Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Oh to find the words to say...

Have you ever experienced something that ended up meaning so much to you that you find yourself lacking the ability to describe the feelings evoked within you from said experience? And this...confusion (for lack of a better term...because I don't really feel that I'm confused, per se) becomes a tremendous force that envelopes your entire world for the next few days as you try to process exactly how much this experience meant to you?

Alright, time to get a little more specific...

That's how I feel about my experience up in the Catskills, visiting my friend at the zen monastery. Something about my visit (indeed, probably more than just one 'something') has touched me so deeply, that I am having a very difficult time processing how I currently feel. Different emotions fight to the surface. The ones you would expect: happiness from getting to see my friend and learning about what he's up to, sadness from having to leave so soon, perhaps you would even expect (if not immediately bring to mind on your own) that I would feel amazement at seeing something so different from the world in which I live. And those are all there, certainly. But that's just the beginning. There's so much more in there. I just have yet to find the words to adequately describe how I feel. [I actually keep wondering if there even are words to describe everything I feel about this visit...]

In a lot of ways, though, I know there are some thoughts/feelings inside that I don't want to share with the world. That are mine, that belong to no one else. (Surely, on some basic level, that can be said about any emotion/thought/experience/idea. But most of them are shared with someone, somehow making them less yours.) Perhaps one of the reasons I'm having such a problem processing this: so many people want to know about my time up there...what do I want to tell them and what do I want to keep for myself?

Of course, there are many other reasons for my difficulty in processing all of this...one of the main ones being that it has not even been 24 hours since I experienced all of this, so there's been no chance for the perspective I will ultimately gain with the distance from the experience after the freshness of the experience has worn off.

But bits and pieces rise to the surface of my mind...

It was truly wonderful to spend that 25 hours with my friend. He and I talked nonstop for all but perhaps 7 or 8 of those hours...well, talked nonstop or sat in silence together. Something I've always enjoyed about him...that he's comfortable just sitting in silence for awhile. Still enjoying my company as much as I still enjoy his, we just simply don't need to talk at that particular moment. But, it was like reconnecting with a person with whom I'm never afraid to be myself. [Can I say that I love people like that? (And who doesn't, really?) It takes so much mental stress out of the equation.]

The strongest and clearest emotion that I have been able to identify is an amazingly powerful sense of calmness. That has lasted me the entire trip back to Boston (i.e. 8+ hours on buses) and my entire day today. And it's still there. I really love this feeling. It makes the world look different in certain ways.

I have begun to detect a pattern in my behavior whenever I feel this way...when I feel something that I have a hard time explaining with mere words. I turn on my music (these days on the iPod, years ago I'd be pulling out a CD) and listen until I find a song with lyrics and a mood that seems to fit in with what I'm feeling. It usually isn't the whole song...most often it's a verse or chorus, or a couple of phrases even. But it just clicks into my self-reflective state and I feel a little less emotionally muddled.

Music does that to me...allows me to connect my ball of unprocessed emotion and thoughts into the melody and harmonies and ride along for awhile. Music has always hit me deep in my soul. And that's what happened to me up in those mountains. Those 25 hours have touched my soul.

I wish I could capture those moments. Hold on to them. Step back into them and wrap myself up in them all over again. But then again, I'm glad that's impossible. Because I have them all stored in my memory.

In my last post, I said that I thought that perhaps something huge was going to happen while I was up there, since it seemed that the universe had taken particular notice of my life as of late. Turns out, something big did happen. And I feel it deep inside of me. If only I could find the words to explain it, to describe it, to tell myself what "it" is...

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