How I Woke Up Next to the Buddha by Turning off my Darth Vader

The fear of loss is the the path to the Dark side...Train yourself to let go of everything you fear to lose.
— Yoda

It’s 11:43pm on a Friday night, the candles are lit, and fear is sitting next to me. Fear is inspiring me to continue reading the news. Reading the news is not even close to inspiring, especially after the recent tragedy in Orlando, Florida when about 50 people were killed at PULSE night club. While I may not be an instagram model or anyone with a huge “following”, what I will say is that I am a fan of love despite race, religion, age, sexual orientation, or relationship status. In my personal opinion, love always wins and even though I am single I just want the world to be happy. Love is patient. Love is not jealous.

Happiness seems like a false promise or illusion for most people. Instead that bliss is attachment to a never-ending story of external applications. Who am I to write about this subject matter where several doctors, theologist, priest, teachers, scientist, and guru’s have mastered the concept.

Who am I to not write about it because I have experienced the many shades of the darkness. At a Wanderlust event Gabrielle Bernstein quoted her Guru

1/3 will go mad, 1/3 will commit suicide, and 1/3 will wake-up and help change the world
— Yogi Bhajan

Before I share my wake-up story I want to thank my mentors known and unknown like Emily Fletcher, Gabriel Bernstein, Candace Klein, Vishen Lakhiani, and Psalm Isadora. What they all have in common is meditation. While there is many masters, one key role model I’m been fascinated to learn about was, the Buddha. After meditating for almost a year with my amazing meditation teacher, Emily Fletcher, I was in love with this divine practice. Recently, after going to buy gold paint for my Buddha head statues, my curiosity magnetized me further. Eventually I fell in love with the tale of the Buddha and will share it to the best of my own understanding.

 

Once upon a time the Buddha had a wonderful mother, but later she died when he was young. Later he grew up as a prince with an amazing castle and lavish upbringing. Eventually, his eagerness and epiphanies lead him leave the premises to see the world outside the castle walls. Eventually when the Buddha left the grounds he saw suffering left and right of him like the homeless, prostitutes, and the sick and dying. When he got back to his palace his observation left him in deep contemplation , but over the years got married and had a child. However, he was not happy and he wanted to search for the meaning of life once again. Siddharta then left all his attachments behind him, and later isolated himself in a remote park in the woods. Amongst the wilderness, he tried torturing his body through difficult yoga poses, fasting, and sleeping on a bed of nails. The only result he got was pain, and severe exhaustion. At last he remembered the lotus pose. Underneath the Bodhi tree he finally sat in a lotus pose and in his meditation got confronted with his own version of the ego. The ego can transform into many forms of temptation, however, the Buddha did not budge. Upon opening his eyes in his meditation, he felt an incredible sensation of peace as if it was the first time he woke up from a terrible dream. Later a young maiden offered him rice pudding and finally feeling grateful for the universe, he accepted the offering. Upon eating that bite of rice pudding, he remembered that his mother gave him that before she passed away and instantly felt an incredible amount of serenity.

Unlike the Buddha who lived in a castle or meditated under a Bodhi tree, I however have been confronted with my ego. While typing the keystrokes on my PC then hitting the backspace button, my other voice of reason keeps whispering internally,

Erika, talk about your mom

In response my ego fights a bigger voice,

Why my mom? She does not meditate!

 

Eventually, I take a bigger breathe in and acknowledge how much she plays an incredible role in my upbringing. Recently a lot of people have asked if I am modeling now and as flattering as it sounds I’m not a model, but advocate for women of all ages to get their sexy back through meditation, prayer, and reading. After my court trial in 2001, regarding my sexual abuse, I begged my mom afterwards to put me in modeling classes to improve my confidence and self-esteem.

 Eventually I was interviewed by a an actual model. She was a 6’2 with blonde hair, blue-eyes, and painfully thin and pale. She then told my mom and I that I was too short and young to ever model, but if my mom pays their fee I then have a chance to be a model. I’m not sure how my mom did it with her job, but I remember her getting an extra job just to support my temporary dream.

After I graduated with my modeling degree, and I told my mom that one day all her hard work will pay off. This mostly explains why all these pictures are inspired by her hard work, since the age of 5 years old. Nevertheless, there was a dark time in our relationship that relates to how Yogi Bhajan states that, “⅓ of us will go mad”

Saint Theresa called such divine internal voices ‘locutions’ words that enter the mind spontaneously, entered into your own language and offering heavenly consultation
— Elizabeth Gilbert, "Eat, Pray, Love"

In 2009 I hit a breaking point which felt like I was having a Britney Spears "Crazy" moment except, without the shaving of her head. During this year I was a Junior in college, taking several college units, working the grave night shift with mentally disabled patients, drinking about three energy drinks, all while studying for my stress management stress.

