This week, we have leadership strategist and transformational facilitator Jennifer Russell as our guest. Jennifer has co-led Camp Mystic for the past 12 years, a camp that brings together thought leaders, teachers, healers, entrepreneurs, artists, and performers who are dedicated to creating transformative experiences and culture. In the "Grand Playa," Jennifer is a successful entrepreneur and has worked on the executive teams of high-impact biotech startups. Alongside her business and life partner, Bryan Franklin, Jennifer is an executive coach, relationship coach, leadership strategist, and facilitator, committed to helping create impactful organizations, healthy relationships, and thriving cultures. Jennifer leads transformational and professional programs designed to liberate people from self-imposed limiting beliefs and helps evolve the way we lead and love in hopes of healing the divide and building bridges in our polarized world.
(0:32) The Purpose Behind Camp Mystic
(7:53) The Good, Bad, and Ugly of Burning Man
(8:47) How Burning Man Changed Jennifer's Life
(17:15) Convincing a Burning Man Skeptic
(29:17) The Rationale Behind Bringing More Conveniences to Burning Man
(32:21) The Importance of Documenting Camp Mystic's History
(39:14) The Impact of the Demanding and Contribution Matrix
(57:32) Leading with Your Highest Values as a Camp Lead
(64:30) Making Strike a Positive and Inspiring Experience
(66:22) Lessons for Aspiring Theme Camp Organizers
(68:10) Architecting Your Culture Documents for the Best Culture
(69:57) Specific Actions for Aspiring Theme Camp Organizers
(74:30) The Importance of Curating the Right People
(79:48) The Key Skill of Holding Multiple Perspectives in Dissolving Conflicts of Different Values
(90:10) Leadership Lessons from Being a Camp Lead
(93:30) Jennifer's Longterm Vision
(102:11) The Idea of "Never Having to Work Again"
(106:44)(114:36) Managing Energy and Time to Get All Your Projects Done
(113:52) CK's Secret Intention with All His Guests
(123:50) The Transformational Power of Stories
(129:15) One Lesson Jennifer Would Give to Her Younger Self
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[00:00:00] CK: today's guest is a co-lead of Tic, one of my favorite camps, like Bernie Man.
She's a master facilitator. She's a master coach of relationships, she is the CEO of Quadratic Leadership. If you're curious about what she does afterwards, go to quadratic.co. Please welcome Jennifer Russell.
[00:00:20] Jennifer: Thank you for having me. CK I love that you're doing this series on theme camp organizers and that I'm amongst a really great group that you've already interviewed.
So thank you for having me.
[00:00:30] CK: Of course. Can't wait to dive in. Why don't you tell us what is Chem Mystic and what does this stand for? I think that's a good place to Oh,
[00:00:39] Jennifer: oh, great. Yes. So I, you know, first thing of note is, uh, Camp Mystic has, uh, over 20 year history on the playa from some really beautiful and humble beginnings as a real small group of people started to come.
And, um, I got involved in it about 12 years ago and have been co-leading it for the last 12 years. So, what [00:01:00] is Camp Mystic? I, I would say, Uh, you know, we are a group of thought leaders, entrepreneurs, teachers, healers, artists, performers, and we have all come together through our dedication to basically leave everyone better than we found them.
Right? We like creating transformational experiences, and I think specifically the Na Mystic is about, um, really our, um, awe with the mystery of life and our desire to, um, connect and plum the depths of what it means to be human through our own direct connection to the divine and to things that are greater than we are, right?
Mm-hmm. . So when Mystic is someone who really seeks to contemplate those mysteries and, um, and have that direct relationship. So that's what I see us about, and those are the experiences we like to create at camp for everyone.
[00:01:57] CK: Awesome. I love you. You [00:02:00] mentioned a lot of keywords when I first walk into Mystic back in 2017.
Ah, and, and I wasn't a mystic then, but then I felt right away at home and I saw the speaker series. There are names that I recognized. I was like, Oh my God, this is awesome. And then I got into, I like, Oh, this is a, an intersection between the material and the spiritual. Also something that I've been seeking and in real, in the default world, right outside of Burning Man, but also in Burning Man as well.
So I felt immediately right at home.
[00:02:34] Jennifer: Oh, I love that. You know, that intersection and many like it, I think are where the juice of life is when you can bring together as a bridge, the material and the mystical, right? The, the practical and the, uh, creative, right? The, these kinds of, of intersections, uh, allow us to, um, bridge [00:03:00] what are formerly two separate worlds, right?
We think of the material world as very different than the spiritual world. And if you can bring them together, then you have a lot more fulfillment to me. And that's, to me, what Mystic is about. And what I'm about is integrating those hats, the head and the heart, you know, . So anyway, I'm glad you felt at home.
That's, that's my tension.
[00:03:21] CK: Well, I mean, since we're on that topic, what have you, Cause to me, Burnman is a huge social experiment, right? Mm-hmm. , and there are 80,000 people, hundreds of camps creating these environments. The whatever may be, and conscious camps I like to call them is the what has the intention or have the intention of creating a transformational experience.
Actually a little bit of a sign note. Yeah. When I post it in the. Group of thinking organizers. I got a little bit of a virtual eye roll when I say, Hey, [00:04:00] I want to talk to people who are intentional about creating transformational experiences. So I'm curious, right, from your perspective, one, how would you respond to that virtual eye roll of like mm-hmm.
transformational camp? So a conscious camps mm-hmm. . Uh, and, and also, um, yeah, why don't we start there? Okay. Well,
[00:04:20] Jennifer: yeah, yeah. Well, well, my guess, you know, there's, there's a bit of snarky in, in the Burning Man culture. You know, I, I think foundationally Burning Man got started from, uh, a, a lot of the, uh, rebel archetype, right?
Mm-hmm. , uh, you know, the people that were in a way wanting to burn down the man, right? Mm-hmm. . Mm-hmm. . And there are a lot of different transportations of what the man stands for. Um, but one of them is like that, that force, that patriarchal force that's telling you where to go and well, how to be mm-hmm.
and, uh, burning it down is like burning down the structures of your own identity. So already you've got a Burning Man culture that is grabbing people that [00:05:00] are wanting to be counterculture, , mm-hmm. . So, so when you put, you want, when you put something somewhere, um, you are going to get an assortment of responses, including those people.
That, um, uh, are, are wanting to push against, uh, anyone, uh, who's, who's got a particular message or particular interpretation. So one is there's that eyeroll, Um, I get sad, uh, personally by that. Mm-hmm. . Um, cause one of the things that I see Burning Man is all about, um, at least for me, is, uh, a social experiment in conscious community.
Mm-hmm. , where we sort of drop the divisions, you know, of how we would normally walk through the world where we don't make any eye contact, we don't connect to our hearts with the person in the elevator. You know, we don't stop and help someone by the side of the road. We just keep going about our lives.
And if anything, Burning Man is about actually creating a conscious, intentional community culture, uh, [00:06:00] vis Avi us all agreeing to these 10 principles that are the famous Burning Man, 10 principles. Um, so, um, I, I, I think some of us. Interpret Burning Man as a social experiment in us creating intentional community and living these principles for at least a couple weeks and seeing if that changes us fundamentally.
Other people see Burning Man, I think as a, a crazy drug-induced party, uh, uh, that's designed to help you, uh, lower your inhibitions and go wild. Mm-hmm. . And so for the faction that sees Burning Man as that drug-induced crazy wild party, um, those of us that really hold Burning Man separately, um, uh, you know, those two factions don't always beat eye to eye.
Mm-hmm. . And I think, um, there is a tendency of people to do a lot of spiritual bypass [00:07:00] and, uh, pretend that they're creating more transformation or more shifts and changes than are really occurring. And so that eye role is about, I think, that, um, failure to be real and grounded with oneself about what's really happening.
So it makes me sad that we're creating division, but it also is worth looking at because are we being honest with ourselves about what we're really doing out there and the impacts we're really making. Like, are we willing to be real about that? So I appreciate that. I appreciate the invitation to be as real as possible about it.
I would appreciate it more if it wasn't through like a snarky cutting each other down, cuz I don't think that part's needed,
[00:07:41] CK: You know what I mean? , I, you know what you mean? Yeah. It, it's the intent behind it, Right. Are you, are you shiny and mirror like, Hey, are you actually doing this? Or are you just Right,
[00:07:52] Jennifer: right, right.
Are you shining a mirror on something in a loving way that you actually care about the person seeing what they might not be [00:08:00] seeing? Mm-hmm. ? Or are you just being snarky to cut someone down without actually connecting and seeing like, oh, well maybe there are camps out there that are actually creating something more than just a party, Right?
[00:08:12] CK: Mm-hmm. . And you say you've been a burner for say, 13 years. You've been a lead for 13
[00:08:18] Jennifer: years, but you I've been, I've been leading tic a long time. I think it's now close to 15 years that I've been going to the burn. Mm-hmm. . So I've, I've got, I've got some years under my belt and I'm still going back. .
[00:08:30] CK: Yeah. So for you, what's Burning Man for you?
Because Burning Man is obviously, as you said, a social experiment. Some people, they did one and it was enough. Some people are lifers like now, it doesn't matter how hard it is, I'm going back for it more. So for you personally, what keeps you going back year after?
[00:08:52] Jennifer: Oh, that's gorgeous question. Um, well, if it were only a party in a desert, that would be the last place I'd wanna go to.
Just go and have a good [00:09:00] time and be wild. Like I'd want something like a beach and with a lot of amenities. So Burning Man for me is definitely not just that. I mean, of course I have an incredible time and I have moments of celebration and fun. Um, but Burning Man for me began as a fear walk, uh, into courage.
So I it was whatever, 15 years ago, I guess. And, um, I had just gotten out of a, a difficult relationship and, um, you know, when you're in a transition, like humans don't tend to handle transitions very well, right? It's difficult. Like it's the white water time when everything, like we, the old identity is giving away and we don't even know who we are gonna be in the next moment.
Mm-hmm. . Mm-hmm. . And so I was in one of those moments as I was kind of shaking off the identity of me in this relationship and having a fateful conversation with a burner with another, a friend of mine now, I had never been to Burningham. And he, [00:10:00] we, we do these cards, these OSHA Zen cards, like these TA type cards, and he's like, Why don't you pull a card, um, you know, for some guidance in your life right now since you're in this major transition.
And I pull the courage card mm-hmm. and um, and we have this conversation and he sort of encourages me. He's like, Okay, so for one. I think, I think the best thing you can do is say yes to everything that comes your way for one month, and then see what adventures you get in from being a yes to everything.
So during that time, I got asked, Hey, do you wanna go to Burning Man ? Mm-hmm. . And of course I wanted to take this, uh, courage, uh, seriously, and said yes. Um, and I, it w wasn't the kind of thing I would've normally done on my own. Mm-hmm. and because, you know, Burning Man for me at the time, like tens of [00:11:00] thousands of people that don't care if I live or I die, I didn't have a boyfriend to go with.
I didn't have a group of friends to go with. Mm-hmm. . But I, I decided to say yes, and it felt courageous to me at the time. And I did. And I walk into Burning Man, uh, through the gate in one of the worst dust storms where they literally cut off the gate the minute our car went through because it was so bad, no one could see.
Mm-hmm. . So I'm coming into Burning Man and my first experience of it was this horrible storm. We can't even see our own hands in front of us. We're trying to figure out how to get to camp. Mm-hmm. . Um, that felt like a journey in and of itself. I get out to try to build my tent mm-hmm. , and I'm in a white out, it's full of dust.
I'm, I'm, I'm going, Oh my God, I don't even know where I am. I can barely build a tent. Everything is blowing over. And then I walk into this camp and I don't know a soul, and I feel. This concerted, like, I'm not feeling okay. And I look around for something familiar and can't find it thinking, I don't think I can go through a week of this.
[00:12:00] Mm-hmm. not knowing what was about to ensue. So I walk to the Esplanade and I make a turn to what I think is the only camp where I thought I knew one person. Mm-hmm. . It's like I just need to find somebody that I know to make this feel familiar. Mm-hmm. and so that I can relax and feel like I belong here.
That I don't need to run screaming. And I took this walk and um, as luck would have it, as fate would have it, I went the wrong way. , I ended up thinking I was walking towards this one camp that I knew somebody Uhhuh ended up walking the wrong way. And so I'm walking and every step that I'm walking, I'm realizing I'm facing my fear of being alone.
Why I've had a relationship one after the other after another cuz I'm here kind of like single girl, all like in this big adventure. And every step I was taking, I was starting to feel and face that fear. Take a courage, walk literally like a fear, walk into that fear. And I was starting to get [00:13:00] exhilarated.
Mm. I was starting to realize that that fear of aloneness, uh, and, and isolation had like, made me make choices that I didn't wanna take anymore. And every step I took. Like into the dust, into the dust storm started to create more and more of the sense of like, empowerment, adventure, and fun. And then the rest of my burn and the rest of that walk ended up being one massive vignette of adventure and transformation and, uh, mind blowing experience after another, after another, after another, as I shed an old fear that had ruled me my whole life.
So for me, Burning Man was a courageous fear, Walk into my own empowerment and self-expression that I forever was like bowing at my knees, going, I love this. I wouldn't have gotten this at a regular festival or a concert or Coachella, or an event [00:14:00] where I'm being kind of handed as a transaction, somebody to passively entertain me.
I had to actively become the Adventurer Explorer mm-hmm. and create my experience. So Burning Men for me was that catalyst. And it can be a catalyst for a lot of different things. I'm not saying it's, That's everyone's catalyst. Mm-hmm. , I'm just saying Burning Man functions as an amplifier and a catalyst if you let it to amplify and catalyze whatever is most up for you.
