Crushed By Reality And It Hasn’t Even Been A Week

Type 7 Enneathought For The Day: Make this Affirmation today: “I now affirm that I stay with projects until I complete them.”

Well… my first severe low has already hit and it hasn’t even been a week. I can’t really tell how much of it is because of my period that started today, but regardless…it’s been pretty rough. I was only at Dreamglade for 8 days, but the serene atmosphere and highs I was able to achieve through social interaction and the ayahuasca made me feel like the lows would never come. Kinda like when me and Eddy were in Kauai for our honeymoon, he made sure to REMIND me that the lows would come again and even though I agreed at the time, when I returned to reality and they DID come, they hit me in the face like a brick so hard it was nearly impossible to recover.

During my research I had read that ayahuasca makes you have a higher “ceiling,” or emotional tolerance before you hit something like depression. I have a feeling that’s true, because the negative voice inside me is definitely not as strong, or rather it’s now constantly being combated by the positivity, support, and rationality of Mother Ayahuasca. However, I guess the easiest way to describe it is still with the bipolar diagnosis. My emotions are SO STRONG and overpowering, and they’re very difficult to tame, and I have difficulty existing in a gray area between the high and the low of my moods. It reminds me very much of Second Ceremony, when mama reminded me that these “extremes” exist, and no matter how great I’m feeling, darkness will always return and I have to learn how to deal with it in order to regain my power.

As grateful as I am for Ayahuasca’s ability to make you face this eternal struggle of duality, I’m bummed that it hasn’t really made things too much easier. This balance is so fucking hard, and it’s not even that bad. This is just normal life.

Yesterday I had so much fire with the idea for this Hummingpup Healing Project, and I’m definitely still excited and motivated for it, but fears and doubts set in so quickly… definitely more quickly than I was hoping. I got home from work and did my Ceremony 1 speed painting with gusto, then as soon as I attempted to draw something “real,” I settled into my comfort zone of planning blog posts and outlining what I was gonna write.

Erik’s words (from the retreat) came back to me: “You need to paint. You’re so good at expressing yourself with words, you need to start expressing yourself another way. I would love to see you paint.”

Thank you so much Erik…These words will seriously never leave me…along with “If you change one thing when you get back, make sure it’s your diet. It affects every other part of your life.”

I’m still shocked by how quickly and how close I got to the people at Dreamglade, not only the employees, but the guests as well… they’ve changed my life in a way that no one I’ve known even for years has, which speaks to how open and vulnerable we really were over there. I can’t believe how much I’m still processing, not only how much my mind has shifted from the experience, but also how DIFFERENT I was while I was there. I think a huge part of it is just that opportunity to detox from the overstimuli of the modern world. I wonder if this is what it’s like when people go to rehab then come back to this reality? It’s a whole different game… and it really sucks 😦

ANYWAY.

When Erik’s words popped into my head, THAT’S when I realized I was wallowing smack dab in my comfort zone of planning and writing. The fear of facing myself with my art hit me so hard I had to go to sleep because I just… could NOT do anymore work on Hummingpup after realizing just how much of an “art phobia” I’ve built up over the years. It made me nauseous. Being so afraid for so long has built up this huge expectation for something great to happen when I go to put pencil/pen/whatever to paper. But WHY should it even be great? Like Mother Ayahuasca says “You’re a newborn. You have to crawl before you can walk, walk before you can draw.” OBVIOUSLY. It’s so strange how I’ve been able to learn how to work through the physical pain of kambo, sananga, and sickness/purging during ayahuasca, but I keep avoiding the emotional pain of facing how behind I am with my art skills. Even the forward motion pain tool isn’t helping right now! UGH!

So during my breathing exercise this morning, I focused on my feelings of overwhelm as I called out for help. I was immediately flooded with all these familiar thoughts I hadn’t experienced while I was away, and I just could NOT stop crying.

“You suck, you’re already falling behind.”

“Why are you always so behind?”

“You’re such a failure.”

“You’re horrible, why even try?”

Except this time, rather than having to deal with these alone, Mother Ayahuasca came to my aid. So quickly did I feel her embrace that I cried even harder.

“Why do you feel the need to rush, my child? Slow down, give yourself time. Remember what I taught you…

LISTEN

FOCUS

PATIENCE

You’re not taking the time to listen… if you don’t listen, you can’t focus. Listen to yourself. Be patient with yourself. You have so much beauty within you waiting to be released.

SURRENDER TO THE PAIN.

