Reclaim Your Own Power

“I now break any contract I have ever made with another, consciously or unconsciously, that has given them power over me, power over my sense of self, the authority to approve or reject me or anything about me, including my voice, body, creativity, spirituality and way of living. Of my own free will, I now choose to directly perceive my own inner beauty and turn within with kindness and compassion to see myself through the eyes of unconditional love. So be it.”

One of my friends in our yoga group just shared her card pull from Alana Fairchild’s Sacred Rebels deck. Given that I just watched Labyrinth the other day, I’m absolutely loving it!!

youhavenopoweroverme

Been thinking a lot about “power” lately, and how funny it is that we so easily give ours up. Any time you assume that someone is thinking poorly of you, judging you, or talking about you behind your back… you allow them to take that power away. You focus too much on THEIR thoughts of you, rather than just going on with your own life. It’s so funny that we do that…

Also been listening to Joseph Campbell’s “The Hero’s Journey” and he talks about how the nature of nature is to eat itself. That’s what the ourobouros is… right? LIFE EATING ITSELF. THAT’S NATURE. THAT is what we have to accept. It’s a tough pill to swallow.

ouroboros

It became really clear to me when he said that tribal societies would have sacred festivals for the animals that they would have to kill and eat… it was their was of honoring the sacred balance of nature. But our modern world does NOT honor that balance, and it puts us in a rough spot to figure out the power balance within society. We’re all capable of being “predators,” in the nature sense… having power… or giving up that power to accept being prey… being that one “eaten by” others.

Shudder. This is why Beastars is so great — brings up those important “cycle of nature, these are our instincts” questions.

Anyway.

I don’t wanna be prey anymore. I probably never truly was, but I THOUGHT I was. Thinking about it though, I wouldn’t wanna be a predator either. I want to be like Gaia… watching it all and experiencing the beauty of it, rather than getting caught up in any type of power struggle. Detached, observant, blissful, accepting… and I guess the only way to do that is to reclaim PERSONAL power. Not let anything else bother you. And this quarantine… separated from any energies competing with my own… it’s been a nice time to begin to honor my own energy. And I’m starting to see…that energy truly IS divine. And guess what, so is yours! 🙂

For the first time in my life I feel like I AM reaching out for that power, and finally claiming what’s mine.

How I Became A Warrior

HOW I BECAME A WARRIOR

Once, I ran from fear
so fear controlled me.
Until I learned to hold fear like a newborn.
Listen to it, but not give in.
Honour it, but not worship it.
Fear could not stop me anymore.
I walked with courage into the storm.
I still have fear,
but it does not have me.

Once, I was ashamed of who I was.
I invited shame into my heart.
I let it burn.
It told me, “I am only trying
to protect your vulnerability”.
I thanked shame dearly,
and stepped into life anyway,
unashamed, with shame as a lover.

Once, I had great sadness
buried deep inside.
I invited it to come out and play.
I wept oceans. My tear ducts ran dry.
And I found joy right there.
Right at the core of my sorrow.
It was heartbreak that taught me how to love.

Once, I had anxiety.
A mind that wouldn’t stop.
Thoughts that wouldn’t be silent.
So I stopped trying to silence them.
And I dropped out of the mind,
and into the Earth.
Into the mud.
Where I was held strong
like a tree, unshakeable, safe.

Once, anger burned in the depths.
I called anger into the light of myself.
I felt its shocking power.
I let my heart pound and my blood boil.
Listened to it, finally.
And it screamed, “Respect yourself fiercely now!”.
“Speak your truth with passion!”.
“Say no when you mean no!”.
“Walk your path with courage!”.
“Let no one speak for you!”
Anger became an honest friend.
A truthful guide.
A beautiful WILD child.

Once, loneliness cut deep.
I tried to distract and numb myself.
Ran to people and places and things.
Even pretended I was “happy”.
But soon I could not run anymore.
And I tumbled into the heart of loneliness.
And I died and was reborn
into an exquisite solitude and stillness.
That connected me to all things.
So I was not lonely, but alone with All Life.
My heart One with all other hearts.

