Thanks, Dad. A Valuable Lesson On Letting Go From Beyond The Grave.

As an old guy looking back, I can tell you we all have the same vivid sense of elation and depression haunting every day that we live. Have we done enough — Why can’t we do more? Relax. There’s lots of time to work it all out. Take it as it comes. Don’t worry so much about where you’re going. Enjoy where you are. “Go with the flow and ride with the tide.”

-Grady Lyda

In the process of writing a long reflection on today being 5 years since my dad’s death, I decided to look up one of my old blog posts from 2013 entitled “Restless,” in which he wrote a comment I didn’t actually read until a year or so after he died. It wrecked me then, and it very appropriately wrecked me again today. For some context, this post was written when I had just started to pursue a career in animation but was feeling horrible because art already felt like a “job” to me, just from the minimal freelance I had done. I was feeling absolutely stuck, and I came to the stunning realization that I didn’t know how to balance my life and that something must be seriously wrong with me. HILARIOUS. I wish I could go back to 24 year old me and tell her “It’s ok, you’re just bipolar! Watch these videos! Read these things! Start working on it now!”

In that post, I mentioned this podcast about Andrew Forsthoefel, a 23 year old kid who walked across America, and how jealous I was that he had gone on a true adventure that changed him forever. I felt like I was missing out and wanted to see the world, meet new people and hear their stories. It’s not like I’ve walked across America, but I have gone on some serious life changing adventures since then. When writing that post, I never in a million years could’ve guessed that I’d get married in Hawaii, meet Mother Ayahuasca in Peru, or sail through Drake’s Passage and have a chance to cruise around Antarctica. I also really have met tons of interesting people all around the world with amazing stories who have shown me that living an alternative lifestyle is possible, and that there can be another way to live your life.

But even after all the life I’ve already lived… This wise message from the great beyond will always bring tears to my eyes. Because life IS overwhelming, and no matter how much cool shit I do, no matter how much inner peace I manage to attain at times, I feel like that pressure to do it all will never quite go away. That feeling of needing to rush things because I always feel behind. And it’s because we’re human. And we die. Everything we are inevitably turns to dust. His words are validating, inspiring, and enlightening all at once. Reading a message like this at exactly the right time is proof that my dad’s spirit will always be here to guide me, and a deep reminder of the importance of learning to let go and live in the moment. When you think about it, that’s really the best option we’ve got.

This is GREAT! I love your commentary and all the heartfelt responses you received. I heard the same “This American Life” episode, and I was also touched by his discoveries.

It reminded me of one night when I was sitting at a Winchell’s in Santa Ana in the early 80s, innocently drinking coffee and eating donuts. A guy in his mid-20s came in with a big grin wearing a cowboy hat, and he looked at me and said, “I just walked across the US, from the East Coast to California. Now, here I am!” I said, “Wow, your feet must be tired.”

He was a cool guy, and the crowd in the shop was happy to hear what he had to say. He represented all of us who listened to his stories. Everyone wished they could have done the same thing. Actually, many of us HAVE done similar things. Life is a fantastic adventure that never ceases to amaze us. We make plans, but more often LIFE leads us into directions we never expected. The best we can do is be ready for whatever happens. Always be prepared to “go with the flow and ride with the tide.”

You have a wonderful list of goals and I hope you can accomplish them all, plus many more you haven’t thought of yet. Remember, you are in this for the long-haul. You might feel desperate to prove yourself and experience the whole world immediately. I’ve felt the same way, and I’ve criss-crossed this country several times, and visited other countries as well. It’s a fantastic planet and you have plenty of time to explore it.

As an old guy looking back, I can tell you we all have the same vivid sense of elation and depression haunting every day that we live. Have we done enough — Why can’t we do more? Relax. There’s lots of time to work it all out. Take it as it comes.

On my blog about my life 40 years ago, my younger self is always fretting about how nothing happens fast enough. Of all the entries so far, maybe this would be of interest to you:

http://truetimetravel.blogspot.com/2013_03_01_archive.html

Don’t worry so much about where you’re going. Enjoy where you are.

