Learning at a festival …

It’s the first day of a festival. I have been excited about going.
I arrive there and feel my belly a bit tight. Actually, maybe I ate something slightly bad. Was the aubergine ripe? Well – I don’t want to be thinking about this right now, because I want to be there, listen to music, hang out with friends, explore this space.

Walking through the festival, enjoying the first concerts.
My belly is tight, I feel a bit nauseous. I don’t want to be busy with my belly now. I want to be here. I don’t want to be nauseous. I want to listen to music.
Somehow I succeed… After a while I’m not busy with my belly anymore or the nausea. Yes!

Band of horses is fun.
Lisa Hannigan. Blows my mind! Her clear voice as she starts the concert solo touches me so deeply.
It’s raining but that doesn’t matter.
Iggy Pop. Is Iggy Pop. Fun to meet someone who somehow has been around… always… during my life.
But I’m starting to be distracted. My back hurts. In the low back. I keep moving, trying to find a new position that I can relax my low back.
The pain gets sharper. I can’t stand still for even a short moment. Of course, there is the option of dancing… But still. I try to relax my butt. Short moment of relief in the low back. Then it returns.
Distracting me, attention away from the music again.

I can’t believe that I don’t manage to relax. This is what I keep teaching people. How can I not do it myself, now that there is a moment in everyday life where I need it?
Getting annoyed. Iggy Pop spits at the camera. Fitting.

Beach House plays. I love the music. I wonder, if this is they night that I will find out how much beer I would have to drink, to not feel the pain in my back. I’m shocked that this thought could even cross my mind. (And did I really just ‘write that out loud’?) This is not what I do! What is going on? (I didn’t find out. Didn’t follow up on the thought.)
Ok, maybe just relax with the fact that this is what happened.
After Beach House there is no centimeter of extra energy for continuing the party. I bike home in the rain.
Fall into my bed, exhausted from the pain. Happy about the music and the day with beautiful people.

The next day. I am wondering how that day will go. Another day of standing around… this is probably what caused my backpain, no?
I move a lot.
Enjoy the first few concerts. Mouse on Mars is now on my list of music to explore more.
Feist live – another one of those I’ve heard so much and for the first time it’s live. I enjoy the dances.
Perfume Genius. Is genius! I am touched, blown away, so happy that I came. So happy to be able to dance (even with pain).

Still, when I just stand the pain is strong. Sharp. Going like through my back into my legs. And no amount of relaxation helps. If I relax even more my legs will just collapse.
I wonder – how can I dance all night at lindy festival, but not stay up straight during this one?
I can’t accept that ‚just standing‘ is the problem…
As the pain is taking part of my attention anyway, I go into exploration.
And during Bon Ivers wonderful, wonderful show I discover:

I need to engage my legs more. When I engage the muscles of my thighs, on the sides all the way from the pelvis and also the shins, then I can actually relax in the low belly and the low back. Then my spine doesn’t have to hold itself.
And suddenly the pain reduces.

Seriously. I’m thrilled.
I take turns in tensing and releasing different areas of my thighs, my shins, my feet.
Allowing me to let the weight of my upper body to rest in the pelvis and being carried by the legs.
Bon Iver and no more pain!
A big smile comes to my face. I am so proud, I want to shout this out to everyone! Hey! I discovered how to deal with my back pain! While I was here!

As soon as I stand in the old way ‚relaxing the legs‘ – the pain is back in the back and there is tension in the belly.
It is a new way of standing, it requires some of my attention, but now this is paired with the curiosity of how else I can stand and relax the upper body in the mean time.

And I think… maybe all of this started by me tightening up around the raw aubergine and not wanting to feel that part. I succeeded alright. But I guess, I had to deal with it in another way then. All weekend…

And then on Sunday I take time, massage my belly, rest my legs and enjoy the glowing happiness of having had two full days of wonderful music and discovering a new way of standing.


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