Authentic Love

Our love bloomed in the summer; we parted ways in the fall.

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I recently broke up with one of the most amazing women on earth. She was sweet, nurturing, strong, loving, both gentle and powerful. She was exactly the type of partner that I was looking for.

 

 

We spent about half a year together but in that short time she helped change my life and become more myself.

What was amazing about this experience is that we left on wonderful terms and mourned not so much the loss of the other person but the loss of an incredible relationship. One that could not and should not be recreated.

The relationship was based on authenticity, trust, vulnerability, partnership and growth. I learned that I could heal by becoming more of myself. We both held ourselves accountable for our roles in the relationship as well as to being true to ourselves. This allowed us to honestly examine and talk about the dynamics in the relationship.

Both of us being very self aware, we were able to move past old patterns that held us back-from each other and from being the best versions of ourselves.

I’m writing this because real, healthy beautiful love is possible. I’m also writing this because when it was time to part ways, the right thing to do was to leave. Not to cling on for dear life. That would have ruined the beautiful thing that we created between us.

The impermanence of things, especially love is very very real and a reality that we have to accept. What I experienced was the lack of that struggle and grasping onto something that opened my eyes to the beauty of what is possible in life. I also became more aware of who I am through relationship.

I don’t know if I’ll ever engage in a relationship that intensely for a long time. Six months is a blink of an eye but in my life those six months were a gift.

The heartache that I feel is in response to how wonderful this woman was. It is because she and our relationship was so remarkable that I feel sadness. The mourning is not that of regret but of accepting that the beautiful time had blossomed and run its course.

I’m grateful for my time with her. If angels are among us, I spent some of the best months of my life with one of them and I will be forever grateful.

I wish that everyone could have such an experience. My understanding of love has changed forever. It’s possible to be truly seen and appreciated by another. To be heard, and to have the heart of another person bring you home. It’s possible for the warmth of love, an open ear, or a sweet whisper to soothe in the darkest times.

What’s incredible is that just being myself I happened to have profoundly affected her as well. It was just by being genuine and open as well as careful and respectful that we naturally gave each other what we needed.

I’m grateful to have experienced such an elegant short but sweet encounter.

What I expect and what I deserve has expanded and importantly what I am able to give to another has grown exponentially.

Home is Where Our Body Is

 

 

Like many of us I’ve searched for a sense of Home my entire life. I’ve finally found it, and it is in my body. However, getting home wasn’t as easy as some made it seem.

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In my body I’m beginning to feel a profound sense of home. peace, serenity, connection to the world around me, and most importantly a pervasive sense of safety and security. There is also a sense of pleasure and adventure in arriving into this home. Wherever I go or what I’m doing I feel as though I am still and while the scenery changes I’m sitting still in this beautiful place that is my body.

The body is connected to the rest of the world around me. As a very sensitive person I’ve tried many things to cope with picking up on the emotions of people around me. Imagining a big white light surrounding me really didn’t do it, but one day I decided to open into and feel some of the ancient and terrifying emotions in my body that I had carried around for years.

I shook I cried and eventually they all opened up and passed. Then something shifted. Instead of emotional pain I felt physical pain. I became aware of precisely which muscles were out of alignment, and how they were affecting my well being! In fact, I realized that much of the time I thought I was just having panic attacks but in fact I had been holding paralyzing chronic pain for years!

I cried and cried and finally felt relief. I could barely move but I knew that there was only moving forward. I began to do yoga to work through the pain but it was too much to bear alone. I decided that I would seek and find help. But through all of this I meditated on being in and with my body.

Even though I am in unbearable pain, I am also very much at peace.

For years I had been through workshops and classes in which we were simply “invited into our bodies” but for some of us moving into our bodies is actually horrifying. For years I would beat myself up over my inability to “just be present” but the fact of the matter is that if I stayed in my body-in my home, I would be flooded with feelings of terror, of being attacked and it was re traumatizing.

