|The place where answers are often found.|
The next day, I was completely done with the church I had spent my late teens and twenties in. I contacted the church leaders, and with reasons and scriptures to back those reasons, I told them I was leaving. [ . . . ]
Upon entrance into reality, I felt like an alien visiting another planet, attempting to meet new people, date, and find things to do on the weekends. Guys wanted to make-out on a first date, people drank alcohol when meeting up together, and there was no common moral standard to live by or call one another to. Yikes.
I was then romantically pursued by an actor I had met in a Santa Monica health food store. I’d watched him on television and films, admiring him for years. Though he was older than I, and I was worried about what I was ‘supposed to do’ as an adult in a dating scenario, I agreed to go out with him, based on the fact that he was quite charming and funny, and a comedian. He must be trustworthy, I thought.
We dated for a few months, enjoyed each other’s company, watched hours of Liberace footage, wrote jokes, and learned a lot from one another. Until one fine day when a friend brought over a gossip magazine showing Mr. Charming kissing another woman on a beach in Malibu. A world-renowned groupie.
So, this is what the real world looks like?
That was the end of that.
It didn’t take long before I retreated and fell right back into my naturally introverted ways. I began studying Tibetan Buddhism, Taoism, and Hinduism. I read books by Deepak Chopra, Chögyam Trungpa, Pema Chödrön, Eckhart Tolle, Swami Vivekananda, and Krishnamurti. I began studying the Bhagavad Gita, Tao te Ching, and Tibetan Book of the Dead. My brain was spinning with new knowledge and possibilities, yet leaving me with no sense of direction but in.
Most of my time then was spent alone, on a mountaintop, walking along the beach, driving up and down Topanga Canyon smelling the wild sage and listening to Tom Petty, Paul McCartney, or Bob Dylan, and sitting up at my old park bench in Brentwood with a hot tea in one hand, watching the sun set over the Westside of Los Angeles, feeling rather lonely, yet tentatively free to be me, whoever that may be.
Excerpt from chapter twenty-five | the seeker | Everything’sHunky Dory: A Memoir