Life always revolves around the same question: What is the personal price I pay for my actions and deeds? What is the personal price I pay for realizing my chosen lifestyle and keeping it going? What is the personal price I pay for changing this chosen lifestyle? What can I go without? What not? What am I missing? What am I yearning for? What is the (pain) threshold beyond which a sense of reality can no longer be reconciled with the yearning? And finally: What consequences do I draw from this?
Every fundamental change in lifestyle results in painful losses which you must be honest to yourself about (otherwise you shouldn’t even begin thinking about a change). And only the experiences you make along the new path will reveal whether you have got any closer to what you were looking for or not.
I wanted to drop out of the life I was leading. That sounds grotesque but the term “drop-out” is generally associated with someone who turns their back on the daily routine (job, marriage, car, house) to find an alternative. One commonly thinks of a top manager who one day drops everything at his desk on the 39th floor of his office at the bank and starts off on a journey to a Tibetan monastery… Viewed from the outside, a free and celebrated artist (who actually personifies precisely this kind of “dropping out” to his audience thanks to his works and charisma), must DE FACTO already have arrived where the majority want to be.
My desire to change resulted from the growing feeling of wanting to do something of my own volition but at the same time feeling more and more pushed into this voluntary action … This expected role appeared on the horizon within which there is joy in doing things. To play this role increasingly blanketed the real performance, both in a general sense and a more precise sense: i.e. real life.
And the more I reflected on this, the more I realized that I was unable to answer the question of what “real life” actually was. I was finally able to accept the thought that a few things in my life were (no longer) in harmony, that a lot of what I was doing felt unhealthy and I sensed a growing yearning for a solution, without knowing at the beginning to what. Or what it should actually look like.
I wanted to find out, why that was so. To do this, I needed some idea of who I actually was. Before I could find that out, of this I was certain, I needed time, peace and quiet, retreat; I had to remove myself from everything that had gone before and concentrate on this existential question. I could not see any compromise. So, at the end of 1999, I dropped out.