She took my hands just as Raul did in ceremony, as if to say “I accept you, sweetheart. This is what it means to be human. Now learn to accept yourself.”

So much love and compassion in that gentle motion… It’s strange how quickly our human minds forget. I’m starting to understand why Ayahuasca is so powerful.

I took a mapacho break with Amy today and it’s funny because it was rough for her too. She was actually the first to say it this morning when we dropped off her Christmas present. “Uggghhh this is the first day I’m feeling a real low.” It was nice to hear that both of us are struggling with translating Mother Ayahuasca’s lessons in this reality. I suppose it should be an interesting and fun challenge, but because it hit us so hard today it’s really just frustrating. You’d think that undergoing these ultimate tests of “letting go” and “not having expectations” would teach us how to apply the same ideas to everyday challenges but… surprisingly not. I’m realizing now just how conscious and aware we have to be of these things. Time to reread that Tools book already 😐

What’s so great about Ayahuasca though is that not only are you under her influence for hours during ceremony, but the experiences are so intense and a lot of the time, her message is repeatedly harped at you because you keep trying so hard to understand. During my Third Ceremony death experience, my mind kept going to the same places — “Why can’t I see? I can’t move my head, I can’t open my eyes. I don’t understand what’s going on. Where am I? Am I missing something? Why can’t I move my body?”

Strangely enough, even though I knew I was going through an insanely profound death experience, it felt like it lasted an eternity and I couldn’t help but wonder if I was missing out on something. Not having a body for hours was so strange, and the fact that I could hear people around me in the physical world still bothered me because I couldn’t help wanting to know what they were doing, or participate in that world because I felt left out.

But Mother Ayahuasca kept saying the same things: LISTEN, FOCUS, PATIENCE and RESPECT. I also will never forget her giggling and saying “Oh I turned your body off, you don’t need it. Just listen to Raul and Lydia. You don’t need to see, you don’t need to understand. That will come with time.”

But again, because this lasted for an eternity, the same shit kept coming up again, and again and again… I wonder how many times she told me the same things. Hundreds? Thousands? That’s what it felt like. So it’s amazing to me now that my negativity has returned, how clear these lessons still are in my head. Rather than choosing to wallow and cry and just go to sleep… I forced myself to write this out and try to process further, because I’m realizing now that these days post retreat are SOOOO crucial to building the habits that I want to build.

Despite the negative thoughts being back, I do feel a renewed sense of motivation. Even though I couldn’t help feeling sorry for myself today, I’m fighting hard to pull myself out of it because Mother Ayahuasca is with me… and I very much feel like she won’t let me spiral into that dark hole again. At least not as easily as I used to. When I draw, I can’t even say “GO KILL YOURSELF” anymore because I’ve already died. So that’s at least something I need to be proud of. As unsettling as it is that these feelings have returned, I can still feel that everything is different now.

A permanent shift has occurred, and I’m not going back.

Day 16: Mulan, Facebook, and Being a Late Bloomer

“…but look. This one is late. I’ll bet when it blooms it’ll be the most beautiful of all.” – Fa Zhou, Mulan’s dad

Geez I just realized that my last entry was over a week ago. I kept telling myself “I’m too tired, it’s too hot, I’ll write tomorrow” and tomorrow came and went… EIGHT TIMES!! Wow. I’m consistently blown away by the passage of time.

A lot has happened since the last entry which has taught me a lot, including watching Mulan, Han getting attacked in the eye by another dog at a 4th of July BBQ, getting back on Facebook after 2 years, having to deal with an insane heat wave, listening to a Steve Martin master class on comedy, the experience of going to the Comedy Store as one of our fav comedians’ guests, playing this game called Detroit: Become Human about androids gaining consciousness, and not being able to sleep last night. What a long run on sentence.

Mulan — late bloomer tendencies… realizing that its ok, and more and more coming to terms with everyone being on the same path. mulan is a great reminder of that. I’m not sure if it’s the changing times that has caused this, but I think watching movies is a different experience now since they’re so short compared to the longer streaming format which allows for a longer journey with the characters. Especially how the structure of these movies is, it’s very nostalgic in the sense that it’s formulaic, what I’m used to, and what I grew up with as a kid that taught me lessons back then. They feel like FABLES now, and I’m really paying attention to the lessons that they try to teach to children, and I feel teach subconsciously.

