Click here to watch the video for “Sanctuary”
Have you ever found a place in the world where everything just seems to make sense? Where the curtain of reality gets pulled back and you can escape the ticking of the clock? The bindings of the physical world. The limitations of your own existence. Have you ever found the sanctuary seeking shelter in you?
I’ve spent so much of my life pretending I was off somewhere else. Time spent in the gentle seclusion of my imagination saw me become king, the soldier, the survivor lost in the wilderness, the adventurer, the knight, and even the master thief. For the most part though, I was always fighting for the betterment of the world in some way and the characters I created seemed to echo that creation in me. As if a part of my being was amplified by voicing it’s existence in the medium of my creative vision. Through role-playing I decoded my own cyphered emotions and was able to come to terms with them, able to face them, able to become them.
My imagination would play out before me as a vivid motion picture and sometimes the line between the physical world and the ethereal would become temporarily blurred. My feelings from this make-believe realm would bleed out across the boundary and into reality and I would catch myself wearing the best parts of these characters in the real world. Their bravery, their love, their humor, and their strength slowly became integrated in the fabric of my interaction with the universe and with that grew a reflection I was proud of. One I loved. One I trusted.
The collection of personas became like armor for me. My defense against fear and doubt, pain and loneliness, and the looming darkness that steals an existence in the world with us and within us. But as the years went on and life’s pace began to quicken, I found I had less and less time to imagine. Less time to travel down to the forest by the river. Less time to maintain my armor. I forgot what it was like to imagine. Even how to imagine at all.
I began to experience life as I never had before. The overwhelming flood of emotions cascaded through the synapses of my brain and became a weight on my heart. I learned quickly that I was sensitive. That I was afraid. That I was different. At least I felt different anyway. My first real experiences with love, heart break, death, loneliness, and the stress of trying to find out what I wanted to do with my life, left me overwhelmed. Unable to cope with it. With anything, So I just…didn’t. I suppose this might sound strange but the freedom of being able to choose from all the countless possible directions became like chains for me. I didn’t know what I wanted to be or who, for that matter.
Without the armor it became increasingly harder to bounce back from adversity. Harder to pick my self up when I would fall. The emotional baggage began to weigh heavily on my shoulders and my mind began to search for quiet amidst the storm brewing in my head and in my heart. The weight of the world is much to heavy to bear for long.
I found silence in liquid. Since the first time it burned my tongue and warmed my veins, I remember thinking: “This is the ticket! This is what I’ve been searching for!” and for a while it was. Eventually though, all chemicals will let you down, soon I needed more and more of them, and of all different kinds just to maintain the comfortable silence. The dull emotional void. But sooner or later there is no amount of alcohol or drug that will give you what you seek. None that will steal away the roar.
If you push something down long enough, eventually it will push back, and when I was at my most lost, that is exactly what happened. The years I had spent pushing down my emotions and internalizing my feelings had created within me a dark gravity. To which, all manner equally dark things, Including people, were drawn. And that was one of the hardest things to come to terms with when I finally decided to sort myself out and It’s still something I struggle with. Having to leave behind people that I whole-heartedly loved and believed were my friends… and I really did believe that. I believed them. I believed myself. But the fact of the matter is this: Friends don’t watch friends die and to nothing to try and save them, friends don’t enable you to destroy yourself, and friends certainly don’t have pre-paid cell phones.
You know something though? With everything I’ve been through I don’t regret many things about what happened. Besides hurting the people I love most that is. And the reason for that is simple: From all that pain and darkness was forged a renewed inspiration for life, a sense of purpose, and direction. I have rediscovered my sanctuary among the trees and now, each of the passing days bring with them another piece of the armor I lost all those years ago. Reforged within the strands of my DNA.
It is easy for people to say they want to change but it is another to do it. It’s not an event, but rather a sequence of events, and it takes time. It’s not always going to be sunshine and lollipops either. In fact for a significant amount of time it won’t be. But it does get better. The mind and body have an incredible way of resetting themselves back to normal. Back to you. But you have to give them time to clean all the mud off the windows and the poison from the water. But if you are patient and take the time to mine your soul and hone your mind, eventually you’ll notice the sun. And it is so worth the wait.
There is no one way to find true happiness. Your path will be different than mine because WE are different. I can only tell you what worked for me. You have to find your own way from there. My journey took me to the ugliest parts of the world and also of myself, and one thing I’ve learned is that no amount of money, fame, or material things will ever make you sustainably happy until you face the things that make you sad. True happiness is synergy within yourself and the universe and it can be rediscovered if you lose track of it somewhere along the way. If you just sift through your memories and find the last place you remember being happy, and start looking from there, You may find that it’s not so complicated as it seems. And that your sanctuary may be closer than you think.