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! 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! 

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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!

Why I Went To Peru To Drink Ayahuasca

About a month ago my friend Amy and I returned from Dreamglade, an Ayahuasca retreat in the Peruvian Amazon. This is actually the post I wanted to start this blog with, but since we’ve come back, life jumped full force into the holidays, into my birthday, then back to work, so it’s been pretty rough to get my bearings. Not sure if I’d recommend planning an ayahuasca integration for such a busy time but…I honestly didn’t realize how difficult it would be to come back to “reality.”

Still, I wouldn’t trade the experience for any amount of money in the world. It was way more valuable than I could have ever imagined…

I first heard about ayahuasca about two years ago at a lunch with coworkers. We were all sharing our experiences with Psychadelics when one of the girls said something like “Have you guys heard about ayahuasca? A friend of a friend just did it and I heard it completely changed her personality. She quit her job and claims that she’s a healer now. Her husband doesn’t know what to do with her. It’s some crazy shit.”

I was immediately intrigued but she didn’t know much more than that, so I got back to my desk and launched into a full force investigation about ayahuasca, watching every documentary and testimonial I could find. A sacred jungle plant medicine that has the ability to rewire your brain, cure anxiety, depression, and addictive behavior? YEAH SIGN ME UP!

I’m not going to go too much into the details of what exactly ayahuasca is, aside from that the brew is a mix of the ayahuasca vine (“Vine of the Soul” or “Vine of the Dead”) and this plant called “chacruna” which, when combined, activates DMT and allows you to go on a spirit quest with this “entity” or “goddess”… Mother Ayahuasca (Mother Nature). She gives you some pretty tough love, making you physically purge what is no longer serving you to make room for something better. Your “inner darkness” if you will… repressed memories, shit you hate about yourself… that kinda thing. Only then will you be rewarded with something good. At least in my experience 🙂

Here’s one of my favorite videos about Ayahuasca from Your Mate Tom, which happens to also be shot at Dreamglade. It’s where I first heard of it actually, so thanks Tom! He gives a really good intro into what Ayahuasca is, and his experience is really interesting.

And here’s a documentary that I highly recommended about the scientific benefits of ayahuasca and how it actually affects your brain. Basically what western medicine doesn’t want you to know 😉

Anyway, the reason I was so attracted to ayahuasca is because I had been depressed for my entire adult life and wasn’t really sure why. When I started dating Eddy (now my husband) about 5 years ago, he basically taught me how to communicate and a lot of repressed emotions came to the surface. Prior to that, I never really knew how to express what I was feeling or look deep within myself to question my actions, or values even. I was going through life blindly and felt broken without knowing why, and when Eddy made me start talking about my past it was like opening a Pandora’s Box of pain. For the sake of this post not turning into a novel, I’m going to let most of this unfold in my ceremony explanations and instead offer up an easy bulleted list of reasons why I decided to book that ticket to Iquitos.

  • My dad died 3 years ago and I felt like I was still holding onto grief that was preventing me from moving on in my life, so I wanted to somehow reconcile with that. I actually specifically booked the retreat so my final ceremony was on his death anniversary, December 14
  • I was diagnosed as bipolar in April of this year, tried going on meds and hated it, so I was looking for a way to naturally learn to balance my extreme highs and lows
  • During a manic period in my early 20s when I was trying hard to “make it” in the animation industry in Los Angeles, I barely got any sleep, partied all the time and made a lot of “surface friends,” but the lack of meaningful relationships and the exhaustion of being out all the time led to the worst crash of my life, where I isolated myself from the world and was never able to recover. Depression hit me like a brick in the face and got worse and worse to the point of completely forgetting myself and what it even meant to feel joy. I would jump from empty high to empty high to feel “happiness” but nothing ever felt real, which left me constantly wanting to kill myself
  • Anxiety that got so bad I couldn’t leave my desk at work and led to a phobia of people that I had no reason to be afraid of
  • I got married in August and my poor husband Eddy has been so patient with me this entire time but started to express that he didn’t know how much more of my behavior he could take. I finally saw how my mania, depression and anxiety had affected HIM for years and I was so self involved I didn’t even realize it, and it disgusted me. I knew that if we ever wanted to have kids (which we do), I had to do something serious about myself, especially because I was so often suicidal and had a huge fear of doing it someday soon.
  • I just turned 30 on January 6 and was just SO SICK of being ME I knew I had to resort to something drastic to finally start moving forward in my life. It was the best birthday present I could’ve ever gifted to myself 🙂 Perfect timing!
  • The idea of traveling to the Amazon to participate in a shamanic ceremony where you drink an ancient jungle brew that allows you to walk with gods is just too much for my adventurous spirit…something I never could have anticipated checking off a bucket list 🙂

