Adventure, New Orleans

In the Morning I Panic

Photo by Ryan Bowman

In the morning I panic.

I wake up, hot under my blanket, the sun blocked by wooden shutters. Horses go by. I come to, and anxiety hits.

I breathe, I say comforting things. I get up and dread what the day could bring.

This has been every morning for me in December. Three months ago I made great money and had few bills. Then I took on the Chateau and, as quickly as my bills stacked up, my income disappeared. Freelance work went dry. I sought new clients, contacting over 160 companies, and found nothing.

That was when the anxiety began.

I soothe it with meditation. I used to treat my emotions with food, but food costs money. Singing is free, praying is free. I place myself before the shrine and sing.

This calms me, but it does not fix the problem. That’s the thing about prayer: call it your compass, but don’t pretend it’s your ship.

By afternoon I’m working hard. Talking to freelance clients. Pitching investors on creative projects. Investigating new types of work I can do on the road. And yes, looking at options for employment.

I work far into the evening.

And I talk to friends. It gets my spirits up. They give me hope, courage, inspiration. By night I feel like everything will be okay. I fall asleep at peace.

In the morning I panic.

This was my low. I suppose it’s full of lessons about what it’s like for lots of people in the countries (and US states) I intend to travel through, who can’t just pick up and leave. I suppose it is also the crucible out of which great art is cast. But that’s not how I bear it.

Adventure has taught me to live through pain and hardship. To adventure is to request these things. You will be pushed so hard and so far that you do not believe you can go on. And absolutely, this month all I wanted was to flee. To run to the open arms of faraway friends and sleep without worry, without fear.

Every adventurer, I think, is united in this.

But the sun also rises.

As my heart seized with fear, I let it pound. I let it race. I leaned on the arms of the people who love me, and I kept standing.

As of this weekend, I officially have a roommate. He arrives with the New Year. I also have a little funding to write about Celtic polytheism. And a reprieve: another month in New Orleans. Another month for Vodou, for my local nonprofits, and for the Salon of Magic.

Put your faith in the struggle; in your art and your skill; in your will to keep breathing, keep reaching. Do not be annoyed with life. Kiss her. Kiss her, and hold her close.

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14 thoughts on “In the Morning I Panic

  1. Sounds like one of those times when you get to “connect with your Irish ancestors” by learning all the different ways to cook a potato. That was me in Berlin in 2008, btw; I’ve been there… repeatedly, actually. Sounds like you’re doing pretty well.

    So, I really don’t completely understand exactly what you’re doing for money, but I think it’s sort of like publicity for websites… well, anyway, if you had any ideas about what could be done for kirahagen.com or my photo business in general, and we could work out international payments, I’d be interested, I just need to be fairly sure of a return on investment. Email me if you’ve got any ideas; I need some help and I’d rather pay a competent friend for it.

    • I remember you telling me about some of those times. I also thought back to times in the past when I have felt true anxiety such as when launching the Temple or on my field expedition to Beaver Island. It helps to know that I, and others, have gotten through it.

      And thanks… I just emailed you about your site!

  2. Dave says:

    This post is a great example of why I enjoy reading your blog. Even though we think alike in so many ways you are fascinatingly weird to me.

    My family and religious cultures are both nomadic. Growing up I did not really know what money was. I saw enough of it, as a boy, and I knew the settled people would trade for it. To me the idea of it seemed stupid, why would anyone give up delicious meat for for stinky, dirty paper and metal?

    Obviously, the settled people were idiots.

    When I became a settled person in adulthood I learned much. I have a different relationship to money now, but I still do not care much for it. If I had to choose between living without money and living without other people I would choose people over money every time. You can live without money but you will die without other people. Even kids know that.

    To me your great adventure is the same thing as being alive. It is the right way to live. I have learned to appreciate the ways of the settled people and I love being a scientist but I need my summers off to wander, it’s good for the soul. My lover and friends think I’m crazy but I don’t mind.

    The feeling is often mutual. :)

    You are very wise to accept the love of your people. Many settled people want to do everything themselves but that is not the right way. If I were doing your great adventure, I would not do it alone. I would be too afraid to live that way without people. A lack of money wouldn’t bother me so much. In any case, it’s fun to learn more about our differences my friend.

  3. Wow, this blog entry is fortuitous. Hit me up with what skills you have to offer, like Kira, I’ve recently been entertaining the idea of increasing my online presence, since business has been good this year. I may be willing to become a client, if the ROI is worth it.

  4. Kate Jacob says:

    Trust in your Gods, trust in yourself and know that you have people who will never let you down, I would say you are a rich man, There are times when all we have is faith, and that is a great thing to have..

  5. Pingback: I couldn’t sleep and now I have to leave «   Rogue Priest

  6. Pingback: The day I had nothing left |   Rogue Priest

  7. Pingback: The State of the Adventure |   Rogue Priest

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