Monday night I arrived home from my favorite dance event – Croatian Summer Salsa Festival. Held in the fantastic town of Rovinj which has stolen my heart from the very first sight, four years ago. Two weeks I have spent dancing, meeting people and enjoying life.
There has been so much enjoying that at times I wanted to throw my arms into the air and shout on the top of my lungs. The first time I enter the sea and it catches me in its arms like a lover, carrying me and stroking my skin. The moment I share a meal in the place from the last year, and the waiter recognizes us, laughs and brings schnapps on the house. The moment we dance and sing alone to “One love” reggae while the sun is going down over our last pool party. And all those moments I meet old friends, new friends – and then again say good-bye to them. I would come home at 6am at the sunrise and could not sleep, my heart overflowing with the emotions and gratitude. Love and gratitude have been the air I breathe in and out.
I never expect great revelations from these two weeks as I go just for fun, chill, dance and swimming. And who would say that partying all day and all night, dancing at the beach, in the pool and on the streets, could be a source of any spiritual experience! 🙂 But here I am, full of happy memories and insights. And I want to share them with you. The lessons the life was teaching me on the dancefloor (and around it).
- Love is the answer.
That was a text on my t-shirt. Which was a great conversation opener. People would read it and start talking to me. Asking “and what’s on the back?” and giving their proposals of what could have been there (great idea, by the way, if you want to meet people but don’t want to show much of your body. Cuz yes, it is a Latin dance festival, and there can be many, mmm, interesting outfits)). But if you want to keep it cool and simple – a happy face and a funny t-shirt can do the job too ;)).
So yes, love is the answer. Whatever you do, do it for the sake of love. I have seen people stressing around to catch every event of the program, running from workshops to the beach party and then to the night party in the main venue. I have seen people with hungry eyes, like they were constantly searching for something. And I could recognize myself in some of them. When I was the first year festivalee, I was so much like them. Trying to catch it all. Be in every place. Attend every party. Dance to every song.
This time was my fourth time. I can call myself a veteran now)). They should put stripes on my shoulder, like in the military! This time I was way more relaxed. So relaxed that I missed some parties and went sleeping instead. That I didn’t care when it was rainy or cloudy – I would be happily sitting in my favorite hotel Adriatic, drinking coffee, eating breakfast, writing and savoring every second. I even danced less and talked more at every party. On my remark about it, one friend asked: “But do you feel good?” Yes, I feel good. I feel fantastic! So why stress? Why think of all the dances I have missed while sitting and chatting? This is a salsa festival, after all, but so what – let’s talk!)))
Whatever you do, do it for love. And with love. That has been my theme this year. Are you full energy and want to run to the beach party? – so run. Exhausted and lacking sleep? Sit with your coffee and a book, at home or in a café, and let the life flow around you. The party on the main square is on and the music gets into your windows, making your feet start “un, dos, tres” – but you want to catch up with a friend whom you haven’t seen for two years? Let it go and sit and talk and laugh. The best thing is happening here and now, not outside there.
So yes, love is the answer. Start with love and finish with love. Finish with gratitude. For every moment you were lucky to live through. For every person who laughed with you when you were joking, or taught you something when going on your nerves, hehe. Breathe in love, breathe out gratitude. Such a spiritual practice happened to me by chance – two weeks of dancing start resembling a yoga retreat, really 🙂
2. Happiness comes when I am strong.
If I were into tattoos, I would do this phrase: “You can never be too strong”. It just hits my heart so much. I belong to the culture where it is ok for girls to appear weak and ask for favors (“because we are women!”). I have always preferred to be the independent one, but, to be honest, at times I felt like it was a stupid strategy. Like it is better to show your weakness and use a gentleman’s service. This feminine strategy was tempting at times, even though I felt like I am incapable of using it properly.
This year I have realized one simple thing: being strong is not done to be good/easy to others. Like “hey, look, I can do it on my own, you don’t have to worry”. It is done to do good/easy to me. Because when there is strength, the energy comes my way. The good vibes, freedom and happiness come my way. Without me asking for them or hunting for them. They just come.
When I stand steadily on my own feet and control my body, my partner can lead me and create a beautiful dance. He cannot create it with a jelly-like dancer. In life it is just as in dance. When I stand strong, stay in my borders and care for myself, my encounters have so much better quality. When I don’t have to ask for, or look for, or expect things like attention, care, comfort and fun. When I can provide it for me all by my own. By my own humble means – but independently. This is when the good communication happens. When fun happens, when attention is given.
You may have heard that happiness is attractive. People are attracted to happy people because they too want to get infected. What I didn’t know – and what is new to me this year – that being strong creates steady borders inside of which my happiness can flourish.
3. The best place is where I am.
Do you know this feeling of FOMO (fear of missing out) when it seems that all the best things happen somewhere there – while you sit here? I know it too well. For such a long time I used to believe that the life is happening somewhere else, while I am just sitting around, wasting my time. Until I have learnt this: no way, life is happening exactly where I sit right now.
If am bored by my own, going somewhere and searching for fun won’t help. Because I always bring my vibes with me. So I will bring my boring vibes and hungry eyes – will it be better another place? This is what I learnt last year: nourish yourself first and come with good vibes. Don’t bring your bad or lacking energy with you. Come to give, not to take. And then people will happily want to share their good vibes with you too.
Loneliness is not being alone – loneliness is being bored or uncomfortable with yourself. When I can create the good feeling while alone – then I am also better at creating it together with others. I become independent – I am happy to share, but I can also have fun on my own. I don’t run to parties and people to get some fun from them. I come to co-create. Because I have practiced alone, haha.
And fun doesn’t happen without me. Before I used to be so worried that some place is really fun, while I am missing it. Now I feel like: no, the fun is here where I am. Where I stand. It is like coming to the party and saying: “And now – action! Let’s get this party started. I have arrived!”)) Ok, well, I don’t see myself as the queen who starts the ball. But I have learnt that fun cannot be missed. Fun can be created wherever I am. It is not to searched for – it is to be done.
So much wisdom can the salsa festival bring to a person! Wow! 🙂 Why read books? – go dance! 🙂 That would be a nice commercial for the thing. Let me know if you want to collaborate, hehe. But jokes aside, don’t you agree that it seems like quite insightful two weeks?
Let me know if some of my revelations resonate with you! And where do the unexpected insights happen to you?