Karen and Gary share a unique way of looking at the world, kind of like a couple of five year old kids wondering how they can find magic and do things differently in the midst of conventional, everyday life. They imagine transforming the world into a playground by being self aware and connecting to life both as it could be and exactly how it is.
Don’t worry. They’re not living in a world of only sunshine and unicorns. There are no illusions that everything is fun and games with no pain or suffering.
Gary used to run a 25,000 sf machining facility in British Columbia with 45 employees, creating systems that worked seamlessly to ensure on time delivery to customers; he ran a very profitable and successful company and was distanced from his employees, family and himself. He wanted reprieve from his mad dash – rush, rush, rush existence. His mind was heavy with every detail of the ever expanding needs of his business and he was unhappy, discontent and numb in a position he no longer desired. His relationships frayed from in-authenticity and he had lost his purpose. The only time he felt alive was on vacation…and even after two weeks away all it took was a few hours at the office to demolish any sense of renewal. One day he finally listened to his inner voice and began to change.
In 2002, Karen was an ambitious go-getter with a career on the rise in the nonprofit sector. She had a track record of coming into organizations, assessing weaknesses, taking programs apart and rebuilding them with the help of teams of employees and thousands of volunteers across the U.S. She felt powerful, unstoppable, and in sync with all she’d set out to achieve. She was on call 24/7 and loved the thrill of making impossible things happen, leveraging scarce resources and constantly raising the bar to serve people in need. Happily married and expecting her first child, life as she knew it came to a screeching halt one morning when she caused a car accident; while she and her baby were fine, her doctor told her she could no longer work. Her job was too stressful and she couldn’t manage it all — she was putting lives in danger. She never saw it coming. Fortunately, becoming a mother kept her busy, but she struggled in the conflict to define who she was without her professional ambition and success. Something had to change.
When Gary and Karen met a decade later, they bonded instantly over a shared love of the North Shore of Oahu where they’d both spent time with their families. (Their first collaborative project was an experience based workshop how to choose shave ice like a Hawaiian local – a point on which they still amicably disagree!) Having spent years undoing their own Type A ways, it is their passion to help others find the joy in life. At Into the Fire, we do this by playing games, learning to surf, sharing stories, succeeding at tasks and making mistakes all within an incredibly supportive community. It’s a blast. Join us.