My dad had a blog he called True Time Travel Tales where he archived this journal my aunt returned to him from a trip around the country that he went on when he was 18 years old. I always meant to read it but never got around to it because I always found myself “busy” with something else. Then, after he died, I felt so guilty that I hadn’t been able to talk to him about it when he was alive I just couldn’t bring myself to read it. But then at one point shortly after his death I noticed there were a ton of broken images and contacted the hosting site to make sure they got it back up. Now, years later, I still haven’t read the blog, and again there are tons of broken images. Upon clicking that link, I had a straight up panic attack. I started shaking and couldn’t breathe, and completely lost it when I found out that the hosting site he had used no longer existed. The first time I had got the site back up, I vowed to myself I would save all the photos before this happened… but again… never got around to it… and now they’re gone forever.

My mom has a serious hoarding problem that was awful to grow up with, even getting to the point where me and my dad wanted to see if we could get her on the Hoarders show. When I was a kid I didn’t really understand it… I just thought we lived in a messy house. But as I got older and started seeing the hoarding tendencies within myself, it became clear to me that hoarding physical items represents underlying emotional issues of not being able to let go and move forward. Fears of the temporary nature of life and the inevitability that you and everyone you love are someday going to die. I’m not as bad as my mom, but I do take thousands and thousands of photos because my memory is so terrible and I find myself desperately clinging to certain moments of my life and not wanting them to disappear. I often have nightmares about losing all these photos somehow — in a fire, in a flood, in a zombie apocalypse, accidentally spilling water on my hard drives… I know this actually does happen to some people, which Eddy would constantly remind me of and make me more upset. Until today.

Clicking on that link in my dad’s comment was beyond upsetting. I cried and cried and cried. In a way it felt like losing him all over again… losing these parts of him that I really truly wanted to discover, but again, being so caught up in myself that I never found the time. Familiar guilt and shame crept back in, and I felt myself grieving like I had in the beginning. I thought I had come so far and healed so much, yet the wound felt as raw as ever.

But then Eddy reminded me that this is basically like my worst nightmare… and now that it’s happened in this capacity, I should see that it’s ultimately fine. I’m still alive, I still have the memories of my dad, and life will go on. He also reminded me that my dad was never the type to cling to photos or physical objects. He was throwing things out all the time! In fact, the whole reason he made the site was because he had thrown out this journal years ago, and somehow a man found it and tracked down my aunt who had returned to him. Considering he was already sick and died 2 years after he made this blog, he was no doubt already feeling the need to reflect on his life somehow. He was never the type to hoard, and he was especially put off by my mom and would always try to throw out her garbage because he knew she never would.

When my dad died, I looked frantically for this journal because I wanted it so badly, but me and my mom discovered that he had already thrown out most of his things. It became clear that he had planned his death, and in the beginning I was super angry at him for not leaving behind any of this stuff for me, or even a note explaining himself. I suppose he thought I wouldn’t care… and it’s taken me a while to get over the idea that I should’ve just asked him… that I should’ve shown some interest while he was still around. All these familiar feelings of self hatred and regret came back today when I found out his hosting went down, until Eddy talked some sense into me and reminded me what kind of person my dad was. How he was never the type to hold onto things and wouldn’t expect me to either. He would want me to just keep moving forward and enjoying life…

So when I came back to my senses and actually read the post he had linked to me, I couldn’t help but laugh. Even though the image was broken, it was literally just a blank page. Just like life. Just like this moment. He said that he wanted to preserve the beauty of the page before adding his thoughts onto it. It’s just like him to make this sort of point… and I started to see that this is an incredibly important lesson for me to learn. Even though he’s no longer around, he will always be here guiding me, helping me break through these walls that are such a natural part of the human condition.

From the March 29th entry: ONLY THIS PAGE WILL HAVE TO SUPPORT MARCH 29, 30, & 31 IN THE INTEREST OF PRESERVING ONE SMALL PORTION OF THIS BOOK AS IT WAS BEFORE I MARRED ITS BEAUTIFUL BLANKNESS WITH MY THOUGHTS AND DEEDS.

We as humans can’t help but be so deeply affected by mortality. I felt so terrible losing these photos that I know he had thrown out. There was a time years ago that I started to try and save all the photos on each of his entries, but it took so long I couldn’t see myself doing it for the whole year. I also see that a bunch of videos he had posted have already been taken down… which really hurt in the beginning, but thinking about it logically… that’s just the nature of the internet. All this important stuff is just located on the cloud, and once it’s gone… it’s gone. This was a way for him to reflect on his life when he knew he didn’t have much longer in this world, and I have to just be grateful that he at least created this website and I have his words to reflect back on. And stop thinking that losing all of this was my fault…

In the end, all we are is dust in the wind. Just because these images are gone doesn’t mean he didn’t live a rich life, and it doesn’t mean he’s no longer my dad. Life is just a series of moments and experiences, and the best we can do is live in the present and enjoy where we are. And if something is important to you… don’t WAIT like I did, or it may be too late. I am so sick of waiting, of avoiding, of thinking “I’ll do that thing tomorrow” and never getting around to it, the weight getting heavier and heavier… JUST DO IT ALREADY.

