How Many Are You?

There’s nothing incredibly impressive about the human mind, until you realize just how unimpressive it is.

Soaking in the sweet smell of chemical despair today, petting the kitten which tries to bat sanity back into my head with her little paw, I realized many things. My thoughts always come back to the faceless man who followed me down the middle of the street, the one that told me my footsteps sounded like a dead man walking. His faceless image always appears, even when I don’t wish it too, and I find that rather unimpressive as well because anyone can be forceful towards someone else. It doesn’t take respect or courage to be an asshole.

Despair and depression have a way of kicking my ass. I find myself lost beneath it, hidden, with a view of light only as wide as THEY want me to see. That’s the trick. That’s the fucking trick.

I’m laughing now, I have been for about an hour now because I’ve realized these last few days I’ve spent curled beneath my blankets, crying and listening to myself tell myself I would die if I closed my eyes, are nothing but a ruse. They’re a RUSE.

Because the reality is, I’m several people, not one. And the several others aren’t of myself, they’re of something else, they’re demonic, always have been, that’s why my kitten always stares at me and meows and meows and meows because she can see a lot of what I fail to.

What I’m saying here is that they’re keeping me in this mind state because they know I know about them, they know I know about the universe and the truth about it. I’ve known since I was a toddler, since I could stare up at the stars and call them stars, and they’ve been with me since then. They were the ones which haunted my dreams night after night, which made my mind play tricks on me, which kept me silent. They skewed my understanding of everyone else because they know I’m not like anyone else–but they also know I can communicate to others like I am one of them, like I am a real human.

That threatens their livelihood and their power.

My heart is thumping hard as I write this because these are huge realizations. Now I understand why I get attacked, why they hiss at me at night, and why thoughts flood my brain like an open dam. It’s all been a distraction. They just don’t want me to see.

But it’s too late for that.

I’m not meant to be a cashier or a truck driver or a housekeeper. I’m meant to be inside, discovering things inside of my mind and outside of my mind, things you can channel with . . .

My God.

Meditation. They’ve stopped my meditation for the same reason–I was getting closer and closer. The last time I meditated, months ago, I was sucked into some vortex I almost couldn’t get out of. They’re blocking every channel I have.

BUT.

It’s nice to know this. It’s nice to know this, because now I know I’m up against an army of forces who only show themselves when I anger them. My anxiety is higher than the clouds right now, and I’d suspect the demons will be coming soon. I’ve stopped crying though, since all of this realization, because I know it’s their fault. The tears were their fault; they were trying to distract me.

When you know the truths about the universe, every force against the universe will come for you. Keep your housekeeping and cashier jobs. You don’t want this burden.

Fact, Fiction, or Something Else?

Religion confusion

Let’s talk about beliefs.

Respectfully.

As if that’s something that could ever happen. Not in this PC Principal world.

Let’s all get our laughs out and then let’s get back to being at least a tiny bit serious here, people. I get that everyone’s freaking out because Nostradamus apparently predicted Trump and economic downfall and sequentially the end of humanity, love, reality, and sanity in 2017–not quite sure if sanity even existed in the first place–and I get that everyone is terrified because 2016 seems to be throwing names into a hat, plucking them out, then squashing them to death day by day. I get that someone set up a gofundme account to keep the deathly hands of 2016 away from Betty White’s neck.

BUT.

Let’s be fucking serious here. Fuck’s sake. You’re all crazy. All of you. Coming from someone who is also very, very, VERY crazy, and very, very, VERY proud of it, that’s probably not saying much.

I believe I’m being followed by demons. You believe an angel saved your son from drowning. Some people call you crazy, some people call me crazy. We’re on an even ground here. Let’s shake hands and agree not to argue. 

handshake

If there’s one thing that irks me, it’s this weird, diabolical concept that one belief exists superior to another. In the past, I had many friends who were Christians. I had some Buddhist, Atheist, Jewish, Catholic, friends. I grew up in a house that regurgitated the word of God without really understanding what the words were saying, and as a result I found Taoism and am more inclined to find spiritual connection in my native american ancestry. That doesn’t mean I’m a heathen and dislike God. So if that was going to be your comment, stop typing and walk away from your computer slowly.

