Since finishing tour I've been sleeping eight, nine, ten - even twelve! - hours a night. This is twice or thrice (weird word) what I'm used to. On the road it's common to not sleep at all, or to only sleep a couple hours on some floor/couch with one eye on the clock knowing I've got to catch a bus to make a train to catch a connection to make the gig and so on.
In summation, I'm loving bed right now. It's nice to look in the mirror and not appear to be three times my age, and even better to not feel three times my age. Rather, when I wake up I kind of leap out and do a little jig because I can, because I'm in my room and therefore won't freak out anyone but myself, and we're way past that now.
A result of being rested (cool phrase) is that my days are several hours shorter than I'm used to. Sure, I don't have to drive for hours (though honestly, that's when I get most of my songwriting done) and I'm not playing shows right now, so that's created a lot of free time... but after years of staying in other people's homes and waiting around venues for hours and hours and hours (there is no need for a solo artist to arrive seven hours before the show for soundcheck) I've become extremely territorial over my free time.
I imagine anyone who's ever worked a day (or sat through a day of school) knows this feeling. We all feel the squeeze... the momentum of life! I find myself running in circles sometimes because there's so much I want to do!!
So what to do?! A teacher once told me that whenever we perceive that we are "lacking" something, then we must give it away. In doing so, we see that we not only have what we desire - we have plenty to spare. Not enough time? Give some away! Whether it's checking in on a friend in need, volunteering for a few hours, or simply stopping - give away your time and your time will grow.
The last time I had a good chunk of free time was three years ago, in the summer of 2008, between Telluride Bluegrass Festival and Rocky Mountain Folks Fest (who just gave "Motel Room Blues #3" an Honorable Mention in the song contest!). At this time I went back to New York City and began practicing meditation. A lot. I had just completed my first year of living on the road and I was a total nut.
I remember arriving at the Folks Festival and being more interested in the inner world than what was going on onstage (it might've helped that it was pouring rain and cold). Friday morning I sat backstage wrapped in blankets because like an idiot I only packed warm weather clothes and I went deep deep deep... not noticing that my fellow musicians were tip-toeing around, not wanting to disturb this shriveled wet rat wrapped up like a hallucinating Buddha. Actually, I was a jar of nuts scattered across the floor. That's more accurate. I was striving for single-nutdom.
I didn't know if I was in the depths of despair or in ecstatic bliss, but I'd say I was skewed towards the former. I do remember sharing a beautiful heart-to-heart with Molly Venter that afternoon, and later blushing out of a conversation with Amos Lee because no amount of meditation could prepare me for his cuteness.
After skipping out on soggy camping to sleep on my cousin's couch back in Fort Collins I returned Saturday to sing more songs and feel even more lost... the end/pauses between tours - as with any life transitions - are extremely challenging. I often go back to Jude Law's character in I Heart Huckabees: How am I not myself?
I left the stage area and found a big flat rock by the river. And I sat. And for a period of time, I ceased to be me with all my perceived little problems and I became the river.
It was a real turning-point in the weekend. I found Lara Herscovitch, we shared dinner and a double rainbow, and after a good night's sleep I finished off the festival with warm sunshine, kazoos, and KT Tunstall, pausing intermittently to just stop. And sit. And be.