And then the synchronicity of everybody sort of doing that all at once allows for a lot of adventure to happen. So, That for me is why I go back again and again because of how I left Burning Man, Irrevocably changed and a different woman and I felt connected to my creativity and wanted to do way more than just show up as a camper.
But I actually [00:15:00] was like, Oh, I need to help, help
[00:15:03] CK: experiences. Yeah. Be before you go into transition from Sure. Being an attendee to being a leader. So can't believe.
[00:15:10] Jennifer: Yeah. Why would I do
[00:15:11] CK: that, right? Yeah, yeah, yeah. So before you go, that's a big jump. Yes. I first lemme just say, uh, what a storyteller cuz you transported me back to, uh, this year's experience.
I was literally in the sandstorm with you and, you know, my bike broke down, I'm walking away. I had no idea where I'm at. I didn't have light And, uh, Adversity. Adversity, Exactly. And, and what a symbolism to, um, how we go through life, especially when facing adversity. And we can change that context, that energetic from WO is me.
This is happening to me. Fear for my life, you know? Mm-hmm. , we're safe. You know, it's a pretty safe container. Um, and in the middle of that sandstorm [00:16:00] I look up and then I can use the starlight as a way to guide where I am. Right? So, again, a symbolism for me if I just change my perspective from here, here, right?
And versus in looking up and have a greater perspective, all of a sudden spaciousness, all the new possibilities show up. So, so I love that. Thank you for that story. Brought me back to the burn. Thank you. Um, however, so let me push back a little bit. That's one experience. Yes. Some people may say once is enough.
Mm-hmm. , you went back 15 more times, Right?
[00:16:38] Jennifer: Would I do that right? Why would you put yourself the test
[00:16:42] CK: and the craziness. Exactly. I can relate. Cause I, you know, I like to put myself intentionally in difficult situations as a way to call my capability, my capacity, new for new insights. I'm a professional seeker, shall we say.
Mm-hmm. . So for you, that [00:17:00] one experience, open up whole world, give you a new, you know, kaleidoscope of possibilities, your change, woman, why do you go back 14 more times?
[00:17:10] Jennifer: Yeah. Um, I, I think, I think there's like a deep hunger in all of us and or at least most of us. And I think there's a hunger for connection and, um, when you go to Burning Man, I sort of hinted at this earlier.
It, it's, it's a social experiment in, in a, in a, an intentional community where you, you, you learn very quickly, or at least I did that as I walked around, everyone made eye contact. Like if I needed something, everyone would stop and I would stop for them. And there was this hunger for community to means something other [00:18:00] than what it meant before then, because it got completely redefined for me.
And community before then is like, oh, community service. Right? You know, like the thing you have to do if you got in trouble, right? Um, uh, or the community center, right? This building, you never went in. Um, and for me, other than let's say my partner in life and in love, um, my relationship now to community and the friendships that have come through things like Burning Man has added more richness.
and death and meaning and experience in my life than any other thing. And Burning Man is one of the best places I know. If you have a hunger to meet people, to connect on a level that's beyond just coworker or even you know, dinner party, but to connect at a level of we have to rely on one another, you can't survive burning man [00:19:00] in that kind of adversity because it is one of the most lifeless, difficult, hot, rough environments by design.
And I used to think why? Mm-hmm would they do this? And now the poetry of why there? Why is it in a lake bed where nothing lives and it's hot and there's no humidity and the dust is so alkaline? I think it's because of what you said. You have to rely on one another. You have to form communities to make it through the day, to build from scratch.
A place to live and a way to drink and a way to eat and a way to survive it and get through it. And that need to inter to interact with one another, to form communities cuz you can't do it by yourself creates this family like a chosen family and, and I think we're lonely. And I think we want that. And I think Burning Man provides that to even those people that don't do it well on their own, [00:20:00] that can find an instant kind of community of, of best friends.
And I don't know about, uh, everything Count, but a lot of the people in ours form lifelong bonds and friendships that, uh, because of the kinds and depths of experience that they have in going through this adversity, like bonds them in a way that is really unique. And when you see other people that are burners on the street, there's like this wink, wink, nudge, nudge.
We get each other feeling like we're in this same tribe. Mm-hmm. . Um, and so that is part of what has me going back. The other part to me is, um, the beauty of dropping the normal currencies of mm-hmm. , our regular community, which is sort of money, uh, status, power, um, even sex. Um, and instead drop all of those status symbols for the [00:21:00] only currency that's actually of any value at Burning Man, which is creativity, right?
It's gifting economy. And so what is it like for even a few weeks to drop your normal ways of, of currency exchange and instead be asked to bring. Your radical self expression through your creativity as a means of trading and creating your experience in everyone else's. And the, the explosion of new experiences and transformation available when you try that on is, to me, worth the price of admission to a hundred fold.
[00:21:40] CK: Mm oh, beautiful. Articulation. The first part I hear a lot, the share hardship. Yes. The, the need to rely on each other to survive together. Mm-hmm. , I, I hear a lot, I haven't really heard anything that you, uh, that you have just said that [00:22:00] Yes, we drop away our social constructs, you know, names, money, power.
Mm-hmm. , um, you know what your resume, all these mm-hmm. , social constructs, your
[00:22:12] Jennifer: title, you know, your titles, all these things. Nobody ask you, what do you do for a living out there, you know, .
[00:22:17] CK: Yeah. Yeah. It's, its taboo to ask those things. And I love the, what you said, the only currency is creativity, How you express yourself, how you know, how you hug each other.
These are very primal, very human things. That's, that's premium at Bernie, man. So I really love the way you articulated, um, well, like, there's a lot of directions I can take this conversation. Let me see, let me make some. Choices,
[00:22:45] Jennifer: uhhuh. Now you can be your creative self and say, Oh, where do we wanna go from
[00:22:49] CK: here?
So let's talk about, let's talk about share hardship a little bit. Mm-hmm. , um, share hardship. Let's see. Let's see. And we
[00:22:58] Jennifer: definitely had some this year, that's for sure. . [00:23:00]
[00:23:00] CK: Yeah. It's one of the hottest years. We had some power outage and yeah. So as someone who is intentioned about creating containers for transformation mm-hmm.
Yes. Um, there is a judgment call wanting to make about hey, how much convenience to provide. Oh gosh, yes. You know, that, and to make their life easier. Mm-hmm. , but also not so much where they miss that share hardship experience altogether. Does that make sense?
[00:23:31] Jennifer: Oh, oh, lot. There's such a rich territory here.
Yes. Yeah. Do Oh, do you, are you, do you want me to dive into that? Yeah,
[00:23:39] CK: yeah. So, so how do you, how do you with, uh, the council, the other co-leads, make that decision? Cause that is a hot topic, uh, around think camp organizers. Everyone have different opinions of where that line is, so I'm curious to know. Okay.
Maybe I, let me rephrase the question [00:24:00] a bit. What is the, the, the line between a plug and play versus convenience? I think that would be, uh, a place where we can start this convers. .
[00:24:12] Jennifer: Yeah. Well, I I, I love that your entry point into this question started with like the transformational, um, uh, juice of shared adversity.
Mm-hmm. . Um, so all of us that are in the position of leading and cre, co-creating Burning Man theme camps are aware of these two principles, and they're often a little bit at odds. There's, there's one principle that's all about, like, uh, uh, radical self-reliance. Mm-hmm. , right? Like, you better be all the way self-reliant.
You should show up and be able to do it all on your own is kind of like how that, that, uh, value sounds, radical self-reliance. Be able to make it through the event and be responsible, personally responsible. You have the water and the shelter and everything that you need mm-hmm. so that you can, [00:25:00] you don't have to rely on everyone, right?
Mm-hmm. , and that's one of the principles. Uh, but one of the other principles is, you know, civic responsibility, which is all about coming together and, um, participating in a communal experience mm-hmm. and realizing that we wanna actually participate together and co-create together mm-hmm. , um, in a responsible way that actually helps one another.
And I think as, as think camp leaders, uh, uh, we are all trying to thread the needle in different ways around how much, uh, uh, creating convenience is too much convenience, where we're actually robbing people. Of the opportunity to actually show up and bring and, uh, make, make it happen, and realize that they aren't a spectator.
And then how much is, is, is so much that you, you are robbing them the experience of being able to go out and be creative because they're having to spend [00:26:00] every waking minute just trying to cook for themselves and get their own water and make their own shelter. And, and then therefore, like 80% of their burning man is just making it through the day.
Mm-hmm. . Right? And so if those are the extremes, I think every theme camp leader, uh, feels the tension between those two and answers this question of how to thread the needle differently. And, um, I think how I approach the conversation is, um, I wanna create an environment with my fellow council members and co-leads and campers that is optimized for creating the maximum amount of transformation, which would have to include some self-reliance, some understanding that you aren't a spectator, so you are gonna be an active participant in creating this camp.
I'm not creating this camp just because I'm the lead. You are? Mm-hmm. , we are. Mm-hmm. . So [00:27:00] I want to remove some of the things that make it difficult. To get through the day by activating the people that wanna lead those things where their very participation is, for instance, creating water, central water.
Mm-hmm. so that we all don't get dehydrated. Now, what that did, it did two things. It made everyone not have to bring their own water. Mm-hmm. . So just as an example, so that we don't create this huge trash footprint of plastic bottles everywhere. Mm-hmm. . But it also created a active way for that person to say, That's my gift.
Mm-hmm. , I'm gonna build these amazing showers. I'm gonna make this water station, I'm gonna arrange to make sure that everybody has water. So they, while it's providing convenience over here, it's creating a transformational leadership experience over there. So both are present. Mm-hmm. . And now that person who's not having to create a lot of trash, leaving the world better by creating [00:28:00] less trash, gets to say, Okay, I've got water handled.
Now what am I gonna do with that extra time? Mm-hmm. , now I'm gonna also bring and bring my leadership in another area of camp. So I see some of the conveniences as providing opportunities for people to give back in an active way. So optimistic. For instance, we've divide, we've divided it up into there's more than 40 different lead leadership positions that you can take.
Right. Doing all manner of thi things that call you to not be a spectator. And also provide just enough so that the campers can also give their gifts. Um, so we draw that line at organizing things that allow us as a society to live better, but that don't put undo pressure on leadership to handle your personal, uh, stuff Like getting you, you have to get yourself to Burning Man.
You have to get your own ticket, you have to [00:29:00] bring your own shelter and arrange for that. Mm-hmm. . But we are gonna collectively come together and make food together, these mm-hmm. and we're gonna come together and create showers together that we can all use and we're gonna come together and build, you know, all of those kinds of things.
So that's how we do the line, because every convenience I'm adding is creating leadership and transformation for somebody or a group of somebody's. Mm. So that's how we do. And it is easy and there's a lot of flack that What does that what you mean flack? Like a lot of snark that no matter where this, I mean this is the sad news, is that no matter where you draw the line as a, as a theme camp organizer, somebody draws the line differently mm-hmm.
and is upset with you for drawing it differently. Like some camps don't even collect any dues and they don't do central water and they don't do central food. Mm-hmm. . And they are angry at those people that do that. Other people go all the way to our, to organizing your entire shelter that you pay for.
They get you your own groceries, [00:30:00] they do your own food. You don't even have to build it yourself. You just fly in and, uh, you get handed a fairly, fairly concierge experience. Mm-hmm. and, and other people are angry at them for doing that. Um, I think the more useful conversation isn't to be angry at where you draw the line, but just to be open with one.
And now they're about why you're drawing that line. Are you drawing it intentionally? And are you living in to allowing there to be active participation versus any disengagement or spectation? And if those conveniences are allowing for more participation, I'm for it. And if they're leading to more spectators, more spectation, I'm probably against it.
And I think that's a good barometer. Not a hard and fast rule, but like measure that.
[00:30:48] CK: I love that framework actually. You are a master of frameworks. So from one I do, from one framework person to another framework person, and it really like what you just said, really [00:31:00] crystallize. Yeah. Um, well, the importance of making that more transparent, you know, whether it's even through conversations or through documents, um, or through dialogue between other TCOs thinking organizers is that, that way creates mutual understanding, which I know is you are deeply, deeply passionate about that kind of things.
So on that note, yeah. How I tend to be a little heavy handed when it comes to making my communication more explicit. I love discourse, I love dialogues. I love putting things down on paper. Cuz I think when it's on paper, Yeah. Then you can look at it and talk about like, what do you mean by this? What do you mean by that?
Right. Versus when you just kind of let, let things be ambiguous, like, oh yeah, energetically, I get you, but do you really? Right. So, so a long way of asking this question how, I know Chem Tic is big on making things explicit. If you just go to our website, it's like [00:32:00] documents after documents after documents.
So how, how do you collectively as a leadership, make that explicit, Right? Uh, what you said the, the convenience. A lot more participation versus spectator optimizing for transformation. These type. Mental models to allow for more clear communication. How much of that explicit communication do you do
[00:32:24] Jennifer: a as as you know, because you've canned with us?
Um, we, Mystic is probably on, on the side of more explicit and, and through written, through sponsorship, through a lot of, um, different means. We like to take, uh, uh, the assumptions and actually get them out and have everyone know, like, what is it, like, what are the rules of engagement? How do I show up here?
What are our values? Right? We have a manifesto, for instance, that are council created together that everyone has to read before they can [00:33:00] even register, right? Mm-hmm. , like, this is what it means to come and be a mystic and what our expectations of you are and, and really our aspirations of how we wanna treat one another.
And, um, that came through learning. Like if I look at the version of me, um, from 15 years ago, or even 12 years ago when I started leading Mystic, um, you know, I had to learn that that was needed. Mm-hmm. , like I didn't immediately know that. Uh, because we, I think we as humans make a usual errors that we think in our hubris, that everyone thinks the way we do.
