So here I was after jumping out the taxi that was stuck in traffic on route to Body and Soul festival www.bodyandsoul.ie . It's certainly my favourite Irish festival (the Irish really have got it nailed in terms of what it takes to do a great one). So, as I say I'd jumped out the taxi and was walking in the baking Weastmeath sunshine not knowing exactly how far I had to go. The my big yellow XL rucksack on my back was filled with clothes, tent, sleeping bag, beers, Buckfast (its a tonic wine don't you know), walking boots, healthy food (just incase my mum is reading) and all the other festival nick backs required...And you know what? It was bloody heavy.
My walk changed to a bit of a slow stagger but I tried to keep my head up, eyes forward and core engaged. Then I started getting the odd shout from the gridlocked cars. Cheery offers of a lift, smiling faces asking if I was OK, offers to take my bag in so I could stroll and enjoy the can I was sipping to stay hydrated as that's really important (you do read these mum don't you?). I turned a few down as didn't think it would be far, had a laugh and joke with a more drivers then eventually admitted defeat and took a ride from some kind friends of mine (thanks Claudia!).
As I sat it in the car I realised that this festival, and certain others, could really teach us some valuable lessons that make a huge difference to the life we have. So I've jotted down a few that were consistently displayed over the weekend. Doing this helps me take stock of a wonderful weekend. As your reading this I thought you may be interested in thinking about which you already put into practice & which could make a difference to yourself and those who come into contact with you.
Go into each situation with an attitude of wonder
This Life Lesson is shown consistently at many festivals I've been at but I did make a point of sitting at the entrance to soak it in at this one (this was nothing to do with me being shattered from my walk in, ahem). Its probably easier for me explain what most weren't doing which was:
- worrying about the potential weather
- comparing themselves to how they were looking compared to everyone else
- stressing about their tent location & their tent 'putty uppy' skills
- questioning whether they will stay awake for their favourite band
Basically judging whether their experience was going to be good or bad before it even happened. What I did witness was people coming on with a real attitude of bring it on. People who looked totally in the moment & just taking in & on what ever was put in front of them. They weren't lost in thinking they were fully present (until the beer kicked in of course). I witnessed tent mishaps met with smiles then action. People weren't chasing a feeling of fun they were just living it.
What situations have you already thought up either how you are going to feel or how you think you should feel? How would you benefit from just dropping all that and throwing yourself into the experience with innocent eyes?
Open your eyes to the beauty around you
Body and Soul goes to amazing lengths to make the whole place a treat for the eyes. Everyone who goes knows that they are going to see something special & this year was no different. Part of me wishes I had my camera or had even brought my phone out with me but that would be missing the point. So many wonderful things to see & thats what I decided to do, look at them first hand. Sitting in the walled garden area on the Sunday it was so nice just to hang with friends in a wonderful space. I left my phone in the tent & I'm really glad that I did, it certainly has had me thinking about the amount of things I miss out on when walking around town.
Recognise that you do influence the mood of others
Dancing away to DJ Sally Cinnamon in the Wonderlust area I couldn't help but notice how much fun she was having up there. When she waved her hands above her head from side to side with the music the sizeable crowd joined in unison. One persons positive mood and actions affecting everyone who was engaged with her and her set.
Walking around the festival area and campsite I was struck by how many people would smile & say hello, sometimes even a high five or a hug. Now I was in a belting mood anyway but each person who did this too me helped raise my mood even higher. With me in a tip top mood I was smiling at more people, having more chats, walking around with my head up and connecting with loads of people (now for all I know I could have been annoying the shit out of them but hopefully not).
Research by Nicholas Chystakis showed how happiness and depression are contagious through social networks out to three degrees of separation. An example of that would be in the case of Sally who first of all affected the guys at the gig, those big smiley wavy armed dudes would in turn affect those they came into contact with next and then they in turn would affect those they met. So in theory a warm smile, a hug, hello or handshake etc could affect so many people that you don't even know. In Sallys case with that one gig you are talking about potentially thousands of people, what a gift :-) Disclaimer : This is also the case for negative engagement so be aware
It's so sunny outside I'm away to smile at a few strangers and hopefully positively infect their friends and their friends too! I'll be back next week with more Life Lessons from the festival.
Take is easy and make it easy
John :-) x