The Meaning I Give Life
written by Robin Mohilner
February 7, 2000
I was 19 years old, a little over 3 years after my first full-blown episodes of mania and depression, when I was given an assignment by my English professor to write anything creative.
One morning I woke up to a tapping on my window. I heard raindrops whispering for me to wake up because they had a message for me. Thinking I was still dreaming, I opened my eyes and looked out the window. There was a large puddle forming at the base of the brick stairs; each drop created a ripple that spread throughout the entire puddle. The wind howled through the branches of the trees whose leaves had changed and fallen. The winds cried, “Listen and Learn so you may Truly Live.” In the heavens dark clouds parted giving way to rays of light from the sun. Something inside me rose from within giving me the ability to create meaning and purpose in the one thing that I could not understand—Life.
I shouted out, “Why am I here?” A voice from within me answered, “That’s a good question, but I don’t know the answer, what do you think?” I sat in silence and mumbled, “I don’t know.”
The voice replied, “That is why you are here.”
A raindrop cut in and said, “I am nothing but one drop. I spend my life falling; when I am ready to land I touch other drops and create a ripple that spreads throughout the world.”
Then a tree spoke with its mighty wisdom. “I am but a tree, I have spent my entire life seeing and knowing everything, but because of my roots I have experienced nothing. Don’t become a prisoner of your roots.”
Tears rolled down my cheeks as rays of light from the sun parted the clouds. I called out to the sun, “Is my purpose in life to grow and experience Who I Am?”
The sun replied, “If you choose for it to be. I can’t explain why I am only a spec of light in an infinite universe of darkness and emptiness, yet I chose for my purpose to be that nurtures and creates life.”
Nature is the greatest teacher and representation to understand meaning in life. She did not have to speak to me through words in order for me to understand that I give my life meaning and create my own purpose.
I am on a quest for Knowledge, Understanding, and Wisdom; however I have no idea what I am looking for. I read many books and can regurgitate many facts, yet I feel like I know nothing. It hit me like lightening that what I was looking for was within me; this whole time I was going without. I asked my-Self, “What is knowledge?”
My-Self responded by saying, “Knowledge is whatever you believe it to be.” Everything I had been taught up to this point disagreed with this definition. Knowledge is supposed to be based on facts, observations and evidence of truth.
My-Self said to me, “Prove to me that you exist.”
I said, “Easy, I can see, touch, and hear me.”
My-Self said, “All that you mention is energy, prove to me that you exist.”
I started to get frustrated and said, “I exist because I say so!”
“Thank You, I have been waiting for you to understand that all you are and everything you experience is a result of your beliefs.”
Then I understood that the meaning of knowledge is that I have to believe in order to know. I cannot understand or experience more than I can believe.
I was frustrated by not knowing Who I Was. Tears rolled down my cheeks as I asked God to just make me into the person that I was supposed to be.
God laughed at me and said, “Baby, I love you. I am not a genie, only you can do that. Understand you will never know who you are, you can only BE who you choose. Whoever you choose to Be will make me proud. I gave you the greatest gift in the universe—life. If you choose to let it pass you by thinking about, waiting on, and praying for your life to change, than do that. When you are ready to take action, I will be there on the sidelines rooting you on.”
I realized that I had only one option. I needed to stop waiting for the world around me to change, and take action to change myself. Instead of focusing on knowing, I focused on growing. I opened my eyes to a life that blinded my eyes due to its brightness because I had been living in the dark. I stepped out of societies shadow and declared who I chose to become and ran. I ran so fast that I began to soar. I asked God, “I thought I wasn’t supposed to be able to fly?”
He replied, “I never made that law, but that is what happens when you accept limitations. You chose to grow wings. Jesus chose to walk on water, cure the sick and raise the dead, it’s all interconnected.” I then understood that life had no limitations and I could be whoever I desired to grow to become.
I was laying on my bed in disbelief with what I was experiencing and a bird flew through my window and landed on my chest. It said, “love me.”
I looked at it like it was crazy. I said, “What would you like me to do hug you and squeeze you to death, or kiss you and accidentally eat you?”
It replied, “Love is not in doing, it is in being.”
I did not know the bird. How was I supposed to love it?
It could hear my thoughts and said, “Love me the way you would love all life.”
I began to talk down to it as though it were below me.
It raised its voice as it said, “I am your equal, your life is not of greater worth than mine. The reason you are unable to love me is because you have not chosen to love yourself.”
The bird was right. I realized that as long as I judged and placed value on others that I was incapable of loving myself which would place boundaries on my growth. I knew that I must change who I was so I asked the bird to teach me how to love myself.
It replied, “I already have”, and flew away.
I went within myself and the transformation had already begun.
My dog came into my room and sat down on my lap. She asked me, “Mom, why are you crying?”
I looked at her and said, “You would not believe what I have experienced today…I have had conversations with the wind, a tree, a raindrop, my-Self (normal), God (normal), and a bird.
Each one has shed a light on what life means to me. However, I am horrified by what people are going to think of me when I tell them what happened.”
She looked me deep in the eyes and said, “I need you to listen and understand me when I say it does not matter what other people think of you. All that matters is that you are true to your Self. You can neither prove nor disprove your experience. All that matters is that you share the truths and meaning that you learned today. You would be doing the world a great disservice by not sharing your experience.”
