lessons from lightning – part 1
I wrote a similar version of this post earlier today on the Blowfish blog and wanted to post it here as well. :]
I went to the Lightning in a Bottle music festival over Memorial Day weekend with Logan and with a bunch of friends. It started off rough, and ended up being amazing and transformational. I feel like I learned 3 big lessons from the experience, and this part is about GRATITUDE.
The experience started off a little rough. Traffic sucked, we were running late, made a detour to go to a store that ended up being closed, and I was feeling anxious. We arrived late Thursday night, there was no cell phone service, and as it turned out, the friend we were meeting up with had fallen asleep. After trudging around with our stuff without finding him, we found a random space to camp that seemed really far from everything. We opened our tent to find out that dust from Burning Man had destroyed the elastic holding the poles together, and it was broken and totally unusable. Luckily, our friends were awesome and their tent was huge, so they said that we could crash with them.
We woke up to getting rained on because we had gotten cocky about the weather and decided NOT to put the rain cover on. We decided to go to our cars to charge our cell phones, and we somehow timed this journey horribly. You took a shuttle back from the parking lot to the camping area, and we lined up to wait for the shuttle just as the last one was driving away before they took a long break for lunch. By the time we got back to our tent, our short ‘trip to the car’ had taken well over 3 hours.
I was frustrated and grumpy and felt like I was wasting my money and time. I ended up taking this out on Logan and we argued which just made me feel worse. The couple we were with was about 3 months into their relationship – deep in honeymoon stage. It was messing with my head to see them be cute and cuddly. They were happy and in love with each other and I felt like Logan and I were not happy and not acting very in love. I felt like I was the group’s dead weight – the Negative Nancy in the corner who was dragging everyone down.
I’m not sure what it is about events and festivals that makes me like this – I’m pretty sure it’s the cost of the ticket – but I put so much pressure on myself to make everything perfect that I drive myself bonkers.
Our friends ended up going out to check out some music and Logan stayed with me at camp while I was an emotional mess. I was angry at myself for arguing with Logan, and I was blaming myself for ruining not only my day but his day too. I was in this horrible negative spiral where I was upset about the circumstances and also upset about how I responded to them and then I just got more upset about being upset. Around and around and around. At one point I told Logan that I felt like a worthless pile of black sludge. He tried to help me but I was just overflowing with hate for myself, so he was having a hard time getting through to me.
I finally said to him desperately, “I don’t know how to not be miserable.”
He looked at me and said “why don’t you just try.” I thought he had misheard me, and also thought it was a ludicrous suggetion so I said “try what? Not being miserable?”
“Exactly,” he said.
And that stopped me. I realized that if I was going to get out of this negative trap, I needed to REVERSE my thinking. Completely.
- Instead of thinking that we were wasting our festival money by spending time in camp and not seeing bands all day, I decided to be grateful that I could afford a ticket in the first place.
- Instead of thinking that I wasn’t doing all I could to make things awesome, I decided to be grateful that it was only Friday and I was off of work and had a 4-day weekend ahead of me.
- Instead of feeling sorry for myself that our tent was broken, I decided to be grateful that our friends kick serious butt and let us camp with them.
- Instead of feeling upset about things with Logan, I decided to be grateful that he was willing to stay with me for hours and get me sorted out.
I started crying again as these feelings of gratitude washed over me, and as I explained my feelings to Logan I realized one more thing that I needed to be grateful for: me. Just as I was. Imperfect, sometimes grumpy, sometimes a crying mess, but ME. I needed to be grateful for MYSELF as well.
Cue more crying [of course] followed by hugs for days and jubillant dancing with friends.
I feel like that whole experience was the universe just trying to show me how important it was to be grateful – for what I have and also for how things are going. I stress myself out a lot when going out because I get worried that things are going to take long, and I’m usually the driver, and I don’t want to make everyone wait. I need to realize that none of my friends would fault me if finding a parking space took longer than a few minutes – that’s just how it goes sometimes. Usually you end up being late and then meeting some crazy character and it’s all just as the universe intended.
So, your homework & mine is this: for the next week, write out a gratitude list every morning before you leave the house. Take time to check in with yourself mentally and put yourself in a positive outlook for the day.
xx sending tons of love to all of you!