In my opinion, the more you can mentally prepare for this the better. I had done so much work trying to figure out what was wrong with me I just could NOT move forward, no matter how hard I tried. This was literally a “last resort” type deal, which is really sad considering I have a loving husband, dog, and awesome community of friends. I was just mentally in such a dark place for so long that I knew everything I SHOULD be doing to function in life, but couldn’t make myself do it, or feel it, and that numbness is a dangerous place to be. At one point I came across something that said if you make the decision to do ayahuasca, you have to be ready to die, and I couldn’t agree more.

The Bipolar Is Back and I Can’t Help But Be Afraid…

I think I’m starting to understand why bipolar people are advised against taking Ayahuasca. This integration process is a bitch but I thought I was doing okay. Of course things come in waves… of course I have to learn to be patient with myself and allow the transition to happen. But I slipped into mania without even realizing, and came home to a rude awakening today with Eddy bringing to my attention how I’ve TOTALLY been neglecting him and Han.

“You’re a hero to everyone else but us, and it hurts because you don’t seem to care.” – Eddy

When he said that to me… I could tell just how hurt he was… and THAT hurt me. To be honest… I could FEEL the balance in my life being off (HA not that it’s ever been “on”) since I’ve come back, but I can admit now that I’ve been blatantly ignoring it because the high has been so great. And Eddy has been suffering. Not only because of the neglect, but because I’ve just been pushing my own shit on him constantly, reverting back to my selfishness of not asking him how he’s doing, not offering to help with the project that I was SUPPOSED to be helping him with… making excuses of “I’m just integrating! She’s telling me I need to be patient!” and hoping that he’ll support me.

Which he always does. He always supports me… but I feel like I’ve never learned to support him. I was hoping Mother Ayahuasca would help me with that actually. Help me fix my distorted sense of love… and I thought she DID help… but now I’m not so sure.

Although ayahuasca finally made me start to trust myself and I now have Mother Aya’s positive voice within me, I feel that it’s almost reversed the progress that I’ve made in learning how to center myself. Prior to dating Eddy, I was full on manic, constantly hanging out with people all the time, running on empty but not giving a shit and making everyone happy with my bubbly energy. But then I crashed super hard and didn’t understand why, but Eddy helped me start to decode my past and figure out what was making me feel so depressed. Then last year when I got the bipolar diagnosis it all made sense… and being at the retreat, people were constantly praising me. Telling me I was more self aware than I thought. That I was such a great communicator, a great speaker. Part of why I went there was to work on my problem with seeking validation, and today it dawned on me that this problem has come right back with the confidence that Mother Aya has bestowed on me.

Fucking shit are you serious???? Did I seriously regress???

Ugh I even stupidly got back on Facebook because I was riding the retreat high so hard… wanting to “keep in contact” with the people I met there… but is it because I actually like them or because they remind me of the high of the retreat? That’s always the question right? Are these feelings valid or are they just representative of an addiction?

Lately I’ve been telling people that ayahuasca has stripped me of the armor that I’ve built up until this point… that I’ve molted and now I’m just bare to the world, and I have to work that shit up again. But I don’t WANT the same armor… I don’t WANT to be the same person… how do I change? How do I become the person I WANT to be? I thought I had the answers… I thought I underwent a rite of passage… finally stepping out of childhood into adulthood…into responsibility. But the only responsibility that I’ve been delving into is the responsibility over myself, which isn’t much of a change from before. In fact now it could possibly be worse because I’m not as hard on myself.

Although I feel pretty hard on myself at the moment. And worry so hard that Mother Aya will even leave me now because of the piece of shit I am.

This is always a struggle with me and Eddy. This balance of the time I give to others and the time I give to him and Han. I feel so terrible for him because he’s been so patient for so long, and always takes the time to try and talk me through these situations. I honestly don’t think anyone else WOULD have this type of patience with me… I’m seriously such a child. Bouncing from one extreme to the next, without being able to live the life in between. “Extreme” constituting all these new experiencing, prioritizing friends and acquaintances because by this point, Eddy and Han are such a normalcy in my life, an “extension of me” that for lack of a better term they’re more “boring.” Easier to treat like shit BECAUSE of that normalcy.

