Something More

I can’t simply dismiss what happened to me last year as an illness. Some sort of chemical imbalance. Insanity. Nothing more. Don’t look into it. You were crazy. I don’t believe it.

Something beautiful happened to me. I felt an incredible, overwhelming sense of love. Love for all. A sense of purpose and true bliss. Life was perfect. In that moment. I accepted each moment as it came, with no attachment or expectation. I understood what it was to be a spiritual being. Filled with light and love. Pure of intention and beaming. Strangers on the street approached me, they were drawn to my light. I radiated joy and love.

Of course, it got twisted along the way and I became overwhelmed with grief and anguish. All of the darkness I felt responsible for. Hate and destruction I had unleashed in my past lives. I felt as though I was a vessel, channeling all of the emotions of the world, past and present. I would cry to the point of drooling. Feeling the collective energy and sadness of all the earth’s creatures. It paralyzed me. I dropped to me knees and wailed.

I don’t consider that experience to be bad, it was true. It was real. There is a lot of sadness in this world. I became the ultimate empath, feeling the energies of everything around me. I think it was a blessing. A beautiful, sick blessing. I would never wish it away. Whatever hurt I felt, it was worth it to experience all of the light and love I felt. I hope I feel it again one day. 

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Don’t hide

Surrounded by sadness and despair

Why do I have to care?

My heart is wide and open

I want to comfort in the moment

Too many people are sad

They are good people, not at all bad

Why have they been told they’re defective?

They are beautiful, it doesn’t take a detective

I want to scream and yell at those who label

When clearly we are human beings, more than able

The words are on repeat inside our heads

They beat us up, make some wish they were dead

It isn’t fair, do these people even care?

How can you call yourself a doctor

When what you’re doing isn’t proper

We need new answers to our ills

No more taking pills against our will

They’ll convince you it’s what you need

That’s how they plant the seed

But be weary of those who claim to want to help

They’ll take away your soul without a yelp

You must stand strong and look within

Forgot silly notions such as sin

Listen to your heart, it’s been there from the start

Turn inward and let your soul be your guide

That’s the only way to enjoy the ride

Don’t hide

Experiencing an Episode

I wish I could more easily explain myself, and my “illness” – it’s not easy to do. I feel like no matter how much I explain, there is so much left unanswered. I’m more confused now than I was when I was in the psych ward. When I was in there, I thought I had it all figured out. The whole world – the meaning of life – god – I thought I knew it all. Intimately. I had seen the light and the darkness and I accepted both without question. I invited the energy in, and then I had to contend with it.

I didn’t know how to integrate, how to live with the new energy I was experiencing. I lost it. I don’t mean I got upset and screamed at someone. I don’t mean I became suicidal. No – I mean, I thought I was God. I thought I was Hitler reincarnated. I thought I was a vampire. I thought I had died and that I had time traveled back to this modern day to save the world from the apocalypse. I thought the nurses and doctors were my friends and family in different bodies. I thought I was controlling the weather with my thoughts. I thought my prayers were immediately answered and so I prayed watching the news, thinking I could affect the entire world and bring peace at last.

I had hallucinations. A helicopter crashed in my front yard. A two dimensional triangle person waving at me. Shadows. A dark presence hovering over me, engulfing me and taking me into its darkness. When I closed my eyes the lights flashed – I saw a glowing heart and an equals sign. Symbols of love and equality. Visions of me breathing fire onto the masses, igniting souls and bringing enlightenment to the world.

My eyes began twitching rapidly, and it felt as though I was downloading all of the information the universe had to offer. Who my friends were in past lives. All the awful things that had happened throughout humanity. I was responsible for death and destruction. I believed we were all guilty. Sinners and saints, each one of us.

I curled into fetal position and began convulsing and shaking as I chanted “This one is odd they will say. Somehow different they will say.” I’m not sure where I got that from, but I couldn’t stop the chanting and the shaking.

I rolled around in my vomit and let the smell take over me. It smelled so comforting. I made my bed, now I must lie in it. That’s what I told myself as I became covered in my own filth and vomit.