The irony was that I was so stressed after not sleeping for a few days that I was not myself. After work, my mom catches me frantically talking to myself and at the time I felt I was talking to spirits. However, my mom called the cops, and I got handcuffed behind a cop car. Before I knew it I was isolated in a little room which was known as 5150 and diagnosed with bipolar and other interesting diagnoses. 

There is bits and pieces I recall from that event, but what I vividly remember is being told to take prescription drugs against my free will. There was a moment where I was livid at my mom and even made up the story that she was not my mom. Inside I knew it was not true, but was so angry with heat that I wanted to escape her smothering nature.

My boiling point came when my doctor said I needed to drop-out from school, take tons of medications, and be under house arrest. After that day my relationship with my mother turn for the worst. Eventually I moved out from her care, returned to school, and had my friends help me have a fundraiser to get back on my feet. Somehow I had all my friends believe that my mom was a threat to my safety. Sometimes we can not punish our family member because they only learn from their own culture, story and inner programming since birth.

The world of the absolute truth is fact-based. The world of the culturescape is opinion-based and agreement based. Yet even though it exists solely in our heads, it is very, very real.
— The Code of the Extraordinary Mind -Vishen Lakhiani

While that event felt real and had immediate consequences I forgive my mom since she did the best she could at that time. If anything that event taught me that I was strong enough to catch-up on college, two weeks behind and strong enough to not need prescription medication.

To be a great warrior in the world, you must step past your fears. It’s inevitable that we get attached to people, to our goals, and our fear of losing them
— Vishen Lakhiani

In today’s society we are becoming more attached to our smartphones yet we don’t update the way we speak to each other. My friend Trey months ago reccomended me the book, “How the World Sees You” by Sally Hogshead. One memorable concept was how we have a 9 second attention span or less. While I was in Italy I clearly noticed how all the sensations filled me up from the aromas, church bells, Renaissance painting, and tantalizing pizza. I can't forget the magnificent ancient ruins, and Italian men, that I hardly looked at my phone except to snap a few memorable moments . One clear observation was how every few seconds people were taking selfies, buying selfie-sticks, and looking at their devices yet not at each, right in the eyeballs.

However, there was a moment when I went to this gorgeous church in Italy, and got on my knees and asked God to teach me Italy’s magic. Eventually as I continued my journey those divine voices did return. Elizabeth Gilbert said it perfectly,

Maybe the voice I am reaching for is God, or maybe it’s my guru speaking through me, or maybe it’s an angel assigned to my case.
— Eat, Pray, Love

Before I talk about how I woke up to God and my purpose I want to also share the other ⅓ of my story of how I almost committed suicide. Before I write this I dedicate this portion to a close friend of mine who almost went to this dark path, luckily I’m grateful she chose life and the light.

 

My metaphorical Darth Vader was years after believing my echoing voices of the past. The symptoms of going to the path of the dark side is numbness, tiredness, and unconsciousness. While I was sexually abused by my stepdad I would live in panic-striking fear after seeing a gun next to the bed for several years. Every time I wanted to yell or cry while being raped, was told each time I would live in the dumpster, isolated from the rest of the world, and never be loved. In addition my fearful thoughts when I saw the gun were:

 

If you don’t let him touch you, then he will get the gun and shoot you.

 

If he shoots you no one will know because he is friends with the police department, and they will side with him.

 

If I lose my virginity everyday then maybe I won’t get killed.

 

The voice eventually left once I moved to California. One failed relationship after another left me to my brinking point. A few weeks after my college graduation, the guy I was in love with dated my friend, and all while working a job I did not feel called to since I was in a very dark place. There I was on my lunch break thinking about my college degree, with other awards as “Most Inspirational” yet on the inside I wanted to die. Instead, my internal dialogue got darker as it screamed:

 

Your stepfather was right you should live in the dumpster.

 

Maybe you deserve to be a prostitute since you're not worthy of anyone's love.

 

Soon after 2012 I got into the Erotic Arts, and eventually worked at a dark dominatrix place in West Hollywood where I was not getting paid well, the girls there were under the influence, and there was a moment that the dark voice got stronger. Then one day I was drinking and driving after several Jegers and mixed drinks. Internally my voice yelled several self-hatred negative self-talk to the point I was about to find a way to end my life.

Often what we fear is not losing the other but losing that part of ourselves that this is someone or something that makes us feel.
— The Code of the Extraordinary Mind

When did I wake up? How did I wake up? And how can you wake up your sexy soul without drugs, alcohol, and "Netflix and Chill"?

