Blissdom 2013: Be the Kindness

October 25, 2013 | 36 Comments

shannon playing a game at blissdom

“Your job for the next two days is to be kind.” And whoosh went my heart!

Those were Jennifer Powell’s instructions to the Blissdom Community Leaders at the pre-conference meeting. Blissdom has been my heart conference since attending last year, and when I heard those words, I remembered why.

Kindness is what sets Blissdom apart from other conferences. I felt that personal connection last year as a newbie. Shannon’s (I’m not speaking in third person here; Blissdom has a gravitational pull for all Canadian Shannons) ever helpful, patient presence in the Facebook group leading up to Blissdom squished my nerves. We all know what it’s like to believe you’re the only loser in a large group of people without a person. It takes guts to launch solo into something—even as an extrovert.

friends at blissdom

I was lucky to find three kindred spirits last year. Other than that ridiculous flight and the stolen shuttle ride to the hotel, I had homies who gave me a sense of belonging and connectedness. I didn’t have to be brave alone. Doing Blissdom with my Tara, my Laura, and my Tricia knit the experience into my heart’s memory. It took the conference from good to soul feeding. And because humans tend to be ego-centric, I assumed everyone was blissing out.

When I read the 2013 recap posts, I discovered it wasn’t true. Some attendees wrote about spending the conference feeling isolated, unable to break in. And as much as we lament that things are what you make of them, sometimes we get stuck inside ourselves. It happens and I get it.

If I didn’t have pals pulling me out of my head, I would have had my own dreary recap post. It’s tricky to be surrounded by gobs of people doing exactly what you’re doing and attempt to maintain any sense of originality. As Sharon DeVellis said, “Stop thinking what you do is special. There are dogs who blog. Who you are, you experiences, the voice you bring – that’s special.”

So it’s uber thoughtful that Jennifer and Shannon paid attention to last year’s lost souls and got proactive this year with an army of little kindness soldiers. I saw community leaders taking the charge seriously. Whenever I turned around, they were talking to someone new and drawing in the stragglers. I can’t speak for all of us, but I met some lovely folks that I wouldn’t have otherwise.

“Be someone’s discovery of kindness in the world.” —Anastasia Basil

Along with being a community leader and running a micro-session, I was invited to read my pig story at the Power Hour. The catch? I had to read it in seven minutes or less. It was over 2000 words. On average, a person can read 100 words a minute, which means MATH.

With the help of my friend Cori, I shaved off 400 words, which equaled still too many words. When I was fretting to Shannon (a THIRD one, you guys), she said, “It’s a good story. Don’t worry about the time. People are going to want to hear it.” Shannons are the fucking BEST.

There were six of us presenting that hour. I was the only one not sharing an inspirational message with slides. The four presenters before me left everyone in the room with wet (face) cheeks. I wanted to shuffle over and sing Shannon the One of These Things song from Sesame street. WHAT WERE YOU THINKING I DON’T BELONG HERE OMG THEY’RE GOING TO BOO ME OUT OF THE ROOM.

But, my picture was already in the brochure, so what the hell.

I had to hold a microphone and an iPad, making it impossible to hide my hand tremors. I made sure to look up and make eye contact with my audience, but you know that thing when you look at someone but you’re not actually looking at them; you’re fake-looking-at-them while you shit your pants because who the hell thought this was a good idea? Yeah, that. So I had zero clue what people were thinking or feeling. I was so nervous I couldn’t hear anything except my squeakier-than-normal voice. I can’t even tell you if people clapped when I got off the stage, man.

But then a kind lady took the time to tell me my writing reminded her of her favourite comedy writer (WHO WAS IT I CAN’T REMEMBER?!). And another kind lady WROTE AN ENTIRE POST ABOUT THE IMPACT I HAD ON HER. Which, you know, is cool and stuff. (Thank you from my toes, Natasha.)

shannon reading at blissdom 2013

I’m not one of the big deal bloggers, but Blissdom picked me anyway. And that felt amazing, friends. Especially when I so often forget to pick myself. Or talk myself out of picking myself.

I almost didn’t go to Blissdom this year. Since leaving teaching to start a business, I feel less justified to invest in things like conferences. But at the August Blissdom tweet-up party in Surrey, Jennifer challenged me to approach a sponsor.

“Oh no. I couldn’t do that. I don’t know any sponsors. I’m not even sure I have readers.”

“Sure you do. What products do you use and love?”

Julie did encourage me to get in touch with DivaCup because she says I won’t shut up about my love affair with them.”

“Perfect! You love them, you already promote them—it’s a no-brainer!”

“You really think they’d go for it?”

“ASK!”