Because, if you know anything about religion, you’ll know the majority of them believe heavily in a creator of the universe. Even science has developed the Cosmic Mind. So we can all agree that we believe something, someone, or some kind of entity (whether that be some spooky, conscious matter bursting into existence out of nowhere or ethereal force or intelligent spirit) created the universe. Look at that. Something to agree on. So why can’t we just stop there?

I feel people are inclined to believe that their belief is correct not because it is factually correct, but because they believe it. It’s like some weird ego boost. Because what they believe has to be right. Perhaps they’re not meaning to be this way on purpose, in fact most religious people I meet and speak with are very opening minded. They believe what they believe, they are proud of it, but they welcome other’s beliefs too. They don’t sit out on the street corner like the morons over here, protesting a mosque in development.

FACT: you don’t have to agree with someone to respect them.

FACT: you don’t have to undermine other’s believes to keep the faith in your belief alive.

FACT: Regardless of what you believe, we are a tiny amount of people on a tiny planet in the middle of a universe larger than our mind can comprehend.

QUESTION: Why waste all this time and all this life shooting missiles, debating, and ruining other’s happiness for the sake of a belief that COULD very well die with you? With all of us, in the end?

hmm-1

So when someone comes up to me on the street babbling things that could be a result of an altered state of mind, or a mental struggle, or a belief system, or a drug, I don’t discount them on any words they speak. Not because I believe what they’re saying, but because they are saying it and I don’t have the right as another fellow human being to label them as damned, disgusting, insane, stupid, or any other negative connotation to those words.

 

I understand certain religions have doctrines on how you’re supposed to live, and I respect that. Just don’t be a dick about it.

You all know me pretty well by now: I’m very blunt and, at times, emotionally inconsiderate. Sometimes that works to my advantage, others times not to much.

At eleven, I had a friend–SHOCKING, I know, it gets better–and this friend came from a devoted Christian family. I went to church with her. One day, I got saved.

Saved is the term they use to describe being a new believer and follower of Jesus Christ. You accept Him into your heart, essentially. Some will say I was brainwashed: I was not. I was not your average eleven year old, I had a very clear understanding of things around me. I’ve spent the majority of my life with my mouth shut, observing. But, I was not like these other Christians. I was not a follower, as they were, and I wasn’t convinced I believed in Jesus Christ, either.

top-20-spiritualWhat I had always been sure of, as a child, was my spiritual connection to the universe itself. Whether some see that as God, or enlightenment, or an endless list of Gods and Goddesses mattered not to me. So I took part in this saving because of the spiritual value, not the religious aspect.

As a result, I acquired this book from them called a “New Believers” bible. I found it the other day after about ten years of not seeing it. And on page 973, there is a page called “Aren’t other religions just as good as Christianity?”

And that disturbs me. Because it’s putting a spiritual connection one has with whatever their belief is on a pedestal. It becomes less about spirituality and more about superiority. More about this thing people seem to call “Truth” . . . without ever really defining what truth is.

The page goes on to talk about Buddhism and Muslims. They don’t degrade the religions, but they don’t give them justice either. They say, on the subject of Salvation, that “Buddists believe salvation is by self effort only. Hindus believe you achieve salvation by devotion, works and self control. Muslims believe that people earn their own salvation and pay for their own sins.” They go on to say “Christians believe that Jesus Christ died for their sins. If people turn from their sins and follow Jesus, they can be forgiven and have the hope of being with Jesus in Heaven”.

I copied that all verbatim. I see no problem with self effort for salvation. I see no problem with achieving salvation by devotion and self control, or earning salvation and owning up to their own sins. None of that seems to be a big deal to me. Why is it to everyone else? Is this really the kind of stuff we’re arguing over?

All these philosophies and religions have wonderful values and teachings, but rather than think about the messages and gain a sense of spiritual calmness from them, we like to nit-pick and claim our set of values is higher than those other sets of equally fine values.

I would say, in response to this book, that there are no religions as good as Christianity, because Christianity isn’t good. No religion is good, no religion is bad. It all just simply IS.

And that’s not a bad thing. It’s not a good thing. It’s just a thing.