Mulan actually made me feel a LOT better about myself. Through this whole journey that I’ve gone on the past couple years I’ve realized that my childhood has stagnated my growth in a way that I have to learn to deal with in order to move forward with my life. I was very overprotected and didn’t get to be exposed to much. I grew up on TV, videogames, and amusement parks rather than learning how to socialize with other kids, play outside, and work as a team. My personality type longed for hands on experiences, but I focused instead on getting good grades and trophies. Learning about the myers briggs function stacks, I see that I was forced to function at my lower stack for the majority of my young life, so by the time I went out into the world I could ONLY be a late bloomer. But of course I could never see that, and not seeing just made the pattern continue until it all exploded in my face in my mid to late 20s.

Going back on Facebook has been a surprise, and not for the reason I was expecting. I thought I would never go back on facebook and continue this defiance, but at some point I realized that not going back on facebook was synonymous with continuing to run from my fears. I keep saying that this was an irrational fear, but I can totally rationalize it now. When I started being really active on fb, “collecting” friends, interacting with people and feeling like they cared about me… feeling POPULAR… I got addicted.

Looking back now too, I spread myself so thin and always tried to respond to everyone, to hang out with everyone, because I didn’t want to become “irrelevant.” Now knowing about my bipolar, I can look back and see that this was when I lived in a pretty manic state, for months at a time, maybe even like a year. EVERYONE knew me because I was constantly EVERYWHERE, at gallery shows, wrap parties, conventions… even though I wasn’t working in the industry, I was everywhere in the industry and I loved it. At least I thought I did. But of course that’s not sustainable, which is why being bipolar is so dangerous… I THOUGHT it was. Thinking back on it, I barely ever even slept working in Orange Country, taking classes in Pasadena, going to the Magic Castle all the time, doing homework and driving constantly to events from OC to LA.

I stupidly felt like it was my purpose to be bubbly, entertaining, and elevate other people to make them happy. I wanted to be everything for everyone…I wanted to make them feel loved and be loved in return, which resulted in a lot of pain, jealousy and feelings of worthlessness. After being sheltered for so long, the world was NEW. I wanted it all at once and I wanted it to want me back, but that’s such an unrealistic expectation to put on yourself and other people. The crash was REALLY hard. It took YEARS of depression and meeting a patient guy who could see the real me crying out for help to even get to the point I’m at now. Total Tiny Rick situation lol.

It’s like… suddenly the fog is clearing and I’m gaining all this clarity of my past. But the best part is, everything I’m encountering lately I feel is pointing me in the right direction. It’s validation that I’m on the path I need to be on… and that’s a great feeling. Synchronicity.

Anyway, the reason I’m surprised now getting back on FB is because I DON’T CARE as much as I thought I would. I thought I would easily fall back into my old patterns, but I guess I’ve done enough growing to where I don’t care about being irrelevant. I don’t feel the need to catch up with everyone all at once, or check up on people and feel left out because they’re doing stuff without me. It’s almost like a part of “ego death”… it’s my “social media ego death.” I feel… free O_O And it’s AMAZING! I’m finally learning how to adapt to this crazy society! (I think)

I thought I would be floundering around forever, never making any real changes in my life and I would die with a ton of regret, but surprisingly I can tell that I’m making actual progress by really becoming aware of my shifts of mindset. I recognize now that embracing the fact that I AM a late bloomer is liberating me from the shackles of the past and accepting that everything that came before this present moment makes me who I am, and who I am is a beautiful thing. The set of circumstances that have brought me here is a miracle, and I need to always remember that. If I wasn’t a “late bloomer” maybe I wouldn’t be as introspective, maybe I wouldn’t feel the world like how I’m beginning to feel it, and I definitely wouldn’t be surrounded by people that have taught me unconditional love.

I think I’m starting to come to terms with what it means to be alive… and that’s heavy shit for me.

So much more to talk about but I gotta go back to work for now! Couldn’t sleep last night so I’m running on manic energy and it feels so gooodddd! I never need coffee hehehee!

Day 14: Lion King Changed My Life Pt 1

“Look at the stars. The great kings of the past look down on us from those stars. Whenever you feel alone, just remember that those kings will always be there to guide you. And so will I.“ – Mufasa, The Lion King

I think I just discovered why the saying “this is the life” exists. I’m currently super baked, watching The Lion King with Eddy and sitting with a cute tired Han and being like “this is the best day. This is why life is worth living. If I could just always feel like this I’d be happy, but it’s ok if I don’t because just knowing that this exists should make me happy and accept the temporary-ness of life. THAT’S true happiness, and I can understand this concept because I believe I am currently witnessing what true happiness is. Life is so simple!!! It’s living totally in the moment with the most important people/pets in life bf doing something that makes you feel like you could last an eternity in THIS EXACT MOMENT. I believe this is what love truly is — an eternity. No wonder there are all those eternity rings!