I’m so fucked up.

My priorities are so fucked up.

But how the hell am I supposed to fix something like this? I DON’T. FUCKING. KNOW.

Am I supposed to ask for help? WHO DO I EVEN ASK FOR HELP? WHO EVEN KNOWS WHAT I’M GOING THROUGH RIGHT NOW? Honestly… I’ve been TALKING for so goddamn long since I’ve gotten back, I’ve let more and more shit pile up, been more and more distracted at work… I thought my brain was less chaotic, less scattered… but I just seem to once again be on autopilot and fooling myself that it’s different.

I wanted to think I wasn’t actually bipolar. I wanted to believe Stace. I wanted to believe that “getting my soul back” would fix everything… but again that’s my “extreme” showing up. With the talk that me and Eddy just had… honestly the only conclusion I can come to is starting to take medicine. Hell, trying to get work done over break I have to admit I actually took some of his adderall (he’s got pretty bad ADHD), and even that adderall basically did nothing. I feel like my problems with focus are really fucking awful BECAUSE my issues with highs and lows are so extreme. Western diagnosis or not, I can’t deny I have pretty bad symptoms.

And now… I’m not gonna lie. I’m scared.

And lost.

I don’t know whether to ask for help or not.

I want so badly to message Stace. Or Drew. But that “need” for help just makes me more scared. Since I’ve come back and been reflecting on my journey… I’m disgusted looking back at my dependency on Drew. I hate even typing that here… in public… but I’ve been basically imploding with this pain of really starting to look at how dependent I am on others for whatever fleeting “happiness” I’m chasing. So much so that I’ve now been obsessing about how I acted at the retreat… focusing too much on the past. Which is probably distracting me with other things too. Godammit.

So how am I supposed to know when I need help, and how am I supposed to know when I’m being dependent?

DOES ANYONE HAVE THE RIGHT ANSWER HERE?!?!?!

I SOOOO lack any type of foundation in my life that I really… I’m not sure what to go back to since I feel like I’ve never really built anything WORTH going back to.

Eddy says I haven’t been centered since I’ve gotten back, and I said that I haven’t felt centered ever. He said it comes and goes in waves, which I guess I agree with, but it’s so hard for me to search my memory banks for a time when I WAS more stable. I thought I felt stable because of the ayahuasca, but seriously now… I feel as though it’s added an extra layer of distraction on top of who I was before.

Eddy says that me constantly saying “maybe I need to go back on my meds” is SUCH an excuse. And I know he’s right… but I really don’t know what else to do.

He said it’s a matter of being aware of my patterns when I enter mania, but I thought that people at the retreat told me I was already so self aware.

Clearly I’m not. Clearly whatever I’ve become aware of has ALSO been a distraction. I’m never aware of what’s ACTUALLY important. And rather constantly obsess on things that AREN’T. But always SOMEHOW justify it in my own head. WHICH IS WHY MY PRIORITIES ARE SOOOOO FUCKED UP.

HOW ARE YOU SUPPOSED TO PRIORITIZE ANYTHING EVEN!??! WHEN YOU’RE CONSTANTLY SO OVERWHELMED BY THE THINGS TO DO AND THE PEOPLE IN YOUR LIFE?!

I’m scared. I’m scared not only because I’m not sure about what to do about asking for help, but because I can really feel the crash coming on… and I feel like it’s gonna be bad. And even just me saying this is setting up a bad expectation to fall into a deep dark hole… and I really hope I can recover from this one.

Talking about patterns… although I still have difficulty recognizing when my mania hits… I feel that once I recognize that it’s here, the patterns for the crash start becoming really clear. This extreme negativity, this feeling of being the most terrible person in the world… this feeling that I absolutely can’t go to sleep because I need to do as much as I possibly can to try and reverse the damage. Or is that part of mania? Dude I don’t even FUCKING KNOW ANYMORE.

WHAT DO I DO?!?!?!

I feel like… I might be breaking right now. I think the smart thing would be to just go to sleep.