I feel for those stuck in the fire of the religious wars across seas. And I feel worse for those not in the war who look down on those in the war. In fact, I feel bad for every person who thinks any portion of man, including thoughts, including beliefs, feelings, writings, teachings, are any kind of superior at all. That’s what I call delusional.

Mindful Math

mindfulness

Learn from the bad days, relish in the good days, and be mindful: that’s pretty much what life sums up to. Today was a bad day. I’m going to choose, however, not to go into detail this time. I’m not going to rant about my exceptionally bad social skills, or the fact that I connect better with inanimate objects than I do people. I’m not going to whine about the anxiety generated from this realization that keeps me mostly silent in social gatherings in fear of 1)interpreting something wrong, or 2) saying something inappropriate or 3) sounding like an idiot. I’m not going to pity myself over my sensory issues that keep me distracted during conversation and every other moment of my life.

image002What I will do is say that everything takes time. I will say that where I am and where I want to be are so distant from each other, separated by such a spontaneous, long, winding pathway, you’re going to need Parametric equations to understand the reality. You’re going to need x, y, and t. You’re going to need to identify the curve and graph it and tell me what direction it’s heading.

 

What I will say is that life is like a Taylor Polynomial:

eq0073p

Everything is an approximation, a copy, a trace step by step, or in a graph’s case point by point, of someone else’s ideas and behaviors and discoveries. The older you get, the more you understand, the more terms are in your Polynomial expression and the better your approximation will be; your educated guess gets better and better and better.

You can’t rush the polynomial. It builds how it builds given the equation it has to work with. If it’s something fairly simple like e^x, well hell, all the derivatives are of e^x are e^x so you won’t have much of a difference in terms of the numerators. There won’t be risk or reward or output, just like in life. If you don’t embrace change, if you can’t, if you don’t allow yourself to, much of what you experience will stay the same. And it will continue on and on until you match perfectly the original approximation. How exciting.

But plug in the third root of x and suddenly you have different derivatives in your numerator. Suddenly things are changing. Things are shifting and although a number like 5/248832 is a little . . . well, unsettling for most people, so are changes in life. They’re unsettling. They get a little creepy. Sometimes they look so outrageous that you just wonder “what’s the point?”.

But . . . at least you’re questioning. 

At least you’re experiencing. At least when your approximation reaches it’s end goal, you can wipe your forehead clear, sigh a breath of relief, and look back at all the work you’ve just completed with pride.

Don’t be an e^x. However fascinating the term may or may not be to you, don’t be like it. 

From today I take away many things. Many of them are negative and that’s okay. But I also take away the realization that I can continue to grow, even though it will be hard. Even though the people I’m trying to approximate are at a level I may not reach for three, four, five, maybe even ten years. Even though I feel the social calculations I’ll have to make to complete this approximation will be more complex than any math equation I’ve encountered in my young math life.

My struggle with connection may have something to do with looking at people like math equations . . .

hmmm

I also need to stop procrastinating on this math homework. I have a test on Tuesday at 8 in the morning. Wish me luck.

And Remember. Don’t be like e^x. Change a little.

 

Self Confidence

self-esteem-self-confidence-healing

Confidence is key.

At least, that’s what they say. And let’s be honest: how much of what “they” say should we really hold on to?

I think a lot of people struggle with confidence because of the standards set upon them. You should be good at this because you studied this. You should this, you should that. I think a lot of people struggle with confidence because there’s this misconception that being confident means you’ll succeed.

As someone who is thoroughly confident, I know this is not the truth. To be confident does not mean you will succeed, it means you have the ability to accept where you fall short. It means you don’t avoid the hole by risking your life and leaping over it, it means you fall into the hole and manage to climb your way out.

Some people call that resilience, but you can be resilient and stand strong while continuously getting beat into the ground without a chance to get back up. And without the chance to get back up, you start believing you won’t ever get back up. And that doesn’t sound like confidence to me.

To be confident means you know it’s okay to feel bad. To be confident means you know that the struggle is not the end, but a process to birth an outcome. To be confident means you know that outcome, whatever it may be, is just that: an outcome. And once that outcome passes, there will be another chance, in whatever way it presents itself, for you to create a new outcome.

