In late August I spent a weekend attending Camp Good Life Project (aka: Camp), a cross between sleep-away summer camp, yoga retreat, artist colony and business training. Camp GLP is the brain child of Jonathan Fields, a self-reported middle-aged Dad, New Yorker and podcaster who claims he fuels himself on dark chocolate. (I doubt it. I personally think he fuels himself on positive people and adds coffee and chocolate). The relevance of Camp GLP for this blog and my life is that it is a great example of the inner growth we can experience by being a part of a high-energy group. By high-energy, I’m not talking about type-A personalities or people go to the gym. I’m referring to the level of consciousness or overall orientation towards life.
Camp brings together an eclectic mix of people and their passions. I loved the morning guided meditation and yoga, while others went on a group run or slept late. Workshops ranged from artistic to entrepreneurial to transcendent. I participated in a workshop on storytelling, a class on how to design a purpose driven social media strategy and a session on handling uncertainty. Other campers spent their days painting a massive mural, learning about vegetarian cooking and making malas.
As the energy of love builds in us, it starts to have a healing effect. Strange things happen through the energy of Camp. People hug you and it’s the first time you’ve met. You feel a deep connection to other campers and bond over your love of New Mexican green chili. The group comes together out of a shared commitment to practicing acceptance of self-and others. What everyone has in common is a way of looking for meaning in life, a personal search of sorts. It’s rare that someone asks you what you do for a living, campers will ask you about your journey, what brought you to Camp.
5 reasons why I think everyone should be a part of a high-energy group:
- You get to be yourself, whatever that looks like
One of the play-based activities offered in the afternoon was a Color War, a team relay race. I wasn’t into Color Wars in high school and I’m not now either, but I was impressed by how compassionate I was with myself for preferring to walk around the idyllic lake instead of participating. Camp helped to teach me that I should just accept my preferences and go with them.
- Your stereotypes and judgements of both self and others dissolve
My first year at camp (2017 was my second year) I was surprised to be greeted on arrival by a man dressed up in a unicorn costume singing through a megaphone. I immediately placed him in a “hyperactive and overbearing” mental box. He later shattered my stereotype by leading the guided meditation the next morning and a workshop on spiritual transformation.
- You experience a sense of inspiration and what is possible
Being with a group of people who are helpful to each other and ask for nothing in return often goes against our experience in ordinary life, but in a high-energy group it is the norm. I am somewhat of a beginning blogger and entrepreneur, and help I had been looking for came to me just by talking to other campers. I felt inspired by their stories and seeing that many of them had been right where I currently am. It’s true that old saying, that each person on the path makes it a little bit easier for those who come afterwards. Some of the answers seemed to come right out of the energy field itself, and I had to steal away for a few minutes to sit and write it all down in my journal.
- You realize that inner imbalances are shifting and healing
At nights the whole camp group would come together for “Camp Jams” to listen to inspirational speakers. Chris Guillebeau creator of the World Domination Summit spoke of his personal quest in travel and in life, and Rev Angel Kyodo Williams, a Buddhist monk spoke about getting involved in the conversation about race and her book Radical Dharma.
Something about her message didn’t resonate with me, as I couldn’t understand why a Buddhist would advocate getting involved in worldly affairs. I realized that when we are on any spiritual path it pulls up inner conflicts that operate in any area of our lives for resolution. This is not so unlike my own desire to reconcile self-expression and work in the world.
- You feel grateful about the whole experience and realize that gratitude is the whole point
After contemplating Rev Angel’s message, I realized that my take-away from the weekend was about integration. For many of us, daily struggles come from the process of trying to integrate our highest values with the challenges life presents to us. I felt grateful that I had the opportunity to be with such a committed group of people and happy that my own questions found resolution, despite the discomfort. What keeps us going in life is our connection to others and the recognition that we are both dependent and being depended upon at all times. Gratitude is really about the courage to stay on the path of self-discovery, by being thankful for all experiences along the way.