It's a Good Thing To Feel Uncomfortable with New Experiences Traveling the World
It took me only 30 minutes at the Sh'Bang Music & Arts Festival to wish I could find a way outta there! Three days later, I was crying because I didn't want to leave. It all boiled down to being outside my comfort zone - I was in a new place, with new people, and new music. Everything was overwhelming because I couldn't find anything really familiar to latch onto. Normally, at music festivals, I'm bumping up and down against stranger's bodies, wearing nearly nothing but sparkles and the EDM bass is heavy, lazerlights are zooming overhead, the air is hot and warm, the earth is dusty and the unicorn floaties around bouncing around through the sardine packed crowed. Yah, that's my normal. So when I arrived in the damp chilly Northwest forest, surrounded by open space, cowboys plucking on banjos, hippies wearing earth-tones and pirates teaching me how to dance the Charlston I was a little out of my cozy place. I am really amazed at how quickly I wanted to pull the trigger and leave. I was like, "Cool. Been here, seen it, ready to go!" And my husband was like...ummm let's stay. I think it will be really fun. He was right because I got to see & do so many cool things AND I learned some important lessons:
LESSON ONE: Everything new is uncomfortable at first. Stick around until it becomes familiar and then suddenly you'll be comfortable again. The discomfort is just a sign of newness...not a sign that something is necessarily wrong. The faster you start talking to people, exploring, touching things, learning eagerly like a child about this new environment, the faster your brain will understand it and find it's place.
LESSON TWO: Everything is weird to someone. Festivals of any kind are a gathering of people who have a similar way of how they like to be weird. So drop the judgement and replace it with acceptance. You think they're weird and they think you're weird...so why not be weird together.
LESSON THREE: You need to take a break if you're going to find clarity. I was stressin' about taking another weekend off, another weekend at a festival, another weekend NOT making money. I was stressin' about which path to take in life, what actions to take when I got home. I just wanted to keep figuring it out, journaling and brainstorming. But I was forced to swim around naked with hippies until I finally looked up and noticed birds flying in the trees and saw the texture of the clouds and remembered what it's like to just be alive in the present moment, right here & now. In that present moment, I knew exactly what I need/want to do (create & share music, heal people with music, travel with music...) and I didn't need to 'think about it'. The thinking was only happening because I was trapped in my brain (a messy labyrinth) rather than in the present moment where you can see where you are and what needs to happen next (just like crossing a river from stone to stone....you have to be present to know which step to take next).
LESSON FOUR: I have some deep need to be seen, to be perfect and to be strong. I didn't make any progress beyond these realizations but the fact I became aware of them this weekend is the first step and if I hadn't stuck around for the weekend, who knows if I would have had those self-awareness breakthroughs.
LESSON FIVE (MOST IMPORTANT): Without your health you have nothing. Your experience of the world will be more/less enjoyable depending on your physical health. Everything is going to suck, be uncomfortable, irritating, depressing, not good enough, negative. The two weeks leading up to Sh'Bang I had not taken care of myself. I'd overpartied,, underslept, overeaten, underhydrated, overthought, underexercised, underperformed at work, got totally overwhlemed with life decisions and underprepared for the weekend. I was operating on 3 hours of sleep, a stuff bloated stomach full of sugar and carbs, I didn't pack the right clothes for the festival (I was thinking it was going to be warm and sunny but it was wet and cold and I was literally in my tent alone shivering and swearing about how much I hate the PNW in the winter and I hate everything in life right now and I just want to go to the gorge. ha! I realized that I felt like shit physically, so no wonder I wanted to go home. I wasn't the best version of myself, up for making new friends or handling new experiences. Realizing this, I immediately started fixing this problem. At the festival, I cleaned up my diet, went on runs, meditated, borrowed clothes to stay dry and warm, got as much sleep as I could and practiced positive thinking. By Sunday afternoon I returned home a new woman, excited about my next adventure.
LESSON SIX: People need people. When I wasn't feeling well, I isolated myself and it made everything worse and more uncomfortable because I felt out of place, like I didn't belong with 'those people'. As soon as I started talking to people, making friends, joking around and touching people (dancing, swimming, yoga etc...) I felt connected and a part of the community. It's difficult to feel uncomfortable when you feel like you belong. It's difficult to feel like you don't belong if you're surrounded by friends :) So if you find yourself without friends, go make new ones!