Wake up! There is No Santa Claus for Mental Health

Neither is there a tooth fairy, superman, or even dare I say a ‘Jesus’ who will wave a magic wand, sprinkle fairy dust, heal you, and make all your problems disappear for you to have better mental health.

We all like to get involved in stories where there is a hero or heroine with a white horse, Aston Martin or some sort of super power. In reality though the story we are involved in everyday is non fiction. Its real, and made up of earthly problems. Continue reading “Wake up! There is No Santa Claus for 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 “Why You Need to Welcome Ravens for Your Mental Health”

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.

Continue reading “Do You Have A Rhythm of Alignment?”

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.

Continue reading “Are You In Sync With The Rhythm?”

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

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 “Step 11 Is A Step You May Either Love Or Hate”

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-

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