return

The more I change the more things stay the same. I have returned to this world of urban decay with only the light of my daughter to illuminate this place. Less than a week back in Chicago and the weight of my life seems immense.

But I see the path before me. I continue to work, to create in the hope that I am going someplace. That the vision I have of my work and the future is reality.

Chicago is a dirty place, its streets clogged with the desolation of urban living. The by product of consumer effluence. The snow covered in a grey filth that sticks to everything and everyone. You have to fight to keep it from your home, your food. It is in you here – this disease of grey want.

Life here in the city is a half life. A struggle to find oneself in an illusion of living. It can be a good time, but something here is wrong, and it shows.

One thing that comes to me in thinking of the shape of European culture is that nature seems so close at hand, even in the cities. Its not that there are more parks, its the age of the place in relation to the trees and the rivers. Time has had a hand in returning these edifices to the world around them, slowly conforming to the natural environment.

Something about the way we live in the US is counter to that entire way of life. We fight nature, try to control it, refuse to be part of it. We think of everything around us as consumable, and in doing so we reduce the place of our existence to a mere good, to be traded and discarded as we wish.

How will we manage in the coming decades as we get older? Will we still construct buildings that can be simply torn down again when we are done with them? Or will we learn to add to history in our design, to place something in the stream of time and let it evolve slowly – like an island in a river?

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Journey (going home)

I sit in the airport that brought me to Europe, Copenhagen-Kastrup. I have two hours until my flight and time for some last reflections on this place.

The people I have meet in my journey here have been amazing. So many beautiful and wonderful souls that actually engage the mind. Complicated relationships that develop out of conversations, ideas that become emotions and emotions that become art.

I knew when I left to come to this place that my life was changing. I knew that I was facing something new, something unknown to me. I had no idea of how much I would change in my time here. Things (problems, issues, tangents) that seemed so important to me now seem so small. I realize that any obstacle I have is really created by me. I am the only thing in the way of getting what I want.

In 32 days I have been to these places

Copenhagen DK
Berlin DE
Paris FR
Nantes FR
Brest FR
Vienna AU (layover)
London UK
Zagreb CR
Katovice PL (layover)
Wroclaw PL
Warsaw PL
Lodz PL
Krakow PL
Zilina SL

Twelve cities in a month. With two of these places being stays of four days.

Nothing in my imagination could have prepared me for what I was to encounter. So many instances occurred that I can never write here or anywhere. So many moments of sweetness, beauty and awe. It would fill books to tell all of the wonderful things I have done in this month. To even begin to discuss the ideas that I have had, the moments I have shared, the people I have meet.

Yet something stands out in this time. An idea perhaps, an emotional sigil that brings itself into focus only after so many cities, so much good food and wine, so many people.

It is that we are who we are simply because we believe we are that person. We project what we think we are, “who” is just an illusion. You are only your belief in yourself. If you do not believe in yourself then you can never achieve anything.

It is not always easy to believe in oneself. Our actions and the actions of others often attempt to dictate how we see ourselves. A constant attempt to understand how others see us, yet in vain.

My life is changing. I have awoken to something new and now I must go out into a fresh world and make my ideas into realities. Everyday is a new beginning. I awoke this morning and looked on the beauty of my life in awe. Everyday is as perfect as we make it. Everyday is worth living to its fullest. Today is the day that I change the world, and so is every other day of my life.

Journey (last days)

A month has passed since I first came to Europe. I have wandered here and there, meeting people and considering the shape of my life and what it brings me in this next chapter. Many cultures (and their foods!) have found there way into me. The languages and the people of Europe are astounding. I love this place, these cities, and this is where my heart has always wanted me to live. But now I must rebuild everything in order to be here. I must build a home for my daughter and myself, move on into the next part of my life.

Most of the past two weeks have been spent in Poland. It cities amaze me even though I have been here many times. Wroclaw is by far my favorite and I plan to come here this summer and spend a month in residency working on a new project. I will bring Isobel here to see this place and experience it herself.

But I have wandered through Lodz (being fortunate enough to have gotten to lecture at the University of Lodz) its streets full of young people, danced all night in Krakow, and even spending a single night in Warsaw (which is still a pretty depressing town). Every city brought out dozens (and in some places hundreds) of people to see our shows. The two nights of performances in Lodz were my favorite, but the spectacle of our Wroclaw show was the best night. We performed in an old movie theater with a huge stage and a great projector. Absolutely beautiful.

Last night we performed our last show in Zilina Slovakia. It was a small show and as a fitting end of the tour the acoustic bass exploded during the first set (the bridge and strings just came right off, I have never seen anything like it). I had to jump on a train back to Krakow right after the gig to catch an 11am departure to Copenhagen. (Which is where I am now). Tonight I will end the journey with one last night in the city I started in. Copenhagen is a great (but expensive) place.

The real purpose of this long journey was to find something I had lost, myself. I set out to learn about who I am and I hope that I have in some way done this. I have had much time for reflection and introspection. I feel a new chapter of my life coming as the last chapter is ending. Many characters will remain, but some new ones are will be coming onto the stage. The plot thickens.

What details my future holds I do not know. I have to make some very calculated decisions as soon as I return to Chicago. I walked out on a life in chaos one month ago. Emotionally and financially my life there is in ruins. I must return and fix the things that are broken and discard the things I can not fix. My marriage is over, and the debt is astounding. I must do what needs to be done, get everything in order, and begin to build a new life here. A life of happiness and of hope.