CAMPING FOR CONSCIOUSNESS| HOW I OVERCAME MY FEAR OF CAMPING

Being outdoors and sleeping under the stars has become one of my favorite hobbies. If you would’ve told me a few years ago that I’d be sleeping in a tent, surrounded by wild animals, cooking up meals out in nature, I would’ve looked at you like you had two heads. Me, camping? First of all, I’m black and black people don’t go camping. Second of all, there’d be all types of creatures just waiting to maul me in my sleep. Third of all, revert back to second of all…Yup. That was me. I was afraid at even the idea of camping. It turns out that what I was really afraid of though, was the unknown. Like a lot of people who’ve never been camping before I had a lot of what ifs running through my head. What if a creature attacks me in the night? What about personal hygiene? What if. What if. What if. What if… That is until one day, I actually took a leap of faith and I tried camping out for myself. As it turns out, it wasn’t so scary after-all! In fact, it was actually an amazing experience! 

Breathtaking scenery. Check. Being able to actually star gaze because of the lack of light pollution. Check. Peace away from the city. Check. I quickly realized that going on camping adventures was like going on a mini vacation, and that’s exactly why I keep going back today. I mean, who doesn’t like mini vacations?! And do you know what makes camping even more awesome? The simple fact that all of those things that I was afraid of about camping, have never actually happened. Not even once, and I’ve been camping a lot. In fact, I’ve really had nothing but fun, positive experiences while camping, and honestly, I’m more afraid of being in the city these days…haha. 

 

 

I woke up to these Big Horned Sheep (rams) grazing only a few feet away from my tent. It was awesome! They just grazed on the leaves and went about their business. They didn’t bother me at all. Most animals won’t. They’re more afraid of you than you are of them.

Wild animals? Trust me they’re more afraid of you then you are of them. Keep a good distance, don’t bother them, and you’ll be be perfectly fine. Personal hygiene? Some campgrounds have flush toilets and even hot showers! So choose wisely and you can still enjoy some of your favorite creature comforts. Even still, vault toilets really aren’t all that bad, and when you’re truly roughing it, a nice log can feel just as comfy as a toilet seat if you know how to squat well. The point is, I’m not afraid anymore. I turned my fear of camping around into an excitement for camping instead. An excitement for the next new place that I’ll discover on my adventures. An excitement for the next cool animal that I’ll get to see. An excitement for the next new boulder that I’ll climb that stands in my way, both literally and figuratively.

 

Camping has done more for me than just provide me with a fun new hobby. Camping has completely changed my whole outlook on life. It’s changed me. I’m no longer that fear struck woman whose afraid to take life by the reigns and do things on her own. I’m no longer that person who complains about how unfulfilling their life is, while doing nothing to inject more fun and adventure into it. These days, I’m an adventure seeking, heart of the brave independent woman who lives her life on her own terms. A woman whose on a mission to explore both herself and her outer world, one new adventure at a time.

Camping isn’t for everyone, and that’s okay. Ultimately, this post really isn’t about camping. Camping isn’t for everyone, and that’s okay. Ultimately, this post really isn’t about camping. It’s about facing your fears (whatever they may be) and about doing what sets your soul on fire anyway. It’s about being open to trying new experiences, because life’s way too short, and you just never know! You just might find something out there that you never knew you’d like! Remember, you can try and do anything. Ultimately, the only thing holding you back is yourself, your mind, and fear.

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HOW A PAIR OF BIRDS TAUGHT ME HOW TO LOVE MYSELF

Some days I look at myself in the mirror and I don’t like what I see. Some days, I do. On those days when I do, I feel like I’m on top of the world. Even then, all it takes is for me to step outside and get side eyed by some random stranger, and suddenly the belief that I’m ugly and not good enough comes rushing right back in. All it takes is one look of disgust. For some reason I seem to get these looks from people all of the time. What I find strange is that I get these looks much less when I’m covered up from head to toe in an over-sized sweat shirt and sweatpants. Instead, it’s when I try to dress up even remotely girly and sexy, that I’m quickly reminded by everyone around me that I’m anything but. Or so it would seem. Why does it seem like everyone’s always judging me on my appearance?