Once, I ran from difficult feelings.
Now, they are my advisors, confidants, friends,
and they all have a home in me,
and they all belong and have dignity.
I am sensitive, soft, fragile,
my arms wrapped around all my inner children.
And in my sensitivity, power.
In my fragility, an unshakeable Presence.

In the depths of my wounds,
in what I had named “darkness”,
I found a blazing Light
that guides me now in battle.

I became a warrior
when I turned towards myself.

And started listening.

Author: Jeff Foster (www.lifewithoutacentre.com)

Bipolar Extremity As A Superpower!

Mood: 😀

So that’s what I mean by “enjoying life”– allowing yourself to feel this blissful, like everything is right in the world, even if it’s burning down around you.

baloothisislivin

“Now this is livin’!” – Me at this very moment (Wonder what it’ll be tomorrow lol…)

Dunno if I’m going manic or what, especially after what happened yesterday… but I dunno I’m just feeling really great all of a sudden. I think it started when I was working and thinking “I wonder if I can enjoy this” and then I realized that, part of what’s been wrong is that I NEED TO ENJOY LIFE and I’ve been CHOOSING not to this whole time! And it JUST dawned on me.

How ridiculous is that?!

I think… on good days like this for me… I can step back and see that life is just one huge game. I think it was as I was reviewing older posts and I saw this enneathought I posted.

AE9FB25F-5247-48B1-B6CA-603B2BB77DF7

I am simply the result of too much selfishness and egocentricity, but to look at it and accept it… to KNOW that where I’ve come from has turned me into that… I can now just… let it go.

I wish I could see the enneathoughts for the other types for that specific one… because it shows me that we humans on earth, basically all we’re here for is to exist to provide examples for other humans to learn. I was looking back at my life today thinking “at what points do I feel like I’ve learned the most? And what am I learning from? I feel like I’m ALWAYS learning!”

And that’s because you learn from the world around you!  Yeah sure people go to school and value that sort of academic learning… learning more about how other people say the world works… but someone like me learns from doing. Learns from experiencing.

And I think that’s why I’m one of those “Apocaloptimists” they’re talking about, and Eddy is the complete opposite of that.

apocaloptimist

I’ve been following this “healer” path for a while, but I guess just realizing it’s a healer path since I’ve come back from doing Ayahuasca, even though I had been doing it all along.

You know, people say about mental illness that you can shift your perspective to see it as a “superpower” rather than a “flaw.” I could clearly see the obvious superpowers of bipolar — boundless energy, sometimes productive mania, generally more open with others — but one of the something I’m starting to become really aware of is the EXTREMITY of it all.

I guess I’ve been slowly becoming aware of this for a while, but it hit me really hard today! When I went to the Journey Home women’s retreat last year, Claire brought up the idea of a pendulum, and how we have to allow ourselves to swing all the way to each end in order to truly see ourselves and heal, but a lot of us are afraid to and only swing somewhere in the middle.

But if you live just in the middle…it’s true that you feel less pain because you have walls up to protect yourself, but is that truly living? Some would argue that not truly feeling life to it’s fullest isn’t, but I suppose some people would be ok with that in order to be safe. One of my friends literally told me so when I mentioned the pendulum — she did NOT want to venture further, which was shocking to me!

So that’s what I mean by “enjoying life”– allowing yourself to feel this blissful, like everything is right in the world, even if it’s burning down around you.

Lol I feel like I now understand this on a deeper level:
onfire

Yes, this is a good mood day, but it made me realize how much I value this “enjoyment,” and I suddenly started seeing that I was choosing to just look at certain things as “unenjoyable” when… that was only a perception I was deciding to choose.

But that’s just a habit right? A pattern? And something I realized today was the effect music can have on me… I never knew before, but I guess today I was extra sensitive, and I noticed that listening to mantra calms my mind down enough to simply enjoy the act of working.

