62 Minute Sat Kriya Meditation Experience…Turning Into A Tree

Last night during Kundalini Yoga Teacher Training we had to do a 62 minute version of the Sat Kriya meditation, which you can find HERE if interested. It happened to be one of the most powerful experiences of my life, even up there with taking Ayahuasca, kambo and mushrooms.

First of all, to stay in this position for 62 minutes is asking your body to do something it REALLY doesn’t wanna do. And when you’re in this highly meditative state, you start to become aware of EVERYTHING. At least I did.

I kept thinking of something my friend Carey said in a recent women’s group, that when she birthed her daughter it was an amazing experience because she became a true observer, and she said she was able to just witness the PROCESS and stay separate from it, watching as her body wrung out this baby. As someone who really wants to experience childbirth someday, I knew that I’d have to get through this experience and practice getting into this “observer” mode.

When we began, my nose and eye were already itchy, but I remembered what I read about Vipassana silent retreats and how when you’re sitting in meditation for such a long time, you start to notice that sensations come and go. So I decided to watch these sensations come and go and started getting really curious and interested to see what sensation would come next. I noticed how my fingers would ever so slightly take turns leaning on each other to alleviate tension in my shoulders. I noticed how shifting slightly in my legs would create a variety of sharp sensations that would shoot through my feet and ankles and result in numbness. At first it was really quite beautiful to experience the cycle of bodily sensations and truly feel the temporary nature of all our discomfort.

At one point I burst out laughing because I couldn’t believe how fucked up I must be to try something so painful, and then I remembered I went to the jungle to have a spiritual death and thought it’s been so funny what I’ve put myself through to heal.

I was hoping after that I was through the worst of it and I would break through into some blissful state, but then our teachers said it was only halfway done and I thought “ARE YOU KIDDING?!” The rest of the way was one of the most physically painful experiences of my life!

The sensations were no longer “interesting” they were just HORRIBLY PAINFUL and I couldn’t focus on the chanting as well as before. And then I had this realization that these waves of pain are the waves of life, and yes we do experience joy, but we also experience this PAIN… over and over again. And parts of us are constantly dying, over and over again. Within this pain in my body, I felt the ebb and flow of these life/death/life cycles that I had previously only felt mentally through ayahuasca and shrooms. Every time I feel these cycles it’s so overwhelming to me, but this was a different kind of overwhelm.

It’s like I was meeting my own emotions head on, and normally I lash out like scream at the top of my lungs or go be mean to Eddy or have a crying tantrum, but this was the first time I experienced not really having anywhere for my emotions to go, because I had to stay in this pose and had to keep chanting. I would also be fine for long stretches of time, then suddenly feel a sharp stab of pain and IMMEDIATELY start howling because that was the only way to get my mind off it, since I really no longer wanted to experience the physical sensations. My own VOICE was the only thing that could distract me. Jen would say things like “EXPERIENCE YOUR OWN TRUE POWER. NO ONE CAN TAKE THIS FROM YOU” and I feel like I DID. The fact that my screaming could distract me from that pain made me see this EXPLOSIVE side of me is actually SO POWERFUL, I just need to learn how to tame it — like fire.

I started to wonder if all this screaming and crying I was doing was all built up from my past when I used to never cry, never scream, and repressed it all. It was like all those uncomfortable moments in my life were represented by these shooting pains I would get, and I saw that THIS IS JUST LIFE. EVERYONE GOES THROUGH THIS. EVERYONE IS CONSTANTLY GOING THROUGH THESE SENSATIONS OF PAIN. And then I started grieving because I realized I have to ACCEPT this. The DARK part of duality. Because this is just… nature.

I remember also being ANGRY thinking “I DIDN’T SIGN UP FOR THIS” even though I had TOTALLY signed up for Kundalini training, I didn’t sign up for life. We all have to go through this experience of being human… but we didn’t ASK for it. I’m sure in my yoga training they would argue that our souls all CHOSE to be here on this earth at this specific time in history to learn very specific lessons. On good days sure, I believe that, but because pain and suffering are SUCH a constant in our lives… honestly it’s pretty fucked up that we have to just keep going through this.