There are two main topics I wanna get to for this entry but I dunno if I’ll get to them both. Why?

1. Because I’m at 3% on my phone and way too comfy on this couch to go charge it. I’m living on the edge folks! Typing with my fingers at the speed of light! Geez can you believe cell phones actually exist right now? Don’t things like this make you feel like you live in the future? But when you think about it, is it the future that was MARKETED to us?! Everything is marketed to us! America is SO EVIL but we can’t help but live here cuz we’re human! We are the villains of the world! Sigh. I don’t want things to be like that anymore 😦 Damn I went on a tangent.

2. The only reason I’m typing this is because Eddy is taking a shit so we’re taking a break from the lion king, and I don’t wanna fall asleep. Cuz I’m tired as fuck! We had such a tiring ass day but accomplished SOOOOO MUCH! Including getting wedding bands! Ugh I wish I took a pic of both our rings!! 😦 What a bummer I dunno why I didn’t think of it. Here I’ll post pics I have though lol and one of eddy wearing the darker ring (he ended up getting a tungsten one that looks like iron). We tried on so many rings today and it reminded me of trying on wedding dresses. Just cuz it’s pretty doesn’t mean it feels right! That’s a lesson huh?

Ok another tangent. Whoops! I really wanted this to be about the Lion King! Cuz damn rewatching this shit as an adult is AMAZINGGGG!!

I can’t possibly get into how this movie is making me feel. This bit here where Mufasa is “punishing” Simba and telling him that dad’s get scared too and basically showing simba his vulnerable side and really legitimately teaching something to his child, who up until that point has seen his dad as the ultimate hero, someone who has no fear, and isn’t an actually person (in this case Lion). Ugh and telling him he’ll always be with him and all the shit about the kings in the stars…GOD. I’d love to think that all our dead fathers are in the stars. Honestly I never thought my dad would die…I was so naive, till such a late age (27)!! What happened to me as an adult, Simba experience as a child in Lion King. Dude this bit shook me up so bad, I was crying up a storm. Han actually came up to comfort me too! His service dog training is working and he actually used it for the first time!! Having a dog is so great ;—;

THIS SCENE HERE THIS WRECKED ME!! REALLY LISTEN TO WHAT MUFASA IS SAYING! Gosh this especially hurts if you lost a dad…I used to WATCH this with my dad not realizing how lucky I was to still have a dad to watch it with…

But Seriously, Simba goes through SOOO MUCH SHIT!! Scar is THE ULTIMATE DISNEY VILLAIN honestly!!

Eddy is done shitting so here are some notes for future me:

talk about dictator scar, include video of be prepared. Nods to hitler and the nazis, the lyrics is like real life, a selfish bitter dude preying on the weak and feeble minded (NOTE FROM FUTURE ME: too fucking tired to go into this so I’ll just put the video here instead. It’ll come back when watching I promise)

then link to when scar kills Mufasa (NOTE FROM FUTURE ME: lol damn this has 1.6 MILLION views. Weird how the internet basically can show you society’s relevance of certain things in media)

and how he handles Simba at the end. Find a gif of Simba sliding down his legs and you can seein his eyes the guilt and fear of being led to believe he killed his own father. (NOTE FROM FUTURE ME: Wow you really can find mostly everything as a gif on the internet nowadays huh…I can’t believe this internet thing happened during my lifetime. What a beginning to be a part of. Almost like the onset of the printing press or the lightbulb. What is this doing to our minds?! Well I’ll tell you this, if I didn’t have a cell phone, I’d be sleeping right now HAHA)

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Then scar even tries to kill him after! Jesus leave the poor kid alone!

So many layers to this goddamn thing. Sucks they stole from Kimba though but what I realized is every story is a translation of another of another story! But Damn Disney you really should’ve just given Kimba credit! 😦 1% battery I live on the edge!

OMMGGG HAKUNA MATATA! Ok we are way too exhausted and need to go to sleep. So excited for the 2nd half of the movie!

LOL I was just looking up Mufasa quotes and I shouted “MANNNNN. Mufasa…” and Eddy did this

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Today was a great day 🙂 Good night!

