This Is The Moment EVERYTHING Changes!

August 23 -26 | Phoenix, AZ

The energy is expansive. The joy is contagious. The excitement is exhilarating. And the potential is limitless.

“By sharing his life’s journey, Chris Grosso shines a light on our own.”  —Jeff Bridges, Academy Award®-winning actor   Chris Grosso is a youth mental health and healing group facilitator with Newport Academy, public speaker, writer, and author of Indie Spiritualist: A No Bullshit Exploration of Spirituality (Beyond Words/Simon & Schuster), ...Everything Mind: What I’ve Learned About Hard Knocks, Spiritual Awakening and the Mind-Blowing Truth of it All (Sounds True) and Dead Set On Living: Making the Difficult but Beautiful Journey from F#*cking Up to Waking Up (Simon & Schuster/Gallery Books). He writes for ORIGIN Magazine, Huffington Post, and Mantra Yoga + Health Magazine, and has spoken and performed at Wanderlust Festival, Celebrate Your Life, Yoga Journal Conference, Sedona World Wisdom Days, Kripalu, Sun Valley Wellness Festival, and more.   Chris is passionate about his work with people who are in the process of healing or struggling with addictions of all kinds. He speaks and leads groups in detoxes, yoga studios, rehabs, youth centers, hospitals, conferences, and festivals worldwide. He is a member of the advisory board for Drugs over Dinner, hosts The Indie Spiritualist Podcast on Ram Dass’s esteemed Be Here Now Network and is a member of The Evolutionary Leaders (a project of The Source of Synergy Foundation).   His work has been endorsed by a diverse mix of celebrated individuals including Jeff Bridges, Ram Dass, Tony Hawk, Bam Margera, Sharon Salzberg, Alex Grey, MC Yogi, Tara Brach, Ken Wilber, Jack Kornfield, Andrew Harvey, Lama Surya Das, Dr. Lissa Rankin, Bernie Siegel, Noah Levine, Treach (Naughty By Nature), don Miguel Ruiz Jr., and more. More

Sublime, Ridiculous, Terrifying, and Blissful: It’s All Part of the Path

spiritualpath Sublime, Ridiculous, Terrifying, and Blissful: It’s All Part of the Path

So here’s the thing: I didn’t go to school for any of this spirituality stuff. I’m not a yogi from the Himalayas, a preacher in a pulpit, or a “spiritual teacher” with dollar signs in my eyes. The truth is, early in life my curiosity got the better of me and led me down some roads that resulted in years of heavy drug and alcohol addiction. These dark places ultimately brought me to a very real life-or-death search for something more: finding deeper meaning in life and waking up to the spiritual essence that imbues it all—from monasteries to stadiums, meditation to stage dives, skateboarding to serving food in a soup kitchen, and everything in between.

Wait . . . so by “everything,” do I actually mean every single thing? Why, yes—yes, I do, and I call this “Everything Mind”. So, what is Everything Mind? Well, I think a better question would be, “What isn’t Everything Mind?” We could start by saying that Everything Mind considers every-thing in our lives as part of the spiritual path. Our triumphs and heartbreaks, joys and suffering, the light and the dark—all are equally suitable teachers and lessons. Zen Buddhist teacher and poet Thich Nhat Hanh is famously quoted as saying, “No mud, no lotus,” which means that our best selves grow out of our darkest places—our pain and suffering. Experiencing life from the place of Everything Mind allows us to lay aside our fears of right or wrong thoughts and emotions. Then, we can begin to compassionately, and even humorously (at times), work with and through all of them with open and courageous hearts and minds.

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Thank Your Habit

sweethabit Thank Your Habit

Anne Davin is an incredible woman! She spent several years living on a Native American reservation in New Mexico, and her later work with Southeast Asian Indo-Chinese refugees inspired her exploration of the intersection of psyche, culture, and the marginalized voice of the feminine. She is a licensed psychotherapist and the cofounder of the Imagin-NATION Academy, offering a pathway to wisdom and healing using the ancient tools and practices of earth-based indigenous cultures.

Anne taught me an exercise that worked for her when she quit smoking. It’s a way to get into agreement with any addiction—social media, drugs, alcohol, complaining…anything—ultimately accepting that you’re not in control.

