There are moments that, in retrospect, seem to be a turning point in your life.
I left the Oregon coast 11 years ago.
At the time I made that decision I felt that I wasn't quite as ready for the small town life as I thought when I first moved there in back in 1995. I had picked up my life and taken it across the country to be near the ocean, near THIS ocean, and to experience the natural world as I never had before. I moved there because, upon first visit in the spring of 1995, everything had seemingly just aligned itself and I was offered a job and a chance to do what I love.
I moved there because life was going to be simpler and, much to my surprise as an East coast boy, a whole lot more affordable. I moved there as a stepping stone. I could never have seen beyond that first step. . .
The next five years were to be both the best and worst of my life.
When I made the decision to leave the coast, I felt I really needed the diversity and bustle of the city again to inspire me and to move energy around me. I had done a lot there and accomplished things I never would have had I not lived there. I found my voice in many ways but I still felt that I needed to be where things were "happening" and people were creating all the time. I felt i needed to balance my life between my creativity and a job and being around people I could relate to. I thought that my work would be best served in a place more like the East coast cities I grew up in.
Basically I had a lot of excuses for what I hadn't been able to do.
When in truth, the reasons I was leaving had more to do with the fact that I had lost sight of the beauty surrounding me, and within me, and I simply wasn't ready to accept the need for the deep silence of creating. Looking back now I can see that I was actually exactly where I needed to be for my creative work to really flourish and thrive. I had the time. I had the space. And, most importantly, I had the silence.
But I left.
Now, flash forward 11 years later, (oh I'll get to telling you all those experiences in between in time) and I really do not have any regrets. I will tell you that I have felt something missing these last 11 years but only in the last few has it really reared it's head in front of me.
I am returning to the Oregon coast in one week, albeit to a different town. I think for the last few years I have known that I've needed to willingly walk into the deep end of silence to further my work.
This is life work. Work that began years before that first relocation. Work that began in the silence of my childhood days among those wildly varied Pennsylvania skies and seasons.
Work that began in the limitless imagination of a little boy.
I've also realized that "balance" is a very delicate concept in and of itself and, for each of us, it is unique. For me, this will never again mean trying to juggle an assortment of pursuits and things that I like or fell I should be part of socially, but instead, to really pour myself into the few things my soul craves and thrives upon. Just as I did all those years ago.
So ok, I can admit that I needed these years in the city too. I needed to reach this point where I can face my own limitations and mortality and realize that the clock never stops ticking and that whether I live the life I know I am drawn to live or not is a matter of my choosing it. Nothing really stands in the way but me.
But that first step is probably going to be a doozy again . . .
Most of all I realize that what I needed was to learn how to find that deep silence here in the midst of the never ending urban cacophony of so many people with so much angst and so many stories they are dying to tell. I needed to temper my will and my desire so that, when I return to the silence of the coast, to the lull of the timeless ocean and the simplicity of nature, I will not allow the outside noises to move in again.
I will not listen to those voices INSIDE that love to tell us we can't, we won't, we shouldn't and that we aren't worthy. The same voices I now realize the noise and static of the city drowns out momentarily in many unhealthy ways.
I want to close the door on them myself. . . forever
Life turning points are like the tides of an ocean, they cycle too, which means that what we think is gone is just in the midst of a cycle and it will return.
I started this blog to remind myself of, and to share, the experiences I have had across these 40+ years with anyone who wants to follow along. I started it as a place to collect my thoughts and my inspirations from the past and the present. I started it as a place to speak from the silence that I am now choosing to embrace.
I hope a few of you will follow suit. . . and share your experiences too.
But for now,
"To be an artist, you need to exist in a world of silence." - Louise Bourgeois