(FUTURE ELORA SPEAKING: I came back to insert links now that Eddy is asleep and my phone was at 1% and moving so slow it basically FelT like it was at 1% but it was so amazing cuz as SOON as I plugged it in, it parked up and totally worked fine again!! Technology is amazing and scary. Batteries…amirite?

Also random thought — do you ever wonder how people view you from the outside? Like…how to not see yourself as yourself? It’s hard but I think I did it today. And from the outside, I guess I’m doing alright 🙂 It’s important to try and see our lives as other people would sometimes 🙂 I think it would always be better than what a lot of us somehow get stuck in thinking if we’re depressed or in a bad mood. I wanna make a future where I feel like THIS more of the time!)

oh wow another post entry note (almost wrote “post post”…would’ve been so stupid). I was looking for that Simba gif I called out earlier and found this interesting article, The Lion King and the Stages of Grief. (“For the Love of Stori s”…what a great name. Glad so many people recognize the importance of story!) This movie is therapeutic as shit. I’m telling you I can’t see it the same way ever again now that I’ve lost my own dad. Now it’s a healing movie.

One again, because the Lion King is such a masterpiece, I HAVE to call out the original source material, Kimba the White Lion. Everyone should know about this of course, but I believe Lion King is STILL a masterpiece. Yes it’s Kimba meets Hamlet but I believe that makes it the strongest Disney movie in terms of story. They succeeded in writing a great movie (albeit the STRONG influence from Kimba :|), crafting great characters, getting a great cast and having AMAZING animation, which translated these stories for a bigger audience. The craftsmanship put into this thing is really an amazing and beautiful magic trick which should be admired. However, credit where credit is due. So much of Lion King seems ripped from Kimba…I wish they just said something… what did they think? No one would ever find out?! What a bummer 😦

Day 12: How Can He Marry Me!?

“You have a lot of first world problems. You complain about wanting to travel more, or if people who already like you actually like you. Frankly I don’t think you should be complaining about all the small stuff” – Eddy Chow

Just had a hard talk with Eddy… and I feel so terrible. We’ve been together for almost 4 and a half years and for some reason a lot of stuff has been coming up lately. He mentioned how he feels like I’ve had a continuing resentment toward him… always envious or bitter about whatever he’s doing, when he’s never especially happy doing anything. But somehow I always think he is. Somehow this “grass is greener” mentality STILL hasn’t gone away. I feel like I’ve been doing SO MUCH to strengthen my mind, change myself for the better, etc… and SOMEHOW the person I love the most in the world has fallen by the wayside. I’m about to MARRY this person, and I can’t even take care of him. Instead I always wish he would take more care of ME, or think about MY feelings. Ugh it’s so disgusting to even just write that down. How am I still this selfish!?

Goddamn. What a thing to admit is actually true about yourself. Here I was thinking I was making all this progress, but suddenly the selfishness rears its ugly head. And apparently it’s been showing itself a while. How do I get rid of this monster? HOW AM I NOT AUTOMATICALLY THINKING ABOUT HIS FEELINGS?!

This week has been rough, because along with all the wedding stuff, Eddy went back to work and we’ve both had to change our schedules. I’ve had to walk Han more during the day, wake up earlier and leave work earlier. I feel spread SOOOO thin this week and barely been getting sleep, so I really blew up last night after a massage. I guess a lot of negative energy I’d been harboring manifested in a stiff neck that took forever to make feel better. My shoulder still hurts where Jackie massaged out a gigantic, stubborn knot.

Ugh I always feel like I’m really starting to see from other people’s perspectives and care about others, but Eddy just opened my eyes to the fact that… no I’m not. In theory I am because I appreciate watching shows and reading books about it, but am I really walking the walk? I may seem like I am to other people but… apparently I’m not.

I didn’t even think about Eddy’s feelings about the whole situation. He brought up that I wasn’t thinking about Han’s either. He said this has been the hardest week of Han’s life…the equivalent of humans just out of school getting their ass kicked by reality, and for some reason I was still getting angry and complaining about my own shit. Poor Han really has been through a lot this week… being left at home alone for the longest he’s ever been.

And poor Eddy has never even really been separated from him since he was 8 weeks old. Although he always liked Han, it still took him a while to get used to the fact that he’s a different dog than Einstein, and I know that made him really sad for a while. But since then he’s become really attached to Han… being like… his dog mama. Working from home he was with him all the time, and apparently not being with Han has been weighing on Eddy’s heart a lot this week, but I didn’t even know.

