This past summer I had an opportunity to go to something called Camp wonderful, a summer camp for grown ups. I've been looking at my past year and have been looking at what I have learned about myself. I had no idea that this adult summer camp was a thing before now. A really good friend told me about it and said I would love it and I can't thank her enough for giving me the opportunity to go. My friend was part of the production team that made it happen and she essentially said to me she wanted cool people there and she'd love for me to come. Would I come?
Will I come?! Of course! Of course I will specially when you ask that way!
So I was honored and I was looking forward to it for months. I felt silly talking about how excited I was for summer camp for about two months as I told everyone I knew about it but I didn't care. Forget the fact I had no idea what I was in store for, I shared it anyway.
I had never been to a camp like this since I was 12 so I had no idea what to expect. But I was really looking forward to the idea of being like a child again and playing with other people. I knew no one. I am an extroverted introvert so this opportunity excited me and scared the poop out of me. Who were the other silly individuals who would come to something like this.
Even with the little I knew about it I knew there were rules. Here are the rules.
1) No real names. Only nicknames. I was Biff for the weekend.
2) No talking about work. This was not a networking opportunity.
3) No technology. Not even watches! You turn it all in when you arrive, only to get it back before you leave. I didn't turn my phone back on till I touched my block back in Nyc.
I had another friend who had gone to Camp Grounded the month before and told me about it. It sounded like such a great opportunity to really connect to others like we did when we were kids. It's funny how the universe works because it doesn't usually turn out exactly the way we imagine but we always get our intention. By the end everyone I met I was intimately connected to. Especially when I danced with them!
It was a really cathartic experience for me. There was no time, no expectations, no where you had to be, anywhere you could be and a million things you could do, or not do! The people were open and accepting and inclusive. There was so much talent and art and fun. The environment was beautiful and clean and simple. The sky was blue, the trees were green, the nights were cold, the days were hot and the night sky was magic. I danced a lot. I played on a trapeze, I sat still and did henna on my arm. I did nothing. I did everything and it was all just perfect.
My top 3 take aways from camp
- Freedom is giving yourself structure to let go. All is well!
- Technology isn't added value to life
- Life must have more play
One of my intentions was giving myself permission to be a participant. I run programs and lead people through transformational journeys all the time so I knew it might take me a moment to let go of my leader hat. Same thing happens when I take a yoga class. I really have to consciously let go of critiquing the teacher to get into my practice. I'm a little bit of a snob that way. Deciding to take off my instructor hat is a choice I must make because I know I wouldn't be able to fully present otherwise. I caught myself sometimes thinking about the time and the structure of where I needed to be and when I needed to be there, but the truth is they had me. They were taking care of me and everything was designed for me to let go. They took on the burden of time and structure so I wouldn't have too. All the staff had watches but made sure they were covered at all times. They talked about time in metaphors like "you have enough time to boil tea" or "watch a simpsons woods ode without commercials. Even so I was free to join in or not.
Most special moment was the epitome of letting myself fall into being led. I decided one of my "playshops" would be a dance class with a really talented leader named red sauce. I was so excited to dance again. The night before we did square dances on the beach. I wanted to learn more. Red sauce sang and danced and chuckled and all-around was just a really sweet guy. I got to learn a ton of things while I was at camp including juggling and trapeze but my number one top moment was dancing with red sauce. I feel like I missed my calling. I would have made an amazing dancer.
I was the only one who showed up. Luck me! I got a private lesson with this incredible human being. One of the things I know I don't do well is surrender. We started with the foundation of give and take with a partner. We held each other's hands and he said "lean back, I've got you". I'm not sure what weird shape I took but clearly it wasn't very trusting. "I got you. Connect to my center. "We went through a few more leaning against each other exercises where I totally felt taken care of. "Relax your shoulders", he could tell when I was thinking too hard and trying to control the moment. When I let go and gave him control, I was free. He whipped me around and we danced in the sun with the trees. In between songs I broke down. I started to weep like a child. I was having so much fun. I felt so free. I thanked him through choked tears. I was so happy.
What are we missing out on when we don't dance with the universe?
Because of my New York lifestyle everything has to happen right now. I've gotten impatient. So if I want to know something or do something I have the technology attached to my hand to make it happen instantly. Not having the google machine at my fingertips had all of us actually listening to each other, asking questions, thinking deeper, laughing and playing. There was no Facebook distraction, no lookkng up a fact during a conversation. Instead we had to use our brains and be "bored" with ourselves. I'm not ever bored but in a world of instant gratification and endless entertainment, we were forced back to basics when we had only a buddy and our imaginations.
Going back to life I am super conscious of my tendency to walk and write an email and of going to Facebook when I'm lonely. What if I get intentional with my time and only walk when I walk, and only write when I write? What might be available to me?
For the record I hated having a cell phone at a dinner table. Now more than ever it's my personal policy to put the phone away when ever I am with other people.
Do you have a technology policy when you are with other people?
Play has been missing from my life!
I learned that I stopped playing. Life an adult is about bills and money and success... F that!!! What happened to fun? I used to play and sing And dance For no reason. This weekend I did all that again. I realized that with the growth of my business I stopped having fun with it. I took myself too seriously and with it my quality of fun diminished. Easy to fix...
Check out my Facebook live from after I came back by clicking here