My blogging here, began with a goal to explore my relationships and emotions through my experiences in the natural world; a fitting lens through which to gaze, as it so markedly shapes my outlook. But I’ve struggled with it!
Oddly, I have found that though my life in Brisbane takes place outside proportionately more than my life most other places has, I feel a shortage of reflective time to think on the world I move through each day. I’ve suffered a bit of writer’s block in the last few months. I’m not sure if the block was due to lack of time, lack of inward reflection, or the simple fact that I’m just happy.
I once interned with a former stand-up comedian during college. When I asked him why he no longer did stand-up, he told me it was because he was finally happy. I wondered at first if he was joking – an ironic answer to make me laugh and maybe see if he still had it – but he wasn’t.
Perhaps the creative muse lives, for many of us, in the seat of discontent. I know mine has at times. Why do people ponder their lives, their partners, their direction, if not a gnawing seed of unsettledness? And isn’t that pondering at the root of creativity? It seems to me to be. But then I have been known to paint beautiful things only to cover them in black paint because I prefered its texture. I’m a weirdo and it’s possible I have a dysfunctional muse.
That being said, I felt inspiration to write for the first time in months last weekend – and it came from something other than discontent. I took my sisters up to northern Queensland to the city of Cairns for a trip out to the Great Barrier Reef and to see the Daintree forest. We spent the day on a small sailboat and swam with some beautiful reef sharks and sea turtles. It was a bit choppy so the water wasn’t perfect, but I love the ocean and the chance to swim with creatures that never cross my path for want of feet. It calms me to undulate with the movements of the water around me and offer myself up to a universe where I’m at the mercy of so many things beyond my control. It seems to appropriately align the world – at least to my view. I could spend my life in the water without complaint.
We had motored out to the reef in the morning, but as the afternoon drew to a close we clambered back into the boat and put it under sail for the ride home. Now, I haven’t done a lot of sailing, but I am not a total novice either. I raced a legitimate regatta on Lake Michigan once, and I had the bruises to show for it for weeks. After last weekend though, I wish it was a bigger part of my life because when the wind bowed the sails, and our masts leaned against its force I felt unchained. My hips rolled with the boat into the swells and my body let go in a way I have felt in only a few other contexts; tearing down a powder run, riding my bike fast down the mountains of Colorado, and paddling big waves in a canoe.
Maybe it’s the speed or the wind in my face that lights me up, but the feeling is as if my body is filling up with honey; pure bliss seeping through me with slow, gooey, goodness. I say honey both for the fact that it feels like it creeps out from my core to my fingers with this languid viscousness that quells any mental chatter. And because it sticks. You can call the feeling up after the fact and bask in the glow of it. You’re in the right place, you’re flying, you’re not scared, you’re on the edge – and loving it. I’ve heard the feeling referred to as flow.
It’s in those moments that I feel like a conduit between the world below me and something bigger. At those moments I’ve tapped into the source. It’s a high like no other.
Lately I’ve been dancing with the edge of this sensation on a near-daily basis. I wish I could share it with the people around me because it feels so damn good. I think I’ve been able to access it through a combination of a lot of yoga and the work I’ve been doing with my friend and ayurvedic doctor who is helping me to work with my diet to regulate my inflammation and moods. I don’t really know what is happening, but I’m sticking by it. I feel too good not to.
I have a sense of mental calm that I’ve never really experienced in any sort of sustained way before. It’s like I’m accessing a better version of me, and one that I was keeping under wraps for a long, long time. I realize I sound like a new age hippy and I don’t mind if you laugh at me for this post. Whatever. I will do weird breathing exercises and eat dirt twice a day if I can continue to feel awesome indefinitely.
But seriously, I feel so good that I worry I may become a happy jerk. You know the type. The person whose rose-colored glasses make you want to shoot them? I’ve encountered the type before and I have come close to pulling the trigger on them. I mean, who do they think they are with their preachy radiance and tranquility?
Sadly, I think I pulled a happy jerk move just recently trying to share my experience with someone who wasn’t open to it for various reasons. Long story. Needless to say, I think it exhibited a lack of compassion on my part, and I need to watch my predisposition to be the uncompassionate happy jerk.
I don’t know. In times of great joy I think it’s worthwhile to remind yourself of the fleetingness of the feelings we experience. Which is, I guess , why it’s so tempting to overshare one’s jubilance. I’m going to work on just observing the feelings and being happy with the little slice of world before me. Like sadness, these feelings are just waves we each ride. Take it as long as you can ride it and hope more comes your way. I’m riding this wave for all that I can. I feel the wind in my hair and the sun on my skin, and goddamn, it’s amazing.
(P.S. I realize that in the very act of posting this I may be jinxing this. But it’s still worth sharing.)