I asked Eddy why he doesn’t complain about stuff, and gosh it hurt MY heart to hear that he assumes I would just know by now. And how, if I’m still acting envious of him I really don’t understand him as much as he thought I did. AFTER ALL THIS TIME ELORA REALLY!?!?!? I DON’T EVEN DESERVE TO MARRY HIM WTTTFF!!!!

I really hate my personality types sometimes… really in times like this it brings me solace to know that I’m a type 7/ENFP because I’m reminded that my mind isn’t broken, it just needs a little help (Eddy said that too.. so nice T_T). I’m naturally just so all over the place and noncommittal that it might not be a natural part of my DNA to understand how to truly care about people. I DO of course but…man maybe it was also being an only child that made me so self centered. I think I have gotten at least a little better over time but geez… this damage is taking a hard time to reverse, and it’s so upsetting to me that Eddy is feeling all of it.

I need to get my shit together… no I should stop saying that. That doesn’t mean shit. I DO need to start feeling truly empathetic rather than think of it in the hypothetical sense. And I ESPECIALLY need to start taking care of Eddy more. It makes me so sad that he doesn’t even wanna “bother me” with his feelings/problems because I’m always so goddamn busy with other shit that’s way less important. He told me today that his stomach has been hurting for days and he thinks he has an ulcer! And I’m like WTF WHY DIDN’T YOU SAY SOMETHING!? HE DIDN’T WANNA BOTHER ME!!! I ALSO need to stop caring so much about the surface stuff. Eddy says “you gotta stem the tide!” meaning… when I feel an emotion or get overwhelmed by these waves of thoughts, I need to learn to diffuse them by breaking it down into smaller thoughts that are a lot less overwhelming. HOW IS EDDY EVEN STILL WITH ME!??! Gosh I’m such a pain in the ass and lucky he’s so patient and has stuck around :\

God I can’t wait till this wedding is over. I’m really discovering a LOT that I need to work on ;___; Getting a puppy + wedding combo is really doing a number on me… but I DO feel like it’s forcing me to level up. I guess I’m just on the grind right now… but I believe it’ll get better. Just gotta stay positive and lear from my mistakes. Man this shit should be part of my vows.

HA! Just checked my email and this is super appropriate.

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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 10: The Past is Always Bittersweet

“Life is like arriving late for a movie, having to figure out what was going on without bothering everybody with a lot of questions, and then being unexpectedly called away before you find out how it ends.” -Joseph Campbell

It’s been pretty good lately! Also busy. I feel like I’m always in some sort of transition period but… when I think about it, aren’t we all? Like, ALL the TIME? It’s pretty easy to get our ass handed to us by life, and I guess it’s not typical to just be super content and satisfied. As far as I can tell, everyone always is dealing with some kinda shit. I really do feel though that transitioning HAS been my main focus lately. Maybe it always was?

Anywho. Yesterday Eddy started work so we have to SERIOUSLY learn to stagger our schedules so that Han isn’t alone for too long. That means that if I have anything planned after work, I have to leave super early to get there on time. It’s amazing how little time there is after work, especially if you’re someone who gets up really early, like I’m trying to be. Sorry it’s just NOT THAT EASY TO GET TO BED BY 9PM.

Yesterday I saw my psychiatrist who I ended up lying to that I’m still on meds 😐 At least I have a new prescription in case something WERE to happen and I really needed them. I explained to her that I hated being on the meds because I never felt the same joy like I used to, and needed to constantly be high in order to feel anything really. I didn’t like that she told me to stop smoking weed, but when you think about it, psychiatrist and doctors, anyone who prescribes pharmaceutical meds really, of COURSE wouldn’t like weed cuz it’d be taking away their business! But in any case, as long as I’m not on my meds I feel fine and don’t need to be high all the time to get through my day.

Something she DID say though that was useful, is that rather than use weed to make me feel joy, I should try to do things that are fun and not “SECRET CHORES.” No one has ever told me that before… SECRET CHORES. I told her “oh yeah I’m getting back into meditation and yoga and that’s been fun” and she’s like “well those are still self care things to do… find something that’s not a secret chore.”

Dude she is SO RIGHT! Gonna make more time to have actual fun in the near future. It kinda sucks because I’m trying to do so much now… Oh gosh should I try to list what I’m attempting right now?  Maybe that would be healthy, who knows.

