About Bipolar Bodhisattva

This About page was written back when my now trans-son was about three years old.  It’s very difficult for me to think that far back, but I see now once again that my inner Goddess, who is always with me (we’ll talk about her more, don’t worry) was directing me to lay a trail of blog posts for these past 12 years so that I could go back and see what I was thinking and how I was behaving.  She/I most recently did the same thing when I suffered from a severe neurodivergent crisis, what most people cringingly call a psychotic break.  Well, yes, I did lose my mind for a few days, but I found my way back, and this risen phoenix of a website called Bipolar Bodhisattva now replaces what I once called Tempest in a Tibetan Bowl.  Interestingly, to me anyway, the former represents a more organized and therefore focused and directed version of the latter.  Perhaps I had to be that tempest for 12 years in order to become the person I am today, just as it was apparently necessary for me to take psych meds for seven years before deciding they were doing more harm than good in order for me to have the experience I had.

I’m going to cover some of the same ground addressed below in the old “About” statement as well as some of the blog posts that have already long been written and published while simultaneously establishing the perimeters of my new “world” post-epiphany.  Because it was an epiphany, and that’s the nature of what the world calls the Crazy Genius sometimes, a label I will happily wear.  One day I’ll do a whole set of writing on what I call Crazytown, but not yet.

For now, I leave you with that brief introduction so that I may go on to more fully explain why I’m driven to reinvigorate this humble website in which I see so much potential.

May 2, 2006

I was born in San Francisco in November, 1971.  I seem to have absorbed the free-spirited nature of the Golden Gate City and have long sought a life outside of “the box”.  Indeed, I was fairly placed there as a result of my upbringing, which was heavily marked by a variety of dysfunctions and abuses.  It’s been my personal struggle not to be defined by those things while still retaining what I’ve discovered is a great deal of knowledge and wisdom.  Which is what I hope to share here.  Not only do I enjoy writing a great deal, but it is also my deep and abiding wish, my bodhicitta, for someone else to benefit from what I’ve learned.

At the moment, I’m an unemployed mother of one quite remarkable little girl and wife of one quite remarkable software programmer in south central Austin, Texas.  Life largely revolves around the aforementioned remarkable little girl, the husband, and our three cats, two guinea pigs, and 150 gallons of fishtank.  I’ve tried to stop flogging myself for the fairly non-traditional path my life has taken me down, because I’ve learned an awful lot along the way that I would never trade.  Things other people seem to spend decades figuring out.  There’s been a lot of struggle: the “tempest”.  There’s also been a lot of realization: the “Tibetan bowl”.  I often cannot have one without the other.

My tools on this path have been a lot of philosophical introspection, writing, solitary spirituality, yoga, and most recently, karate and meditation.  Each thing has picked up where the previous tool finally left off.  There was only so much thinking I could do: writing and yoga helped me manifest some of those thoughts into something cohesive and energetic.  While yoga has certainly not been left off, and never will be, it still left a few gaps that I needed filling.  Karate took care of that.  Yoga is my yin, karate my yang.  My odd brand of personal spirituality binds it all together. Obviously there’s a lot of Buddhism liberally sprinkled throughout what I write.  You’ll also find a lot of Hinduism here, not to mention Christianity, Sufism, Sikhism, Islam, Shamanism, Paganism, and indeed, little nuggets from virtually every one of faith’s closets and belief’s corners.  I believe God is too big to be picky about how we humans decide to manifest our spirits and that everyone is ultimately working towards the same things.  If that’s true, then it really doesn’t matter what we call it/Him/Her/whatever.

I’m starting this much more public blog after years of keeping a semi-private one because I’ve finally reached a point in what amounts to a psycho-archaeological dig through my family, its past, and myself where I have enough to start putting things together.  Things finally make sense.  If I have been able to make some sense out of what was often sheer chaos, then I feel obligated to share that.  Really, that’s what this is all about: my attempt to create a bit of happiness in this world that seems so bereft of it on occasion.  I’ve gone sifting through piles of emotional elephant dung and found the eyes of the Buddha staring back at me more than once.  I feel it would be irresponsible of me to keep my visions of light amidst darkness to myself, if for no other reason than to light the path of some other soul.  Even if it’s just one.