Mm-hmm. and then we're surprised when there's misunderstanding. . Like, no, didn't you know that like of course you have to do a shift if you come to Mystic, or of course you wanna be nice to one another if you're camping with us. Like we take it for granted that the way that we think is the way to be.
Mm-hmm. is the way everyone thinks is the way to be and how to treat one another and how to create culture and collaborate. And when you're just an individual [00:34:00] walking through life, you don't need that. But when you have to rely on one another and create a community mm-hmm. and that community has things like, we need to make sure everyone gets fed and watered and treated well, and, and all of that.
You actually, I in my book need to, um, realize that there's enough diversity of thinking that the more intentional and explicit you make it, uh, the, the better it is so that people can either opt in or opt out. Mm-hmm. of that. And uh, part of the reason for the manifesto is like, we would welcome people opting out and going, Oh, got it.
I actually want more of a party. I don't wanna have to do shifts. I don't wanna have to be part of creating all of this. I don't wanna have to do, uh, cuz they have a shared meal plan that I have to be in the kitchen. Like we want you to opt. like, it, it isn't for everybody. And the more explicit you make it, the more you don't run a foul of people having a bunch of assumptions.
And then having those assumptions be what creates a lot of tension and resentment and like, well, I [00:35:00] thought it was gonna be this way. And why isn't it? Same with the other way. Like, Hey, I thought it was gonna go to Mystic and, and, uh, you know, be able to do whatever I want. Cuz there's all these conveniences.
Like, you want them to know what it means. And you also want the people to know, uh, on the other side that are like, Well, I thought I had to to work the whole time and I never got any time to myself. Well, no, actually here, the, here are the minimum requirements. Here's all that's required of you. We actually wanna support you having fun.
And if you don't make that explicit, it's, it, it, it, it creates tension. And that happened at the beginning, right? And so it's a learning and the more documents that you've seen are, every time I learned, Oh, this wasn't an already known thing. There are new people coming all the time that have never even burned together, let alone cancel us.
And so to assume that they understand what it takes to be out there, um, I you're setting them up to fail. Mm-hmm. in my book. [00:36:00] And so I don't wanna set people up to fail. And, um, to me the difference between recreation and transformation, right? Like what we said at the beginning is, is, is Burning Man just recreation?
Or is it transformation? The what makes the difference is the intention. Right. And when, when you created a space that has an intention to create an experience and that intention is either explicit or felt, then that has an opportunity to resonate and actually call your shot and create an experience versus just it being a fun time.
So I think that that's, that's why I'm as explicit as I am from learning that not being explicit creates a lot of unhappiness and missed expectations and assumptions.
[00:36:43] CK: So the way I see it is I'm very much a doist. So there is a healthy middle somewhere. Yes. Not too much, not too little. There's healthy, right?
Goldie lock zone.
[00:36:55] Jennifer: a what? The Goldie lock zone, Do you know? Yeah,
[00:36:57] CK: exactly. Yeah. The middle way. So, [00:37:00] so yeah, exactly. So the healthy middle. So, um, with lots of documentations or communication, what's more, more difficult is enforcement. Yeah. And also communicate the, the nuance and the details. Um, or example, right?
If you look at our, you know, um, city codes and things like that, you know, document 6500.6 here is, you know, Right. So that's, that's all the way in the end, the bureaucratic side of things. Yes. So how do you think about one enforcement, right? Mm-hmm. , because when you have a lot of documents, more difficult to enforce, And two, how do you also not over document?
So then you become bureaucratic. You need to look through like three layers of documents and say, All right, here is the code, da, da, da. Right? So how do you find, again, find that line
[00:37:57] Jennifer: of love? I love that you're asking me this [00:38:00] question. This question has been really up for us as a council. We just met about this, uh, a week ago as we came together.
We, uh, Mystic has as a, as a leadership structure, um, you know, like 40 plus team leads, plus a set of governing body called the Count ma Mystic Council, that are people that have been part of mystic and part of visioning it together for many years. And, um, this topic of enforcement is so big and I, what I'm about to say is gonna maybe ruffle some feathers of some, I think, um, because there are several factions that, that in almost any collaborative system tend to arise, right?
Culturally speaking and, and I see these everywhere and I, I think, as I say, these, everything camp organizers gonna relate and, and anyone in a community is gonna relate. But there are, there's always a faction of people that are like the over demanding. [00:39:00] Faction and then the under demanding faction and the over contributing faction and the under contributing faction.
Right? Mm. So
[00:39:09] CK: so what's the difference? Demanding and
[00:39:11] Jennifer: contributing. Yes. Yes. So, so the over demanding, I I, I call this the, the, the faction that's fairly entitled, right? Mm-hmm. , this is, this is like the Sparkle po like in Burning Man culture. This is like the Sparkle Pony. That's like, Why aren't you doing everything for me and can't you go and do my shift for me?
I don't wanna do that. I wanna party, You know, like, Yep, you're entitled and they are demanding. Like, get me my power right now and stop what you're doing and build me my structure, and why am I not getting my food on time? And, you know, so they're, they're being vocal about their demands. Mm-hmm. . Um, and so that's the over demanding, the under demanding is the very small sec sect of people that are the leaders in the camp.
I, I, I put myself some sometimes in this, in this one who, um, do a lot and never ask for any help, Right. They let everything pile on them. And because they're not saying, Hey, I actually need you to do it, then [00:40:00] everything trickles down, and then a few people end up doing the majority of the work and burning out.
Mm-hmm. . Mm-hmm. because they're not actually having a. and saying, I actually need to engage, I actually need to be more enrolling and actually demand more participation. So that's over and under demanding, right? Mm-hmm. . And then there's in the middle, there's under and over contributing, right? Mm-hmm. . So, so the demanding is how vocal are you?
And then the contributing is like, what are your actions? So the over contributors are clearly, like, these are the ones that like, while everyone is, is, is uh, having a good time. They're working way well past, they did not just their required shifts, but they picked up 10 other people's shifts. And, and when you need something, everyone goes to them and they're contributing nonstop.
And then there's the under contributors. That's hard to even get them, to enforce them to even show up for the very few things that they signed up for. And so they're under contributing. So I'm gonna get to your answer. I'm just laying out sort of this framework.
[00:40:56] CK: I love it. This framework again. Yeah.
That's great. Yeah. Think about [00:41:00] two, two a axis. Yeah. Two axes, right? I see that Uhhuh.
[00:41:04] Jennifer: So, So we are in a lot of conversation about these factions that are present in any collaborative system. And certainly even at Mystic, even though I think we're really good at it, like I'm proud of how we do it. And even, even being proud, you're never not gonna get some people that under contribute.
Right. That didn't do their shifts. Like, so we're getting the enforcement thing in a minute and, and you're, you're probably never gonna get zero people that aren't a little bit demanding on those that have been the under demanding and the over contributing. And then, and so what it's creating is resentment.
Mm-hmm. and a desire to exile. And there's a conversation happening
[00:41:45] CK: where exile as in kickout or exile to lead. Yeah. Exile
[00:41:48] Jennifer: as in, um, uh, the, the over contributor, under demanding factions are wanting to exile the under contributing, over demanding people. Like, well, [00:42:00] they should just go away and it should just be a community of people that are the builders that are making camp happen and everyone else should go away.
Mm-hmm. because they're not putting in their time. Mm-hmm. . So that's one perspective. Yep. And why I said, what I'm about to say about the enforcement is gonna ruffle feathers cuz I might be ruffling their feathers. And I am one of those under demanding, over contributing members. Mm-hmm. , I put in thousands of hours, I lead 13 of the teams.
You know, I lead the build crew as well with some, uh, co-leads. So I do, you know, a lot for camp, just as
[00:42:34] CK: any piece. No death. Just just on, on that note over there. I i, I don't know how you sleep. I dunno how
[00:42:42] Jennifer: hold burning Bird Man season. I don't, That's
[00:42:43] CK: how, how you stay married. I don't know how you, Well, we'll talk about that.
Have jobs outside of Birdman. I have
[00:42:52] Jennifer: three jobs outside of Burning Man. .
[00:42:54] CK: Right. So I, I, the little that I see, I'm thinking to myself, how does she do it? How do [00:43:00] I do it? Yeah. Even at Burning Man. Cuz you're mostly at camp, right? You're, you're holding down the Ford. So anyways, not to, I just wanna make, Well I wanna get to, you know, that I saw, Hey, Jennifer is committed.
Thank you for your service.
[00:43:14] Jennifer: Yeah. I, I, if, if there's anyone committed, you know, there are. And, and it's not just me. There are, there's like a really incredible, of course people of, of course that, that are like me, that are passionate like me that of course in their blood, sweat and tears. It's beautiful. But, so this may surprise you.
Um, but um, I think that the reason that it feels good. To camp at Mystic. Mm-hmm. that a lot of people would agree, cuz I get hundreds of letters every year, people crying about how amazing it feels to camp. Cause I think one of the reasons is that we actually leave some room for you as a first time burner to, to come in and not have to work 24 7 and put in thousands of [00:44:00] hours and oops, maybe you did miss a shift.
And I think that if you create a culture that's more militaristic mm-hmm. where uh, the, every, every day there's a punisher and an enforcer that goes to see and give you demerits. Um, I think that that culture, even though a lot of people are calling for it mm-hmm. , like there's a faction that wanna exile all the people that they think that didn't help build camp mm-hmm.
and get rid of the riff rf. I think that that culture over time destroys the magic. Mm. I think that there is a middle way that isn't a draconian militaristic. The, our, our camp's values, our first value isn't integrity and accountability and, and, um, that's appropriate for a military unit that's, that might be appropriate for even a paid business relationship.
Mm-hmm. where, uh, uh, that is the highest value. But at a camp [00:45:00] that is fundamentally about. A bunch of volunteers mm-hmm. coming together with a varied life outside of the play that may or may not have as much time as some of us have to dev to it. Um, that, that we create a culture that actually leaves room for massive contribution and minimum contribution.
Mm-hmm. . And we welcome those people because what I have seen is if you make it feel good for those people and they did the minimum or missed a shift that the very next year I, I've seen it hundreds of times, literally, they come back and go, Wow, I was just getting my, my bearings that first year and now I wanna lead a team.
Now I wanna be on build crew, now I wanna do Exodus. And if you are super militaristic and enforce it to a level that the culture feels punitive, I think the, the, the beauty of like mystic being a place and any theme can, being a place where you can [00:46:00] actually be more liberated and free starts to melt away.
So I am very sophisticated and careful in my, the way I like to lead, to allow for some room for that, where exile is not the option. As, as what, what I see when people don't do their shifts or don't show up and participate. It's a failure at the leadership. It's not a failure at that faction for being faulty or lacking character.
Mm-hmm. I think we always, always need to look at ourselves and look at our leadership. So if people didn't participate, it's my failure as the leader. Mm-hmm. And it's that team leads failure as the team leader to inspire them fully enough. Mm-hmm. So let's not blaming and pointing fingers at them for not being inspired, but let's continue to learn the artistry of great leadership and have the amount of participation be our barometer for how well we're doing at inspiring each other.
And I know that's, [00:47:00] I, I'm, I'm, I'm wondering if anyone at our camp's gonna watch this, and I'm gonna wonder if this creates a, a debate and I welcome that debate. Um, but I don't want a draconian, um, milit militaristic culture. I want one that allows us to be fallible and allows us to look at where we inspired or didn't inspire one another and doesn't move so quickly to exile those that didn't.
[00:47:24] CK: Yeah. I, I appreciate this conversation. I have a, um, a gentle pushback.
[00:47:30] Jennifer: Please push back because there's a lot of place to push on this one. It's not too black and white, by the way. It's
[00:47:36] CK: No, of course not. Of course. I mean, it's nuanced. No warriors all about nuance. If you know me enough, like I'm about nuance because I believe truth is found in the polarity of the Y and the yang, right?
Yes. The ups and the downs. Very, very few things in life. I almost never is very clear, like, Oh, it's black or is white. Mm-hmm. , it's, everything is shade of gray. And hence [00:48:00] white conversations like no warrior happens. Yes. Yes. So, so since you're into women's work, men's work, I'll use it as a masculine ma uh, feminine, energetic discussion.
Uh, what the militaristic is, you know, very, very hard lines. Masculine, feminine, punitive, and all those things. Mm-hmm. . But I, but I, for me is the nuance of is it punitive or is it call forth for them to, for them to rise. Right. To rise. Right. Yeah. So, so, so to me, uh, I love that you're giving grace to and spaciousness for them to miss a shift or, or to, and be okay with it.
That's one. But two, I think in terms of, because I'm part of men's work, we talk about fathering a lot. Fathering a lot isn't to co-sign someone's bullshit for the lack of better words. Yeah. It's, it's like, Hey, you promise you do this. You didn't do this. What are you gonna do? Yeah. This is not [00:49:00] punitive.
This is just pointing out the agreement that we have on. And then give them an opportunity to, to either make it up or, you know, to, to rise above, you know, what they say to, to their agreement. Yeah. Love. I
[00:49:13] Jennifer: love that you're pushing back here cuz this, this is, this is the conversation. This, this is a conversation worth having, cuz.
You know, um, if, if we create a culture that just allows everyone to not make good on what they signed up for, that, I mean the, the entire system degrades and falls in on itself. Mm-hmm. . Mm-hmm. . Right. And then the people that are the over contributors and the under demanders that don't speak up mm-hmm.
like they burn out
[00:49:38] CK: and they leave and you don't want that either. Yeah.
[00:49:40] Jennifer: And then they, they're like, I can't do this again. This drained me. This didn't fill me this year. This drained me this year. And that does happen. Mm-hmm. and everyone's had those moments. Like if you've ever been part of building a theme camp, you definitely will, you know, it will push you to that edge and to me, so I love that you're bringing this.