A fantastic reminder for a 5 year death anniversary. Thanks, dad. Maybe now I can truly listen to your advice. Everything does indeed happen for a reason… lesson learned. All of this will be over before we know it. Perspective is such a trip.

I close my eyes
Only for a moment, and the moment’s gone
All my dreams
Pass before my eyes, a curiosity

Dust in the wind
All they are is dust in the wind


Same old song
Just a drop of water in an endless sea
All we do
Crumbles to the ground, though we refuse to see


Dust in the wind
All we are is dust in the wind

Now, don’t hang on
Nothin’ lasts forever but the earth and sky
It slips away
And all your money won’t another minute buy


Dust in the wind
All we are is dust in the wind

Everything is dust in the wind.

Tuning In

042220_FriendsShows

Mood: 🙂

Had this conversation with Eddy yesterday and was so amused by his answer haha! His introversion never fails to amuse me xD

I think about this sometimes… that idea of how you basically are like a mix of your 5 closest friends or something like that. Who you choose to have in your life is SO important because their stories are literally what you’re tuning into on a regular basis, and whatever repetition we have gets lodged so deeply in our brain we don’t even realize it. It’s time to start questioning what kinds of people we want to become, and who we have in our life plays a big role in that. If their values don’t match yours, then let them find their own tribe, and you find yours. It’s really tough to “break up” with friends, but it’s usually for the better…  This has been so instrumental in my healing I can’t even imagine where I’d be without the people I have around now. And I’m SO invested in their stories it makes me feel like my own life is richer for it!! 😀

Sometimes though when I get in a bad place I feel bad about the people choosing to tune in to ME. Like “Am I just the crazy girl?” With my yoga group, when I left and they had to look for me I thought “Am I just the runaway?” Clearly we’re more complex than archetypal labels, but I think they’re helpful tools to step back and see what we’re consciously and subconsciously portraying to the world around us. If it doesn’t match what we wanna be in our head… it’s time to start moving toward that. That’s what I’m beginning to do now and it’s been an interesting experience 🙂

STOP AVOIDING PEOPLE.

“I hope you remember this next time you want to end it all… It’s a small taste of what happens when you disappear. You need to stop doing this to people” – Eddy

There are some events that you know will change your life, but you never expect anything like that to happen on a regular day… which I suppose is part of the beauty of life. It’s so random and unexpected, and we grow slowly and steadily from nudges of daily occurrences.

I meant to write this entry yesterday, but I was processing so much and had work to get done so I missed the boat. But it’s something that I don’t want to forget.

I’m becoming aware that when I get depressed, I quickly go MIA because I can’t stand seeing people doing well when I get into such a low frequency. Yeah part of that is envy, I can’t help it, but the other part, the heavier part, is feeling like a burden. When people around me are doing well, I feel SO uncomfortable sharing about how down I am. I don’t even feel like I CAN, and then I start spiraling into “well this person doesn’t even need me in their life at all anymore because I can’t even get my shit together and look THEY’RE doing so well…”

My logical mind knows this is ridiculous, because it’s unfair to compare in this way and we’re always collectively suffering. Even when things are good, it’s not like we “shun” each other just because the other person isn’t doing so great. Humans (well at least some of them… the ones I surround myself with) love to help. It reminds me how at the Ayahuasca retreat, Drew “commanded” me to ask for help and I had to write it on my hand “DREW COMMANDED ME TO ASK FOR HELP” to remind myself to ask for help even if I don’t feel like it.

hand(From my Ayahuasca ceremony 2 video https://youtu.be/VZ_Jhowrywo)

Then in circle:

Stace: So why do you have such an issue asking for help?
Me: Because I don’t want to burden anyone. I feel like I’m such a downer and it’s such a waste of time and Drew already has so much else to do…
Stace: But Drew LOVES helping people, that’s why he’s here.
Drew: Yeah when I help people, it takes me out of my SELF. Forget my own problems. It makes me feel good. ASK FOR HELP.
Stace: So Elora what about you? When people ask you for help, how does it make YOU feel?
Elora: Well… I guess you’re right. It DOES make me feel good…
Stace: So why would you deny us helping if you know it makes us feel good?

