The New Paltz seminar thread

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SagerXX's picture
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The New Paltz seminar thread

Hey gang --

I wanted to open a thread about the Crash Course lecture/Q&A and the "Thriving In Any Future" seminar that Chris & Becca gave this past weekend in New Paltz, NY.

The two events were intended to spread awareness of the Crash Course and the Martensons' message, and to cast a net through the community here in the Mid-Hudson Valley to locate like-minded and action-oriented residents that would commit to ongoing efforts to transform the way we live our lives.  Our region *could* be quite successful in navigating the whitewater represented by the 3Es, if in fact enough people were on board with the concepts of the Crash Course and were willing to change the way we do things.  We have lots of farmland (some of it quite excellent), a large segment of the population is progressive-oriented ("progressive" meaning open to new ideas and ways of doing things) and there is strong awareness of the value of permaculture, renewable energy, re-localization and simple living.

Saturday night's lecture was a success, although for all our efforts (I joined forces with 6 friends to put the events on and we busted our collective heinie getting the word out) the crowd was not as large as we had hoped.  Dr. Chris gave a great 1-hour distillation of the Crash Course and we followed that with Q&A from the audience.  Lesson learned:  not a bad idea to vet questions before turning people loose on an open mike.  A number of the "questions" were more like open-ended rants.  To his great credit, Dr. Chris always seemed to pull something out of what these folks said and tie it back into the evening's framework.  The man thinks on his feet, and fast!  <smile>  We also had a number of local groups whose purpose is related at least loosely to the CC framework set up tables in the lobby outside the lecture hall so that they could distribute information and network.  We had a few CSAs, a couple alternative energy groups, one local currency guy, a disaster preparedness fellow, and some others.  Lesson learned:  The Coop Kessel model (build from the grassroots, slowly and over time [Coop showed the CC for six consecutive months at his office:  first Thursday of the month, show disc 1 and discuss, 2nd Thursday show disc 2 and discuss, 3rd Thurs disc 3, 4th Thursday discuss the whole schmeal and possible actions...repeat whole process 6 times] and when you bring Dr. Chris to town you'll sell out a 400-seat hall) is a super-effective way of building awareness and support.  We had hoped to turn out 300 plus for Saturday night but paid attendance was 101 -- and this in the wake of publicity like newspaper articles, magazine ads, and two radio appearances (one by Dr. Chris and one by my group).  The event was a success, don't get me wrong, but with longer lead time and more face-to-face effort one is likelier to mobilize more people.  It seems there really are limits to what one can accomplish through the media (when you're starting from ground zero with a message people have little familiarity with;  obviously, use of mass media by entrenched interests is effective by virtue of its ubiquity).

Sunday's daylong seminar was awesome.  The paid turnout was right around 40, with 50+ I believe overall in attendance (some of the Martenson staff were there [hi Megan!] and there were also two videographers, and so forth).  Folks who have attended previous seminars have said it before and now I've experienced it for myself:  it was so liberating to be in a room where folks Get It already, and you can as a collective move on to the multifaceted question "What Do We Do Now?"  Chris & Becca took us through the "Toolbox" -- a set of skills one can use to navigate the current environment, to parse the (often unreliable) information we receive from whatever source so as to make it useful/actionable, how to interact with people in a useful way (if possible) depending on where they are on the awareness spectrum (the "Six Stages" piece -- available here on the site I believe) and so forth.  

The overall feel of the day was to move into a place where we know we can engage the issues in meaningful and practical ways.  The Martensons share their story in a lot of detail -- how they got to where they are today, how it changed their relationship (and the impact on their family in general), and what steps they are currently taking in their lives and in their community.  It left folks feeling charged up, in charge of their destiny, and hopeful despite the many predicaments our world is in (and I mean the sort of hope that inspires you to get busy, not the pie-in-the-sky Somebody/thing Will Save Us kind of hope).  The day was worth every dollar and (even more important in my book) worth every minute spent indoors on a gorgeous Spring day.

We collected a bunch of personal info/e-mail addys at each event, and we're pumped up and planning our next move:  probably a get-to-know-you potluck in a coupla weeks at which we'll figure out if there's any consensus on what next steps might be:  further raising of awareness?  some concrete action?  I'm planning to go all Coop Kessel and offer the CC to small groups of people at home or community centers.  

And just a sweet little side note:  as a thank-you for helping to put the weekend together, Chris & Becca gave me a dozen eggs from their chickens and a quart of Becca's home-made applesauce.  WIN!  Laughing  I'm taking the latter to the potluck in 2 weeks.  The former, my wife and I are going to eat ourselves.  