This is what my episode was like in the days leading up to my hospitalization, just two days after I wrote this. So, what was it? Clearly I was onto something. There were truths in what I had to say. My understanding of the world was so simple and clear. We are all one. Good and evil. Light and dark. It is within each and every one of us. But something snapped, and I don’t if I’ll ever know what it was. Does it matter? Do I need to understand it, or do I just take the good from the experience and move on? It’s hard to forget the feelings. Most people will never experience something that intense, so I feel it must be a blessing of some sort. I felt closer to “god” than most people can fathom, and it did feel divine indeed. Now I feel like a mere mortal, trying to make sense of life once again. At least now I know there is something more than meets the eye. There is another world just beyond – a world filled with love and light, right alongside darkness and despair. You can visit it if you let your guard down, lower you walls and listen to your heart. Just be careful you don’t end up like I did – unable to make sense of all the stimuli coming in. Stay grounded. If you figure out how to do that, please let me know!

Experiences of the Heart

Originally posted on April 23 2012 during my manic phase. I was hospitalized on April 29th for a manic episode. For some reason this post didn’t get transferred from my old blog, so I’m reposting it now.

If you’re wondering how to open your heart I wish I could just offer a simple step by step guide. That would be nice, wouldn’t it? I mean if you’re an asshole – all you’d need to do would be listed out in an easy to follow manual. Unfortunately (or actually…fortunately!) there is no short cut or one size fits all solution here. I’m actually not even sure what triggered this all for me. I’ll list out some events that seem of importance:

–          June of 2012 we had a very serendipitous run in with an artist. I fell in love with the artwork in the hotel and when my husband went to the coffee shop down the street to pick up our morning coffee an interesting man struck up a conversation with him and told him that he had done the artwork in the hotel! Geesh. Pretty unreal, especially because I don’t usually find hotel artwork very interesting! He signed a print of the twin towers – inappropriate? Surely he couldn’t sell them anymore! Ha! No, I think it was part of the sign, the darkness. He signed it “Welcome to the heart” – Later that day we visited garden of the gods in Colorado springs and enjoyed lunch in Manitou Springs. On the way out of town we say flames – it turned out to be one of the worst wildfires in Colorado history. Later that day the whole town was evacuated, it was devastating.

–          February 2013 I was laid off from my job after declaring that I was on the wrong path. I had been searching the internet for things like “how to find your passion” “should I change careers” – clearly I knew what was up. When I was laid off all I kept saying was “Thank you.” My boss didn’t understand and neither did I until I thought about it later. I was truly thankful for the gift of time I had been given and for the chance to reassess my situation.

–          February –April 2013 I have been experiencing all sorts of new states of appreciation and awareness. I have been spending my free time doing nothing – I’ve taken up some of my favorite child activities like coloring (yes in a coloring book!) and dancing around the house naked. It’s been very liberating. I’ve also been reading.

–          I have been exploring intuition and getting more in touch with myself. I even attempted a bit of a soul retrieval based on exploration of that concept. I decided to return to an age when I felt very confused and victimized and angry – 14. I experienced several bad sexual experiences, my parents divorced, my life was in turmoil. I got in to drugs soon after. I meditated and visualized myself returning there, to that time and letting it all go. I wrote an apology letter to myself and invited my spirit back to me. I wanted to be happy again. I told myself that it was ok to return now, the bad trauma was over.

–          Within weeks of this exercise I had a dream about confronting someone who had victimized me. It was a very specific dream and it shook me to my core. A week later I “ran into” this person online. The ensuing conversation changed me forever. This man offered his heart and his openness to me and in return all I could do was forgive him, and thank him for the experience. I mean that from the truest sense and deeply in my heart. I love this man and the experience of learning true forgiveness and love. Perhaps I’ll share more on this experience later.

–          Within days of this experience I realized I was on the wrong career path, and I started listening to my heart. I feel more love in my heart than I ever have and I feel a true oneness and love with everyone and everything – dark and light. Good and evil. Action and inaction. Boldness and shyness.

There have been so many more changes and experiences, but I can’t possible list them all out now. Just know that my life is progressing at a rapid pace and it all began with feeling more open. More love. More sadness. The tears have been flowing and the love has been radiating. Did it come to me or did I draw it to me? I’m not sure, but it is divine. Today is April 23. What will the next weeks and months hold for me…and for you?

