To stay in touch. To be in touch. To get in touch with. To be touched. On the physical level, as sensation, touch distinguishes the lover from the fighter. We need to be touched one way or the other. Human touch, especially affection, feeds us deep down, through our skin, muscle, blood and bone. Without touch something inside withers.
Then there is the "tuned in" sense of being in touch with something. This is a particular mental state, one of receptivity and connection, and one, I would argue, that is every bit as essential to human well-being and overall health as physical touch. This is a mental state that I have seen very little of these last few months. After the loss of my pal, Lily, I fell into a bit of a depression, in the sense that I have not been able to make things happen. I am not getting things done. I am not taking those precious incremental steps toward the sea and the voyage of a lifetime that awaits me out there. I had, to some degree, lost sight of my aim, and lost touch with the part of me that manifests dreams. I have felt unconnected and vulnerable to negative emotional states. And my peeps are not here to slap me around in that loving way that can get me moving again in some direction or other.
I am, thankfully, coming around. Reawakening. Getting in touch with what brought me here. Steve and I have been toying with the problems of living in the woods with Nomadness hours away, and my friends, family, and vibrant community even further. The sense of community that feeds my soul is something I remember, but in which I no longer participate. Having an online community is wonderful, but having a face to face, hugging, laughing, bullshit calling, group of comrades to puzzle over problems with and be in touch with is something all together different.
We've come to a conclusion that while we prepare ourselves and our vessel for the journey we dream of, we have to stay in touch with the day to day pleasures of living. We have to create a community. Steve has his vision of the Flotilla, and I have mine. They overlap in our heads, but to manifest them, we need to touch others in a way that sparks up a firestorm of enthusiasm and forges something none of us, individually, could have envisioned. So the short of it is that we are looking to sell the Camano Island House and purchase something on the water and nearer to my community in Olympia. The logistics of boat installations and the lack of communal excitement can both be alleviated with a move.
It sounds like a huge distraction from our goal of moving onto a boat and voyaging forth, but in fact, it is not. We are in one of those places where we keep bumping into the same obstacles, turning from them for awhile, and later returning to bump again. The boat projects (solar installations, water works, geeky talking-ship nodes of information, comfort inducing cabin alterations, etc.) are getting planned, developed, and discussed, but not installed. Things are moving, but sometimes very slowly.
We both know we can be far more productive, both individually and together, than we currently are. Why? Well, when we talk about the best times of our lives, the most creative, productive, and satisfying, we both return to times when we had a community around us. I had my theatre, and Steve had his geeky interns helping him develop Behemoth (his over-the-top bicycle) and the Microship (the sweet home-built trimaran in the lab that awaits the next adventure). Basically, as I see it, we have lost touch with the energy of community. The thrill of the brainstorm, the all nighters that produce art (and engineering) amidst the sound of laughter, coffee percolating at 3am, huge pots of soup to feed the workers, and that blessed shout of "I got it!"
We need this kind of touch to do our best work. To be our best. We need to be in touch with other minds and in love with the process. When we are in love with our work, our work is always better. So, although it seems crazy, we are probably going to move. And although it will mean that this summer will be another summer of cruising the islands (poor us!), not blue water, world voyaging, I believe it is a step in the right direction. And if being in a community can reawaken the playful, anything is possible, attitude that is requisite to ingenuity, any delay or hassles moving brings, will most certainly be worth it. Perhaps a few more hugs, and few more late night brainstorming sessions with sailors and artists and adventurers will put us back in touch with the parts of ourselves that will "git busy and git 'er done!" One can only hope.