That really put me in my place, but I forget it all the time… especially when I know what people have on their plates. And with this pandemic, I know that a LOT of people have a LOT on their plate. We went into lockdown RIGHT as we were supposed to do our March Kundalini Teacher Training, so we had a zoom check-in call and it made me feel TERRIBLE. Something about connecting on zoom still bothers me too… I have NOT gotten used to it. I think part of it is that I can see my own face talking which makes me feel like I can’t openly speak, or be myself. It makes me too self conscious. But anyway. When I saw everyone in the zoom call… I couldn’t help but feel ashamed because some of them were really feeling great. Like really awakening to their power during this time of crisis, and I was so depressed and chaotic, I couldn’t even explain how I felt. I just felt totally useless, when there were people stepping up, starting to lead meditations, get their community together, help out in any way they could…I was also SO impressed by Jen, the lady who owns the Yoga Studio I go to, the Yogi Tree. She had to scramble to get all the studio’s classes online while dealing with her husband and kids and being a dula and all this other shit… whereas I was just at home wallowing and freaking out over this trip I couldn’t control which wasn’t even a real problem.

ANYWAY.

I felt weird about it so the next day I vomited to Jen how I felt in a text message, and she gave me a call (3/22/20). I told her about how I felt so shitty about myself because people were really stepping up and becoming healers and awakening and here I was feeling like I’d be stuck in shaktipad for eternity, like I was completely useless and incapacitated and had nothing to offer and it was really bothering me cuz I knew I didn’t have any real problems.

And she was SO GREAT. She reminded me that everyone on this planet is a soul that has incarnated in this lifetime at this specific point in history because we all have a purpose, something unique to bring to this world. And that we’re all like seeds, sprouting at different times. And the fact that I’m still here means I haven’t sprouted yet, but I’m incubating… and maybe this time for ME needs to be used to heal and really find my gifts. That I need to be ok slowing down, and when emotions come up, when instances where I no longer want to exist come up, to remember to ask where that’s coming from, and track it as far back as possible. Then the puzzle pieces will start coming together.

I remember feeling so great after this call, like everything was starting to make sense, and “YEAH THIS IS MY TIME TO HEAL!” But then a couple days later, I was so depressed and wanting to kill myself again and saw a text in our What’s App group of someone just gushing about how great she was feeling and I couldn’t even finish reading it without feeling completely nauseated and I ended up deleting the entire App. I had already turned notifications off but I knew I couldn’t handle the temptation of looking at the group and just feeling so bad about myself, so I had to get away completely. So that was about a month ago.

In the beginning of the teacher training, back in September of 2019, I LOVED this What’s App group. I was so active on it, getting to know all the people, absolutely ADORING this yoga community. They truly did become like a family to me, and even the conversation with Jen, and a later facetime conversation with Mary (one of the other teachers) really made me feel like I had found something so beautiful and amazing that I had always been lacking in my life.

Yet I still deleted What’s App, because avoiding is what I do. Eddy called it a “cry for help” and I said that was bullshit lol… but I supposed that response is an indication of what I’m working through.

So yesterday I got some texts from Mary, who btw is also amazing. I told her that she was immediately what I thought of when Eddy asked me how to define “strength.” She’s been through a LOT… so much so that I’m not quite sure how she continues to function, because I wouldn’t be able to. And on our call she told me it’s just because she accepts that she is how she is, even if she does have major depressive episodes and has to sleep all the time. And she accepts that she needs people to help her… she says “it takes a village.” Which… I guess I haven’t been able to accept about myself yet. She also helped remind me that… in this modern world, some people just HAVE to take meds because most of us aren’t allowed the luxury of dedicating our whole life to healing — like homeopathy, constant yoga, constant meditation — our lives now just don’t lend themselves well to that, unless it’s our business (like Jen). Looking back, that conversation is actually partially why I was even okay getting back on my meds… So so thankful…

Don’t wanna forget this:
041420ConversationWithMary
Despite my light tone in these texts…I was freaking out in my head. I immediately re-downloaded What’s App, shaking from the shame and anxiety of having to open it up again after so long…and saw a ton of direct messages from people in the group… which I still haven’t checked. Then in our main group I saw a bunch of them talking about trying to reach out to me but not hearing back, and then Jen saying she was gonna try to track down my husband’s info to see if she could check with him…. I FELT TERRIBLEEEE.

