I’m a Volunteer

This has been an interesting week for me. I’ve had to face my mental health issues and deal with the darkness that took over me last spring. On Tuesday I took the day off from work because I had orientation for my new volunteer position. It’s at a transitional housing facility for mental health clients. I think of it as a half way house – people can come and go as they please, but they enjoy shared meals, they have chores and house responsibilities. Most of them have just come from jail or a psychiatric facility of some sort. When I was hospitalized, a lot of the other patients were going to this facility following their hospitalization. Some of the patients had been there before and loved it. At the time, I thought it was my house. I thought I ran the program and that I was helping all of these wonderful people. So, a few months ago I decided that if I felt so strongly in the mission that I believed it was my facility, it’d be a good place for me to spend some time. I had some hesitation and worry that it could trigger me. I was worried they might not accept me as a volunteer – less than a year ago I could have easily been on the other side things. Still, I decided to reach out and about a month ago I had an interview there and got the gig.

So, back to this past Tuesday – I had to go to orientation at the very same facility where I flipped out last year. It turns out that the half way house is part of the same program. It was weird being back at that building – I recognized the receptionist and prayed she didn’t recognize me. How could she forget. I ran through the lobby screaming and attacking my husband. They had to call an ambulance for me. I pushed around the cops, and apparently threatened to kill them. I barricaded myself in a room and banged my head on the glass window. I made quite the scene. Now, here I was checking in at the counter for orientation. Now I was on the other side. The orientation went fine, it was uneventful. It left me excited for my first shift at the mental health house.

Friday was my first shift. I don’t know how Fridays came into the picture, but since I don’t have much of a social life I decided it didn’t matter to me. So, every Friday from 7-9pm I’ll hang out at the mental health house. My job is really simple – basically I just hang out with the clients, there are about 15 of them. We can play games, do art projects or watch movies. This Friday we watched Oh Brother Where Art Thou. I don’t like that movie, but hey – it wasn’t my choice.

I was really nervous going into my shift – I didn’t know how I should act. I was worried the clients would pick up on my nervousness and not like me. I know how sensitive I was when I had an episode, and I didn’t want to say the wrong thing or come off as rude or cold. I wanted to be kind, warm and welcoming. Of course, being non-judgmental was also one of my goals, and one of the requests of the staff. I only spoke with a few of the clients while I was there, but overall they were very nice. They all seemed pretty heavily sedated and on drugs. In fact, at the beginning of the night the staff read a story out loud about a bipolar woman’s struggle finding the right medication. It was designed to make the patients want to be medication compliant, to keep working with their doctor to find the right meds at the right dose. It was a little difficult for me to listen to because I really don’t believe in medication and am working towards being med free myself. Right now I’m on a low dosage of Lithium and a very low dosage of Zyprexa – an anti-psychotic that makes me sleepy. I’m weening myself off of that one and hopefully next month I’ll be done with it completely.

Anyways, the few clients I spoke with were nice and conversational. However, there was one client who was very fixated on me. He thought I was Satan. I found this to be a very interesting situation, as I do identify as darkworker, and in fact when I was sick, I believed I was Hitler reincarnated. Darkness was part of my story. He spent the whole night talking to me about how I needed to accept God’s love (he thought he was God) and that I was very powerful. He was clearly delusional, talking about all of the war’s he had fought in and the lives he had taken. I couldn’t help but be fascinated by his story. I probably should have corrected him more, but I kind of played along and just listened. I didn’t think there was much I could do to convince him I wasn’t Satan. I tried at first, and he didn’t believe me.

At the end of the shift the volunteer coordinator asked if there were any triggers for me and I said no. But, later in the night I thought – um, yeah. To have this man think that I was Satan got me thinking about my own delusions and feelings of guilt for past karma. Like there is some sort of darkness in me. It’s funny because I am not a mean or angry person. I think I’m kinder than most and wish to do no harm. What I really think is that we’re all a little dark, I’m just more comfortable with that notion than most people. I know I’m capable of doing horrendous things – we all are. Still, I can’t help but wonder what it was about me that made him think I was Satan. I think he’ll probably be around this Friday too – he didn’t seem ready for discharge. This time I’ll work on correcting him – I am not Satan. I’m just a volunteer.

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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. 

Be You

There is nothing wrong with you. You are a beautiful soul. There is nothing more beautiful or deserving of life’s gifts than you. Forget what society has told you. Maybe your parents or your doctor, or maybe even your spouse has told you that there is something wrong with you. You speak out of turn. You are rude. You don’t act like the other children. You don’t pay attention like you should. You’re a piece of shit. Forget them. They have their own issues to face. We all do. Don’t let their judgement destroy you. This is your life. Your story. You are an amazing being, unique and special. Like no other. Maybe there are things about you that other’s have deemed “less desirable” – that is because they are idiots. The things about you that are the most out of place, the most unique – those qualities are YOU. They should be celebrated. Anyone who disagrees is an asshole and should be ignored. Don’t let them influence you. Love you. Love yourself more than anything else in the world. There is no greater gift than self-love and you deserve it. Take a look in the mirror and look at the beauty that is you. For all your weirdness and eccentricities, you are a glorious piece of work. Don’t try to fit in. Stand out. Be weird. Be you.

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.

Open 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.

There is very little understanding of what a darkworker truly is and about the darkworker path to enlightenment which is why I want to explore it. When I say I am on a darkworker path, I don’t mean I am evil or a bad person. In fact, quite the opposite. I believe people are essentially good. I think we are all powerful beings, and that some of us just choose to tap into it and to live more fulfilling lives. I didn’t decide to “tap in” to this energy source to be evil or mean, I wanted to further myself and improve my life. I wanted to contribute to society and be happy.

I felt like I finally found something I could relate to with the law of attraction. I decided that this new-found philosophy and understanding was my new religion and I would find life fulfillment through that. I quickly learned that in order for that to work I would need to change what vibe or aura I was putting off. I would need to actually be happy in order to achieve the things I wanted to achieve. I had to set about working on myself and becoming happier so that I would be able to manifest the life I wanted and finally be truly happy. That’s doesn’t sound evil does it?

I guess where things get a little different is that I have always felt like I am the most important thing to me, and that I can help no one if I’m not at my best. This isn’t to say I ignore others or am a bad person. I value honestly and truth above all else and I pride myself on being upfront and speaking the truth to others. I help when I can and I try to live by example and show others how they can reach their true potential.

I have just been less concerned with others, with “society” and with “fitting in.” It’s been that way my whole life. I always felt sayings like “love your neighbor” and “be of service to others” were disingenuous bullshit statements people said to make themselves feel better. I still believe this to largely be the case – many people are just going through the motions and not really feeling the true intent of the words they are speaking. To me this is not honestly or truth and so I rejected it.

It took me a long time to realize that “LOVE” was what was missing with me. I tell my husband I love him 50 times a day, but it’s not really the same now, is it?

But since I’ve been opening myself up to receiving new energies and experiences I have been experiencing some incredible emotions and new feelings of love like never before.  All I knew is what I feel – which is an intense rush of emotions – love, gratitude, oneness – and then I am overcome with tears of gratitude and love. I have found myself balling hysterically and I am not sad. I am happy. I am feeling love. My heart is opening and the lightworker in me is coming out to play. I can’t wait to see what gifts she brings.