It’s late and I’m watching the newly-waxing moon set in the west. I’m driving through the mountains, en route to Black Rock City for Burning Man. This will be my third time participating in the art and music festival. Last year, I set intentions that mainly focused on my interactions with other people. And although they were extremely elevated, I saw and felt my intentions manifest in some of my experiences.
I’ve been humbled and challenged this past year — especially recently — and my intentions reflect my need for deep nourishment and reflection.
To share our intentions is to empower them. Please read mine below:
I intend to reestablish my relationship with my creativity; to fully engage with the art installations at the festival and allow myself to be inspired and motivated by them. I need to reset my relationship with my creativity in order to create for creation’s sake without the desire to be seen, popular or make money. This will afford me the freedom I need in my artistic pursuits. I must reconnect with my truth that God’s gift to me is my creativity and my gift back to God is using it.
I intend to be open to receiving the keys I need to enhance my productivity and fulfillment.
I intend to continue the process of letting go of the pain and hurt I hold onto by releasing the people and events from my heart that continue to cause me suffering.
This year, I would like to feel and witness the expansive love that is my true essence, so that I will know who I am.
In the days after I talked with my friends about using self-care to enhance their creativity, I saw them internalize the message by eating more fresh foods, meditating as a group, and taking an afternoon off to swim in the Yuba river. In just a short time they were vibrant and joyous as if they had never fallen into a slump; more importantly, after they dedicated themselves to self-care, they accessed crucial, nuanced elements that brought completion to several songs. When they played me a few tracks I was spellbound by the gravity and emotion of the music; one song even brought me to tears.
Witnessing my friends gain immediate, fruitful vitality and accomplishment spurred me to nourish my inner artist with greater depth.
I began by writing a list of fun, compelling, and invigorating activities to feed my soul and refill my creative well (as Julia Cameron would call it). To my surprise, as I reviewed my list, I found many hobbies like gardening, juicing and playing piano that I couldn’t do often — or at all — while living on the road. I realized I missed them like long-lost friends.
I turned my inner eye to the loneliness, uncertainty, and aimlessness I’ve felt in the past year from living homefree. I thought of the time and energy I’ve lost from worrying about where I would go, which friend could host me, where to write, and how I could shift the moving parts to make it happen.
For the last few weeks I’ve taken a break from constant travel and have stayed in a cottage on my aunt and uncle’s property. It’s the longest I have stayed in any one place for the last year! But could I call it home?
Despite the difficulties of homelessness, I love the thrill and adventure of transience. I love the way it’s forced me to grow and stabilize in the present moment. Settling into one place felt like it could end my carefree, rolling stone lifestyle.
But what does my inner artist want?
I walked out of the cottage to a nearby pond. Standing beneath pines amongst lupine I felt the beauty of the landscape seep into my bones. I breathed deeply listening to the freedom of birds singing from the trees. Still water reflected clouds, and looking into its depths, my mind became quiet.
Wouldn’t it be refreshing to have a home again? I thought of all the comforts a home would provide: a grounding place to go back to; a sacred space for meditation, prayer and writing; my own bed. I love domestic activities; they enrich my life and nourish me. With a home I could cuddle my cat, play my piano, plant some flowers, and create a space and momentum for words to flow. A home would make self-care easier and diminish my greatest stressors. It didn’t have to mean an end to my glamsient ways; if I wanted, it could make glamsienting more sustainable.
I turned back to look at the cottage — yes, I would make this my artist’s home.
Glamsient living brings gloriously beautiful highs like last week’s spontaneous adventure to Carmel Valley for a bourgeois picnic with Linney.
Yet with all the fun times, perpetual travel can be tough; insecurity, loneliness, doubt, and fear can all creep in at a moment’s notice. Even when I’m with friends and family, without the comfort of my own bed and my own home night after night, glamsient living can be (and has been!) emotionally exhausting.
Last month, for example, I stayed at a cabin for a week, which was fantastic; however, I thought I would be there much longer and was ready to be stationary for a spell. I brought little things to make me feel at home: crystals, crafts, magnets, stationary and extra books. I felt so happy to decorate and enjoy the place with my special little things. Then, unexpectedly, when I was packing up to leave, I stopped as I took the magnets from the fridge. I burst into tears. In that moment, the magnets became a symbol of home, and taking them down made me feel displaced, like I didn’t belong anywhere.
To meet and transmute these negative emotions I have to return, over and over, to the present moment — and let me tell you, it is the perfect antidote to what ails me. As zen master Thich Nhat Hahn writes: “Your true home is in the here and the now. It is not limited by time, space, nationality, or race. Your true home is not an abstract idea; it is something you can touch and live in every moment. With mindfulness and concentration, the energies of the Buddha, you can find your true home in the full relaxation of your mind and body in the present moment.”
When I quiet and calm my body and mind, when I move into the present moment, I feel my heart opening to my true home that is always available. It provides the greatest comfort.
In my experience, glamsienting requires presence of mind. I practice meditation consistently to return home over and over again no matter where I am located. Of course, I still feel a wide range of emotions and sometimes I get swept away by them, but meditation is — hands down — the best way I can take care of myself. It is a practice I will take into every season of my life whether or not it includes glamsience.
And therein lies the silver lining. Ultimately, the benefits I get from practicing meditation everyday to remain happy makes me happier (go figure!) and more peaceful; it also gives meaning and value to difficult emotions when they arise.
Coming home to the present moment has opened the door to the sweetest, most wonderful home I’ve ever had, and better still, it goes with me wherever I go!