The Do Lectures
I wrote this blog the day I got back but was worried it came across as overly emotional and a little, well, evangelical. So I waited four weeks to see if I still felt the same. If anything I’m now more inspired than I was then. The Do Lectures will change you, and the sooner you go the longer the effects will last. They also take place in Australia, the US and Costa Rica.
A little over a month ago I went to something called the Do Lectures. For those of you who are unfamiliar with it it’s a long weekend of great food, amazing speakers and fascinating attendees, volunteers and staff who combine together in all kinds of serendipitous and unexpected ways to create a unique event. It takes place near Cardigan in the beautiful Welsh countryside and by the time you leave you are, quite simply, a different person. When I say different I mean you emerge from a kind of metaphysically alchemical process feeling more yourself than you were when you arrived. If that sounds a bit over the top it’s because Do is an overflowing experience in every way you can imagine and lots of others you can’t.
There are twenty speakers and sixty attendees but it’s not just talks, you also get to experience a range of workshops and don’t be surprised if you find yourself swimming in the sea at seven in the morning or getting no sleep at all having spent the night supping locally made gin. The stumbling block for most people is the price (£1500, although there are ten early bird tickets now for £1250) but this is what protects the entire concept and allows all the talks to be put up online for free (the talks from this year will be here soon).
Do takes place on a farm in Wales and founders David and Claire Hieatt don’t want it to get bigger. It works where it is and scale is not always about numbers in a conventional sense. Sometimes scale comes from the ripples of ideas the people who attend make when they push their ideas out into the world. So the price is what keeps it small. In my case I have spent five years orbiting ‘the Do’. I always knew I would go at some point and everyone I met there had a similar story. You go when you’re ready. When you know deep down you need it. Almost everyone had decided to come having spoken to a friend/wife/husband who had gone before and convinced them it would change their lives. Some get invited to speak because they are in the moment of their lives and have a story they are bursting to tell. Many were at inflection points and needed to spend time among people who would empower and inspire them to ‘do’ the thing they knew deep down they are supposed to do. Those are the kinds of journeys most have taken that lead them to drive to Wales on a Thursday in June full of excitement and trepidation.
There is plenty of cynicism in the world. Often we are deafened by reasons not to do things that make us vulnerable, to take risks or challenge what it means to ‘be’. The Do Lectures is a trusted place you can go to and truly be yourself. You’ll meet people who are generous, kind and supportive who want to change the world. You’ll meet lots of people who already have and they will help you if they can. It’s a beautiful and rare thing and all the people who work hard to make it happen should feel very proud to have created it.
So what am I going to ‘do’ as a result of going? I met many kindred spirits over the weekend and made life long friendships but the sight of a barn owl while chatting to Steve Dimmick has led somewhere more immediately exciting. Watch this space. We’re going to do something extraordinary…