So [00:50:00] how I hold it is, um, it's not okay with me in the sense that I'm a, I'm rooting for the people to not show up to their shifts. Mm-hmm. not to participate fully in what it means to co-create something that is all fundamentally, there's no spectators. Right. Everyone is expected to do something at burning them.
It's part of why it's so different. Um, but how we meet, that is what I'm talking about. So we could meet that person and go right at them and go, Okay, do you acknowledge your broken commitment and we're not gonna invite you back to camp unless you fix it. Mm-hmm. , um, that's one way to meet it. Mm-hmm. . Right?
Another way to meet. is with curiosity. Like, Hey, how, how did it go? Mm. Um, what was going on for you? Like, it's a few times that that's happened, I found out like one person got like [00:51:00] deathly ill or got caught in the storm and was on the other side of the P. Like, sometimes what you find with curiosity as your opener is that something very understandable is at the core, and sometimes you find that it was just, they didn't feel like it.
Mm-hmm. and they were doing something else and could have organized their life in a more responsible way. But they're like, Oh, but I wanted you to go to this talk and I just wasn't back in time. You know, like, you get, you get the gamut, right? Mm-hmm. . Mm-hmm. . So in that moment, you meet it with curiosity, because that's good leadership, right?
Open curiosity, right? Mm-hmm. not, I'm gonna assume that you're a bad person. That's right. And then you meet it again with, in that moment, can you lead in such a way that they'd be inspired to want to do something about it, rather than you saying, Well, you have to fix this. Right. Could I say something in a way that would have them go, you know, I actually [00:52:00] really want to give someone my gifts and it's my, it would be my joy to do this shift.
And if I can interact with them in a way that would have them be excited about them making good on it so that it's their. And that they feel like it's the one of the best parts of going to Burning Man, not the obligation that it is. Mm-hmm. Then I would much rather have that person serving you your meal, who's inspired to be there pouring love in every carrot that they graded.
Mm-hmm. , and then you're eating this meal and you're crying and you don't know why. Then the person that did the shift, because they were obligated and told punitively that the camp lead came is gonna kick their butt and kick them outta camp if they didn't , because it makes, uh, an ineffable mystical difference that every hammer, every zip tie, every carrot graded was done from a place of, of like love and gratitude and inspiration and giving [00:53:00] gifts rather than obligation and requirements and, uh, a desire not to be punished.
Right. That's right. Just feel the difference between a camp made from everyone being inspired by love to give their gifts in all the various 40 team ways that they could give their gifts and the, and the, and the ones that were in fundamentally in a culture that was more about their, them feeling, their obligation.
And I'll tell you, nine outta 10 times, you are gonna prefer the other, and it means that sometimes we're not using fear and punishment as a tool to create mm-hmm. . Mm-hmm. . We're using love and inspiration instead, which means that we won't ever have a hundred. Like Mr. Will never have a hundred percent of people showing up for every shift doing everything they said.
I, I, I, not as long as I'm the lead, I don't think that'll happen. Yeah. And I'm okay. And I'm okay with that. So long as the people that are doing it are coming from love and inspiration and that the fu the shifts that are [00:54:00] happening here and there, we minimize that as much as possible. But, um, we know that the people doing them are, are, are doing it cuz they love it and they want to Yeah.
And I'm willing to have a lower efficiency for a better culture. Uh, I'm willing to make that trade off as a lead. Yeah. No.
[00:54:17] CK: And other people are not. Yeah. I, I love this conversation. Uh, let's see. It's very nuanced. Um, It
[00:54:24] Jennifer: is, it, it's, Yeah. You gotta you guys gotta tre tread carefully on this one. .
[00:54:29] CK: Yeah. I mean, you don't know this, but used, not you, but
[00:54:32] Jennifer: us as a understand talk about
[00:54:34] CK: it.
Yeah. Eric, you, I, I get it. Um, yeah. Uh, uh, so I, I used to be a, the chief cultural officer for startup of 250 people, now's 500 people and so forth. I'm not no longer with that company, but back then, so this whole conversation about codifying core values, operationalize it, and then, and then, and then curating, uh, Ultimately a [00:55:00] morale, energetic, you know, how do you feel when you walk into a room?
It's, uh, it's quite challenging because people don't always have the skills of enrollment or of leadership. It's true of, and it's true. So, so I'm curious from your, cuz Mystic right now is how many this year?
[00:55:19] Jennifer: Uh, we were 233. 233 Yes. In camp. And then we had a, like a little, um, annex area of people not within our plot that also like, participated near us.
Right. Another 50 or 60, I don't even know how many people were there. Right.
[00:55:33] CK: So as a small company Yeah. Volunteers and 40 different leaders and accountabilities. You know, there's, there's a budget, there's a timetable and there infrastructure want, want to build, there's deadlines, all these things. It is,
[00:55:49] Jennifer: it is running a company.
It's creating a small town. Mm-hmm. . It's like, it's not even just a company. It's like, okay, you gotta build roads and water. Mm-hmm. and power and [00:56:00] money exchange and, but I mean, it's, it's full on .
[00:56:03] CK: Mm-hmm. . Yep. And plus you have also people flowing through the town. Thousands of people flowing through the town.
I don't know how many And the visitors, Yeah, exactly. So, so the town would have Exactly. So, so, so that. A place to come from a way of being that context of love and joy and service. Yes. Versus guilt and shame and that same obligation. Obligation. It's, it's is very palpable when I walk into mystic. Yeah. Um, it's tilting to this way of love and joy and service and then a palpably will feel it.
Um, doing the, the food that I eat, it's very obvious to me. Yeah. Yeah. I tell the joy, our, our, our lead there. I eat better A mystic versus than anywhere, right? Yeah. Yeah. Then, then I, then I cook for myself and, and anywhere. [00:57:00] So, because, because of that, that, that energy, So, and
[00:57:04] Jennifer: everyone in the kitchen is like laughing and singing cuz all That's right.
Those good shifts in there. That's right. And it's amazing. It's like you walk in and they're like almost in tears of joy handing you your plate. That's right.
[00:57:15] CK: That's right. I mean,
[00:57:17] Jennifer: how do you beat
[00:57:17] CK: that ? It's, it's a beautiful experience. It's a beautiful experience. Super long way of asking you this question, right?
Sure. As one of the camp leads and part of the council overlooking everything. Yeah. The source of the energy, basically the way of being basically mm-hmm. , how do you ensure that the 40 leaders Yep. Come from that place of love, joy, service, Right. Their vibration, deposit, or vibration versus. Guilt, the shame, the mm-hmm.
the obligations like and the
[00:57:50] Jennifer: resentment and the filing more boundaries
[00:57:53] CK: and all that. That's right. That's all that stuff. Right? So how do you do that? How do you, how do you source that? Yeah. [00:58:00]
[00:58:00] Jennifer: Yeah. I, I think I'm, I'm still learning it would be the most honest answer. Um, and some of the things I have already learned, let's say about it are, um, well first, first of all, something very simple, which is I think me and others in, in these positions do our best to make it really clear.
What I notice is that people are often really well meaning, like they want to give, like they, like people are, are naturally, like when, when they're feeling good about themselves and love and safety and belonging is presence. They actually, we, we as humans want to give when we feel love, safety, and belonging more naturally.
And if you are unclear and you don't know how to do that, it'll taper. Like you'll, you'll walk away wanting to give and go, Oh, I don't really know what to do or how to do it, so I'm gonna go somewhere else. So one, one is, is the leadership has to be [00:59:00] crystal clear, which when you mentioned Mystic has all these documents, , that was learned from me that if I could create something that would translate with a lot of clarity what it is to, what it means to lead and how to do.
That, uh, you, the response is not just to give you a bunch of words to get clear, but it's to give you the feeling as a lead. Mm-hmm. that I can do this. Mm. And so you create clarity from over here so that the experience over there to the one that's, that's going to take on a position goes, I can do this. I know how to do this.
I'm clear about it. I can do it. So that's the first piece is you make it really clear on how to do it and what do, what does it mean to do a good job? What does that look like? What does that feel like? The second is, is that I, in every communication and in in dozens of interactions, reinforce [01:00:00] subtly and not so subtly the culture.
And, um, I will say if you've ever been on Build Crew with me, um, you've probably heard me say more than once throughout the build. Um, I'd rather you take care of yourself and then to build, cuz I want you to build it with joy. I want you to build it with, I want you to build it from a space of having extra energy to give.
And I'd rather you take a break than build from that place. So I'm embodying in that moment. Uh, a desire for you to come from that place of mm-hmm. , giving from surplus, giving from your joy. And, and I do a lot to check in and I have, we have a whole team who's only designed on the build, for instance, is to check in with everybody and make sure they're happy, hydrated, fed, that they get breaks, that they're showing up, and that their only job is to make sure that you are in the state.
That that would be the pr, the, the optimal state to be [01:01:00] building something together and collaborating together. And so we have a whole team involved that's literally just looking at how is it feeling at camp and how can I maximize and optimize for how it's feeling so that the culture of how people are giving is feeling good to everyone.
So that team is absolutely critical.
[01:01:20] CK: By the way, real quick and in Russian interruption. Yeah. Oh, please. That is whoever came up with that idea. brilliant. Because I would say, yeah, built week is hard. Oh, your sun, your, Yeah. Manual labor. , you know, whatever's going on in your life, you're reminded of, everything's amplified.
But having that team coming and feed you things, I've never experienced that to that extent before. Yeah. Literally being fed like frozen grapes and like, here's some smoothie like making Yeah. Every, [01:02:00] every else being fan and being massage, like all those little things. It's, it's tiny to think about it afterwards, but in that moment's so meaningful.
It's, it's definitely, uh, an anchoring, uh, memory for me.
[01:02:15] Jennifer: Yeah. And it's a, it's a physical translation of, of a belief that you have to take care of people. Mm. As a, as, as a primary role. Mm-hmm. , you have to, like, as a culture, as a chief culture officer, you get this probably at a very deep level given your experience, like the environment that you're creating for people to give their gifts, to do their work in your organizations.
If, if you aren't creating an environment that has them thriving, then it should be full stop. And, and, and let's pay attention to that because if you're draining the people that are, that are there to be the contributors, that is so unsustainable and [01:03:00] so many think camps have come and gone. Mm-hmm. because of.
Like we, we, it is not by accident that we have a 20 year history, because I can't tell you how many camp leads I've, that have come and gone that have told me the same story. And the same story is basically this story. Well, we wanted to build, we started building, but a few of us were doing all of the work.
We just got tired of it, we got resentful, it was too much, and we just didn't wanna do it again. And that's the story of almost every, the graveyard of all the theme camps that have come and gone. There's a lot of them with that story. Not everyone, but a lot of them with that story. And the way that you make sure that you're not one of those stories is to take really good care of the people and pay as much attention to the out of how it feels, as, as it is the outcome, Right?
The output of everybody. Right? Mm. So I, I had to learn this. The young version of me didn't get it and started to get it early on and then started to pay as much attention to how it feels as to what we're [01:04:00] doing and to put things in place to make that, make that clear.
[01:04:03] CK: Actually, on that note, another thing that's top of my, my, uh, my, my buddy Di Dylan and I, we had a discussion about this afterwards.
He said he went to another camp before mm-hmm. . And, and it was a huge contrast between Mystic and this other Camp Uhhuh, how they enroll, how they call forth volunteers for the strike. Oh,
[01:04:29] Jennifer: oh yeah. Tell me
[01:04:30] CK: and, and then, and then, uh, Christopher, how he, Yeah. You know, all forth is this, if you have a transformation that you want, you know, being on strike is the thing that's gonna finalize, you know, he is gonna amplify your transformation.
Just like he's excited. Lost strike. Yeah. He was excited about strike versus this other campus strike is hard. You know, we need every person. Both are correct, but just the energy and the [01:05:00] excitement.
[01:05:00] Jennifer: So what are you focusing people on? Are you focusing people on the trudge and the difficulty and the, Okay guys, we gotta do this now.
It's gonna be hard, but we gotta make it through. Right? That's one way. Mm-hmm. and all of that is accurate. It is hard. Mm-hmm. , you're gonna have to make it through. You're in the heat of the sun. It's not as fun to take it down as it was to put it up because you're, you're, you're not creating the magic.
You're like dissolving the magic, Right. . Mm-hmm. . So, um, but even that can be through great leadership. Mm-hmm. , This is why it's about the leadership. It's not about people that are, that have, uh, a bad character that you, that the, that Some people, some factions think that the reason people aren't striking is that they have bad character.
It's, it's, to me, it's like, can you inspire someone such that that's the most, uh, fun thing? That's the only place they'd wanna. Like they wanna show up, they wanna be part of the family. They wanna have belonging with the crew. They wanna know that they, uh, [01:06:00] were an integral part to creating something that was great for other people.
And that's part of the process. And, um, I've had people come up to me and tell me that the strike was their favorite part, like crying in tears.
[01:06:11] CK: I love built, I love strike. Let me just make that super clear. Yeah. Not
[01:06:14] Jennifer: everyone does. And it's okay if you don't, you know, Strike. I like, Okay. Build. I love .
[01:06:19] CK: Yeah.
Yeah, yeah. Um, okay. So real quick recap of some of the key lessons that you would tell young Jennifer. Mm, Yes. The aspirational thinking organizers. Uh, be really clear about instruction. Be really clear about the context, the energy that you wanted to, uh, to bring. Mm-hmm. . Um, what else did I, did we write down?
Oh, yeah, yeah.
[01:06:41] Jennifer: I can, I can say more too. Um, sure. Well, we, we talked about, um, take care of your people, like make, make, taking care of the environment that people are contributing inside of, um, of nourishing and inspiring. Like, not just that you tell 'em to do [01:07:00] what, what they need to do, but make the environment that they're.
