Current status….my sweet escape.
I walk out to the balcony and I’m completely overtaken by the fragrant blossoms of spring in the air. It smells so sweet the air almost tastes like honey. The flora and fauna are foreign to me, they are an exotic array of colors, textures, depth, and height. The birds though, are clear as glass as they sing to me in a familiar tune that seems to shout “good morning, outta bed sleepy head!”
The skyline is covered by a dense fog that overwhelms the entire city. It’s a mix of pollution and low lying clouds. It’s a haze that can’t be penetrated this fine morning. The sun shines from the east as it is rising slowly but methodically above the terra cotta tile shingles. It reflects on the mug of steaming coffee to my left, just within arms reach.
This house is as foreign to me as the fragrant air and palms that surround it. It is rich in history, as it was built in 1926 I believe. The windows are my favorite tell tale sign of the decades that have passes since the fine craftsmanship of the past. Every sill is ornate, with trim in intricate patterns, and solid wood shimmed just right to fit each pane. The knobs throughout the house are a stunning mix of eclectic Art Deco mixed with class and luxury. Some are solid brass with the perfect patina over detailed scrolling all the way around the diamond shaped knob. Some are good old fashioned clear or milk glass that squeak when you turn them. The doors stick from the shifting this old house has done through the last 90+ years of existence.
I’m drawn into immediate wonder of who might have turned these knobs, who might have opened these windows to catch that familiar California breeze. This is a multimillion dollar property in the hills of Hollywood with a stunning view of the skyline. Griffith Observatory is so close I can nearly reach out and touch it. My latest travels have led me to discover that the curiosity about travel in Los Angeles is not the what or where, but it intrigues the senses to discover the who.
Got myself a threadbare gypsy soul….
Each place I’ve travelled is different but one thing remains, my mind becomes free as I engage in my surroundings with child like wonder once again. My heart is full and light. There’s a carefree pep in my step. My soul….well it is absolutely satisfied. My soul is satisfied that I’ve scratched that itch once more. I get bit by the travel bug all the time, and what it leaves is a itch that cannot be relieved by anything but good old fashioned travel and adventure.
I’ve been accused of having a gypsy soul, and here I sit, guilty as charged, in a new city, that is waiting patiently to be explored by every sense I have in my body. It is said that “You see someone who has a gypsy soul is a person in need of change or an adventure. A gypsy soul seeks for the next best thing in any situation. They can be very passionate and inspired by different ideas, attitudes and experiences. … Sure, gypsy souls have a wild heart” (The Odyssey Online). Having a gypsy soul doesn’t mean I’m a pagan, I’m a Christian who happens to see My God and his son in all my travels. I struggle with wanderlust and that struggle, my friends, is real.
Wanderlust is a strong, innate desire to rove or travel about (dictionary.com). I’ve had this desire as long as I can remember. My mother will tell you it’s true. We roamed the country with my father, as he was in the Navy and we moved frequently. I know the moment my gypsy soul was formed and the wanderlust began. It began when I was just a small child, maybe 4 or 5. I was really too young to remember such details but they were forever engraved in my memory for some reason. We took a road trip from Rhode Island, all the way to Washington State. I remember the sound of the wheels on the highway. I remember the sights and sounds. Most importantly, I remember the connection of my spirit to nature. I was hooked on travel from then on.
That’s great right, but what does this have to do with recovery? Well besides the CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) benefits of travel, like mindfulness for example, there’s much more going on than just travel and adventure. I believe there’s a genuine healing property found in nature. I believe it because I’ve lived it. It began when my mother left my father when I was a little girl.
Riding the transcending wave….
I was being carried out of the house in the middle of the night. I had my favorite blanket wrapped around me and the air was filled with the scent of the pines of Washington State. These trees seemed to reach the sky. Without saying a word, I knew what we were doing. We were leaving. I asked and it was confirmed. I looked up to the sky and saw the brightest stars my little eyes had ever seen. The sky was black, but the stars were so clear they seemed to be pinholes in the darkness. I looked at the moon and I knew. I knew there was someone up there watching over me, protecting me, guiding me. It was a moment that only lasted a few seconds, but it’s a moment that I re-live often. It was my moment of freedom. It was my connection of my higher power to nature, and to my human spirit. They were all connected; god, the universe, and myself.
What I experienced was a moment of transcendental realization. Transcendent (per Google dictionary) is being beyond ordinary or common experience, thought, or belief; supernatural. I think the common ground we have here is that each person in recovery has experienced transcendentalism. This is why it’s encouraged to believe in a higher power, because in order to truly change a persons soul, they have to experience something that connects them to the rest of the universe. Without this experience the individual continues the cycle of behavior they are trying to change. My transcendental moments happen over and over again in nature, mostly but not always while satisfying that wanderlust I was talking about.
My challenge question to you is when did you first have a transcendent experience? What was it like for you? Was it healing? What can you do to experience it again?
My two favorite recovery and nature movies are Wild and Into the Wild. I highly recommend a viewing of these if you’re stuck for motivation. If these don’t motivate you to get out there and explore your transcendence, I don’t know what will.
I leave you with this thought to ponder. “The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.” – Christopher McCandless