Day 11: The Soul of the World

“People looking at what was occurring around them could find a means of penetration to the soul of the world” – Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

I started reading Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist last night and finished it today. It was such a trippy read because I can honestly say that this would’ve blown my mind a couple months ago, but now I feel like it’s mostly validation for everything that I’ve learned. How is it possible that humans come to the same conclusions once they go on this journey into themselves, the journey of self discovery? Is it just because we’re the same species that we feel the same emotions and so many of us feel the need to go on this journey? Why is it such a THING for us to find answers? For such a long time I’ve thought “Consciousness is a BITCH. It’s the only reason I’m feeling SO SHITTY right now” but now I swear I can FEEL my mindset shifting to “no… consciousness is a MIRACLE.”

I didn’t need to read this… because I’ve been feeling it. But reading it is a huge relief 🙂 Sometimes I can’t help but doubt the path…. but now I know I really shouldn’t. It seems like the ultimate conclusion people seem to come to since the beginning of time is that we are divine energy, we are all one, and everything happens for a reason.

I’d be lying if this book didn’t blow my mind at least a little bit xD Actually, toward the end at about 53 min left (I was listening on Audible) I started getting all teary eyed because of the boy’s conversation with the alchemist. For SO LONG I’ve worked against myself, against my heart, and it caused SO MUCH PAIN. I wasn’t sure WHY I was feeling the pain, all I knew is that I was feeling it, and I needed to explore that a little bit.

Cut to now… I can honestly say that I feel like I’ve progress, which is a lot for me to admit. Prior to this moment in time, I couldn’t say that genuinely… I always felt like it was a lie, that I was just trying to kid myself. Just yesterday I was thinking about the past and how I’d suffered for so long, battling myself. But in this book the Alchemist says:

“Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And that no heart has ever suffered in search of its dreams because every second of the search is an encounter with god and eternity.”

He also says that “courage is the quality most essential to understanding the language of the world” the language of course being love. I was getting all teary because it was so sad to me how true so much of what the alchemist said. It’s just human nature to have our heart speak to us as children, but with age those hearts speak “more and more softly” because they “don’t want people to suffer if they don’t follow their hearts.” More and more I’m finding that courage is really hard to come by these days, because it’s so easy for people to hide behind screens and not actually talk to each other. But I think this feeling is starting to pervade culture more and more because as the years pass, people are beginning to speak out against this complex society we’ve created for ourselves.

Thinking about it though, this book was written in the 90s. Is this just a recurring theme that will span through all time? Or is it ACTUALLY getting better? Who knows… I feel like maybe it’s one of those “time will tell” sorta things? I mean, can any of us ever truly gain answers or do we have to just learn, more than anything to trust OURSELVES? Probably that one. I mean… it’s like people say. Speak your truth.

But it’s so hard to speak your truth when you don’t know what it is… and that’s where the courage comes in. Courage to pursue it, courage to seek the “omens” the “signs” that you’re on the right path. All that “follow your bliss” shit… it’s all just to get our hearts closer to the “soul of the world”

Man it really hit me hard how the whole point of all of it was so that the boy could befriend his own heart, with neither being “capable of betraying each other”, a line I think is SO beautiful. Lately, that’s been ESPECIALLY my battle. Since this bipolar diagnosis and taking the Latuda, I’ve seen that my mind IS actually capable of befriending my heart… it’ll just take time. And I think a huge reason it takes so much time for me personally is because I have to FEEL the answers. If I had read this book years ago when I knew NOTHING… it wouldn’t have had any impact. But because I’ve lived an adequate amount of life… the feels were intense.

Please heart, continue to speak to me and allow me to return to the soul of the world.

“Very few follow the path laid out to them.”

 

 

Day 8/9: Memories

Didn’t get a chance to write yesterday because it was another kinda whirlwind of a day.. but a calm whirlwind. Eddy’s friend Jason was visiting from the bay area and it was an AMAZING experience to hang out with them. Eddy isn’t one to have too many friends, but Jason is special. They hadn’t seen each other in about 6 years, but Eddy invited him to be a groomsman in our wedding so Jason wanted to come down to see Eddy for the first time in a while and meet me. I was worried it would be awkward between them, but when I got back from Karen’s to hang out I was pleasantly surprised.

These guys have a lot of history together, and it was really cool for me to see Eddy act this way with someone else. Like a brother basically… it was super cute I’d never seen him that way before. Jason also exceeded my expectations, he was super cool and really open so it was easy to get to know him.

A weird thing was happening in my mind the whole time though. I think lately I’ve just been becoming more and more aware of the state of things, in terms of what my mind is doing but also what the world actually is. Hanging out with Karen and Jason this past weekend, I oddly started focusing on cycles in my head. Cycles of time… cycles of events, situations.. EVERYTHING. I think I’ve been processing the Joseph Campbell, Power of Myth series on Netflix for the past couple weeks, and it’s just now hitting me. Joseph Campbell talks about circles, and how everything is a circle and he proceeds to describe what are circles. Some examples being days, holidays, seasons, years, jobs, relationships… our entire LIFE is a circle.

