Welcome to the Feel Good Podcast with Kimberly Snyder. Our goal is to help you be your most healthy, confident, beautiful and joyful! Our topics focus on health and wellness (physical, emotional/mental and spiritual), holistic nutrition, medicinal plants, natural rhythms and cycles, beauty, meditation, self care and rituals, spirituality and personal empowerment.
Feeling Good means we are healthy, balanced, peaceful, confident and joyful, right in the midst of our perfectly imperfect lives. Feeling Good requires us to tune in and nourish our whole selves, which is made up of the four Solluna Cornerstones: our food, our bodies, our emotional well-being and our spiritual growth. Feeling good naturally leads to also looking good, in a much more powerful way from glowing skin created from within, a beautifully healthy body, radiant energy, and a greater level of overall well-being and personal growth.
Every week, we provide you with interviews with top experts in their field to support you in living your most beautiful, inspired and joyful life, with a focus on physical health, wellness, meditation and spirituality and personal empowerment. I’m your host, Kimberly Snyder, founder of Solluna, New York Times best-selling author and nutritionist. I’m so grateful and honored we found each other!
I am so excited to have a very special guest, Jeff Krasno, who is the co-founder & Executive Chairman of Wanderlust and CEO and co-founder of Commune, an online course platform featuring the world’s great teachers and thought leaders. Listen in as Jeff shares how to get past all of the haters, past limiting beliefs, and how to start recognizing how we’re all better when we’re connected with others through community.
About Jeff Krasno
Jeff is the co-founder & Executive Chairman of Wanderlust, the world’s biggest series of wellness events with 70 events in 20+ countries. He is CEO and co-founder of Commune, an online course platform featuring the world’s great teachers and thought leaders.
Jeff is the author of 2 books and the host of the Commune podcast. He sits on the Pure Edge board of directors and is part of the SuperSoul 100, a group of 100 top entrepreneurs handpicked by Oprah Winfrey. His wife, Schuyler, is one of the world’s most respected yoga teachers and is a co-founder of Wanderlust. They live in Los Angeles with their 3 daughters.
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Want to know what to expect from other episodes of the “Feel Good Podcast with Kimberly Snyder”? My passion is to inspire and empower you to be your most authentic and beautiful self. We offer interviews with top experts, my personal philosophies and experiences, as well as answers to community-based questions around topics such as health, beauty, nutrition, yoga, spirituality and personal growth.
The intention of the Feel Good Podcast is to well…help you really Feel Good in your body, mind and spirit! Feeling Good means feeling peaceful, energized, whole, uniquely beautiful, confident and joyful, right in the midst of your perfectly imperfect life. This podcast is as informative and full of practical tips and take-aways as it is inspirational. I am here to support you in being your very best! I have so much love and gratitude for you. Thank you for tuning in and being part of the community :).
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Kimberly: Hello. Jeff, I’m so excited to be having a conversation with you. We’ve been talking about this podcast first of all for at least three or four months. Secondly, you are one of my favorite people in the world.
Jeff: We’ve ramped up to it.
Kimberly: Here we are.
Jeff: The pressure’s on now. It better be good.
Kimberly: The pressure’s on. You better give us some real nuggets here. In all seriousness, Jeff, I am in awe of first of all who you are as a person, just really genuine, loving, really caring. But then outwardly in the world, you are the co-founder of the biggest series of wellness events in the world, with over 70 events in 20 countries. Now you’re starting this amazing new project called Commune, which is all about community and helping to raise the consciousness of the planet. When you look back at this list of these incredible things you’ve done, first of all does it feel surreal? Does it feel like, hey, I did a lot of work, hell yeah I did all that stuff. When I’m listing it off, how does it feel to you initially?
Jeff: You know, I’m not a golfer, but there’s a golfer named Bubba Watson who won the Masters one year, I don’t even really remember. I was watching him interviewed, and he was asked a similar question. He said something like, “I never made it this far in my dreams.” That is partially true. When I started Wanderlust, everything that I’ve done has always been just a labor of love, an expression of the heart really. I haven’t gone into many of my professional endeavors with elaborate business plans and financial models, and structures, visions to take over the world. Although as I’ve matured as a human, I’ve started to learn how to manifest from the end.
Kimberly: What do you mean by that?
