pay less by Zooming in. Because as wonderful as Zoom interactions can be, you simply can’t capture the magic of hugs and handshakes.
The actual phrase ‘Ichigo ichie’ was coined by a guy named Ii Naosuke, a Japanese tea master who lived from 1815-1860. The story goes that he was constantly threatened with assassination and so he made his tea each day as if it were his last. Every time he made it, he said the tea was unique and more beautiful than the time before. He knew that he would never have the chance to drink another tea exactly like the one he had just made, and so Ichigo ichie is a way to understand and embrace the impermanence of life. Needless to say, this idiom served as the backdrop for our time together, as we treasured every moment, recognizing that every moment, every gathering, and every encounter only happens once, and it will never be repeated in the same way again.
Picture Every Moment
We continue to gather random images and videos shared by those who gathered. Do take a moment to stroll through our ever-expanding Encounter 360° Album.
Staying true to our “unconventional” ethos, our event came to a close at the end of day two with some surprise fun in the sun courtesy of SessionMaster Allison Kenny ⤵︎
Doing More Good Works
We believe all nonprofits deserve access to the most brilliant minds in social impact. Yet much of this remarkable talent is needed in one place but resident in another. Years of corporate and nonprofit leadership experience tucked away around the world, poised to make a real impact, but out of reach to so many deserving nonprofits. How do we all come together to effectively close that never-ending passion–mission-
Emphasizing that our event was intentionally “for good” versus “for-profit”, our promise was to cover any loss, with any surplus donated through our Foundation to a worthy non-profit. We’ve been as judicious as possible with big-ticket items, keeping everything in-house versus pricey event planners, tech partners, etc. That said, we will now be presenting St. Francis Animal Rescue with our entire Event surplus of $2,703.53, –including direct cash donations from Kathleen (Kat) O’Keefe-Kanavos and Loree Dittrich.
And thanks to the many Event food vouchers from Armature Works graciously handed back to us, coupled with excess vouchers, were able to obtain and deliver 40 hot meals to our homeless population across Tampa Bay. Finally, all of our audio-visual equipment will be donated to a local nonprofit so their voices can be heard at local fundraising events. We can’t thank you all enough for allowing us to simply “do more good” …
What’s Next for 360° Nation?
While we’ve got a lot on our ideas whiteboard, we’ve decided to start by getting out in front of new tech, starting with ChatGPT and Open AI, as it’s coming whether we like it or not. We can run from it, we can stick our heads in the sand, we can throw stones at it, or we can get ahead of it. To help this along, Chip B. Chippendale has come aboard as our Special Contributor, introducing himself in a short video at our gathering (turn your volume up a bit):
Please connect with Chip on LinkedIn HERE, as his very first Article will be released soon!
Shared Humanity: If You Can Dream
“If You Can Dream” was the last song he sang on Elvis, his December 1968 NBC comeback special/first live performance in 7 years. The song was written at the last minute by the show’s musical director to replace “I’ll Be Home for Christmas.” Because there were so many unfortunate dark events that year. He wrote it as a response to the assassinations of the famous dreamers Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King.
As we were exploring theme music for our gathering late last year, synchronicity prevailed as we came upon this particular song, the instrumental version of which, played in the background over our two days together. The lyrics are (unfortunately) timeless and they certainly capture the spirit of our quest to rediscover humanity. It’s about uniting, it’s about peace, freedom, and happiness.
There must be lights burning brighter somewhere
Got to be birds flying higher in a sky more blue
If I can dream of a better land
Where all my brothers walk hand in hand
Tell me why, oh why, oh why can’t my dream come true
There must be peace and understanding sometime
Strong winds of promise that will blow away the doubt and fear
If I can dream of a warmer sun
Where hope keeps shining on everyone
Tell me why, oh why, oh why won’t that sun appear
We’re lost in a cloud, With too much rain
We’re trapped in a world, That’s troubled with pain
But as long as a man, Has the strength to dream
He can redeem his soul and fly
Deep in my heart there’s a trembling question
Still I am sure that the answer, answer’s gonna come somehow
Out there in the dark, there’s a beckoning candle,
And while I can think, while I can walk, While I can stand, while I can talk
While I can dream, Oh, please let my dream Come true, Right now
The Best Ships
My wife Ali and I have literally cruised around most of the world over many years, slowing down a bit during the pandemic, of course. But the one thing we’ve learned no matter where we’ve traveled is that there are steamships and cruise ships, small ships, and tall ships, but the best ships without a doubt are always friendships. Thank you all for your friendships – nourishing our hearts as we treasured every moment!
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Dennis/Ali, it seems like we just left The Big Guava only yesterday! Amazing trip with you friends on the Chatty Bus, let’s not allow this moment, this Ichie to pass unexplored and unheeded! What a great time we had, and who knew we’d be belly dancing!
We look forward to spending more time with you in the future, and indeed with all of our conversession partners wherever they happen to be in this new world opening up thanks to your grand vision.
Best, always, Mariah & Byron !
Thank you, Byron (and Mariah). We certainly treasured our time with you folks and very much look forward to expanding that time going forward. So much more to rediscover, my friend!