Category Archives: Mental health

Why You Need to Welcome Ravens for Your Mental Health

The rawness of the meat was either inviting or disturbingly unappealing. Stories shared, honesty held as holy, the powerless being empowered.

For some it was too raw, too up close and uncomfortable for them to receive the gift God was offering. To take in this gift there would have to be a open vulnerability to the poor, the broken, the unqualified. Continue reading

Do You Have A Rhythm of Alignment?

The steering wheel was dancing around in hands like it seemed it had a mind of its own.

Vibrating in little jolts, this way then that, I knew exactly what the problem was. My steering wheels were out of alignment. It was like one wheel wanted to go one way whilst the other wheel wanted the car to go in another direction.

Back and forth the battle continued until I limped into the tyre shop for a wheel alignment.

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Are You In Sync With The Rhythm?

I’m not a dancer, but I am a musician. I believe that our Mental Health is closely linked to the rhythms we keep.

I have played guitar since I was thirteen and one of the little practice exercises I used to do in the early days was to play a piece of music either really slow or really fast, but it had to make sense.

As I progressed on in my learning I began to join with others.

I quickly learnt that if I was going to part of some ‘good music happening’ then I needed to learn the rhythm of not just the music, but the people as well.

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How Relinquishing The Need To Control Can Give Us Freedom From Anxiety

Guest post from Cyndy Lavoie

Years ago I was struggling with anxiety.

It had come on so fast (within just a few months), and so strong that I was seriously considering going to the doctor for some medication to help.


When I am anxious I feel it in the middle of my back. My muscles lock down and it feels as though a band is constricting my torso. The rest of my body feels wired up and ready for an emergency; my fight or flight mode kicks into high gear.

Prior to this I had never been prone to anxiety but life had become exceptionally stressful due to a primary relationship that was becoming increasingly unsafe both emotionally and psychologically and which was leaving my future very uncertain.

Continue reading

Step 11 Is A Step You May Either Love Or Hate

Step 11 in the 12 Step Recovery tradition brings some challenges.

For many people who try to follow the 12 Steps, Step 11 is a step they either love or hate:

“Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understand God, praying only for knowledge of God’s will for us and the power to carry that out.”

Perhaps “hate” is a particularly strong word; yet some followers of the Recovery program have some difficulty getting in touch with the spiritual side of Recovery. Continue reading

What Opens The Door To Joy?

It was so delightful that you could smell the perfume of joy sweep the room.

What-Opens-The-Door-To-Joy- What Opens The Door To Joy?

She was in her 30’s and had been diagnosed with a psychotic illness. Voices in her head were her constant companion. She was into some New Age stuff mixed with Catholic teachings and a liberal dose of Joyce Meyer. It was a happy meal combo that suited her.

So when I asked for people to give a message or sermon on one of the Beatitudes she jumped at the opportunity. She chose to speak about what it means to be meek.

With a couple of photocopied sheets from easy to read commentaries and devotionals she went off to study and pray.

I met with her a couple of weeks later to discuss what she had written.

She had read and mulled over the topic to where she decided that meekness was all about being in control. She discovered that the classical Greek word used to translate meekness was that for a horse that had been tamed and bridled. She instantly connected this with her voices. That there was an element of being disciplined, of being under the direction of a master tamer, that the voices needed to be brought under submission. That with Jesus, the help needed, would be there.

So the evening came when  she was to deliver her message. I had sat with her and we had crafted the words together. She stood there and read them out to an astonished  group of fellow struggler’s. She had nailed it.

There was joy. Joy in my heart for what she had done. Joy in her heart for the achievement and for the connectedness with her friends.

She shared this message with her family and friends. Photocopy after photocopy was made and distributed.

When I recall this story I remember a Jesus story where he describes a woman filled with joy.