It just really gets to me how I have so much love in my life but I’m still such a selfish asshole who doesn’t quite understand how to return it to those who mean the most. And I worry that I’ll never learn how and I’ll never be able to actually show them how much they mean to me because of some dumb bullshit…

I should just be alone forever.

How Do You Reconcile The Duality of the Soul?

“We are each of us a wise guru in charge of a mental patient” – Jamie Catto

I’m not sure what to do right now… I feel very sick. It reminds me of being in the maloka listening to people retch and purge around me, except now I’m just so crushingly alone. On Christmas Fucking Eve.

And is being alone really so bad? (Also I know I’m not actually alone…just being a drama queen)

I mean I just snapped at Eddy when he asked me what I wanted to do for Christmas. “I WANNA BE FUCKING ALONE.” But do I? He looked so hurt when I said that and it made me feel awful. I’m such a walking contradiction that can never figure anything out… WHY DO I HAVE TO FEEL THIS DUALITY OF EXISTENCE SO. FUCKING. HARD??? HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO KNOW WHAT I FUCKING WANT??!?!

I want to be alone, but at the same time I NEED people. NEED people to the point of fucking EMBARRASSMENT. WHY DO YOU HAVE TO BE SO DEPENDENT ON PEOPLE ELORA. DON’T YOU WANT TO BE ALONE?! DON’T YOU WANT TO JUST GO LIVE OUT IN THE JUNGLE SOMEWHERE AND LEARN TO FEND FOR YOURSELF?!?! No you don’t because you’re so fucking dependent on people for your happiness and you NEED someone to talk to, don’t you?

HOLIDAYS ARE SO MUCH PRESSURE!!!! I FEEL SO MUCH PRESSURE TO EXPRESS GRATITUDE TO PEOPLE AND GO SEE PEOPLE LIKE… WTF WHY CAN’T I JUST BE ALONE AND NOT HAVE TO DEAL WITH ANY OF THIS??!?! WHY DO I HAVE TO FEEL LIKE CONSTANTLY PERFORMING FOR PEOPLE?!?! ALSO IF I LOVE THEM, WHY DO I FEEL THE PRESSURE IN THE FIRST PLACE? Why do I always feel like I OWE people everything? Why can’t we all just exist and I don’t have to feel GUILTY all the FUCKING time?!?!

I have a long ass list of things to do, but rather than doing them I get wrapped up in some fucking MELTDOWN and then the list gets longer and longer and longer and I feel like I’m DROWNING then just want to up and LEAVE IT ALL. But I’ve CHOSEN THIS LIFE and I know I would REGRET NOT DOING THESE THINGS and NO MATTER WHAT LIFE I CHOOSE I’ll still have to LIVE WITH THIS MONSTER INSIDE OF ME SO FUCK IT.

WHY DO I TAKE SO MANY PICTURES?!? Because I enjoy my experience so much and want to document them! But THEN WHAT DO I DO WITH THEM AFTERWARD!? NOTHING! SO NOW I FEEL SO MUCH PRESSURE TO GET THEM PRINTED AND PUT THEM IN ALBUMS AND GIVE THEM TO PEOPLE AS PRESENTS!! But it makes me PHYSICALLY ILL to think about organizing all these thousands of fucking things!!!

BECAUSE THE PRESSURE OF THE PICTURES AND GIFTS ARE ALWAYS ON MY MIND I CAN’T GET MYSELF TO DRAW!! When I sit to draw, all I think about is this LONG LIST OF SHIT I NEED TO DO! Currently, because it’s the end of the year and also Christmas, I KNOW I need to focus on the thank you cards and organizing photos to print for people but I have all this fucking pent up anger inside me that if I were to go and do those things right now, they wouldn’t come out right and I would just have ANOTHER MELTDOWN because I have all this HORRIBLE ENERGY I NEED TO GET RID OF FIRST.

Am I just DOOMED and CURSED to have too much EMOTIONAL BULLSHIT EVERY DAY OF MY FUCKING LIFE that I can’t even FOCUS ON ANYTHING REAL AND PRODUCTIVE?!?! Is whatever this energy is inside of me something that will ALWAYS CONTROL ME??? No matter what I do and what I try?! I KNOW I SHOULDN’T ALLOW IT TO HAVE POWER OVER ME BUT IT FUCKING DOES.

