[Eckhart Tolle and Jim Carrey Goofing on Stage]
Two years ago I watched a YouTube video of actor/comedian Jim Carrey introducing Eckhart Tolle at an event in Hollywood called G.A.T.E. - the “Global Alliance for Transformational Entertainment”. I saw that video while on tour with pop-spiritual music band Here II Here, and I was thunderstruck.
After watching one of the world’s most captivating celebrities introduce one of the world’s most recognizable spiritual teachers at a private event in the magical land of California, into which I had just crossed like an old time pioneer on my SUV Horse with my musical posse, I told myself, somehow, I must be part of that experience.
This past weekend, after 2 years and countless moments simply saying “Yes!” and asking, “How can I be of service?”, I had the amazing honor of serving as the Production Coordinator for GATE2, the second inaugural event for “The Global Alliance for Transformational Entertainment”, in Beverly Hills, featuring Jim Carrey and Eckhart Tolle ... and Marianne Williamson, Jean Houston, Don Miguel Ruiz, Barbara Marx Hubbard, Gary Zukav, actors Edward James Olmos, Louie Anderson, singer Annie Lennox and so many more!!
It was an exceptional day, surrounded by people being exceptional.
About 1500 people came from all over the world to the Saban Theater in Beverly Hills to experience this gathering of brilliant creators and open authentic hearts to further the conversation of entertainment’s role in transforming humanity.
[The Saban Theater Lobby during "Press Hour"]
[Me and Kim Eng, Eckhart Tolle's partner]
[Me and just a few of the beautiful inside-and-out people at the event]
Native American teacher and GATE2 presenter, Heyoka Merrifield, put it perfectly to me [I’m paraphrasing & interpreting; this not an exact quote]: “Story-telling throughout the ages has been the primary way for one generation to teach the next generation how to survive and thrive. Everything from cave-drawings to creation stories have intended serve subsequent generations by giving meaning to existence and teaching survival. We’ve lost that. Our purpose for story-telling has shifted to serve our individual short-term selfish gain. It’s lost its rightful place.”
As production coordinator for the event, I did not get to see much of the actual presenters. My job duties basically entailed running around the event constantly on the lookout for problems to solve and tasks that needed doing. I arrived at the Beverly Hills Saban Theater at 730am and was among the last to leave at 230am that night.
The one comment I heard over and over again from attendees was essentially this: “Wow, this event is completely different from every other Hollywood event I've ever attended. Everyone seems authentically grateful to simply be here sharing in creating this experience!”
Visionaries and Creators from all over the world came to be part of this. Big-time comedians, famous actors, producers, financiers, healers, shamans, internationally-renowned authors, conscious community builders, filmakers, musicians, press and journalists ... 1500 people gathered from all the different tribes of California: Elevate Films, Grateful Fridays, Cafe Gratitude, GATE, Spiritual Living Centers, Unity, Burning Man ... and so many more I’m not even aware of. Everyone was present in their full radiant brilliance, simply excited to participate in the conversation.
[Author and brilliant speaker Marianne Williamson on Stage at GATE2]
[Actress Frances Fisher (Titanic) on Stage at GATE2]
[Author Don Miguel Ruiz on Stage at GATE2]
[Comedian Louis Anderson entertains the audience at GATE2]
[Eckhart Tolle and MC Suzanne Whang, one of my new favorite people]
Yes, I shook Jim Carrey’s hand and helped his daughter, Jane, flow into her live stage performance. At one point, I was even thrust out on stage to make an announcement about Twitter in front of the audience, immediately after Don Miguel Ruiz spoke, and in that audience sat Jim Carrey, Eckhart Tolle, Barbara Marx Hubbard, Marianne Williamson ... Fortunately, I’ve remade that announcement in my mind so that it’s much funnier and much more effective than it likely was in reality for the audience.
My artist, Ash Ruiz performed the theme song he wrote for the event, “Only A New Seed” (click just below to listen and download it), alongside wonderful artists and friends Faith Rivera, Ali Handal, Terra Bundance and Cristo.
[Ash Ruiz being interviewed]
[Ash Ruiz and friends on stage at GATE]
Kyle Cease and Suzanne Whang, the two emcee comedians during the StoryConference program in the daytime were brilliantly hilarious, from what little I was able to catch. Someone described Kyle as the master of awkward comedy ... I sure could have used his skills when I made my Twitter announcement. Awwwwwwkward!!
