Journey East pt. 2

Travelogue pt. 2

As a child I was  deeply claustrophobic. My family took many car trips every year, but we’d always take advantage of the many rest stops along the way. Airplane trips were even less desirable. Being shoulder to shoulder with someone I never met, and who I knew I’d eventually have to make conversation with wasn’t my idea of a good time. I was that kid who avoided most dances gatherings, and preferred to be alone (even hugging was an issue for me.)

Once I got more into meditation, my claustrophobia vanished. After I’d sink into my mantra, a profound sense of expansion would overcome me. I’d giggle at how small all my issues seemed, and I would forget that I ever despised cramped spaces. I started going to more social events, and even got back into hugging.

The flight was more than equipped for our 13+ hours of airborne travel. As the engines whirred on, I could feel the power surging around me, as if to say “You’re going to be here a while, so might as well enjoy it.”

The stewardess brought us our vegan meals with the a piece of fruit and raw kale salad.  I don’t care much for airplane food, so I opted to fast, and passed my prepackaged plane fare over to Teddy & Felipe.

After about four hours I wandered towards the back of the plane to stretch my legs. Two airline attendants were gabbing, one was cutting a baked potato with a plastic fork and knife.

After we landed at the Beijing Airport, and rounded up our bags at the carousel we went to meet up with Liya, Jennifer’s mom. Liya is an acclaimed author, public speaker, financial consultant, and creator of the WealthLand Game (among many other innovative projects.)

At the airport, I could almost see my face in the polished pink marble floors. Massively arched ceilings with steel girders loomed overhead, and LED screens displayed the latest & greatest Chinese products. This was a marvelous piece of architecture, and I wondered how many workers there were to keep this place clean.

Despite Beijing being the wonderfully modern city it was, we definitely got more looks than the average 老外 lǎowài (foreigner.) And who can blame them, when our crew looks this fine?

beijing-airport-crew-1At the Collab we encourage cultural diversity, collaboration, next-gen educational models and offer progressive trends in spirituality & sustainability.

Last time I was in Beijing it was 2008. I remember the streets were mostly dirt roads. Piles of steaming garbage were everywhere, and the air always smelled like burning plastic. Since then a LOT has changed.

When we got to our hotel, the room, floor and was super clean, modern and I could see how much progress had been implemented in Beijing. Thousands of skyscrapers pierced the heavens, all monoliths of shiny glass, concrete and steel. I now knew why the “Wo Ai Beijing,” song is so popular.

guang-yao-cThough I had meditated for 6 hours, I felt the draw of Jet Lag weighing me down. For our first Beijing meeting, we began planning our PPT for a major meeting with our Chinese peers about development of an Eco Village.

During our meeting there was definitely some friction. We had been experimenting with Flat Management since the Collab’s inception, but it can be challenging when people can’t come to an agreement. Especially for us spiritually minded folk. When unresolved patterns enter the mix, emotions can escalate and we can get distracted from the matter at hand.

My being a pacifist, I’ve suggested conscious communication in the past. I tend to go silent if there is a heated debate. Maybe it’s all the Yoga I’ve done, or maybe I’m scared to voice my opinion, but as our meeting became more heated, I found myself pulling back, and shutting down.


I wanted to find as many strategies to prevent us from burning out. I opted to start implementing Conscious Communication, Yes Sessions (inspired by one of Pixar’s innovative idea-generating methods) breathing techniques, and make sure we stayed on our meditation game.

After our first draft was ready for the Eastern Eco Village presentation (along with our brand new Logo,) . 2016 was the year of the Fire Monkey, and it was rapidly coming to a head. It was one of the busiest and best years of my life, but as we sat down to clear the air and meditate, I made a silent promise to make sure none of my team would burn out.