I accidentally started doing these 108 cycles when I impulsively decided to share a handwritten journal entry and a drawing every day for 100 days. Since 108 is my second favorite number* midway through I decided to extend it to 108 days. Having started this on August 27th or 2017 everything lined up perfectly to start another cycle on January 1st.
Clicking on the dates in the titles will take you to the first or last day of the 108-day cycle.
A – Flow to Your Dream
This was the title of the very first blog post in the series. Like I said above, my aim was to share a journal entry and drawing every day and that’s exactly what I did. I was in “startup” mode at the time so I was constantly thinking or reading about startups. That actually influenced the 108-day idea a lot. Especially the idea of making goal planning and execution iterative over a period of time shorter than a year (like I had previously done). On the last day of the 108 days (Day 108), I applied for a startup accelerator (not knowing the difference between an accelerator and an incubator) using the idea I have for a service to help people manage bipolar disorder.
B – My ONE Thing
I had recently read the book “The ONE Thing” and I tried to apply it to working on “Being Bipolar” (the name I had given to my company). Things started out great, but they fell apart pretty quickly. The failure was a win because it really reinforced the importance of process (flow). You can read about it in more detail on day 108.
C – 108 Days of Flow
May 1st, 2018 to August 18th, 2018
With this 108 I ditched goals and focused on the process. I ended up tracking my mood, sleep, and exercise for the 108 days but where I think I messed up was by not having… an anchoring/grounding routine. Things ramped up over the course of this 108 days into a full blown manic episode. I was definitely flowing every day but I was “flow’er” without a cause! A quote I recently read comes to mind…
“If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favorable.” – Lucius Annaeus Seneca
That said, I eventually decided on a port. Attending a show in Milwaukee where RZA (from Wu-Tang Clan) live DJed the “36th Chamber of Shaolin”. What I ultimately ended up doing was immersing myself in a spiritual alternate universe created by mania fueled miltownkid which bled into the next 108. I look forward to doing a more detailed analysis of this 108 one day.
D – 108 Days of Being Bipolar
Still high on my own supply of spirit, I decided to create a new persona, the realBipolarCEO. I was supposed to participate in an idea stage startup incubator/accelerator program called Founder Institue, but it was canceled due to the low number of applicants. What was originally supposed to be “108 days of Being Bipolar (inc)” turned into “108 days of (actually) being bipolar”! There was an internal battle over “the meat suit” (me!) between “Casey Abbott Payne” and “miltownkid ZEE”. realBipolarCEO was acting as a bridge between, and an attempt to merge, those two forces. This internal struggle crescendoed with a stay in a mental hospital.
I was out of the hospital in time to write a detailed reflection using Instagram images (December 18th, 2018 above).
1 – 108 Days of Being Bipolar (.org)
December 31st, 2018 to April 18th, 2019
During my reflection on April 19th, 2018 I made a simple, but powerful, observation. Syntax matters! The language I use to describe a goal or action to myself is extremely important. That clearly didn’t sink in for the next 108 because I sloppily wrote “108 Days of Being Bipolar” instead of something more specific like “108 Days of Working on Being Bipolar Inc” so it turned into 108 days of being bipolar (crazy!) That said, I was manic at the time and the spiritual side of me may have left that open to interpretation on purpose.
Anyhow, this time I decided to be extremely specific. 108 days of working on my website focused on being bipolar (beingbipolar.org). That gave me supreme clarity and it worked! I spent time every day researching or writing about bipolar disorder. This eventually led me to do a deep dive into understanding suicide. I never ended up publishing that, or any, article because on January 16th, 2019 (YouTube) I decided to pivot away from the website and towards looking for stable work. I really want to create a business that helps people with bipolar and other mental health issues but I decided that I needed to do it from a place of personal stability. I couldn’t yet afford to dedicate large chunks of energy and time to writing and research that I wouldn’t immediately get paid for.
Something else you’ll notice is that I shifted from using letters to numbers on this cycle. That’s because I saw this cycle as the official launch. The first four were beta, now I saw it as a “release” version (for myself 😉 ). It also coincided with the year 108 according to Taiwan’s calendar (or 民國紀年). I created a post with some of my thoughts on time (at that time).
I think I made the mistake, again, of not having an “anchoring routine” after I switched from researching/writing. While I ended up finding work I also ended up spiraling into a state of anxiety and depression. On April 18th (day 108) I happened to ask myself “What day is it?” (I had totally stopped tracking the days). I wasn’t sure if I’d start tracking again on May 1st BUT (spoiler alert)…
2 – An Anchor Routine
May 1st, 2019 to…
…when May 1st came I decided to start running every day and I eventually added journaling, meditating, and recording a video. I’ve also added working on “Flow to Your Dream”. Having the 108 pull me out of anxiety and depressed reaffirmed how powerful the ritual was. I decided to double down on it and do it for 108 cycles (36 years).
Monday, June 3rd, 2019
I wrote the recap of each 108 today which is probably why the most recent recap is the most robust. Moving forward I will add a recap sometime between the “rest” period, the period of time between a cycle ending and beginning.