He worked hard to gain access to hospital charts stored in the record room. One day he located his mother's old chart, and he proceeded to find ways to read it. But again he could not be sure whether it confirmed his mother's accusation or exonerated him from the deeply wounding guilt. Gus divulged that in retrospect he could see that this feeling had poisoned his sense of self, bending his thoughts and emotions. When Gus was about eighteen, the feelings of guilt and self-hatred became associated with bouts of panic and insomnia that were unrelieved by street drugs. Gus would stay up whole nights, studying part of the time and spending the rest brooding over his past. So intense did the feeling of anguish and self-contempt become that Gus felt an overpowering urge to hurt himself. Knocking his head against the walls of his small, barren rented room was insufficient. One day he stole several venipuncture needles from the hospital. The reason you feel so weird when you live an authentic life is because you are. And your ability to embrace your weird and live as the truest version of yourself is rooted in whether your wonder switch is on or off. Awaken your wonder, and live the life you were meant to live. It's time to shift from being liked to learning how to simply be. My son, compared to the normal kids his age, is weird. I'm doing everything in my power to help him embrace his uniqueness. Sometimes at night, after tucking him into bed, I'll look at him and say, Jude, you're sooo weird. Instead of being offended, he'll giggle. He's fine with it because of what always comes next. I smile back at him and say, But guess what? The degree to which the connection from the heart is flowing is what we are offering of ourselves to the world.

In what ways are we flowing? Are we willing to be sustained by something other than ourselves? Are we willing to be sustained by Earth, by Spirit? We can decide to make the unknown known, to heal the emotional, mental, spiritual, and physical imbalances that we carry. I realize in stating this it is easy to take this concept overboard, to engage in the black-or-white resistant thinking that with this work you will be fully healed and will achieve immortality, gain riches, and achieve enlightenment. If we do consider and heal what we carry, we certainly become lighter. Our constricted views open, our wounds heal, and the emotions stockpiled within us and the psychic weight of the patterns and constrictions of our ancestors and families, past lives, and society can be less heavy. If we allow ourselves to do so, we truly can move beyond what we believe and know to be true about ourselves, our bodies, and the world. Doing so allows us to achieve a sense of peace in our lives that otherwise may not have been possible. This is on you, you can do it. It's not a difficult choice once that alarm rings. The benefits in energy, high testosterone levels, and a litany of other things that result from a good sleep and regular sleep hours can't be undervalued. A firm, set-in-stone sleep schedule is the only thing that's going to make a massive difference in the quality of your sleep. You'll also want to avoid: Blue-light screens of any kind within two hours before bedtime. Your eyes need to be prepped for sleep, and screen light prevents that. Booze after 5 p. Yup, this one sucks, but alcohol is proven to degrade sleep quality. You may feel sleepy after a glass of wine or scotch, but the depth of your sleep will be affected. He stood over the wash basin, put a tourniquet on his arm, jabbed his swollen veins, and let the blood pour out.

Almost thirteen years later he would claim that until that day he had no idea of producing an illness in himself. He discovered, however, that puncturing his veins and watching the blood flow relieved the intensity of his feelings. Finally, after weeks of daily bleedings, he began to feel fatigued and exhausted. He went to the hospital clinic, but he did not tell his story to the physician who examined him. Rather, he claimed that he had no idea how he had become so anemic. Gus obtained the first of what would prove to be many hospitalizations for diagnostic evaluation. He remembers enjoying watching the doctors run around and not be able to figure out what was wrong. Gus had the feeling that he was getting back at doctors for what had happened to his mother. This sense of just revenge persisted through dozens of hospitalizations. And he always answers the question by saying, almost with a wink and a nod, But all the best ones are. Don't forget to go down the rabbit hole every now and then if you need to take a trip to your wonderland. You can close your eyes and go there anytime you want. And you'll soon discover: your weird is really just a well-kept secret shortcut to the wonderful life. Unicorns Are Magic In the world of artists, Picasso may have been one of the weirdest. Doesn't his art feel like it was created by someone who was entirely bonkers? I think so. Picasso said we have to keep the inner child alive. He once asked, All children paint like geniuses. It is by taking personal responsibility for ourselves, for what we carry, that we can not only make our own lives better but the world a better place to live in.

The world needs more adults--those who have moved past having a legion of small children internally guiding their choices and creating chaos for themselves and others in this world. In the article, I suggest doing this work gradually. This is because many of us carry such weight that it is like we are carrying a million suitcases. It would be too freeing to simply dump all of those suitcases over a bridge and be done with it. The person would go into a tailspin and beyond their current adult capacity to deal with it. But we can all make that luggage lighter, releasing one suitcase and then another. Whatever weight or luggage you are able to release as a result of this work, whatever compassion you are able to show yourselves and what lies within, whatever voice you are able to give to what previously was unconscious within you is the extent to which you can move beyond simple emotional reactivity and acting out of what is unhealed--the loops that we all move through again and again, seeking healing. It is easy to look at an illusory end point for this work--that as a result of this work, you will become a beam of light, ascend to another realm, or have all of the difficulties that inherently come from being in a human form and the relationships and connections that come and inevitably go no longer come to pass. I would encourage you to look at this work as a process, one that can be continually engaged in. What do you want more, booze or sleep? You decide (sometimes you want the booze, in which case, you still have to get up at the same time the following morning, like I did this morning after drinking a couple glasses of scotch with a cigar last night). Do these things for a month, and you'll see a massive change. Fail to do either one of these things, and you fail. It's not genetic, it's not the world's fault for setting society up so that it messes with your ability to sleep. It's your fault, just like it was my fault. I lacked discipline in my sleep schedule and routines before bed, and when I created that discipline, the insomnia was solved. It's almost magical (wink). Effort is entirely under your control. There is no enemy in this habit except you. For Gus had entered on a course of self-inflicted illnesses that matched the originality of his imagination.

Gus's academic brilliance had led to a college scholarship, an outstanding undergraduate record, and graduate work in history at a prestigious Southern university. Over the years Gus's factitious disorders escalated as he induced anemia and then developed the terrible ritual of pouring saline down his bronchial tubes to cause repeated pneumonias and eventually a chronic fibrosis of the lung tissue. At several of the country's leading hospitals, doctors often suspected self-inflicted illness, but Gus was never caught or directly accused. Sometimes Gus would run away from a hospital during a detailed workup. But most often he stayed for as long as it took to confound the investigation, even though the hospitalization interfered seriously with his academic, financial, and personal life. In each instance Gus felt that he was fully in control of his disorder. He carefully controlled the substances he aspirated to produce significant but limited pathology that worried his physicians but did not seriously threaten his life. But his experience at the hospital at which we met was exceptional. There he felt he had lost control over events. What do we do to them that so quickly dulls this ability? Picasso more famously said, Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain one when we grow up. Flipping your wonder switch requires learning to view the world the way you once did, long ago, when you were a child. That childlike perspective has become one of the greatest ways I keep my wonder alive and has carried me through a wild and treacherous journey filled with ups and downs with my belief in magic still intact. And when wonder is crushed, my children repeatedly help me learn to see the magic again. Five years after I burned my face doing the fire-breathing trick the night of that unforgettable Fourth of July, I find myself in a parking lot outside a Dave & Buster's. I'm experiencing a moment of magic so profound that it solidifies my wonder switch in the on position for a very long time. Jude was now five years old, and he had recently discovered a new obsession: arcade games. We'd visited a cool, old vintage arcade while on a vacation, and now we were back in Nashville, and he was desperate to be back in front of some games. Never lose your curiosity or willingness to question.