Years ago, in my early twenties, I had a spiritual awakening following my first experience of falling in love. The doors to my heart were slammed open so powerfully that they got stuck. Since, at the time, I didn't have anyone to share that openness with on a romantic level--it was unrequited--I turned my openness to the world around me, and fell in love with life and living. What followed would be described as "hypomania" by my doctors. For a good two months, I wrote countless songs, explored my divinity, traveled to Canada (see image above) and other places, and experienced the world as if I had been reborn. I learned and experienced so many precious things about life that I could never regret, and I also put myself in danger a number of times looking back. I'm amazed and beyond grateful that I journeyed through that phase almost completely unscathed.
One day I woke up and knew that it was over, and in the months following, I endured a major depressive episode and, at it's worst, I tried to end my life. Luckily, I didn't succeed. I was in school for Expressive Therapy and took the semester off. My psychodrama teacher reached out and offered to continue training me at the time, and through that training I was able to process what had happened to me--the freedom, the joy and the darkness--and come out reconnected to a strong positive sense of myself.
I continued this training for 4 years, and in that time was introduced to transformational breathwork. I still use these two modalities today. Psychodrama helps me contextualize my life as a process and keeps me from getting stuck, and it is also priceless in terms of understanding groups of people on a micro and macro-level. Transformational breathwork allows me to release emotional and physical tension and reconnect me to a feeling of safety, of being loved and cared for. Both of these have been invaluable in helping me "go with the flow" daily, as have kundalini yoga and reiki, both of which I started years ago and am still in awe of their ability to help regulate my energy. Kundalini yoga in the morning wakes me up, and reiki before bed helps me relax. With a diagnosis of bipolar, regulating my energy is of utmost importance to taking care of myself.
About 4 years ago, I came across the work of Lewis Mehl-Medrona of the Coyote Institute, and it affirmed my feelings about straddling what seems like two worlds--western medicine and my own personal beliefs. How do I do the work of a healer and work for the very institutions that historically endorse harmful stigmatization of people such as myself? At the same time as learning about Lewis, I learned about the work of Ron Coleman and Karen Taylor of Working to Recovery, who train around the world and set up temporary living situations to help people learn to cope with their experiences of hearing voices. The work of The Coyote Institute and Working to Recovery has given me new hope to a field of healing that doesn't stigmatize and, in fact, actively works to de-stigmatize individuals such as myself who have been labeled as "sick" and "dangerous" because of our unique (or not so unique) extra-ordinary experiences.
At this time, I'm exploring the benefits of changing my diet (successfully treating heartburn with diet) and trying to increase my physical activity, as well as getting acupuncture treatments for a range of more chronic and temporary conditions. I am also trying to be more open about my experiences and my story in my performances. It's all implicitly there in the music, but I feel like I need to honor myself by being open about the parts of me that are so powerfully relatable. Another important part of energy regulation is taking care of my spirit, and giving voice to what makes me unique. Ironically, what makes me unique is what makes me connected to you. I haven't shared everything here (there's a whole lot more), but I hope I've shared enough to invite you on a journey. Thanks for reading, and I hope to see you out there.