into the wild

Strange how liberating the absence of social media and television becomes (a 40 day experiment).  I have been reading to fill the gaping hole that once represented a large portion of my time, most recently Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer.   This book was published in 1996 and later adapted into a film in 2007.  I had never heard of either but kept getting the recommendation to read, that I would relate.

IMG_5548.jpg

In short, a non-fiction about Chris McCandles, a young man in search of a transcendentalism existence, burdened by a profound angst looming over everything he has ever known, he sets out for an intimate encounter with nature in the great Alaskan outback.

IMG_5549.jpg

Midway through the book I understand, while I don’t feel compelled to try my hand in the back country of Alaska, I understand why he did it.   I wonder…is anyone is ever truly content?  Sure, there are moments of happiness and contentment but is it lasting and  sustainable?  Will a void always exist?   In the end, achieving his walk with nature, McCandles still longed for companionship and came to his end in bitter solitude.
Perhaps the proponents of the initial transcendentalism movement in the early 1800’s were on to something.  It’s ironic to me that such a movement would take hold in a time when there was no need to take a 40 day hiatus from social media or television.  It is hard to imagine an age without the ubiquitous digital thumbprint or the  visceral stranglehold of modern-day commercialism.  If such a movement was ever needed, it is now.
Do we as humans have this unavoidable, insatiable void to contend with for eternity? You may ask why I say eternity, I’ll get into that later post. This void I think manifest itself in many ways, dependent to the individual; to some sexual conquest, personal relationships, power, religion, money and nature.  For me personally, I’ve tried a little of everything, some things alleviate the void more than others but in the end, the chasm always re-appears. Modern day culture screams it!  The Beatles claim you “Can’t Buy Me Love”, The Verve spoke of the “Bitter Sweet Symphony” and P Diddy put it most eloquently “Mo money Mo Problems”  
IMG_5550.jpg
In the age of more, more, more; the modern-day middle class citizen yields more power and comfort than monarchies of the middle ages.  Shouldn’t we be happier?  I don’t think it is any coincidence that according to the 2018 Happiness Index Report, Nordic countries consistently take the top spots: Finland, Norway, Denmark, Iceland and Switzerland.  Nothing complex about this list, common denominator; natural beauty, modesty, freedom and healthy life expectancy.  I’ve never heard of Switzerland aspiring to be a world power, or Iceland looking to trailblazer in fashion or technology.  Perhaps Thoreau got it right- “simplicity, simplicity, simplicity.”
 I’ll end with a beautiful quote that most accurately articulates what I have been fumbling with.
“EVERYBODY needs beauty as well as bread, places PLAY in and PRAY in, where NATURE may heal and give STRENGTH to BODY and SOUL.”   -John Muir
Advertisements

my hurricane

I hate this anxiety and depression that routinely sneaks up unannounced.  A good friend of mine whom shares this condition once shared that although the low hits hard, he now recognizes it will go away and things are not as bad as they may feel.   Anxiety is like a goddamn tropical depression that eventually turns into a full fledge hurricane. I don’t have time for this, I have a family and responsibilities.  Sometimes this thought alone exasperates the situation, thoughts of despair, of seeking release, the wish of going to sleep forever.  I don’t need heaven or hell, give me goddamn absolution of senses. I understand that anyone reading this would have a terribly hard time understandingly this plight.  I get it, it’s irrational… I am a healthy individual, with a wonderful family, gainfully employed.  Some could even say “he has it all!”  I understand the absurdity.

Unfortunately I don’t have it in me to accurately articulate the overbearing bitch of anxiety and depression.  The feeling is heavy, similar to when you were a child and made an F on a homework assignment, or broke something of value out of pure carelessness and you are awaiting corporal punishment.  The only difference now,  is the sensation without cause and effect.  Perhaps there is cause, but I’m not aware of it.  I think when people hear the word depression, they simply think of sadness.  For me, it is a more complex arrangement of emotions: numbness, sadness, self-loathing, anxiety, hopelessness, isolation and guilt to name a few.

While I have dealt with this my whole life, just recently come into the understanding that it is not normal.  I perhaps derive a certain sense of solace knowing that I’m not weird, an outcast or weak.  It just happens to be the way my brain is wired.  For people who are like me, it is true for you too.  You may feel like a piece of shit but the truth is we are people like everyone else, our brains just work differently.

As I sit out this hurricane, I can’t help but think, will this be the category 5 that eventually wipes my island off the face of the earth?  The good news is that hurricanes don’t last for ever,  I simply need to hang tight for the moment.  It will pass.

 

 

” In this sad world of ours, sorrow comes to all, and it often comes with bitter agony. Perfect relief is not possible, except with time. You cannot now believe that you will ever feel better. But this is not true. You are sure to be happy again. Knowing this, truly believing it, will make you less miserable now. I have had enough experience to make this statement.”

~ Abraham Lincoln