Speaking of the Martenson, if they plan an event anywhere near where you live:  GO.  Drive 5 hours, take a plane, paddle a canoe, just go.  Apart from their ability to deliver complex info about sometimes hair-raising issues with calm, humor and panache, they are as personable, down-to-earth, and friendly as you could believe.  Just knowing they've got their sanity, their optimism, their strong people-oriented values and their sense of humor intact as they wend their way on their extraordinary journey should let us all know that not only can it be done, but it can ultimately be the best of all possible lives.

And I'll close for now with a big shout-out to my co-conspirators Rob, Chaz, Bibi, Dennis, Dave & Larry -- let's keep it rockin!

I'd love to hear from anybody who was there -- what you enjoyed, what you took home with you, what you're thinking now that it's Monday.

MAGNIFY! -- Sager

Jim H's picture
Jim H
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Re: The New Paltz seminar thread

Hello Sager - Thanks for opening this thread (and thanks for finding me already over at the "Thank you Chris Martenson" thread).   I look forward to building on the connections I made yesterday, and to bask in the warmth of this community as much as possible.  

I was struck by how well Chris and Becca worked off each other, and how well they compliment each other in presenting the Seminar.  We can all be more successful in our pursuits and in our relationships if we get a better grasp on the controls of spaceship YOU... call it emotional intelligence, personal evolution, whatever... Becca (mainly) integrated these concepts into the seminar in a seamless and meaningful way, and I was not expecting this at all.     

I loved the Ghandi quote especially;"Your beliefs become your thoughts,

Your thoughts become your words,
Your words become your actions,
Your actions become your habits,
Your habits become your values,
Your values become your destiny."

I hope to hear from more of our classmates!



Quercus bicolor's picture
Quercus bicolor
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Re: The New Paltz seminar thread

Hello Sager and Jim,

The best part was being in a room full of people who are willing honestly face our possible futures, and feel the emotions associated with them.  Chris and Becca were so effective at facilitating this process.  The combination of a willing group and skilled facilitators made it an extraordinarily powerful process.  I left feeling spiritually and emotionally cleansed and inspired to take the hardest step for me which is building community.  

I'm planning to find a space where I can show the crash course several months in a row as Coop Kessel did.  I'm debating about whether to have the event in my town of New Scotland (9,000 people) at the outer edge of Albany's suburbs, or maybe center on one of the larger suburbs between home and Albany or even Albany itself.  My gut tells me to focus on my own town. I also have ideas for my own neighborhood, the first of which will be to talk to my most open-minded neighbors.

Let's Build a Critical Mass!



ckessel's picture
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Re: The New Paltz seminar thread

Viva Sager,

Glad to hear all of the wins from New Paltz!  It was the Lowesville event that Sheri and I attended which catalized my efforts to begin the Crash Course in Sonora. We both came away with experiences similar to those expressed by Steve and Jim.

For those who decide to take it upon yourselves to deliver the CC in your home town I can offer a few tips.

1) Gather some acquaintences whom you have developed some familiarity with as regards the 3-Es as part of your first group unless you are experienced and comfortable with audiences.

2)Repitition is important. You will want to give the class several times. As you do so, you will likely experience a form of personal growth you had not expected. This is ok!  It is part of the bonus package. You will likely become much more able to understand the material and be able to field difficult questions. BTW if you hadn't noticed, Chris is the all time master of this art.

3)Expect to experience your own set of emotions regarding the publics response. It is all there, failures when the audience doesn't respond like you expect and wonderment when your efforts are applauded. Everyone takes this information in and responds in their own ways. They will need their own space to process it.

4)Assembling and organizing the groups will be the biggest challenge. It is hard to do it all by yourself so if you can enlist other interested parties that will help a ton. I was very fortunate in this regard. There were many interested people who wanted to help so if you can organize the group your success will be exponential.

5) I set a target for my area. It took about 3% of the population with a vision of independence in the 1770s to pull off the American Revolution. So I decided I would deliver the CC until one of two possible outcomes were achieved. One, there were no interested persons left in the area or I reached 3% of the local population. At the moment, about 1% have either done the full CC or been to a CM presentation or both.

So the CC showings continue. We have regrouped after Chris visited Sonora to allow for spring planting and some other local events planning and strategising for the larger CC community. The next CC will begin in Groveland on the 13th of May.  Best of the best to you all in spreading the awareness.




Quercus bicolor's picture
Quercus bicolor
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Posts: 470
Re: The New Paltz seminar thread

Thanks for the advice Coop.