I then went to post my comic on IG, which I had already done but was SO RELEVANT because it was about running away… This What’s App stuff had just happened so in my description I posted:

“Something just happened that reminded me of what a selfish piece of shit I am whenever I go MIA…especially from people who supposedly care about me…a community that, on good days, I’m so grateful to have in my life. I’m amazed at how hard it is to maintain any sort of attachment to anything or anyone when you’re a slave to your moods and feel like avoidance is the only way to make yourself feel better. How you can so easily trick yourself into thinking that no one cares, or everyone would be better off without the burden of having you in their life. Huge apologies to everyone I’ve ghosted over the years…I somehow clearly still haven’t gotten over myself to fix it. Really hoping I don’t run away from this project…There’s too much I wanna say.”

I saw my friend Edward reply to it, and then I texted him about what had just happened. We’ve gotten pretty close since Unikitty, because he’s also on this yoga training path and has a similar upbringing and anxieties to me. He’s a little older and not as old as my dad, but he gives me a really nurturing, masculine energy — plus he’s got 2 daughters so I feel like…he’s really nice to have in my life especially since my dad is gone.

Anyway, so I mentioned it to him and he said “Oh yeah… they reached out to me.” And I felt like I got punched in the stomach. He explained that Jen texted him, thinking that he was Eddy! They have the same name, but when I signed Eddy up for classes at the Yogi Tree, I used my info, but Edward signed up on his own so Jen had HIS info and thought they were the same person! She ended up calling HIM, realizing he wasn’t Eddy, but thankfully he knew what was going on with me so he told her that I was fine.

But I just COULDN’T BELIEVE she went that far out of her way to check up on me… because I had been ignoring HER messages… even AFTER she was so gracious about calling me a month ago after that first zoom call… God even writing about it today is still making me tear up because I can’t help but feel bad about it… and also feel so terrified about how to resolve this situation and apologize… Haven’t built up the courage for that yet. I also felt so ASHAMED that Edward had to deal with this having no idea what it was about! D:

When Edward told me about it, he started pressing me about how it made me feel…and that’s when stuff started coming to light.

edwardconvo

This might not seem like a big deal… but to me it is. And that’s because… I’ve been doing this for YEARS. And it’s just gotten WORSE. It’s almost like… the more I care about something, the more I tend to push it away over time, until I push it completely out of my life through avoidance.

My ex  even told me that he had a conversation with one of our mutual friends and they agreed —

“The closer you get to Elora, the further you actually become.”

He told me that close to 10 years ago now, but I’ll never forget it because I felt so HORRIBLE about it, AND this particular boyfriend never really communicated much to me. He was the kinda guy who, when something bothered him, rather than talk about it (because it caused “drama” he said, and he hated drama), he’d lock himself in a room for days and not come out until he could face me and be “normal” again. Meaning we never actually talked about anything real. So… this one line really had an impact. Thinking back, it was like the first indication to me that there was something wrong with my behavior and how I treat people.

I feel like I’ve known a little bit of why I do it, but it’s so subconscious at this point that I’d rather just not feel the uncomfortable feelings associated with it, and go ahead with the avoiding to just get it out of my life completely. And I was trying to do this with this yoga group that, I SIGNED UP TO COMMIT TO for NINE MONTHS. And part of the reason I signed up was because I know I tend to run away, and I wanted to work on it and not do that anymore… yet I still did.

When Edward asked me how I felt about all of it… I froze. Because I noticed that I was constantly bringing it back to myself “IIII feel shitty because of it” which, I could see for like… the first time ever… was redirecting what I should see as kindness and compassion from the ladies over at Yogi Tree, to anger and hatred toward myself. Which is why I said I feel like there’s a wall around my heart

Something has been happening lately, where, when I have these moments of clarity of patterns and habits I’ve exhibited throughout my whole adult life, I’m just flooded with emotion and I have a total breakdown, but in a good way. Like I’m cleansing something that’s been blocked up for way too long. And what happened here, was that when I felt that wall around my heart, I could instantly feel all these moments from my past where I’ve done this to people, even at the beginning of dating Eddy. If we’d get into an argument or something and he’d try to communicate with me to see where I was at emotionally, I would freeze and try to avoid him. Since we worked together, this was really difficult, and I would resort to talking to coworkers and completely ignore him in order to distract myself from the problem. This was really the first time anyone even BROUGHT THIS TO MY ATTENTION, because Eddy sat across from me and would SEE ME DOING THIS and he said he couldn’t understand it at first, how I could be so cold when he was clearly suffering, and I did nothing to try and resolve the situation. He told me later that he was actually considering breaking up with me for THIS SPECIFIC REASON.