The unacknowledged privilege of being able to be present in ones body is taken for granted by so many and even worse-expected of everyone else. Yet so many of us have been deeply wounded to a place where even feeling our own emotions or body is not just difficult it is an impossibility!

A great friend of mine made a comment about the very vocal anti smokers…they said ” some people are dealing with shit that’s worse than cigarettes!” and I understand.

If you are having trouble in your body, in getting back home please be gentle with yourself and patient. It is not your fault. Please don’t push yourself too hard like I did. The storm will pass and you will find away. Often times we’re having a hard time reaching our goals because we simply lack something that we’re unaware of.

I had to do 15 years of yoga, try 52 medications, incredibly invasive medical procedures, a decade of therapy and years of meditation….hopefully your journey is easier. But the point is that after spending my entire adult life trying to find home, I’m arriving and it is priceless. Eventually, I’m sure, we can all do the same.

Namaste!

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Me Too

I was sexually assaulted too. Unfortunately the majority of my female friends have confided in me their stories of relentless harassment and abuse as well as many of my male friends. The rampant sexual abuse and misuse of power in our society is epitomized by the rapist running our country.

I’m writing this because I felt the need to share solidarity with the brave people of many genders who have been opening up about the horrors that have been done to them. My experience is different as is everyone else’s but I think that it’s important that we share our stories and thereby invite as many people as possible to bring to light the horrors done to us that thrive in darkness. In silence.

I was sexually assaulted when I was about 4 years old. My entire adult life has been spent recovering from this. What’s unnerving about abuse that happens at an early age is that it has to be teased out over time. When we don’t have our complete language faculties, we cannot construct narratives; we cannot create stories that make sense of what has happened and what to do with it.

I believe that all survivors experience at times, the horrible memories that get stored in their bodies. They bring us into the past through flashbacks and they unconsciously control our present. One person exerting power over us can create a lifetime of suffering. That is only part of why assault is so insidious.

After more than a decade I realized that something had happened to me as a child. I went to a white, male psychologist and told him my story. He dismissed it and said that it was something I made up. I believed him and lived with this horror for years, silenced by a stranger whom I trusted.

The silencing we encounter is a systemic denial that rape exists. It’s a silencing that is violent and dangerous. Worst of all, it is a silencing that plays on the shame, denial and fear that fights our powerful desire to be heard, and the immense bravery that it takes to acknowledge the horrible things that have been done to us.

I eventually recovered from sexual abuse. After about a dozen therapists, I found a woman who could actually see me for who I was. Being seen and being heard led to trust. And trust lead to healing.

Healing is different for us all and it can be a long process. We have to regain self esteem. We have to make sense of a world in which terrible, often unspoken or unspeakable crimes have been committed against us.

Sometimes the very people from whom we seek help are not healthy, are not allies. I’ve had therapists silence me, shame me, dismiss me, and more in my search for help. I’m a black straight cis man, and I don’t fit what many people expect a typical survivor to look like, (if they’re naive enough to think that there are typical survivors of sexual assault.)

I am however very hopeful and proud that we’re speaking up. I’m particularly excited to my trans allies speaking up too. What I haven’t seen are any male survivors talking about the horrors of sexual aggression and gross misuses of power. I was hesitant to write this because I am not trying to distract from the importance of women speaking up against sexual aggression. I just wanted to say in complete solidarity “Me Too”

Bipolar and the Frequencies of Moods

Human beings function unlike any other creature. We have multiple aspects of self that are all oscillating at different frequencies and different speeds. The main ones are emotions (mood), cognition (thoughts), and energy (activity).

Most people have a rate of change that is in response to events of in their lives, their general attitude and things like diet exercise etc. For example you may be particularly physically active and eat a healthy diet which will give you a higher frequency than someone who say, drinks and smokes all day.

Things like drugs can artificially inflate the rate of our thoughts and energy temporarily and reduce them later. Tragic life events like the death of a family member or the loss of a job will reduce our general levels of mood which will affect our thoughts and our energy. Good things will excite us and brings things up.

