Some of the sand has settled from our time in the desert, but we keep kicking it back up again.
Last Sunday night, Doug Stanhope was in town for a show, and we kicked it up again. That’s not the point. The point is that after being in the desolate climes of Panamint Springs with Doug and friends for five days, one comes away with a new sense of so many things. On my two-day trip home from there, I wrote and wrote, trying to record and remember all the magic that had transpired. To no avail. The magic is in the people. And I’ve talked to many of them since. Just seeing Doug again (the only one of our crew that I’ve seen in person so far since) and trying to help him explain it to others proved pointless and inspiring simultaneously.
We all re-entered our days with something that words, pictures, and explanations fail miserably to recount. But when I talk to the others, I see the difference that I feel within myself. We’ve all found a different level, nay, many different levels.
I wrote this phrase down on the train from Portland to Seattle:
Stepping outside your comfort zone by definition means being uncomfortable, but you find a new comfort zone at a different level. The whole point is to find those limits. How do you know what you can do until you’re uncomfortable doing it? That’s what the desert taught many of us. And it can be learned and applied in any context.
One example is what Doug calls “excess in moderation.” It’s about doing it all at once as opposed to a little at a time. Another example is my friend Mark Lewman’s idea of staying up all night one night a month just to work — whether or not anything is due. Binge therapy.
Pushing your limits turns the volume up on the good stuff, and turns it down on the bad. I’m being vague on purpose because your limits are yours, and though we may have some in common, only you know what you want to do and are too scared to try.