Category Archives: Uncategorized

Mental Health Reality is Not Wishing on a Star

Has Walt Cast a Spell on You?

Avoid wishing on a star at all costs. Instead, embrace the reality of a real life on a dangerous road.

As a kid, I always watched the ‘The Wonderful World of Disney’.

Sunday nights we would gather as a family and we would be swept away to some faraway magical place where there was always a happy ending. Then that memorable tune would creep into our lounge like a

Then that memorable tune would creep into our lounge like a warm cuddly blanket. Continue reading

There are No 'Ordinary People'. Creativity Must Have Its Outlet.

There are No ‘Ordinary People’. Creativity Must Have Its Outlet.

Under the thin veneer of supposed ‘ordinary’ is a power of creativity and life. There are no ordinary people.

If you saw her in the mall you wouldn’t take a second look. This was probably intentional on her part.

Average height, weight, with modest clothes she would slip into the supermarket like a ghost, grab a few items then quietly take a bus home to her small two bedroom unit.

After packing away the milk and bread this ‘ordinary’ woman would rest herself into an old worn chair and embrace her world of creativity. She would begin to knit. Booties, cardigans, scarves, beanies. All beautifully handcrafted with stitches of love. Continue reading

Mental Health is ... doing one thing well (not purrfectly)

Mental Health is … doing one thing well (not purrfectly)

Mental Health is … doing one thing well (not purrfectly) every day over a long period of time.

How many pieces of information will you receive today?

Facebook, twitter, emails can bombard and distract.

Is there a level of confusion in your life?

I read this recently

If you want to depress someone then confuse them.
Teach them in such a way that confuses the hell out of them and
give them a level of uncertainty about their capacity to do it.
Todd Herman.
Continue reading

Waiting God

Waiting God5844992963_459d01e93d_o(1)

Pregnant silence, so full of expectancy,
Empty of sound
Full of You,
Waiting,
Waiting,
Waiting to be received.
Glistening dew, delicately transparent,
Quivering gentleness,
Your Grace,
Waiting,
Waiting,
Waiting to be absorbed.
Exquisite fragrance, suspended presence,
Unseen,
Your Beauty,
Waiting,
Waiting,
Waiting to be breathed.
Caressing sun, warming depth,
Displacing cold,
Your Love,
Waiting,
Waiting,
Waiting to restore.
Vibrant stillness, restoring fragmentation,
Bringing poise,
God,
Waiting,
Waiting,
Waiting to love

 

by Margaret Dunn

Margaret Dunn lives at Oasis Retreat Centre, Albany, and enjoys this lovely patch of
bush, and is passionate about designing and making quilts now that she has retired.

Source: Refresh Journal of Contemplative Spirituality Winter 2013
Photo Credit: ** RCB ** via Compfight cc

Turning the Page moves to WordPress

Noticed some changes?

 

Over the last few months I have been working at bringing my blog over to WordPress. I have been with the Blogger platform for about three years but as the blog has grown and I have wanted to develop it further I have taken the plunge to shift on to a WordPress platform.

Lots more to do.

Lots more to learn about WordPress.

Have a look around and leave a comment.

Barry

What Turns Your Stomach Maybe A Prompt To Turn Your Heart.

Revulsion.
I looked at the pictures and I was revolted. I am not going share the image with you or even describe it. I do want to ask you though if there is anything that just triggers a feeling of revulsion.

I have heard some horrible stories, some of which I will carry for the rest of my life, and I only carry them lightly because I have Christ taking the fullness of the load with me. They don’t weigh me down, but at the time they were wounds to the soul, now they are healed scars of being present to revulsion.

I feel God calling me to write about the Dehumanised Man. Back in 2009 I wrote an essay for my final undergraduate paper at Carey Baptist College. It was titled Dehumanisation and Sexual Abuse – An essay on how sexual abuse dehumanises the human soul and a Christian response to this. Grab a copy if you like. 

I used the Jesus story of the Dehumanised Man (The Good Samaritan) to look through the eyes of the man abused and left naked in the ditch.

 What would he have felt, heard, sensed etc

 Jesus used this story to describe what love truly is like. To embrace that which others may find revolting.

 It was a horrible essay to write. Who wants to read stories of sexual abuse and being used as an object of gratification?

 There is a call in this story for me, and for you.

 The alluring whisper from the Holy Spirit is to invite a turning of the heart to the person of revulsion. Christ speaks ‘Do you see that I see’.

 I don’t believe its a call to become overwhelmed and traumatised by the horror of the event. It is an invite to ask God’s grace to help you understand the soul at an empathetic level. That the other person experiences agape love. That they know what it like to be known, explored, discovered, touched.