Maybe this just means I still have a lot to release before I can achieve a true state of peace, but peace is pretty damn hard when you’re living such a dualistic, paradoxical existence.

At the very end when Jen said “YOU ONLY HAVE A COUPLE SECONDS LEFT, THESE ARE THE ONES THAT COUNT THE MOST” I actually did manage to enter a strange state of peace, where all this bright light came in and I had a flash of what I saw when I did ayahuasca, this triangle symbol… what I feel represents my soul. And then I collapsed.

My body felt broken, like my arms and legs just no longer worked. Plus I immediately started crying so hard it was like my dad had died all over again. It took so much energy to just get to laying on my back.

But I made it, while in that position I literally felt completely spent. I couldn’t move ANYTHING, all I could do was heave heavy sobs. But then a familiar vision came to me that I had had years ago when I did energy work with Jackie.

I had washed up, unconscious, on a black volcanic shore, and a little being of light that I’m now sure is something representative of my inner child, comes up with a pitcher and starts pouring liquid light into my mouth. It spills out the sides of my mouth as rainbow light and the rainbow liquid starts to collect around my body and seep into the volcanic rock, and as it does, life begins to grow — grass, flowers, plants — everything becomes green.

That’s where the vision previously ended, but this time as I lay in Savasana on the ground after this kriya, I started to feel as though my arms and legs had become roots and they were rooted into the ground. Then in my vision, I saw that this tree began to grow from my abdomen, and my body was the root system. It grew until it had a fairly decent canopy, but I could tell it was still a young tree. However, it was able to grant shade.

And suddenly my whole life was flashing before my eyes, starting with my pregnant mom appearing under the tree that was me, using it as shade. I’m not going to type out everything that came up because it’s WAY TOO MUCH, but from there it accelerated through my childhood coping with the struggles my parents had, then into me waiting in the hospital during my mom’s miscarriage and feeling her pain so deeply that I never even thought about. Then my thoughts shifted to my mom and how there were so many points in my life that I hated her, and even now it’s rough sometimes to go back and do this healing work and see the depths by which her words and demeanor affected me, “stunted” me. And although I feel like I’ve forgiven her and seen her as her own person, it wasn’t until last night that I feel like I began to really open my heart to her and feel for all of her sacrifices, her loss and pain. Lol I even texted her about it but I’m absolutely certain she doesn’t know how to respond…

And THEN after I went through this with my mom, I continued to go through my life, my teenage years and my relationship with Michael, and Vince, but then when I got to Eddy it’s like the heart opening happened AGAIN with him, and I started to cry for all the pain HE had gone through in his past that he always tried to tell me about and I thought I was listening, but I suppose I wasn’t EMPATHIZING. It felt as though something was cracking open in me, and it’s the part of me that has always avoided truly opening myself to experiencing the horror and pain of others at a deeper level, rather than just sympathizing with them from the outside.

It was a POWERFUL experience.

Trees have been coming up a lot lately, and I love this quote by Ram Dass which Jen brought to one of her morning meditations recently.

ram-dass-appreciate-trees-be-here-now-709x699

I was witnessing my OWN tree. The moments that came up for me when my life flashed before my eyes were the moments when my tree BENT, or took a different direction. And this tree represented my WISDOM. This tree is the wise woman within me… growing this entire time but never able to provide shade until NOW. This tree was the perfect symbol of the observer within me, and it also enabled me to feel on a deep level the WISDOM of ALL TREES. They stand there, weathering countless storms, witnessing a variety of lifetimes, that life/death/life cycle ALL AROUND THEM CONSTANTLY, and THEY’RE not allowed to have tantrums, THEY’RE not allowed to cry… but the WHOLE PLANET is dying and they just stand there and OBSERVE it ALL…

When I finally was able to get up to write all this down in my journal, I had realized that there were so many times I WANTED to get up, but my body straight up would say “no, stay there, you’re not ready” and would tense up instead of rise… and I had to repeatedly breathe into it and relax, and as I did I would go back into my visions. It was all such a trippy experience, but I felt like I did so much intuition building work and have shifted so profoundly because of it.