  1. Transitioning off my meds and learning to control the depression and mania on my own.
  2. Transitioning into dealing with my bipolar diagnosis in general.
  3. Waking up at 5am to walk Han, leave for work by 7, and leave work to come back home by 4pm.
  4. Eating a healthier mostly plant based diet.
  5. Getting in a consistent workout schedule, running MWF, weight training TTH, yoga daily.
  6. Working with April to create wooden signs for my wedding.
  7. Centerpiece art for wedding, trying to get them printed in time so I can ask for help to get them painted around Friday. Need to test how different paints will work on the transparencies before then.
  8. Video for the wedding
  9. Attempting to do personal doodles to at least work out these thoughts I’ve been having lately
  10. Trying to find someone for Han to stay when we get married, which involves multiple meet and greets
  11. Communicating with a hula instructor
  12. Trying to get to sleep by 9pm

It’s actually not as bad as I thought, because in my head I recognized that there are actually more things to DO, but I didn’t list them because they’re not my current priority and I need to finish these things before I even START thinking about those things. That’s progress, right?

Today I was talking to Bre about art… and art has been a sore subject for me for a while. I’ve been depressed about it for probably like 10 years now, but I finally feel like I’m making some mental progress in the art field. Today though talking to Bre a little bit of the bad feelings slipped through again and I think I need to talk about it.

Almost 3 years ago I made the conscious decision to fully disappear from all Social Media. I had tried multiple times before but kept going back, but it was my dad’s death that made me stay off facebook because man… I had a lot to work on. Looking back, the person I was before my dad’s death seems sorta… unrecognizable to me. In a good way though. I’m learning to look back and not hate the me I used to be, but rather try and focus on the progress I’ve made along the way. And also be really happy that I’m not like that anymore.

Bre’s been sending me those talks between Dave Rapoza and Dan Warren, which are FANTASTIC. It’s really nice that they talk about real shit on there… it’s super relatable and man… totally sounds like what I’ve been going through for years. Bre told me that she wants to start trying to incorporate story into her art, and how she really wants to learn to gain more happiness from her art and share it with more people. She’s already such a fantastic artist, and I guess I couldn’t help but feel a pang of jealousy when she said that. Then I was like… wtf why do I feel JEALOUS. i should be happy for Bre because she’s really starting to come into her own and get into a rhythm blahdeeblahblah. And I AM happy for her, because I know she struggles with a lot of the same shit that I do… and maybe for that reason I can’t help but feel a bit bitter.

Months ago these feelings would have been WAY WORSE mind you. Something I just realized. What I just felt while writing the word “bitter” is only a sliver of how upset and jealous I used to get… which is a really good thing. I’m so happy to have recognized that progress 😀 And I think the reason why is because I know that EVENTUALLY I’ll get to that point where I can vomit out art and actually express how I feel, but for some reason something is still holding me back. And THAT’S where the bitterness comes from. I know that Bre spends a lot of time painting, and I think the jealousy also comes from knowing that she has time to do it. I mean… no one’s really got time, you have to make time, but I can’t help feeling a little bit stuck because of the wedding (again, ANOTHER feeling that ruled my life a couple months ago).

I’m feeling really RESTLESS, and I’m trying to tell myself “just a little more just a little more you’re almost done with the wedding” but at the same time I’m like “pssshhh whatever you can MAKE time even WITH the wedding” and then ALSO at the same time “BUT IF YOU DO THAT YOU’RE GONNA BE OVERLOADING YOURSELF AND SPIRAL INTO DARKNESS AGAIN NO DON’T DO IT”

Today I was telling Bre that I used to get on my ass so much about having wasted time, or regretting my past. But now I can tell I’m in a better place because I can see that as much as I feel that way, what I did in the past shaped who I am now. Listening to Dave talk about his past is also validation in a way. Today he was talking about working professionally and how over time you get used to it, care less and get more comfortable, which is totally the stage I’m in now. They were talking about how of course it would be impossible to balance your time when you’re still in that stage of getting used to working in the industry, and people should know to be a little easy on themselves during their early 20s/while they’re in that phase, because it’s almost EXPECTED of you to be shitty then. Because I’m now starting to feel that separation between personal/work life (partially due to the forceful influence of the wedding but also because I’m getting used to being at WB) I can relate to what he’s saying, but I’m still not at the point where I can feel ok about my art.

