Stop walking like Charlton Heston: is this an existential crisis?
Today, as I was walking back from a trip to the beach, I caught sight of my shadow on the pavement and thought to myself, “Christ, stop walking like Charlton Heston.” I’m not even sure what I meant by this, but “stop walking like Charlton Heston” made me laugh. My inner critic sometimes says funny shit. Like yesterday when I was meditating and thought, “What are you, Jim Morrison?”
You know what I’m talking about.
I’m talking about angst and evolution and guts and death and rebirth. Gnarly shit. The kind of shit we go through after really going through some shit. I’ve really gone through some shit, and I am trying to allow myself the psycho-spiritual space to heal some shit. How to tackle this process is still something of a mystery to me.
As of this writing, I don’t know how many “days” I’ve been “sober.” A lot, I suppose. Well over 200 days. I don’t drink anymore. Drinking is not a part of my life anymore. I am a non-drinker. As it turns out there are many far more healthy and rewarding coping mechanisms to deal with human suffering — among them meditation, laughter, cannabis. Sunshine. The sea. Ridiculously expensive chocolate (that Ritter Sport with cornflakes was worth every penny). And honestly, even if I could drink booze like a “normal” person, I don’t believe I would want to. Drinking felt far more like a demon than a “habit,” and I’m glad today to be rid of the burden.
Which is part of what I’m doing out Californee way. Trying to dream up ways to alleviate some burdens. Asking the sea and God to take some of this shit off of me or at least show me a clear(er) way forward. Am I being vague? I think I’m being vague. In short, I need to figure out how to manage my physical and mental welfare in a way that feels less exhausting. You know, that simple question: how do I work my life?
Have I been living in the American West too long, reader? Am I getting too soft? Too new agey? Too . . . crystal-y? Probably. I was telling Betsy this morning how soft I’ve gotten in the past seven years living out here around places with dangerously high hippie levels. Hippies are like radiation. Short term exposure? Usually okay. Long term exposure? Probably going to have some lasting side effects from that shit, but in the immortal words of Diana Ross “if there’s a cure for this I don’t want it.” Seriously. My old way of “being” in my life was all kinds of fucked up. Hippie poisoning is infinitely better than alcohol poisoning which I’m sure, over my long and storied drinking career, I gave myself.
I’m about to walk back to the beach to watch the sun set. My friend tells me there’s a little green flash when the planet dips beneath the sea’s horizon, says some nights there are dolphins. I would like to witness any of these brief spectaculars, but I’m also content to simply be near the ocean, to hear the winds whipping over, across and through the water, to smell and feel the salt air, to stand near the roiling infinity of the Pacific and feel incredibly small and connected in my smallness . . . that’s enough for today. When I was a kid, we went to Florida some summers. And I would sit by the “other” ocean and have a very strong sense that the ocean was a living, breathing being different from — but exactly the same as — me, as my brother, my mom, my dad, my friends, you. I still feel that way when I’m near a large body of water — like it’s talking to me. The sound of the voice is always nice, though I can’t always make out what it’s saying. In this way, for me, conversing with the sea is sort of like conversing with the Irish.
I’ll let you know if I see a dolphin.