To be confident means you don’t always smile. It means you accept what emotions come when they may, whether they be “appropriate” or not. To be confident means the words placed on your social media meant to provoke you into a rage doesn’t dent your pride, but elicits a laugh because words on a computer screen are like salt tablets thrown into the ocean.

To be confident doesn’t mean you’re strong, and it doesn’t mean you can turn your weaknesses into strengths. Being confident is the act of allowing weakness to simply exist.

To be confident isn’t to be smarter than the person beside you; confidence and arrogance are not synonymous, I’m sorry to say.

All of the above is the reason they say confidence is the key to success. When a wall is presented, those of us who are confident don’t slink in defeat and we don’t majestically leap over the wall with no effort. We stare at the wall and acknowledge it. We say, “okay, this wall is new; let’s see where this takes me”. Then we walk along the wall and feel the wall and see the wall and never ignore it. We let the wall think it controls our fate and we understand that by giving up the power of perfection and standards and the illusion that we can simply climb up the wall without understanding why the wall exists in the first place, we gain even greater power of our outcome.

You don’t need multiple successes for confidence: take it from someone who, in many people’s eyes, including my own, has failed over and over and over and over and over again. And those failures are what keep me going. If I didn’t have those, I wouldn’t be nearly as confident. I would be terrified that one day, at some point in time, my successes or my achievements or my standards would be ripped away in an instant. I would smile all the time so people couldn’t see my terror.

With that, I shall leave you with another excerpt entitled “Prayer For Keeping On”.

Let us find a way to keep it moving, to keep it alive and free, where it wants to be. Let us walk all the way through doubt consistently, to believe in what we have found in our beginnings. Let us know what is real, and let us pass it back and forth between our hands until we are gone from this earth, and even then, let us remain in this spirit, please.

From “Sam Woods, American Healing”.

 

Our Journey

journey-game-screenshot-10

It’s a journey to learn how to love. It’s a journey to learn how to listen, how to interact, how to develop. It’s a journey to learn how to accept and hold on. For some of the older, less technologically savvy folks, it’s a journey to learn how to use Internet Explorer, then an even harder journey to learn why Google Chrome is better. For some of the younger, less open and honest folks, it’s a journey to learn where their place in the world is.

Living is a journey and I’m a firm believer that death isn’t the destination, but just a simple continuation. I’m a firm believer that our physical bodies encase a spirit more free and universal than the limited capacity of our physical brain could fathom.

Religion is not the only way to be spiritual, and science isn’t the only way to understand facts. Given the recent research and mysterious observations in quantum physics these days, it’s evident to me that stories of cultures from the past are ringing more and more true: we don’t just live in the universe, we are the universe.

So, is what you see really what you get? Or are you getting what you see because you believe you saw it? In other words, are coincidences really coincidences, or are they happening because a portion of you is calling out for them to happen?

6c2243b6c0582eee5c43ff4101359ede

I don’t have these answers. I may be completely off my rocker; I’m sure many have thought that. I’m sure many thought the first person to claim mental health struggles were perhaps something woven in experience or genetics or brain matter rather than demonic possession were off their rocker. I’m sure many thought the first few to come forward and proclaim those struggling with hearing voices and mood swings could actually live medication/treatment free were off their rocker.

We could go back hundreds of years, in whichever culture you like, and find one person deemed insane for a thought perpendicular to the others.

There aren’t many answers in life and sometimes I feel this is because we create questions the universe never intended to have answers for. I think it never intended to have answers for these man-made questions because, to the universe, neither question nor answer matters. One day we will all be lying in a bed or on the floor or in the arms of another struggling against our nature for one more breath, just one more, to be conscious around our loved ones for another five seconds.