I get it. I really do. You think I’m hideous. How dare I have the nerve to try and dress up to make myself feel good. You obviously think that everyone who doesn’t fit in with the conventional standards of beauty should just go sit in a corner somewhere and die. Instead of drawing attention to ourselves, we should try to blend in with the crowd. After-all, nobody wants to see our ugly face or disgusting bodies. Got it. The thing is though, by my very nature and personality, I’m bound to draw attention from people. For god sakes I’m almost 30 years old, I dress predominantly in all black, I ride around on a massive unconventional fat tired bike, and I’m usually sporting a pair of animal ears on my crazy haired head. 

The thing that I don’t understand is, though, is that if me being my unconventional self makes me happy, then why can’t you just be happy for me?The truth is. It’s not even your fault. It’s mine. The law of vibration and energy applies to EVERYTHING, and not just experiences that I pick and choose whenever I don’t feel like taking responsibility for my own vibes. In other words, if I’m attracting experiences in my life where I feel like I’m always being judged by other people, then I really need to take a look at my own beliefs and ask myself why that is. What am I doing to create these negative unwanted experiences in my life? I think I might have found the answer to this question over the weekend. The other day the universe reminded me of a very valuable lesson, and it came in the form of birds…

So I was at the park doing what I normally do. I was practicing my daily qigong flow, doing my acupressure points, deep breathing in some fresh air, sunbathing, and just taking in the beautiful views of nature all around me. As I was laying on my blanket, two birds began to inch closer and closer over to me. It was kind of cute at first glance, but I really didn’t take much interest because in my mind they were just your standard typical pigeons, and nothing special. Not only were they “just pigeons”, they were making some jerky neck movements that kind of creeped me out, and honestly after awhile I just wanted them to get away from me.

Just as I was harshly judging these birds, a cute little brown bird appeared seemingly out of nowhere in the midst of this sea of black pigeons. Everything about this bird from the way that it looked all the way down to the way that it hopped around like a cute little bunny was just adorable, and before I knew it the oo’s and the awes came pouring out and I instantly wanted this cute little bird to hop on over my way. In that moment, suddenly I had realized what I had done. I had judged those poor little birds solely based off of their physical appearance. I DID TO THOSE BIRDS EXACTLY WHAT I CLAIMED THAT OTHER PEOPLE DO TO ME. 

That’s when I began to realize that I was the one who was judging everything. Not only do I sometimes judge things in my environment harshly, but what’s even worse is that I also sometimes judge myself just as harsh. Just like the jerky neck movements of the pigeons, if there’s any flaw that I perceive on myself on any given day, I quickly start to feel like I’m not good enough. A valuable lesson was reinforced in me that day. Firstly that our experiences are always just a reflection of our own beliefs. The universal law of like attracts like always stands, and we do in fact create our own reality through our own perception. The bottom-line is, if I want to stop being judged by other people, then I need to stop judging myself and everything around me. After all, who says that the butterfly is better than the moth? Who says that the butterfly should be set free while the moth needs to be smashed with a shoe, simply because of its appearance? Every being is worthy no matter what they look like or no matter their perceived flaws.

We’re all living, breathing creatures of god and we’re all beautiful. Yes, everyone has their own preferences and that’s fine. Still, everyone deserves love and respect. Everyone deserves to feel beautiful, to be happy, and to be treated with love and kindness, even if they’re not to your preference. Most of all, before we can accept love, we must first show that same love to ourselves. We must believe that we deserve respect, that we are worthy, lovable, beautiful and awesome. Those birds, they taught me a lot that day. Best of all, they taught me that I shouldn’t be ashamed of my uniqueness. They taught me that I shouldn’t care about blending in with the crowd and that I should just be me, Courtney. They taught me to love myself and all beings unconditionally, and that harsh judgments only keep us from seeing the unique beauty that lies in everyone and in everything.

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