And now having felt that enjoyment working, I can continue to chase that feeling to release dopamine and keep me entertained by something I previously disliked. And maybe turn THAT into a habit instead!

Of course this is just a hypothesis and I won’t know until I try it tomorrow and… I wonder if it can work even if I’m depressed. At least it’s a ray of hope!

Something interesting too is, I asked Eddy if he considers it a priority to “enjoy life” and he said no! I knew it! I don’t think it is for an Enneagram Type 5! To him it was more about “protection of life.” I wonder… what would YOU consider your “priority” of life? Yes, it changes… but I’m curious what it could be other than to “enjoy” it too.

ANYWAY LIKE I WAS SAYING!!! The extremity is a superpower because we as bipolar people ALLOW OURSELVES TO FEEL BOTH ENDS OF THE SPECTRUM!!!

I dunno how this is with other people, but at least for me I feel like I come alive in a crisis situation. Like… if everyone else is freaking out, I feel like I can keep calm and somehow make people around me feel better, even though normally I feel like I’m complete shit.

Yeah, it sucks to be on the low end but I’m betting that being in that dark place so much gives us a tolerance to it that only people with similar experiences have. And because we’ve been equally as far on the other, “good” side… (remember: pendulum) we’re able to stay optimistic because that feeling was SO GOOD that we’re constantly trying to get back there. Then once we’re there and people experience our true joy, they see that it IS possible… to feel that. And that’s one of the true beauties of life, isn’t it?

And THEN, when the world goes to this level of darkness, like it has, many of those people haven’t allowed themselves to feel enough pain to be ok with it. Like their tolerance is too low. But I suppose… being a hungry ghost to the extreme level — a “perpetually unsatiable 7,” the hunger trains you for… The Hunger Games. LOL.

“Lessons from gluttony”, if I’m not mistaken haha xD

I’ve noticed that people at these retreats and such that I’ve been going to are similar… they’ve gone through enough pain to make them seek an alternative path in life… a path that’s painful, but they don’t give up trying to understand — themselves and others. It truly is the path of healing, because once you heal yourself, obviously you’d want to pass that knowledge along.

And that’s what I’m vowing to do. Hopefully I can remember this… and come back to it.

We’ve all got superpowers! I’m so happy I feel like I’m starting to discover mine!

This is the song that helped you have this epiphany btw, good idea to maybe come back to it later when things go bad again. Ganesh is a great for you — “REMOVER OF OBSTACLES” — exactly what’s needed right now 🙂 Highly recommend this mantra if you wanna stop being stuck! I’m gonna try listening to it the whole time I work and see what happens!

The Pain of Duality

“Grief is the space between what you expect and what you get.” – Dan Harmon’s Therapist

Yesterday was my first day as a character designer on Rick and Morty. I felt really lucky because it ended up being one of their monthly screening parties where they show a finished episode and have pizza and beer and do a raffle. In the beginning the creators Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland got up to say something before showing the episode, and Dan’s speech really got to me. It’s been a rough season and a lot has happened, and he wasn’t afraid to reflect that in his speech which was so admirable to me. He mentioned a “sociopathic god” and how we don’t know if he loves us or hates us so what we end up getting is “randomness”, and how his therapist said that “grief is the space between what you expect and what you get.” At the end when he was thanking the crew for their great work, he said that as creatives our minds are different, and basically how we should embrace that. He said something like “so have your anxiety, depression, autism—whatever! Your brains are brilliant how they are, and because of those brains coming together we’ve made the best cartoon in the universe!”

