I now accept the unexpected during Mercury Retrograde, which has given me the ability to ride its currents into magical new places.

I’ll give you an example.

(It’s a long story, so stick with me.)

I missed my MAX stop at the end of a long day at the World Domination Summit, and a series of unfortunate events gave me an incredible gift, found at the end of a path paved with the unexpected.

Without all of these mishaps together, I would not have been privileged to capture an amazing piece of video footage (way below).

The first mishap came in the morning. I rode my borrowed bike into St Johns, expecting to catch the number 4 bus to the meetup I was hosting, Outsourcers Anonymous.

The bus driver saw me cross the street in front of him, and wave at him from where I stood, right next to the pole with his bus’s number on it.

He even waved back. And then he drove right by, without stopping to pick me up.

An unexpected change of plans. That’s all.

So I wouldn’t be able to fiddle on my iPhone on the ride downtown, like I had planned; it’s probably better for my battery anyways, I thought to myself. Long day ahead.

Riding the bike down to the nearest MAX line – that’s an excuse for exercise, and even after only three hours of sleep, it’s difficult for me to turn down exercise that is spoon-fed to me by fate.

I pedaled quickly to the Arbor Lodge MAX station, arriving only three minutes before the train. I had just enough time to lock my bike up and hop over the railing onto the platform, and this proved to me that I was on the right course.

Had I offered resistance after the bus left me stranded, grouching and bitching about the new problem, I would never have received the unexpected gift I found at the end of the day.

Gracefully, I dismounted my bike, and had just enough time to comfortably take my place on the train.

Synchronicity always signals that you’re on the right path.

So I followed this flow, all the way downtown, and there I found that the cafe where I was hosting Outsourcers Anonymous was closed. The event was not meant to be, and I did not bother getting upset about it.

Instead I found coffee, and met more amazing new friends, and stood in a long serpentine line that wound around the local temples of culture and performance.

It was a very pleasant way to spend the morning, and I am grateful I did not let the unexpected turns of events prevent me from enjoying it.

The Portland Schnitzer Sign for World Domination Summit 2013

World Domination Summit Speakers – Day 1

Nancy Duarte

Nancy Duarte at World Domination Summit

Nancy Duarte has studied the greatest speeches in history, and found they all shared a common alternation between what is, and what could be. Her detailed research broke down the patterns of applause, repetition, cultural references, and more. It was a fascinating discussion about what makes an audience rapt.

(As Chase Jarvis later pointed out, it also gave the audience the tools to dissect the speeches in new and thorough ways.)

Most of the speakers adhered (at least loosely) to this rhythm, especially the blogger who dreamed of being Superman.

Darren RowseIMG_8281

The founder of Problogger talked to us about dreams, his journey of reaching for them, and things for us to think about while pursuing them. True to Nancy Duarte’s form, he alternated between what was, and the dreams that could be.

His own dreams were chronicled in the presentation, and they changed as he grew and matured, both as a man and as a blogger.

Having fulfilled many of the dreams of his adulthood, today he also realized his very first childhood dream of being Superman, and came on stage in full superhero costume. It was charming and fun.

A new member of the Caelan club

caelan and caelin

During the break, I found an exceedingly rare specimen of the human species who shares my name.

And then, I was privileged to meet one of my heroes.

Danielle LaPorte

Danielle LaPorte and Caelan Huntress

Danielle LaPorte is the author of the Fire Starter Sessions, and she created the multimedia Desire Map, a transformational work of actionable introspection.

After spending a decade studying the field, I have found the Desire Map to be the most powerful work of personal development I have ever read.

Today, she offered her answers and her experience on her current journey for an open Q & A session.

She handled the questions with grace, compassion, wisdom, and when necessary, dislocation.

One of the first questioners asked for Danielle to be her mentor, to go have coffee, to become a part of her life. The way she turned it down was offered as a case study for everyone in the packed, standing room only audience, so we could see her authentically honoring her own core desired feelings in action.

This is something I love about the way Danielle creates; she does not simply describe the lessons to you, she offers her own experience as a lens through which we can view the repercussions of making choices in alignment with (or out of sync with) our highest inner truth.