I then realized that knowing and experiencing the truth and not sharing it with others was a greater punishment than never knowing the truth at all.
My dog said, “You need to let people know that they too can fly.”
Suddenly I fell to the floor. I was in shock when I opened my eyes to find my dog on top of me licking my face. I thanked her for her advice and she slapped me in the face with her paw as she jumped onto the bed to bark out the window. I could not believe that it was a dream; it felt so real. My body felt as though it had been resting for years, but when I looked at the clock it had only been twenty-three minutes. The tapping of the rain on my window must have caused me to fall asleep. I looked out the window and it was still raining. I looked in a mirror and felt like I had been reborn. I was a completely new person with insight into things I that I had never thought about before. I had a deep connection with nature. My dream was so real that I did not know where my meditation ended and reality began. Then I remembered that I am the only one who can choose my reality. I give life meaning.
This was written for an English Paper during college
I was not in a manic episode, but this reflects awareness that I owe to manic episodes.
We’re Partners and I’m Defining Who You Get To Be In My Life
by Robin Mohilner (©2007)
Do you seek to protect me or destroy me?
I don’t know.
I think both and something in between.
You’ve given me so many gifts
Then you take them away
And rob me of who I am
You keep me to yourself
You’ve ruined every opportunity I’ve had to be loved.
I am so hurt and pissed off with you for that, but I forgive you.
You push men away with your impulses.
You scare them into believing that I am you.
You love when I enter relationships
You thrive on the fear
Uncertainty is your nourishment.
Anxiety fuels your aspirations.
I now understand,
Well, I’ve understood you but did nothing about it
But you really hurt me this time,
And I’m taking my life back.
I see clearly that you need to keep me all to yourself
In order for you to exist
When I choose to be vulnerable it’s a slap in your face
My willingness to trust others and let them be there for me weakens you
Stability threatens your existence
It scares you that I’m sharing this with the world
If I am loved, accepted and supported…
If I am not ashamed of who I am…
You are weakened
So you destroy every opportunity I’ve had to be loved
In order to have a place for you in my life.
So I promise you this
You will always be a part of my life,
I value you and love you because you are a part of me.
You have done so much good in my life and created so much beauty.
And you have broken my heart and made me question my will to live.
I’ve hated you and it felt like hating myself.
I refuse to do that anymore.
You are not my fault.
Yet you will always be with me.
And because I accept that
I’m making the rules now
You cannot have me and you cannot be me.
If you have a problem with that, I won’t fight you.
I know that just makes you stronger.
I see through your strategies and tactics.
I know your weakness
And I will exploit it.
I will rob you of every ounce of fuel.
So it is your turn to work with me and be my partner in this.
I need you to give me the space and freedom to learn how to
Contain my fear, anxiety and uncertainty
Without your influence
You will be my partner in this
Because I am giving you no other choice
We are no longer on a battle ground.
You and I are in a field
In that field there is a middle
That we have never known
And we will meet there.
When you witness me feel fear and instability
Your role is to be remind me of my faith and give me space to stand.
And if you have the impulse to be destructive
Destroy the fear
Show me that it’s false evidence appearing real.
When you watch me panic with uncertainty.
Remind me how to be patient and slow down.
Now you and I both know that you don’t know what patience is,
And slowing down is a foreign concept.
So we’ll recruit the help from others.
We’ll stop being so damn stubborn
And we’ll ask for help and specific directions
Yeah we’ll mess up (a lot)
You’ll get triggered
So I’ll ask for support
And we won’t get carried away in our dance.
If you feel the need for more destruction,
Destroy self-defeating thoughts
These you have my permission to destroy all day long and twice on the weekends.
But you no longer get to destroy
And you don’t have a choice in this
I’ve taken control back.
Robin Mohilner (©2007)
I’M GOING TO WIN IT, I don’t need to buy a ticket
If I thought I could fly
you would have strapped me down
until I thought I was buried
pulsed electricity through my ears
or fed me a zillion watch batteries.
Would time make sense then?
Would I be stable yet?
I want to save the world
but really who doesn’t?
or move to Chicago, which isn’t all that shocking
which isn’t either
or forget that there’s a day after this one
a convenient contrivance I suspect most rely on from time to time
but there’s a multimillion dollar lottery drawing tonight
I’M GOING TO WIN IT
don’t need to buy a ticket
Only superheros can have jellybeans for dinner.
I’ve eaten jellybeans every night.
It’s all very Candid Camera when you
into a Looney Toons painted tunnel
It’s a relief to be so far away.
Watch yourself hit the snooze button.
Watch yourself shower.
Watch yourself pour coffee into your computer mug.
Watch yourself drive to work.
Watch yourself be late.
Watch yourself not care.
Watch yourself explain the virtues of a product to a customer with
Watch yourself drive home.
Watch yourself watch TV.
Watch yourself feel dead.
Watch yourself cry.
Watch yourself sleep without dreaming.
Probably not a good idea to make it look so easy.
The experience of coloring these Mandalas (art in a circle) is a very containing and relaxing for me. It is a centering activity. It helps create moments of balance.
These Mandalas come from the coloring book, “Coloring Mandalas 2: For Balance, Harmony and Spirtitual Well-Being” by Susanne F. Fincher (72 sacred circle designs for people of all ages)