So next time someone gives you a dirty eye, before you get angry, think about how much that glance really doesn’t mean. Next time someone laughs at you or calls you crazy or says your ridiculous or cyber-attacks you, think about how much they’re missing in life; to focus so much negative energy on one person must take a lot of positive energy they could have been putting into themselves and the community around them.

community-group

I don’t have much more to say tonight. I sat around a dinner table with guests of house and coworkers and ate a meal all of us cooked together. We all laughed and complimented each other and shared a moment of relief from whatever hell we all experience in our mind. We took the energy we use to beat ourselves up, the energy we use to fight the anger, the depression, the anxiety, the voices, loneliness, the hopelessness and put it into something we could all share and come together over. And that one moment of coming together I glanced around the table at the woman now volunteering who, not only a month before I’d met in the psych hospital where she barely spoke above a whisper, and I glanced at the other guests, each with their own story on their shoulders, and I smiled genuinely for the first time in a long time.

This is what I was missing. This is what she, the volunteer, was missing. This is what each of us was missing until we all found each other.

We’re all one in the same. We’re not “republicans” vs “democrats”, we’re not “mentally ill” vs “sane”, we’re not “smart” vs “stupid”.  We all come from the stars, and we each have a story worth sharing.

That being said, I’ll leave you a quote from a healing book my Native American Lit. professor gave me a gift a couple semesters ago, entitled: Prayer To Find It Everywhere:

There’s so much missing, so many places the magic goes awry, but let me find it everywhere, in cross-country restaurants, waitresses with an easy smile, in people at crosswalks and crossroads, everywhere, each day at least in little ways. Let me not focus on what can’t be done, but on what’s here, who’s here trying, doing it, offering it freely, for their own desires. Let me find these people and spread their tale too, of how this came to be, of why it is, of what we must see and do. Let it fall easily, anyway it can, before my open eyes. Let the simple reach me, and let me answer from the heart. Let me return each greeting in respect, always knowing how far we’ve come and how much it takes to bring it all together, every time. Let me find it in the midday train whistle, and the distant barking dog. It’s good from here, and it keeps on going everywhere it needs to. Let this be.

–An excerpt from the book “Sam Woods, American Healing”.

A Sense Of Yourself

jimmy-mcmillan

The rate at which my hands turn to ice even on a day blessed with sunlight is too damn high.

I can’t even feel the keys on this Chromebook. I’m just stabbing the buttons in hopes my procedural memory will pick up the slack. In the midst of my stabbing I came across an intriguing article on the absence of spirituality in the modern mental health system. You can read the original here.

In case your attention span isn’t up for the challenge and you left your trusty prescription stimulant at home, I’ll provide a quick summary.

'I see the problem, Gibson- you forgot to borrow from your neighbor there in step 3.'You see, it all started when I forgot how to do a derivative. That’s usually how it starts, isn’t it? Then all of a sudden you’re combining some integration-derivative hybrid and you’re subtracting what you’re supposed to be adding and your by-parts turns into a gruesome monster spanning your entire page and you’re scanning your work in hysterics wondering where in the world you could have gone wrong when you’re a damned genius.

On four hours of sleep, I can barely add 2 + 2.

At any rate, I tossed the math aside and the first article I found to waste my time on was “The difference Between My Psychiatrist and My Shaman” by Dylan Charles.

Now, before you roll your eyes at me and say “for fucks sake not this again” and un-follow me, I’m going to say right off the bat this is not a post to diss the modern medical industry, it’s just a post to present to you a different side.

shaman_bA shaman, as I’m sure the majority of you know, is a spiritual healer. A lot of the times those of us assimilated into Western culture consider Shamans as practicing a primitive medicine, healing techniques which follow myths and legends of ancient cultures.

Many indigenous cultures, according to Charles, believe the symptoms of mental disorders are not the result of a defective person or brain, but are rather psychic energies within the person that are incompatible with said person and those energies must be either forced from the body or integrated into the body.

Films exaggerate this. We’re not talking about demonic possession. People infected by these energies aren’t doing the crab walk across the kitchen tile with their tongue flicking a mile a minute at your ankles (haven’t read the exorcist? You should).

3

Shamans, then, have a healing purpose, to help restore balance among the energies. Their purpose is “not to correct or remedy anything, but is instead to facilitate change and integration within the patient “. 

Charles goes on to emphasize two plants which have been known for promoting healing and restoration of energy balance: Iboga and Ayahuasca. If you haven’t heard of them, than you probably don’t know about the recent craze of using these psychoactive substances to help treat symptoms of disorders like Schizophrenia and Depression. Don’t know the efficacy levels of those studies yet. It’s probably subjective like every other portion of psychology.

