Many thanks to our awesome and gracious host, Chris Guillebeau, for making #World Domination Summit a truly fabulous event.

I began the weekend thinking I would find ideas for something I might Do.

Instead, I discovered paths to deeper and more authentic Being.

Every speaker was riveting.  Some highlights for those of you unable to attend:

Pam Slim, Escape From Cubicle Nation, spoke of “the power within each of us”, reminding us of “the beauty of who we are”.  Pam used the four elements–Air, Water, Earth, and Fire–as metaphors for the individual strengths each of us brings to our community.   Pam stressed that we not forget protection, grounding ourselves in our physical bodies, rooting ourselves in love.

Leo Babauta told us how he once felt hopeless, helpless, and worthless–and failed many times to change his life–until he learned the mechanism of how habits are formed, and began by making one small change at a time.  He started by quitting smoking, and now writes Zen Habits, with over 200,000 subscribers.

Danielle LaPorte, White Hot Truth, on goals:  “How do you want to feel when you get there?  What do you have to do everyday to generate those feelings?  This puts you in the driver’s seat….Start radiating.”

Sufi Master Mark Silver, Heart of Business, opened and connected 500 hearts.  He said, “We are nothing, all comes from Source.  Our best work comes through us….Be a vessel”.

Karen Walrond, The Beauty of Different, described “Creating your own story”, as she held us spellbound with her warm humanity and striking photography.  “Making comparisons is a colossal waste of time.  When I compare myself to someone else, I am comparing my insides to their outsides”.  She suggested we “Curate” our lives.  “We don’t age because time passes.  We age because we stop looking for the wonderful”.

Jonathan Fields spoke about the research behind his upcoming book, “Uncertainty“.  He said, “The greatest creators are capable of consistent action in the face of uncertainty”.  He talked about how “our brains are wired to avoid being wrong and then being judged”.  He said when we want to create something, but know how it will turn out, it’s been done already.  Doing “great work”, and creating something new, is uncomfortable.  He talked about the role of ritual in the creative process, “leaning into fear and anxiety” and “creating certainty anchors to allow creative space”, practicing meditation and mindfulness to open up creativity.

I am so looking forward to Jonathan’s book.

A truly inspirational weekend.  “But worthless, if you don’t do something….Act on it in the next 30 days.  Take one significant action, and see what happens” ~ Jonathan Fields.

I’ve been doing just that, diving deep into change for the past 30 days, as new and good paths open.


Mara Rose

Here is Chris on the event he totally rocked: The Heart Attack of Awesome.

And the link to Chris’s Flickr master photos of #WDS:  Chris Guillebeau Flickr feed.

More on #WDS:  Bindu Wiles, World Domination Summit Roundup, and her WDS Photos.


Instagram Rocks

I love iPhone photography.  My iPhone is the camera that is always in my pocket.  When I am lost in stress or a funk, whipping out my iPhone to capture a moment is a great way to find my way back.

My favorite new photo app is Instagram.  Simple, easy-peasy, and you can link all your contacts, friends, and Twitter to your Instagram feed.  And the app and service are free!  Tweaking the color saturation is fun, and I love seeing the great creative photos other photographers post.

BTW, World Domination Summit was beyond fabulous!  YAY!  A true life-altering experience, which I am yet integrating.  I am working on the post I promised you, coming soon.  For now, I will say–I signed up for #WDS with the thought I might find something to Do.  I came away with a deep experience of Being.

Back to Instagram–Below are a few pictures that I have been playing with:

Comment flow:  What are your favorite phone photography apps?

  Follow Your Bliss….   Joseph Campbell

At the last minute, I had the great good fortune to score a ticket to The Art of Non Conformity’s awesome and amazing World Domination Summit in Portland, Oregon.  YAY!!!

I am so excited about meeting new friends and spending the weekend surrounded by creative, adventurous people who live outside the box and follow their dreams.

I know I will have much to share with you about the experience.  Stay tuned!

Comment Flow….

Will any of you be at the World Domination Summit?  If not, have you plans for an adventure in the coming weeks?

Photos:  Lobby at Urban Farmer, the Nines Hotel,

and The Park Blocks in Autumn,

Portland, Oregon.

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field.

I’ll meet you there.