This REALLY got to me, more than I even realized. I was still contemplating it in sadhana this morning, and it turned into a meditation on the nature of duality and mental illness. I feel like this year I’m really only starting to feel the real effects of my bipolar diagnosis from last year, which I can only say because of a drastic perspective shift. Working in animation has always been a love/hate relationship for me, because even though it IS a dream come true and what I’ve always wanted to do, working the jobs themselves simultaneously makes me hate myself for my current skill level, and also makes me wanna quit and do my own thing because I feel like I’m wasting away helping someone else complete THEIR vision, even though I haven’t felt like I have adequate skills to make my own thing ANYWAY. But starting at Rick and Morty and hearing Dan’s speech…I couldn’t help but feel welcomed in the best way possible. I felt like because of what these creators experience, they’ve created something really special…something that has managed to become the most popular cartoon on TV and find a place in cartoon history for a reason. They are able to inject existential angst and the struggles of life in these high concept sci-fi adventures which lightens it up enough to be digestible by the general public, and make everyone who watches the show feel like they’re not alone cuz “Hey! Someone else is feeling this way too!” Hearing them talk, especially Dan, made me feel like it was DEFINITELY the place for me. A place that understands and welcomes the pain of existence…a place where you can just be. A place where I can truly work on a show with a message that I’m proud of because it’s the message that I too want to spread. 

Anyway. All of that stuff made me realize that as humans, we ARE duality manifest. ALL of us. And within the duality we experience, we begin to cling onto SPECIFIC aspects of duality and obsess about them. For me…something that hit me real hard today was noticing that I go back and forth between thinking mental illness is real and thinking it’s fake. Back and forth between believing I’m “bipolar” and wanting to just attribute what I feel to “being emotional” and I’m just how I am because of my past and environmental factors. Nature vs nurture right? But what Dan said about artists brains made me think…

Diagnosis or not, EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US HAS A DIFFERENT, SPECIAL BRAIN. That brain makes our minds function in complex ways that we spend our entire LIVES trying to cope with and figure out. But I think…as a human…this is always how it was meant to be.

The fact that I’ve been stuck in the duality of “bipolar or not” shows me that, even though I wanted to kinda “transcend the label,” I’ve still been focusing too much on the “label” without fully accepting how I actually am. I suppose this is the first step to acceptance…and it’s not that I’m necessarily trying to accept the diagnosis itself, I’m more just trying to accept MYSELF — myself and how my brain makes me think and function in this reality. It’s incredibly liberating to see that this is one of the prisons ive been trapping myself in. Now hopefully I can remind myself I’ve come to these conclusions next time this arises! That’s the challenge, right? Haha!

Something else that came through during sadhana this morning was this thought of “are we all just constantly somewhere on this duality spectrum until we cross a line from light to dark, negative to positive?”

Maybe “bipolar” can just be thought of as a term for people who cycle between those opposites quicker than others, who make their home at the actual POLES rather than the in between. And maybe this definition is an easier way for me to accept how my mind operates.

In a similar way, people who are depressed are more inclined to the negative pole. We’re all just vibrations and frequencies anyway right? And one of our goals in life is to raise our frequency go move more toward the light? Easier said than done but…that’s why I’m doing this Kundalini Yoga Training! 

In sadhana, the song choices that my teacher picked were a completely different vibe than yesterday. To me, they all sounded melancholy, somewhat urgent, yet angelic…seeming to express “it’s tough to live in a world with duality, but that’s what makes it beautiful.” 

This past weekend we were learning yoga nidra, and one offshoot of it is called iRest, a program developed by Robert Miller I think in the 70s to help with the PTSD of war veterans. In this set, we did an exercise to experience opposites — hot/cold, anger/joy, light/heavy — first separately, and then we were asked to try and experience them together. I could very easily feel the opposite sensations in my body separately, but when trying to feel them together I got frustrated and confused because my body just wasn’t able to grasp it. And after feeling that confusion for a while, I ended up just relaxing and achieving a sort of “calm.” When asked how we felt after the exercise, I raised my hand and described my experience and one of my teachers said that “calm” I felt is essentially the experience of infinity and the goal of yoga — to embody that stillness BETWEEN opposites. She went on to explain that in our human experience we can ONLY feel opposites SEPARATELY, which is why the darkness is necessary in order to know the light…the pain is necessary in order to know what it feels like to be happy. It’s that age old concept of yin and yang, and although I always “knew” about it since it’s so widely spread in our culture — that idea of the light and dark being NECESSARY to balance the world…to FEEL IT in my body was a COMPLETELY different experience. One approaching a more “true understanding.” 

