CAMP X: Community, Revelations, and a Deeper Sense of Belonging

Last weekend, we gathered a group of friends and like-hearted folks and went out to Connecticut for our inaugural CAMP X.

We abandoned the cement forest of NYC for rural Connecticut, entering a world of green leaves, crisp air, and fresh thinking.


With Camp X, we wanted to create a space where we could slow down, connect to one another and cultivate meaningful conversations around our purpose, community, and doing work that makes our hearts sing.

Here are some of the key moments from our discussion:

“Language is the building block of our non-physical reality. The first atom of reality starts because you say so.” 

— Al Bhatt (Camp X facilitator)

Al spoke about several different ways we exist in the world:

1) I feel, therefore I am (letting your emotions guide your decision-making)

2) I think, therefore I am (letting your thoughts gain control)

and 3) I say, therefore I am (being deliberate about manifesting your intentions).

We love this idea of stating out loud what our intentions are. As we start a new path or project, we need to tell people about our new endeavor to make it real. The more we tell people, the more comfortable we become with the new reality we are creating for ourself. It is no longer just an idea in our head! This is particularly important when we take on challenges in the world that fly in the face of the “status quo.”

“I didn’t escape corporate America, I changed my relationship with it.”

 —  Jim (Camp X participant)

We discussed the transformational events that can happen in our lives when we reach a point of ultimate frustration. For many of us, corporate work is this spark. Jim reminded us that not all corporate work is bad, but the lens through which we live it may well be.

How do you define a community? “It’s a place where you feel you can belong.” 

—  HeatherAsh (Camp X participant)

We find it the biggest irony of our age that we live in a hyper-connected world largely devoid of communities (Facebook Groups don’t count! ….Or do they?). Our discussion helped us recognize how we each define community, how we experience it, and how we can enhance it.

To further fuel our exploration, we had the honor of having the White House Champions of Change Award recipient chef Bun Lai of Miya’s Sushi guide us through some of the most difficult topics around food & sustainability. While at it, we foraged for such delectables as wild lettuce (tastes so much more bitter and flavorful!) and chrysanthemum leaves to put into our salads. We rolled our own sushi (a first for many of us!) and learned about the secret ingredient in restaurant sushi rice (message us if you’re curious to know what it is).


As the wine was pouring, we asked chef Bun Lai how to ensure that an important work (like his) makes an impact. His answer was profound in its simplicity:


“Breakthrough: Taking on a challenge that is inconceivable in the current reality.” 

—  Al Bhatt

Related: How to Reign In Fear and Invite Curiosity Instead

Michael (one of our Camp X participants) summed up our breakthrough discussion as “ living innovation day and night.” It’s looking at the world all around you and saying:

“The vision I have for change is not conceivable in our current reality and that is exactly why I will take it on.”

Bun, our super chef host, is the purest example of someone living a breakthrough. He has build an award winning sushi restaurant defying all expectations of what that requires — food is sourced from invasive plant and fish species. He’s only open 4–5 nights a week so people can live meaningful lives outside of work. And this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to his breakthroughs.

Thank you for organizing the trip. I feel lucky to have had the opportunity to go and meet great people in such a wonderful environment! I came back feeling refreshed and re-energized from the whole experience. — Lisa N.

Thank you to Lisa Nguyen & Michael Paone for help in sourcing the material.

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