Intuit. Creative. Student. Radical self-care queen.
How do you view the difference between true just like change and transition versus transformation?
I view transitioning from one thing to the next, sort of like a timeline. And with change, maybe making like a left turn and right turn along similar sort of plane, but transformation seems more multidimensional to me.
Do you currently identify as being in a period of transformation?
I do. In kind of a spiritual awakening.
It’s something that happened both over time and all at once. Like you can look throughout my entire life and see the cultural influences, my understanding of institutional forms of oppression in society - just learning about it, and my social work classes, and #metoo, all come to the forefront. Just identifying that, "Oh, we're living in a certain reality, in a certain way of being". So just acknowledging that a lot has been constructed and built by certain people with a certain way of thinking. So what's a different way of thinking and what’s a different way of being?
That was more directly triggered after like my last breakup. That was definitely a turning point of recognizing patterns and then, once I could do that, seeing in an old journal entry that I could just swap out his name for another ex-boyfriend. After recognizing that, I basically set on a quest to be like, what is going on here?
So that quest has brought me to spirituality, and has brought me to a greater spiritual awakening in which all of these teachers, and all of these masters, have now suddenly appeared when I didn't know that there was so much literature and thinking out there in the world that is exactly how I now align with.
The things that are resonating with me I think that I sort of already thought to be true. It's like a real reawakening or feels like that to me because it's like, Oh, this has already been, that's already inside me now. It's just being uncovered.
So those types of revelations around things like living in a space of either love or fear, and transcending fear, so that we are only in a place of love, basically catapulted me to a place of forgiveness where grudges that I'd been holding onto for many, many, many years, like my whole lifetime, and being immediately just able to forgive my parents and forgive my old roommate, forgive every ex boyfriend, forgive myself and realize that there are external elements at play that kind of just get in the way of feeling like I'm one with everything. Which is hard to not just kind of boil down to like a bumper sticker or a generic slogan. But feeling really connected. Like I'm sharing the same consciousness, the same mind as everyone has transformed definitely the way that I see clients and has transformed the way that I see my parents, my friends and the barriers kind of just melt.
And I'm coming up against this stuff and therefore, like you mentioned transformation, I know I'm in transition, I know I'm not there yet. I very much know that I'm not even close, because I’m still dealing with so much ego thinking, and I know that with more practice I'll be able to kind of whittle down my ego as much as I can, to just really live from a place of the heart. But I'm listening to the masters and spiritual teachers…. like, I know that I might be on a lifelong journey, but it just feels really amazing.
What'd you say that that was sort of the origin of the current transformation you're in? Or did it start before then?
The catalyst was just recovering an old journal entry and seeing my relationship towards my ex as a pattern. So that was like very much like the - wait what? kind of moment, and then me seeking explanation and understanding to nurse that heartache. I think I previously downloaded a Wayne Dyer podcast, so it was in my library already or something. But he basically entered my life in way that I hadn't really acknowledged before and has been like the most influential... But now I'm learning from other people who are essentially saying like very similar things like Jack Kornfield was a Zen Buddhist monk and Gary Zukav, who I don't even know if he’s aligning himself with any particular religion or spirituality.
So there was that track, and then the other side of the railroad track I started listening to therapy podcasts and it was basically a therapist explaining what brought them to the practice and what their particular modality was. And then I started realizing that there's other types of therapy out there in the world. Like, for example, transpersonal psychology, which incorporates spirituality and then there's different somatic therapies that incorporates the body. And so it kind of opened up my eyes to like, Oh, why can't we be like an integrated practitioner? or I'm incorporating my own ethics, my own way of being in a way where I feel like myself and then can help other people. Healing is probably more effective in that space. So I don't know. I don't know. Things just started coming together.
So kind of like going with that idea of momentum since you've been aware of this transformation, have you felt stuck ever? And if so, what did you, what have you done when you felt that way?
My ego is still very strong and so it's kind of been a bummer. Like I'm still dealing with this, I'm still here and like I've been feeling a lot of like internal pull because I have been sucked into whatever the negative direction I was going in or thinking. Like having frustrations around a friend’s behavior or actions. Whereas before, it was just one-sided. Now the other side of the tug of war is spirituality, being aware of love and this new recognition. And so I'm not letting myself go in that negative direction, but it’s still a direction that exists within me. It's still so strong. And so I know that this will be a process of continued meditation, which is not just like sitting down on a pillow for 8 or 30 minutes or whatever. But it's like washing my face with intention and it's putting on my shoes with intention. It's conducting myself with others with intention. Just living in a more connected way so that I have easier access to the self, to the heart. So that will become strong enough to outweigh the ego.
But I'm still, like I mentioned, being frustrated with a friend's actions and I can name it now. Like what she should be doing and all this judgment stuff. And so I’m trying everything to just find love and compassion and forgiveness and releasing myself. I'm just trying to neutralize and melt those fears because I was fearful of her drinking again and hitting rock bottom again and feeling scared for her. But that's really her life and her journey and the only thing I can do it just be there in a loving way and engage in a loving way. So I feel torn up about that and it’s what I'm currently working through.
Do you feel like the transformation that you're in right now is something that others have gone through as well?
