They’ll buy weed but not my words, cocaine but not thoughts and musings or a memento of an existential inquiry fashioned from the sapience of a riverside sunrise. All this work, the unencumbering of my mind, and the step into grace, cannot be imparted because seemingly there is no room in the lexes for my legacy. Some of my best work is just as ephemeral as the scent of coastal forest rain. Rain captures the attention of the senses. What are words though? They can be seen and heard, felt but not touched. Their effect is fleeting. Is it fanciful for me to assume that they will one day reach your hands and your heart? When you touch my words, when you feel me, you will know you are not alone.
“We are all alone, born alone, die alone, and -- in spite of True Romance magazines -- we shall all someday look back on our lives and see that, in spite of our company, we were alone the whole way. I do not say lonely -- at least, not all the time -- but essentially, and finally, alone. This is what makes your self-respect so important, and I don't see how you can respect yourself if you must look in the hearts and minds of others for your happiness.” --Hunter S. Thompson
I do enjoy being acutely aware of my emotions, but I also like to have the liberty to dissolve pesky thoughts in a neat glass of bourbon if I so choose. I feel everything all the time. Ecstasy. Bliss. Reservation. Hope and sadness. And loneliness. Always from the root, loneliness emerges. I believe the plague of our time is the lack of daring and stable communities in which the terrible disease of loneliness can be cured. Loneliness drives millions to self-medication, meaningless sex, ridiculously high bar tabs, and even suicide. The great and troubled minds of our time--Hunter S. Thompson, Robin Williams Sylvia Path, Neil Cassady, and the like--were so much rapt in their own inner turmoil that no one, except maybe an occasional lover, could access the deepest parts of them. Loneliness is usually perpetuated by feelings of fear... fear of rejection, fear of failure, fear of vulnerability, fear of inadequacy. Self-judgement severs our chance to be two things: present in our wholeness, content with who we are when not with the other and also our relationship to the other.
"THE EDGE, there is no honest way to explain it because the only people who really know where it is are the ones who have gone over." Dr. Hunter S. Thompson
Eight days before the anniversary of poet Sylvia Plath's tragic suicide, five days after my friend Brett's heartbreaking hara-kiri (his gun was his samurai sword) and one day after Academy-award winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman was found with a syringe in his best heroin arm, and I am perpetually sad. The sadness is paralyzing. I am not particularly tormented by the missing of a physical presence, so much as I am deeply empathetic. I know the EDGE. There is a great precipice. We stand, often teetering, on the brink of reason and insanity, and it seems to be perpetuated by a certain sort of genius; and if not genius, then the madness stems from an ability of the inquisitive brain which ferociously and relentlessly tries to process external stimuli. Over time, these external factors we tirelessly process inevitably embed themselves in the soul and turn to a thick, black, tenacious sludge.
We see more, we know more, and we are of the generation and among the most spiritually adept to hold onto it all. Brett was this way. Sylvia, dear Sylvia, she had so much on her mind and heart, as many of the tragedies that came after her did. I'm sure all who chose to end the pain were in a similar mind space. Whether we check our pain in as over-sized emotional baggage, keep it stored under the bed as crumpled up yellow legal pads of written shattered dreams, or we spew unprocessed verbal vomit all over an unsuspecting subject who turns his ear for a moment of compassionate listening, we all can share our deepest discomfort and our greatest mission. Share your reality. Share your truth. Embrace the pain for a moment.
Can we learn to sit with the discomfort? My therapist would ask this of me after a day of agonizing emotional turmoil. Can you sit with the discomfort in non-judgement and gentle compassion with yourself? Can you remain just on the edge of reason and insanity without falling into the abyss of no tomorrow? It's a scary place, and it is important for anyone who feels deeply in these ways to find their center point and fight like fuck to get back to it. See more, do more, and love more. It is the prescription to rich life experience and acceptance of what is. In this seeing and doing, though, there is risk. Your heart may break.
Your mind may contain a chemical composition not quite built to withstand the intensity of truth, love, and the like. You may come to a breaking point. There is always refuge. There is always hope. There is always a way through the thick, tenacious sludge, the swamp of sadness, that we may have to walk through. Travel to the edge of reason, and don't be afraid to feel. Someone near you feels the same. Find solace in peace. Keep your head in the game. This too shall pass.