Confessions From Quarantine 06

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It’s funny how our minds seem to naturally focus on the “bad” rather than the “good”, but I suppose it’s our “fight or flight” nature to survive. In order to cope with our overwhelming world, anxiety and depression have become the norm. We tend to put up a lot of mental protection to supposedly keep us safe, which results in a lot of subconscious “lashing out” behavior or obsessing over very specific things to give us some form of strange comfort. I’ve come to find that my biggest coping mechanism is my faulty memory which has helped me repress a lot of trauma in my past, but it also wipes out most good memories as well. I’m grateful to have Eddy who basically has a photographic memory, so he not only can remember movie quotes, but good times we’ve had that I quickly forget when things get bad.

Many of us are so lucky and privileged, yet we choose to a scarcity mindset rather than one of abundance — focusing on what is lacking in our lives and the world around us, rather than what we have and should be grateful for. This allows us to continue unhealthy patterns that result in repeatedly hurting ourselves, and possibly even others around us. The key is awareness and gratitude, but if we don’t have anyone to point out our behavior and we don’t know how to do it for ourselves, how are we supposed to get out of these toxic mental cycles? As a collective, we really have to start looking WITHIN for these answers. Only then can we really start to heal and find our own ways to raise our awareness, preventing us from falling in the same trap over and over again. That’s what I’m attempting to do 🙂

50 First Dates is one of my favorite movies ever… I just love Drew Barrymore/Adam Sandler romcoms so much, their chemistry is perfect! ;_; But this one in particular really gets me because of the memory issues. In the movie Drew Barrymore’s character Lucy has “anterograde amnesia,” a disorder where you stop creating new memories after a traumatic event. Trauma can create PTSD which affects our mind in all sorts of ways, and trauma is inevitable in our lives as human beings. Some of us are able to handle it better than others, but a lot of us are dealing with it subconsciously every single day in our thought patterns, bad habits and mental hangups. 50 First Dates addresses trauma in such a lighthearted and charming way, I highly recommend it, especially if you like romcoms!

This is my favorite moment in the movie and always makes me cry ;__; Especially because sometimes I feel so messed up that it’d be better for me to just not be in anyone’s life, including Eddy’s, for THEIR sake. This is part of the reason I tend to disappear or keep my distance. But this shows how love is stronger than that, reminding me that maybe those thoughts are just a bad pattern from the trauma I’ve experienced. Thankfully Eddy is so good at pulling me out of the darkness when I trick myself into thinking I’m a complete worthless waste of space on this earth.

This shows Lucy at the end of the movie watching her own external HD in the form of a VHS tape that Henry makes for her. I’m glad that I managed to figure out what to do for MY external HD! Can’t wait to make this comic into a book 🙂

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.