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Is Addiction Your Family’s Fault?

addiction Is Addiction Your Family’s Fault?

I’ve written here before about my conversations with Dr. Gabor Maté, and his life-changing book In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts, a comprehensive exploration of what addiction is, its causes and consequences, and much more. As well as being a bestselling author, Dr. Maté is a renowned speaker, highly sought after for his expertise on a range of topics, including addiction, stress, and childhood development.

I was curious about family members who are dealing with a loved one’s addiction. What can they do for those who are caught in the grips of active addiction? It mattered to me because when people are that deep in addiction, they’ve lost themselves—they’re gone in a way. I know I was. I know there was nothing my family could have done no matter how much they wanted to help me.

Gabor didn’t agree with me. According to him, “You don’t know that. What you do know is what they tried didn’t work, but you don’t know that there’s nothing they could have done. In one sense, you are 100 percent right: There’s nothing they can directly do to change your mind. There’s nothing they can directly do to change your mental status. There’s no way that they can talk to you, advise you, control you, beg you, accuse you. That does not mean there’s nothing they could have done.

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How to Be Here Now

woman-practice-yoga-with-friends-in-gym-picture-id918619002 How to Be Here Now

Ram Dass was one of the first teachers I resonated with when I stepped onto the spiritual path. He is a revered master of bhakti, or devotional yoga. I came across his classic Be Here Now at Russell Library in Middletown, Connecticut, while browsing the religion/spirituality section. My account was in good standing (an unusual state for me at Russell Library, since I was always overdue on something or other), so I took Be Here Now home. Since that day, I’ve considered Ram Dass an inadvertent punk-rock spiritual guide.

For those unfamiliar with Be Here Now, it’s a divine cookbook, divided into three parts. The first covers ex-Harvard professor Richard Alpert’s 1967 voyage to India, where, through a series of incredible events, he met Bhagavan Das, a fellow seeker who introduced him to his guru, Neem Karoli Baba leading Alpert to become Ram Dass. The third section is a series of practices from meditation to yoga (and much more) to help readers as they begin their spiritual adventures.

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Applying Tara Brach’s RAIN Practice of Everyday Life

purple-flowers-behind-the-wet-window-with-rain-drops-blurred-street-picture-id695633294 Applying Tara Brach’s RAIN Practice of Everyday Life

When I was just beginning to get interested in spirituality and meditation, I stumbled upon Buddhist teacher Tara Brach at my local library. I checked out her book Radical Acceptance during a time when the only thing I was willing to radically accept was deep self-loathing and an overall feeling of discontent with the world. Thanks to Tara’s insights, I began to awaken from what she calls the “trance of unworthiness.” She explained it to me like this:

“We might know we judge ourselves, but we don’t often get how much that squeeze of ‘something’s wrong with me’ is a part of everything, so that in every interaction on some level, we’re not free to be as spontaneous or playful or alive, because we’re afraid we’re not going to be the person who’s accepted by another. Even when it’s not the deep ‘I’m damaged goods,’ there’s still a sense of not enough.”




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5 phases on the journey from fear to freedom and how they helped me navigate divorce

picture-of-man-from-behind-walking-on-a-beach-picture-id477328793 5 phases on the journey from fear to freedom

Lissa Rankin is pioneering practitioner of medicine, my longtime friend and mentor, and a doctor I’ve found to be inspirational through her real and raw approach to transformational work. When I spoke to her for my book Dead Set on Living we discussed how stress becomes normalized. Lissa had some great things to say about this. She maintains that we’ve normalized stress to the point where it has become almost a badge of honor in our culture, as well as a defense. To say we’re stressed is to put on a suit of armor that makes us feel more socially acceptable, because now we’re important, contributing, productive.

If we examine what stresses us out, we’ll see that much of it is rooted in fear—anything from fear of being late for work to fear of death. Lissa said that if there a fear “cure” it would be “coming into right relationship with uncertainty.” I loved that: coming intro right relationship with uncertainty.

She sent me an excerpt from her book The Fear Cure that can work as the foundation for a practice. Try it and see what you think.