I'm going to start looking for a space and a few people to join my team to make the events happen.  I'll plan on at least 3 months in a row of showings.


cmartenson's picture
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Re: The New Paltz seminar thread

Whew!  Another seminar in the rear-view mirror!

I have to extend my warmest thanks to Tim and his crew for doing all the heavy lifting required to put on an event.  While always full of little details, the facilities folks at SUNY New Paltz couldn't quite figure out how to do their jobs.  For both events, the talk and the seminar, we had to call them repeatedly just to get the doors unlocked.  Actually getting a bought and paid for tech person to even appear was a much more difficult task.  These are the sorts of things that take an already heavy load of work and make it that much tougher.  Kudos to Tim and his folks for keeping it all moving along despite that and maintaining an even keel throughout.

As with every seminar, I came away exhausted (it's a huge energy output for Becca and myself, both before in preparation and during), but also excited and uplifted.  Every time we learn something important and valuable that will make the next one better.  More importantly, we meet and connect with people who are 'right there' with the information and ready to act on it.

I thought we had a great crowd and I only wish we had a bit more time so that we could have had longer breaks and more integration and interaction time.

My biggest takeaway from this seminar is that at its core, all the work that Becca and I do is really about giving people options and helping them see the opportunities.  The enormity of the possible changes heading our way actually liberate us to take a good hard look at our lives, how we live them, and think about how we might prefer to live them.  We can choose.  That's the key message of the Crash Course seminar.

Recently, in my own neighborhood, I heard from a nearby gentleman who said that somehow in the process of making preparations his home had become more like the place he had always been trying to create, but hadn't.  Asking what he meant, because he has a beautiful and well-maintained place, I was surprised by his answer; "I didn't know it, but all I was really trying to create was a neighborhood like the one I grew up in, and I had everything except the relationships.  Now I've got those and it's changed everything about how I feel about where I live."

The four main areas that we'll be exploring in future seminars as the places where we can create resiliency in our lives are:

  • Financial
  • Physical
  • Emotional
  • Relationships

I hadn't broken out relationships into a separate category before because it was kind of implicit in the other categories but I now see that it is indeed its own special area of focus.   With that, I see how a whole chunk of the seminar can be tightened up and made even better.  And that's how every seminar seems to go.  We come in with our best and current view of things, we learn something, and it becomes part of the next one.

Someday, far in the future, we may even be able to deliver the same seminar twice i a row...

At any rate, I was glad to have been there, came away feeling like some very good work was done, and thankful to Tim and his crew for bearing the load and making it happen.

Chris M.

SagerXX's picture
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Joined: Feb 11 2009
Posts: 2252
New Paltz area: Next step[s]

Hey there --

If you are in the New Paltz area (whether or not you attended the seminar), we're already following up and getting our next steps in gear.  We want to build a strong nucleus that in turn will attract attention/effort towards localization, sustainability and resilience.  My co-organizers & I will be hosting a gathering in the next few weeks specifically related to the CC and the New Paltz seminar, but in the meantime, Manna Jo Greene (who was there at both events) and the Sustainable Living Center in Cottekill, NY (halfway between New Paltz & Kingston) are hosting an event this Sunday:


Sun., April 18, 4 p.m.  WHAT'S REALLY GOING ON? and What Can We Do About It?  
Follow up discussion to
Chris MartensonRay McGovern and others.  Understand 
how things got like this and how we can transform them person-by-person, 
step by step.  
Sustainable Living Resource Center, 150 Cottekill Rd., Cottekill 12419.

If anybody has questions, just PM me.

Viva -- Sager

pinecarr's picture
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Joined: Apr 13 2008
Posts: 2259
Re: The New Paltz seminar thread

Sager, thanks so much for starting up this thread!  I had been very curious about how things went at New Palz, and appreciate you taking the lead to share it! 

Also, I admire you, coop and others for jumping in and doing the hard (and daunting) work that needs to be done to build community and spread the message!  Well done!



Rhizoid's picture
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Posts: 8
Re: The New Paltz seminar thread

Hey Sager,

Thanks for starting this thread up, and for organizing the CC seminar on 4/11.  It was very well worth the trip up there.  It was a pleasure meeting the folks I did.  In all, it was inspiring, and refreshing, to be among souls of like mind who are awake to the realities we face.  It's an experience I'm not used to having in the place I live.  

The trick now is to try communicating the subject matter of the Crash Course to family and friends, and not do so in the emotionally charged manner that Chris and Becca encouraged us to resist, lest our friends put up shields.  And this is where I believe that building one's emotional intelligence, and heart intelligence, would serve us and our communities. 

I look forward to learning of upcoming gatherings in the Hudson Valley this spring and summer.

Blessings and peace,


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