Jeff: That I become very, very clear around the vision that I have. Then life just becomes very clear, and it becomes sort of a methodical fun and emotional ride, but it’s largely chop wood, carry water every day. There’s never been any massive inflection point in anything that I’ve ever done where I wake up, there’s been some PR hit or some sort of thing that all of sudden has catapulted my endeavors or my business or my soul or anything that I’ve been working on to new heights. It’s honestly always just been about chopping wood and carrying water. The clearer I am about assuming the feeling of the wish fulfilled… And by the way, everything that I say on this podcast I’m plagiarizing someone else. I’m a sponge for other people’s ideas, and I’ve been so lucky to have been able to build so many relationships with people that have been so influential and I really admire. I really am just a sponge and a plagiarist. I’ve been able to absorb a lot of really, really meaningful ideas that have bent the arc of my life. That’s one of them. That actually-
Kimberly: Being open.
Jeff: Yeah. That one comes from Wayne Dyer. Essentially as a rule, well not a rule, as a method for manifesting is essentially assuming the feeling of the wish fulfilled.
Kimberly: Feeling it in your body.
Jeff: Yeah. I often say it. I say things publicly, and this is partially just out of risk of personal embarrassment that they don’t happen. I’ve said it, now I’ve got to make it happen. A lot of it is honestly just feeling as if the vision that I have put forth has already happened. But then life becomes so simple, because you’re just waking up and you’re fulfilling the vision that you’ve already had. That is how you manifest.
Kimberly: What happens when doubt comes in? A lot of people want to create big events or big products or big things. You’ve done it. How did you go through those periods where people were like, “Well, no one’s doing all, the chain of yoga wellness events around the world.” All these doubters, the haters, yourself.
Kimberly: What do you say then?
Jeff: Yeah. I mean, I think it’s mostly fear of judgment, that is doubt always goes back to fear. Self-doubt, fear of being judged, fear of failure. Fear of failure is just sort of fear of being judged. It’s sort of the same thing. Fear of success sometimes. My Achilles’ heel is an addiction to being liked. That’s been one of the biggest battles and struggles, is that self-doubt, that fear of being judged. Oh, I didn’t live up to what people’s expectations were of me. Oh boy, my self-worth is baked into what people think of me, if I’m liked, all the ego stuff. That’s been a process for me. This is part of being able to face some of the trauma of my youth, and we all have those things. As it pertained to Wanderlust and with Commune, those things just feel very natural to me.
Jeff: If I go through the through-line of my life, and I’ve done different things, they all have the same through-line, which is fostering connection, building community. That’s just who I am, for good, for perfect, and for imperfect and for bad. In the sense that, I was a fat kid that grew up in, I moved 11 times before I was seven. I was living in England, and Spain, and Brazil. We moved all over Brazil, and then all these other places around the United States. It was a wonderful way to grow up on some level, because I had exposure to all sorts of different cultures and languages. At the same time, I was a chubby kid moving to a new school every six months in a new language. Kids, all they want to do is have friends, and fit in, and be liked. That was very, very hard for me, partially because I was chubby and I was teased. Also because I often didn’t speak the same language.
Kimberly: Yeah, you were the other, you were outside.
Jeff: Absolutely, so at a very young age, I had to sort of refine the ability to connect, refine the ability to assimilate into any situation. Much to the current embarrassment of my children when I actually get into a taxicab, and it’s like a Jamaican cabdriver, and I’m like, “Take me uptown, mon.” My kids are like, “What, Dad, just, Dad.” I don’t even know that I’m doing it. I just literally take on the accent and the movement of the people around me, because essentially as a kid I was just trying to be liked, just trying to belong. Of course, later in life you learn that the true meaning of belonging is actually being able to be your authentic self while actually being respected and part of a group. But as a kid, you don’t necessarily have that awareness, or even the tools to cultivate that awareness. I spent my whole life and my whole upbringing essentially trying to connect with people. If you do something for long enough, you get quite good at it.
Kimberly: Wow. What about, I’ve come up here to Commune, to Topanga many times. There’s lot of people around, lots of different fun, dinner parties, and parties, and lots of different energies and different kinds of people. One thing I would say about you, Jeff, is that it seems to me you always see the best in people, and you bring people together. For a lot of people, judgment is a huge issue. We judge ourselves, we judge other people. Is that something you struggle with, or do you think because of your childhood experiences, you’re so focused on being liked you tend not to see the flaws in other people as much? You just don’t judge, or how do you get past that?
