I Am Gold Dust
...AND YOU ARE TOO
Several years ago, I took a leap and registered for a digital detox camp — where adults trade in their technology and real-world identities for a long weekend at summer camp in the redwoods of Northern California.
At camp there are only a few rules, but we take them seriously:
• No technology
• No work talk (or “w” talk, to avoid the word entirely)
• No real names
By the time camp rolled around, my fraying-at-the-edges, anxiety-ridden, type-A self couldn’t seem to locate the desire that pushed me to register in the first place. Still, I had settled the most important dilemma: My nickname would be Gold Dust — an homage to one of my many ego ideals, Stevie Nicks.
When I emerged from my long weekend in the redwoods, I instinctively knew that Gold Dust was not just a character to be packed away with my sleeping bag. Gold Dust is who I actually am at my core. The labels and clothes and props that surround each of us in our daily lives are the costumes. I'm a spiritual being having an experience on the material plane. While I love comfort as much as the next girl, I don't want to miss out on the real adventure of this lifetime because I was holed up in the existential gift shop, stocking up on tchotchkes.
If we strip away all the masks and labels that are part of living in a material world, I believe each of us has inner pilot light. We can choose to fan this flame or ignore it, but we each have the opportunity to cultivate it. I love sacred spaces like Camp Grounded, where I get the opportunity to be myself around like-minded people. However, my real work is show up as Gold Dust in my daily life— the one that includes technology, the titles, and my real name. This is humbling, uncomfortable, and messy work; yet, the alternative is not a life I want to live.
I know I’m not the only person out there doing this work — living an authentic life in a world that isn’t always receptive to it. So that’s part of why I made this website — to create an additional voice of encouragement. I also know that I made this website entirely for me. Because I wanted a space to write and think and make sense of my own journey. That’s the kind of thing Gold Dust does: She gives herself space to play and make meaning out of her experience, regardless of what anyone else says or thinks.
So if my words resonate with you, wonderful! If not, that’s fine too. (Truthfully, it’s none of my business.) To quote a wise woman I know, "Everything is happening as it should."
Photograph by Jillian VanZytveld