Afterward Eddy was playing all these beautiful old songs in this playlist that he made for me, titled “Elora.” Every song he would play just spoke to my soul on such a deep level that all I could do was cry. I was completely drained. Absolutely spent. But in the best way possible.

https://open.spotify.com/playlist/4HHEknDfulSD4CezbshFf3?si=azK-DHwaSX-pXeXzGdfoTw

Eddy and I of course had a wonderful discussion after, and he always brings things back to this world, this reality, this system that we’re living in. I could see how self centered I’ve been because of the programming of this society, this culture, and the reason I seek out such extreme experiences is because there’s such a strong part of me that KNOWS I need to be reprogrammed. That knows I need to learn to PROGRAM MYSELF.

This quarantine is exposing so much of our broken capitalist system and the brainwashing of this consumerist society, and I see now that every time I do something like this, I’m slowly breaking down the effects of this culture and coming back to myself in the way that I can open my heart and be there for other people, like my mom, like Eddy. It’s disgusting to me the gluttony and selfishness that has pervaded most of my life, simply because my mom wanted me to have what she didn’t have in the Philippines, but the excess becomes TOXIC.

It’s so nice to feel like my heart is finally starting to open and I’m hoping this means I’m beginning to move out of my lower chakras. I am beyond grateful for tools like yoga and meditation that don’t require me to go on some trip or take some substance to meet my truest self… and now awesome it is that the closer I get to myself, the closer I also get to other people. Yes life is pain, but it’s also beautiful as fuck.

I wrote this hours ago and am just posting it now, but now I need to post something else. What was even the point of this? God.

Here are some crappy drawings that I didn’t get a chance to finish but I’m gonna put them here anyway because I don’t think I’ll ever go back and finish them later so might as well. Gets the point across.

Sat Kriya01Sat Kriya02-00Sat Kriya02Sat Kriya03

The Pain of Duality

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Exploring The Bipolar Extremes of Life

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

fantastic

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2019-03-29

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

2019-03-30 bipolartweet

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

The brighter you shine, the darker the shadows.

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

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

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

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

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

Human Language Is Getting Exhausting

Feeling the duality hard today. Integration has been a roller coaster. Today Amy brought up her struggles with me and it made me realize how tired I am with speaking. Human language is so limiting, and since I’ve been back it feels nonstop recounting my ayahuasca journey to people on weekend excursions and weekday lunches…by the time I get home I’m just so drained and can’t speak at all. But then Eddy is going through his own shit and our conversations have just become a complicated miscommunication mess due to my state of mind.

I’m tired of constantly feeling the need to tell everyone about something I’m excited about. I need to learn to just be alone and keep shit to myself, but it’s almost like that goes against everything I’ve been for such a long time…I’m not sure who I’ll be if I embrace this type of life.

But She’s been telling me to listen and pay attention, and I think the thing I’ve NOT been paying attention to is how all this TALKING and INTERACTING is causing so much tension in my body. It’s no longer anxiety like before but…now it’s just tension from overexertion and I gotta cool it. Silence would be much appreciated…seems like I’ve had a constant headache from word vomit lately my goodness.

I wanted my next entry to be our ayahuasca journey but because of the state I’m in…I just can’t right now and gotta accept that this is ok. I need time and wanna do it when it feels right. THIS entry was more important right now. Gonna be patient with myself and take a break.

Amy suggested this lecture to me today cuz I’ve been going on and on about duality since I’ve gotten back and she said this reminded her of me. Lol I haven’t finished it yet but…it’s already been pretty helpful. I gotta learn to stop talking and just BE.

Haha I just realized that I created my last blog to document my bipolar journey after I got off my meds, and this blog is basically becoming my ayahuasca integration journal…and now I’m migrating back to the bipolar blog! It’ll be cool to look back at this in a couple years and hopefully say something like “look how far I’ve come!”

