Ojai: Weekend Workshop

Unlikely Collaborators 2018 gathered pioneering leaders from diverse backgrounds, industries, and worldviews for a weekend in Ojai, California. The three-day experience guided participants through a process of self-discovery to address unconscious beliefs and self-defeating thought patterns – expanding the potential for self-realization and unlikely collaborations to emerge.

The silo-busting format created an environment which allowed for vulnerability and deep, authentic connection among participants.

Storytellers + Presenters + Facilitators included: Dr. Anil Seth, Dr. Lisa Feldman Barrett, Dr. Joan Borysenko, Emmanuel Jal, and Elizabeth Koch. (Presenters were also participants.)

This box is not a box. It's an invitation to who you really are.

Read Invitation

Dear Invitee,

You may not know it. But you live in a box. The box may be very pretty. It may contain a shimmering sun and rose-tinted clouds. It may feature enchanted trees that bear fruits of wisdom that earn you lots of media praise and income. It may offer joy rides of glossy chrome that propel you into award-winning altitudes, where you give heart-rousing speeches and launch products that advance your sincere desire to heal the world.

All that is superb.

But a box is still a box.

We are born with minds as wide as the sky. But slowly, bit by bit, we are given ideas, notions, beliefs. Labels and categories that tell us who we are...

You are a white boy, son of a feminist, and have a lot to feel guilty about. You are a Jew, and let me tell you the hand our people have been dealt. Your father is a scientist, and scientists believe in testable things, don’t say God in this house. You are Greek. You are Turkish. You two won’t be talking much. You’re the daughter of a rich man, which means privileged, which means hated. Your dad is a convict – I’d keep that to myself. Indian? Too many of you in this country, good luck getting a visa. Muslim? Prepare to be profiled. You’re a smart boy, why are you hanging around those deviants? Don’t you want to get into a good college? What’s the matter with you, not coming home for Thanksgiving, don't you love your family? You celebrate Thanksgiving!! What kind of an insensitive, Native-American-hating genocide-apologist are you?

Bit by bit, our walls are built. We pitch in too, proactively adding soundproof padding, weatherproof seals. It’s for our protection, we think, necessary to keep out the birds, the crazy people. The people who want to attack us. To humiliate us. To take. We upgrade our fixtures, expand our square footage, add a pool. Anything to increase our value. To make ourselves indispensable, before we find ourselves dispensed with.

Soon we've built a box no one and nothing can penetrate.

That’s the bad news.

The good news is – the box only exists in our minds.

Heaven and hell only exist in our minds.

The dark shadows and clouds we see – are they really there? Or are they only memories, phantoms of past experience distorting our view? What about that glittery sun (literally right in front of you), what if you could reach in and airlift it off the horizon, revealing origami birds inscribed with unacknowledged truths? What if the river of time rolls backwards as well as forward, what if the pain of the past could be dissolved? What if no matter how many strangers try to tarnish us, what heartaches threaten to crush us, what critical deals fall through our fingertips like hourglass sand, we could be truly glad for it?

For all of it?

This is not a conference. It's not a seminar. Not a forum. It's an experience. You’ll come away with a different experience of life. Of yourself, in it.

This box is not a box. It’s an invitation to who you really are.

In gratitude,
Elizabeth Koch


“I understand that finding your North Star and breaking out of the box is a process and this weekend has started that process of awakening for me.”


“It was unique, fascinating, well-organized, and a bit like the Matrix: you had to be there and see it for yourself. It also afforded a rare opportunity to meet with some pretty amazing, talented, and innovative people from a wide range of backgrounds and walks of life. Just as important, the organizers were able to create an unusually open and collegial atmosphere where people felt comfortable striking up conversations and getting to know one another.”


“I felt like I was at a family reunion full of people I was meeting for the first time.”


“This weekend was totally magical. I have trouble even describing in words what happened, but I hope I can continue to be part of this incredible community.”


“I've spoken at over 300 conferences and this is the first one I didn't want to leave. Not that this is a conference…what do you call this thing?”



Tool Kit

Here are some of the materials we explored together in Ojai. Available for you to download, print, or share far and wide.

Want to know more?