Returning to Austin TX for it's sophomore event, the 2013 iteration of the Paleo FX "Theory to Practice" symposium drew nearly a thousand attendees to the Palmer Event Center for three days of presentations, mastermind panels, movement, and meat, lots and lots of meat.
This year I was honored to be involved as a Mastermind Panel moderator as well as a participant, and have to say that standing on stage with the likes of Robb Wolf, Abel James, Josh Whitton, and more was completely surreal. I first learned about Paleo reading Robb's "The Paleo Solution", and never in a million years did I think I would be talking to the guy, and not just as a fan, but as a peer. Working for Paleo Magazine and doing PMR definitely helped prepare me, but nothing I've done before can really compare.
While being on stage was thrilling, nerve wracking, awesome and stressful, being out in the crowd was my Paleo hippie love fest, a constant mixing and merging with so many people who are "weird" just like me. Imagine a high school reunion except you actually want to know how everyone is doing when you ask them "How are you doing?" That, and everyone looks better than they did in the past. Not wanting to miss a single handshake, hug, or quick conversation, I attended only a few of the talks, opting rather to meander around the expo floor or outside of the convention halls. Much of the value of attending an event like Paleo FX is in this dynamic interaction, this building of real-world relationships with passionate purposeful people. Plus, you can always watch the talks here ---> Paleo FX Video On Demand
After the event closed each day, there was always an opportunity to keep the party going a little (or a lot) longer. The social events were hosted in beautiful venues and the meals were impeccable selected for the decidedly picky crowds. There was the typical "shop talk", but, after several glasses of red wine, kombucha-vodka cocktails, or Nor-Cal 'ritas, people started to cut loose and more than one dance-off spontaneously emerged. In a world where everyone has a blog or a book, it was nice to see people step outside of their Paleo persona.
Even though the schedule was jam packed, the three days of Paleo FX flew by. Leaving Austin and the company of my fellow Paleo peeps was a heartbreaking, and I am already counting down the days to AHS '13. I always feel like I "should" write these recaps immediately, but I never do. Maybe I'm procrastinating, but maybe it's because this is something that needs to be carefully chewed, swallowed, and digested before ending up on your computer screen.
For the sake of clarity, I've organized my thoughts in to seven lessons that seemed to have stuck with me. I could talk about the science, the specifics, or any number of other things, but this is a better representation of my personal inner experience.
Lesson #1, Get Dirty - Get grass in your hair, get itchy, lay on the ground. When you physically touch the Earth, something inside you is awakened. Joy. Peace. Groundedness. All the bad things in this world are still there, but the good thing inside you outshines them all.
Inspired by - Darryl Edwards and his Primal Playaround
|James from "Fast Paleo" getting dirty|
Lesson #2, Let Loose - What is that guard rail protecting you from? Who is that retaining wall holding back? Walk across the path, climb over the wall, jump out of your skin.
Inspired by - Tracy Barksdale, Parkour Instructor from True Nature gym in Austin TX
|Parkour with the True Nature team|
Lesson #3, Grow Your Own - Don't trust the system? Create your own system. Food is living breathing reproducing life and you don't have to be a simple spectator. Start where you are and strive to make the world a better place.
Inspired by - Karen Pendergrass, author of "Eat Paleo and Save the World"
|Chickens at the Albert Oaks Bed and Breakfast|
Lesson #4, Wait - Gratification is exponentially increased when it is delayed. Cheat codes ruin video games, quick fixes do the same thing. Spend some time in line. Get off your cell phone and talk to a stranger. Get hungry. Cultivate patience. Drop Abe Lincoln quotes.
"A man watches his pear-tree day after day, impatient for the ripening of the fruit. Let him attempt to force the process, and he may spoil both fruit and tree. But let him patiently wait, and the ripe pear at length falls into his lap!" - Abraham Lincoln
Inspired by - The line at La Barbeque in Austin TX and Stacy Toth from Paleo Parents for telling us about this place.
|Line, why you 90 minutes long???|
|Melt in your mouth brisket and beef ribs that's why.|
Lesson #5, Be YOU - Embrace who you are and don't be afraid to put yourself out there. You might be mocked, taunted, or ridiculed, but if you aren't willing to show your true self, you won't be happy either.
Credit goes to - Clifton Harski and his booty shorts
|I see you baby, shakin' that ass.|
Lesson #6, Come Closer - Unless you meet a zombie, chances are you won't get bitten. Why give a handshake when you really want to hug?
Credit goes to - Once again Darryl Edwards, this dude rocks!
|Worlds largest group bunny hop (your's truly is #6 from the right)|
Lesson #7, Fly Higher - Aim for big things. Try to make a difference. Give yourself a goal. Going airborne is scary and you'll feel out of control, but keep at it and you'll grow wings (even without a RedBull)!
Inspired by - Abel James. At last year's Paleo FX, he had just quit his job and started a "little" podcast. Yeah, it's now #1 on iTunes and he has a staff.
|Somewhere in the stratosphere.|
|Darryl Edwards going airborne.|
A special thanks to all the people who made this trip so amazing!
Keith and Michelle Norris
Roger Dickerman and Marissa Pellegrino
Bill and Haley
Shilpi and Amit Mehta
Clifton Harski and Amy Heidbreder
Karen Pendergrass and Tony Kasandrinos