About five years ago, I experienced a life-altering event. My faith in life (God) had always been strong. Mind you, I am not the typical Christian. My believe system includes Eastern philosophy, Jungian Psychology, the metaphysical, New Age theories and aspects of African and world mysticism and more. Obviously, it's hard to find a place of worship that meets that spiritual criterion.
For the past six years I had gorged on a steady regiment of meditation, prayer, long runs and walks in the country and the absorption of as much of Virginia's natural beauty as possible. I never missed an opportunity to smell the roses. During this time, I milled out four novels and labored arduously at horning my craft. I wrapped myself in long periods of stillness as I sort to commune with my inner-self (collective consciousness) in hopes of finding the pot of creative gold that lies at the end of the spiritual rainbow.
Needless to say, I had become something of a recluse, the very opposite of the person that I was before I heard the siren's call. Life, including those most dear to me, took a back seat to my writing. I had never known such prolonged peace.
That being said, a string of recent hardships shattered my fragile peace. My faith deserted me. During the darkest periods, I never felt so lost and alone. My belief in the efficacy of recitation, visualization, prayer, mediation and benevolent Universe faded like a morning mist in the face of a dazzling sun.
As I began to sink deeper into despair, it was family and friends that slowed my descent. Their unconditional love served as a reminder that life was to be savored. Life for me had become a superbly set table, beautifully garnished with an array of culinary delights. Not wanting to disturb the flawless image, I chose to nibble around the edges.
One afternoon I was riding home on the Bronx # 2 train. A few stops before mine, a man with no arms got on. I observed him closely, trying not to stare. He seemed to have made peace with his circumstances. In fact, he seemed quite happy. Unbeknownst to the man, his courage to meet life head on rekindled something within me. From that moment on, I began recounting my blessing.
My faith greatly restored, I went back to writing, jogging, mediating, and conversing with my Creator again. However, I have shed my periods of prolonged solitude. I find time now for friends and family: enjoying jazz clubs, cultural happenings, sporting events, impromptu road trips, and nights out on the town.
Writers write is what they say. And, it's certainly true, for all gods are jealous gods. I will live and die a writer. But, I will never forget to delight in all that life has to offer. Why nibble when you can feast. Have any of you ever experienced a similar illumination? I would love to hear about them.