Living life in a way that aligns with you begins with your intent.
Your intent is rooted in your awareness when navigating pretty much everything in your life.
My partying journey has changed and shifted over the years.
I've figured out a few ways for it to stay fun and stay sacred.
Lately, I've been feeling really sensitive in highly social situations.
Festivals, house music parties, and wellness events are easier for me because those places are usually where I find my tribe. Even then, being around lots of people - even people I know - can be overwhelming these days, let alone being in an environment that's not favorable to me with strangers.
Sometimes I find the most interesting parts of my day are the moments I can spend time in my head, strengthening my spiritual practice and focussing on my personal growth.
In a way I guess I have always been like this. Often times in high school, when there was a gathering or a party, I would make up some lame excuse to bail. It wasn’t because I was anxious. It was because I knew I would most likely have a better time alone.
I would spend hours driving through my town, down my favorite streets, blasting music that made my heart sing. I would settle in at a coffee or tea shop late at night. Excitedly, I would pick the perfect spot inside to set up my journal or laptop, treat myself to a coffee or a tea, and begin writing. I would dream and play in my mind, accessing parts of myself that I didn't even realize existed.
Are you making time for fun?
As I build this business and spend ample time planning, creating, marketing, budgeting, and holding space, the times I spend alone in my dreamworld are slimmer. I go through phases where my social life is lower on my priority list - and that's okay - though I actively am working to balance between work, "me" time, and play.
Connection is our birth right. And often my social life takes the back burner.
I was on the phone with my dad a few weeks ago and I was telling him about how well everything is going out here. We mostly spoke about work and he asked me, “Are you making time for fun?”
It was a great reminder to check my balance of work and play in my life.
Luckily, I had a special birthday party to attend a few days later.
This birthday party didn’t exactly have me worried or anxious, in fact, I was excited to go out because it had been quite awhile for me.
That said, I haven’t drank alcohol in quite some time and I knew I wouldn’t be going to my usual party spots, so that made me a little nervous. I’m not a huge fan of bars, and though the people going to this party are all amazing, I’m different than them. That always scares me a little.
So what did I do?
I decided to party consciously.
1. It eased my nerves.
2. I am convinced that “spirituality” and “partying” are not exclusively separate (I will get into this more later).
I care a lot about my health. Since I don’t party all that much, it is really important for me to take care of my body while simultaneously and purposely fueling it with substances it's not used to, lack of sleep, and high social/high energy situations that I am not as comfortable in.
A few days before the party I prepared wisely by drinking lots of water and eating as many yummy nutrient dense foods as possible beforehand.
I do this as well before embarking on any festival adventures too. It helps me stay hydrated and energized!
This is easy for me when it comes to festivals because I consider them inherently conscious experiences consisting of a spiritual, ritualized journey. However, for a Brooklyn night out - one that consisted of a less comfortable party scene, different people, and a predicted all nighter - I wanted to be extremely self-aware.
Here's how I completely ritualized the party experience.
Before the party, I gave myself tons of time to get ready. I didn't spend a ton of time on my hair and make up but instead, I meditated and set intentions.
After I got home from work, I heated up my leftovers from the night before, although I wasn’t really hungry. I sat down on my Zafu in my sanctuary, closed my eyes, and observed the ways in which I felt anxious, while observing the things that I was excited for.
I set the intention to play, to express myself, and to connect with other people easily and effortlessly.
Intentions give us a focal point to revisit through the evening. I find them to be important grounding tools daily, but they are especially helpful to note before a night out.
I cleansed my energy with some sage and palo santo, letting go of whatever happened during my day. This always helps me come back to the present and release anything that does not serve me. For partying purposes, it allows me to go into the night with a clear head and an open heart.
Considering my nervousness, I used this affirmation to center myself:
“I choose what energy I receive. I choose what energy I give”
This is a great mantra to use for any parties because often we encounter many different energies at once. If you are highly sensitive and empathic, you may experience “latching” to energies that are not your own. Words hold power. So this affirmation tends to help with that, especially during a highly stimulating experience.
After my centering ritual, I started doing my makeup. I love wearing glitter and gems on my face, but this was a different type of crowd. I had a moment where I asked myself if I should skip the glitter in order to fit in. I ultimately decided I absolutely wanted to adorn myself.