As I write this I realize it’s June 19, 2016 and it’s Father’s Day. For those that do not know I had a real dad and his name was Carlos Yañez. He passed away in 2006, was a DJ, lover of music, and a great dad. Before he passed away he always shared how much he loved dancing, music, and writing. There was a sadness in his eyes yet confidence in his voice and one memorable phrase he would always tell me is

   Mija don’t look down you are a Yañez, be proud of who you are!

One day I got a email notification of signing-up for Emily Fletcher’s class I found on the MindValley, “Conscious Engineering Class” and internally my inner monologue would say

Erika at this point nothing will work!

All the religion, self-development, and prayer will not help you!

Meditation, ha!

Suddenly this beautiful green tie-dye shirt with the iconic butterfly falls on the floor. I go ahead to grab it then remember that it was the last thing my dad bought me. Suddenly I felt his presence, very powerfully as if he was still alive next to me, then suddenly another divine voice stepped in:

Take the class my love, I promise you will be one with God!

 

I promise you will love it! You will love her, she will not hurt you!

 

No one will hurt you because you will be happier and stronger!

 

The voice was right! That divine message came at the perfect time. This lead to taking a leap of faith with Gabrielle Bernstein who taught me to be a leader and have faith that one day I will be a public speaker and author and save other’s sexy-souls. One of the most magical tools I also learned besides meditation was emotional freedom technique, which looks like the most bizarre technique. However this technique woke me up even more! To sum it up in a nutshell it is psychological acupuncture done with a karate chop to specific meridians around the face. According to Nick Ortner's book, “The Tapping Solution” it sends a calming signal to the amygdala. When I tapped on some dark stuff, a new and shinier voice stepped in saying:

 

There is nothing to fear!.

 

I am not the victim of the world I see.

 

God, being Love, is also happiness.

 

These messages happen to be inspired by A Course in Miracles which has been my go to in undoing the dark and waking up to the light. In addition, I’m also grateful to learn from my friend Bridget who taught me that I am “powerful beyond measure.” and God loves me despite my past.

After meditating, tapping, praying, and reading “A Course in Miracles” I now found my calling in waking up others from their trauma and past dark echoing voices.


While some people are reading this blog on a smartphone or technological device, perhaps imagining that this is a photoshoot or a “sex sells” marketing tactic, it’s half true.

If the colorful pictures inspired you to scroll down and keep reading to learn a valuable lesson then I’m happy these pictures served a purpose. As that famous Spiderman quote says


With great power comes great responsibility!

 

If I could have any superpower it would be to inspire less guns, prescription drugs, and less selfie-sticks. Also my aim is to heal sexual trauma in a way those people can start enjoying sex more and even singles can have more awakegasms in every moment of their days ahead.

 

How can you wake up more? How can you turn off your digital Darth Vader and let go of your attachment to your phone?

 

  1. Face your fears and turn it into a piece of art. Perhaps call someone you're scared of, pay off a parking ticket, ask for help on a project or take a leap of faith and try meditating or the art of tapping.

  2. Chose love over fear by buying yourself flowers, reading a book that reawakens your passion, or if you happen to be single dress-up sexy and take yourself on a date with no expectations.

  3. Choose a new perspective by listening to a new genre of music, listening to a sexy podcast, learning something new about your friend, or if in a relationship try a new sex trick that reignites the passion again.

  4. Have a gratitude attitude and start writing everyday to the point it moves you to tears or wakes up a new emotion inside of you

  5. Forgive someone in a meditation or if that person does not serve you then delete them off social media. Always remember that hurt people hurt people

  6. Expect Miracles by writing 10 miracles you wish to see and make a game out of it with yourself

  7. Rescue someone that you feel called to that inspires you.

  8. Recap your past lessons or social media post from the previous days to see how you can be a social butterfly the next week or so.

  9. Restore yourself  with either with meditation, tapping, or a courageous window shopping trip to the sex store, especially single because you deserve to always feel sexy despite your situation.

 

While the world historically has gone through many shifts whether environmental or tragic acts of violence or terrorism, I implore you to start being aware of your negative self-talk. I ask you that if you have been on social media for more than an hour to see if someone liked your selfie or post then turn off that digital Darth Vader and instead use your talents for good. My request that if you have read til the end of this blog post, to turn off your phone for 10 minutes, close your eyes, and start being aware that you are breathing, place your hands on your chest, hear your heartbeat and recognize you are alive, one of the best miracles you should wake-up to everyday that you are here on this blue-green dot planet.

 

 

 

 

Thank you to my photographer: @Mikowashere// Miko Aquino

Thank you to my hair and makeup artist @Edenilsoncreates// Jaime Eden Diaz
— Instagram

 

 

 

 


 

 

Erika Briones