I went to Connection Camp.
Holy-freakin' cow I was not expecting it to be as great as it actually ended up being. It wasn't as if I went in with low expectations, I actually went in with pretty high expectations since I never been to camp befrore. However what I expected and I what I got were two totally different things and I'm just immensely grateful to have had this opportunity to go.
Here's a quick rundown of what I expected:
Lots of walking
Some arts and crafts projects
Pool and/or lake
Here's a brief rundown of what I got:
"Healing" Sessions to overcome mental roadblocks
Non-judgemental yoga session with Vinny from Stretching in Public
Self-confidence for performing in a talent show
Empowerment and sensuality thanks to Shane from Enchanted Embodiment
Lots of walking (in heels!)
Tarot and astrology lessons from Matt and several others
Mucho Words of Affirmation and Cuddles 💛
Pool with two waterslides (and yes, a lake)
Self-discovery with a whole lotta folks
Authentic friendships and tools to communicate effectively with them (and others!)
And so much more...
It's really difficult to just put everything into words. Written words. I knew I was going in to rediscover myself, but I guess I was not expecting the impact that I received from it. I also forgot to add all the laughter that I had throughout the days. Seriously, I laughed so hard.
It's the community
The community, the people, really made Connection Camp what it really was. Ollie was such a great facilitator for the Circling exercises over the weekend, not to mention a great musician! Marc led an amazing workshop and managed to keep everyone in line despite how tension sometimes ran high in the room. Jordan reinvigorated my passion and desire to write by creating a fun, nonjudgmental, and creative environment as we wrote underneath the very warm afternoon sun. Extra shout outs go to "sister-wife" Heather, David, Rachel, Jessica, "camp mom" Annanee, Glenn, Leanne, Beth, Jason, Alison, Lenore, Nate, Mary, Rob, Stephanie, "boy wonder" Curtis, Viggie, Danielle, Ricardo, Svet Lana, Marc, Shama, Benjy, Alexandra, Trinity, Towfiq, Rishe, Jerry, Erin... and goodness, there are so many people, people whom I wouldn't be able to give proper credit for leaving an impact in my heart and mind.
And that's the thing... I'm the kind of person who goes to conventions such as Anime Boston, Comic Con, PAX, etc... While yes there's a sense of community in those niche conventions, never had I felt such an authentic connection with people in such a short amount of time. While hurts me to say that I doubt I'll be able to keep in touch with everyone (because goodness, we only have 24 hours in a day!), I feel so blessed to have been touched by every single individual while I was there at camp. The lessons I learned, the memories we shared. It all was special to me and they will be in my heart for being such accepting, kind, and open-minded individuals.
While all of this was fresh in my mind, I wanted to write it down. All of it down. I didn't want to just wait until the weekend when I could write, edit, write, edit some more, and then make a pretty fancy banner for this post. I just wanted to write it without editing too much. To get my thoughts out on this blog, it's the whole reason I created it right? This is my place to share my growth and boy did I grow!
For those of you who are less interested in the emotional stuff and want to know 'what the hell did I specifically learn', here is a short list.
Listen more. Fight against the need to speak up and interrupt people and let them have their moment to shine and express themselves.
It's okay to say no. I wanted to do all the workshops, participate in all the events, and eventually, that exhausted me.
First impressions do not reveal everything. Beth was my bunkmate and I thought she was going to be the absolute worst when she came into our cabin. During our Creative Writing workshop a few hours later, I found out she was a true sweetheart and just needed some coffee (like me!)
People do not always have ulterior motives. In this day and age, we are taught that everyone has a secret evil agenda. And while, yes there are people in the world who only care for themselves, there are plenty of others who really do have your best intentions in mind.
Communication is everything, not just verbal either!
Even the beautiful have their insecurities
Great things (such as musicals) can be made in a short amount of time.
Heart-to-heart hugging is the absolute best. This can be done by making sure you 'go right' when you go for your hugs. This way your heart and the other individual's heart are aligned.
Stay hydrated always.
There is such a thing as too much sun... Even if you are Cuban, love sunshine, and think that you are impervious to everything.
I want to say so much more, but honestly, if I continued I'd never be done with writing this post and I really really need to be done writing. While being temporarily teleported to a surreal heavenly place known as Connection Camp is amazing, I'm now back in reality and work needs to get done.