I think BECAUSE I feel so much being bipolar, it’s so easy to be at and experience the POLES, because they’re EASIER to feel. Even though the negative pole of depression is difficult to be IN, it’s more apparent to feel THAT than some vague in between, and it’s also easier to feel the “positivity” of mania. But thinking about what Dan Harmon’s therapist said with GRIEF basically being the in between…it makes so much sense to me. I would RATHER experience the POLES than the IN BETWEEN because the grief of knowing that sooner or later I have to go back to one or the other is maddening. And that’s the melancholy I heard in the songs this morning — it’s almost like a constant state of underlying sadness, knowing that each day inches us closer to our deaths, and if we hold ourselves back and continue to have unrealistic expectations, then being in the in between will always somehow feel like failure. And that’s constant grief…grief about our potential not living up to how we see ourselves in our heads…grief that sooner or later we’re gonna die not having done what we want…grief that sooner or later, no matter WHAT we do, everyone and everything we love will turn to dust. 

I definitely feel like I’m beginning to grasp something deeper…and although it’s instilling more of a sense of “peace” I can’t help but be a little sad about it. Yet…I think I’m going in the right direction? I just keep trying to remember something else I learned in yoga…that we chose to incarnate in this exact lifetime at this time in history for a reason, and everything we go through is the exact thing our soul is yearning to learn. Regardless of how sad I feel, I still get the sense of being on the “right path,” and maybe that’s all that can bring us solace in this difficult human existence. 

Exploring The Bipolar Extremes of Life

The universe has been telling me to start blogging on here again, so I’m finally gonna listen! Two days ago I watched Captain Fantastic and it changed my life, so I had Eddy watch it and it changed his too! 

fantastic

My whole perspective has also shifted like crazy over the past couple months, and even the past 2 weeks because I also just got back from a trip to Antarctica!! Both other posts entirely…

Today I cried. A lot.  And that’s what finally pushed me to start again. I also can’t go into full detail about this, because I’m still processing… All I can say is that I feel like I’m starting to really embrace this whole “life as an ayahuasca ceremony” thing I came up with as a tool for myself. Thinking back to how I felt during a ceremony… this almost “excitement” for the pain that was to come, knowing that it would be healing… this is probably another post entirely as well. Moving on.

After ACTUALLY doing Ayahuasca, I wanted to discount the bipolar label entirely. The experience at Dreamglade really opened my eyes to how Western diagnoses truly DO only address symptoms rather than the root cause of things, and offer only bandaids as solutions because people are so afraid to face the truth of who they really are. However, coming back to the states and trying to explain what I go through and how my mind works, I see how labels are pretty much just definitions that make things easier for people to understand. Unfortunately it also creates boxes for people to be trapped in, rules to adhere to, and excuses to be placed on ideas and concepts, rather than worked on and understood.

Considering I’ve been subconsciously trapping myself in boxes of my own doing for my entire life, I naturally wanted to get away from something like the label of bipolar. I wanted to focus more on healing, so I made another blog… but now I see that doing so was almost another form of “classic Elora escapism.”

I now see that bipolar doesn’t have to be a “label,” but an exploration.

What does bipolar actually mean? At some point, you answered questions for someone you don’t even know (your doctor/psychiatrist) and they made a judgement about you, without even knowing YOU, or what you’ve BEEN through in life. Yes, there’s a reason that certain traits and symptoms fall under that category, and honestly… it’s nice to know that we highly emotional, EXTREME people are not alone. However, we can’t just use that as an excuse for our behavior once we find out that we fit under some umbrella term. But identifying as “bipolar” and committing to understanding what that means to ME… now that’s PLENTY healing. Rules are meant to be broken, and I feel like what I’ve been discovering about myself is actually HELPING, WITHOUT meds. And it’s something we can all do.