I couldn’t help being very conscious of the fact that I was just visiting Karen, Jason was just visiting us, and that as fun as these interactions were they would eventually end. That then spiraled into me REALLY enjoying whenever Eddy and Jason would reminisce about something. Coupled with me and Jason talking about our journeys to self discovery, learning how to take control of our out of control inner landscape, and how hard it is to not give a shit what other people think of you… I feel like so much of life started to click for me.

Something I very much believe in is the power of story. When you sit back and think about it, that’s all each of us is… a story. That story is what we relay to other people, but it can never even be a full thing because we CHOOSE what to tell. And all of that comes from memory, which ends up being a very fickle thing. When old friends come together to recall memories it’s incredibly beautiful because those moments in their past could only happen due to a unique set of circumstances. Hearing how Eddy and Jason met, from JASON’S perspective blew my mind. I’d heard of him the entire 4.5 years we’ve been dating, and I always wondered what kind of person this guy would be if Eddy spoke so highly of him. But Jason speaks equally, if not more, highly of Eddy… and that made my heart burst. To hear the same stories Eddy would tell me from his perspective, I really saw the impact these 2 guys had on each other.

We only grow up once, and the people that end up being in our lives during that time is really all we get. It makes me so happy that these 2 guys found each other and had such a large impact on each other’s life. I used to spread myself so thin, meeting all these people, trying to get over all this dumb anxiety, that I didn’t really get to form a relationship like that with just one other person, and it’s truly a special thing. Even so, watching Eddy and Jason made me realize that I need to express gratitude more to the people in my life who HAVE been in it for a while. Who HAVE had an impact. Because really… these people who have been with us are there for a reason. Hell even Eddy and Jason’s story being a part of my life I feel happened for a reason!!! It reminds me how beautiful friendships can truly be… totally like a shounen anime/manga haha! I was literally living a dream of mine from childhood… witnessing the in depth friendship of two cool ass martial artists, one of whom I actually get to marry. It was TOO MUCH I felt like I was fangirl imploding the whole time over 2 characters that I made up in my head but were also real. Kinda like this, but way less creepy.

The more I think like this, the easier I feel it will be to get out of depressive episodes if I keep all of this in mind. Being aware of the importance of each little thing in our lives and being GRATEFUL for the pattern of life that has brought us to the unique experience that we’re living really makes it so that…. I dunno I feel like I have nothing to be sad about. All this is just an experience. Life is basically just one big amusement park that we can choose to see as such, taking every mundane thing and seeing it as a miracle. And I’ve decided I’m really happy with what my life is becoming and who I’ve ended up having in it 🙂 Somewhere along the line, I guess I started making good decisions for myself.

Even still, I spent so much time caring about what I look like, if my art is good enough, if people like me whatever… that I never stopped to think that regardless of any of that, people still talk to me. I have a past, with people who I’ve had important relationships and memories with, and I should alone be grateful for THAT. It doesn’t matter what I look like today, or if I stuck to my schedule last week… everything just comes to an end anyway and it’s really not that serious. All I can do is choose what kind of life experience I want today, and I need to embrace that and enjoy it way more than I have been. All the people around me are in my world for a reason, and everything familiar right now will become a distance memory someday so I might as well just have a good time in it while I can. Why is that so easy to forget?

Day 6/7: Overflowing With Gratitude

Yesterday was a blur and I thought I’d have time to write at the end of the night but I got so wasted and passed out! So this is technically an entry for yesterday (day 6), even though I’m writing today (day 7) and I’ll write another one tonight because I feel like this is just one of those like…really important weekends.

Anyway.

I feel like I’m literally overflowing with gratitude right now for so many reasons, and I wish I could remember this when things get rough…hopefully I do. But I guess that’s why it’s good to write these, right? Everything that happens in our lives is such a unique moment in time that we share with everything around us. It’s all connected and even THAT is worth appreciating. But yeah.

Yesterday I had to leave early to visit my, I call her my pseudo mom, Karen. Even though I had to leave early, it was Eddy’s last day before going back to work on Monday so I wanted him to bring Han by the office to meet my showrunner’s dog Kiwi, and also to see where I work and have lunch with me during the day before he goes back. Just the fact that my showrunner is so cool that she would urge me to bring our dog into work to meet her dog (dogs aren’t allowed btw) made me so grateful to work where I work ;_;

Working in animation really offers a flexibility that you don’t really see in other more “normal” jobs, and I think when I get into a dark headspace I fail to remember that. On my good days though, I’m able to step back and be like “Holy shit I made it. I’m here, this is where I’ve always wanted to be. I’m SO LUCKY.” Yesterday was one of those days.

It’s also SO dependent on the crew you find yourself on. Talking about this, I can’t help but remember the jobs I had where my supervisors didn’t understand me. Like working at the garden nursery in Newport Beach and being told not to bring dolls to work and also to dress nicer, or the retail shop in Yorba Linda where my supervisors turned my desk around so they could monitor what I was looking at on my computer. Working in animation, I feel like they understand that artists’ minds work differently and the flexibility accommodates for that. But even still…the current crew I’m on like…as long as we finish our work then basically anything goes.

