Peak Moments for Liberation

There are moments in our lives when we experience peak moments of happiness. It’s those moments when we are thrust so forcefully into the present that all we see and feel is love in the grand sense. It’s the closest life gets to art and we are the lucky ones to be its main subject. Тhese moments unravel around us while simultaneously emerging from within but through the euphoric maelstrom they have a curious way of veiling themselves. We become blind to the experience out of proximity, proverbially missing the forest for the trees. But they do happen.  My question is whether or not these sublime moments can unlock a latent freedom of possibility, meaning, since we’ve already seen the top, why not just try anything and everything else to explore the full palette of existence? It’s a liberating experience. 

Artistic collaboration with Pavel Shatu (visual artist)

Artistic collaboration with Pavel Shatu (visual artist)

I’ve had this «peak happiness» experience a few years ago and nothing in recent memory has come close. After deciding to run away from NYC for a brief summer, I found myself in Copenhagen with which I fell in love immediately, with the most kind and giving person I’ve ever met, also with whom I was deeply in love. My daily schedule went from struggle and grind to play and relax. Every day I was going to arguably the coolest library in the world (The Black Diamond - google it), writing for the majority of the day and afterwards meeting up with the lady as she would get off work. We would then wrap our day by exploring the city and enjoying each other’s company. If I got a taste of what a dream was, not the nocturnal kind but the kind we fantasize about when we think of an idyllic future, this was it. Given my immaturity and naivety, I wasn’t able to fully appreciate all of the abundance and gifts around me and had silly financial problems on my mind, so I recall being stressed a fair portion of the time. But as distance allowed all the inconsequential chaff to fall away, all that’s left is a beautiful and singular memory of a reality that was my own.  

Recently I’ve had comparable instances which I was able to appreciate in real-time, but nothing quite holds up to this episode of a few years ago. I’ll also admit that it doesn’t take long for the mind the idealize things and there is no way for me to a-b test my present existence with one of the past. But with the wistful reverie of a time no longer, I can recognize that I might not ever get to that point of youthful freedom again as there were then no responsibilities except to feel and to love. I mean, that’s a lesson in itself if we were to deconstruct «a perfect moment». Yet as I start to let go of this desire to live in a dream world and submit to the possibility that that could have been my existential peak, the entire world opens up to me. If that was that, then fuck it, I can now do quite possibly anything else because I have nothing to lose. Perhaps this may connote nothing to live for, but if we are to talk in absolutes then one can say I have everything to live for. So why not explore? Why not move to Paris? Why not write the book? Why not smoke the occasional cigar and have a little too much wine? 

I believe this type of abandon is what many of us ultimately seek. It’s freedom. It’s liberation. We stop stressing and start opening up our creative centers. We open up our hearts. And if you truly allow all of that to happen, then you open yourself up to the possibility of having peak experiences every day. You become the kid that’s always within. You stop worrying start living and that’s fucking beautiful. 

I hate to end on a morose note, but I’d also like to mention the concept of «memento mori», which has been a guiding star and a most effective tool for me. It’s the concept of «remembering that you will die». Reflecting on mortality has been the biggest gift I’ve periodically given myself and it first happened ignorantly as I was standing on a bridge over a set of train tracks thinking whether or not I should jump. I stood there with nobody in sight. Looked over the edge and got dangerously close. 10 minutes must have passed as my entire life’s movie started playing before me. At some moment there was a shift in perspective which was that if I took a step back I would have the chance to do anything I could have ever wanted. Literally anything else. If one choice is death, the alternative becomes infinite possibility. Since then I’ve used this tool in more safe environments and mostly in the confines of my mind. Yet «memento mori» and other toolsets have given me immense mobility and put decisions and life choices in most sober perspectives. 

This is the first essay in collaboration with artist Pavel Shatu -