Imagine an event that combines conversations about technology, business, life, education and creativity with consciousness and what it means to live a conscious life?
Wisdom 2.0 is a premiere gathering held in San Francisco each year which explores the intersection of wisdom and technology and draws thousands of people from over 30 countries. More than a conference, this event is very experiential from the interactive sessions, activities (including yoga and morning walks), evening dinners (referred to as Birds of a Feather meet-ups that focus on particular interests), music, dancing and insights you learn from some of the world’s top gurus on mindfulness, wisdom and living a purposeful life.
The Wisdom 2.0 event addresses this important question: how do we live with greater presence, purpose and wisdom in the digital age?
I don’t know about you but I find it increasingly difficult to maintain a balance between my on and offline worlds. Let’s face it, I’m more saturated by technology that most. My home base is currently the San Francisco/Bay Area, I’ve been tapped into the technology industry from its earliest days, have worked with more technology companies including start-ups than any other sector, have been blogging for 15 years, prolific on social media since the launch of the first platforms and make my living online rather than in a brick and mortar business.
For me, an event like Wisdom 2.0 is a godsend for its content but it also attracts amazing attendees. Between last year and this year’s event, I have met people that cross so many interesting disciplines, you could consider the even more of a life university than a conference.
The list includes authors, educators, yoga instructors, technologists, entrepreneurs, professors, social activists, environmentalists, doctors, shamans, artists, scientists, consciousness gurus, chefs, dancers, marketers, musicians, performers, writers and people with cool titles like Chief Wiz, Alchemist, Social Investor, Movement Artist and Happiness Director.
Photo credit: Wisdom 2.0
There’s an incredible discovery process at the event, from the discussions on stage to the ones in the hallways or in this case, a massive Innovation Hangar where the event was held this year. Part of the majestic Palace of Fine Arts, the Innovation Hangar was a new venue for them this year which made the event feel a bit like a festival with its wide open space.
The hangar is a 120,000 square foot social innovation space designed to be an epicenter of learning and exploration, which allowed for plenty of art installations and creativity, in the walkways, on the walls and even the ceilings.
The speaker line-up every year is incredible! Amazing insights this year came from well renowned consciousness gurus like Eileen Fisher, Byron Katie, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Glennon Doyle Melton, Chade-Meng Tan, and Jack Kornfield.
Dan Siegel took us on a journey to a truly connected life on the main stage and why the relational dimension matters now more than ever. Wisdom 2.0 founder and producer Soren Gordhamer brought Glennon Doyle Melton and Michelle Gale on stage to walk through pain, healing and finding your truth, a topic everyone needs to hear. Only by making our pain points “okay” with ourselves and others, can we begin the vulnerable conversation in our own communities which is not healing but uniting.
Also on the agenda were interesting voices you may not have heard of, such as SIYLI’s Meg Levie; psychotherapist coach Beatrice Chestnut; David Gelles from the New York Times; the Cultural Difference’s Jenny Sauer-Klein; abundance activist Ellen Rogin; mindful educator Sarah Cruse; ILLUMINATE Film Festival’s Danette Wolpert; Take a Stand for Good’s Wendi Gilbert; Dharma teacher Spring Washam and Conscious Leaders Academy Emily Lane.
Also there was Calm.com’s Alex Tew; Holistic Life Foundation’s Atman Smith; Down to There’s Pam Costa; 1440 Muliversity’s Scott Kleins; Insight LA’s Trudy Goodman; Emerging Women’s Chantal Pierrat; author John Prendergast; East Bay Meditation Center’s Larry Yang; Wisdom Labs Rich Fernandez; Paul Zelizer’s Wisdompreneurs (love the name); Holistic Life Foundation’s Andres Gonzalez and Gusto’s Josh Reeves, which is still not an exhaustive list, but their site has the full line-up of those who inspired us.
Because being mindful about our lives in the digital world is such an integral part of the dialogue, it should be no surprise to see venture capitalists and execs from LinkedIn, AirBNB, Facebook and Google on the schedule. Below, Google’s Gopi Kallayil interviews Laurent Potdevin on Reimaging Business in the 21st Century and shifting corporate culture to human culture. Bravo!
The experiential part of the event is my favorite, and whether you simply want to meditate on comfy pillows on the floor, hit the yoga room, or learn something new in their Embodiment Lounge, they’ve got you covered. For example, fascinating was Zuleikha’s Body Listening session, which provided thoughtful and mindful ways to move vibrantly through life.
They even had yoga teachers Ekat Petrova, Betsy Delzer who ran a lovely session on Heart-Opening Vinyasa Flow and Sankari Chaitanya on the list as well as singer-songwriter Jewel, who I adore. Her heart and authenticity is as great as her music.
The other magical aspect of the event is the creativity everywhere. Literally. From the fine touches around the stages, to the vibrant and surreal ceiling to the lounge areas and the artwork on the walls.
We loved the Intention Wall — the idea is to create a positive intention, write it on a piece of paper, say it out loud to cement it (and be witnessed saying it) to finally place it on the wall. I love the idea and the process as I am a big believer in the power of words and the power of intention. And, it was so beautifully done!
Relevant to the current political climate, there was a focus group dedicated to the “inner” state of our United States, led by Amy Lazarus. Fetzer Institute hosted the conversation lounge which held various discussions over the three day period, Wisdom & Feminine Leadership was led by Chantal Pierrat, a Wisdom & Money discussion was led by Elizabeth Husserl and Wisdom & Play session was led by Jenny Sauer-Klein. Additionally, Beatrice Chestnut helped us identify how to integrate our “blind spots” using the Enneagram which I have always found fascinating.
Photo credit: lesliehershberger.com
Networking was also fabulous, moreso than most conferences. Why? Because people who attend Wisdom 2.0 are open to a positive exploration of leading a purposeful life that is mindful, respectful and balanced. The conversations and relationships from this magical place can be truly transformational. The key is to be awake and present when you have those encounters and then just be open to the results and not glued to a specific outcome.
Exhibitors and sponsors included Fetzer Institute, Aetna, Eileen Fisher Lifework, New Ventures West, 1440 Mulversity, Designing Transformation, Points of View, Search Inside Yourself, Emerging Women, Conscious Marketer, Wisdom Labs, Google, Simple Habit, Omega, Rejuv at Work, Never Broken Jewel Never Broken, Orange, The Lotus Collaborative, One World Children’s Fund, Sound Wellness, Ratna Ling Retreat Center, Meridian University, Spirit Rock which we reviewed last year, San Francisco Zen Center, Spire and Inner Explorer.
Media partners included Experience Life (love this site), Conscious Company Media, Mindful and We Blog the World. Yup, that’s right – we were a proud media partner this year. We absolutely LOVE this event and highly recommend you add it to your 2018 schedule. It is held every February in the San Francisco Bay Area and more info can be found at www.wisdom2conference.com.
Be sure to also listen to my interviews with 8 cool innovators at the show, which include wellness companies, a mindfulness retreat center, an early stage start-up, a book author and more. I also did a video and photo compilation of the show as well. Tune in (they’re around 4-5 minutes long) but it will give you more texture and color of the event. Enjoy!
Overview Video of Wisdom 2.0
Interviews at Wisdom 2.0