Jeff: Yeah, I think part of it is the innate desire to be liked, which isn’t necessarily a very good trait. It has led to I think my ability to help foster community and foster connection, and that is a good thing. But in reality, judging yourself and your own identity on what other people think of you is central to living from the ego-
Jeff: … and living from the ego is not a good thing. That being said, the light in me sees the light in you. Namaste. That notion feels just very, very natural to me. We’ve talked about this in prior conversations, but I don’t hold grudges, ever. I’ve learned, and this is not some great virtue of mine per se, it’s actually work that was forced on me during kind of a darker time in my life. I have refined the ability to forgive, to always show compassion when I can, to be empathetic, all of the characteristics of trying to live as much as you can from a place of your infinite soul, from your divine nature. This is who we really are. I’ve refined a certain ability to be able to do that, to see and recognize the best in people, for all my other many faults.
Kimberly: Well, so we’re talking about building this movement, which is what you’ve done with Wanderlust and now Commune, bringing all kinds of people together. We talked a little bit about manifesting feeling the end. What else would you say to any of our entrepreneurs out there listening to this? Anybody looking to start something, get something going, bring more movement, more community, more customers, more followers, more whatever. What do you think it takes to get people to surround you, as you have done so beautifully?
Jeff: Yeah, I mean this is something that I’ve had to ponder, what good leadership is. How do you get people behind your vision?
Kimberly: Yes, and you inspire people to come.
Jeff: Yeah, and make it theirs. That is really what it is. That’s the trick, you make it theirs. I mean, the Dao actually talks about this. The greatest leaders are the leaders where, when actually that empower the people, and essentially they feel… When the people stand up and say, “Look, we did this all by ourselves.” That is an indication of the greatest kind of leadership. Matsuo also says, “Lead like the ocean.” All the streams, all the rivers, everything flows into the ocean. The ocean is actually the lowest body of water in the world. You don’t have to lead from the top all the time. Lead from the bottom, and let everything flow into you. These of course are lessons and ideas that I did not know when I was first starting my businesses.
Kimberly: Like 10 years ago?
Jeff: Yeah, when Wanderlust was 11 years ago, and I had a business before then. I was in the music entertainment business. Grew up as a musician, loving music, and have recently rediscovered playing music. That’s another topic we can talk about. You know, I was very much enamored with the Steve Jobs archetype of leadership, which is this sort of very hyper creative, but somewhat off the cuff. Decision making that’s often very quick, and very centralized at the top, and irascible and ordering people around. I think we do have a vision of that kind of leadership in our culture, certainly in our current political culture. Our President is probably just a complete example of the opposite of mindful leadership.
Jeff: Where I found tricks along the way, for example, make your mission and your vision very, very clear. Centralize fluency around what that is, and then decentralize all the decision making, so people have a lens through which to see the decisions that they’re making on an everyday basis. You’ve given them that clear lens, and you have constantly reinforced fluency around a centralized mission. Then you decentralize the decision making ability, essentially empowering them to make decisions, to make contributions, to feel like an entrepreneur within a larger enterprise. Essentially it’s like turning a business into a community enterprise.
Jeff: With Commune, it wasn’t just about a consumer facing concept of building community. Certainly it is that, being able to democratize the ideas of great leaders and teachers and bring them to as many people as possible, and have those people then connect with each other around those ideas. That’s very, very powerful. I love that idea of fostering community around big ideas. But this wasn’t just a consumer exercise. This was an exercise internally. Could we make our own internal business structure a community enterprise, more of a commune?
Kimberly: What are the challenges with that, giving up control? Was there some ego plays that were happening?
Jeff: Yeah. It’s a work in progress, but I will say… And sometimes people look at me as… This Daoist approach to leadership is counter-intuitive to some people, because they’re looking to me for stern decisive leadership. “Jeff, just tell us what to do. Be clear, be decisive, don’t avoid,” all this stuff. Decisive leadership and non-avoidance is good. At the same time, I do believe that strong companies that grow, there is a lot of decentralized decision making, a lot of cooperative decision making. It’s also just that’s more of the environment I want to live in.
