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24 Days till Mindcamp!

Thursday to Sunday August 20-23, 2015
Orillia, ON, Canada

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Welcome to Mindcamp

First time here? Mindcamp is an annual creativity conference. If you feel like you’re missing something, check out What is Mindcamp? to find out what the heck this is all about.

Come here often? Add your email to “Follow Us!” (look in the right sidebar) to get an email every time we add a new blog entry, or Like us on Facebook to get updates in your feed.

Dancing with the Muse

Do you remember making art as a kid and reaching that point when you stepped back to look at your progress? Do you remember the voice of the inner critic telling you how much it sucked? If you were like me, you probably crumpled up many sheets of paper and tossed them into the trash.


After painting over 100 portraits since last year’s Mindcamp, I can promise you that the inner critic is still there, as is the feeling of discomfort when staring at an unfinished piece. In some inexplicable way, I’ve managed to subdue the nagging, and meticulous inner critic and discover and embrace the inner muse. The result has been a remarkable creative journey and the beginning of what feels like the second act of my life.

Whether it is painting, writing or another realm of creativity, I’m guessing that the four steps I have taken would apply nicely.

First, I made a commitment. After going through a prolific summer of painting, I made a promise to myself that I would not let it go when the frenetic fall began. I would commit to producing one painting a week, no matter what, no matter how busy I got doing other things. As it turned out, the promise of one a week ended up becoming three or four, and often more.

I developed a system that works and kept refining it. I’ll share the basics of my process during the “Painting Steve Shama” session at Mindcamp 2015.

Most importantly, I trusted the process and continue to do so. I say these three simple words when a painting doesn’t seem to be coming together, or if I feel overwhelmed by its complexity or composition. The process hasn’t failed me once.

I’ve become rather adept at listening to my inner muse, the one that sits on my left shoulder guiding my subject, colour, and technique choices. The results of good listening have been both surprising and delightful.

Last year, Steve Shama shared with us that he chooses to live his life one moment short of a tear. This remarkable approach has informed and inspired my creative journey, gifting me with one miraculous moment after another.

I watched a father’s eyes well up with tears looking at the portrait of his baby girl who died within hours of being born three years earlier.

I was blessed by a phone call from the wife of a global music icon who described what happened after she received the painting I did of her love the day after he passed. “I wept like a baby,” she said.

I was able to pass the brush to a young boy who helped finish the portrait of his paintballing mentor who died tragically in a workplace accident.

The idea of “Painting Steve Shama” was birthed near the end of last year’s Mindcamp, but it has been nurtured and strengthened by every moment that followed. Together, we’ll walk through a painting process, dance with our inner muse, and create absolutely unique and beautiful paintings of a man who lives life to the fullest and is part of the heart and soul of Mindcamp.

Russell ThomasRussell Thomas presents Painting Steve Shama: Trusting your inner artist at Mindcamp 2015.

What is Way of Nature?

This year Simoon Fransen, a new Mindcamper and presenter, presents a session called “Way of Nature“. It’s an introduction to a much broader study/practice of bringing “Source Awareness” into practical daily activities (e.g., running your business, raising your kids) as well as deeper quests (e.g., spiritual awakening, compassion) by cultivating a deep connection with nature.

The founder, John Milton, speaks in this introductory video created by Simoon. And if you wish to see more videos on the topic, visit Simoon’s Vimeo channel here.


Simoon FransenSimoon Fransen presents Way of Nature, co-presents Way of Nature (Jr.) for kids with her son, Siem, and co-presents Field of Dreams with Joe Miguez at Mindcamp 2015.

Kamishibai! (um… Gesundheit?)

What the heck is Kamishibai? Well, it’s Jim Ridge’s session this year for one… but it’s so much more than that. The ever-awesome Jim Ridge has created this video to explain. Click the video and prepare to smile… a lot… for seven minutes.

The Mindcamp App — It’s Alive!

mindcamp-iPhone-ButtonThe Mindcamp App lives again! Download it now and test it out for us.

It’s pretty much the same as last year, with this year’s sessions and presenters loaded of course. Plus, we don’t have schedule information on it yet as we are not creating our schedule for another couple of weeks.

Have fun, kids!

What’s in a Name? Some changes…

nametagVeteran Mindcampers will notice a couple of name changes this year. Briefly: “Collide-O-Scopes” are now “Kaleidoscopes”; and the “Passeggiata” is now “Camino”. Here are the deets:


For the past three years Mindcampers have been invited to participate in sharing groups at the end of each day to help integrate the experiences, insights, and new information they gather. (See here for more info about that.)

We previously called them “Collide-O-Scopes” (after our theme in 2012, “When Worlds Collide”), but now have changed the spelling to the more conventional way “Kaleidoscopes” — more in keeping with the notion of fragmenting and reassembling seemingly random bits of experience (and losing the rather odd image of Mindcampers slam-dancing their way through the meetings).

Click here for more info on Kaleidoscope Groups.


On Friday and Saturday we have a very special evening stroll once called “Passeggiata,” after the Italian custom of strolling down the main street after dinner. The event is great; the term was problematic for people who don’t speak Italian! This year we are changing the name to “Camino”, after the Camino de Santiago in Spain, a famous pilgrimage that a number of Mindcampers have enjoyed. It’s easier to remember, easier to spell, and better aligns with the “journey” aspects of experience.

Click here for more info on the Mindcamp Camino.

Final Sessions Released

The final chosen 13 sessions have been released! They are (drumroll)….

  1. Peter Bouffard: Creative Purpose Solving
  2. William Sturner: Creative Spirituality OOPS no Sturner this year…
  3. James McAnanama: Dreamation
  4. Joe Miguez, Simoon Fransen: Field of Dreams
  5. Tim Switalski: Fire and Song
  6. Bruce Baum: Humor, Laughter, Magic
  7. Ginny Santos: Make it Fit
  8. Susan Abbott: Plein Air Painting
  9. Gina Paigen: The Power of Paradox
  10. Natalie Currie: Resistance is Futile
  11. Tony Esteves: Smartphone iMovie Dreams
  12. Newell Eaton, Allie Middleton: Staying Awake
  13. Diane Houle-Rutherford: Who Are You?

Study up folks! You will have 69 sessions to choose from when you are at Mindcamp. Are you ready for the dizzying excitement, the mind-boggling richness, the utter confusion of abundance that awaits you? Study up!