We need to be thankful for every day. Each moment, whether it's anxious or calm, is a blessing. This life ebbs and flows in rushing spring falls that overflow the banks of our lives.
I've been thinking a lot - inside my own head.
But the beauty of being inside is that eventually, all things pass, and you get outside.
It's a good life - a charmed life.
Let us treasure it all together.
Today is the day where my western adventure ends, and on this rugged road, I've had a lot of time to think and reflect - and to even bend time, and slow it down a touch.
Sometimes, one needs to leave a place of dwelling to seek out a new surrounding and a new opportunity. And for the most part, I like being a weary traveler - seeking shelter from the hard, cruel road and meeting people in the haunts along the way.
I like meeting new people and catching the vibe and the energy that comes from a new friendship.
The Rockies are a strange and enchanted land filled with majestic and breathtaking beauty...but ultimately, I don't think it's for me.
Other times, there's love, warmth, care and fulfillment in stability - there's an innate draw within every nomad to a home base.
I'm looking forward to getting back my to my base, my family and my friends - and my town.
I'm looking forward to sunday dinners and watching hockey games with my dad and brother.
I'm looking forward to vinyl nights in Vanier with Joel.
I'm looking forward to brewing a few batches with Steve.
I'm looking forward to riding my bike and running in the boring, sleepy neighbourhood where I grew up.
And maybe - just maybe - what this trip has taught me is that I am not a Western boy.
I think I'm more of an Eastern man.
We all need to find ourselves and reach down into our guts - and sometimes, we need to go the furthest distance to see that all we've really needed was right where we started from.
More to come. See you soon, friends. Let's pour us a whiskey down the line.
"The personality of the artist, at first a cry or a cadence or a mood and then a fluid, and lambent narrative, finally refines itself out of existence, impersonalises itself, so to speak. The aesthetic image in the dramatic form is life purified in and reprojected from the human imagination. The mystery of aesthetic like that of material creation is accomplished. The artist, like the God of the creation, remains within or behind or beyond or above his handiwork, invisible, refined out of existence, indifferent, paring his fingernails.''
- James Joyce (A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man)
Here In The Thick
So here we are. I'm over halfway across the country from my home, and despite a few strange moments of anxiety and uncertainty, I am living in the thick of a change and a transition. The mountain air has filled my lungs with a crispy splendour, and I feel like I can take on the challenges that are headed my way.
I've also had some dark moments of just being alone and letting the light slip away slightly, just so I know what it feels like to truly experience the dankness of solitude. The days end earlier in the mountains, and the large rocky crags and of the Rockies shield out the stark sun. People settle into their domiciles, and just sort of exist. The western stars expand and expose something greater than all of combined good will.
I've met some new people and taken on some new obstacles in order to further myself and my writing career. We will see how things happen but in the end, without risk, there really is no mental or spiritual reward.
And anxiety is a temporary fixture. It is an unwanted bag on a trip that is soon unpacked, stowed away and forgotten about. And truly, anxiety is such a stupid little trinket in the giant wardrobe of this life. Sure - we have to deal with it, but we must see the blessings even in the weirdest moments.
Anxiety causes us to worry about things that we have nothing to worry about - but in the end, the truth prevails. And the best part is that we get a temporary reminder that we are, in fact, alive.
Bruce McCulloch (Kids In The Hall) said it best at his live show last night. He was talking about being at the hospital when his dad was on his deathbed, and getting a coffee at the Tim Hortons in the cafeteria. He said, in one strange moment, the sun hit his arms and warmed them and he thought "You know what? This life is pretty cool". And minutes later, he went back upstairs to his dad's room, and he had passed away.
We never know, but we must continue to find the flow.
The river breaks and bends, but we don't know how it ends.
Loving the mountains but looking forward to returning to the boring flatlands.
The Leaving And The Mountain
Today, I experienced some changes that are going to impact the rest of my life in a profound way.
I am going to be getting a divorce.
And although this is ultimately a good thing, it is still difficult terrain to navigate through.