It’s a shit ton of hard work, terrifying, and involves a lot of pain… but isn’t that life? I’ve felt the numbness, and to me… that’s not living.

A lot has happened in the past 6 months. I got married in Hawaii despite the threat of a hurricane, had a spiritual experience in Kauai during our honeymoon, was reborn in the Peruvian Amazon at an Ayahuasca retreat, and lived what I felt was an entirely new lifetime on a boat sailing around Antarctica for 10 days. Now that I’m back home in LA with no huge life changing experience looming on the horizon (well, except losing my job in 2 months), I’ve had to face what it means to stay put and stop running from my biggest fears.

After living this MOST EXTREME half year of my ENTIRE 30 year existence, I can now say that unfortunately… it’s what I needed to actually feel alive and begin to truly move forward. For the first time ever, rather than existing only in a scattered, painful cloud of thoughts, my brain might ACTUALLY be working! 😀 Sadly it’s also made me aware that this is the type of stimulation my brain has needed, and now I want to dedicate myself to learning how to be okay living WITHOUT such extremes… because damn it’s exhausting! And from what I learned while on the ship in Antarctica… not a lifestyle that I actually want anymore.

In addition to all these recent life changing events, I’ve become re-obsessed with the enneagram and archetypes, and it’s pretty insane how duality is EVERYTHING and EVERYWHERE!! I really resonated with this guy’s description of the Warrior Archetype.

In this video he MENTIONS bipolar dysfunction, and in his video on the “The Lover” he goes into more detail about it, with this chart that I absolutely love clearly illustrating those poles within all of us! 

2019-03-29

The only answer is to explore this dichotomy, the “bipolarness” of it all! But that exploration requires courage to face ourselves, and it is what we all must strive for in order to GROW, but also to move toward a better world. I’m starting to see that being sensitive to these extremes really does seem like a superpower, a clear gift and curse. The ability to embrace these gifts in their fullness requires an awareness, not only of the  joyous extremes and how those make you feel, but also taming that dark beast that exists to balance that.

2019-03-30 bipolartweet

I absolutely love this tweet that a friend sent me 🙂 A “closer bond with the energy of life”… I would like to think so. Everyone’s minds work differently, but something that’s becoming more and more clear to me is that…bipolar minds allow us to feel SOOO so strongly that we experience a special kind of pain, but that pain can also be seen as fertile darkness from which the brightest of lights can emerge!

The brighter you shine, the darker the shadows.

There’s a reason so many of us kill ourselves… because it’s so much easier to do that than to live with feeling this way, and to know that whenever things are good, that crash is waiting just around the corner. But just think how STRONG we can be if we learn to fight it, and what JOY we can GIVE to the world!! 🙂 We feel stronger and deeper and harder than ANYONE ELSE… all we gotta do is learn how to lessen the crash! 

Along with the bipolar, I am an Enneagram Type 7, and knowing that my learning and excitement come from stimulation from the external world, I’m determined to shift that stimulation to what I fear most — the internal world… all those demons I THOUGHT I had faced, but realize are still here every time I attempt to create.

I have learned SO MUCH about myself, humanity, and the world in these past couple months and am SO EAGER to share my findings with anyone who will listen! However…it’s a LOT and I have a feeling it’ll take longer than I think to figure out the best way to do that. Going against my nature, I’m finally trying to be patient and learn to see this internal unfolding as the next adventure to move me forward. It’s such a struggle to learn to trust your intuition and observe and follow where the extremes take you, while at the same time trying to tame that wild beast within, to a certain extent. ADVENTURE INDEED! >:D

This site will be a perfect place to document that journey, because I am now accepting that I forever am, and will forever have, a “Bipolar Beastie.” Hell, maybe that’s how it is for all of us 🙂 It’s about time to start being proud of it!

Thank you to all my subscribers and people who have written comments to some of my posts…it means so much. ;___; Remember… you’re not alone, and it’s worth it to share your story. I’m struggling too, as are we all!! Embrace your beastie!