Monday, July 24, 2017

He Wanted to Change the World : Abridged

In November 2016, I felt the frustrating draw to write out the overflow of my mind and heart. I saved the draft and closed the browser because it read as jumbled and overwhelming as I felt. In February, I did the same thing. And again in April. On July 1st, I finally relinquished the expectation of myself to write something that was perfect, irrefutable, compelling and beautiful and I just spoke. I decided first to write a Facebook status and after beginning it, I realized it was not an acceptable Facebook status (it was hella long) so I moved it over to a Google doc.

8 pages and 5 hours passed and I felt I could breathe.
I feel I owe a lot of my friends an honest and heartfelt update on what the hell we're doing. I realize it appears we have probably lost our minds, or are always asking for money for a new project, or are speaking of grandeur and seeking support for a new thing. I'm sure we come across as confusing and maybe even annoying to people.

I understand that. I see that. My anxious, overthinking mind thought through all those scenarios.

We have had a dozen people stick by us through this entire, unexpected and strange journey and I can't thank them enough. I truly can't.

So, this is intended to be an abridged version of another abridged version of our last 6-8 months. 

I have no idea where to start other than at the very beginning, on February 19th when Palmer came to me telling me about the incredible experience he had the night before. He felt enlightened, invigorated, excited and ready to change the world. February 19th, in case you don't have a photographic memory, was an unnaturally gorgeous Sunday. I took one child out to ride her bike while the other two stayed home with Palmer while he energetically graphed and logged everything he had in his head. He did this for a majority of the day.

What he wrote about was fascinating, revolutionary ideas to steer humanity towards betterment. I know it's vague, I told you it was abridged. I was astonished and intrigued. Where did this come from? 

The following weeks and months were full of supernatural wonderment that I can't fully describe here and yet it was also full of equally paralyzing fear. The days were precarious and uncertain. There was a stretch of time where he was so full of energy he appeared to be on drugs. He didn't sleep or eat and I panicked about when to step in and help. There were a couple of weeks where I didn't recognize him.

During this time, he was so connected to something that everyone around him caught it. The spark of life and true free will and the gift of stepping out of our mundane survival to evaluate our existence.
I KNOW HOW THAT SOUNDS. I just ask you please bare with me. 
Christians would call it the Holy Spirit, I call it the Universe, others might call it something else and atheists might not believe me at all and that is totally okay. I'm not writing this to evangelize or proselytize or convince anyone of anything. I am writing this completely honestly and free of any worry that anyone will think less of us.  

In the midst of that, his partnership in a business start up he poured weeks into dissolved and he was left with the pieces of something awesome and exciting; something we had hung our future on. I grieved for him then too, helpless and paralyzed yet again. I was not the wife I wanted to be, the supporter, the helper, the one to pick up the reigns when he couldn't hold them any longer. I wanted to be more than I was for him then but that's my own process to work through, I think.

He quietly picked up those pieces and moved them into a new endeavor which a lot of you may have heard of: the Lawrence Collective.

On March 25th, he invited the whole city to join his efforts to something bigger. He couldn't paint the whole picture but he knew with every fiber of his being he believed in it and it's potential so he threw everything he had into it. He was able to share a part of his vision with a number of other people who knew how to make it work. Again, I can't thank those people enough. I can't adequately thank those who listened to him intently, stuck by his side and not only that but worked along side him as I tried to keep our lives together and he pursued great dreams. I need to clarify that I do not mean to say he was negligent of our lives or family or anything like that.

His peripheral broadened to the point where I had to let him take off and see what happens. 

The 25th came and went, things were quiet. The adrenaline of planning and anticipation for that day came and went. He spiraled. There was one particularly heart wrenching day when my neighbor texted me alerting me that she thought Palmer to be suicidal and it was time to step in. A dear friend came to his side and he sobbed and processed for hours while I sat helpless and paralyzed again. There were days I emotionally prepared to separate the family so he could get well. Days spent grieving. I spent an entire 3 months in a constant state of nervous panic that my life, my husband, my future and the people around me were falling apart but instead of telling anyone, I kept it to myself so I could just. keep. going. Make it to the next day, hold it together, keep life normal for the kids, worry about whether our business and sole income would make it out of this.
Image result for kimmy schmidt you can do anything for 10 seconds

We decided to get the hell out of town for a spontaneous trip to the mountains - nature's most cleansing medicine. The trip was perfect in that it was exactly what we needed. It was the grounding Palmer needed. It was the escape I needed. It was the adventure the kids loved. But it was cut short when Palmer was able to ground enough to look at himself and say he needed help. He posted a video to Facebook describing his mental breakdown and he began the process of getting outside help.

Everything from that point on has been an incredible, steady incline of improvement but not only that - our lives have been filling with great, beautiful hope. That connection to something more remains untouched. And what's more, others feel it too. People around us are talking about the same things. It starts as unexplainable restlessness, or intense anxiety, or glimpses at weird consistent coincidences. And this is not new, it's not something I'm making up or trying to get a new church going around or something. It's the betterment.

The Lawrence Collective, the idea Palmer put together and ran with, is still there - we're just starting smaller. It's focused on connecting people, hearing each other's stories and going from there (it won't stop there, and really would you expect anything less from these crazies?) It's planned to be a lovely little mix of Humans of New York, NPR's Tiny Desk and a dash of local news thrown in. This is Lawrence, KS - we have an endless supply of beautiful, interesting people to hear from. It's Palmer's passion project and I'm happy to be able to help any way I can.

Being present and open to this magic around me has not let me down so I dare not stop now.

This journey began with a mental breakdown 5 months ago and ended with an intangible connection to something so much greater than what my life has known. We're open to the magic of possibility, to the deep potential of humanity and the incredible change that can happen. We are not the same people we were at the beginning of the year and I'm grateful for it. Palmer woke up and I'm grateful for it. We are both healing and growing in ways we couldn't have done before; living caught up in hopeless expectations.

There are a list of ideas I can logically work through concluding why what happened came to pass. Why he changed, what is driving him and where it's coming from. I won't do that today. (And probably never will.)

Today I'm letting you know we're okay. And more than that - we're alive.

1 comment:

  1. Glad to be along for the ride with you. I'm hoping to catch some of the waves from you guys and chart my own family's path to true freedom. Life means more. It has to. Thank you for being open, honest, and amazing. Keep it up. We are here if you need us....