Good, which is what any culture is all about. Um, so, Oh, are you asking, is there more advice? I mean, is there more advice I'd give, uh, give that young version of me that I could whisper in. Yeah. Some
[01:07:14] CK: concrete, you know, Hey, here's, knowing what I know today, here's what I'll tell you. Be really clear about your instructions to, uh, focus on the energy you bring.
Perhaps operationalize it with a team of people whose only job is to uplift and observe the energy, uplift the culture. Yeah. To, yeah. So, so those are two very explicit, beautiful nuggets. What else would you say to younger Jennifer? Or the aspirational Yeah, Yeah.
[01:07:40] Jennifer: It's, it's, it's, it's the, it's the one we talked about at the beginning, so I just, I wanna reiterate that one.
Mm-hmm. , uh, just about, um, don't assume that people, uh, uh, think and feel the way that you do. Um, the more, like you said, the making things explicit, um, I would have [01:08:00] whispered in her ear or any young TCOs ear, um, to make that explicit. And the way to make it explicit. There's, there's a lesson here. To me, one way we could have made it explicit is to sit on high as our council and decide what we think the right culture is and put it on a nice, you know, placard or, or whatever, and post it somewhere.
And post it and have people read it, which is a lot of how corporations sit back and do culture. Mm-hmm. . Yeah. Cause they, they prescribe, culture, kinda like a doctor would prescribe the culture. Mm-hmm. what we did instead that feels like nuanced but important, is we observed what was already happening.
Mm-hmm. and observed the values that felt like were the unifying values that brought us together, that were on display in the moments that were most significant and perfect and [01:09:00] precious to us. Mm-hmm. and that difference, fe like to me categorically feels different when I can tell when I'm in a company and they tell me their cause I do that work also mm-hmm.
where they, they tell me like what their, their values are that are written on a piece of paper. I can tell the difference between a company that did that outside of being inside the culture and just saying, this is what I think we would want it to be. Mm-hmm. versus the ones that are naming what's actually what's unique about their culture.
And so that to me is important, is that you lead from what is happening that's highlighting the moments that are, uh, the most meaningful to everyone inside the culture, rather than prescribing something separate from the culture. So
[01:09:41] CK: that's real quick, then double click on that since you're talking about it and we'll come back to it more or lessons.
But you join after Mystic has already been formed. So I think there's culture that's already existing. Yes. And, and what if you have TCOs? [01:10:00] Uh, I think. Who are brand new, right. Who are birthing idea. They have a group of friends who wanna birth an idea, they don't yet have a culture yet.
[01:10:10] Jennifer: Mm-hmm. . Mm-hmm. . Yeah.
So what would I tell them in how to sort of start to form mm-hmm. , the cultures, um, that they wanna, wanna design from scratch. Mm-hmm. . Um, so I would probably have them look at, um, what I mean, if, if I could, I'd have them interview people like us, uh, that meaning, um, go to some of the favorite camps and have a conversation with some of those camp leads.
Mm. And ask them, uh, and feel their culture for, for one, feel it for yourself and, and start to notice what felt good to you. Mm. And, and what they were doing that felt good to you. And start to put together, Oh, this, when I'm in this [01:11:00] camp, this part was what felt good. Like you called out how Christopher Life did, He's one of our leads of strike.
You called out how he held strike as being something that you liked. Mm-hmm. . And then, and then I would have them explore, well, what value is he standing for that is on display? Is it creating this moment that you liked and can, and, and let's see if we can create a few of those things that would create that emergent property.
[01:11:26] CK: So that's that me. Let me just double click on. Uh, for those of you who are watching, who wants for one day, have your own, uh, camp. What Jennifer just gave you is Jim. Yeah. Make do that thing. .
[01:11:40] Jennifer: Yeah. I, I'm one of those that, uh, love, I've mentored lots of camps, both, both formally and informally, like through Burning Man's newer program, but I've also been doing it for years.
Like, you wanna ask me about that? I, I'd happily have a, have a dozen conversations with people wanting to do that. Like, I, That's real for me. Like, I would really do that. .
[01:11:57] CK: No. Amazing. Thank you Jennifer. Yes. For your
[01:11:59] Jennifer: [01:12:00] continuous service. And, and a lot of people would, and, and, and posting on the Facebook group, I'm gonna start a theme camp.
I wanna know what aspects of culture, uh, you know, created a camp that is thriving. Mm-hmm. and asking the TCOs to also give you a sense of what are those pieces? Not, not what they think is their favorite values. Mystics values are not my highest values. Mm-hmm. , they as, as one of the leads, they're probably not any one on our council.
They were what we saw created, um, a culture that felt most transformational and sustainable. So I think you gotta do that and you gotta ask yourself what, how do you want it to feel? How do you want your camp to feel? Like, what are the top three things you want people to experience and feel at your camp?
And then the values that would encourage people to bring. And I, I think that's important fundamentally. So as a new tcr, I'd start with that. Do I want my camp to feel like, uh, uh, fun and playful? [01:13:00] Do I want my camp to feel serious and, and reverent? Do I want my camp to feel transformational and motivational?
Like all of these are very different energies. And so your values that create those energies can come from the experience that you're trying to create for the people that are arriving. So you gotta get clear on what is the experience you want to create and how do you want it to feel? Then the values should be from that, not just your favorites.
[01:13:27] CK: I love that. These are all very, very tactical. Something just recap real quick. My style. Yeah. How do you want your camp to feel? If you don't know it yet, go to different camps and notice what feels good about you, uh, about the camps, and then interview the, the camp leads so you can have a deeper understanding of how they bring forth whatever that the thing that you feel about Don't quite articul or can't quite articulate yet.
Mm-hmm. . And one thing that you said in passing is mystic optimizes for transf.
[01:13:58] Jennifer: We do. That's we want, we [01:14:00] want you to feel belonged and we want you to, that's what we're optimizing for is transformation,
[01:14:05] CK: right? And then, and then start to operationalize whatever that looks like to put, let's say the team that makes you feel good, cuz that's one of the core values.
And then, and then also as can please be very clear about your instructions. Well, yes. Be be explicit about what you stand for, and then after that, be clear about your instruction. These are some of the main things that I heard so far. Yeah,
[01:14:29] Jennifer: yeah, yeah. Those are, those are good ones so far. Um, and, uh, y you want, we wanna add to this conversation something about curation, Um, because, uh, I think it's important, um, that you curate, uh, especially at the leadership level because ultimately, ultimately, no matter what you write as your values, no [01:15:00] matter what you even are trying, because it's all an experiment and, and you're gonna experiment and treat it like that because sometimes you'll, you'll go for a value and it won't translate.
Um, so the importance is that you're experimenting. But, um, if you draw to you the kind of people that, um, you have curated. That in their own lives are creating those experiences and creating ways of collaborating that feel good to you. Then when you guys come together and try to create a camp, you're gonna recreate what the leadership, um, naturally does naturally.
Right? Cultures are created from the actual people in it, what they're doing naturally. So if you curate and are careful about who you bring into that, um, cuz it's very easy to just bring in the crotchety guy that has a bad attitude but is really good at running power. Mm-hmm. , uh, um, and, and, and to [01:16:00] undervalue the perturbations in the field that get created every time he's scratchy and angry with people mm-hmm.
and then think, well, but we have to put up with him because, um, he know he's the only one that knows. Right. And so you make those kind of decisions and you erode the culture for the skill. Mm-hmm. , and I'm saying that is, is as an early TCO is super important because the skills can be learned and the knowledge can be shared super important that at least at the leadership level, that you're curating people who know how to create a positive collaborative experience and work with them as a foundation.
[01:16:40] CK: So that's important. I mean, just double click on that. Yeah. Um, Similar in companies, right? Let's, there's a side by side comparison company. There's a huge ambition, There's a deadline's got funding, you wanna build this thing, you know, Bernie Man's coming, [01:17:00] there's a deadline. You know, we have a certain scope that we want to build this dream, this vision wanna manifest and bring to fruition.
And then we have certain access to certain talent pool with skills, but not necessarily the, the energetics or, or the interpersonal skills to, to, uh, to operate at a high level. When time is pressed, what do we do? Do we hire this person, we keep this person, What do we continue to, you know, search for the person with skill sets and the, the proper, uh, persona in the skill level that finds it cyber high?
[01:17:39] Jennifer: It's, it's a conundrum. And, and it's not always easy's like, sometimes it's like, Oh, well we don't have anyone available with both, you know, And so what do we do? I, there's, there's resiliency that develops over time. So as a 20 year history camp, we have some resiliency to have a few of those. Like, like, let's, let's, let's just say like we could have somebody who's kind of crotchety and not quite with the culture [01:18:00] because there's enough of us holding a pristine field mm-hmm.
that it doesn't. Crumble. Mm-hmm. . So it's not that you can never, you never have to make a compromise sometimes. Um, cause that does sometimes happen. But, but what I'm saying is, at a leadership level, at the visionary level, who's holding the core vision for what the camp is? That that needs to be as pristine a field as possible.
Our council, like we have a variety of diversity of every year, different leaders, and we have no idea what we're gonna get every year, right? Mm-hmm. because it's different every year. But our council, it's, it's absolutely at the council level, everyone is in there because of the attitude and their alignment with the values and that they create a pristine working environment, collaborative environment, or else they don't really belong on the council.
They could still be a, in mystic, they could still be a lead, they could still contribute. But I, I'm a big believer in that at that level, it needs to be pristine.
[01:18:58] CK: Mm.
[01:18:58] Jennifer: I love it. [01:19:00] And that if it, if you have conflict, you need to nip it in the bud and immediately, rather than letting it fester. So on
[01:19:06] CK: that note, yeah, it's not burning man when there's no, there's, there's not gonna be transformation.
It's not gonna be transformation if there's no friction conflicts, adversity. Yeah. So what are some of the key lessons that you learn or the key skills rather, from having these type of, you know, inter camp or inter camp? Conflict. Like friction. Yeah, friction. And how, and, and then what skill did, what insight did you learn?
What skill did you have to really navigate that space?
[01:19:40] Jennifer: Y yeah. And again, just humbly still learning also. And what I have learned so far, and there's more to learn, um, is the skill of holding multiple perspectives at once is critical. Meaning, um,[01:20:00]
what's, what tends to go on when there's friction is one person on one side has been sort of conscripted by a particular value that they hold more dear. And then if there's tension, then there's like a polarity of somebody holding the opposite side and that, uh, and that value feels more dear to them.
And then those two battles, those two, uh, values who have conscripted us as humans to play the war, are battling it out for who gets to win and which way we go. So like for instance, um, I, I spoke about like integrity. Mm-hmm. , and, um, and I'll say harmony. Mm-hmm. , right? So Harmony allows us to like, make it okay if they didn't, you know, do all of their shifts in integrity, it was like, no, no, no.
We need to make sure that people are I integris. And if you're holding both of those values, they can feel in opposition. Like, how do we be harmonious while still making sure that people make good on their commitments? Right? And those can feel at. Yeah. So [01:21:00] one skill that you learned to me is in, in leadership is, um, you listen for what those values are underneath the complaints that are happening, that are creating the shadows of it, where integrity is sounding like judgment and harshness and exile, and they need to go and punitive and harmony is sounding like collapsing and, uh, letting it slide and letting everything devolve and allowing people to overtax people.
And so you're seeing the shadows of both of them. And to me, uh, what happens is the, the integrity side is seeing the, the light of its, of its, uh, side and, and comparing it to the shadow of the other side. And then harmony is comparing the light of its side, but the shadow of the integrity. And so you're not comparing apples to apples.
And therefore integrity is like, well, there's, we don't want everybody sliding and, and everyone getting resentful and everyone burning out. That's what you're saying you [01:22:00] want. And the harmony people like, well, we don't want something draconian where everybody feels punished and everyone's doing out of obligation.
And so there's no ha there's no con, there's no conversation happening. Mm-hmm. , because we're not comparing the light and shadow mm-hmm. of both perspectives as equally valid and part of it. And so to me, what I learned as a leader was to hold all four of those things at once. Like, look, oh, what I'm saying has a shadow.
And I'm minimizing my shadow and failing to see your light and you are minimizing your shadow and failing to see my light. Let's actually see it fully the shadow and light of both these values that are battling it out to make this decision and get on the team of how do we together maximize the light of both values and minimize the shadow.
How do we team up and do that? And to me that's what's happening. And it was a ton of bricks moment when I realized that dynamic that when we're in tension and conflict, we are comparing our light to the other person's [01:23:00] shadow and therefore we're never, we're failing to see the beauty and the wisdom that they're actually standing for.
Cuz we're only looking at where they're coming from, their shadow and they may be coming from their shadow. So we have a reason we're doing that, but we're not actually seeing the full picture. Cuz everyone who's fighting for any tension is usually fighting for a value that if you went underneath the complaint and underneath the conflict is a value that we actually wanna a camp that's full of integrity.
We want camp that's full of harmony. We don't wanna sacrifice those things. Actually, we actually do want both. That is the yin and the yang where they both come together. We don't want like only the one or the others. So let's see, how do we have to collaborate so that both are present And that is a, like a learned experience is to learn.
So it's a learned skill. To do that, to hold both perspectives with more complexity rather than discounting the person who's coming from their shadow because it's shadowy. It's like, oh, that, what is the hidden value they're actually standing for? As the shadow is what's coming out to the front and what am I, [01:24:00] where am I doing the same thing?
[01:24:01] CK: So thank you for this. Again, as a doist practitioner, I appreciate Yes. How you look at the different polarities and then and, and then drill into the different values. This is really a conflict of two values. How do you then bring, co-create the equilibrium, the harmony in, in different perspectives.
