Choosing a fucking cabin bunk to sleep in for 3 nights at an adult camp for movers/shakers/entrepreneurs in upstate NY is NOT how I thought it would happen. The camp volunteer that helped me find my cabin had just left to go help others. I’m pretty sure it was Christopher, and he was really nice, and I think he might have told me some important things (I started zoning out), but now I was alone in a cabin with predominantly empty bunks. All I had to do was choose one. It isn’t that hard of a decision, but at that moment, in that setting, it was the decision that brought the strongest man in the world down. It was the first time in forever that I was alone, with nothing that I really had to DO or BE or SAY. Just quiet stillness and one small decision to make.
That’s the point in time I first REALLY noticed I was carrying 7,000 pounds and six years worth of shit on my shoulders, and choosing a fucking bunk was the 2 x 4 that whacked me in the knees. I just collapsed on the nearest bunk and let the flood of bad marriage, ugly divorce, money sucking feud, poor decisions in the name of “supposed to”, life altering – mind numbing – soul eclipsing – exponentially exploding medical and life decisions about my child – waves crash over me.
I hadn’t let that happen, strong German heritage I guess. This wasn’t how this was supposed to go. I came to this camp to get energized! To get pumped up for the fight of getting back to a path I had been on before all that came into this life. I’m supposed to go meet all kinds of new, interesting, intelligent, wonderfully human and loving people, and figure out how to finally MOVE ON! I was going to learn all kinds of radical new ways to do things, find new and awesome resources, get inspired and become one again with awesomeness!!!! I am ready for the highway back to greatness DAMN IT, so HERE I AM!
But that was not to be my fate. Not this trip. The Universe had something completely different in mind for me here at Camp GLP. I did not know it yet, and probably did not fully understand it until I got home, but it started that night at the camp intro meeting. I was still in a complete fog. Seriously, I have no idea how I even arrived at the theater for the meeting. I think I sat somewhere with the 350 other people there. I’ve done these kinds of camps before. Hell, I used to plan logistics and program, run, and speak at them for 13 years. I knew the drill. “Glad you are here, this is here, that is there, treat everyone with respect, here is the schedule and here are the rules.” That is pretty much the standard for the welcome.
And that is some of what we got – I think, cuz I’m sorry, I wasn’t paying attention. But then, somewhere through the fog, I heard these words from our wise and amazing leader Jonathan Fields – “….blah, blah, blah – YOU DON’T HAVE TO.” Those words hit me
like a 100 MPH micro-burst of wind removing the fog from my brain. He went on, “If you don’t feel like going to a program, or workshop, or event, that’s cool.” I was not expecting this. We just got permission from the leader to skip if we wanted to. Wait, strike that, what we really got was permission, if we so desired and needed it, to JUST BE! “Take a hike around the lake, sit at the beach, or take a nap. If that is what calls to you, if that is what you need here, then go right ahead.” The Fuck you say? (this was my brain waking up). So, what you are telling me is, I just paid a bunch of money and traveled across the country to listen and learn from some pretty smart people, and y’all are cool if I blow any or all of that off? WHAT KINDA PLACE IS THIS?
This was the first and most important lesson of the entire week; Give yourself permission to take what you need. Allow yourself to JUST BE.
Well DUH! Everyone knows that! Don’t we? IDK. Maybe there is some cognitive acknowledgement back there that KNOWS it, but the important question is, do we practice it? I can answer for myself that for a while now, the response has been absolutely no. Oh sure there have been plenty of times I blew things off in the past couple of years, but often the price I’d pay is feeling guilty about that, or then taking extra chunks out of the time pie to take care of things I blew off. It’s not the same thing as allowing yourself, or giving yourself permission.
When you allow yourself, you are GIVING yourself a gift.
How kewl is that? When was the last time you REALLY gave yourself a gift? When was the last time you really experienced the positive emotions of altruistic giving? AND at the same time, encounter the emotions of receiving that generosity? In this case, YOU get BOTH!! Now here is the last part of that, and it’s important – YOU are worthy of that gift! Don’t think you aren’t. There is no guilt in giving this to yourself. Repeat that over and over again.
Back at camp, I’m pretty happy with this revelation. It was not as crystal clear to me as it is right now, but more weight had been lifted off me for the time being. I could go through camp without feeling like I HAD to DO everything. I still participated in just about everything (Sorry KC, there was NO WAY I was going to do 6AM meditation), but it really became clear that this was a good thing the second night.
I didn’t go to the late group art activity. It was a pretty cool thing, but I was fried on sitting in chairs in a large group. I needed space (so I gave myself permission to take it), and I sat outside the event on the steps of the theater, and listened. It was totally what I needed. I got plenty of chill time, but also got some bonus one on one time with some other people that were feeling the same way. Not only did I get to experience that awesome one on one time (a big reason why I came to camp), but it affirmed for me that I was not alone in this “overwhelmed” feeling I was having.
The second big revelation that I gleaned from this camp experience came from again one of Jonathan’s talks, but also from key note speaker – Aviva Romm. Radical – Self – Care! What? Rick, this is another DUH! Right? We know we need to take care of ourselves, and we do it every day. Or do we?
How much sleep did you get last night? Do you even really know? Tell me every single thing you ingested yesterday. How much time did you spend moving vs. sitting? Did you pray/meditate/relax alone at all yesterday or this week? What music did you listen to? Okay, I think you get the drift. These are just a tiny example of the things we KNOW should be in our daily routine, but are too often left out.
Did you do something positive for YOUR Body – Spirit – Psyche today?
Here are just some basic examples – Body = Sleep, Diet, Exercise, Environment. Spirit = Love, Service, Connection, Purpose. Psyche = Quiet, Focus, Self-Awareness, Learning, Fun. Pay attention to these things and DO something for them every – single – day.
If you want to make changes in your life, these two things: Give yourself permission, and a routine of Self Care are truly the best place to start. Really. Not the books, the courses, the webinars, the research, the evaluations, or the marketing. It does not sound intuitive, but it really is the core of making any life change. Start small, 5 min. per day on
each and build a routine from there (you HAVE the time, you just aren’t making it). If you are a person who is in the midst of change in their life and are struggling, stop, look and see if your routine is missing, or needs tweaking. If you are on top of your game, and something all of a sudden seems a miss, look here first. Which just goes to show you, this is something for EVERYONE, not just the people at the beginning. When you first start out on the Monopoly board, you start at GO. Just remember though, with every successful turn around the board, you always have to come back to GO (remember to collect your $200).
Which brings me back to Camp GLP. I left still in a fog, and some of that still continues today. Hey, this care thing takes time <——-Remember that! I am in an infinitely better place than I was, and I can honestly thank camp for that. I DID end up meeting some REALLY awesome people! I DID gain some really insightful Knowledge and resources in the workshops. I DID get inspired, and I AM back on the road to awesomeness. It’s just not the road I thought it was going to be, and that’s okay. It may be slower, but it is a much better, and much healthier road, and I know now I can
do EVEN more than I thought possible before camp. Johnathan and Stephanie – Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Volunteers – Thank you so much for all your great service. Presenters and speakers – You lit up my mind. And Campers – You touched my heart and soul immensely! I look forward to more. The Road awaits, and I am excited to see where it goes!