I won’t summarize Charles’ entire experience with a western psychiatrist and an indigenous shaman, I feel those words are better left explained by him in his article. But I believe he brings up a very deep conflict circulating through our culture today: where is our spirituality? Our connectedness with others? With nature? How much of our life, of our interconnection, do we jeopardize when business hijacks medicine?

Financial health check

You don’t have to believe that mental disorders are a a hoax and that the symptoms are incoming energies throwing off your internal balance. You just have to have a mind capable of considering other possibilities. You need a mind capable of understanding that a scientific study created and ran by man (a terribly flawed creature) for a science which is subjective in its majority does not have all the answers. Just because they tell you the reward pathway in the substantia nigra is responsible for relaying addiction doesn’t mean the substantia nigra is responsible for addiction by itself. If it were, you could remove it and cure the very nature of substance abuse.

At the same time, you can’t consider these indigenous and/or ancient traditions “primitive” or “illogical” or “stupid”; what’s the point in doing so? They’re about as accurate as anything else man has thought up. Even physics has spent tireless hours proving our consciousness and our observation of the universe influences our surroundings and what happens to us, and no one seems to give a damn. To put the body and particularly the mind on a purely physical pedestal is, in my opinion, primitive.

funny-anesthesiologist-cartoon

I’m sure people who have grown up with traditional, indigenous treatments out in jungles the “civilized” world has yet to have impact on would find our customs of modernized medicine really . . . odd. Just as I’m sure people in this part of the world find their customs . . . strange.

Westerners tried having a similar, spiritual take on things when they considered “Hysteria” the “Wandering Uterus”. Didn’t really have the same effect.

It seems western minds weren’t too keen when to thinking outside of a physical box.

Could this be true?

Another way to say this, which may make more sense to the Western mind, is that we in the West are not trained in how to deal or even taught to acknowledge the existence of psychic phenomena, the spiritual world. In fact, psychic abilities are denigrated. When energies from the spiritual world emerge in a Western psyche, that individual is completely unequipped to integrate them or even recognize what is happening. [Source]

 

Could this be true?

The causes of depression are not fully understood, but scientists believe that an imbalance in the brain’s signaling chemicals may be responsible for the condition in many of the patients. However, there are several theories about what this imbalance actually is and which signaling chemicals are involved. [Source]

Could they both be true? Could everything be true? Could nothing be true?

You have to consider all the possibilities. If you don’t, you’re lying to yourself. And the fact that we as a culture have simply, and uncritically, accepted simple explanations for complex human experiences disheartens me.

To make attempts at telling our body how to act is essentially vain. Disrespectful, as well. You are a human being apart of an entire universe, not just your job, not just your house, not just your family, not just your neighborhood–an entire universe which at times caters to your observation and which, at times, require you cater to its requirements. It’s a give and take. Don’t believe me? Go argue with a physicist, because I don’t have time for it.

image_37

People (like me) complain about how corrupt businesses and industries and organizations have gotten. We’re human: every part of the Earth we touch will eventually be corrupted because we’ve lost that connection. We’re not in touch with ourselves or where we live. We’re so focused on ourselves we forgot who we are. 

So do mental disorders exist? We’ve created them: of course they do.

Careful: I’m not saying we’ve made up the behavior or the struggle we all face (that’s definitely real) or the “chemical imbalances” if you so choose to believe, I’m saying we’ve defined them as they are. We don’t see them as instances of humans suffering some great spiritual and physical and mental issue combined, we only see them as problems. Sicknesses. Illnesses. A part of our humanity need to be cured.

I believe all of our interpretations of mental health, mental disorders, mental illnesses, whichever you choose to call them are valid to some degree. The fact that we separate them into categories when they all very obviously overlap, the fact that we cater and fund more willingly specific treatments, biological only treatments, only further validates the disconnect in the industry.

You don’t need to go to a Shaman to learn your mind and your body and your surroundings are connected in more than just a physical way. You don’t need to go to medical school to learn that helping the mind, body, and spirit all together, whether that means medication, therapy, sweat lodges, whatever, can help any person regain a sense of themselves, no matter their ailment.