Changing Social Classes

Originally posted on April 23 2012 during my manic phase. I was hospitalized on April 29th for a manic episode. For some reason this post didn’t get transferred from my old blog, so I’m reposting it now.

I always thought that changing social class was one of the hardest things a person could do and something that people don’t get nearly enough credit for. Of course, this is rather self-serving since that has been my path. I grew up in a lower middle class family, complete with shared communal sock basket and gallons of generic store brand ice cream available at will. I know it was still a good life, and we Americans can be rather spoiled, but for the sake of story – we were not well off like most Americans! I knew I wanted something more, something else. I would go to friends’ homes and think – these are “those people” with the fancy food in the fridge and the mom with a pretty hairstyle and of course, a nice car and an even nicer home.

We were lucky our car made it down the street to my aunt’s house for Thanksgiving. It wasn’t glamorous.

I knew that if I was going to have better and be more than just another angry person barely scraping by and bitching the whole time I would have to do some things differently.

It wasn’t easy. I pushed myself to be different, to be more like those “other” people, all while secretly hating “those people” and thinking their smiles and laughs were phony. I tried to be a preppy and fit in at school. That didn’t last long. Eventually I got into drugs and started hanging out with “the freaks.” I went on to community college, where I met a few people but mostly stayed to myself. I was already in a committed relationship with my now husband, so it was hard to fit in socially during college.

Eventually I went on to the University of Colorado at Boulder where I fit in about as good as a blueberry in a bag of oranges. It was painful. I felt so out of place and uncomfortable. I had to face a lot of fears and insecurity, but I told myself it would be worth it when I had the nice job and comfortable life – what does that even mean?! Put in the work now, it will pay off! That’s what I’d tell myself and my husband was by my side to cheer me on.

It worked. After graduating with honors and a 3.8 GPA (who is white trash now, bitches!) I went on to do an internship at the most coveted company in my industry. It was something I worked very hard for and I was proud to add it to my resume, but the truth was – I hated every minute of it. I thought if I got into advertising and marketing I’d help change culture – there were good things it could do, that’s what I’d tell myself. I’d make a difference. But I never did. Few people do when they hate their work.

My first paying job was pretty impressive. I worked my way up in a small company by being driven and pushing my creative thoughts and ideas. It was a great job. I got to travel. Meet interesting people. I even spoke at a few conferences. Not bad for a 24 year old. I was certainly changing social classes now! I started dressing better and buying nicer things. Fancy perfume. Expensive restaurants. The latest gadgets. I’m not white trash! Look at me now! Everything was to prove to myself that I had changed social classes. I had made it. Well – not completely. And probably not to “those” people, but I had come a long way and I was proud.

In order to make it that far I had to face a lot of fears and do a lot of internal work. That was fine with me. I’ve always loved self-improvement books and advice. I like to improve myself. That is how I can best contribute to the world. At least, that is what I thought. If I am not one of those angry bitter people, I am making the world a better place. If I am happy and healthy, that’s a better situation for the world than if I am on prescription drugs, laying on the couch playing Farmville and not contributing to society. By being happy and at my best, I’d be contributing. Plus, I’d had the added issues of having to change social class – something I thought deserved recognition and praise. Hey – this shit ain’t easy!

But now I realize that the biggest changing of social classes is the shift from<a href=”http://shaynalashway.com/2013/04/25/dont-break-your-contract/&#8221; target=”_blank”> darkworker</a> to lightworker. I’m just using those terms as my temporary framework, I think they are too polarizing to be true to their essence. Still, no doubt I would be considered a darkworker by most people. I was gaining power and radiating energy – but only for my own gain and happiness. Is that evil? I don’t think so, but you can judge for yourself. I don’t believe there is anything wrong with the darkworker path. I think wanting to improve yourself and be happy is a worthy cause and it certainly pushes society further along than those apathetic masses! So, don’t’ beat yourself up. I’m not embarrassed or shamed by my path. It’s been incredible. Those who refuse the dark will never truly know the light!

