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Meet Cassandra Bauer of NOWLEVELUP in Hancock Park

Today we’d like to introduce you to Cassandra Bauer.

Cassandra, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I was three years old and I can still close my eyes and hear the banging at the front door, I can still remember my mom running past my brother and I in the kitchen, yank the phone off the wall, fall to her knees crying while screaming to the Rabbi on the other end begging for him to save us. Next thing I knew eight police officers broke down our door, grabbed my mother by the hair, threw her face down and beat her. They dragged her out of the house and left my brother Blake and I alone on the front lawn. I can still taste the blocks in my throat from the never-ending “mommies.” I can still remember holding my brother’s hand for dear life and I can still remember THAT being the first moment ‘fear’ was being programmed into my consciousness. It was the first time I was truly scared to exist in this world.

Life growing up was very dark it was filled with addiction, pain, lying, cheating, divorce, abuse, death, sadness… yet, I would always find myself creating this internal world full of color, peace, hope, play, MAGIC, LOVE and I would just stay there. When I was about ten years old, I was diagnosed with ADD and ADHD and put on adderall, “the drug that stole my soul.” As I entered into high school, there was a specific moment that changed the course of my entire course life. One day I had decided not to take my adderall because it had really suppressed my appetite, I was sitting in Biology class laughing with one of my friends when my teacher called me into the hallway. I walked out and was met by the two deans, my counselor and my teacher. I remember I was so confused, my counselor asked “Cass, are you on drugs?”

In that moment, my stomach completely dropped because at this point in my life, I had never even smoked pot let alone touched another drug. My eyes welled up with tears as I muttered back “I am not on drugs, I promise. What are you talking about?” My teacher turned to me and said “You are very loud today and talking more than normal..you seem ‘different.’” Right as she finished her sentence my counselor said “Cass, did you take your adderall today?” I looked up at all eight eyes staring back at me and said “No, I really wanted to eat lunch,” I remember them ALL rolling their eyes like “OHHH THAT EXPLAINS IT.” My teacher ended up saying “you have to go down to the nurses office now and take your adderall or you cannot come back into my class.”

When I went home that day, I went up to my room and cried for hours. I remember thinking to myself ‘No one wants me to be ME.. not my family… not people at school… nowhere I look I’m allowed to just be ME, no one really sees me…” That DAY everything shifted because I CHOSE in that moment to go SO deeply inside of myself… into that world, I spoke of earlier that I was creating since I was a little girl..where no one could find me – and I didn’t come out for another fifteen years. From that point on, my addiction grew – I was taking 180mg of adderall a day in addition to Norco, Vicodin, Percocet… anything I could get my hands on.

On April 7th, 2013 I was working in a bar/restaurant in downtown Chicago when I got a call from my brother Blake “Hey Cass, are you alone?” “Yeah Blake, what’s up?” He responded with “I don’t know how to tell you this, Mom just called, Jason died…he overdosed.” Jason was my eldest brother of ten years, growing up together I remember there was so much about him that I admired – his thirst for art and graffiti, his ability to wander, his playfulness, his capacity to LOVE and most of all the PERMISSION he gave himself to REALLY LIVE INTO this life. Something happened to me that day, I felt, for the first time in fifteen years, and it was my heartbreak. For so long, I had been on autopilot, numbing in my own addiction that the universe just decided to completely stop me as if it was saying “well, you have to wake up NOW CASS.”

After Jasons death I decided to try and get sober on my own, I went through many moments of wanting to kill myself, reliving all the unconscious things I had done when I was on drugs, thinking about all the times I wasn’t present for my own life, how I was always the passenger and not the driver. After about three and a half weeks, I started to notice something shifting inside of me, I felt like I was finally finding home again. A month after my sobriety, I went back to work and it was really hard on my soul, I was just starting to hear a glimpse of ME again and NOW it was being drown out by “hey, can I have a whisky coke.” I was asked to go out and grab some drinks and those couple drinks led to a lot of things I wasn’t very proud of that night – One being getting behind the wheel of a car.

On November 11th, 2013 just six months after Jason died, I was driving down Chicago’s i-94 going about 100 mph when a car turned into my lane, I pulled the wheel to the right and accelerated into a ditch. I flipped seven times, hit a tree, flipped over a five foot fence and landed in a nearby parking lot. The next thing I know… “Jason? Jason please don’t leave me.” I was in a full-blown conversation with Jason in Heaven and he said “Cass, you are not alone but you must go back and create a channel to allow everyone to know that they are NOT alone, but you must remember you are not alone.”

Has it been a smooth road?
Coming back into this world was not an easy transition for me. When I woke up in that hospital bed something was ‘different’. I didn’t know exactly ‘what’ at that time but as my journey went on things started to click more and more.

For example: I started to see and develop a very strong connection to spirit and the other world. I knew I needed space to heal and to understand this new level of awareness so I moved 3000 miles away from Chicago and landed in LA.

Once I moved nothing got ‘easier’ if anything things really had to break down in order to really re-build myself and my life the way I had always dreamed of as that little girl – full of color, peace, hope, play, MAGIC… LOVE.

“I know you’re tired but come, this is the way.“- Rumi

At this point, though in all honesty I was exhausted from life, there were many moments I wanted to give up or numb out again but now that I had this voice constantly pushing me to REMEMBER my purpose, I would be reminded over and over that I was truly NOT alone and THAT voice and spirit kept me going in order to uncover what eventually became my company, NOWLEVELUP.

Please tell us about NOWLEVELUP.
NOWLEVELUP is the full circle of this story because once I found, I was able to heal myself and capable of creating this NEW WORLD withIN and FOR myself, I finally understood that “channel” Jason spoke of. I found that I could develop a practice and hold space where others could heal themselves and write a new story to live into while knowing they were NOT alone while doing so.

NOWLEVELUP is a mindfulness practice and a way of living that shifts the perspective inside rather than outside of ourselves. It’s a deep understanding that the only place to create from is IN the NOW moment and if we choose into that there is no other option than to level up your life.

NOWLEVELUP doesn’t actually “DO” anything it ALLOWS everything and I believe there is such POWER in that. I am most proud of NOWLEVELUP because it acts as a mirror for others to give themselves PERMISSION to be exactly WHO THEY ARE and not fight it, run from it, judge it but rather surrender into it, allow it and embrace it. For me personally, after being in the passenger seat for so long it is the most humbling thing to watch someone switch into the driver seat and take charge of their own life.

I have recently finished directing and producing a poetic documentary based my own story called REMEMBER and are currently working on producing this for others to witness how they too have transformed their own pain into their ultimate power. The films will be a mirror to the work they are doing in all their moments.

“You owe it to yourself to become everything you’ve ever dreamed of being.”

I am not sure what set’s us apart from other companies other than it’s based on raw experience “How do you teach if you don’t do?” All I can say is whatever helps another human break free from the chains and play in the magic of this life again I am in full support of.

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
LA has a really palpable energy of openness and permission to it which was really important to me while developing NOWLEVELUP. I feel if someone is really looking to tap into their own magic LA has so much color to it and is a great place to play and draw from to manifest whatever their heart desires.

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Image Credit:

Chris Peart

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