At one point, Kyle asked me backstage my opinion of a joke he was about to try ... at that moment, I would probably have laughed at anything. He used the joke, and though it certainly didn’t flop, it didn’t get his biggest laugh. I like to think it had more to do with his delivery than my errant feedback. Though he’s probably decided not to test any more jokes on me. I’d go with his judgment on this one.
[Jim Carrey and Kyle Cease in the VIP Green Room]
Jim Carrey and Eckhart Tolle at the end of the night were simply brilliant. Two of the finest minds on the planet at this moment, in my opinion. Jim Carrey spent half his monologue laying on his stomach, his head buried in a giant flower pot before 1500 people ... simply “taking in the moment”. Hysterical.
[Jim Carrey on stage with his head in a plant]
Jim said something truly profound, as well. He shared an insight he had when thinking about the story of Jesus ridding the world of sin. Jim noticed that he still seemed to sin ... all the time. Jesus didn’t take away his sins. But then it occurred to him that Jesus removed sin from the world, from the perspective of his own seeing. In other words, Jesus’ truly great sacrifice was in giving up judgment as to the way the world “should” be ... caring for the prostitute, comforting thieves, reminding others so poerfully that only he who has never “sinned” should “Cast the first stone” ... Jesus simply gave up living in a world of right and wrong. He truly lived in Rumi’s field, the field out beyond ideas of right-doing and wrong-doing. Jim understood finally that this was his own work, not to fix the world “out there”, but to heal the world “in here” such that he could live in true harmony with the entire world, both inner and outer, whatever should arise.
The lineup for the day was jam-packed with brilliance, so when Eckhart Tolle finally spoke, it was 1am. He was fantastic. “Jim is teaching me facial expressions”, he said, unleashing a raucous laughter from the audience. No doubt that’s true, too.
The audience stayed. Everyone hung in there. Few people left early, knowing they were in the midst of an all-too-rare, brilliant gathering of like-minded people.
At one moment during Eckhart’s presentation, the twitter feed running behind him got stuck with my face on it for about 5 minutes. (as people tweeted about the event using #gatecommunity, their pictures and tweets appeared on the giant backdrop screen). So my face was Eckhart’s backdrop for a few minutes during his presentation. It was surreal, and very funny (at least to me).
[my Twitter profile as Eckhart Tolle's backdrop. Surreal]
The big question now is, where does GATE go from here?
I don’t know the answer to that just yet. Although I’m excited to be part of the team, I don’t clearly know what the GATE leadership circle is cooking up for this next year. I believe there will be more events, more gatherings, sponsored movie screenings, perhaps concerts and more all-star performances.
Most importantly, though, more than simply hosting more events, I think the real opportunity for GATE is to be about inspiring Transformational Community. The website URL, www.gatecommunity.org, the twitter hashtag #gatecommunity ... says it right there: GATECOMMUNITY.
This single event brought many of my favorite people together from tribes all over that I had never seen in one place before (not even at Burning Man ... this event was accessible even to the comfort-needy). I’ve also watched founder John Raatz instill that ethic in the brilliant, talented and committed team who made this GATE event happen, that we’re all doing this together.
The event was a wildly successful kick-off conversation serving to bridge the worlds of entertainment, media, and human transformation. There’s no reason these 3 spheres need operate separately from each other. Our story-telling and artistry, at least on the scales of mass entertainment, have simply lost their way, hijacked by greedy egos desperate only for their own futile survival. But I don’t wish to end this on a critical note, so I’ll close by paraphrasing Jim Carrey as he closed the evening, make the story of transformation entertaining and the people will come ... as we saw on this extraordinary day.
[Jim Carrey's Introduction of Eckhart Tolle in 2009]
** Photos in this blog are by me, others, and particularly David Rotman of Agape's House of Bliss. See more of David's GATE photos on Facebook HERE
** Here are two other blogs I found with more info about the event:
Don Miguel Ruiz: http://www.miguelruiz.com/blog/?tag=ash-ruiz
Heather Hale: http://heatherhale.com/2012/02/gate-2-what-an-amazing-event/