“You can only make choices; you can’t make your outcomes.”
~ Sarah Plummer
Tuesday, 3 June 2014, I had the honor of speaking at Urban Campfire Spring Edition: Denver. It was an emotional and powerful night. Two speakers went before me, and I followed their lead of sharing from the heart without notes, and being raw and vulnerable in a way I hope was helpful to the other women in the audience.
I asked myself and the audience a critical questions: When you find yourself in battle, whether that’s literal combat, or divorce, financial ruin, loss of a child, addiction, or chronic stress, what can you do? When you feel like a victim, when you’ve been a victim, how do you get empowered again? Well, I believe, choosing your breath is the first step to getting your power back in the midst of chaos.
A huge thank you to Melody Biringer, the founder of Urban Campfire. She is taking this amazing event all over North America. This is the kind of thing we need more of, and I’m stoked she’s leading the way! Also, much love and gratitude to Brit Stueven of Pollinize Media, who promoted and emcee’d the event, and has supported the heck out of me from the moment we met.
I thought about trying to recap the event in more detail, but Christina Vazquez, who attended Urban Campfire, wrote this about the night, and I thought it was perfect: HUNGER OF A DIFFERENT SORT
Today I’m going to write about a different kind of hungry.
The hunger for depth and breadth and meaning.
It is from this hunger that CRAVE and Urban Campfire was born.
Melody Biringer, a serial entrepreneur from Seattle, was hungry for deeper, more meaningful conversations in her life – both personally and professionally.
She started CRAVE 12 years ago, having spent over a decade being a cheerleader for entrepreneurs.
She was bored of the traditional networking arenas, and from that created Urban Campfire.
It’s been hosted in a few cities so far, and the Studios at Overland Crossing, in south Denver, was where our city was host to its first Urban Campfire last week.
An open, loft-like space was the perfect external environment to open the possibilities of exploration of the internal environment.
This is what we were there to do, though they smartly lure you in with cocktails and cuteness.
Around the space were beautiful touches like glass jars with tealights, cheese platters, and colorful journals at each place setting.
Rounds of tables of 8 encircled an open space in the middle, mimicking a campfire set up.
Each of the speakers – who told their stories in a TED-like format for 10 minutes – took this ‘stage’ to speak
After each set of speakers, we enjoyed dinner and a more intimate conversation at our tables – led by facilitators Melody had hand-picked and trained – on topics like what had been our greatest failure and what gets us excited about life [in campfire language – What is your Marshmallow?].
There were tears, there was laughter, there was revealing and revelation.
And thankfully, to add some levity, there were actual marshmallows.
Chocolate chip stuffed, no less.
The goal, as it is at any good campfire is to gather around and share stories.
It lends perspective.
Melody feels if you can see yourself in the other and they can see themselves in you, then a meaningful conversation has been started that can result in all kinds of possibilities for connection, liberation, and wholeness.
This process naturally results in reciprocal business too, but it’s a more humane manner than the stiff networking events we’ve all [sadly] experienced.
Connections are made that are truly authentic and powerful, with the opportunity for longevity and sustainability that aren’t typically present when you’ve shaken hands and made small talk over a runny drink in a staid ballroom.
Friendships are sparked as well.
Already, from just that one night, I met two women who I know will be lifelong friends.