Turn off those expectations, Elora. You know better than that 😛

Honor The Ending: Time Is An Illusion

It’s the time you spend on your rose that makes your rose so important. … You’re responsible for your rose.” ― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

Two weeks ago my friend Amy and I got back from an ayahuasca retreat called Dreamglade in the Peruvian Amazon. I wanted to kick off this blog with that story, but when I started looking through photos and videos I realized that it’s just too big, and rushing would be doing a disservice to the whole experience. It also put me in a really strange mood that sent me spiraling into a familiar darkness.

I foolishly thought that, with all the progress I’ve made because of the ayahuasca, I would be impervious to pain. One of the themes throughout the journey was recognizing that pain is temporary and all you can do is move through it, rather than wallow in it. I felt like I had made a major breakthrough, but coming back to this “reality” I now see that pain manifests in so many different ways. Modern society is naturally overwhelming because we’re all constantly overstimulated, so to be able to isolate reasons for feeling a certain way can be difficult sometimes. It was much easier at Dreamglade because we were literally only working on ourselves, and had so many of those stimuli taken away to detox from this mess we live in. Eddy reminded me that a retreat is literally “backing away from a battle to recuperate,” and for me, coming back to Los Angeles to live my “normal” life is like returning to battle.

I wanted SO BADLY to honor our two week Dreamglade anniversary and spent hours yesterday trying to get it done in time, neglecting so much else. I fell into the same patterns of beating myself up about it when it got later and later and realized I just wouldn’t be able to do it. Looking at photos made me feel even worse, like I was losing something important by not having archived it quickly enough. Watching my video journals while the emotions were still fresh, seeing myself talk about little details I’d already forgotten made me so afraid that I’d forget everything I’d learned and felt. That this whole ayahuasca journey, the most important thing I’ve ever done in my life, was already fading into a dream and it would all be for nothing. I heard Drew’s voice echo in my head “You’ll remember what’s important” and responded with “No I won’t, that’s bullshit.”

But then I remembered this “meditation for endings” that Adriene released on her Yoga with Adriene channel yesterday for New Years, and how she emphasizes the importance of “Honoring the Ending” and a “Resolve to Evolve.” I did this first thing in the morning as soon as I got the email, and it made me cry because it resonated so deeply. It’s amazing how we as humans all struggle with such similar issues of not being able to commit to practicing what’s good for us because we crave “perfection” or “instant gratification” which makes no sense when we’re still new to something!

“This is one of the most maddening things about human nature: we quit doing the things that help us most.” – Phil Stutz & Barry Michels, The Tools

My whole life I’ve struggled to commit to anything, allowing myself to wallow in the dark hole of my pain. It’s resulted in me feeling depressed, stuck and unable to follow through with anything important…life continually slipping through my fingers. Being diagnosed as bipolar, I am very much a slave to highs and lows, not understanding how to balance that duality and live in the normalcy of life.  Another Drew quote from the retreat when I was going through some pretty bad shit — “Maybe this is a sign that you just need to start living.”

But what if you’re not even sure how to live, after not living for such a long time?

This is a very common problem with our species, and I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s because we’re all slaves to time, and need to constantly remind ourselves that time is an illusion — Something my dad also clearly struggled with, expressing his frustrations in a comic where time is literally the enemy, “Tempus Fugitives.” But time is something so abstract, a force we’ll never be able to control as mere mortals. This is why “honoring the ending” is SO important, and something great to keep in mind while moving into 2019.

There’s talk about how, after doing ayahuasca, you experience a lot of synchronicity in your life… things that seem to just be meant to happen. Reading The Last Unicorn (and also The Little Prince) has been part of this for me, because I am getting so much life changing advice from both of these books. There’s a part of The Last Unicorn that completely blew my mind regarding time, which I think sums up the issue quite beautifully. It made me realize that what ayahuasca does is open ourselves to receive messages from the higher powers, allowing us to see the world differently and experience magic. Because what is magic? Things that we don’t understand that inspire wonder, similar to when we were a child. And, ayahuasca or not, I believe that magic is always there. We just live so blindly on a normal basis and float through life without recognizing what’s actually important. And this is why art exists, as a desperate plea from people who have experienced these universal truths — a reminder to take the time to see.