10 Ideas to help you safely embrace the ‘revolted’ one.

 

  1. Pray and ask for the eyes of Christ. How would Christ see this person? Imagine yourself as Christ looking at this situation. What thoughts and feelings would Christ have?
  2. Pray and ask for a compelling vision. What would this person and this situation be like if it was fully alive with released presence of God. A compelling vision looks beyond the present to a time and place where Holy Spirit transformation has crafted something new and fresh.
  3. Look beyond the immediate to where the soul is. What is in front of you can be truly overwhelming, but catch yourself and ask yourself and God what is happening in this person’s soul. Under the waterline of presenting issues what is truly happening.
  4. Pray and ask for Agape love. Unconditional sacrificial love that goes beyond the what we know or can manufacture of ourselves. Ask God for this gift of love.
  5. Talk with others. Debrief about what you’re experiencing with safe others. It maybe a  counsellor, spiritual director, pastor or someone else that won’t just give bandaid quick fix solutions. You also need someone that can safely know, explore, discover, and touch you.
  6. Sip don’t Slurp. Some stories and experiences you can only sip at, taking little samples. If you slurp, or take too much in at one time it be overwhelming. Its ok to say ‘I have heard enough for the moment and I am interested in the rest of your story so we will continue this next week’.
  7. Know your limits. We all have limits to what we can safely handle and thats ok. God has equipped some people with skills and wisdom to be able to take the conversation further than you can take it. So please feel free to tell yourself and the other ‘This … is what I can do and this … is what I can’t do’.
  8. Remember its Millimetre Ministry. Rome wasn’t built in a day and seeing change in  people, especially traumatised people, takes many millimetre steps. Being consistent in the journey is more valuable than praying for a miraculous brain transplant.
  9. Self care. It is ok to look after yourself and please do so! How can we truly give out love from a empty bucket. Do you love yourself enough to rest, say ‘No’, take up hobbies, exercise. Modelling self care to others trains them to self care for themselves.
  10. Explore what it is you’re feeling revolted by. Why are you reacting in this way? Perhaps the feeling of revulsion has been triggered of from past experiences. Like an echo in a cave it all comes flashing back in full and glorious colour. Step back, take a breath and seek help for that unbearable feeling. Remember Christ is with you and he was when that event happened those years ago. Invite him into that space to be your comfort, strength and truth.

 

Questions to consider and leave a comment.
  • What triggers revulsion feelings for you? Why?
  • What would it be like to get down into the ditch of the naked dehumanised man and bathe his wounds?
  • Who are the ones that society in general is revolted by?

 

Barry Pearman
Photo Credit: Angelo González via Compfight cc

To get daily insights and quotes Follow me on  Twitter     Facebook      Google+        

Get my blog posts sent to you. Sign up to receive my blog posts for free via e-mail and get a copy of my popular e-book on Depression FREE.

6 Ways In Which Spoken Covenants Can Help Your Mental Health

It moved me.  

The other night I watched the movie ‘Lincoln’ and even though I am not an American and I don’t have a great understanding of American history, there was one particular scene right at the start that spoke volumes to me. 

Abraham Lincoln was with his Union Army when two African American soldiers came up to him. One of them quoted back to him the Declaration of Independence and that all men are created equal.


What struck me was that these men knew the declaration off by heart and being African Americans they were going off to fight for the very tenets of the speech. For them these were not just mere words, they were pledges and dreams entwined together.



Anthems, creeds, covenants, declarations all remind us of foundation values and truths that we hold dearly to. Often the words have been hammered out through struggle and debate, war and peace and reinforced over years of repetition.


Repeatedly spoken covenants bring our fragile forgetful minds back to already ground out and agreed upon truth.


God tells the people of Israel to write, talk, tie and inscribe his commandments into their lives.


Love God, your God, with your whole heart: love him with all that’s in you, love him with all you’ve got!
Write these commandments that I’ve given you today on your hearts. Get them inside of you and then get them inside your children. Talk about them wherever you are, sitting at home or walking in the street; talk about them from the time you get up in the morning to when you fall into bed at night. Tie them on your hands and foreheads as a reminder; inscribe them on the doorposts of your homes and on your city gates. Deuteronomy 6:5-9 (The Message)


Many years ago I was part of a Renovare Spiritual Formation group. I have been through many different forms of home groups and bible study groups but this was radically different. In particular it started with the whole group reading a group covenant.