Jeff: I don’t want to wake up and have to make every big decision. That sucks, and it’s actually not even gratifying. What’s gratifying for me is when someone takes a project within the company by the horns, I know almost nothing about it, or maybe just informed at the beginning and the end, and they knock it out of the park. It brings revenue into the business, and it fulfills the mission of being able to democratize wellbeing, and I had nothing to do with it. That’s the biggest win.
Kimberly: Wow. Because you’re empowering the team.
Jeff: Yeah. Then I see young people come into the company, and all of a sudden within six months or a year, they’re the entrepreneur. There is a sort of misconception of what entrepreneurialism is. Entrepreneurialism is not necessarily like the sole proprietor that writes a business plan, that goes out and gets venture funding, and staffs up, scales up, shows hockey stick growth or whatever-
Kimberly: Hockey stick growth.
Jeff: Certainly that’s one way of doing it, but the entrepreneur can live within a company, can live within a community enterprise. We built this strange messy crazy weird experiment up here in Topanga, which is the physical manifestation of Commune. It resembles in some ways a commune in terms of there’s a lot of different people living here.
Kimberly: There’s a central kitchen.
Jeff: There’s a central kitchen, there’s shared resources. I mean, [….], why does everyone need their own freaking hot tub? That’s ridiculous. You fly over southern Florida or southern California, and all you see is a checkerboard of swimming pools. I mean, what a waste. You know, 20 people can share a swimming pool. In fact, it’s a lot more fun if 20 people are sharing a swimming pool.
Kimberly: Yeah, and the result is this place is booked continuously for the next six months. It’s that openness.
Jeff: Yeah, absolutely. There’s some business elements of that that are positive, but more than that, there are people… It’s the efficiency, the creativity, the bounty of a life shared is a million X what you would get by yourself, or by building a picket fence around your house and locking your door. It’s been the rise of individual materialism that has led to the epidemics of our time: sociopolitical polarization, loneliness. The idea that the material world can make you happy. That is a fallacy. I live with the notion that the material world can give me nothing at this point. It can only take things away from me.
Kimberly: Wow. That’s a very opposite way of looking at things. What we hear in the media and the so-called goals, a lot of millennials when they’re interviewed, they’re asked, “What do you want to be?” They say, “I want to be famous.” I read some articles about that.
Jeff: Yeah, since the Great Depression where we had, it was sort of the last era where there was a manifestation that was in alignment with the principles upon which this country was founded. Which is this notion in our founding document, We The People, that’s the first line of the Constitution. “In order to form a more perfect union.” I could actually go through the whole document. The mentions of community and common good and common destiny riddles that entire document. In fact, if you actually go back to that time, what we were solving for when we founded this country was the Middle Ages, 500 years of feudalism in Europe that essentially put this tiny little oligarchy, kings and queens and stuff, and then this giant class of serfs.
Jeff: There was no mobility between the two, so just 99% of the people were essentially born into poverty and had no way and no path out. This country was then founded around the principles that like, no, there is a common destiny. We all do have certain inalienable rights, amongst them life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. We are all created equal. Now of course the history of our country has been full of the messy attempts to essentially align the human condition with the ideals of those documents. Slavery and then abolition, then Jim Crow and the Civil Rights movement, and all these other movements.
Jeff: But essentially, when this country could have nationalized banks when we were going through the Great Depression, we came together and said, “No. There should be a chicken in every pot”, Social Security, unions and protection for farm workers. In fact, there should be a graduated income tax. In fact, we do need to dull the sharper edges of capitalism to protect people in the spirit of the common good. We educated seven million GIs that came home, and we gave them higher education. Then on the flip side of that, we moved into the 1950s, and did what I said. We literally moved to the suburbs, we separated, we disconnected, we built physical fences, the picket fence. The iconic vision of the picket fence around our houses. We separated ourselves from each other.
Jeff: With the exception of a brief period in the ’60s when there was a wave of experimentation around shared resources and a re-understanding of common destiny, aside from this one little period that actually brought us the Voting Rights Act and the Civil Rights Act and stopped a war, aside from that, we’ve got that sea leveled out. For the last 40-50 years, we have been on a path of hyperbolized individual materialism about the point where we are in this country now, what we were trying to solve for when we started the country. Which is essentially all of the wealth concentrated in the hands of a very, very few people, and the bottom 90% of the country that has about the same wealth as the top 1%.
