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You are a Warrior in the Mud of Transformation

Pouring rain - Going insane … Wind’s blowing, within I’m going. The storm came to teach me a lesson that while my feet are in five inches of puddles, I can feel the blessing of warm inner cuddles… There is a fire inside the heart, that won’t destroy my beautiful art. It keeps me smiling, while everything’s blowing away. It keeps me knowing, that everything is okay. There’s a silver lining discreetly hiding - it’s resilience growing throughout the experience ongoing. It may be cold and wet but if you grab ahold your heart at the onset, you will be a warrior in the mud of transformation. You will walk through the earth barefoot letting the moist blanket nourish your feet. You’ll find the sunny positives through the cloudy dreariness; you’ll learn things you never knew you would, because, my dear, you always could. You’re stronger than the lightning - You’re braver than the thunder. Deep deep under the gray solemn sky, you will find a cheerful grateful heart, never letting the growth pass by.

There's always a silver lining to challenging experiences. My most recent challenging experience taught me resilience... It taught me that we are warriors in the mud of transformation...

I recently vended at a 4 day long festival in Missouri called ReKinection. I had been so hyped for many months looking forward to the event, preparing for it, and just overall very excited to be at such a large festival. It was my largest event yet. I still consider myself new to the vending game - learning so much at every market or event I work. There's always something to improve: whether it be my booth set up, weather proofing better, ways in which I talk and approach people, items I offer and sell, etc. I was very proud of myself for some new upgrades to my booth for this festival. I felt ready for challenging weather, with my brand new tent. I also had a new idea for displaying prints that would allow me to leave my display items at home, leaving more room in the car for my partner and additional travel items.

Needless to say, my self-esteem was boosted through my actions. I felt proud of myself and confident in my growth. This normally is hard for me. I struggle with my self-esteem regularly and get discouraged easily along my journey. I often compare myself to others or get knocked down when I don't see the fruits of my efforts. Validation and positive reflections help me stay courageous.

One thing life keeps teaching me is to surrender expectations and to be ready for the unexpected ride!

Case in point: my experience at ReKinection.... was to say the least, challenging as a vendor.

The first day we arrived, we set up...WOOHOO...ready to go... and as the evening progressed a DARK DARK DARK storm cloud rolled in. Wind's were crazy and BOOM! a storm hit us and we were in rain for two hours. Apparently, there was a tornado not too far from us... scary. Boy, did I feel for some vendors. A few had tents blown away, damaged. I had some prints blow away and get damaged and a bag of mine ruined. It could have been worse. Our tent stayed in tact and due to the new walls I got, most of my items were safe. In the moment, however.... during the winds and rain.... I felt sooooooooooo discouraged. When I saw my prints flying, every time the wind blew and we just prayed nothing else would get damaged, as the water collected on the top of the tent and began dripping through onto my merchandise, and as a puddle formed in the booth flooding us out.... whew.... yea that was challenging to stay positive.

The storm passed and it became humid. I hadn't thought this through. At the end of the night, I noticed some prints were wompy and wrinkled. I didn't weather proof my prints enough. I have these paper protectors, but they are open on one end, so humid air and water can get through... My heart was so heavy. Only a couple sales the first day, a storm, some damaged items.... I went to bed so sad. I cried before we went to sleep. I felt defeated. I let myself feel defeated.

I woke the next day and decided to start over. We had a better weather day. Sales weren't great - still trying to make my fee money back. As the festival progressed, we had another bout of storms. I put my prints away for weather like this. I wasn't going to ruin any more products and art. We had on and off rain throughout the next 24-36 hours. The third day of the festival was cold and rainy. It was, yet again, discouraging, but I also was at a place of acceptance. This experience was teaching me resilience. I was going to walk away with an attitude of learning and growth! What was here FOR me to learn and grow from??

I kept my looking for the positives. I kept my eyes on what was "good" about the whole weekend. We made great connections. Our collab art experience was so connecting and very successful. The energy at the festival was SOOO positive. Our vending neighbors were so sweet and amazing. There were a lot of people who visited my booth who resonated with my art and its message. I was gifted a bag full of dried sweetgrass, bay leaves, and sage. I had the opportunity to offer two amazing workshops. I saw awesome music. The list goes on.

Resilience comes when we can stay strong through hard times - when we learn and grow from it. Resilience is the knowing that we are WARRIORS in the MUD of transformation. Trying times are here to build character and strength. I learned how to stay positive, focus on what was good, and surrender outcomes. I also made great friends there, one of which, who told me "Don't let what you own own you." I was so concerned with my belongings and my investment into the festival. I was so sad about what happened and if more things were gonna get damaged, and if I made enough sales. Meanwhile, my thoughts around it all owned me. I appreciated that talk from a new friend so much. He reminded me that I am always taken care of and the universe is infinitely abundant.

There were so many opportunities to experience abundance through this the stormy weather.

I was surrounded by abundance and love and positivity. I was taken care of! People came to help at the right and perfect time in certain situations, and I walked away with new connections that will forever be in my heart. Things come and go. Things can be destroyed. But people..... love.....connection.....experience..... That is infinte!!!! That NEVER is destroyed!!!

I feel stronger from this experience. I learned so much. I was inspired by so much creativity surounding me. I became resilient. I cannot wait to see what unfolds from this great experience. I am so grateful for the support I received at this weekend event. My partner was incredibly encouraging, supportive, and positive. She made me feel like I was doing amazing and that everything was going to be okay. She was so present for me, and she was a strength during the troublesome weather. Others around me too. I cannot express ENOUGH my gratitude.

There's part of the silver lining.... the blessings of gratitude. I couldn't have made it through the weekend without others there who helped me and inspired positivity. My partner said, "If you can get through a weekend like this, you can get through anything." She was referring to me as a vendor, but also I know this applies to life in general. The lessons of resilience overflow into other aspects of my life. That's another blessing of growth.

Cheers to resilience. Cheers to the silver linings. Cheers to the warriors we are as we tread through the mud together!!! I hope you find this story helpful for you as you move through difficult situations in life. You are strong! Never forget!!!

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