So after I got up from talking to Edward, I went to talk to Eddy about it. Eddy and I have been together 6 years now, so we’re at this point of brutal honesty which I love, and I told him about everything that happened. The way he reacted was so different from Edward:

Eddy: Wow. That horrible because after all they’ve done for you, you just delete What’s App and disappear and leave them with THAT impression?
Me: I know…
Eddy: You deleted it back when you were saying all this stuff about wanting to kill yourself and everything too… it was totally a cry for help.
Me: Well I guess it’s what people do when they feel it’s too much…
Eddy: I hope you remember this next time you want to end it all… It’s is a small taste of what happens when you disappear. You need to stop doing this to people.
Me: I know… but I don’t know how…
CUE SOBBING FOR HOURS. 

I see now that I have such a hard time receiving love, and I’m not quite sure what to do about it yet, except for maybe do some heart opening meditations, and I guess becoming more aware of when I’m doing it so I can try to achieve some kind of balance between solitude and still knowing how to reach out to people. It’s a strange feeling that I get in my heart, when stuff like this happens. Like… I get a blank look on my face and go into my head I think… and it’s how I dealt with trauma as a kid. My mom would always proudly tell our family “no matter what we have to do, Elora is by my side. She doesn’t even cry or anything, she just sits there!” Classic Enneagram Type 7. Distracting myself from the pain due to lack of nurturing.

Yogi Tree is like a family… and I realize now I haven’t been able to handle having a family. The responsibilities, the obligations, the EFFORT… it’s all what I’ve been so afraid of because I was never able to connect with my own family on that level. They weren’t a great example. There wasn’t much EFFORT. Only isolation. It’s all I know… and after being alone for so long it’s sometimes all I think I want. And it becomes overwhelming to even just “check in” with these people, so much so that I would just rather leave and just start up surface relationships with new people. But I see how… that’s a pretty sad way to live. It’s why I feel like I didn’t have any real, deep connections until I met Eddy and LEARNED how to develop the types of connections I had subconsciously been craving.

But now that I’m on that path, I’m seeing the reality of it, and it’s that my concept of love is still so warped. Eddy tried to get further to the bottom of it, asking why it was so painful for me to face things like this. He said something like “you’re so popular and you’re so loved” and I rolled my eyes and started feeling nauseous, and he asked why it bothered me so much to hear that. And after really thinking about it, I can see now how… like Edward said… I hate that kind of attention. I hate being complimented. I hate being “seen.” Because to me… it makes me feel a weird sort of pressure to perform. To “be there” for other people to maintain that “title”, that “compliment” which… basically negates the compliment lol! I suppose thinking about it now… I’m really tripped up by labels in that way, because it gets me in my head, and thinking, we’ve discovered, is really just not great for me to do most of the time.

I’ve gotten really into the Hunger Games lately, and I tell Eddy it’s like in Mockingjay where they try to make Katniss be a voice of the people, but if she’s given a script or has to do an interview or something, she gets way too in her head about it. She rather needs to be seen in the field, doing what she does NATURALLY. And I think… if I’m able to get out of my head and just act NATURALLY, that’s when people seem to love me. But then if I suddenly step back and SEE that people love me… I get all weirded out by it and feel like I have to somehow “keep it up.”

Ultimately we concluded that it comes down to me needing to learn how to forgive myself, but the idea of forgiving myself for all this self hatred I’ve developed over the years is SO PAINFUL… it feels like it’s GOING AGAINST MY ULTIMATE BEING, so instead of forgiving myself, I’d continue PUNISHING myself, and HATING myself for constantly ghosting people. It’s all so disgusting and backward I can’t even stand myself, but I suppose that’s the goal of this darkness inside me, the subconscious patterning that wants to keep living. That forgiveness and acceptance SHOULDN’T be the most painful thing for me, and yet it is, and I feel so trapped by it… how many more breakdowns will I have to go through, how many more people will I have to inconvenience and possibly hurt for me to just GET OVER MY DAMN SELF?

Instead I should focus on being GRATEFUL for all these people who CARE… I feel like a runaway child… Maybe I’m doing all the rebelling now that I wish I could’ve done when I was trapped and sheltered with my mom. That’s a thought.

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…