Yeah, that's why I started finding these teachers and I think when you have a mental health condition and you start feeling like, Oh, I just know things to be true and the world is beautiful and all these things. I have been trained to see them as a red flag that I’m going into a hypomanic state and this is something that is very bad. That is very negative thing. I'm hypersensitive to times when I'm feeling like in any way spiritually aligned. But I've never been like this before. I've certainly during periods of hypomania felt very connected to nature and very just wonderful, you know. So anyway, so I feel like I'm hypersensitive to those things and yet it was validating to know that there's an entire body of work out there by folks who I guess Oprah brought more into the mainstream in the late eighties. And with her and Deepak Chopra an Eckhart Tolle, I didn't understand that Oprah was doing spiritual work. But now I see her as such an enlightened being and I feel very grateful for her for finding all of these great teachers and giving them a platform.
So yeah. I feel like I'm joining a team. Again, just joining an existing wave of consciousness, that I'm finally now hopping on the train that these people have been riding for years and years. And even before the eighties, yogis were writing about this for thousands of years. So it's just like been popularized in our culture a little bit for the last 30 years. So I don't feel like I'm the only one. No.
What has been the role of the people - like your friends, your coworkers, your family - people in more of your every day-to-day? Do you feel like you've been able to bring them into this transformation with you or do you see them as sort of separate?
I feel like there are people who are clinging onto fear that it's hard for them to be open minded, that there's another way of life. That there's another possibility and a way of living. And to those friends, I don't feel like they can relate to the space that I'm in at all. I know kind of instinctively that I need to let those friendships go because I'm not going to be able to convert them and maybe they don't want to.
They're not ready. If they're on their journey and they’re doing what they need to do, but I don't think this was really intended for everyone to be in this space. And so for people who I feel like I can talk to and they don't look at me like I'm an alien, those are the people who will continue to have a role in my life because it won't be a complete block. I think of some people, I'm having to let them go and I recognize that as something that's it's necessary, it's not good or bad.
And then there are people who have been on the train. Saying Finally I was waiting for you! People like my yoga guru friend , who I met through mental health stuff. And she always had like a different way of seeing things. And I was always trying to pull her back into the matrix and now as I am being pulled out of it, you know, she’s like "Let me give you some reading recommendations".
Are there any other resources that you use to kind of help during this time that you haven't mentioned this far?
Well, I think a lot of the "self care" things that I've been doing for years kind of have a newfound significance because it's not just taking a bath when I'm stressed out. It's very much like, Am I nourishing and feeding my soul through this action? And it's totally different. You know, I feel like self care sometimes felt like an obligation. And now it just feels like a priority. Because through these mechanisms of laying on grass in the park and looking at the sky or tuning into music and whatever that is therapeutic to the soul, which I think people have been saying and trying to explain it for years, but just now I understand.
So it's like doing things that you've done in the past, but just with the different intentionality or different level of awareness about.
When you see yourself kind of further along this journey, in a more evolved state of it. Like what, what do you see as possible? What opens up or what's there for you?
This is part of the Taoist path, kind of instinct, that basically is in process, and, you know, I was born with my soul and myself and I've just been trying to fling off a lot of familial stuff, societal stuff and relationship stuff that never really was mine - that never really belonged to me, that I never really wanted, and that only contributed to suffering. So in becoming just the pure version of my soul, I want to be with people one-on-one and help them get in touch with their soul.
I've been really hard on the fact that my parents are very academically focused and my whole upbringing was very academically inclined and there's a lot of stress and there's a lot of pressure and I think I've been realizing that like, Oh yeah, that's not helpful to me. I don't want to do it that way. But I'm also definitely grateful. That is a privilege and it definitely is a view that is a gift that isn't necessarily separate from my soul, because way back on my dad's side, as Lao Tsu was writing the Tao, my scholar ancestors were around him also studying. It makes me think that, you know, I have maybe a unique ability to translate this way of being, especially in the mental health field. Especially when it comes to health.
Because I no longer view an up or down mood as something bad or good, if we're all connected and we all have one consciousness and one mind. I think that there are certain people on the earth who are taking on a lot of other things on behalf of humankind. And I think I'm one of those people. So I go through periods, whatever I'm experiencing things and I had all this Western cognitive behavioral therapy to try to tell me, okay, well ‘that's not you, so stop suffering’. But I was never quite satisfied. But now, really knowing from a metaphysical standpoint that, oh, that's really not my thought. In fact, it’s actually not related to me at all.
That, you know, belongs to someone somewhere else. I am for some reason a conduit to it. And I am going to honor this feeling and honor the discomfort. So honestly I just feel like I don't relate to a lot of my mental health posse as much anymore, because I very much feel that when I was in that space of fear, I was very much like, my only position that I was offered was that of a victim.
So now, I think Kanye rapping about being bipolar as a superpower. I think a lot of mental health professionals are freaked out by the implication that people are running around without treatment. But I think it's wonderful. It's mildly irresponsible, but overall, in general, I think it's wonderful.
Is there anything else that you want to say or you wished I'd asked about about this transformation right now?
Oh, before I had mentioned anything about the mental health field, I was hoping that that would come up because that has maybe been one of the biggest takeaways... having a completely different relationship to my bipolar diagnosis. I think that the implications for that, in terms of healing people, I think that might be my calling. I think that could eliminate so much suffering. So we'll see what happens.