The following post was written last week, in a relaxed daze, while The Furious Romantic was on a much-needed vacation.
I’m sitting in a handmade wooden chair on the open, covered front porch of a rental cabin in the woods of Vermont. It’s been raining a lot – legitimate thunderstorms on and off for days – but right now the sun is sinking behind the trees and the air has begun to cool.
It’s been muggy. Sticky. The salt shaker in the kitchen stopped working yesterday. The moisture has been getting into everything. But the cabin is well-designed. Overall it’s been just breezy enough that, with all the windows open, we haven’t been uncomfortable. We have had less salt.
The rain hasn’t bothered me much. All I’ve wanted out of this trip was a break, some quality time with my wife, and…the mountains.
Just that. This. The sight of them in the distance. The knowledge of their looming, permanent presence. The clean air.
And the forest night, dark and still and yet filled with so much mysterious movement – and interrupted, on occasion, by the blink of a firefly, if the rain has held off long enough. I love it all.
The city had ground me down. Worse than I realized.
I knew I was tired. I knew I needed rest, an opportunity to relax, unwind, regroup.
I didn’t know I needed healing.
Do we ever?
Do we — when it comes to the most elusive form of healing we know (on average)? What does a modern man or woman do, when our soul is afflicted? When we have suffered loss, or pain, or when we have borrowed too liberally from reserves whose nature and abundance we don’t fully comprehend? Absent any true, real belief in religious prayer – and I realize that for some people, prayer does in fact work – how and when do we acknowledge the need for spiritual assistance and health?
It is easy to make the mistake, when you are an artist leading a double life – or anyone leading a double life – of assuming that your passion and your spirit are one in the same, just because each can be made to fuel the other.
I’m realizing, now, that they’re not the same. I’ve thought of my work over the past few days, idly here and there. I’ve allowed my mind to wander a bit, to think about Sophia, about all of you, about my hopes and dreams for my future as a filmmaker and a storyteller. But, more than that, I’ve rejected all thought.
I’ve been on vacation for days, and last night was the first night since I’ve been here that I didn’t have nightmares, didn’t wake up hours before dawn to a mind racing through some amorphous anxiety or another.
It must have been a shock to my system, to suddenly abandon the driving rush of the past several months, starting with the development of Multiverse and on through to the most recent stages of work on Sophia. Insomnia hasn’t been a recurring issue for me for on any level for years – mostly because I’m so exhausted all the time that I just pass out most nights. It’s been strange, reencountering the witching hours, after so much time away. I didn’t miss them much. I missed them a little, to be honest, but not much.
I used to think the night held secrets, power. I used to thrive on the night, on its silence and its mystery. But, while the dark still holds a place in my heart, while the beauty of the forest night and even that of the city remains attractive and special to me – right now I am more interested in the sleep. The rest. The reparative imperative, to get my spirit back into fighting shape, reigns supreme.
It’s going well. Regardless of weather, the mountains will bring peace to the body and the senses if you let them. The mind, given time, will reset itself.
How have I been healing my spirit? I’m here with the woman I love. I’m sharing my restorative experience with another. We are engaging in repair together.
I encourage all readers to make sure, at crucial moments, to do the same. It doesn’t have to be the mountains. It doesn’t have to be a lover. Just…don’t forget to take time for yourself. Listen to your soul as you would your body when it is more obviously afflicted.
Love, and allow yourself to be loved, even if you’re a fighter — even if it’s hard, sometimes, for you to feel love.
Love’s the reason we fight in the first place.