When the soul lies down in that grass

the world is too full to talk about.


For those of you who love adventure travel and discovering other cultures, photographer Matthieu Paley is your guy.  Reading his blog, I am entranced.  (The photos in the text of this post are mine.  Please follow the link below to Matthieu Paley’s work–he is world class).

Matthieu Paley’s photography is a portal into another world.  Last night on his blog, I discovered “We Are The Anti-Taliban” (copyright, Matthieu Paley), a film he and his wife, Mareile, made in 2008, of the world’s biggest Sufi festival.  Singing, dancing, and love, a yearly celebration held in Sehwan Sharif, a town on the banks of the Indus River, Sindh Province, Pakistan.  

The people of Pakistan are so much more than the fundamentalists and terrorists, the difficult, untrustworthy government.

Below is the link to Matthieu’s blog.  Once you reach his blog, scroll down the site to find Matthieu’s video, “We are the Anti-Taliban”, on the right hand column, towards the bottom on the screen, and enjoy:

The link:  Matthieu Paley Photography.

I so wanted to experience Sufi celebration and dancing when I visited Pakistan, but my timing was off.  However, I was able to spend a morning in the Data Durbar Shrine in Lahore.  The remains of  the 11th Century Sufi Saint  Abul Hassan Ali Havjery, also known as Data Gani Baksh, are enshrined Data Durbar, which was built in the 11th Century.

Data Durbar welcomes people of all faiths to worship, be they Christian, Hindu, Sikh, or Jains.

I felt welcomed and comfortable at Data Durbar.  The holy men and worshipers radiated kindness and compassion.  My time in this beautiful shrine was the high point of my stay in Lahore.

Sufism is an Islam of love, tolerance, and devotion.

Sufism is a path to uncovering Divine Love within one’s own heart.

Sufism is the Islam of Rumi, the beloved poet.

Sufism is a voice of moderation in Pakistan.

Tragically, July 2010, there were three explosions in the Data Durbar Complex, the work of suicide bombers.

Three thousand people were present, 42 were killed, and 175 wounded.

Sufism in Pakistan is threatened by fundamentalism.

Related Articles, including more about Sufism in Pakistan and the festival at Sehwan Sharif:

Mara Rose
*I am sure you will also enjoy Matthieu Paley’s ongoing film-making and writing about the Afghan Kyrgyz, who live in the High Pamir Mountains of the Wakahn Corridor of Afghanistan.

Much is being written about the Greg Mortensen Three Cups of Tea scandal.  As my initial shock and reaction wear off, some personal observations.

The situation in Afghanistan is a nightmare.  The Graveyard of Empires, both for the British in the 19th Century, and the Russians in the 20th.  Now we Americans are there.

Pakistan is unraveling, with fundamentalism on the rise, poverty and corruption rampant, armed to the teeth with nuclear weapons, and at saber’s edge with it’s neighbor, India.


Nightly ceremony, Wagah, India-Pak border.

Faced with seemingly insoluble problems, in a world where earthquakes and tsunamis swath through nations, it is understandable that we look for symbols of hope.  To me and many others, Mortensen symbolized what one person, everyman, could do if he worked hard enough, was selfless enough.

A comforting myth, as it turns out, yet a powerful one.

The allegations are serious.  Fabricating his seed story.  Misappropriation of funds, which I believe is even more serious, but seems to be getting less attention.

Worse, Mortensen’s cause was meaningful and spoke to our highest aspirations.

Hero worship is a projection of our own psyche’s need to feel safe and protected.  To find tidy answers to difficult problems.

We once made heros of the Afghan Mujahedin, until they became dissolute warlords.

Visiting NW Pakistan and the Hindu Kush, I lived the romance of an area steeped in history, the Wild West of the British Raj, where 100 years ago, the Great Game played out between the Russian and British Empires to control the riches of the Silk Road.

The Roof of the World, where the Hindu Kush, the Hindu Raj, the Pamir, the Karakoram, and the Himalaya meet in unspeakable grandeur.  The inspiration for Shangi-La, the setting for The Man Who Would Be King.

I experienced the seduction.

In Central Asia, hubris has destroyed many men.