I’m integrating the light and the dark now and I feel sorry for those who refuse to accept their full reality. Something incredible is happening to me, and while I may be feeding it and working with it, it came from outside me. My heart is opening, I feel an amazing and genuine love like never before. The best way for me to describe it is – before, I felt like I had “god” in me,  (we all do!) and it was my mission to serve “god”, also known as me 🙂 Now, I feel like a servant of the greater energy. My inspiration is divine and it is my mission to carry out what is being fed to me. I am here to serve the greater good. This is a fundamental shift. It isn’t just a mental one either. I’ve been having lots of physical symptoms too – random bouts of crying, new sleep patterns, sweating and shaking, inability to eat like before and intense feelings of joy, gratitude and love. Let the light in. It feels amazing.

Discovering Darkness

Originally posted on April 23 2012 during my manic phase. I was hospitalized on April 29th for a manic episode. For some reason this post didn’t get transferred from my old blog, so I’m reposting it now.

I guess I always knew that I was attracted to the darker things in life – I’ve always enjoyed skulls and kept a Halloween skull doormat on my front porch for 16+ months. I have always been fascinated by crime and I’ve always understood that I was capable of doing bad things. In fact I acted out on plenty of those bad things – I’m not talking about breaking the law, I don’t even think that should count. I’m talking about truly hurtful things. Lying, stealing, intentionally inflicting pain upon others for fun. No one likes to fess up to these things, but I know there are more of you out there!

The funny thing is  – I look normal. Some people would even call me nice. More often though they’d use words to describe me  like: cold, tenacious, driven, smart. Those are all goods things, well maybe not the being cold part, but otherwise those seem to be good qualities. At least, that’s what I’d tell myself. I’d always been driven to achieve, no doubt because I grew up wanting my whole life. We never had enough. Not enough money, love, credit, appreciation, understanding or courage. In my house anger and passive aggressive bitterness won out. Or, you could always take the drug route. Many members of my family chose that route – it’s pretty easy to be apathetic that way. These days I call those people zombies.

I knew I wanted more. I wanted money, success, happiness, friends, recognition and status. I knew I was destined for something more. I remember telling myself in college that I was special – that I was destined for something great. I thought of Martin Luther and the Protestant Revolution, for some reason he stood out to me as a prime example of a MAN who changed the course of history. This I thought was what it was all about. See – I’m not a total asshole.I wanted to achieve greatness, influence history and make a difference. Not in a bad or destructive way.

I just got lost along the way. Or maybe I got found. You can decide for yourself. I watched the secret about 5 years ago and it changed my entire outlook on life. I realized I really did have control over my emotions and my destiny. I could change myself and my situation. I set out to do that. Along the way I realized I had plenty of things to work through in order for the law of attraction to work. I’d have to convince myself that I deserved all of the great things I wanted. I long believed I was white trash and undeserving of what I wanted. My family would call me selfish or tell me I was unrealistic. My friends couldn’t believe or imagine me having money or a successful career. I wanted to prove everyone wrong. And so I set out to do that.

My first job out of college was a test of my strength and determination. I felt like I conquered the world. I achieved power and control and I felt like I was contributing my passions and creativity to the world. But somehow it all blew up in my face. I got angry. My ambition drove me to insanity. I became impatient with my coworkers and began to say horrible hateful things not just to myself, but to others. I’d call people idiots, I’d get mad that they were not going along with what I saw as the right course. My plan. I needed my plan and my vision to be executed at all costs. I wanted people to be fired, I wanted the company restructured and I demanded more money. It wall all possible now that I knew the law of attraction. I made it happen, but when it wasn’t progressing enough or panning out exactly as  I wanted I blew it up. I mean that figuratively of course. I yelled at my boss and made her cry on her birthday. I screamed through the halls. I made a scene. It was fun, but the anger took months to subside and took a serious toll on my marriage and my happiness. That’s no way to get ahead!

My next job I decided I would detach so as to not let my passion turn to anger and control or fear of others. I became apathetic. I chose a job I was not interested in and become even less interested as time wore on. Eventually I got laid off. That was when the magic started to happen.

That was in February 2013. Since then I’ve been exploring myself and my own internal world. I  started dancing all the time. I mean silly dancing – around the house, in my underwear. I have been meditating and connecting with myself like never before.