[01:24:23] Jennifer: Exactly. Exactly. And you can take any two polarities that are at war and conscripting us in it and find your way out by looking underneath the shadow and seeing the values that are being stood for, and acknowledge those and, and try to incorporate those as giving rise to the other. Right. So, so more integrity.
The more harmony, the more harmony, the more integrity, they actually will feed each other. It's only at the shadow level that they're in opposition.
[01:24:48] CK: I love that. Um, man, time flew by, so I know, right? But, but I still have many questions, uh, that I love to geek out with you, Jennifer. So I want to be [01:25:00] cognizant.
So I need to make some creative choices here. You, you get to
[01:25:02] Jennifer: choose which way we go. The last little piece here. So I'm available, but I, I also know that people, uh, have a limited attention span. So ,
[01:25:12] CK: No, I think I, Anyways, I'll ask my question. So, great. So inside of this one thing that we actually haven't talked about that brings, Well, actually, so okay.
People may say, Man, Jennifer has all the answers. You know, she has all these frameworks. She now how to navigate. She knows that it had the skills of perspective and, you know, holding space, you know, And then, and I would say to them, of course, she's been doing for 15 years and she's very cognizant of her, uh, her own growth and development.
Yeah. But at the same time, she's also human. So what are some of the heartbreaks or the challenges that you had to overcome to earn these skills? There are these [01:26:00] lessons. Yeah. The wisdom, the lessons. Yeah. So what are some of the things that that, that you could share that you're willing to share to some of the TCOs?
So that way they can say, Oh, okay, so you know, she's human and I'm not alone. I can learn to be like her. And that's my.
[01:26:17] Jennifer: Yeah. Yeah. I, So it, it's been a journey for me to integrate what, what I'll, I'll call, um, more of the feminine side of my leadership and, um, don't get, don't get caught up on that label. Um, I'll, I'll say more about what I mean.
Um, the, there was a version of Jennifer in wanting to make it in what felt like the, uh, a man's world, uh, who focused more on, out, put and outcome and let's get it done and let's push than I did on how it felt [01:27:00] to do it. Like, uh, there was a version of me that, that wanted to be respected and didn't care if I was liked, right?
And so that version of me in my twenties that was in the biotech sector trying to, I was like one of the few women in that sector it felt like. And, um, I wanted to be seen as someone who could really kick ass and make things happen. And I was proud of that. But I had marginalized the parts of me that cared actually about my own feelings.
Like how did it feel to me and how did it feel to everybody else? And was I creating an environment and a culture that had people feel great about themselves versus feeling, you know, only good if they achieved So, Right, because we get, we get rewarded in our culture for achievement, right? And then, and then we mistake achievement as that which, which, uh, gives us our meaning and our self-esteem.
And when we do that, um, we, [01:28:00] we, we diminish like the beauty of our very presence as a gift in and of itself and, and the long term benefit of a thriving relationship. And so I had to integrate that. I, I started out a little bit more like, Okay, let's go, let's go, let's get it done. Come on, push harder.
Because I was a strong and resilient woman, I could work 8, 10, 12 hours at a time. You know, I could put in, put in all of the effort, and it wasn't hard on me. And so I wanted it to not be hard on anyone and wanted everyone to push like I was pushing. And I had to learn that that might give you a short term gain, but erodes your long-term gain.
Mm. I thought that was one, one of the lessons. Um, and, um, I think another really important lesson is, um, it's so easy, especially if you identify as thinking that you're smart , you've got all this hubris or arrogance or whatever you think you're [01:29:00] smart, um, to think that the way that you, you come up with to do it is the right way.
And that other people's ways, if they differ from the way that you would do it, are not as. . Like that's, oh, that's just clearly not as good as the way I'm thinking of it. Right? And, you know, I'm a smart rat and so I, I could convince myself that I had a better way of doing a lot of the things at, uh, at a camp or in an organization, and I had to learn through wisdom and humility, uh, that, um, my way isn't the only way of doing it.
Even if it's optimizing for a set of values that are the ones I have in mind, it might not be optimizing and it for things that they're optimizing for. And it might be failing to see just we said like that. There's a shadow to doing it that way. And so you have to sort of learn if you're gonna lead something that leaves room that isn't a command and control, but leaves room for other people to bring their brilliance, that in order to create an environment where people are actually bringing [01:30:00] themselves and their brilliance and their creativity, you have to leave room for that.
Your way of doing it isn't the only way. And that even if you think it's sacrificing something really important, that's hard, you actually have to let go. As a leader, you have to let go of the reigns of control. To be a great leader, to be a great leader is not to seek power, but to empower those around you, right?
So a great leader is not seeking power, but is seeking to empower those around. And so I had to learn. to let go of what I thought was gonna be the better way to save us time and energy and money and resources, and to allow other people to have different ways of going about it. Uh, because them being more invested and more creative and more engaged is more important than the 5% of more effective, you know, effectiveness or output.
Then, then, and then what I'm, and what I'm failing to lose is their sense of feeling like believed in and confident and all of that. So I started to realize the unintended consequences of those [01:31:00] things.
[01:31:00] CK: Were there time, were there a time where you thought to yourself, All right, this is it. I no longer coming back.
Yes. Like that? This is it. This is defin moment. Yeah,
[01:31:16] Jennifer: I, uh, I have definitely had that feeling like, um, because I've done it so many years, like I've co-led, um, Mystic for, you know, 10 or 12. It depends. We, we maybe not, can't count the two renegade years, but for a long time nonetheless. And, um, part of the reason that I feel that is that I fundamentally want the vision for what Mystic is to continue to evolve.
Mm. And if, if it's standing still and stagnant, just doing the same thing again, just to do the same thing again, because I'm, I like to always be changing and growing and evolving. Mm-hmm. , Um, [01:32:00] I, I start to question coming back when I feel like mystics vision isn't evolving to something that is bringing something that's more needed.
And so that's when I question, It's less about like, it's too much work. Like you might think I question it because how hard it is cuz it is and it's crazy to try to make your life work and this and, and Burning Man theme camp work at the same time. Cuz it's a whole full-time job that you latch on your already full time life.
But it's, it's usually that. And then the second reason I I, I don't quit, uh, is also that I want to it to have a legacy that can outlive me. And so every year I try to lead in such a way that less and less of it is dependent on me. That, such that when I walk away, it could have almost no impact. Like, I'm not trying to like, like garner more power.
Like I wanna give away as much as I can. And if I could give it away faster in a way that felt good to everyone, but didn't burden anyone, [01:33:00] I, I would, and I come back often because I. I feel like I haven't done enough of that. I haven't figured out how to do even more of that, and I'd like to do more of that.
Um, but I want it to evolve. And so if I question myself, it's like, is it evolving a new vision that's fresh and not just the same old camp?
[01:33:19] CK: What, Okay. So I love that legacy that I'll, let me, uh, me, uh, you mm-hmm. , it's a leadership opportunity for you to empower other leaders. Love that. Mm-hmm. . So what is the vision?
What is that horizon that you, that you go after?
[01:33:34] Jennifer: Yeah. Well, , so this, this one is just from me, so I haven't checked this one with my council. Sure, sure.
[01:33:41] CK: Yeah. This is your personal, like,
[01:33:44] Jennifer: where would I like to see Mystic going?
[01:33:45] CK: Yeah. Yeah. And let me actually, let me qualify that a little bit before you ask.
Yeah. So some people think because the better, So now we have two 30, let's, 300, 500, 600,000, whatever the number is, like, then we have [01:34:00] arrived, right? Yeah. Uh, I don't think that's what your vision is, but I'm just giving you other the voice. No,
[01:34:05] Jennifer: we'd be hundred people. I mean, if it, I mean, we have so many people asking to camp with us.
We would be, if we just said yes, we'll be as big as, as the amount of people that want to come, we, we would be huge. Even bigger.
[01:34:16] CK: That's right. That's right. So, so, so if not number or size. Yes. Yes. What, what is the, what is the vision? Like what, what are you have in mind for Jennifer? Let me just say that for Jennifer's
[01:34:27] Jennifer: perspective.
Yeah. So, so just from mine, um, Uh, so it isn't about bigger, um, but it isn't about smaller either. There's some people that want it smaller. Um, I think there's a failure maybe to understand that, uh, the smaller you are, the less people you have to build it, which means that it's a heavier load mm-hmm. on the people building be, and it's also, um, uh, so more people are doing more things.
Uh, it's a fewer number of people doing more, [01:35:00] or you have to make the vision smaller mm-hmm. and take away some of the creativity of some of the people bringing projects that you ultimately want. So one of my visions for Mystic is that it is a, a place, a stage for transformational experiences. Mm-hmm.
that, um, allows people that aren't just me to come in and say, you know, I have a vision to create this, this transformation. And, and, and out of that came like our temple, right? And there were people that came and they had this amazing vision to create this temple that had rituals in it. And I want Mystic to be a yes to people's creativity, right?
Is is if as a vision, it's like, can we Yes. And blow on the embers of creative transformational experiences that. Given to the grandly. So I, I want mystic to do that. So rather than downsizing and saying no to everyone's creativity to make the simplest camp possible, I wanna see how do we thread the needle between not scope [01:36:00] creeping too far to make it too hard, um, uh, uh, but still allowing people who have creativity to, to be yes.
To bring that and to see how they transform. It's not even just that their creativity is transforming people. When you decide that you're gonna put yourself out there to build something like that transforms you. That's right. Right. So even if it was a flop, like we've had some projects that weren't awesome.
Like I loved those projects cuz they had to learn so much about the adversity of creating it and where they hit their own limits and how well they enrolled people or didn't enroll people. Like that was a, a huge playground of learning for them. Hmm. So I want Mystic to continue to be that and, um, I personally want, um, if I have a dharma, uh, on this planet, it's to help heal the divide.
Mm-hmm. and, um, we are a world. At least for me, it feels more divided than I've ever [01:37:00] seen it. Like issues that in the past, people would just have differences of opinion on are now like sources of like hate and, uh, cancel culture and rejecting and, uh, um, you know, you can't hardly bring up any topic without it getting polarized.
Mm-hmm. , um, even traditionally non polarizing topics. And so if I can create a camp that takes you through a journey that has you feel like you can end the war inside yourself, that you can heal the divisions in yourself, whether it's the masculine and feminine in you, or whether it's the, the rich versus the poor, the progressives versus the conservatives, the black versus the white, the old versus the young, Um, uh, the law, law, uh, abiding integrity versus the spontaneity and playful, um, the spirit versus the material.
All of these things that seem to be at war. If I can create an experience for people that upon [01:38:00] coming into that those things integrate inside themselves, uh, and that those divisions begin to heal in profound ways, then I will feel like I'm living into the vision. I see that mystic can be mm-hmm. . So I would more explicitly create those experiences and call people forward that wanna create those experiences.
Right now that can happen a little bit. It's subtle. That, that, you know, we have like a masculine feminine tribute alter on both sides of our mm-hmm. of our, uh, theater and a masculine, uh, and a men and women's circle that happens prior to the party to create the marriage of those two as they come in. But it's subtle, like, how would you as a bystander even know that mm-hmm.
Um, so I would just do it more and more and more and more explicitly. I love that because I really wanna end the war. Um, we cannot live in a world without war until we heal that war inside ourselves, that we replicate in our political systems, our economic systems, our relationships. And so I wanna heal that.
I wanna bridge those, bridge, [01:39:00] I wanna make those bridges.
[01:39:01] CK: Mm. I can't remember who said this. Mm. Um, but he gave me a very beautiful metaphor. Mm. He said that, um, a lot of times we look at these issues, the, the polarities, the, the, the inner war, the outer world, the climate change, all these things. And we feel very.
Small comparing to those big issues. Yes. And then he, his beautiful metaphor is just consider that when you go to the gym, you don't look at all the weight and say, Oh my God, a thousand thousands and thousands and pounds of weight, how do I lift them? Mm-hmm. , you lift them, you get better as a human. You transform as you transform your body.
And then you are better. And then, and then, then you, then after that you set it down. So I really appreciate how your vision is to bridge the divide with all these things. And, and at the same time, I also feel this is me. Mm-hmm. , let me know if I'm projecting that you don't, it's not coming from a place of like, Oh my God, this is way [01:40:00] too big for me.
You know, this is right. This is, this is something that you, you wanna devote your life to do. So that's the way I feel when you were describing it. Oh, I
[01:40:09] Jennifer: love that. I love that. Cuz it, it, it can feel big cuz it is bigger than any one person. Right? No one person is gonna do that. No one theme camp is, is gonna do that.
But we have an opportunity moment by moment. To create an interaction that does that every, every interaction is an opportunity for us to do that. I see. As we walk through the world, every interaction is an opportunity to lead, um, and to create culture that we are walk, walking culture creators. And so in this interaction, do we create more division or do we create, create more synergy?
Right. And so if I, if, if, if I'm holding that as my dharma, then I get to do that. It's a privilege, not a, not a heavy obligation, but a privilege that I get to do that and recreate that experience everywhere I go with the barista, at the coffee shop, with, at, at Burning Man, when I'm pulling a zip tie with someone, [01:41:00] I mean, it's everywhere.
Mm-hmm. And I, I, I think that we, if we hold our dharmas as what we bring in every minor moment, like the mundane moment that, that, that is a healthy relationship to it, that will never feel like you're never Atlas holding the world on your back. Mm-hmm. . Yeah. Um, where, where you, you can barely manage the weight.
It's, it's you moment by moment, moment by moment. One step at a time. So
[01:41:27] CK: that's, Having thought of myself as Atlas for, for a while, you can't do Yeah, me
[01:41:33] Jennifer: too, by the way. I have fall afraid of that one.
[01:41:35] CK: Yeah, you can do that, but you don't have to, you know, it's more joyous if you think about, let's say, going to the gym versus being Atlas as an example.