Jeff: This is why it is so important to find a way to recognize our common destiny, that we are actually better when we are connected, when we are sharing life. Here’s all sorts of spiritual manifestations of this, but it’s like our country has an infinite soul too. We need to return to that divine nature. This is where my life is now dedicated to being able to experiment in ways where people can deeply connect and feel that… It’s an attempt to redefine what most people think spirituality is, which is an individual path. I’m on my path. No. Spirituality is the recognition that we are all connected by a power greater than us.
Kimberly: Mm-hmm (affirmative), the oneness.
Kimberly: Wow. When you talk about this amazing, sometimes we can hear about these big percentages, 90% of this, and the serfs, and then sometimes we feel powerless. We just think, oh, well it’s such big issues. I’m not going to do anything. Your life, Jeff, has been dedicated to bringing people together. Like you said, the thread of your life, different communities. How was it for you, or what would you say to someone that, in the beginning you were paraphrasing this quote from the golfer when he says, “This is beyond my dreams.” How do we get past the limiting beliefs that we can’t make a difference, or we’re not big enough or strong enough to accomplish? We put limits on our level of success. How do you bust past those internal glass ceilings?
Jeff: Yeah, it’s hard. I think often it’s very easy to feel paralyzed in the face of the enormity of the world’s problems. Certainly problems like global warming, every day you can wake up and be like, oh, shit, what the hell can I do?
Kimberly: Deforestation, yes.
Jeff: I think the first step is a realization that this is not something that’s happening to you. You are an active participant in the human condition. The human condition itself is simply the aggregate of billions of little decisions. That’s what Joel Salatin, he’s an unbelievable guy, a hero, has Polyface Farm in Virginia, he’s a farmer. When I heard him say that, that the human condition is simply the aggregate of billions of little decisions, okay.
Kimberly: It breaks it down.
Jeff: It breaks it down. We have within our power and within our imagination the ability to change the world. This is one of the things, we need to move back to that place of the imagination. The imagination is the place of the soul. If you look at children, who have these fertile imaginations, of course before they get hooked on technology. This is why I want my kids to stay kids for as long as they possibly can. But imagination, the characteristic of imagination is that it wants to be free. It wants to expand forever. What else is expansive that way? Well, the soul. The soul is expansive, it’s infinite. It has no beginning; it has no end. It’s not confined to the rules of time and space or form or anything. If we can tap back into that place of the imagination, there is absolutely nothing that we cannot solve. All of these salient issues that are facing us, from anxiety and what Mark Hyman calls diabesity, stress-
Jeff: Addiction, insomnia, personal disease, but also global and societal disease. There is nothing that we cannot accomplish if we connect and use our imagination.
Kimberly: I get goosebumps. You say that so eloquently, Jeff, thank you. I have such a strong connection to you, and also your wife Schuyler, who was my yoga teacher for years in New York City, Kula. I remember going to Kula and feeling like, wow, there’s something really special happening here. There was a very community feeling in the studio. To your point about imagination, and what you were saying about embodying the feelings of success, is that what took you from the studios, and then one festival to 70? Where’s the leap where you think, okay, I can do this, but I can actually make this massive? Imagination, you were doing that Wayne Dyer feeling the feelings every day. How does one get that scale that big?
Jeff: Yeah. Oh man, I mean-
Kimberly: That’s a big-
Jeff: I’ll say that it started-
Kimberly: How many countries is it, 20?
Jeff: About 20 some odd, I don’t even, I think 22.
Kimberly: Yeah. Right, so we’re [inaudible] past boundaries and borders, we’re going global here.
Jeff: Yeah. Well, some of the answer to that is very specific business relationships that we developed over a very long period of time that then helped the business to scale and to grow into… We did some very, very large partnerships with aligned corporate partners that then brought us into new territories and new countries. There’s a more I suppose specific and tactical answer to that question, but it’s actually more important to talk about how it began and the place from which it began. In some ways, the journey is about returning to that place. There’s a wonderful-
Kimberly: You mean to the original inspiration?
Jeff: Yeah. I mean, there’s a wonderful T.S. Eliot quote, “We will not cease from exploration, but when we are done with all of our exploring, we return to the place from which we came and know it for the first time.”
Kimberly: I love that poem.
Jeff: Yeah, I butchered it a tiny bit.
Kimberly: Yeah, I got it, I got it.