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An Attempt to Solve a Problem

tryingtosolveaproblem An Attempt to Solve a Problem

I first learned about Dr. Gabor Maté through his groundbreaking book In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts, which explores his work with addicted individuals living on Vancouver’s skid row, as well as being an exceptionally comprehensive delineation of just what the hell addiction is, its causes, its effects, and so, so, so much more. Aside from that, Dr. Maté is a renowned speaker and bestselling author, highly sought after for his expertise on a range of topics, including addiction, stress, and childhood development.

 

I’d heard that Gabor believes addiction is not the problem but rather a person’s attempt to solve a problem in his or her life. I reached out to him because I wondered, among other things, how he would define addiction and what his perspective was on people using addiction to solve their life problems.

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Mahasati Hand Meditation

mudrameditation Mahasati hand meditation

Mahasati hand meditation is a practice that can be particularly useful during times of excessive stress or emotional upheaval, or when our minds just won’t shut the f__k up no matter how much yogic breathing or how many rounds of mantras we’ve done. And yeah, I speak from experience.

I learned this practice at my most rock bottom of rock bottoms. I was at a rehab facility, three days into a seven-day stay in detox from alcohol. My body was still squeamish, my brain still racing, my hope nonexistent, and my self-loathing at an all-time high. As I lay in bed aware of the physical battle going on between withdrawal and the benzodiazepines I’d been given to help relax me and keep me from having a seizure, my thoughts raced—I’d just lost my job, my car was about to be repossessed, I had a court date and jail time awaiting me, and last but (definitely) not least, I was going to miss my brother’s wedding, the one where I was supposed to be his best man. Yeah, I was in rough shape.

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What looked like a suicide attempt was the start of my recovery

jogging-outdoors-on-autumn-morning-picture-id517191808 Hospital

I can’t breathe. F#$k. F#$k. F#$k. I can’t breathe! My eyes pop open as a full-body panic attack sets in. Through my haze, I see my hands strapped to the bed. Oh, f#$k. Not again. I’m gasping for air.

 

There are tubes coming out of my mouth. This is new. I raise my head and realize I’m in a hospital. But where? How did I get here? What the f#$k happened? That’s when I see my parents sitting in chairs at the end of my bed, near a window. The heartbreak and despair in their eyes are unmistakable. A nurse stands nearby. She’s telling me to calm down and let the tubes do the breathing for me, but I’m too panicked. I begin thrashing in the bed, trying to break the woven nylon straps that are keeping me from ripping the tubes out of my mouth. Later I’ll find out this is the reason I was restrained in the first place.

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Sometimes All I Am Is a Dark Emptiness

Sometimes All I Am Is a Dark Emptiness Sometimes All I Am Is a Dark Emptiness

Because I have lived so much of my life caught in a cycle of addiction, recovery, relapse, repeat, a quote from Zen master Ikkyū Sojun—Sometimes all I am is a dark emptiness—sums up and shades much of my experience. I’m no stranger to relapsing and the pain, shame, guilt, confusion, and heartbreak that come along with it. Nor am I a stranger to detoxes, rehabs, emergency rooms, jail cells, and psych hospitals. What is strange for me is that after my last relapse, I began to care about relapsing. In the past, when I found myself in a place where I was willing to pick up a bottle of vodka or succumb to depression, I didn’t give a damn about the consequences. Fights, handcuffs, lies, withdrawals, self-cutting, hospitals, vomiting, and pissing blood—none of it mattered. I meant nothing to me.

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Powerful Keynotes

Panache Desai - Break Free, Break Loose, and Live Wild!
Dr. Sue Morter- The Energy Codes®: Awaken Your Spirit, Heal Your Body and Live Your Best Life
Sandra & Daniel Biskind - No Limits: Cracking the Code to a Platinum Life
Guy Finley - Relationship Magic: Love’s Infinite Journey
Dr. Michael Bernard Beckwith - The Boldness of Becoming
Rosie Mercado - True Beauty - The Potential in the Broken Pieces
Kute Blackson - Keynote: Living Your Purpose: You Were Born For Greatness
16 Visionary Speakers
26 Keynote, Workshops and Masterminds
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Aug 23-26 | Phoenix, AZ
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