And so I did. With Julie’s help, I put together a package of what I would offer in exchange for sponsorship, and BAMO: I’m an official DivaCup ambassador. So thanks DivaCup for believing in me. For helping me attend a conference that has fuelled my heart and my courage two years in a row. For giving me even more reasons to spread the good Diva news and love.

shannon and laura at blissdom

I’ll be giving away a couple of DivaCup prize packs next week. Watch for it!

Other awesome Blissdom 2013 moments:

Thanks Blissdom Canada. I heart you.

shannon and tara getting ready for a blissdom party

Other loveable posts:

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Join the conversation

  • julienowell

    awesome! So glad you came, and shared so much Shannon! I am pretty happy to have you in my world ! MWAH!

    • Shannon Fisher

      Thanks for pushing me! I like having you in my world, too. <3

  • Jody MacArthur

    Awesome post, Shannon! You were an amazing addition to Blissdom and to my life! xoxo

    • Shannon Fisher

      I sure enjoyed you, lady! You’re a delight from the East. xo

  • AskMamaMOE

    Love this post and I did love your presentation – so happy you came again this year to Blissdom and I got to hear you!

    • Shannon Fisher

      Hey-thanks for taking the time to say so!

  • Liz

    I loved your story! I was sitting near you and could tell you were nervous waiting for your turn (as I would be too) but then you kicked ass! Awesome job! :)

    • Shannon Fisher

      I WAS SO NERVOUS. Next time feel free to hug me. :)

  • http://myunwrittenlife.com/ Brandy

    Love this post! You did an amazing job during power hour. Don’t ever doubt yourself. This was my first ever Blissdom and hope to come to the many that follow. Hopefully the stars align like they did this year.

    • Shannon Fisher

      We’ll have to meet up next year then! Glad you love it as much as I do.

  • http://books.moonsoar.com/ Courtney Wilson

    I’m happy I had the opportunity to sit in your microsession – you were inspiring!

    • Shannon Fisher

      Thanks, Courtney! So kind.

  • http://www.shasherslife.com/ Shash

    <3 no words, just <3

    • Shannon Fisher

      LADY. Back atcha. <3

  • Positively Pampered Patty

    I loved your pig story. And there are so many Shannons!! I am happy you went to Bliss because you make a difference to a lot of people and that makes a difference to you which always helps on the not so great days. Would love to learn more about. The Diva cup! :)

    • Shannon Fisher

      Shannons are epic. Hey–let’s talk about the Diva Cup! Email me. :)

  • Astra Groskaufmanis

    “…took the conference from good to soul feeding.” _ Loved this! Great post! Great to have met you :)

    • Shannon Fisher

      You too, Astra! I’m glad you were one of the first people I got to chat with. You’re lovely. :)

  • http://www.schmutzie.com schmutzie

    I’m so glad I got to meet and chat with you, too. Thank you for your story.

    • Shannon Fisher

      Thanks for taking the time to say so, E. You’re a delight.

  • Suzanne Rudge (MapleMouseMama)

    Shannon, one of the highlights of my first Bliss was meeting you and hearing your pig story. I was thrilled to meet and speak with you after, share my admiration for the talent you possess. I have yet to do my own Bliss recap because, well life is because, but I did write a post from my heart that called you to mind. No one but me may ever know this so I wanted to let you know how much you inspired me in those seven minutes, so thank you…

    • Shannon Fisher

      Suzanne! The recap post can be overwhelming because there’s so much swimming around in your head. The longer I left it, the trickier it got. I had to just sit down and write!

      And that is so kind of you to say. I love hearts and I’m glad I got to sneak into yours. XO

  • Sheri Landry

    You did great at Power Hour. I loved it and I loved meeting you.

    • Shannon Fisher

      YOU were hilarious. I’m glad we met, too.

  • http://www.theanimatedwoman.com/ The Animated Woman

    You were the high point of the Power Hour Shannon. I could picture the whole thing like a movie as you were telling it. I’m a fan of stories!

    • Shannon Fisher

      Oh those are great words–a movie! Very cool. It’s fun to pain pictures with words–you do it with actual pictures, which I love. Thanks for giving me the gift of you and your generosity this year.

  • nugglemama

    Little Kindness Soldiers. Love that! It was an honor to be part of that army and I loved meeting people that I wouldn’t normally. Great post!

    • Shannon Fisher

      It was a great army to be part of. I loved it. Thanks for taking the time to comment here. :)

  • KatiaDBE

    On Thursday I’d finally met up for the first time after Blissdom with two new friends I’d met there. One of them was trying to remember what exactly was “the power hour” and whether she’d attended it. The other said “Do you remember the pig story?” Blank stare. “Then you weren’t there”.

  • Chris Read

    Photobomb!!!

  • Chris Read

    Yep, that’s all I took away from your post ;D Also, you rock!

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