Jeff: I think that that is always important. The genesis and inspiration for Wanderlust came from Kula, from where you first studied yoga on the fourth floor of a creaky townhouse brownstone-
Kimberly: Behind a Jamaican CD kiosk.
Jeff: Exactly. It’s still there.
Kimberly: No sign-
Jeff: With no sign-
Jeff: Yeah. Of course, Schuyler started that, opened Kula in early 2002. This was right after 9/11, and the studio was just two and a half blocks north of ground zero. It was really very much in reaction to that tragedy. My office at that junction was on the second floor of that same building. After 9/11, all of the different photo studios and other tenants in that building had moved out, and we were in the tiny radius that you couldn’t really access the building for some time. When we did go back, all of the other spaces had been vacated, and there was literally… She built that studio out of the ashes. We were literally cleaning the ashes off of the floor to build that place. It became this center for healing.
Jeff: This was way before there was a yoga studio every other block. There were no yoga studios, certainly down there. For me, this was a front row seat. I watched the community of mostly young women who lived in that area… The financial district is actually quite residential. Of course, people had gone through a tremendous amount of grief, and where could you go then to heal? Where were the community enterprises or physical locations where you could go to be with others around like-minded values, and share your stories? Certainly there were churches, and that played an important part of it, but essentially Kula became in some ways sort of a secular church for people to heal.
Jeff: It certainly bent the arc of my career, and has inspired me every day to watch people open their hearts through a practice, through a sweaty practice, and then come out to a very, very humble lobby and sit on the floor, there was this one little bench there, and connect and tell their stories. And cry, and laugh, and rediscover their creative spark and their verve for life. This is what was the inspiration for Wanderlust. From there, Schuyler out of Kula started taking trips to Costa Rica, where 30 people would travel somewhere very, very far away and hard to get to, to have a transformational experience.
Jeff: There was certainly a business dimension to it, because I quickly realized as I tagged along on many, many… The bumpy roads I’ve traveled in the name in yoga… That people, that 30 millennial women in the middle of the jungle were paying most of their disposable income to sleep outside. That it was not about cucumber on the eyes Four Seasons experience. That actually what was most important was a communal experience around these things that were old and true: yoga, waking up with the sun, meditating, being in communion with others, cooking, local foods. All of those things which we’ve talking about are wellness trends, those things are thousands if not millions of years old.
Kimberly:Well you know, Jeff, those things, there’s so many retreats, there’s so many experiences like that. What do you think differentiated you and Schuyler in building this? The prettiness vessel, like we talked about with Dao, the usefulness is the space. There is a billion people trying to sell these retreats. What was it about yours?
Jeff: I think we had a unique combination, just because I did have skill in business. There wasn’t always a tremendous amount of business acumen in the world of wellness at that juncture, or in the world of yoga. The creative design was not always quite up to snuff, or the web functionality, or the ticketing functionality. Or the other things that from the music business, from the place where I came, we had to bring product to market. We had to know how to market it. This was really pretty much before the rise of social media platforms. We were essentially good at getting things to market.
Jeff: Because I was very much in the music space, and most of my friends and contemporaries were starting big music festivals around the country, including Bonnaroo and Austin City Limits and Lollapalooza, I was not afraid of building stages on the sides of mountains. That didn’t cause me any anxiety at all. I certainly had plenty of other anxiety. It was this kind of unique combination of the values and the principles of yoga and the yoga space, with sort of the technical business savvy and acumen of the music industry. We both brought those skills to bear around the enterprise known as Wanderlust. From the get-go, we had I suppose that competitive advantage. We also had some capitalization to get the thing off the ground, which not a lot of people I think had at that juncture.
Kimberly:I think that’s some of the practical stuff. I also really feel just from being around you guys a lot in the dinner parties that there’s something about feeling safe, feeling non-judged, feeling accepted for who you are. I think there’s so much of that energy in the Commune Wanderlust space. You were saying, from some weird childhood skills, it feels very different. Sometimes it’s hard to put words to it.
Jeff: Yeah, my whole upbringing, and we talked a little bit about it before, but even when I got a little bit more secure in my skin, it was always my house. It was always, “Come sleep over at my house.” That was always what I loved. I actually felt very awkward going to sleep over at other people’s house. I just had a big sleepover, and just called it Wanderlust. Versus like, I’m going to take over a big resort and 3,000 people are going to come over to my house for a sleepover. I’m going to do all the fun things that I think you want. Yoga, and meditation, and hiking in the woods-
Kimberly: Good food.
