I Forgot to Bring My Clothes to Hippie Camp!

Last week I attended the Northfield Conference for the first time, as an attendee and a speaker.

Although hard to explain to those who’ve never experienced it (like me), a long-time attendee jokingly described it as ‘hippie camp’.

From their website:

“Our goal is to enable people of all ages and backgrounds to experience their fullest selves in the midst of a loving, supportive and nurturing community.”

I met some of the coolest people, and truly felt very loved, supported and nurtured.

Although it lasts a full week, I was only able to carve out three days in the middle.

The plan was to arrive early Tuesday, immerse myself in the events of the day, speak on Wednesday afternoon (sandwiched between a full day’s activities) and after a full morning on Thursday, leave after lunch.

The first moment of panic happened as soon as I got there.

It was hot. It was muggy. And I forgot my clothes at home.

All I had were the jeans and cotton shirt I was wearing, and I was already sweating.

Could I wear them for three days?

I don’t think so.

Or should I say “I don’t want to stink…so.”

When I admitted my lapse in packing, total strangers immediately sprung up to help.

“We can borrow clothes from someone your size!”

“We can go into town and buy a few things!”

As much as I appreciated these wonderful offers of help (the conference is FILLED with amazing souls like this), I decided that I would undertake the hour-and-forty-minute drive back home, saying: “There is another reason why I have to go home. I just don’t know what it is yet.”

I was right.

There was a message waiting for me from my agent, saying he had arranged a last-minute event for me over the weekend. SCORE!

 Had I stayed at the conference, I would have missed it.

While I was gone, a major thunderstorm ripped through the area between home and the conference, cleaving the sky in two: clear and blue to the right, gray and brick-red swirled to the left.

CoolSkyHippieCamp

It was so beautiful, I pulled over three times to take pictures.

 Had I stayed at the conference, I would have missed it.

On Wednesday afternoon, I was scheduled to share my “Attitude, Action, Traction” presentation.

Nobody there had ever heard of me. Some of them, by this point, only knew me as ‘the guy who forgot his clothes’.

When I arrived an hour early to set up the room, I discovered another group was still using the space, so I decided to sit on a chair under a tree outside the building.

It took less than five minutes to realize that I looked like I was in ‘time out’, sitting alone on a campus teeming with really cool people…so I decided to go find one to talk to.

I found a young man sitting alone in the cafeteria and recognized him as one of the teens who had been part of a panel discussion earlier that day.

“Hey, I really enjoyed your comments this morning!”

“Wow, thank you.” he replied.

As the cleaning staff arrived to prep the room, we decided to chat outside.

It was an amazing forty-five minute conversation!

Had I sat alone in the ‘time out’ chair, I would have missed it.

The best part: as I spoke of this amazing young man during my speech, I mentioned his first name.

“That’s his mom!” came a voice from the audience, pointing to a woman in the front row.

“Your son is awesome” I told her.

She nodded in agreement and, wearing a smile a mile wide, thanked me.

Had I not shared my kind words about her son, SHE would have missed it!

If we pay attention and plug ourselves into possibility, life can truly amaze us.

Opportunities are everywhere.

Sometimes we strike gold.

Sometimes we strike out.

Sometimes we forget to bring our clothes to hippie camp.

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