“Or imagine a woman who has ten coins and loses one. Won’t she light a lamp and scour the house, looking in every nook and cranny until she finds it? And when she finds it you can be sure she’ll call her friends and neighbors: ‘Celebrate with me! I found my lost coin!’ Count on it—that’s the kind of party God’s angels throw every time one lost soul turns to God.” Luke 15: 8-10

Joy comes as  by-product of something that was lost, now found.

Joy comes as a by-product of empowerment of a gift.

Joy comes from those things and those people who most would consider small and insignificant.

You see, something within her was given the outlet to express itself. Something deep that was hidden under all the labels and symptoms. It was a gift that needed to be given.

There is a party going on and you’re invited. Not to be a wall flower spectator, but to be a participant in joy.

How do you get to that party? What opens the door to joy?

Be still and take notice of the small.

Quotes to consider

  • Joy is what happens to us when we allow ourselves to recognize how good things really are. Marianne Williamson
  • I sometimes wonder whether all pleasures are not substitutes for Joy. C.S. Lewis,
  • Joy isn’t simply a feeling. Joy is a response to a certain states of affairs that have been changed, created, to which there is a particular way of responding. Miroslav Volv

Questions to consider and leave a comment.

  1. Where have you found joy in the small?
  2. What is required to find joy?
  3. Have you ever discounted a moment of joy? Why?

Barry Pearman

On Being A Weathervane

I loved to watch planes as a child.

On-Being-a-weathevane On Being A Weathervane

On the farm in which I grew up on we would often get fertilizer spread by aeroplane. It was exciting to see that noisy plane swoop low over the fields and hills and see trails of white powder spreading over the landscape.

I suppose it was those planes that gave me the idea to build a weathervane in the shape of a plane. I loved building plastic Spitfire and Hurricanes, but this plane needed to be built of hard-wearing material. No little fiddly pieces and ‘get a headache/ high glue’.

So out of some wood in the workshop I crafted a plane.

I can’t remember what colour I painted it but I do remember putting a plastic propeller on the front. Through the centre of the plane a nail was used as a kind of axle for the plane to spin around upon.

It worked extremely well. With every little shift of wind direction the plane would move straight into a place of least resistance. That propeller would whirr around and fill the air with hum.

It worked perfectly well for the first year, but then under the heat of the sun and the rigours of winter storms the paint started to blister and peel. The plastic propeller got worn and started to wobble on that nail.

The plane still swung around on its pivot, but now the hole seemed honed out. The plane didn’t swivel so freely.

The next wild storm blew in and the propeller broke right off.

What was needed was a rest in the carpenter’s shop. I time to clean off some of the grime, a new paint job, a repairing of the damage and a new propeller.

I tell you this story because I think it is like many of us, if not all.

We head out into life with brightness and purpose. We angle ourselves into the wind of resistance and move ahead. Little shifts of wind and we adapt. Storms come and go, rain, hail, and hot beating sun, we weather it all.

Over time we get worn out without us ever realising the change. We think we are better than we really are. We are star struck by the over achievers so we go on, until we breakdown, burnout, and collapse.

Time for the care of a carpenter. Time for care from others whom the carpenter sends to help.

We all need time for rest and refreshing. For rejuvenation.

This is a serious question.

Are you ok with being loved?
Are you ok with being cared for?
Are you ok with being told ‘You need to rest’.

The very nature of facing into the wind takes its toll on the fabric of your being.

I remember listening to a pastor who was going through basically a power battle between himself and a couple of church members. He was broke. I simply asked ‘How is it with your soul’?

The question cut right through the normal bravado to a place of personal soul weariness. He had run on the fumes of an empty tank for too long.

Is this resonating with you?

It’s ok to rest and restore, and its ok to have others feed into you dollops of goodness, truth and love.

Barry Pearman

Image by Aquilatin

8 Steps To Discovering Wellness Through Knowing Your Early Warning Signs

Often I travel over some sharp twisty roads. One of these roads has a large hill and just on the other side there is a beautiful view with a fence that has been driven through.