Beauty is a powerful door opener.
Don’t sully gratitude with thoughts of self worth.
Imprint your cells with victory.
The more joy you have, the more you have to give.
Your life is your material.



They do good work. Check them out.

Jia JiangIMG_8367

Talk about embracing the unexpected: wow. Jia Jiang was very detailed about his goals as a young man, but never pursued his dreams because of his fear of rejection.

So he went on a journey against his fear, asking random people if he could do crazy things, to eradicate his fear of rejection.

The funny thing was, quite often, whether he was asking a stranger to play soccer in his backyard, or asking a cop to drive his car, or asking a pilot to fly his plane, people often said yes.

Jia received the only standing ovation of the day, for having the courage to go through the veil his fears, and finding out that they were completely insubstantial.

Chase JarvisIMG_8368

What a lively and engaging speaker! Chase Jarvis is the founder of Creative Live, a disruptive education platform that offers free workshops from world class experts on a wide variety of subject.

To drive home the value (and necessity) of this type of education, he spent a while discussing the depressing statistics about the state of creativity, education, and debt in the United States, factors I can ignore while living in Costa Rica. Having this distasteful reminder was soothed by the knowledge that creative dynamos like Chase are actively providing unorthodox solutions to our culture-wide problems.

Cultivating the development of other creatives is part of Chase’s mission; by allowing others around the world to develop their own creativity, we could be creating the scientist that cures cancer, the engineer that creates free energy, the artist that moves a nation.

He had found a way to create the next generation of disruptors, and some day many of the world’s leading innovators could owe the fruits of their labors to the seeds that Chase is now sowing.

And then, the unexpected began.

The meetup that I had registered to attend was using a different platform than the WDS Mobile App to record actual registrations, so I (and a few dozen others) were turned away at the door.

As the crowd milled around outside, I offered some nearby local places we could go that could handle a group our size. Swiftly I was nominated the leader of the creative refugees, so I took everyone through downtown to the best views in the city, on the 30th floor of Big Pink.

Creative Refugees

I talked and mingled in Portland City Grill, handing out and collecting business cards, making dates for Skype calls and free marketing consultations. I was in my element, meeting people and making connections.

(In many ways, this is the highest, purest expression of my skill set: schmoozing at parties.)

I left early, wanting to get another blog post in before midnight, and hopefully a bit more sleep.


I hopped on the Yellow Line MAX train, scrolled through my Instagram photos and the #WDS2013 hashtag, and missed my stop.

Score an extra point for the #WDS2013 Unconventional Race!

Expo center platform yellow line train MAX portland

1 point

Because I got a photo of the end of the line, I earned a hard-to-get point in the WDS mobile app’s scavenger hunt, that I didn’t think I would have occassion to score. I happily took this as an unexpected (and wholly welcome) surprise.

I wasn’t planning to be on the MAX at all today, and not during this particular moment near sunset.

I knew the moment was important when the other train at the platform pulled away, without even opening its doors. (A lot like the bus this morning.)

I still chased the train, keeping pace with it to find purchase to hold me so I could ride until the next stop, when I could enter properly.


The MAX trains are very sleek, with no toeholds on the sides anywhere. I knew my only chance was to try to jump onto the tail coupling, which I had never climbed on before, either as my alter ego, or as myself.

After fifty yards, running on the gravel between merging sets of railroad ties, I prudently gave up the chase, not wanting to risk an injury in the country where I don’t have any health insurance. Calmly, I returned to the platform to await the next train twenty minutes later

Another wave of Mercury Retrograde to surf into the unexpected, I thought.

And perhaps it was because I did not begrudge the machinations of mischievous Mercury that I found myself gifted with this:

Far at the edge of the city, in a place I had never planned to be during this trip, I was gifted with the flashing of the orange sunset against the softly tinkling wind chimes on this massive gate of environmental art.

I thank Mercury Retrograde for the unexpected blessings it brings, instead of struggling vainly against its currents, and this change in perspective has changed my cosmos.

Moving on: read about Day 3 #WDS2013