I expressed gratitude for my body and proceeded to create magic. I felt amazing and decided to bring some glitter to share (and it was a hit!).
Throughout the evening, I connected with a very special friend of mine who I’ve known for years. We met in the city during high school, went to college together, and lived together for three years. We’ve gone different directions in our lives, but she’s the one person I can always count on. That was probably the best part of the evening, because even though we don’t see each other often, our sisterhood brings a sense of home anywhere we go.
Everyone else at the party was incredible too! I had met most of them previous, and luckily it wasn’t a big party, but I focussed on talking with everyone and getting to know them. I find that parties are a great opportunities to release any judgements about people and instead, expand our minds through connection with those we may not have spoken to otherwise.
Because I had done the inner work beforehand, I was open to connection and I moved through the evening with confidence and grace.
Everyone complimented me on my make up, which was cool because it opened up a conversation about adornment and expression.
I used to get self-conscious of the way I dressed, but now I see it as giving other permission to express themselves however they want. I get the sense that often people need that, even if they don’t choose to express themselves with glitter.
In expressing ourselves authentically, we give others permission to do the same.
All around, it was a lovely gathering.
There were moments where I would be in the bathroom alone, coming back to my intentions. Taking one deep breath in silence with myself when the whole world outside of me was partying and laughing and clinking glasses. It felt good to be grounded in myself throughout the entire experience.
As a spiritual being who is incredibly devoted to my practice, I was hesitant to publicize this post. With Burning Man approaching, this question tends to come up even more. So, I would like to address it.
Do spirituality and partying have to exist exclusively separate from one another?
Disclaimer - I'm speaking of "spirituality" in the form of having faith that there is some unifying force or energy, an indescribable wisdom, greater than all things we know, that assists our world and all life forms in evolutionary progression. Spirituality itself does not (in my opinion) discriminate against any religion - I believe all religions offer this idea of the "all knowing force" but use different terms, archetypes, and dogmatic practices (and all forms of this should be honored).
There seems to be a collective idea that if you are "spiritual" you are "supposed" to be "pure" in all forms - nearly inhuman - and above all things dark and messy. Here's the thing - the perfect human does not exist.
In my opinion, letting loose and altering our state of consciousness is not a negative thing if done so with intention...which is why I chose to write about this topic in the first place.
Spirituality, to me, is just connection with sacredness, regardless of religion.
It is having faith that there is some unifying force or energy, an indescribable wisdom, greater than all things we know, that assists our world and all life forms in evolutionary progression.
So, can we be spiritual and also go out and party?
I believe parties are an energetic vortex of connection. There are so many opportunities for bliss, learning, and healing. I've experienced all of these things personally both sober and not sober in a party environment.
However, there is always a dark side where there is light. Though parties can be fun and amazing, one thing someone says can trigger something, one drink too many and make you puke, and one negative interaction can change your whole experience.
There is a way to honor all sides of the party scene.
The Middle Path
Conscious partying is seizing the opportunity to make the most of the party experience. It is an act of self-love that does not exist separately from our spirituality.
Who makes the rules of what a spiritual life looks like? WE DO!
I believe we each have the power and the right to establish our own practice - one that works beautifully for us and honors us in all forms (both dark and light).
If we are called to party, when we set intentions, prepare our bodies appropriately, and ritualize the party experience, we are more likely to enjoy ourselves (in my opinion). We are more open to connection. We are setting ourselves up for not only a fun night, but one that perhaps can offer more to aid in our personal growth through insights, processing, and healing experiences.
I believe that partying in a conscious way is especially important if we choose to alter our states of consciousness, no matter the substance. I do not condone any drug use, but if you decide to take something, do your research, test your substances, and be aware of your limits. If we are willingly changing our brains chemistry in a social environment, we need to have a grounding place to visit should anything unexpected happen.
Not only this, but if we are prepared and conscious, any anxiety or triggers that come up - which happens sometimes - can be honored and either released easier or processed with love.
So, whether you consider yourself a spiritual person or not, I invite you to try your own flavor of conscious partying next time you plan a night out.