There are signs to tell drivers to slow down, but for this driver the signs were ignored, boundaries were crossed and lives put in danger. If you know the signs then you can avoid the catastrophe. Continue reading

Pekingese or Pinscher. Which one are you?

We have two dogs. 

One of them is this cute little Shiatsu Maltese cross that loves to sleep on your lap. Bought from a breeder this pooch has class. Our other dog is large, unknown breeding, that we got from the pound as a little 6 month old puppy. 

Even at that early stage, without us realising, we believe he had been wounded emotionally. He is a frightened dog. He gets very aggressive quickly when people come to our home. He runs up to the fence line of our front yard and barks.

His response has taught the younger fluffy princess to do the same, yet for some reason everyone ignores her. She is all bark but no bite. He is bark and bite. What is normally a very friendly, cuddly, and affectionate dog turns into a visitors nightmare. He is lovely until he hears something outside that sets him off.

When someone comes near a boundary of yours, a line of love and respect, how do you respond? When someone enters your personal territory, abuses trust, crosses a line, do you yap with no bite or do you bite with no thought. Maybe you don’t yap or protest at all?

If a pendulum swung, would you swing to being more Pekingese or Pinscher?

So often our responses have been trained and retrained into our psyche from previous days. We were wounded at an early age so that how we respond now is how we have always respond.

The men and women who are truly filled with light are those who have gazed deeply into the darkness of their own imperfect existence. Brennan Manning

If you’re a lap yap dog you know that as much as you might yap people won’t respect your presence. They may even laugh and make fun of your presence and just basically ignore you. If your a vicious aggressive guard dog you know that you certainly get peoples attention and cautious respect, but for all the wrong reasons. They are afraid of you, your domination, intimidation and control.

What has been trained into you can be untrained but its going to take work.

Do you want to face the reality of your own training. Of how you have trained yourself into these responses by repeated experiences.

Its going to take work. Darn, you can’t just buy that magic potion of the shelf, download an app or have a magic wand waved over you. .

It will require facing the reality that you don’t have it all together. None of us do. That you need help and that facing the reality of the situation may well mean facing some dark places and times where the earliest seed was sown into the soil of your thinking/ feeling/ behaving.

Facing the abuse, overt and covert, that gouged out a thinking/ feeling/ behaving pattern in the soil of the brain.

Think of it this way.

The grand canyon, large and deep is the ingrained way of thinking/ feeling/ behaving. How did it start? Mighty canyons form by disruption of the earths surface and then a small trickle of water runs down a little line. The little line gouges its path out that little bit deeper into a stream then into a river then into canyon where all your thoughts and feelings and behaviours ride along in a swirling.

How do you get out of a canyon? You have to climb up the banks as soon as you enter, before it gets too deep and powerful. 3338148500_86ba7f567b_o-1-1-1024x1024 Pekingese or Pinscher. Which one are you?Even earlier if possible, when you see the danger coming.

I have thinking gorges and ruts that I constantly have to pull myself out of. If I see it coming I pray and ask the Holy Spirit, my personal 24-7 counsellor, to help me.

What has been trained into you, the gorges and gullies, can be untrained by you by giving your brain new paths to follow, new options, new trickles to habitutally build into your thinking.

Here is a big statement.

I think everyone has been traumatised in some way shape or form.

Some have been severely traumatised through abuse and violence. Then there are other forms of wounds that are subtle such as neglect. All have left wounds. Wounds that need healing so that they are now but scars of memories.

Scars reflect a previous experience. Wounds are open, festering, unhealed. Have your wounds truly been healed into scars or are they still influencing your present perspective.

I preach only from my scars not my wounds. Nadia Bolz Weber.

The saying goes that ‘You can’t teach an old dog new tricks’. Perhaps this is just an excuse to not try and learn new ways of thinking and behaving.

You see I am not a dog and I can learn new tricks when taught by a wise and patient trainer.

Barry Pearman

Photo Credit: Tugnutt via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Vertigogen via Compfight cc

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