I.  Opening Words
Welcome to the RENOVARÉ (or other chosen name for the group) Spiritual Formation Group. May God’s Holy Spirit bless us, and may we find fellowship and encouragement during this time together.
Remember, we gather together with one purpose in mind – to become better disciples of Jesus Christ. We do this by encouraging one another to keep his commands, which, as he said, is how we love him (John. 14: 23-24), Through the grace of mutual accountability, our aim is to inspire one another to love and good works.
Please keep in mind that everything that is said here is to be held in confidence. Only then can we feel free enough to share openly and honestly. All hopes and dreams, all fears and failures – even our joys and successes, are to be kept within these walls. This is how we help each other.
II. The Covenant
In utter dependence upon Jesus Christ as my everliving Saviour, Teacher, Lord, and Friend, I will seek continual renewal through:
·         spiritual exercises,
·         spiritual gifts, and
·         acts of service.
III. The Common Disciplines
1        By God’s grace, I will set aside time regularly for prayer, meditation, and spiritual reading, and will seek to practice the presence of God.
2        By God’s grace, I will strive mightily against sin, and will do deeds of love and mercy.
3        By God’s grace, I will welcome the Holy Spirit, exercising gifts and nurturing the fruit while living in the joy and power of the Spirit.
4        By God’s grace, I will endeavour to serve others everywhere I can and will work for justice in all human relationships and social structures.
5        By God’s grace, I will share my faith with others as God leads and will study the Scriptures regularly.
6        By God’s grace, I will joyfully seek to show forth the presence of God in all that I am, in all that I do, in all that I say.


What I liked about having a formal covenantal introduction was that it brought everyone in the group to the same place, to a common understanding of purpose. Expectations were set and agreed upon. Safety was declared as paramount for this group to being a safe place to share … all hopes and dreams, all fears and failures – even our joys and successes are to be kept within these walls. This is how we help each other.
In the church where I serve as Pastor, my Elders and I have been reading Pursuing God’s Will Together by Ruth Haley Barton.


Here are some quotes from Chapter 8 A Covenant That Protects Community


We cannot assume that Christian people agree on what it means to act Christianly, let alone that they are psychologically and spiritually healthy enough to carry out the agreed-on behaviors.


At a recent conference, Jeff Greenway, former president of Asbury Seminary, explained the meaning of covenant in a way that is particularly illuminating. He pointed out that the Hebrew word translated “covenant” comes from the word fetter, which means to bind, shackle or chain. While this may seem a little harsh to our contemporary Western minds, the application Jeff made was very helpful. He said, “We bind ourselves to each other in times of strength so that in moments of weakness we do not become unbound.”


A covenant is an agreement two or more people make with each other about how they will behave in their relationship.


We put covenants in place when what is at stake is so important that we dare not leave the relationship up to chance, subject to passing whims or confused by misunderstanding.


It is important that we make our covenant very humbly and with a great deal of realism about our chances for actually being true to it. Some groups create very impressive documents by throwing just about every idealistic possibility they can think of on a piece of paper and calling it a covenant. I have seen the heartbreak and disillusionment that result when those very same leaders fail to abide by that covenant.


6 Benefits from Having Covenants


  1. Clarify safety expectations. In the Spiritual Formation Group having the covenant reminded everyone that this was a place of confidentiality. If something was shared in the group then that was where it was going to stay. There wasn’t going to be any gossiping tolerated.
  2. Keep us from drifting. Spoken covenants remind us about what the purpose of the group and the time is. My Spiritual Formation Group was about becoming better disciples of Jesus Christ. It wasn’t about politics, or discussing the latest sports results. The purpose was clear. In coming to the group I wasn’t going to be surprised by something other than what had already been agreed upon.
  3. Connect us to words. Words have power and having well crafted words and phrases can bring a sense of safety that others have wrestled through the wording. These words and phrases lead us to somewhere deeper than where we may not normally go.
  4. Bind us to each other. Having a covenant reinforces the commitments we have made to each other. “We bind ourselves to each other in times of strength so that in moments of weakness we do not become unbound.”
  5. Connect us to a wider group. Knowing that others are covenanting in the same provides a connection point. I went to an International Renovare Conference once and it was wonderful knowing that I was one of probably thousands that had said this covenant. It connected me to others.
  6. Provide a pause button. Our brain needs triggers that say this is the time and the place for this. Speaking out a covenant triggers the brain to say ‘It is time for this’.


Grace filled, realistic covenants can be valuable in the ongoing journey of mental wellness.



Questions to consider and leave a comment.
  1. What covenants have you experienced?
  2. What are the potential problems with making covenants? Do these problems mean we should dispel the idea of making covenant commitments?
  3. Where do you think covenant commitments would be beneficial in your life?


Did you find this post helpful? Consider sharing it with others by using the Social Networking sharing options below. Thanks

Barry Pearman
Photo Credit: Lotus Carroll via Compfight cc

To get daily insights and quotes Follow me on  Twitter     Facebook      Google+        

Get my blog posts sent to you. Sign up to receive my blog posts for free via e-mail and get a copy of my popular e-book on Depression FREE.