There was a whole lotta magic again at this year’s Wisdom 2.0. One of the things we love about participating in this event year after year, is its beautiful blend of experiential, heart and mindfulness with knowledge and purpose.
Although I missed the fireside chat with Ev Williams on mindfulness and the Internet on opening day, I heard great things and have been a fan of Ev’s energy and sense of “being” for years. It was a great topic to kick things off this year and I love that a session on Love & Awareness and Political Diversity followed.
This year marked their tenth anniversary and there was a lot to celebrate. We loved the artistic rose installation at the show this year and it should be no surprise that nearly every attendee had their photo taken in front of it. After all, why not. Stunning, right?
If you’re new to Wisdom 2.0, be sure to check out our coverage from previous years, listed at the bottom of this article, together with a video recap of the event. They’ve had the event at various venues over the years, but given the consistency from last year to this, I found myself less lost and able to get to sessions that much faster. I also love that they moved the main booths to the break out discussion stage which was immediately adjacent to the main stage — this made it that much easier to see people you’ve been trying to track down or even better, run into friends you weren’t expecting to see.
The event draws people from around the world, so unlike many mindfulness events in the Bay Area that tend to draw a local crowd, Wisdom 2.0 attracts a global one. I think part of this is due to its diverse topics as well, such as compassion and mindfulness in the federal government, the power of social media and community and leading through connection to Shamanism, the Rising Feminine and the Dharma of Money, to name a few.
Speaking of global,we loved reconnecting with the folks behind Neten technology from Japan, who make a device called Nigi. We first discovered this fascinating device at the TransformativeTech Conference in Silicon Valley last fall and included it in our gift guide this past year. Essentially, Nigi is designed to help break down dissonant information that affects our natural energetic balance to bring us back into a state of coherence by transmitting specific digital frequencies at very high speeds to help break down the “stuff” that adversely impacts our body and mind.
Also in from Japan were the founders of Zen 2.0 which was started by Kamacon Valley (kamacon.com), a unique local community of tech entrepreneurs, organizers, influencers and policy makers based in Kamakura city.
One of the other things we love about the conference is the break-out panel discussions in smaller rooms where you can really experience the vibe and energy of the speaker. For example, they have Practice Lounges which can be more interactive. Professor of Law and Professor Rhonda Magee led a session on Embodied Mindfulness for Joyful and Meaningful Social Connection and in the Movement Lounge, Master Mingtong Gu guided people through the ancient practice of healing Qigong. Let’s just say that he’s a master of manipulating and controlling energy.
Another option are Hosted Conversations and given the popularity of the latest book by Michael Pollan which addresses what the new science of Psychedelics teaches us about Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence, we weren’t surprised to see discussions around psychedelics and mindfulness.
In fact, the MAPs folks were right next to us for two days in the main exhibit area so we had a chance to talk to them about their latest research and attend their hosted dinner one evening on the safety and exploration of psychedelics, especially for use in depression, PSTD, anxiety and beyond. More and more people are experiencing healing effects from certain psychedelics which is a therapeutic shift in perception about its value for the treatment of PTSD and other issues.
On the main stage, there was an interactive chat with Obama Foundation’s CEO David Simas and Google’s Karen May as well as a wonderful discussion with Paul Hawken on climate change and global warming.
Breakout sessions and solo conversations happened throughout the event as well. I am particularly interested in the environment, and how we’re treating Gaia/Mother Earth, so I made it a point to be at Paul’s talk as well as Spring Washam and Alberto Villoldo who spoke of Shamanism, nature and life balance.
Author and motivational speaker Jay Shetty showed up to share tips and insights he learned from his time as a monk.
And, Roshi Joan Halifax is always wonderful — she shared her wisdom and spoke about her personal experience with psychedelics, something I didn’t expect.
Addressing women and leadership was Grace Gamboa, Kerena Saltzman and Liz Bliss Esalen and there were a couple of sessions on the power of the Enneagram, both socialogical and as a way to solve humanity’s problems. There was a lovely Q&A with Dr. Julie Schwartz Gottman, Dr. John Gottman, Rachel Abrams, Doug Abrams & Logan Ury about maintaining healthy relationships in the digital age. Then, one of our favorites: Louie Schwartzberg spoke about visual healing, which of course incorporated nature. We love his work!
On the main stage, we also saw Jack Kornfield (we’re huge fans and he speaks at Wisdom 2.0 every year), and a fascinating dialogue between Dr. Daniel Siegel and Chelsea Handler about pain and the importance of not denying yourself any traumatic and painful experience you go through. And, addressing technology, democracy and how to map a moral future was Konda Mason, William Dyson and Orland Bishop.
There was also a very moving dialogue on the power of healing from those involved in the Parkland Florida shooting.
Yoga and meditation was also offered and there was a room dedicated to those who wanted to break free from the energy of the day and just sit still and be quiet. In the Embodiment Lounge, David Treleaven who is a trauma professional and Staci K. Haines of the Strozzi Institute talked about embodying purpose: you, your team and your organization. Also wonderful was Rhonda Magee who spoke on both the main stage and on the Q&A stage about the inner work of racial justice.
Around the edges of the Q&A stage were tables of exhibitors and sponsors you could visit, ask questions and experience products. Fetzer Institute and Strozzi Institute both had a big presence and we also spent time at several of the tables and booths, including Pachamama Alliance (we’re huge fans), McLean Meditation Center, Lotus Collaborative, Mala Mantra, One World Children’s Fund, Wisdom Labs, MAPS, Muse, Calm and others.
They had their Birds of a Feather dinners again, which we love. Each year, they throw it out to the community and attendees can offer a hosted conversation around a particular topic of interest. And on the second evening of the event, there’s a party, which was held at the Foundry this year. Among other things such as music and dancing, they had a tarot card reader, which is always “great fun.”
Two thumbs up for an incredible tenth anniversary event to Soren Gordhamer and his amazing team. Their videos for 2019 can be found here and our video summary of 2019 is below. Although it’s not the same professional audio quality as the official videos, you’ll get a good flavor of this year’s event. Enjoy!!