Bill Russell, the NBA superstar of old, was on the Daily Show.
Russell said he’d had a chat with the Dalai Lama one day and asked him, “You have a combination of spirituality and reality. When did it come together? Did it come all at once, or was it that some came gradually?”
So the guru replied that it had taken over 30 years. 30 years!
A man who is said to have been born into his religious prominence, 30 years to get to that necessary plateau!
Well, us mere mortals can take a breath then, can’t we?
Whew. I thought this whole 35-and-flawed thing was wearing thin, but I evidently have me some time yet to get this shit right. Thank goodness.
I don’t know, man. I’m weary. Six ways to Sunday, I’m weary. I’m tired and fuzzy. Spent and bent. It’s been a hard, hard go of things for many, many months. But I’m getting the fuck outta Dodge. Going, going, gone. Not for long, but long enough.
But I’m fuzzy.
I feel like I’ve been turned into the existential version of some Homer Winslow lost-at-sea raggedy-ass realism watercolour of some dinghy in choppy seas as an unseen deity fucks with the sailors’ fate. Whoa, there, Steff, batten down the hatches — this is gonna be a choppy one to ride out! Is it any wonder ferries became more popular than rowboats? Jesus, with artists like Winslow, who needs phobias?
I do digress. Vacation. I’m fuzzy. This is one of my all-time favourite songs, an acquired taste, to be sure. But this one line, “We hunger for a bit of faith to replace the fear,” it speaks to most of us, I’m sure.
And me, here I am, fuzzy. Clinging to shreds of faith to fight my fear.
My fear? That I’ll lose steam now and revert to The Steff of Old. Just because I’ve gotten HERE doesn’t mean there’s a guarantee I get to stay here. No, like anyone, I’m gonna need to earn my keep. Or earn more. I’d rather the latter.
Vacation. It’s refocusing time. I will spend much time alone, and much time with the last remaining mother-figure in my life, my mom’s closest sister. She’s aging. I need to catch up with her. And I need some mothering. It’s been a decade.
I want my peyote-in-the-wilderness moment. Some kinda face-the-gods moment of solitary rage in some godforsaken desert landscape where echoes are fierce and wildlife looms.
I want a reminder of what all this motherfucking fighting against injuries that seem to never go away matters for. I want to remember why I’m doing all I’ve done.
Because I forget, man.
I really, truly forget. All I know, all I remember, all I am — is tired.
I’m really fucking tired. It came on in a wave about three weeks ago and I’ve just been hoping like fuck I’d get past it all. The most recent back injury, needless to say, failed to assist me in that endeavour, but it’s looking like it ain’t beat me neither.
Time and space. Purpose and reason. These things are essential to us all. When you forget where you are, reorientation is everything. I am indeed lost at sea, finding my place, let alone myself, is of utmost importance right now.
I miss travelling. I may not have been the Eurail-pass type with a backpack and too few visits to the laundromat, but I was RoadTrip girl and I know what it’s like to pay a gas station for a shower and emerge with wet hair to see a moose.
I’ve been trapped in this city now for the better part of a few years — a slew of well-paced injuries, fiscal frailties, health issues, but mostly money (as a result of injuries mostly, of course; oh, you vicious fucking cycle!) kept me trapped in this concrete jungle.
But now… not so much. Things are changing. Babysteps — it’s a meagre vacation. But as the saying goes, “anywhere but here.”
And I’m easy to please. Well, these days I am, anyhow.
I think it was Ken Kesey who once wrote to the effect of, “If you can’t find God in your backyard in Kansas, you won’t find him at the pyramids in Egypt, either.”
Fortunately, my backyard, BC’s interior, is God’s country. If I can’t find a little of my lost soul there, it’ll be nowhere fast.
Fortunately, I’m not worried. Whatever I may have lost, I don’t fear it far gone at all just somewhere a little north of the 49th parallel. Here I come.
I don’t even have to wait 30 years. Not for this part of my journey, anyway.
Thank god for existential stopovers. Can you imagine the Dalai Lama’s 30 year journey without those need-to-breathe pauses? I can’t. It’s peyote-in-the-wilderness / howl-at-the-moon time, folks. Stand aside.
[Photo taken by yours truly recently with a few friends at a beach barbecue. I didn’t know Alfred Hitchcock would be taking in the sunset. Timing is everything. So, yeah, copyright me.]