It’s so fucking painful to want SO BADLY to just BE CONTENT but constantly be torn in two completely opposite directions of WANTING TO DO and NOT WANTING TO DO, WANTING TO BE ALONE and WANTING TO LOVE, WANTING TO RUN and WANTING TO FIGHT. HOW DO I EXIST IN THIS REALITY?!?! AM I SUPPOSED TO JUST SPEND HOURS EACH DAY VOMITING OUT MY SHIT SO I CAN BE AT SOME BASE LEVEL WHERE I CAN FUNCTION!?!? WHAT EVEN IS THIS?!

WHAT THE FUCK DO I WANT REALLY???

Ha, yesterday Eddy mentioned that my mom had “done a number on me” with how I was raised. I guess I didn’t even realize till recently how insane I actually am, and how all these issues have manifested in ways that are so challenging I’m not even sure what to do with myself anymore.

I was diagnosed as bipolar this year, and when I went to do ayahuasca, I remember thinking “am I really bipolar?” I think these diagnoses really help us try to pin down what’s wrong with us based on certain traits we have. No matter what you call it… I think I’m starting to finally learn what I actually am. Or what about me at least got me the bipolar diagnosis. It’s amazing to think that people are constantly going to doctors about symptoms, but because they just want the pain to stop they take a pill and don’t do the work to actually try and get to know themselves.

I am so grateful to Ayahuasca for teaching me how to get to know myself, but at the same time… it’s really fucking scary to face… whatever this is I am. And SO fucking hard. “Bipolar” people are known to experience extreme highs and lows, and that’s definitely something I’ve always struggled with. Existing in the “gray area” between SUPER HIGH and SUPER LOW has always seemed impossible for me.. But it’s that “gray area” where life happens. I’m constantly guilty about not spending enough time with Eddy and our dog Han because I’m having a fucking breakdown… but I don’t know what else to do with this energy. Because if I DO go and spend that time… I feel guilty for not doing all these things I feel constant pressure to do! And then when I go and try and be rid of this energy by writing or whatever… I FEEL HORRIBLE THAT I’M NOT DOING THE OTHER THINGS!!!

This breathing technique that I recorded from Dreamglade is saving my life in the way that… I feel like I can get myself in a similar headspace as in ceremony, in order to work on things I need to work on, and even IDENTIFY things I need to work on. It’s so funny because I remember leaving the retreat feeling like I had all the tools I needed to succeed. They kept saying “the real work happens AFTER you take the ayahuasca and get back home” but I was in such a great place, like “psshhh I never need to go do Ayahuasca again! I’m completely healed!”

But that’s another one of those extremes talking. Each day I’ve been home… I see what they mean.

Doing the breathing exercise the past couple days, a LOT has come up… and I’ve become aware of JUST HOW MUCH WORK is to be done within myself… and it scares the shit out of me. There are so many layers to myself that I’m starting to become aware of and, like everything else in my life, it’s causing me overwhelm, but in a different way than having a long list of things to do.

I think actually, the overwhelm is what triggered this. Coming back to work I was all chill like “I don’t need to feel stress anymore because I completely trust myself to get everything done that I need to get done!!” But I barely got ANY work done during the week because I was TOO chill and now, along with the BILLION other things I need to do, I have to try and fit WORK on top of it during this holiday break so I can manage to meet my deadline in the first week of January.

I realize just how much I avoid things and procrastinate and let things PILE UP because I’m unable to focus on doing things when they’re SUPPOSED to be done…which I was aware of before, but I guess I was expecting myself to be able to handle it a bit better. I did just get my period so maybe I’m extra irrational because of hormones,  but I’m really trying hard to work through these things so I can at least be a bit productive.

That being said, today during breathing I immediately just burst into tears the WHOLE TIME, because I felt this INCREDIBLE POWER OF DUALITY BEING FORCED DOWN ON ME. Duality is something that Mother Aya makes you face in ceremony, but I have yet to even BEGIN to fathom how to use what I’ve learned in normal life.

BECAUSE the nature of ME is just SO FUCKING EXTREME. The duality within ME is SO HARD TO HANDLE. AND I REALLY HAVE NO IDEA HOW TO START GOING ABOUT IT!

“Slow down, take your time”

“BREATHE”

“PATIENCE.”

Yeah yeah. All this shit that’s supposed to help me…YEAH I KNOW. WELL I DID JUST BREATHE AND THIS IS WHAT HAPPENED.

