In honor of my new travel memoir being released last week, I decided to scroll through it until I said “stop” to myself and post whatever words I landed on. I ended up somewhere in the middle of Chapter Six where I was lonely in Dijon:
Being alone doesn’t depress me, but loneliness does. I don’t often feel alone when I’m by myself, for I think and function quite well without someone else around to distract me. Yet, I sometimes need another person to egg me along and act as my partner in crime. I’ve noticed that I reach a creative standstill when I obsess over finding someone to love. Yet, once I secure that love, I tend not to nurture that love very well. I know I am a passionate person, but I perhaps throw my passion into things that don’t matter very much. I need to learn how to prioritize my desires appropriately. People should matter more than art, more than hiking, more than traveling, more than anything in the world, but I sometimes don’t think of people that way. People sometimes don’t matter that much to me because I often find people unkind. I know that I need to be more open and receptive, but I tend to hold back because I hate feeling vulnerable. Yet, is it not human to want to protect one’s own feelings? I want to become someone who cares for my own feelings as much for another’s, but that sounds impossibly lofty. Humans are selfish creatures. That might just be our nature, but even nature can be trained to grow into unusual shapes.
However, life is not always about the self. I was thinking about that while I admired the many artistic objects housed at the Dijon Musée des Beaux-Arts. Much of the art housed there was created not in the name of humankind but in the name of something entirely else, be it God, king, or glory. Humans have the capacity to be more than they are, and they go to great creative lengths to reach beyond the earthly realm. If there is more to life beyond the horizon, humans will gladly fall off the map in search of it. We are insatiably curious creatures, and I admire our ability to be inquisitive almost to a fault.
I adore humankind’s curiosity, but I also respect our surprising ability to remain perfectly still. Being a monk and not thinking of anything beyond codified concepts is not something that would ever appeal to me; however, I’m fascinated by the communities that groups of like-minded people created in the Middle Ages. In particular, I find the Cistercian order to be particularly appealing because of its straightforward simplicity. Something about their clean lines and unadorned walls appeals to my sensibilities. I’ve long desired to experience one of their abbeys in person, and my top pick has always been Fontenay Abbey. With my mind being as muddled as it was, I was looking forward to my upcoming visit there, for I hoped it would cure me of my psychological afflictions.
Time Traveled is available as e-book or paperback! Buy it either at Amazon or at most major retailers.