This is not necessarily the case for people with mental illnesses like bipolar disorder. Depression, anxiety, personality disorders and the like are similar to bipolar. With these disorders our energy cognition and mood are not directly related to life experience instead, they take on a life of their own.

Mood disorders take over our lives and make us feel like an entirely different person. We are not ourselves and worse, people often treat us as the person that we present as, not the person underneath the horrible trap of disease. It’s up to us to crawl through the process of finding a doctor who understands us, to find medication and therapy that helps us uncover our true selves to peek through the veil of disorder in the hopes to be seen and reclaim ourselves all the while our minds bodies and emotions are going haywire in a way that we have no control over.

This process is incredibly difficult but it is possible. The journey looks different for everyone but the underlying goal is the same. We want to return to feeling like ourselves and have our minds body and emotions respond to life rather than taking on a life of their own.

I suffered from mixed state ultradian cycling bipolar disorder. This means that my emotions thoughts and energy levels would change throughout the course of a day hourly. Sometimes my feelings emotions and thoughts would be very high and race, creating euphoria and uncomfortably racing thoughts. Other times my thoughts would race but my energy levels would be absolutely bottomed out with my emotions so low I would feel suicidal. I wouldn’t want to actually kill myself but my feelings were taking on a life of their own. I would have so little energy I couldn’t even make myself breakfast.

Over time I got these energy shifts to calm down so that they would stop changing so rapidly. I was pretty much in a permanent state of low energy low emotions and hazy thoughts. This was actually progress in that the shifts slowed down but I still had to find a way to raise my emotional health.

Finally after ten years and trying 54 different medications and Electro convulsive therapy I finally reached the point where my emotions and feelings were consistent. I have an amazing network of dozens of friends who support me through all of it. I also created a network of doctors and therapists who were always there for me. From 17 to 33 I struggled but I did finally make it. Most of all I was blessed with a mother who stayed with me every step of the way. I also had to overcome alcoholism complex PTSD constant panic attacks and learn to trust and relate to people forming firm friendships that have lasted for years and years.

What I hope people can take away from this is that those of us who are going through these things really are people. Healing is our responsibility but we are human beings. Our diseases make us appear different.

For those of us that are going through it, I know that healing is absolutely possible. I had to go through a dozen therapists and 32 medications in the past year alone. My journey took me 15 years but with dedication and commitment I refused to give up and when it seemed impossible I often had to look my fear in the face and decide that I make my own destiny and I can achieve anything. It sounds corny and naive but it is possible.

We all have differences in emotions and energy and clarity of thought. We can return to a place of normalcy. Everyone experiences this even if it is in a less severe manner. I know that all of us can take back control of our lives and live the beautiful lives that we were meant to have.

Please share your experience thoughts and hope below!

Mental Illness & The Law of Attraction

I’m just as much of a New Age Hippie as anyone else….who reads blog posts with “Law of Attraction” in the title. I’ve been eating kale since I could chew and went to my first yoga class when I was in the womb. I’ve been to the workshops, reiki training yoga training, I’ve cleansed my crystals, prayed to shiva on my mala chattted with my inner child and…you get the picture. 

Cultural appropriation aside, I love my spirituality. One of the most powerful things that I got from it was the power of manifestation. It’s definitely real. There’s books on it and if you actually follow them they will probably work for you. most people don’t and fail but I can attest that this stuff is real.

I’ll be forever grateful to Abraham, Louise Hay and Co but seriously guys, on certain things we need to chill the fuck out!

I was diagnosed with depression when I was eight, Bipolar in my twenties along with alcoholism PTSD and another long list of horrifying things. I listened to Abraham Hicks night and day, knowing that something was wrong and I had to learn the skills necessary to achieve the impossible-people with the number of and specific types of the things I suffered from more often than not die at their own hands. This was a fact. Many a doctor corroborated this fact. I chose to win instead. 

