From Depression to Awakening
The time has come for me to express the gratitude I feel growing in me.
I am thankful for the heartwarming birthday wishes I received!!
I am thankful for the helpful donations in support of our Wake in Wave podcast & film series!!
I am thankful for the beautiful words of encouragement in support of the journey I engaged in!!
This is a special birthday, a birthday happening in a time of healing.
My life has changed dramatically in the recent months as I became a nomad, roaming through the West over thousands of kilometers. As my life is changing, so are my perspectives.
Lately, I have been vocal about a major episode of depression I experienced last year.
During that time, I lost taste in life. For months, I struggled with simply being alive. What I could see of life was almost exclusively darkness and pain. I cut myself off from social life beyond the isolation Covid imposed on most of us. I turned my phone silent, I hid myself every time I heard signs of life outside my door, I disappeared from social media while I lived through intense mental and psychological pain.
Sessions of movement therapy had helped me get in touch with my feelings but I resisted “feeling” as the pain I was experiencing seemed too great for me to handle.
My resistance to the pain only generated more of it.
I lived in shame.
I was ashamed of what was happening to me, ashamed of being depressed, ashamed of my inability to appreciate anything in life, ashamed of failing, ashamed of living.
I had a support network but in order for it to work, I would have to show up to use it.
Shame was holding me back.
I feared feeling dependent, I feared burdening others, I feared failing at using the tools I might find in the presence of others. I feared being judged by others as harshly as I judged myself.
One of the reasons I am able to share with you today is because I can now look at the experience of depression. Becoming an observer has allowed me to extract myself from the experience, and in turn, it allowed me to reflect on it.
Observing my experience does not lessen the pain; rather, it allows the pain to be “in” my experience as opposed to being my entire experience.
It allows me to feel the pain with less resistance and with growing acceptance.
This is an ongoing process; every day I learn to do it again, and again…
This is practice; I still fall, I still see darkness, and I still feel shame and inadequacy, but today there is more space for other facets of life.
Last year, my birthday was one of the most difficult I ever experienced. I was battling myself in the somberest corner of depression.
I remember spending the entire day in the hammock on my back porch and all I could do was cry in the most horrendous mental and psychological pain… My body was also showing signs of weakness and failure for weeks already.
The feeling of loneliness was immense, the void in my chest endless. All the love in the world could not have filled it.
Inside, it felt like I was dying. And a part of me died indeed… A death that pushed me beyond the limits I had set for myself.
Today, I regard the excruciating pain I lived through very differently. I would not want to relive it for any reason but it sure fertilized the ground of my heart and my spirit for new blossomings.
Having rejected my friends and family, I descended into darkness, but I eventually began hearing my own voice.
I grew closer to nature to the point of hearing its call. Plants I touched began growing incredibly fast and all I could see was them, their colors, their coming-to-life. I placed the heart shaped-leaves of a Guduchi vine against my own heart more times than I can recount, desperate for any amount of comfort to relieve my aching chest.
A gradual change began its course within me, a newfound awareness emerged.
This is what I call my awakening.
I turned a new eye towards nature, in my front yard at first, then took myself out to walk on deserted beaches. I sat on the shore for hours picking and balancing rocks, before collecting them to bring them home. My interest in the Mayan calendar growing exponentially, I grabbed colors to paint the rocks with Mayan glyphs, allowing for new sensory experiences to fill my days.
Back on the beach, I dipped in the sea, and before I knew it, I was snorkeling, against my fear of the underwater world.
Day after day, I let more fish approach me. I allowed myself to be surrounded by shores of silverfish, observed needle-nose specimens, and followed psychedelic fishes through the rocks. I could swear some of the little creatures played with me.
Around the same time, Netflix recommended “My Octopus Teacher”. After watching the documentary, I equipped myself with a better snorkeling mask and spent more and more time underwater, gradually taming my fear.
Eventually, I felt the need to hear more about others’ experiences of awakening and to share my own experience. My long-dreamed podcast ultimately merged with my desire to surround myself with nature. I had no idea how to make it happen but I began nurturing my dream and giving it shape: I painted jungle leaves and Mayan glyphs; I explored the world of podcasting… I could not see myself going forward without Central and South America on my path…
Looking back, I realized this awakening started years ago. For those interested in the process, I plan on saying more in a future post.
To our donors:
I am so grateful for your donations to our GoFundMe or Patreon to support the Wake in Wave campaign!!! Your contributions are invaluable and beyond helping me, your support touches me deeply!!
And to all my dear friends and family who have supported me in the dark and sunny hours alike, I am so profoundly grateful for your presence by my side and I thank you with all my heart…