It was in this time that the idea of shadow work reemerged in my life. (My first encounter with it was when exploring Carl Jung’s work several years ago, but I was intimidated by the work required) I quickly became intrigued with shadow work and started telling everyone I could about it. I told them to get in touch with their dark side. For some reason this seemed to really resonate with every single person I told. They were all touched and inspired by this idea. I, however, felt a strange comfort with what other’s perceived to be “ the shadow”. These feelings were very accessible to me.  I always knew I could get pleasure from hurting others – I’d done it before. Not just as an adult, but as a child attacking my sister and even chasing her with a butcher knife when I was 14. I knew I was willing to put others aside in order to meet my agenda. I’d tell myself it wasn’t because I thought I was better, but simply that – if they wanted to, they could do the same thing and I would be fine with that. I believed I was special, but I thought anyone could be if they’d just try and stop consuming so much TV and Prozac.

It was a few weeks after exploring this concept that I started reading Steve Pavlina’s blog and stumbled on an article about integrating the light and dark. It was there that I saw his explanation of the “shadow”  of a darkworker and I knew at the moment I was a darkworker. He said a darkworker’s shadow includes ” voices of love, caring, compassion, and the desire for authentic connection.” These were the emotions that I had been blocking for so long. These were the emotions I felt uncomfortable with. I tried to mask it with hugs and smiles, but deep down I didn’t resonate with love and compassion for others – certainly not above myself. I mean, there were times when I would go out of my way to help other people, in an almost unhealthy way. But – I always kept myself as number one and I would not help anyone at my expense. Ever.

I’m lucky enough to be experiencing a huge shift in my perspective. I’m getting in touch with my shadow – it just so happens my shadow is actually the light. It’s been an incredible experience. I can’t wait to share more with you.

Who is Insane?

I was diagnosed with bipolar 1 disorder almost a year ago. I was hospitalized for nearly a month in the psych ward. I had a complete psychotic break. I had hallucinations and grandiose thoughts – a classic manic episode. I started a blog just before my episode went into full swing. My writings in the days leading up to my hospitalization reveal a bit of what was going on in my head at the time. I think a lot of what I had to say was real, it was true. I still believe most of what I had to say. So, what does it all mean?

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about mental illness. Thinking about what it means to be bipolar. Thinking about the emotions I go through. Thinking about what’s wrong with me. And what’s right. How I don’t believe there is anything wrong with anyone who has a mental illness. We’re really just sensitive people, aren’t we? So many people – I read their stories about self-harm, suicide attempts, struggles with their medication. Why? Why do we have to suffer?

I seem to be happy by most accounts. My coworkers think I have it together. My family thought I had it together too – that is until I lost my shit and had to be hospitalized almost a year ago. The truth is, I’m hurt. I’m scarred. I’m scared. I feel lonely and sad a lot of the time. I don’t have many friends, and that may be my fault. I’ve been dramatic and I’ve been told I’m cold. The truth is, I feel like I have a lot of love to give, I just don’t always show it. I want people to know that I have a big heart. I think a lot of us with issues do. That’s why we’re “damaged” – we’re so sensitive to the world around us. The hurt, the suffering. It hurts us to see other people in such pain.

Why would “god” make the world so hard? I guess that’s how I came to believe that good and evil are really just silly notions. God and devil – they are really one in the same. Whatever has caused all this beauty in the world – it’s also caused a lot of pain. I don’t consider myself a religious person, but I do believe in “something” that created all of this – the good and the bad. He made us this way for a reason, now we just need to figure out why.

I think those of us that have been put on medication, told we’re “different”, somehow odd – we’re special. We see the world differently, and that’s not a bad thing. The real issue is that society tries to force us to fit their definition of normal. I say fuck ’em. What do they know? Who are they to say that what you see and believe is wrong? Maybe you just see things they cannot. Maybe the hallucinations are visions – maybe you are meant to see them. They serve a purpose. I don’t know if that’s true – but it certainly could be, couldn’t it?

I’m writing a memoir about my bipolar disorder and the time I spent in the hospital. The themes haven’t all emerged yet, but I hope to get people thinking about what it means to be insane. Maybe we’re not so crazy after all. Maybe it’s the rest of the world with the problem. We are the visionaries, we are the ones with unique insights. We have gifts they cannot imagine. We are special indeed.