To quote my incredible doctor today “Ammanuel, you continually beat the odds.” Yeah I read a book on how to warp time and space to work in my favor. Miraculous? Yes. Easy? Certainly not. Impossible? Certainly not. 

The thing is that I had to learn that it isn’t all magic. Yes I knew that I was going to overcome all of the obstacles but what  I had to learn is that it often took a long time, was confusing frustrating and brutal. They always skip that chapter in the LOA (law of attraction) books. 

Also, I had to escape the trap of actually believing that I was causing the diseases myself through “bad thoughts” the only way that I was causing myself harm was by turning down medical help for years because I figured that I would just miraculously heal myself. Turns out the real miracle was that I eventually listened to and applied the solutions that were sitting right in front off me the whole time. 

So when it comes to “manifesting” just chill out…the path may lead you to some incredible out of this world coincidences but it also might just work out that the things that you’re asking for are in front of you hiding in plain sight. 

Miracles are hard to miss. Mundane, conventional solutions really aren’t that exciting but are often the most effective easy and rewarding “responses” to our prayers.

Choose To Win (The rest will fall into place)

                          “In my experience there’s no such thing as luck, just a lot of simple tricks and nonsense.”

                         -Han Solo

Over the years, I have received some pretty incredible compliments. Aside from my striking resemblance to a “Young Denzel Washington” the one that is most meaningful is the observation that I seem to be quite “lucky.” Now anyone who watches Star Trek Discovery understands that Context Is King…we’re talking about the type of luck that gets you out of life or death situations, or small things that seem to work in my favor despite brutal life experiences. 

I agree that my life is filled with a good amount of grace and wonderful human beings but the truth of the matter is that we all create our own luck, or to quote Han Solo “In my experience there’s no such thing as luck, just a lot of simple tricks and nonsense.”

What I mean by creating my own luck is that most of the time we create our experiences by planning, thinking things through, taking various variables into account and then taking the best course to get us to where we want to be, I find this method to be very effective at achieving mundane tasks that are well understood like brushing my teeth or taking a walk down the street. 

If I have to learn how to do something new I can read instructions by a trusted expert, take a class or ask a friend. But what if I’m trying to do something that seems impossible to me? What about something that hasn’t been successfully accomplished by someone else before or we just simply have no idea in hell what to do and no one else seems to either?

This is where we have to decide that we are going to win and then, acting on that assumption take the next steps. What’s wonderful about this process is that it puts you into a positive state of mind even though you have no idea how you’re going to succeed meaning that at least the placebo effect on your side. Secondly it mentally opens you up to possiblities that haven’t occurred to you before. It opens gateways into life that you may have never thought existed. 

This attitude prevents you from over thinking, the one caveat is that you have to have a lot of confidence in yourself or at least faith that it’s going to work out. The best way to gain this confidence in our ability to almost miraculously find ways to get whatever we want or need, we need to practice practice practice. Over time you will get better at it which will lead to more success which will raise your confidence which will then generate more success. Soon enough, the impossible will feel like a challenge rather than a roadblock. 

This is the key to living the life that you truly want.  The path to getting precisely what you want is being able to get there through roads you don’t even know exist…or else you’d probably always be there. 

I’ll explain many of the ways that I have learned to do just this in my next post.

A return to Awesomeness!

Over the next few months I will be sharing my insights into this particularly interesting life as well as the lessons struggles and most importantly what turned an unlivable life into an undeniable success, allowing me to continually beat the odds, give the middle finger to the impossible and succeed on my own terms. 

I’m writing this because I really wis that someone had written this for me. May it be insightful.
Make sure to sign up for the mailing list. I ensure you that there will be hilarity and compelling stories and I promise, completely absent of any pug pictures, celebrity gifs or pictures of models doing Yoga handstands on the beach (what’s up with that?!)

Love your life,

     Ravi Ammanuel Desta Santa Anna