I know there are a lot of fancy Sanskrit terms to describe what I feel in my heart, and I’m sure we’ll discover them together, but for now, just know that my happiness comes through others’ happiness.  I know that sounds martyrish and self-sacrificing, but it isn’t.  Something else I hope to share with you along the way. So that’s what’s here: the things I’ve learned over the years, in places one might not think anything was worth learning.  I won’t be blowing sunshine up anyone’s ass, so if you’re afraid of that, stick around, and if that’s what you’re looking for, look elsewhere.  If you find inspiration here, it’s not because I’m deliberately manifesting it, but if you do find some, I think that’s awesome and it makes my heart happy in advance.

This won’t be all enlightenment and deep thoughts.  My holiday wish list was my first post!  Not terribly Buddhist of me, I know, but I said I was Buddhist, not the Bodhisattva.  I’m irreverently opinionated but deeply compassionate: expect a lot of intensity steeped in as much politeness as I can muster, and very sharp words when I haven’t.  Expect beauty, and humor, and stuff about my kid and family.  Also food and my garden.  And cats.  Always with some lesson embedded therein.

Jesus said, “I am the light that is over all things. I am all: from me all came forth, and to me all attained. Split a piece of wood; I am there. Lift up the stone, and you will find me there.” – The Gospel of Thomas

This website was established way back in 2006 when I called it Tempest in a Tibetan Bowl.  I just thought it was nice imagery to describe the way I often felt.  At the time, I was a mother of a three-year-old living in very crowded circumstances where no one had a job.  Caring for a three-year-old is hard enough as it is, but under those circumstances in addition to the fact that I was getting over about three years of postpartum depression, I wasn’t in a very good state of mind.  I began this blog as an attempt to soothe my constantly stressed and freaking brain.

This is no longer Tempest in a Tibetan Bowl, it is now Bipolar Bodhisattva.  While I have always identified with the Bodhisattva and his message of bodhicitta, it wasn’t until about seven years ago that I was given the controversial, and as it turned out, incorrect, label of having bipolar spectrum disorder.  And it is a spectrum, not just an up-and-down thing like so many people mistakenly believe.  In my opinion, bipolar disorder may be the most misunderstood neurodivergence next to schizophrenia and its associated disorders.  So I’m going to unpack what bipolar really means to me, why it isn’t a very accurate label, and why I’m going ahead and running with it.  Because fuck labels.

Oh yeah, I use the word ‘fuck’ a lot.  I mean, I really like it, that’s one of my favorite words ever.  You can use ‘fuck’ to mean just about anything.  I’ll probably write a whole post on how much I adore profanity, but in particular the word ‘fuck’.  So yeah, fucking get used to it, or hit the back button.  I understand why some people don’t like that word, but I think it’s mostly because they’ve only been exposed to it in a negative context, and there is so much beauty and power in the F word that my inner Gordon Ramsay loves to channel it.

The story of how my bipolar diagnosis came to be known as incorrect, yet still the only term society knows to give me, will be told eventually, but the long and the short of it is that due to a long series of as yet unnoticeable transformative events, I had what I call a severe neurodivergent crisis, or an ND crisis, what society commonly refers to as a nervous breakdown, or more severely, a psychotic break.

That was a little over three weeks ago, give or take: it’s hard to pin down a particular fixed point in time to say “A-ha, there’s where things went wrong!”  I keep thinking I’ve done that only to find another step in the long series of events that led to what I call the Anarchist’s Caravan, a term I will unpack elsewhere soon.  No, I am not an anarchist, it’s just the name of a character.

How I got where I am now will be revealed in another post, perhaps more than one, but the point is that I had an experience I am compelled to share, and as such I have returned to this site I started a long time ago to utilize it in the fashion in which I intended it to be used.  Only this time I am doing a major overhaul of the site in just about every way except the core: the posts.  The posts are so damned important and I’m going to have to read each and every one of the because they all contain insight into the Caravan and how it finally did not stop, but slowed way way down, enough for me to enjoy the ride and actually get something done instead of being handcuffed to a speeding train.

As I stated in the About page, I essentially used the power of music along with some other stuff to make my way back to reality, and I’ve decided to use the revamping of this website to not only explain myself, to myself, but also to everyone else in the perhaps vain hope that one more expressive blog on the internet might be enough to push back against the rising tide.

So yes, I may be pissing into the wind here, but I really did wake up one day with the hope-driven belief and knowledge that one person can make a difference.  I have to try, because this is a far cry from the world we thought we’d inherit.

Life is never trivial: there is always something to be gleaned from the moment.  Life is also messy: expect that to be reflected here.  In any case, I hope you find something useful here. Namaste, Osu, and Thank You


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