“When I was alive, I believed–as you do–that time was at least as real and solid as myself, and probably more so. I said ‘one o’clock’ as though I could see it, and ‘Monday’ as though I could find it on the map; and I let myself be hurried along from minute to minute, day to day, year to year, as though I were actually moving from one place to another. Like everyone else, I lived in a house bricked up with seconds and minutes, weekends and New Year’s Days, and I never went outside until I died, because there was no other door. Now I know that I could have walked through the walls.” – Peter S. Beagle, Last Unicorn p.236

This literally made me tear up just typing it out for this post, because it’s SO FUCKING REAL and WE ALL SUCCUMB TO IT. We feel constantly busy, constantly behind, things piling up to such a crippling extent that we don’t allow ourselves to live…but what are we even living for at that point? It’s such a joke! “A house bricked up with seconds and minutes, weekends and New Year’s Days”… “New Years” is just another excuse to put more pressure on ourselves to set resolutions that we won’t commit to if we don’t see the root of the problem.

Even now, attempting to honor endings, part of why tears came while during the meditation was my fear of failure. The fear to just let go and experience life, rather than try and control it. The fear of TRUE CHANGE. But the same behavior has prevailed time and time again and caused me so much pain…and what is insanity? Doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results. The results won’t be different unless you make the choice to change, and that choice is where all our power lies. That choice is our magic.

“The clock will never strike the right time. Haggard scrambled the works long ago, one day when he was trying to grab hold of time as it swung by. But the important thing is for you to understand that it doesn’t matter whether the clock strikes ten next, or seven, or fifteen o’clock. You can strike your own time, and start the count anywhere. When you understand that — then any time at all will be the right time for you.” – Peter S. Beagle, The Last Unicorn

Time is much more fluid than we think…it moves backwards and forwards, and if you pay attention, the more life you live the clearer this becomes. I’m already starting to see it, but that’s for a future post. This quote from Haunting of Hill House explains it well for now.

I thought for so long that time was like a line. That our moments were laid out like dominoes and that they fell one into another. Days tipping one into the next into the next… in a long line between the beginning and the end. But I was wrong. It’s not like that at all.Our moments fall around us like rain…or snow. Or confetti.” – Nell Craine, Haunting of Hill House

As we left Dreamglade, Amy and I were huddled in tears in the front of Stacy’s car as he was playing sad, appropriate songs like this one:

And she said “I feel like the end credits are rolling” which made me cry and cling to her harder, not wanting the moment to escape because it was too perfect.

Indeed, that’s exactly how it felt, and during these magical times I try my best to “live in the moment” but can’t help feeling like it’s never enough. But this too is part of being human. We live in the painful space between past and future, a space that doesn’t truly exist. The tragic beauty of humanity is that nothing lasts forever, and everything comes to an end.

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Me and Amy in Stace’s car during the “end credits.” Huge thanks to Erik for the photo!

To make me feel better last night, Eddy reminded me of the concept of “eternal return,” and the idea that time is infinite and because we can’t even fathom the nature of infinity, it’s nice to believe that time will repeat itself someday. So every experience that we have is part of us forever, and rather than be sad about an “ending,” focus on how beautiful it is that we’ll always have these memories within us. People constantly take photos and videos to capture a moment, but, like Mother Ayahuasca told me in Peru “The best camera you have is your mind.” As badly as we want to cling to the past, we have to trust that regardless of details, we’ll remember the feeling we had at certain times in our life, and that’s what we have to treasure.

This is a constant message in tons of books, movies, songs… because it’s such a universal struggle and requires effort to remind ourselves to focus on gratitude rather than sadness. And this is what “honoring the ending” and “resolve to evolve” means. All we can do is be grateful for the joyous experiences in our life and use them to better ourselves… to remind us to commit to practices that clear our minds so we CAN focus on the good rather than the bad, and be patient with ourselves when we fall into the trap of being human.

We have to remember that the most important thing about life is to enjoy it with the time that we have and the people who we love. And to be patient with ourselves so we don’t miss this opportunity. Happy New Year everyone, 2019 is going to be different. Let’s approach it without fear or expectation. Remember…pain is temporary.

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