Featured image courtesy of Centeroftheheart.com
Have you ever been to a “Conscious Potluck?”
If you haven’t, it’s kind of amazing. And delicious. And inspirational.
I’d like to take a few moments to tell you why it’s not only a delicious and enjoyable way to spend a few hours, but also a healing, uplifting and eye-opening experience for both men and women.
Purpose of the “Conscious Potluck”
So before I recall the story of one of the coolest potlucks ever known to man, let me tell you a little something about the lovely, amazing and fabulous woman who hosted it.
My friend and life coach, Sandra Possing.
Sandra is a kick ass woman. I can’t emphasize that part enough. She helps people change their lives and not only talks the talk, but walks the walk.
In her own words, here is her mission as a life coach:
“I am here to inspire, empower, and challenge you to step up and own it.
I am fiercely committed to this.
I work with people who want to break free from the invisible shackles that hold them back from their own greatness.”
She works as a life coach, personal trainer and speaker in San Francisco, CA and I’m grateful to call her a friend and inspirational human being in my life.
She hosted this Conscious Potluck with one mission in mind:
“Think happy hour + delicious potluck + really honest conversation”
Sounds amazing to me. My husband Ryan and I were really looking forward to it.
When we arrived, we were of course greeted with hugs, authentic smiles and warmth. None of the sometimes awkward party hellos we all experience when you don’t know anyone – this potluck had a totally different energy.
Instead of writing our names on nametags, we were actually asked to write a few things we were passionate about and wear those passions proudly. Love it! An already cool twist to what would turn out to be a magical evening.
She also asked us to write our intention for the night. Another awesome exercise that actually makes you think
“Why am I here? What do I hope to get out of this?”
Gets you out of autopilot and into the moment.
If I remember correctly, I wrote “be present” (one of the daily challenges I face when oscillating between past and future anxieties). It felt good to get clear on what I wanted out of the next few hours and actually write it down.
After diving into delicious appetizers, some vino, some cervezas and other fabulous treats people I had never met before had so generously brought, I was feeling how cool the energy was in this place even more.
People were open.
People were smiling.
People who I had never met before were genuinely cool and down to just be present.
Not many people were on their phones – everyone seemed “there.”
I’ll admit it – I’m guilty of being glued to my phone at times, so it felt nice to just soak up the energy of the moment and let the night unfold without the help of a handheld device.
Circle it Up – Share What’s on Your Mind
After we mingled, chatted it up with new peeps and settled in, our delightful host Sandra asked us if we’d like to circle up and have some honest conversation.
Not your standard potluck, right? That’s why it was so amazing.
After hanging out and chatting, it was time to dig a little deeper – to get “conscious”, to get real – to just let it all out.
As about 20 of us sat in circle, I saw a mixture of people – my friend Natalie was across the way, my husband to my left, Sandra a few seats away – guys, girls, young, older.
A smorgasbord of human beings from all over the bay area.
The important thing was we were all there and we were all down to roll with whatever Sandra had planned. A glorious opportunity for type A personality peeps like me to just let go of control for a few rare moments.
Sandra began by thanking everyone for coming and breaking the ice with her usual awesome and natural self. She reminded us of the goal of the potluck – to bypass the “small talk” that we all often get sucked into at the watercooler and get REAL.
Real happy, real sad, real whatever – the only requirement is that it was real.
That’s Sandra’s trademark – getting REAL and being authentic. Her vibes seeped into this potluck and infused it with genuine awesomeness. A pretty rad thing to do in a room full of busy strangers on a Thursday night in a big city, right?
Realizing I’m Not Alone!
Sandra asked us to answer three questions:
We each went around the circle, volunteering when we felt comfortable. No one was forced to speak, but as time went on, you could feel the positive energy building.
People shared anything and everything. Keep in mind, we all didn’t really know each other, yet we were opening up about our lives. And it felt really awesome.
Careers, love life, friends, family, struggles, wins….you name it, it came up in conversation. And it didn’t feel forced. It felt natural.
People just started authentically speaking from the heart, with no pre-planned script of what they would say or what they would hide.
Because there was nothing to hide.
The whole purpose of this potluck was to be conscious – conscious of your current life situation, conscious of others’ life situations, their hopes, their struggles – whatever it may be – without judgement.
I was so surprised to hear some of the answers people gave about who they were – it’s so easy to meet someone and think you know who they are based on the vibe you get.
But I was quickly reminded that we all have no idea what another person’s story is until we actually take the time to listen to it.
People laughed, people cried, people were just people. Some shared about struggles in their career and what new business ideas they were thinking of pursuing. Others shared their fears and insecurities, which led to dialogues back and forth between others who has experienced similar feelings.
I quickly realized I was not alone in struggling with self-doubt, in wondering if my ideas were silly, in constantly trying to stay present in a world that’s so fast paced and future-thinking.
I was mesmerized with the way some people spoke about themselves and what they were going through. Seemingly shy people who I had met earlier in the night captivated me with their life stories of struggle, of ambition, love, loss – of all the things that make us human.
And there sat Sandra, calmly and naturally facilitating all of this awesome conversation. She prompted people to share a bit more of their story, gently urging them to not be afraid to open up and be vulnerable.
A REAL night.
A CONSCIOUS night.
And a totally amazing experience that reminded me that we’re all human.
We’re all trying. We’re all struggling with the same issues, wrapped in different packages.
And the more real we get with each other, the more alive we ultimately feel.