Jeff: And good food, and have a couple glasses of wine, and we’ll have some music. All those things felt really natural to Schuyler and I, because it was just simply the way we lived. Wanderlust was not a revolutionary idea at all in my own head. It was just like, these are just all the best things wound up all together. It was very, very hard, but I felt it was very natural. Then when I went out to actually market the event in year one, people would look at me all like cockeyed. They were like, “What? Yoga and music? Wait a minute, there’s wine? You’re going to do it on a mountain? That sounds crazy. Good luck with that, fella.”
Kimberly: “You think people are going to buy tickets to that?”
Jeff: Yeah, well nobody did, not in year one. Listen I won’t lie that it wasn’t a bunch of grit. It was. I was sitting backstage in Bonnaroo, it was a big music festival in Tennessee, and one of the principal financiers of Bonnaroo was also an investor in Wanderlust in the early days. It was about 45 days out from year one, 2009 in Squaw Valley at Wanderlust. My friend backstage was like, “Well, how’s it going?” I’m like, “Well, not great.” I was like, “I can’t sell a ticket.” He was like, “Listen, man. Drive to Nashville, fly back to Brooklyn, pack up your family and move to Tahoe. Get a big map, rent a station wagon, put a bunch of flyers and posters in the back. Print out as many tickets as you can fit in that car. Every day go visit a bar, a store, a yoga studio, a 7-Eleven, I don’t care, but you’re just going to move there and you’re going to wire up that community. You’re going to go on the local radio station every single day. You’re going to-“
Kimberly: Who was saying this?
Jeff: This is just like my friend; he was an agent backstage.
Kimberly: Ah, wow.
Jeff: So I did.
Kimberly: You moved there with the girls.
Jeff: Yeah, I took my family out. My wife was pregnant, I had two other daughters. Still do, but two daughters living outside of the womb at that juncture. We moved to Squaw Valley, and I rented a station wagon. I took my four-year-old Phoebe, and we drove every single day for 45 days to a new different town, different part of a different town. We went to every farmer’s market. We went on KTKE 101.5, which was the local Tahoe-Reno station.
Kimberly: You touched everybody in the community.
Jeff: Yeah. I wasn’t good at that, but my daughter was really good, even at four. She would be like, “Hey, do you want two tickets to Wanderlust?” I mean, we gave away thousands of tickets basically. But it worked. People came, and it felt good.
Kimberly: That is amazing.
Jeff: Then you didn’t have to do all the work anymore, because all those people then went and told their friends.
Kimberly: Wow. That is an amazing success story. Not being scared of talking to people. Not being scared of putting your idea out there. You did it, you actually did it. All the while, were you doing that Wayne Dyer feeling, like the festival is going to be successful?
Jeff: No. I didn’t know anything about any of that stuff. I have just learned all of that stuff in the last couple years.
Kimberly: But do you realize you were actually doing some of it, and you didn’t even realize?
Jeff: Probably, yeah. I mean, for me it felt like a lot of pushing. It did for a very long time. That is a way towards accomplishment. What I’ve learned as now I’ve gotten a bit older is you can’t push all the time. Sometimes the wisdom, the success, it comes in the spaces. It took me a long time to learn that, and just to be unattached and very patient. There’s been relationships that I’ve been trying to forge, where back then I would have just been like, push, push, push, push, push. Now that I’m not pushing, they’re actually happening.
Kimberly: Isn’t that powerful? You do the work, and you step back.
Jeff: Exactly. Yeah, I mean and there’s some law of attraction stuff in there, for sure. You’re attracting what you’re putting out into the world. One of my favorite Wayne Dyer quotes is, “The angels that you seek in your life will appear when they recognize themselves in you.”
Kimberly: Wow. I just got goosebumps.
Jeff: The more that you essentially can take on the qualities of the ascendant host, the angels will recognize those qualities and they will show up in your life.
Kimberly: That’s incredible.
Jeff: I mean, you’re here.
Kimberly: You’re a living embodiment of it, Jeff, thank you so much for all your wisdom, for holding space, for creating this amazing space for all of us to participate in. I love everything you’ve done with Commune and the community. Thank you so much.
Jeff: It’s the greatest joy for me. Thank you.