Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Back on the Grid

Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul. – John Muir

I'm back from three weeks of being off the grid in the Pacific Northwest. Here I am, in the vicinity of Mt Shasta, playing my didgeridoo in the mountain stream I camped out by for five days. Then up the coast to Oregon and inland into the forest primeval for four days of a didgeridoo festival, then down to northern CA for some redwoods.

One of the most profound experiences of the trip was my first night in the woods, 8,000 feet up in the Sierras, listening to pure silence. No wind, nothing. Not even the footfall of an insect.

Nature does not change us so much as help restore us to our true essence, uncorrupted by the craziness we mistake for reality. The challenge in stepping back into the craziness is to keep intact at least a piece of what we know is real.

Maybe, then, we can deal with the craziness.

My first priority coming back from nature was to change the subtitle of this blog. "Musings in Mental Health," it used to read when I started Knowledge is Necessity at the end of 2008. In the context of what I was writing about back then, the subtitle reflected a shift from my much narrower focus on mood disorders.

But really it was all about "From God to Neurons." Last year, I incorporated the phrase as part of a long subtitle. Now it's a solo act.

Knowledge is Necessity has always been about ruthless self-inquiry. Mental Health is only part of the picture. God to neurons is the true scope. As I wrote in the second piece I posted here:

Life is about first impressions - a voice, a sight, an aroma - and how we filter and ultimately link them. Often, we fail to see how the dots connect. Life is like that. Life, basically, is a first draft.

Over time, we acquire wisdom and insight. We become better people. We learn to find a measure of joy and peace of mind. But we also know that nothing is permanent. That life has a way of reducing us to nothing.

Next thing, we're groping frantically, looking for new dot to connect ...

Here I am, out of the woods, still connecting dots. 


Many thanks to all of you who have shared my journey over the years. We're all in this together. Let's keep exploring ...


Anonymous said...

Grateful for your blog and website. Thank you for being there.

John McManamy said...

Many thanks, Anonyomus. :)

Anonymous said...

I love the concept in your line "Nature . . . , uncorrupted by the craziness we mistake for reality." How true. There is the reality we have created around us, and then there is just "reality"!

Journey said...

I'm glad you had a great time of refreshing. I've found healing and refreshing comes when getting back to the basics God originally provided for us--the forest, bodies of water, music, natural beauty, etc. It's so basic, yet we tend to forget about it or overlook it when we are back in our busy lives in our concrete & pavement man-made communities. I'm truly happy you found rest and rejuvenation on your trip. I love your new subtitle--it says it all. We are so much more than our mood disorders. When I focus too narrowly/intensely on that, it takes gains ground in my life. The intensity of what I feel can be a blessing when fused with the beauty of this earth and involvement in work that has meaning and purpose serving others--and spending time with family and friends. God bless you John as you continue to seek out truth and share with us.

Anonymous said...

'Nature does not change us so much as help restore us to our true essence, uncorrupted by the craziness we mistake for reality' -- so true, and so beautiful. Great blog, love the pictures.