It was so nice to see Eddy during the day. The more time goes on, the more I feel like he’s my rock. He grounds me and even if I’m feeling uncomfortable, everything changes when he’s around. He really is like the other half of me that is able to calm me down and make me remember that life is worth living. I wish we had done more lunches during the day because now it’s too late… the 6 months he had unemployed and we never did it once until the very last day. It taught me a lesson to seizethe day more. Carpe diem is a saying for a reason, and I think I’m just now really starting to feel it. It was so nice to take a break during the day and visit with Lynn’s dog, then go eat ribs in a park with Eddy and Han. I imagine that’s what heaven feels like…it really is a place on earth 🙂

Here’s a video of Han and Kiwi together! Kiwi is still just 3 months old so she’ll never be this small again! I wanna remember this ;_; I really wish more people could’ve seen Han while he was small. You really don’t know how quickly puppies grow until you have one 😦

Shortly after Eddy and Han left I had to leave work to visit Karen in Huntington Beach which is like a 2 hour drive in rush hour, but always totally worth it. She completely surprised me with an AMAZING wedding gift, even going to far as to make her boyfriend record her presentation of it to me for good reason.

Karen never fails to amaze me. I hate even saying it because she doesn’t like to think of age, but she’s about as old as my mom but chooses to see life as a gift, and so much more positively than anyone else I know. To me, she transcends age and gives me hope that if I work at it, I can someday be like her. I guess you could say she’s a mentor to me, but she’s way more than that even…you know it’s like one of those things where words aren’t good enough to describe her. I love her energy and how she chooses to live her life. Both her and her boyfriend Jay are an inspiration to me, and I’m beyond grateful to have them in my own life.

She just came back from going to like a billion countries in Europe for school (she went back to college for a degree in her 50s.) Jay was explaining that the whole time she kept telling him that she wanted to get me a present, but that it needs to be meaningful. She always thinks “well Elora is an artist, she would appreciate this” sorta thing. I’m very much not a materialistic person who likes things because they’re expensive or a certain brand. I love things that are different as sentimental, and Karen is that way too. Boy did she deliver.

She presented me with something called “legendary lace” from a small Island in Italy called Burano. She went to tour this lace factory which I can’t even really describe so here’s a link. But she told me they were saying that 7 women made the lace handkerchief she gave me, and only together could they have made it. The lace is so gorgeous and fragile and special, I got so choked up because I dunno…I feel like with her giving me this lace it’s the beginning of a family heirloom that I want to pass down. I’ve always loved the idea of tradition and meaningful items that are embued with the power of those who came before, and I really do feel like this is exactly that. I was excited to tell Amy about it, and she describes it as a magical quest item which it totally is! Karen says that in olden times, due to the importance of this lace for trade, the women making it were required to stay on the island and leaving would be punishable by imprisonment or death (it doesn’t say this online, I’m assuming it’s from the tour she did.) Obviously they don’t do that anymore, but in my mind there’s something magical about these ladies coming together to create something so delicate and beautiful.

On the way to Karen’s I was thinking about art and how essentially what it is, is an expression of those fleeting moments in time. It’s the attempt to grasp a feeling that’ll be gone in an instant. And to me, this lace that Karen gave is a representation of just that. When she got it, she didn’t even know I had 7 bridesmaids, but it was 7 maidens who made the lace. Coincidence? I think not. More like a reminder to cherish the important people in my life because they make me who I am.

After the glorious and beautiful bachelorette party my girls planned for me last month, Amy (maid of honor) had mentioned that working with them as a group made it clear to her how each one of them was a reflection of me. Years ago I was terrified I wouldn’t even have bridesmaids if I were ever to get married, cuz I never really had good girl friends until now. It’s shocking to me that somehow I have 7, and really I need to be more grateful to all these girls on a regular basis. Amy is right… Really thinking about it, anyone who knows me well enough can break down why each of those girls is in my life, and why I chose them as my bridesmaids.

We can’t share our full selves with anyone. Everything in life is so reactionary, and who we think to share moments with, only THEY can share that moment, no one else. Our friends, everyone we interact with really, sees totally different and unique parts of us. And the friends we choose to keep around and continue to interact with, over time collect fragments of our souls and hold onto them like no one else can. The people important to us will always hold a part of our hearts that no one else can ever have… and I feel like that’s what this lace represents. 7 maidens make a whole. And even better, these lace makers are all women who would pass their knowledge down from mother to daughter. I can’t wait to use it on my wedding day cuz I’ll be bawling like crazy, but using it will basically be like I have my 7 bridesmaids and Karen there as a shoulder to cry on (in the form of lace handkerchief lol.)

Here’s the lace and Karen’s poem that she wrote to accompany it 😀

Last night was amazing. Karen and Jay took me out to a great dinner and dancing afterwards. Something amazing about Karen is she lives life with no regrets, and doesn’t give a shit what anyone thinks of her. We were dancing like fools (way more than anyone else in the bar) but just being with her gave me the energy and courage to also not give a shit, something I wish I could take back to my normal life. And I can! Who’s stopping me really?

I just need to make more of an effort when those irrational moments of fear or self consciousness set in — What Would Karen Do? 🙂