Yeah, yeah. So, so inside of that, Jennifer, uh, two schools of thought, one school of thought is, Hey, if you do your job and your passion together, you never have to work again in your life. That's one school of thought, not the school of thought is, uh, hey, separate your [01:42:00] passion, your life's work, and how you make a living.
And because to maintain purity. Mm-hmm. , what, what's your, I'm, I'm assuming I'm projecting probably the first school, but I'm like, how would you answer that question? What, which school are you? Oh,
[01:42:15] Jennifer: oh, I mean, clearly, clearly. Um, I am definitely all about Decompartmentalize. Um, there is a, a famous quote, uh, let me see if I can remember it.
Um, uh, let's see. It's, it's the, basically the quote is, uh, the master in the Art of Living, um, makes little distinction between their, you know, uh, recreation and their religion, their work, their play, you know, and it's all of these interplays, their leisure and their, their, their labor. Um, they're always doing both.
So that, that quote, which I butchered a little bit, but that is to me [01:43:00] how I wanna live my life because, uh, the minute that I'm compartmentalizing and, and creating something that is a labor that isn't who I am or isn't who I what I wanna be, then I've set myself up into this dichotomy where I'm trying to like, sacrifice myself to do this work thing so that I can buy back my freedom or happiness later, which is the plan that most people are doing.
Mm-hmm. , like, I'll have a job so I can buy back my retirement, where I get to just be, be who I wanna be. Mm-hmm. like that fundamentally is this domesticated harness on our culture. That's, that creates a complete, um, uh, uh, to me sense of like defeated, kind of domesticated, like unhappy work culture. And if, if what I do for a living is who I already am and what I want to be doing, because it's everything that I stand for [01:44:00] mm-hmm.
and my, my work turns from a, a job to a career and from a career to a calling. Mm-hmm. , and I can make anything, a calling. I could be on the street selling you flowers. Mm-hmm. . And if my calling was to heal the divide, Then I would be imagining that as I'm selling my flowers, I'd be interacting with you in a way to reconnect you to nature and see you not divided from nature, but see you in the beauty of the awe of this life.
And I could use that to live my dharma. I could use anything to live my dma, every interaction I could do it. And in that way, I'm not compartmentalizing this part I don't like from this part I like mm-hmm. . So I want, uh, for all of those things to blend together because I want to be loving what I'm doing.
Part of why I do mystic is because I love doing it. Not because I have to, not because it's work, right? It's both, It's recreation, it's leisure, it's fun, it's play, it's dharma, it's beauty, it's [01:45:00] hardship, it's all of it. And so that's sort of how I hold those things. Now I understand why people divide it.
Mm-hmm. , um, you know, it could be like, I'm coming from a privileged place. Well, Jennifer, you get to do this, the great things that you love. Not every, some people have to be take out the garbage. You know, They have to, uh, pick up after they have to do jobs they don't like. Mm-hmm. . Um, so I understand, um, that it can sound very privileged and, and, and, and it is.
And I also understand that if you bring that level of joy to. Like picking up the trash from the park, um, uh, being the janitor, uh, at nasa. Mm-hmm. , you know, wherever you're at, uh, that you can actually, um, have your life feel very fulfilling moment by moment. And therefore you end up doing more and more and more of what fulfills you.
And so very quickly the thing that you're doing [01:46:00] is what's fulfilling you, because that's how you approach life as a, as an opportunity to be fulfilled. Yeah. So, yeah, that's how I hold it.
[01:46:08] CK: Yeah. So, so, so I'm definitely in the same camp with you. I'm that first school thought for sure. Uh, yeah. So a little bit of a leading question because I want to ask you this question, right?
Oh, sure. So, so the question I wanna ask is, you do a lot, you know, the, the thing that I saw is, is already a lot and the startup by itself, so, and then you have three other jobs. You are also married, so Yes. . Yes. We have 18 year old at home and Oh, I didn't know you, a parent. That's great. That's the first time I hear it.
That's awesome. Yes. So, right, So you have a lot of things on your plate, right? Yeah. So, so how do you manage the limited amount of time and energy, uh, and internal resource so then you can show up as your best versus show up as your worst, you know, You know, So [01:47:00] how, how do you manage the internal resources too, so that you get to, you know, live your dorming path and still have a lot of.
[01:47:08] Jennifer: Yeah. Yeah. There's, there's two things. One is I feel like I was blessed with a fairly resilient, energetic constitution, meaning like, naturally I'm very energetic. Like I have a lot of energy in general. Like, I'm not one of those people that's like tired all the time and mm-hmm. , uh, so, so, so, so one I'll just say like, like the biology is, was, is our genetics is on my side, but mm-hmm.
to the degree to which not all of it is that nature versus nurture and all. Um, uh, I'm gonna say it through a metaphor. So, uh, have you ever been on a boat and have you ever been sailing? Mm-hmm. . Okay, good. So, so there's a motorboat. There's the living your life kind of like a motorboat, and there's living your life more like a sailboat.
Okay? Right. And so, so the motorboat, if you've been on a motorboat, um, [01:48:00] uh, it's got gas and you can, you can apply the gas and it, it, it's choppy. It's like, it's, it's, and, and when you're on the motorboat, you're like, the wind is whipping through your hair and you're, you're, you're bouncing on the waves and, and you have this limited amount of fuel that can run out.
And life is very much like that. If you run your life, uh, from a motorboat where you're using your own willpower to push as the fuel in the tank against the current of, of all the things you have to do, cuz you have to go that way. Um, you know, then, um, you run out of. , but a sailboat, if you've ever been on a sailboat, when you're sailing perfectly, the wind speed and your speed are almost the same.
So it's, it's almost entirely peaceful, right? You're not like jumping like this. The wind isn't whipping through your hair. It's like, oh, the, you've caught the wind in a sail and the sail has filled it, and you are, you're [01:49:00] using an infinite resource of the wind and then adjusting your sail and adjusting your course to just continue to use the wind, not your own willpower, not the, not the fuel that's gonna run out.
Um, and that fills your sail and it's like, it feels like an infinite resource in that moment because you do adjust over time. Mm-hmm. .
[01:49:20] CK: And so yeah. It's attacked back and
[01:49:22] Jennifer: forth. Yeah. You t you can tack back and forth right. If you've sailed. So, so that metaphorically is, to me, how I do it, it's when I'm at my best, is that I am using my motorboat to get me into the middle of the water sometimes when I need that.
Like I need to get myself there. Mm-hmm. . So it's not that I don't ever motorboat, but to the degree to which I can, I'm feeling like the energy that I'm using to do what I do isn't mine. . Mm. It's the wins. It's, and, and, and just to make it more real, like let's say you care about ending hunger on the planet.
Mm-hmm. . Mm-hmm. . And [01:50:00] that's your job, is to be part of a nonprofit ending hunger. If I can locate myself next to all of the people that care about that and all of the energy towards wanting to make that happen, there's a, there's a huge number and a huge amount of energy that cares about that, cares about that cause, wants that cause to happen.
So I don't have to source my own energy as the only person on the planet that cares about something. Mm-hmm. , I'm feeling everyone across all our population in our universe that's like, Yes, we wanna go in this direction and sourcing my energy from there. So it's like I always have the energy to give and I'm trying to be as frictionless as possible.
So I'm looking for ways to be less, like less and less friction. So where can I create more lift in the system? So everything I've done at, at as a Burning Man theme cap leader is finding the friction and trying to develop systems to relieve the friction, and then doing it again, and then finding some friction and then creating systems that relieve the friction so that it's very [01:51:00] smooth.
So that to me, allows you to accomplish and have a lot more capacity to, to notice in your life, when are you running your life as a motorboat, and when are you being the sailboat? And just start noticing, start seeing where you're creating, drag in the systems that you're in and see how you can create more.
[01:51:23] CK: Yeah. I, I have, I love that metaphor, by the way. Yeah. The motorboat versus this. Yeah. Or, or, or this swimmer going against current or surfer. Right. These type of naturalistic metaphors. It makes it very real, very visceral. I, I love
[01:51:40] Jennifer: this. Yeah. Everyone that cares about that issue, if you're aligned with that issue, then all of their energy, all of their resources, all of their opportunities, they, they come to you because you are aligning with something that's bigger than you, that's driving it.
It's the wind. It's something large, not just the small, small self. You trying to make something happen [01:52:00] by yourself. If small self you tries to make something happen that's like pushing a rope uphill. It just does. It's just hard. Why? Like,
[01:52:07] CK: it's too hard. Yeah. We're going back to Alice
[01:52:09] Jennifer: again. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
It's like, Right. Yeah. Like, let's not have to do it alone,
[01:52:14] CK: Right? Yeah. I mean, part of the reason why I do this podcast is that, you know, one of the thing that I learned from a course I did in Landmark is we're a network of our conversations. We are, you're a network of our conversations. So how can I get into conversations with people who already care about transformation?
Yes. Already care about the crisis of consciousness, already care about how do we, you know, help people identify the cold, wo superpower, you know, uh, their purpose, these type of work, and how do we help 'em, you know, uh, create, uh, a career that's following their, their gift, their passion, so then they have to work a another day in their life.
Like, this type of conversation is what I love and hence no, it's one of [01:53:00] the reason why.
[01:53:01] Jennifer: Ugh. Well see. And you are doing that. See, when you're doing this podcast, I, my guess is it feels like a sailboat. Mm-hmm. . Yeah. Like it's your joy, Like you're not doing it cuz you're obligated. I mean, maybe there's a little of that, but I imagine that you love having these conversations, which is why you would even come up with doing a podcast like this, which is why even the doing of it is transformative for you and for other people versus, Oh, this was my task list I had to do today.
Right? Yeah. But you wouldn't keep doing it you would run out of willpower
[01:53:36] CK: For sure. This is definitely, I mean, there's a little bit motor boating. Yeah. I don't, Yeah. The wide phrase, but there Yeah. At times, right? Yeah. But, but for the most part, this is my life's work. I, I enjoy it. I hope, um, my intention, I'll make it public.
My intention is that my guest get to tell their story and not just their normal spiel that they tell everywhere [01:54:00] else, but they also get to see a new pattern, a new, new thing that never saw before, such that they experience the brilliance, their experience on wisdom newly. That's my secret intention for Oh, I love that.
[01:54:14] Jennifer: podcast guest, I won't tell
[01:54:18] CK: so, so, such that others can say, Hey, if Jennifer can do it, if Cek can do it. So I will want to do the same as well. Yeah. So, yeah. So, So speaking of that, uh, oh man. Time is almost up. Uh, do you have a time to go? Literally, I, I
[01:54:33] Jennifer: have a little, I have a little more time. Yes. .
[01:54:34] CK: Okay.
Thank you. So, so speaking of that, um, you do many different things and how do you tactically balance your, you know, your limited time, your energy and so forth? Is there any framework, any organizational things, or is it literally just, Yeah, I wake up today, I'm called to do this one thing, so I'll go do this one thing.[01:55:00]
[01:55:00] Jennifer: Yes. I So, so b, both, both are true. I, um, I was one of those people really motorboating myself like crazy. Like, Come on Jennifer, do it all. Um, and there came a time, I guess, where I decided that of the mountain of things that I should do in any given day that I would approach my day with. Well, what am I excited to do?
Because just being in motion towards something that has your excitement and your joy, um, has energy in it for you, even if it isn't the most important thing that you had to do, that just getting into motion. Like motion begets motion. Like once you're in motion, you tend to stay in motion. Like inertia will teach you like a body motion, uh, remains motion.
And then body stop will stay stopped. That, um, if I selected. Where I poured my time based on what brought me the most [01:56:00] energy in that moment, that that allowed me to be incredibly productive. Like then the amount I get done by day, they, I, I've had said about me, you get done in one by accident, what most people do on purpose.
You know, like, it just, it, you, you, it feeds on itself. It's like you're in, you've, you've gotten to the middle of the water and the sale is now set, and so you're going. So that's a piece. Um, tactically, um, you know, I get to collaborate with some pretty extraordinary people and, uh, right people, right roles is really important.
The bright people are doing the right roles, the roles that are where, where they really come alive. So that's a piece. Um, and doing things that I, um, I've been lucky that I only do things that are, are dally aligned, like the things that I want to be doing, um, because they feel like they're specifically what, what, what I'm here to give.
Like, everyone's got a unique gift to give to this [01:57:00] world. Um, everyone, it doesn't matter. Your education level doesn't matter, your income, everyone has their presence is already making an impact naturally that they may not even be aware of. And that's the gift. So everything I do is, uh, I decide on the basis of is it gonna allow me to express more of that or less?
And so when there are things that I need to do that don't feel like the direct. That are like, like sometimes you have to like, take out the trash. Like sometimes you have to like clean up. Uh, and that's part of it. Um, but I relate to that, taking out the trash, uh, task as part of what empowers me to do my Dharma.
So I don't go, Oh, I had to not do my Dharma to take out the trash today because I didn't wanna do that task. Or for me, like, I had to write that marketing email and I don't like writing those emails. And so like, um, so that was me not doing my Dharma. I was like, Oh, that is part of what's needed to create an ecosystem that works.
So I relate to the task that [01:58:00] empower me to do my Dharma as my Dharma. And so I'm excited to do them. So I have energy to do them. They're not the thing I'm sacrificing. They're the thing that's empowering it. And I think that orientation helps somebody like me be highly effective and where I can make a lot happen.
[01:58:21] CK: What? Mm-hmm. , Go ahead.
[01:58:23] Jennifer: Oh, I was just gonna say, then the other thing is, I have a funny thing where, um, I, I'm, I, I'm a finisher. Mm-hmm. meaning, um, I wait to exhale and to feel the pleasure of the accomplishment until it's done. Mm-hmm. and therefore I feel inside my system a lot of pressure, positive pressure.
