Celebration of Awesomeness is a celebration of all that is good and amazing in this world…including you. This amazing planet of ours and its people are full of awesomeness. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I forget that. I created COA for myself to be intentional about meeting my needs as a 40 something father, husband, and spiritual seeker. If your life is anything like mine you can become distracted, depressed and even feel lost in some of the mundane of life. Between the responsibility of kids, a career, a home and wife, it is easy to feel like all I am doing is putting out fires!
Where is my PASSION? My sense of PURPOSE?
I knew that I wanted more…that I was created for more…I wasnt happy with just surviving day to day, I wanted to thrive!
Passion and Purpose. Sure these sound like awesome ideas but how do I get there from here? After reading, praying and talking to other men, it became clear that three needs had to be addressed. Connection, Rejuvenation and Inspiration. These are the three pillars that would support a life of Awesomeness.
The 21stcentury man is a lonely creature. We were made to be in community but somehow we have forgotten how. We have lots of associates but few people really know us. As a result we never feel really loved, we brave the challenges of life alone thinking that when _________ happens I will be okay. As iron sharpens iron, men need other men.
Authentic Intimate Connection.
This is so much bigger than a guys night of poker, backyard barbeques or sharing a cold one while watching the game (although those things are great). What I am talking about is taking off that heavy mask of pretending to be something that we believe the world thinks we should be and being honest. It is facing fear together and going deep. It is knowing and being known.
COA is a place for finding, creating and deepening our connection with other men.
Overworked? Overbooked? Over it? We have no chance at showing up in life as our best self when we are exhausted. Being tired robs us of our joy. We work, work out, fight traffic, try to be a good husband and father and then maybe in the last hours before bed watch some tv or enjoy some sweets before we pass out and do it again. If we are not careful we can find ourselves zoning out with our “medication of choice” as a way to cope which leaves us feeling even more exhausted and even ashamed.
Taking a walk in nature, enjoying freedom from the confines of our cell phones, sitting by a camp fire, journaling, laughing with friends, enjoying a meal together. These things bring us true rejuvenation and a clarity about life and purpose. It reminds us of what is really important and of who we are. In these moments we often feel the presence of our creator. This is real rest for the soul.
How it all Started
After returning from Uganda, God told me it was time to start dreaming God sized dreams versus David sized dreams. My heart had longed for a weekend of real connection with other men that I admire. We had done guys weekends before but I wanted longed for something more…intentional. I wanted it to be a weekend of connection, inspiration and rejuvenation. I wanted it to be a time to celebrate the many facets of masculinity….for it to be a Celebration of Awesomeness. As my wife and I were looking at dates, October 14thwas it. The location needed to be close enough for everyone to get to quickly and easily. Brown County would be perfect. After weeks of searching for a large enough place with a reasonable price range I was ready to give up. There was nothing. Brown county with its beautiful fall foliage and mild temperatures made finding a place impossible. Maybe next year. Then I just so happened to remember that someone at church had a cabin in Brown County. It slept 14??? It was available??? It is amazing and in our price range??? Totally perfect… but I had to pay up front. I didn’t have the money , but knew this vision was from God and put it on the credit card trusting that it would all work out. I was afraid of who to invite and how many…what if too many wanted to participate? What if no one wanted to come? God continued to reassure me that the right men would make it. That leads us to today…and boy I couldn’t be happier to go on this journey with each of you.
Inspiration means “in spirit.” This is a state of being outside of the matrix of the everyday. The matrix by nature is seductive and pulls us in. If we are not careful, we will believe the lies that things outside ourselves will make us happy. We end up living for some future that never comes. We can allow the outside world to dictate our reality. COA is about piercing through the illusion to remind us that there is more to life than that…and that we are so much more.
It is reconnecting to that God part inside of all of us. It is about taking off the cruise control and living life intentionally. It is challenging ourselves and our brothers to be their authentic self.
Welcome Gentlemen. I have been praying about this event for almost a year now and it is amazing to see who God has gathered for the first ever Celebration of Awesomeness. You are men from so many different backgrounds, professions and spiritual traditions. You all share one thing in common: a desire for growth, transformation, and service. I am so glad to know you and looking forward to diving deeper.
“I haven’t experienced anything quite like that weekend, well, ever. It was intense, rewarding, and it showed me what happens when people are truly vulnerable with each other. It was a beautiful thing.”
“I push myself to be more successful in work, family, and health. But I seldom find ways to challenge and inspire my heart and spirit that is the center of it all. That is what the weekend is all about.”
“The Celebration of Awesomeness retreat was a rare experience in American culture. Within the first hour, a level of vulnerability was reached that is seldom experienced in any other facet of life. I felt welcomed and invited to be myself with no pretense. It was healing.”
“I appreciated the “jump start” to my spiritually journey. I see aspects of my life that seem to have a course of their own do not necessarily. I have conscious part if I choose. The COA opened my eyes.”
“While the retreats’ interactions certainly pushed me out of my comfort zone they also seemed to open a door to a more human experience…a break from my constant cerebral focus.
I still draw on the insight, perspective and conversations born from that weekend.”