I felt this incredible power within me… almost like a monster. Well I DID call it a monster, but Mother Aya said I shouldn’t see it that way. That I should see it as a “power.” The first blog I made was called “Bipolar Beastie,” for good reason… I definitely always thought of the “bipolar” being a beast within me but… today was the first time I actually FELT it (which, although scary, was pretty nice. Another duality). Like something deep deep within my soul that needs to be tamed but is just… writhing around in there wreaking all sorts of havoc. And holy shit it made me NAUSEOUS to actually FEEL it. (This breathing exercise is powerful shit, I assure you.)

The word that kept coming up was “Hummingpup.” After I got back from the retreat, I wanted to create a new site focusing on healing, and about a year ago this “Hummingpup” kept coming up in my mind… I dunno why and part of me thought it sounded a bit dumb, but since I’ve gotten back this little voice kept saying I needed to actually use it for something.

It’s nice because today I just got some clarification on this, but it confused me even more. I definitely think the keyword in all of this is CONFUSION. And with such a lack of patience and conviction, I feel like I’m so shit outta luck in terms of knowing on to deal with all this chaos that keeps popping up in my head.

But anyway, Mother Aya explained to me what a “Hummingpup” is. THAT’S what the “monster” or “beastie” within me is. It’s like a hummingbird in the way that it moves SO PAINFULLY FAST because it thinks that’s the only way to survive. It’s so sad to me how hummingbirds can’t even SLEEP unless they go into a state of torpor, or “temporary hibernation.” It’s the only way for them to save their energy so they can GOGOGO again in the day… and it’s so fucking sad to me that this is basically the only way I’ve functioned too. It’s either I’m GOGOGOGO or in complete isolation (hibernation) where I can’t even bring myself to interact with anyone to conserve my energy for the next time I can GOGOGO again. Then it’s like a puppy in that it has ALL THIS CRAZY ENERGY THAT IT DOESN’T KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH and this lighthearted curiosity, innocence and love for the world… that’s kinda stamped out by the constant need for movement. It’s sad really 😦 All the “pup” wants to do is play, and all the “humming” wants to do is work… but there’s really no in between…at least none that I can currently see.

Eddy says I need to relax, and that he worries about my motivations for doing things because most of the time it seems like I’m doing something out of frustration. I’m not quite sure how to do something because I WANT to do it, if there’s always such a long list of things to do. I’ve been doing the grateful flow tool from the tools book as well… to try and help with this constant state of worry from the overwhelm, but even that didn’t help today. I KEPT DOING IT TOO and it didn’t really calm me down… only the breathing calmed me down because I was able to RELEASE and CRY but then… afterward I was a fucking wreck.

He says my comfort zone is wanting to GOGOGO… wanting to write and get out my energy, wanting to angrily clean or throw a tantrum… but how am I supposed to know when to RELEASE ENERGY or when to DO SOMETHING PRODUCTIVE with it? How am I supposed to adequately identify my comfort zones?  I’m not sure what I’m doing right and what I’m doing wrong… which way is the right way to go… how to actually move forward even though I’ve been doing the pain exercise from that book… I’m so constantly overwhelmed I can’t tell what’s what anymore, and again I feel so crippled by reality. Am I supposed to take time each day to expend this energy? Breathing, running, yoga, writing, talking? It takes me a long ass time to get my words out because I have so goddamn many of them… and then once I write I have to go talk to Eddy about it, and then I spend hours feeling sorry for myself and can’t concentrate on anything else…what is the proper approach here?

Hummingbirds are weak and fragile because they never stop flying, and pups have boundless energy and need to be trained to even start to focus. WHAT HOPE DO I HAVE OF A FOCUSED LIFE WHERE I CAN BE PRODUCTIVE AND ALSO EXHIBIT UNLIMITED LOVE TO EVERYTHING AROUND ME?! Do I need to start taking meds again?! Do I need to do more ayahuasca?! Do I need to run away and live in the jungle again but this time never leave!? How much work do I need to do on myself before I can ACTUALLY start moving forward!? UGH.

I feel as though… Mother Ayahuasca has opened a door within me that I’m both intrigued by and afraid of, and I’m not sure what to do with what’s coming out of it. It’s almost like opening a Pandora’s Box…There are so many layers and I’m not sure how to come to terms with that… Meanwhile time just keeps slipping away and I feel like my life is going to waste…

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.