But I'm tired of bullshit. I'm tired of masking words. I'm tired of appearing to have all of the answers. I'm tired of being loosely affiliated with a strange network of sometimes judgmental Christians who check in on me from some invisible, internet space of cowardice and then tell a friend that they are 'concerned' about me.
It goes without saying that if you care about me and love me, you'll pop into my life and actually say something to my face.
The bottom line is that I wasn't happy and severely depressed in my marriage for a long time, and for many years, I didn't have the strength or the will to do anything about it. I wanted everything to work itself out naturally and I compartmentalized a lot of heinous shit. Long discussions led to frustration and an ultimate, choking sense of misunderstanding.
And after a long and cathartic conversation with my ex-wife today, I realized something; although we felt it at different stages, we are both in total agreement that we did not pursue the things that made us happy individually while we were together.
Instead of pursuing happiness or fulfillment, we spent so much time worrying about each other.
But thankfully, over time, the people who really cared about me and loved me emerged, and made themselves known to let me know the truth about myself and their desire to see me in a happy or at least semi-fulfilled state.
To those people - thank you.
Those bright people are my friends - not the invisible judgers. The latter can go fuck themselves.
To the awake - come along, won't you? The road is long and at times, the night is ever-dark but the fruit of the journey is worth the tumult. The sleepers will live their complacent lives of slovenly slumber and there is nothing we can do to rouse them.
I have done the 'things' in this life. I have traveled to Nicaragua, Mexico and the US. I have been lucky enough to form friendships with real life rock stars who I can call or text at any moment. I have written and had articles published through various publications across Canada and the USA. I have traveled across the country playing my own original music. I have interviewed famous film and music celebrities from all over North America. I have created 8 original albums of music and a few more with other bands. I have friends who bless me and who enrich my life - and a family of dynamite, dynamic and genuine folks in my corner.
Whatever happens, I can turn down the shades with a full heart and a sober mind.
I have nothing to prove and a galaxy of beats with which to groove.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how it's done.
Better To Pass Boldly
Tonight, life is alright.
I have ice and whiskey in my glass, a warm bed, a good feeling from my favourite hockey team winning, comfortable clothes, food in my belly, and I feel like I'm getting back to the core of who I am.
Lately, I've had a few bouts with anxiety and that creepy, multi-headed monster does a good job of throwing smoke and mirrors my way and making me feel like I'm losing my grip on reality.
But I think I've come to discover the beauty of anxiety - the all-too familiar rush and gut-worm-like onset of the feeling is now recognizable and in the end, it helps you to sense almost more than you are capable of sensing.
It sends our neurons into action and every breath and every moment feels like an eternity - but in a way, that's a beautiful thing in small doses.
So often, we go through this life with blinders on. We don't take in our surroundings and we move on faster than a bullet train, bouncing from experience to experience, but never really reflecting.
But the best thing about anxiety is this; it's fake.
It's not real and it's conjured out of the subconscious and it never stays very long. Eventually, once we learn to break the cycle, say a prayer, talk to a friend, do some deep breathing, go for a walk and get out of the loop or pattern that we find ourselves stuck within, we break the spell.
You are going to keep breathing. Your body will actually do it for you.
You are going to get through it.
And ultimately, everything is going to be alright.
My life has changed dramatically in the past seven months. In some ways, I don't even know who I've become but I'm enjoying the ride of this life and I'm taking in what I can while I can. I was once a shell of a man who lived a darkened depressed existence in a place I didn't want to be.
But I've found me again.
And truly, and ultimately, I'm still me; a guy who loves to laugh, loves people, music, writing, sports and the creation of community.
I'm going out to the Rocky Mountains for a week to meet a few people I've been working with/writing for and I'm looking forward to a change of scenery. I truly am. I remember the rockies and my first drive through them and the enchantment that came with that. There is something wide open and strange about Western Canada, and can't wait to reshape my memories into actuality.
In this life, we have no guarantees.
You must go where you can, while you can.