I’ve never told anyone this, but one time I saw Chris Sturk walk through a wall.
Oh, sure, I’d watched full-grown sunflowers – after Chris stood up and walked away – sprout in a patch of grass that he’d been squatting in just minutes before, and I’ll never forget when he opened his mouth to start a presentation during an editorial meeting with an important client, and a tiny hologram of Ornette Coleman crawled out, looking around warily yet still improvising the saxophone parts for both volumes of At the “Golden Circle” Stockholm with his customary deftness.
Chris just smiled and looked right through the soul of each person at the conference table, one by one. We were all … changed that day.
But to walk right through a wall? I couldn’t believe my own eyes.
It was early on a Thursday morning, and no one else was around. Chris had marched barefoot to Providence from his mountain lhakhang in Western Mass – an exact replica of the Jamchen in Nepal – to join us on a team project. When I saw him, he was halfway between the Experience Design headquarters next door and our kitchen, carrying an earthen pot of Kopi Luwak in one hand and a small gong in the other.
Like, literally halfway between.
He brushed past me and sat cross-legged on the floor, making no mention of what had transpired. It took two hours for me to convince myself of what I’d seen and summon the courage to say “Chris, I just caught you walking through a wall, dude.” He shrugged and told me he had been doing it for years, acting like it was nothing special.
“It simply requires a little bit of concentration and mindfulness,” he said, before reciting the Kayagatasati Sutta for me in the original Pali as if to reinforce his point. What a magical morning that was! Turns out, he was giving our neighbors at Hope Artiste a gong bath, plus an offering of the most exotic – and expensive – coffee on the planet.
This is just the kind of guy he is: generous, cool, friendly, talented, charismatic, and dripping with mystique. If we ever start a BuzzFarmers cult, Chris will be our guru. But it will be a nice cult, and he won’t do any of those creepy guru things you sometimes hear about on the news.
He provides a calming, positive presence, as well as a wealth of knowledge on SEO and blogging for businesses. We’re lucky to know him – and to call him a coworker!
Read on for some more Chris enlightenment.
BuzzFarmers: Where are you from, Chris?
Chris Sturk: Guilford, Conn. My family still lives there. My parents’ house is a few minutes’ walk from 600 acres of conservation land called the Timberlands.
BF: That explains a lot. What were you like as a child?
CS: Hmmmmhh. I don’t really remember.
BF: Come on, man. Work with me here. Who are your heroes?
CS: People who share, are loving, and appreciate the creative spark.
BF: Describe your education.
CS: Always learning. I have a strong love for knowledge. I’m a seeker by nature, so I ask a lot of questions. The last level of institutionalized education I’ve completed was a BA in writing communications/public relations, with a minor in music theory.
BF: Describe your work experience.
CS: I’ve done everything from washing dishes and working on a farm to managing editorial and content marketing for publishers and boutique firms.
BF: Why did you want to work at BuzzFarmers?
CS: I’ve been friends with Amanda and Pat for years, dating back to my job at Mequoda Group, where I met Amanda, and Pat through her. They once told me that they were going to hire me someday. I didn’t believe them. Then, a few years later, I was working at the Appalachian Mountain Club and they approached me about working for them. The night I drove down to Rhode Island to discuss the position was rainy. I arrived, and a rainbow had appeared, framing their house. I took it as a sign that I should work for them. They are both great people – it’s not worth the time working for people who aren’t.
BF: Well said, sir. What are your goals here?
CS: Do what needs to be done, while helping Amanda and Pat grow the company as they see fit.
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BF: What are your hobbies?
CS: I’ve been a musician for most of my life. Playing the guitar and drums is a hobby. I also do sound healing work with gong and singing bowls. I spend as much time outside as I can, too: hiking, camping, spending time in the woods and on mountains, meditating near rivers, learning about herbs and how to care for plants. I write and read a fair amount, too.
BF: What’s your favorite TV show and why?
CS: I haven’t watched much TV in a while. Don’t own one, don’t have cable. The last show that I did enjoy watching was Breaking Bad. I think it ended my TV watching career.
BF: OK, sounds about right. What kind of music do you listen to when you’re working on something or exercising?
CS: Love instrumental music: Soul jazz, funk, Indian music, didgeridoo, etc.
BF: Tell me a quick story that encapsulates what kind of person you are.
CS: I was in a store buying some incense, and a deck of tarot cards sat on the counter. I picked one and it said “Receptivity: Be open to receiving and giving.” The moment I exited the store, a monk was standing there. He handed me a pile of books. I, of course, accepted them and gave him some money to create a reciprocal relationship. We spoke for a bit. I then crossed the road to get some tea.
At the tea house, the owner gave me some iced white lavender tea on the house. I sat outside and pulled out my journal to write about the gratitudes in my life, particularly focusing on the two that has just occurred. As I was doing this, I was approached by a man with a camera, who asked to snap a few shots of me. I accepted. He then asked me what I was grateful for. I smiled, as I was already in the process of sharing my gratitudes. My internal world became the external world. I shared with him what I’m grateful for. I later found out that he is a member of the Look for the Good Project.
BF: Holy crap, that’s extraordinary! Thanks for sharing. Favorite dish you’ve ever had at a restaurant?
CS: Oh boy, this is a tough one. I’m going to cop out and say that I love Indian food, especially the buffets, and could eat it everyday.
BF: Are you a mountain person or water person?
CS: I never feel more alive than when I’m on top of a mountain. Deep expansion. I love the water, too, especially moving water. I could sit by a waterfall or river all day long and leave feeling more nourished and more accomplished than I would doing many other things that day.
BF: What’s your favorite feature of yourself?
CS: That I continuously focus on self-growth. I think it’s important, even though it can be draining. My mind, and our experience with consciousness, although I guess that’s more of a human thing than just a “me” thing. I also really dig having hands and opposable thumbs. Super useful.
BF: [laughs] Name the first five things you’d do if you won $5 million.
CS: Buy 100-plus acres of land; build a house out of cob and straw bale; get a few more gongs; develop a creative workshop space on the land that could be used for music, sound, recording, dance, art, community gathering, etc.; take a trip to Yosemite.
BF: How tall are you?
BF: Website you visit most often?
BF: What are you reading right now?
CS: The Intention Experiment by Lynne McTaggart.
BF: Who do you like better, Pat or Amanda, and why?
CS: [laughs] Did they ask you to ask this question? I cannot compare. I love them equally.
BF: They didn’t ask me to ask. They ordered me to ask. What’s your favorite form of transportation?
CS: I love to walk, man.
BF: Favorite game?
CS: Scrabble, or poker.
Chris, thanks for sitting down with me and for setting such a great example! You’re a true inspiration to all of us here at BuzzFarmers!