A couple of weeks ago I went to grown-up summer camp. In three and a half days my mind and heart expanded in ways that are hard to describe – though I’ll give it a go.
But first, let me step back.
When I was a kid, I was often in disguise – and I didn’t even know it.
The last thing I wanted was to stand out like a sore thumb. I wanted to blend in, fit in, be accepted… belong. So because of that, I sometimes stretched or morphed myself into something I wasn’t, in order to be liked by the cool kids or be more like my friends.
The first couple years of high school were the exception. My friends and I were high on life. We had a blast hanging out, belting out songs from Grease while we walked to and from school, dancing in my best friend’s basement and laughing ‘til our bellies hurt.
When I was heading into grade 11, though, my family moved to a new town. It was a very different vibe. The kids there drank on weekends, so I started following suit. I didn’t want to be the oddball – I wanted to slip as comfortably as possible into the new setting, make new friends and be part of the fun.
But deep down, it didn’t feel like me.
Years later, although my disguises became less elaborate, I’d hide or downplay parts of myself that I felt were uncool or largely different from others. It wasn’t a conscious thing, it just kind of… happened.
Fast forward to now.
Maybe it’s age or a tiny bit of wisdom or life experience or self-love, but I’ve come to the point where being only partially me – and hiding other parts – has gotten too tiring. I’ve done a fair bit of self-work and I’ve (slowly) come to like all of me. And being real is far more important to me than the alternative.
It’s a journey though. Being totally ME without caring how I’m viewed by others, or whether or not I feel I belong, doesn’t necessarily come naturally in all situations. Sometimes it feels like I’m standing naked in the street with a bunch of people staring at me like I’m an alien.
Who wants to stand naked in the street? Not me.
Then Camp GLP happened
I’ve been following Jonathan Fields’ Good Life Project for a while now. His message and approach deeply resonate with me. So, back in 2014 when he and his amazing wife Stephanie created Camp GLP, a “summer camp for creative souls, entrepreneurs and change-makers,” I immediately felt an inner pull to go.
I didn’t make the leap that year or the following year, so this year when I saw the camp registration emails, my soul pretty much screamed at me to sign up. And I did.
I had the sense that in going to camp I’d be surrounded by people who, for the most part, see possibilities rather than limitations, and who believe that amazing things can happen when we show up authentically and come together as a group.
And I was right.
Camp was phenomenal for many reasons. Here’s just a short list:
- being wholeheartedly welcomed from the moment I arrived
- expanding my view of what’s possible, thanks to powerful keynotes and inspiring workshops
- having wonderful bunkmates from different parts of the world
- the chance to be a kid again (okay, I’ve always been a big kid)
- witnessing heart-expanding courage, vulnerability, talent and antics of the participants at Talent Night
- incredible volunteers and staff who walk their talk
- having beautiful, deep conversations with open-hearted ‘strangers’
- singing with abandon around the campfire (Summer of ’69 – yeah!)
- smiles and hugs and laughter
- high-vibe energy
But all of that said, the most powerful, valuable takeaway for me was that I can be just me, quirks and all – no façade, nothing – and that is enough.
Not that I didn’t know it on the surface, but at Camp GLP, I felt it.
I belong. Whether I’m by myself or at camp or at home or with friends or in my business, I belong.
My camp experience helped something within me click into place.
On the last day of camp, as people captured every last moment they could in conversation with fellow campers, I stood back for a few minutes alone, and watched with contentment. I felt at home with this group, but most importantly, I felt at home with ME.
Some stuff about me
In the spirit of all the people who genuinely and vulnerably showed up at camp, here are some truths about me:
I love to talk about possibilities and potential, rather than focus on problems.
I don’t generally talk politics. And it’s not because some would consider it impolite, it’s because I’m not particularly interested in it. (gasp)
I’m a positive person. It doesn’t mean I always have a huge grin on my face or that I don’t see challenges around me, it’s just that I choose to look for the good in people and situations, rather than focus on the darkness.
Even though I’m an empowerment coach, when it comes to figuring out my own sh*t, I’m bumping along the road of life like everyone else.
One thing that touches me deeply is seeing people step forward with courage and vulnerability. It can be in big or small ways, doesn’t matter.
I have a superpower – I can see the amazingness in people, even when they can’t see it in themselves.
I prefer the truth. Always. Even when it’s deep, messy or difficult to hear.
I approach life with an open mind and an open heart.
I don’t think very quickly on my feet (*sigh*). My husband does, which kind of drives me nuts.
I believe that life is magical when we allow it to be.
I follow my intuitive nudges, even when they don’t seem logical. I’ve learned that when I don’t pay attention to them, they eventually become so strong that I have to.
Being around people who routinely complain, blame others or argue about petty stuff drains the energy right out of me.
I believe in angels and spirit guides, yet for some reason I’m more comfortable using the terms “Universe” and “Source” rather than “God.”
I prefer deep, contemplative conversations rather than surface-y “look at what the weather is doing” stuff.
One of my biggest fears is looking stupid – and I’m a recovering perfectionist – so sometimes I hesitate to put myself out there.
I tend to be a bit wacky. I like that about me.
Thank you, Camp GLP, for holding the space for me to more fully step into this. I am incredibly grateful.
So that’s me. But I’d love to learn about YOU. If you’re up for it, share a truth about yourself in the comments below. After all, we’re all in this world together – and we’re less different than we may think.