Tuesday, February 28, 2012


Where do you go to escape?

Where do you go to dream of relief and peace?

Where do you go when you have a moment to breathe? Where do you play-pretend, what is that place that brings you back to who you are? In the solace of your own mind, what do you call home? Do you have a place to call home there?

Once upon a time, I roamed the internet in my high school years, looking for a philosophy that would guide me effectively. I took up a philosophy based on the teachings of the Jedi found in the Star Wars movies and all of the Star Wars fiction and media to be found. It was an interesting cross between trans-humanism and Taoism in the end. It taught me a lot about myself and taught me a lot on where to go next, 'it' being three different forms of that same philosophy. It's hilarious how people can quibble over nothing.

I learned many techniques of meditation through all three forms, and one form that I learned was to meditate on opening the lock to your own world, your visualized, personal inner world. Being open to seeing anything there helped you open the gate of your own imagining and visualization, whether it was made of reeds, stone, straw, sticks, iron bars, graceful steel spiraling in elaborate patterns, or clouds. I haven't been there for a while, and I have been meaning to go back. There were so many forests and castles and pools, and even an ocean that were suspended on small islands in the middle of a vast sky. It was one place where I could truly be entirely alone with no other man-made sounds, sights, or people around without my control in visualizing them.

While I no longer follow a Jedi philosophy, I still remember to meditate. That is one of my greatest sources of strength, along with escaping into a particular Episcopalian chapel and taking part in the services offered there every week. The Eucharist, powerful as I've described here, is incredible, but so is the ritual of offering God's peace to each member of the congregation. Also, there is power in eating with the congregation and talking for a good hour. There is peace--knowing that a loving god watches, eats, and breathes there with his people in acceptance and care.
There is stirring, nostalgic peace in walking in the woods and breathing in mountain air. Peace blooms with the nature gods that I once worshiped and the value of a hard-won peace is always remembered every time I touch a plant--knowing that nature exists to find a balance through competition and strife that gives strength to the muscle and the mind.

Another thing I do is write my own worlds, and that's a very frequent exercise. I'm nearing a 2 million word count for everything I've written in my life, and most of that is fiction notes and actual manuscript text. Writing out the lives of others on worlds with different rules (magical, scientific, or just cultural mind-screws) helps me deal with insane gaps of continuity and sanity in my own life. Writing the storylines and actual novels from those worlds is hard work, but the challenge is very rewarding: writing out someone else's life--even if they're fictional.

I have other methods of running away from reality for a while, such as reading, cooking, crafting, watching films, photography, sleeping...a good sip of tea will do the trick, too. However, I don't know how many of us don't just snap. I mean--really snap. People go insane in very, very culturally prescribed ways and in methods that are accepted. I'm shocked that there aren't more stories of "Psychotic meltdown results in 65 people hospitalized for existential crises, 400 generally confused about life direction." or "Madman goes on rampage and then puts down gun in annoyance that killing sprees are so overdone, miraculously none are harmed."

I bring up the thought of escapism because while I just got a job, it also means that I will be separated from my boyfriend for a long time. This time, I'll probably be gone for eight months. He's going off to an internship and more school, and I cannot sustain myself out here any longer without real income under my belt. I'm tired of trying to think of solutions, and so I've been wandering off to delve into another world and take on another skin.

What do you do to bathe in the pools of another reality when your own skin and air are covered in the fumes of a hazy, hum-drum, hellishly haggard world?



  1. For years the piano was my escape. Whenever I "sinned," or felt lonely, or abandoned, or hurt, or happy, or in love, or anything, really, I would immerse myself in playing an instrument or singing.

    Then I went on a mission and I didn't play anything except hymns for two years. By the time I came back, I had it in my mind that I needed a practical major and "put away" my foolish musical desires. Sure, I still sang in an internationally renowned choir and played the organ or piano every Sunday, but I never studied an instrument again and I've lost most of the skill I once had. It breaks my heart, honestly.

    Now, as I have gotten older and separated myself (at least in part) from the "traditions of my fathers," I have been able to find myself in many other places.

    I love going to Roman Catholic Mass (although from a religious perspective, I'm just as screwed there as I am where I'm at...) at Salt Lake's historic cathedral, I LOVE hiking and there are several hikes that whisk me away to a higher plane (both physically, mentally, and spiritually), and taking the "pony" (my cherry red, beat-to-hell scooter) out for ride always helps me escape, too.

    I find when I escape, I often find myself and answers to questions I didn't even know I was asking.

    Anyway, thanks for a wonderful post and for the beautiful imagery.

  2. I've discovered lots of ways to "meditate." It doesn't have to mean sitting on the floor with my legs crossed and thinking about nothing, thought it can. Meditation has taken on a broader meaning for me. It's become any time I can allow my mind to be free, as you mentioned. I can do this by visiting the mountains, playing or listening to music, washing the dishes (or doing mostly any methodical thing with my hands), running....So many options. Great post, Amber. And great reminder.

  3. Those are some rad pictures. I want to escape to all of those places right now.

    I'd love to see that on the news--"Psychotic meltdown results in 65 people hospitalized for existential crises, 400 generally confused about life direction." HAHAHAHAHA.

    I've never really been one to meditate or anything like that. I've always wanted to get into yoga, but still never have. I love hiking though. And skateboarding. Sometimes I run, but mostly I jog and maybe that's where I "meditate" the most, or escape or whatever. It's hard not to let go of everything on a jog outside in the fresh snow when cities seem to be a little less loud.

    Nice post Amber! I hope the job works out alright...but mostly I hope your relationship with your boyfriend works out despite the new job. I'm such a sucker for love... <3