Last week, the Pollack ladies flew to Las Vegas for the Lady Gaga concert in celebration of my mother’s 67th birthday!
Outfits were planned months ahead. Restaurants were researched. Manicures were carefully chosen. As our very first Girls’ Trip, we made sure this was going to be one for the books. Vegas, baby, Vegas!
We had general admission tickets for the concert, you know, the standing room only, get shoved around, smell-the-person’s-body-odor-next-to-you-the-entire-time kind of concert tickets. We waited in line for two and a half hours before slowly shuffling into the theatre.
In true New Yorker fashion, we found our way to the front of the stage. We had the best view and were ready to throw our monster paws up in the air. As we stood there waiting for the concert to start, everyone started filing into the theatre. As I looked around, I started panicking.
I haven’t been in a crowd of this many people in years. My eyes quickly scanned the entire place for exit signs and noticed that our location was ironically the absolute farthest from any of the exits. We were smack in the middle of the theatre surrounded by a thick crowd of little monsters. If something were to go down, we would no doubt have risked getting trampled. I could feel my mind spiraling out of control.
“What if there is a fire? A mass shooting? What if I have an asthma attack?”
My heart started beating out of my chest and I could feel myself beginning to sweat (on deeper thought, maybe that body odor I thought I was smelling the whole time was my own). I was about to have a full-on panic attack when my higher self stepped in. I heard myself say:
“What you focus on, you feel, even if it isn’t true.”
What was my focus? That I was unsafe and not in control.
I knew I had to change the story, and fast.
I asked myself, “How do I want to show up at this moment?” I thought about all the people I know who are totally carefree, live in the moment, and take risks. I thought of all of her fans who would do anything to be standing where I was.
I decided that either I’m safe everywhere or I’m not safe anywhere. I can’t be nervous about public places knowing that something horrible could also happen in my own home.
I want to live life feeling like I’m safe wherever I go. I want to only focus on the things I can control, and release the rest to the Universe. I never want to pass up an amazing opportunity for risk of what “could” happen. This, to me, is true surrender.
So, I changed my story to, “I am safe, I can live fully in this moment, these experiences are what life’s all about!”
I felt the fear drain out of my body and the excitement returned. I dodged a panic attack by taking control of my thoughts and shifting my focus.
I thought I learned enough for the night when my next gentle reminder came up and slapped me in the face.
We had already been standing and waiting for three hours. My feet and back were throbbing (I’ll remind you that I’m no spring chicken nor am I cool, although flying to Vegas to see Gaga might convince you otherwise).
My mind kept desperately trying to label what was happening as “bad.” My inner narrative sounded like this on repeat: “Ugh I can’t wait any longer. My feet hurt. My back hurts. Why is she late? Am I going to be able to stand for two more hours? Man, I am so not cool anymore. Why didn’t I just spring for the expensive seats?” and so on. I then remembered something I read in Eckhart Tolle’s book, A New Earth.
“Accept this moment as if you’ve chosen it.”
The mind tries to label every little thing. Are you single? That’s bad. Don’t make the income you want? That’s bad. Are you on vacation? That’s good! But soon you will be at home post-vacation. That’s bad.
I reminded myself to just be in the moment and try not to label it. I just witnessed the rambling of thoughts and let them flow right through me. This practice gave me such a sense of peace that it could have been another hour until her performance and I wouldn’t have minded. I was just there, witnessing it all.
I didn’t think going to the concert would “teach me” anything. I just wanted to show my mom a great time. This reminded me that our spiritual lessons are everywhere and in everything. You don’t need a class, a place of worship, or a book (although all of those things may help. Especially my book, Feed Your Soul, that’s a must-read!) to grow your sense of awareness.
There is no end to what we can learn if we’re open enough to see the lessons.
What have you experienced this past week that when you see it from a different lens was actually an opportunity to grow? How can you spin your story to see it as a blessing instead of a curse?
P.S. Gaga also told the audience to “be kind” so there’s lesson number three. For this reason, I only elbowed the people next to me gently, and not with full Staten Island force.