PERSPECTIVES FROM ON HIGH AND LOW

How I see the world is dependent largely on my state of mind. Another way of saying this might be that my view is determined by my outlook. Looking back on my life, I believe I might be able to illustrate this by isolating specific incidents that stand out for their range of emotions from ecstasy to agony.

Mountains

When I lived in Santa Barbara, I was awash in wonders of nature. The architecture of the business district and many neighborhoods is grand. We had many places we could go for elevation of mood. One of my favorite locations definitely had to do with elevation. The mountain range behind the city rises up about 4800 feet. I discovered on a drive up there that at one point the road traverses a narrow saddle from which I could see the ocean on one side and the Santa Ynez Mountains on the other. One day, I parked my car and took a seat on a slope where I could take in the panoramic vista of the mountains below. I gazed with expanding joy in my heart for the love of the earth. My affinity grew until I had a thought float to consciousness. I am the land.

The Alpha Beta Experience

To be sure, new love has the ability to change a person’s perspective. When my wife and I went out at first, we so enjoyed being with each other that nothing else mattered. One night, we were on our way to do something I don’t even recall now. What I do remember clear as a bell is that we stopped at our local downtown Los Angeles Alpha Beta supermarket to pick up a couple things. As we were walking around shopping, I realized how happy I was and I knew it was because I was simply in the presence of this delightful, lovely being. I understood right then we could be anywhere and be full of joy.

On the Door of Darkness

It was about 10 years ago when my life took a turn for the worse. I was working in an office building which has a great view of the Catalina Mountains that border Tucson on the north. I was talking to a client on my headset as I typed in my notes of the conversation. I felt fine, but then I saw my vision shrink to a small circle as darkness closed in and threatened to consume all light. I hung onto consciousness and continued my conversation as though nothing was happening.

I found the episode to be odd, but I finished my work day and went home, where I told my wife what had occurred. I took her advice to see my doctor. I was sent to see a specialist and as a result I learned I could be at risk for sudden cardiac arrest. I could die at any moment. This concept wormed its way into my daily thoughts. I soon started having repeated incidents while sitting at my work desk in which I had the fear of passing out. To counter it, I’d jump up and look out the windows at the mountains to create space for myself. This went on for a couple years, leading to intense anxiety and even a panic attack while on the job. Eventually, the big scares about potentially passing out subsided, but anxiety events continued.

How Did I Get Here?

Earlier this year, I was performing at a local coffee shop along with my other members of Kindred Spirits. Near the end of the second set, I became disoriented and said so. I knew who I was and I knew those around me, but I had lost touch with reality to an extent and I suddenly wasn’t making new memories from moment to moment. My wife and a couple friends took me to the hospital. I’m told I kept asking my wife where I was and how I got there. This went on for about eight hours. At about 3:30 AM, I noticed my wife sitting by the hospital bed and asked her the same question again. This time, though, I was retaining what was happening to me. I spent the next day and a half being tested extensively for signs of a stroke or neurological irregularities. Nothing was found.

When I was back home, I realized I had taken a double dose of a beta blocker I’ve used to reduce performance anxiety. Research and doctor consultations confirmed this episode was likely a result of this overdose of the beta blocker.

My Outlook and What I See

This year has been a turning point for me, in spite of the temporary derailment mentally. I’ve learned new yoga and meditation techniques and have intensified my practice. It has led to greater peace and much less anxiety. I’ve come to realize how much I’m creating my reality. I see what I see in the light of what I create.