Someone recently told me that I have a gorgeous mind. Other than being one of the most meaningful compliments anyone has ever made me, it was also an unexpected prompt for self-reflection.
I realized that I indeed have a special mind. As we all do. But not by default.
The mind is just like any piece of hardware or software intended to make our life easier. You need to know what to do with it. That’s the only way to benefit from all the functions a sophisticated piece of machinery (or a simple one) can offer you.
However, having access to sophisticated machines and tools doesn’t guarantee that you know how to use them well. The same is true for the mind.
For instance, not knowing that I was using my mind as a weapon for self-destruction, I unintentionally allowed its autopilot to drive me to the edge of suicide. Not great. However, stepping into the shoes of a fully desperate, hopeless, and helpless person helped me learn an important lesson.
You can use your mind as a weapon for self-destruction. Or for mass destruction. Or rather, misuse.
However, you can also use it as a tool for self-empowerment. And for empowering others.
It takes a lifetime to master using your own mind. It’s just like brushing your teeth and exercise – it requires a regular practice for long-term benefits.
The sooner you figure out how your mind tends to misbehave, the faster you can identify the bugs in your operating system for life, and the easier it becomes for you to resculpt your identity, redesign your reality, and rewrite your story.
The process looks and feels a lot like shedding old snakeskin and stepping into a new identity. Only, you shed old versions of yourself, which no longer correspond to who you’ve become. This is a scary, confusing, overwhelming, often chaotic and almost always extremely uncomfortable experience. Which is the only way giving birth to a new version of yourself can feel. And yet, once it’s in motion, this isn’t a process you can stop. The only way out is through. So, you keep moving. You keep stepping one foot in front of the other. And you just trust the process.
Once you cultivate the fundamental skills to keep learning, healing old wounds, and growing, you’re free to make up your own rules as you navigate the messy journey called life.
You’re also free from unintended self-harm, which is what many of us do when we operate machinery we don’t exactly know how to use.
I started working on the Pain to Power concept before I knew I was doing it. It all began around 2005. And hasn’t really stopped. It’s been a little less than 2 decades of work.
Initially my R&D looked like a lot of (mostly unnecessary) pain and suffering and a lot of desperate attempts to hold my head above water.
Now my R&D looks like creative play. And I have creative partners in crime who are helping me master the game I’ve chosen to play. I think I’ve done something right.
A year ago I wanted to die. I didn’t want to kill myself. I just wanted to not be alive.
The saturation and intensity of my emotional, mental, and psychological suffering and overwhelm were greater than what my system could tolerate. So, it kind of went offline for a year.
A lot of life happened in that year.
Everything from working with no less than 5 mental health professionals to figure out my way back from the edge of suicide, picking up drawing for the first time since childhood as a way to process trauma and difficult emotions, gaining and losing a bunch of weight, getting diagnosed with bipolar disorder type 2 and borderline personality disorder, jumping into the NFT space with no art background, blockchain experience, or audience, selling trippy doodles about my recovery from suicidal depression and supporting myself with Ethereum for 6 months, confronting my father about his battle with alcohol addiction, being dumped after almost a decade with the same person, moving to Eindhoven yet again after trying to relocate to this magical place since 2017, and entering the world of Tinder in Eindhoven as a single woman in my 30s, all of which completely transformed my entire identity. And OH MY GOD, am I happy and grateful for all that madness….
Feeling pain and fear can make you a beast. They’ve made me a harmful, hurtful type of beast more times than I’m comfortable to admit. Until I realized something important – they are the components of my gentle darkness – powerful, explosive energy we all have! But what type of beast you become and what you channel that powerful energy into is actually a choice.
The choice I try to make day after day is to channel my mental energy into creativity and use the momentum to turn my pain into power. Which I’ve just done again!
I’m currently pacing up and down like a crazy (anxious) Bulgarian at the Eindhoven airport. Which is what gave me another opportunity to see my ability to channel my mental energy into something empowering.
I have yet another confirmation of the optimal use of the machinery between my ears – capture that mad Bulgarian electricity and channel the fuck out of it into creation. Whatever that looks like in the moment.
And the way I did it this time was by writing this entire piece on my phone while waiting to board a plane to Bulgaria and coming up with the Pain to Power O’clock as a visual tool to help myself and others keep track of their internal cycles and make sure no time is wasted in unnecessary self-destruction or fear.
To support the Pain to Power journey to creative self-empowerment and help me enable people around the globe to channel their own creativity into self-care practices and healthy stress management techniques, support The Pain to Power Creative Academy by buying my NFTs, sharing my story, or donating whatever amount of money makes sense to you. You can do everything through octophina.com
Because I love giving credit where credit is due, I decided to share where the inspiration behind this piece and everything around it came from.
Credits belong to:
My family – for bringing me into this world and equipping me with early tools and tactics to navigate life and learn to make smarter mistakes and design my own unconditional happiness.
My private editor aka Petrolhead – for almost a decade of emotional, psychological, physical, and financial support and inspiration.
My private engineer aka Machineman – for taking my mind exactly where it needed to come up with a visual tool for internal self check-ups.
My private IT coach aka Techlord for the tech jargon and the recent reminders to observe and study the faulty patters of my brain.
My private snakeskins supplier aka Skaneman for the inspiration behind the gentle darkness idea, the snakeskins analogy, and for catapulting my art practice light years ahead in less than 3 weeks through a deep and unexpected emotional shock to my system.