Even though I now have inner peace, I used to live full with inner chaos. I went about my life not understanding myself, and I didn’t let anyone in because I was confused and ashamed about that. My soul burned from not being seen. I was interested in spirituality as a young girl, and as I got older, I set off to explore that more. But it only let me bypass underlying psychological issues. My low point came. The chaos overwhelmed me. And with that, I surrendered. I received a diagnosis, committed to treatment of underlying mental health and neurodivergence issues, and started a serious self care routine. I re-framed my life’s journey as a journey of self exploration, one that integrate insights from therapy with spiritual beliefs. For the first time in my life, I understood myself. Everything wasn’t a struggle. My inner chaos opened into a profound realization that working with (rather than against) my bipolar disorder and the challenges related to mental health stories was a soul journey. So now I’m committed to rewriting the entire mental health narrative.
It’s going to take a synthesis of science and spirituality with room for creative expression. I know exactly how to do that.
I grew up in a blue collar town in a blue collar family who lived in the woods off route 80 in northern New Jersey in the shadow of New York City.
I was 16 in 1997. I won a congressional scholarship to be an exchange student in the Black Forest in southern Germany. While I was there, I went on a class trip to Beuron Monastery because I was intrigued by the spiritual living community, an oasis in the rolling foothills of the Albs mountains. I spent a few days practicing meditation with the resident Benedictine monks, and the experience was awful. My body and mind erupted. But my curiosity about mind-matter interaction was piqued: why would trying to be still inside cause so much more inner chaos for me in such a setting?
I returned to the small town in northern New Jersey to graduate high school. But I was already ultra mobile. In 1998, I went central to the PEAR Labs (a parapsychology lab then located in a basement at Princeton University) run by Brenda Dunne and Robert Jahn. I was inspired by their book Margins of Reality, a classic on mind-matter interaction. I wrote to them. They invited me to visit. It was then I decided to pursue a role as a professional editor working on this type of frontier science material when I could. Science communication became something I could focus on.
I went to an international university in London for a few years after that, but then I dropped out to travel. In 2002, I went to Kerala, India to study yoga and Ayurveda. I’m a believer in the value of direct experience. It also felt like a rite of passage, an initiation to the more mystical side of life. India changed my life because it is a place that shakes you from the inside out with her variety of worldviews, spiritual practices, and languages. The pursuit of spiritual knowledge took me to India, but the journey started to accelerate the inner chaos.
I launched farther, solo all over the world. Those stories are hard to tell. It’s easy to want to forget them. I think you can relate, right?
Eventually I landed back in the US (and my home state, New Jersey, but I moved to the city of Jersey City) to start a career in advertising and publishing. I swung between bouts of deep depression and lucidity in which I wondered why I couldn’t understand or control myself. When I later moved to the Hudson Valley, NY, in 2011, it was because the city environment overwhelmed me.
When I was 33 in 2014, I went through a devastating break from shared reality. I was offered a choice: go to a hospital, or learn how to take care of myself. I confronted lingering mental health challenges. I changed my lifestyle to align with self care needs. It took years and consistency and dedication. But I stabilized. I finally stopped running from myself. My crisis became an invitation.
I knew there was more to explore in my right mind.
I finished my bachelors in transpersonal psychology in 2020 at Sofia University (the former Institute of Transpersonal Psychology) in California while I lived in New York. I moved to New Orleans, Louisiana in 2021 where I worked on a masters degree psychosynthesis, a psychospiritual psychology that accepts all facets of experience as an unfolding of the total human experience, at The Institute of Psychosynthesis (in London, England) while working in the advertising industry (in New York City).
It was from this space in between places, in hyperspace that I birthed Planet Dust Enterprises, an online business for GenXers and Millennials who are on their own journey of self exploration. I help them map their inner space and discover their self-care culture so they can find their own inner peace–just like I did. I’ve been through the fire. I know the burn it takes. I know we rise from the ashes.
My backstory wouldn’t feel complete without mention of my first work of autofiction, SevenThirteen, which I self published in 2003. Looking back on it, I thought it was the greatest book in the world. Now, I see it as a perfect specimen of someone who could not distinguish the outer world from their inner world. It is an offering, direct insight to the experience of mental illness. My next work, Meta Work, is also an offering, a direct insight to the experience of mental illness. I give you the direct of experience of what it’s like to blur trauma with imagination and reality. But I produced it in 2021. Meta Work is proof of concept: creative writing is a transformative practice. Inner space can change. The way we relate to inner space can change.
And, it shows that language is currency. Many people have reached out to me to say thank you after reading Meta Work. They told me they couldn’t believe someone had encapsulated the inner chaos that mirrored their own. These are people who also shared that life can be tough for them because they don’t understand themselves. They felt seen and understood. These are my proudest moments.
My first microbusiness, the syntax rugrat, was in 2005 with the slogan “bouncing ideas, one word at a time.” I offered creativity consulting that helped clients expand their vocabulary around what it was they were bringing into the world from their inner space. rugrat was an outlet to explore language and its role in creating reality, and how language can be a mirror for your inner space, but I did it with people through 1-on-1 creativity exercises. It was more like practicing who you wanted to be. I’ve been practicing, too, in different forms for a long time.
I want to change the narrative around mental health. Everything I’ve lived is moving me toward embodying that. The way we look at the world needs to be revised. The way we understand ourselves needs to be revised. The angst of the process needs to be vented. The fires need to burn. Thank you for being here and helping me tend to them across the world from my home in hyperspace.
Want to work with me through Planet Dust? Let’s start a conversation.