It's like the wind is behind me pushing me forward. I can feel that. I get an immense amount of joy, uh, on finishing things. So I'll work those crazy weird 16 hour days because I'm like, I [01:59:00] can't wait to say, ah, it's done. Um, so that , I don't know that everyone has that constitution, but um, when you, when you wait to exhale until it's finished it mm-hmm.
it forms you into the person that makes a lot happen. That manifests and creates versus like, always like letting yourself off the hook. Like, Oh, I got done whatever I was gonna get done today. Like, no, I'm gonna feel good about this when it's done, so I wanna get it done as soon as possible. So that helps.
I don't know if that's healthy or not, but it helps
[01:59:30] CK: now, now I know the secret only breath when you do things and, and don't pass out .
[01:59:37] Jennifer: Don't pass out .
[01:59:40] CK: Yeah. Yeah. Uh, so what are some of the projects that you're really excited about in terms of serving your mission? Of Bridging? Bridging. Yeah. Yeah, exactly. So what are, you know, are you excited about?
I'm just throwing things on, uh, maybe technologies or any projects that you're like really excited to bring [02:00:00] forward to amplify your DMIC work. Yeah,
[02:00:03] Jennifer: Yeah. Um, so I'm excited about Healing Divide. Racially, politically and relationally. Mm-hmm. and, um, culturally. So I have projects in each of those domains that have, are near and dear to me, uh, in the area of love.
Uh, me and Brian have a, have work that we do called Evolving Love. And, um, we are there to really heal the divide between the masculine and feminine, rewrite all of our shadow patterns, uh, rewrite our relational DNA so that we can all live more of our ideal love story. And so I love, uh, helping couples and singles heal the divisions that they find in their relationships.
And that project is going and we do workshops and retreats and, um, uh, we have an assessment that we're coming out with soon and, and, uh, one-on-one coaching that we do. And I love that work. Um, And then I [02:01:00] also coach, uh, executives and leaders to help create cultures, uh, that aren't divided, that are, are more unified, evolving the way we lead.
And that work is incredibly fulfilling. Um, and so I'm doing that work. Um, I had a project with, um, to change our racial ecology through the arts. Uh, if, if you guys care about that, it's a red door project doing incredible work to help really shift, uh, our racial ecology and teach us really critical skills like critical thinking and holding multiple perspectives and how to listen and, and bringing that to, uh, organizations like, um, law enforcement and the judicial system and the fbi and, uh, corporations that are looking to heal those racial and economic divides that can occur in collaborative environments and have us more come together.
And so that project is really near and dear to me. And, um, so, uh, um, and I also have women's work that I do and help [02:02:00] facilitate. Um, so all of that, uh, all of those are projects that I'm up to and then plus Burning Man, um, that I care about. And I think if I'm about anything, it's about healing those divides through evolving the way we love and the way we lead.
And so anything that engages me in interactions that are about evolving the way we love and we lead, I have tons of energy for, um,
[02:02:24] CK: Are there specific mechanisms, technologies that you are really excited about? Mm-hmm. . So for example, like a VR is coming up, you can get more empathy by trying on the other person's perspective.
Yeah. As an example. You don't have to use that, but, you know, are there new mechanisms or are there the mechanisms that you just continue to go back on, Hey, you, if you really wanna bridge a divide, racially master this mechanism, that mechanism
[02:02:51] Jennifer: are, are art. So, so, so 1, 1, 1 reason that Mystic is cool and the the red door project is, is so great is, um, [02:03:00] using the power of storytelling in the arts to.
Break down barriers to dissolve barriers that are hard to dissolve otherwise. So it's one thing to kind of talk at someone like, Hey, let's be different and let me tell you how. And, um, and be more pedagogical or like, be like a teacher. Mm-hmm. . Mm-hmm. , um, telling someone what to think or believe. Um, and in today's culture there's some resistance to that.
Now that we've built, like we, we are wary and skeptical of our leaders, um, these days. And for good reason. We've had a reason to wanna question those in power. Um, but there's a power in using the arts and in using storytelling as, as a technology. I know that you're probably wanting me to say like vr, but as a technology, the arts, um, when you watch an actor, for instance, give a monologue about their experience of racial profiling, it's hard not to be [02:04:00] irrevocably changed by their experience.
He's not preaching at you. He's not telling you how to be, what to do or what to think. He or she is just saying, This has been my experience of life walking in my shoes. And you're viscerally sitting there living it and breathing it with that person. You humanize each other. Mm-hmm. . And if we can further humanize each other, we'll stop killing each other and war with each other.
So I think there's a potency of, of the technology of art and storytelling specifically to break down barriers in ways that nothing else can. So that's. Um, vr, I had someone at Mystic that created a film on human trafficking. Mm. It was riveting in its potential, meaning the, the story of human trafficking was told in a VR glasses from three different perspectives, the person being trafficked, you watch her and you're literally like in her, like looking at her eyes mm-hmm.
Mm-hmm. , seeing her hands [02:05:00] living, the experience of her getting trafficked. It's like visceral. And then the movie switches and you're the, like, the jilo and you're seeing it through his eyes, having like gotten her to do it and seeing like what his perspective is. And then you're seeing the person that, uh, is, uh, like her client.
Mm. Living that experience. And that changes you in a meaningful way. And I can't wait. I have nothing to do with this, but I can't wait for that technology to be used more, uh, commonly. to help us experience the thing that I want most, which is that we actually don't think abstractly and dehumanize on our social media platforms where we can tear each other apart.
Give you an eyeroll and a snarky comment. Cause you're not a real human to that person. Mm-hmm. . Right? You were dehumanized in that moment in ever so slight way. Mm-hmm. . But if we connected through actually looking out each other's eyes and living through a [02:06:00] VR experience of something that we have strong feelings about in order to have more empathy, curiosity, and compassion for it, um, that will do a lot, I think, to heal us as a culture.
So anything that puts us face to face with that and living someone else's story, movies, tv, um, entertainment has the ability, if it's, if it's transformational entertainment to do that. Um, and I hope to be generating and creating a little bit more transformational entertainment as well. Um, I love this.
Thank you so much. Like facilitated experiences too, you know, So anyway. Yes. I
[02:06:35] CK: Well, transformational media. Yeah. In person experiences. Yeah. These are, and then actually the thing that we talk to talk about a lot is I was journeys because that's been very meaningful for me, myself Yes. As a way to change perspective, right.
To actually have empathy for the people who are not my, you know, looking through these eyes, but also looking at through their eyes as well in the very Yeah. Biologically. [02:07:00]
[02:07:00] Jennifer: Biologically speaking, whether you might have, your listeners might have different relationships to things like psychedelics, but biologically speaking, what's happening in the brain is that it's making new connections.
Mm-hmm. , right. Uh, new connections that are novel, which is why you can feel, you know, so strange at times because literally new connections that your brain has never made before are happening. And there you feel altered. So it's altering you at a biological level to have new connections and you can go back, you know, because they don't last forever.
So it's not like you're permanently, necessarily permanently insane or, or, or changed. But you are are given a, an opportunity to have those new connections and therefore maybe see the world a little bit differently. And sometimes that expansion positive ways and sometimes it makes you more scared. Um, but I think that's an amazing technology.
Um, I don't, I'm not a big believer in overusing it. Mm-hmm. . Um, I think it should point the way to [02:08:00] doing it. Endogenously meaning doing it on your own. Mm-hmm. , now that you've seen what it's like to be one with the universe, cuz you had a little help through a medicine, then can you have that anchor experience and recreate it in your life without, um, something synthetic or, or external to you having to create it for you, but you actually do the work of your own consciousness raising in order to live.
So that's pretty amazing to me.
[02:08:26] CK: Yeah. I mean, one reason I go to Burning Man is, Burning Man in itself is very much a psychedelic experience sort.
[02:08:34] Jennifer: You don't even need to do anything. It's, you're also just walking. Everyone talks about that. It's a reality distortion field. Um, Yeah. And facilitated experiences can all have that potential.
Mm-hmm. . Um, and so I like those technologies. Like I do a lot of facilitated work and so creating like a reality distortion field experience for people to walk inside of as an experience and therefore be forever changed. You can't unsee it. You can't unknow it, you know, [02:09:00] when viscerally experienced it.
[02:09:03] CK: Yeah. I really, really appreciate this. Well, before I, uh, acknowledge you for all the beautiful things that you, um, share with us, what's like one thing if people are listening all the way through, Oh wow. What's one thing that you want to leave younger Jennifer, Younger ck Hey, remember this thing? Like, if you just remember one thing.
What's one thing? Oh gosh.
[02:09:25] Jennifer: Oh, on spot. One thing. There's like 47,000 things. How do I do one thing? Okay. Let's see. Um, um,
I, I mean, I think the message is, um, uh, to humanize each other, um, in every interaction, especially those you disagree with. Um, CR shared Humanity. Um, and learn to hold, hold their perspectives as, uh, an integral part of the whole. Um, [02:10:00] and if we can do that, then I think we live in a world that works for all life, not even just human life.
And, um, so I want us to really actually connect to that and, um, uh, this will help us heal that divide. This will help us be the bridge. Um, so be the bridge in your life. Um,
[02:10:23] CK: actually on that note, one more question, . Sure. So, a huge part of who you are, what you stand for is community building. Yes. You, you build this beautiful community and burning man.
Mm-hmm. for you as a camp organizer. Are you, uh, dissociated from it? After Bernie men's done. Cause as some camp leaders, they do that Yeah. In order, find some sanity. Right. And or are you more of a, Hey, let's continue this interaction, this relationship, even though the second one. Okay. So how do you do that?
How do you foster that
[02:10:57] Jennifer: personally? More. More the second, more the second. But [02:11:00] um, you know, there are times of dipping in and out. Like, whoa, okay, I need a break. Like, there are times of dipping in and out, but, um, the lifelong connections is a major driver, like one of the biggest drivers to do what I. That even one of those like that you, let's say CK made one friendship that you might not have made otherwise, that changed you in a way that was meaningful to you.
That you have more love in your life because that person loves you and you love them. But that that happened for you just once is enough to have me go back and do it again for everybody, because I, I want those connections to happen because it's those connections. Anything worth doing is, is, is gonna involve more than one person.
So I really, um, am touched by how much of that happens. Um, we right now have a thread going with everyone on our roster that is like, everyone is interacting and like visiting each other and planning to visit each other and planning trips and [02:12:00] doing events together. And I'm deep friends. I have deep, deep friendships with many of the mystics that started out as coming to the camp and have become lifelong friends and conf dance and friends.
And, um, I want that to happen for everyone. So I'm, I'm a fan that, um, it's not just a week in the desert. Mm. But it's a, uh, an opportunity to join a thriving culture creating community.
[02:12:26] CK: Mm. Jennifer, I want to take a moment just to really acknowledge you for, for the things that you do that we know. The things that we do that we'll never know.
Yeah. You won't know, right? ?
[02:12:39] Jennifer: Yeah. Uh, as every tco like, let's thank them for all of both of
[02:12:44] CK: those things. Yes. Yes. That's a huge visceral experience. And you also share something you really tactical about, well, what does it actually take to Yeah. Run a camp for 13, 15 years. And also how do you nurture this intention so that you, [02:13:00] it would amplify, um, the, the mission rather than just doing the thing, doing the camp.
Mm-hmm. . And you also, we also touch upon um, lots different tactical things around leadership. You know, how do you strike the nuance between, um, anyways, so we talk about all that. So we just really thank you so much for showing up fully and when doing the work that you do professionally and personally, and especially at Bernie.
[02:13:25] Jennifer: well, well, right back at you as some, as a fellow, uh, seeker and, uh, leader in culture and a noble warrior yourself. Um, thank you for making space for conversations like this to happen so that people like us can share some of this and hopefully they'll be one person that had one seed from this that was really meaningful for them.
And so I'm just excited. I love having conversations like this for, for me, this is my play as well as my work, so I would do this all the time. , thank you. Thank you so much. Love having you with us at Mystic too. So thank you for [02:14:00] also just bringing your spirit and energy to co-create what we do out at Burning Man and beyond.
[02:14:07] CK: Yeah. Thank you so much.
CO-FOUNDER of Quadratic Leadership and Evolving Love
LEADERSHIP STRATEGIST | RELATIONSHIP COACH | TRANFORMATIONAL FACILITATOR
Jennifer Russell has been co-leading Camp Mystic for the past 12 years, a camp with a 20+ year history on the playa bringing together thought leaders, teachers, healers, entrepreneurs, artists, and performances who are dedicated to creating transformative experiences and culture.
In the ‘Grand Playa’ Jennifer Russell is a dyed-in-the-wool entrepreneur that has founded over half a dozen organizations and has worked on the executive teams of several high impact bio tech startups helping bring more than 40 new products to market in a dozen different industries.
Alongside her partner in life and in business, Bryan Franklin, she is an executive coach, relationship coach, leadership strategist, and facilitator passionately committed to helping create impactful organizations, healthy relationships, and thriving cultures.
She has led nearly a decade of transformational and professional programs designed to liberate people from self-imposed limiting beliefs and the underlying assumptions that create what is possible. Her unique coaching and facilitating style incorporates the best of Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP), The Human Potential Movement, Family Systems, Collaborative Systems, Evolutionary Psychology, Archetype work, Spiritual Practices, Neuroscience, Tribal Circling Technologies, and Sacred Theater.
Jennifer teaches a style of integrated leadership that integrates the personal and professional, the spiritual and material, the effective and sustainable, the head and heart, the meaningful and pragmatic, and the profitable and fulfilling.
Her mission is to help evolve the way we lead and the way we love in hopes of healing the divide and building bridges in this highly polarized world.