Good evening champs, it’s a chilly Tuesday evening and I just ate a bowl of spam, eggs, and fried rice. Guess what, I ain’t even mad about it because I’ve been eating somewhat clean for the past week…yeah, that’s how I am going to justify this in my mind. Anyways, it’s been a solid month since my last blog post and boy oh boy has a lot happened.  Yet, I want to focus on one thing, in particular, CAMP.

Two weeks ago I headed up to Big Bear with 200 creatives, most of which were complete strangers, and surrender all connections to the outside word a.k.a. your technology. With a pretty solid idea of what was to occur over the course of four days, I discovered it was much more than I could have possibly imagined. CAMP is the opportunity to be raw, open and honest with yourself and the two hundred individuals around you. It is an open space to speak your truth and to let go. It’s an opportunity to look at yourself, your life and the world from a different perspective as the individuals you come in contact with shed some light. It’s a chance to unplug and provide your mind with time to breathe and focus on what is truly important. Two workshops, in particular, flung the doors of my mind wide open and hit my heart strings in a way I never saw coming. As often as I reflect, there are still the distractions of everyday life and the internal struggle of opening up to those around me when something is happening as opposed to when I’ve already handled it on my own. CAMP created a safe space and changed that. I learned a lot about myself in those four short days and I continue to learn more about myself as I reflect on the experience over time. 


So, shall I start with the first workshop? 

My first workshop was with Emily Duval and I wish I could remember the exact title of the workshop, but it’s really escaping my brain. I believe it was something along the lines of, All About You: Your Place in the Universe but I could be totally wrong. Not the point though, the point is I exposed myself to a handful of strangers. Now, before you say, “So what, you do that every day via your social media and occasionally via your blog.” You’re not wrong, but here is the main difference. I don’t feel eyes staring at me as the words fall my from lips. No one hears the tone of my voice or gazes at my facial expressions when he/she reads a post, rather the tone is determined by the reader and the reader is hidden behind a screen. 

I first began the workshop by looking at a handful of rocks, gems, and marbles placed on the floor in front of me. I felt a few in my hand, paid attention to the color and the minute details others might miss. Once I collected my rocks, I began to place them down in front me, thinking about each little detail in the process. The first rock I placed represented myself, it was sea foam green with smooth edges. Yet if you looked closely, you could feel the tiny cracks hidden amongst the surface. I was initially attracted to the color, as the color reminded me of the ocean by the side of a cliff and the ocean has always been my happy place; a place where I can fully escape reality and recharge. The smooth texture of the surface represents my soft side. I've always believed in being raw, throwing love around like it's confetti and remaining compassionate. The subtle cracks in the surface represent the damaged bits of myself, the parts I hide from those around me. Yet despite the cracks, I am still whole.

After that, I placed the remainder of marbles/rocks which would represent my family, my friends, my future, my past and the three most important people to me in LA. With each rock, I supplied an in-depth description as I provided above and somewhere along the way, my smile started shining bright like a neon sign while simultaneously feeling tears swell up in my eyes. It was a wild experience, but I felt like I had finally spoken some peace into the universe. That alone, that moment right there, was enough to make CAMP a majestical experience. 

The second workshop to hit the old heart strings was Movement with Toogie and Shaun. I honestly don't know if words can do this class justice as the whole point was to move with your body to express emotion. I will, however, share one moment with you. At one point in the workshop, Shaun asked us to imagine ourselves standing in front of us. Yet instead of tearing yourself apart, build yourself up...this was the moment I internally lost my shit. As someone who's overly critical of herself, it is not often I take the time out of my day to speak highly of myself to myself. For the next five minutes or however long the song was, I moved limb by limb across the field while imagining the person I've always wanted to become. So, I started with the bits of myself I don't love as much as I should and I found reasons to love them. I am literally typing and deleting as I question how raw to get with you all right now.  Uh, let's supply one instead of the whole wagon. I question myself, in multiple ways, from my appearance to my worth. To combat the self-doubt and lack of self-love, I told myself I was uniquely beautiful, inside and out. Which to be fair, is simple and cliche, but true. I told myself I deserve to give myself the same amount of love I supply to everyone around me, and then I allowed my thoughts to run with it. 

Now, I would like to preface that the entire CAMP experience was remarkable and each workshop offered something different. I stepped WAY out of my comfort bubble with Allison Becker in Improv. I got crafty with Lindsay Zuelich in a Woodworking Workshop where I assembled a business card holder. I meditated via painting with Scott Bombs in a sign painting class. I approached strangers, in a cafeteria, which is low key terrifying and definitely takes you back to high school. I danced my ass off in a Wayne Campbell assemble and booty bumped my way across the dance floor. I laughed endlessly and I formed friendships I hope only flourish in the future. 

I let go and I gained a tremendous amount because of it. 

With all that being said, I would like to say thank you to everyone who offered a warm smile, a hug and a bit of laughter at CAMP. I appreciate each and every one of you. Thank you Marco and Jutstin for making sure I didn't die on the top of the mountain. You two are the real MVPs. Most importantly, thank you Sonja, Kate & Kara for extending the invite and showing me the world of CAMP. I have an insurmountable amount of gratitude for the three of you in my heart.

Keep on keepin' on. 

Oh yeah, before I forget, CAMP withdrawal with 100% a thing. I am missing the vibes of Big Bear and all of the CAMPers. 

P.S. My grammatical errors are made with love as I wanted this piece to be as raw as possible. If I went back over with a fine tooth grammatical comb, I would have over edited the entire thing. 

Casha DoemlandComment