These conversations between Dave and Dan are great, but I can’t help thinking like… they’re already great artists though. They’re just looking back on their journey but… they’ve been able to achieve way more than I have artwise, and developed skills that I can’t really hope to develop now especially because I want kids. Yeah I related to what they were saying, but I guess maybe I’m not ready to listen to artists yet. To venture into that art world just yet. That part of me still exists where I can’t help but compare myself to their achievements, and although I told Bre that I can look back and not feel like I wasted time… I still feel BAD about it. Looking back, my early 20s seems like some VOID OF TIME that I can’t even REMEMBER. Like WTF WAS I DOING THAT WHOLE TIME!? I guess it was a whole lot of partying, going to gallery shows, meeting people, drinking, taking classes, and going to the Magic Castle. But I really hate that… I dunno I guess I can’t even remember gleaning much wisdom or knowledge from that time. When i get home from work, Han is spastic… just rushing at me with all this energy. Looking back I feel like I was more like that… just kinda LIVING and not really… soaking anything important in. :\ I am so glad I met Eddy and started on this path because… as jealous as I am of dogs just living, I see now (that I just wrote this) that eventually that type of “only living in the moment” lifestyle can only lead to depression. Come to think of it, I think I was probably manic for most of that… how else would I be able to do so much, drive from orange county to LA all the time, and still work, do homework and hang out with my bf? Ugh geez… no wonder I crashed into such a hard and long depression. Seriously until I started taking the Latuda and stopped feeling the symptoms of depression, I don’t think I even understood how BAD the depression was. I had already accepted it as a state of living, and couldn’t remember functioning any other way. Probably lasted around 7-8 years of being full on in it.

I’m so grateful for where I’m at right now.

That being said, back to art. Especially after realizing that about depression… I guess I should be easy on myself (like Dave said) because I had this mental illness the whole time that I didn’t realize that I had, and RECOGNIZE that I couldn’t have possibly achieved balance with art because I was unconsciously dealing with that. I’m still jealous though that some people are able to work THROUGH their depression and create something great. I never learned how to express myself through art, because I was so focused on getting a job in animation that I just tried (and failed) to make things pretty or fit in to the animation standard. I guess it worked ok since I’m now actually working at a union studio thank god, but I really do feel like most people I know have drawn so much more than I ever have in my entire life. I was just so goddamn distracted all the time, first by people, then by my depression, that I wasn’t ever really able to attain a strong skillset like basically EVERYONE I know. And now that I’m already at this stage in life where I’m getting married and planning to have kids, it makes me sad knowing that I (see I wanna use the word WASTED here) use up all my best years of exploration and experimentation on shallow pursuits that ultimately mean NOTHING now.

But UGH ELORA. REMEMBER THAT ALL OF THAT WAS LEADING YOU HERE. I guess that’s not so bad. Through that butterly effect/6 degrees of separation thing I suppose everyone in my life now who I love is a result of all that past I’ve lived, and I need to just learn to own it and get over it.

UGH WITH ART THOUGH!!! I can’t GET OVER that I wasn’t able to express going through my darkest times with ART. I LOVE how you can see artists progress over time, change styles, deal with various issues… like someone’s story is shown THROUGH THEIR ART. There’s such a huge chunk of STORY in my life that I WISH i could show through art… but backtracking now just wouldn’t be the same. I feel like this will always be one of my regrets… but I need to learn to get over it someday. I don’t WANT it to be a regret.

Maybe I need to stop wanting to ARCHIVE EVERYTHING ALL THE TIME while I’m at not making that a regret. I fucking HATE that human need to archive everything because we’re fucking MORTALS. I take a gazillionbillion photos and never even DO ANYTHING WITH THEM and all it does is create some dumb pressure that I need to do something with them eventually but it all just ends up piling up and up and up and…. that’s what I’m doing with my art too. I keep writing down little notes everywhere, on post its, etc… but gosh when I look back on them to finally do something with it, I feel like that moment has passed and the magic is gone.

Just like this page of shit I wrote when I was driving super high to Karen’s house and attempting to scribble down my thoughts… I remember feeling SOOOO great like “I JUST WANNA DRAW RIGHT NOW I WISH I WASN’T DRIVING. AWWWW IT’S OK ILL JUST DO IT LATER” but then I NEVER FUCKING DID IT and now… geez just LOOK at this page. SO UNINTELLIGIBLE I CAN BARELY EVEN MAKE OUT WHAT I WROTE! Such a bummer man.

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HOW DOES ANYONE DEAL WITH ALL THESE THOUGHTS?!?!! Mortality is so goddamn fleeting I wish we were just given a fucking manual sometimes and been told what to look out for and when so we don’t feel like such failures or always wanna kill ourselves >:0

It’s ok. I’m learning how to be positive. I swear. 😐

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?