I had the pleasure of attending my summer camp reunion. They were celebrating their 95th year. As a child, my sister and I went to Camp Fernwood in Maine for 8 weeks (my parents promise they missed us terribly!) My sister was the perfect camper, playing by the rules. I, however, loved to break the rules and had mixed memories of my camp experience–unsure if I had made a mistake in coming.
I have been to my high school reunion and made sure to look my best. After all, I was not in the cool group and needed to impress. I will be joining my husband at his upcoming 40th law school reunion and was concerned about looking great in front of his old girlfriend, until he informed me she was 72 (about 7 years older than he is). He told me not to worry–people will think I am his trophy wife!
My camp reunion was different. No makeup (well almost), sloppy shirts and t-shirts, no hair styling, and no one cared what you did for a living, how much money you had, whether you were single, divorced, married, kids, grandchildren or anything else. Fourteen of us wanted to be together in a cabin with no power and one bathroom–somehow it was okay.
There were campers attending from the age of 15 to 85. I was catapulted back to a time where we all wore green and white, shirts (tucked in of course), slept in bunks that had no power, went to flag raising, canoed, swam, sang the same timeless songs, song lead, color war, campfire, and so much more. Even my first year counselor was there.
It was a time of no hiding behind identities to impress others or create a sense of self.
I relate this to the core of yoga philosophy. Who are you beyond who you see yourself to be? I had thought of myself as the trouble maker at camp, but the truth is, I was just being me: a bit of mischief, with no harm done.
I struggled at times during the weekend as many who attended had been to many reunions and had children who also attended camp. There were a lot of people, and I like peace and quiet. I began to feel a bit overwhelmed and not a part of it, so I went right to my comfort zone. I taught a group of campers some chair yoga. Ahhh, how we like our comfort zone. The great thing about that was I noticed this and made a decision to include myself rather than isolate. An opportunity and a choice to stay in solution.
All in all, the weekend was wonderful. I realize that my perception of my early experiences was focused on what I did not enjoy. Going back, I received the gift of remembering how much of it I loved.
Begin to notice what you do to get into your comfort zone. Notice if your focus is on the positive or the negative. You might realize that all you need to do is stay open to the possibilities and be just plain old you.
I have caught myself singing camp songs, even today. I will be returning for the 100th–maybe with some new pranks up my sleeve!