I want to believe that Mortensen was in over his head, and lacked the ability to manage a successful and growing non-profit.  I want to believe he began with his heart in the right place, then took a wrong step down a dangerous slope.  That he became enchanted by the powerful lore of Central Asia and lost his center.  I want to find compassion for the man and his family, while not excusing his alleged behavior.

I have learned I was romantic and naive in my hero worship.  I have learned some things I did not know before about developmental aide.  I have been reminded there are no miracles, no quick and easy solutions.  That real answers must come from within ourselves.

Marianne Elliott, of ZenPeacekeeper, wrote a thoughtful and nuanced post about the Mortensen situation yesterday.  I recommend her perspective.

Mara Rose

You might also like:

Sufism–of Love and Tolerance

When Heroes Stumble

Setting an Intention is powerful, as I am learning more and more every day.  My intention to become kinder to myself has drawn amazingly lovely resources into my life, and I have dived in.

However, there is one intention I catch myself avoiding–easing into Yoga.  On the surface, this makes no sense.  I eased right into meditation, and it has become the core of my morning ritual.  But I’ve caught myself avoiding yoga.

I did not want to go out to a class–I wanted to do simple movements in the privacy of my own space.  So, I signed up for a fabulous beginning yoga course on line, with a highly respected teacher.  Perfect.

However, I did not get started when the class began, due to a migraine, and the aftermath.  That’s legit.  I am really knocked sideways with a migraine.  But since then, there has always been something.  This morning, I suspected that I am resistant to yoga.

Why?  I like working out.  I ride a spirited horse.  I’m learning to meditate.  Why would I resist yoga?

Then it dawned on me–I associate yoga with should.  I have heard I should be doing yoga too many times.  Until I want to run the other way.  Many years ago, I tried yoga in a fairly advanced setting, way over my head.  I felt shamed when I was scolded, “You’re not in your body”.  And so I have avoided yoga, without understanding why.

What if I banished should and shame from the practice of yoga?

Becoming aware that I have associated yoga with should and shame is a huge first step.

My beginner’s yoga program is on-line and in my own home.  The teacher is awesomely supportive and kind.  My intention to ease  into yoga is for myself.  There is no one at home to “should” me or shame me.

Perhaps I can approach yoga in the morning with a fresh perspective, now that I have uncovered why I have unconsciously blocked my intention to ease into yoga.

I am learning much about being present in my body from meditation.  I am learning it is essential that we embrace our innate worthiness to banish should and shame.  I am “in my body” when I ride my mare.  Baby steps.

Perhaps in the morning, I will be ready to ease into yoga.

What are your experiences with intention and resistance?


Mara Rose

*Photos:  NW Frontier Pakistan, 1997.

You might also like:

Ask, and You Shall Receive

Kindness to Ourselves, the Heart of Healing

What is your passion in life?  Of what do you dream?

This post is not really about horses–But about dreaming our dreams, and making them real.  And how our dreams sustain us and give us hope.

I am passionate about Arabian horses.

My passion for my horses held me together when my life fell apart.

I love every part of having horses in my life–from riding to managing their care and feeding them. The best is simply hanging out and being with them, they are so personable, engaging, and comforting.

I love their soft nickers and the salty sweet hay scent of their muzzles.

I love the way my mare bows her head and kisses my hands to greet me. I love that my gelding sticks his tongue out to get attention.

I love trail riding.

I have loved horses since I was a little girl, living in the smoggy concrete jungle of Los Angeles, praying every night for a farm and a horse of my own.

I do not have my own farm, but I am grateful for living the best part of my dream, special horses of my own.

I especially love my Arabian mare.  Ours is a true partnership.  A deep and sustaining friendship.  A love affair.

When I am tired or discouraged, my beautiful mare’s gentle spirit sustains me.  When she was hurt, I held the space for her to get better.  We carry each other.

What does finding your passion in life mean to you?

What do you dream of doing with your precious life?

What did you love when you were a small child, before the “shoulds” of society took over your dreams?

What is standing in your way, holding you back?

What would you be willing to let go of to live your dream?


Mara Rose

You might also enjoy:

Contentment in the Rain

Profound writing about aligning with your soul’s purpose, from Hiro Boga:

Making Things Happen–Alignment.

Barrie Davenport is writing great things about discovering your passion at Live Bold and Bloom.

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