You Need Reinforcing Mesh For Your Mental Health Rebuild

I recently watched some guys putting down a concrete path.

Just before they laid the concrete down, a mesh of steel reinforcing was placed into the trench. The concrete was then poured around this mesh until hidden away.

Now I have seen concrete work done where there was no reinforcing mesh. With a little time and some pressure the concrete just cracked open like a biscuit.  Continue reading “You Need Reinforcing Mesh For Your Mental Health Rebuild”

Do You Have A Rhythm of Nourishment?

I almost overlooked it. There it was, a small little camellia flower. Deep pink, just beginning to burst out of its green cocoon.

I had almost walked passed it without noticing its gift to me. While I was busy pruning and looking at some straggly looking shrubs, I saw this little flower. Here amongst the overgrowth was a small camellia, starving for light but desiring to express its beauty out to the world. I stopped, looked and took in nourishment for the soul.

This gift of beauty was for me, right here right now. I studied its beauty and imbibed its petite delicateness.

Do you take time to smell the roses/camellias?

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

How Joy Comes From An Unexpected Place.

I’ve had a taste and now I want more. I’m not being greedy or demanding or ‘push in line’ about it. It’s just that I have had a taste and I long for more.

There are wafts of joy coming from the kitchen. There is a party going on and I can hear music, and the delight of dance. I’m invited, actually I’m their special guest.

It’s a serious party, in the meaning that this is the total focus of all that they do.

Joy is the serious business of heaven C.S Lewis          Click to Tweet

Continue reading “How Joy Comes From An Unexpected Place.”

What is the Gift Your Wound Has Given You?

‘Sticks and stones can break my bones but words can never harm me’ is a fallacy.

Words can hurt. They can cut right to the core of your being and can echo around and around in your mind and drive you to despair.

Just think of the abuse of text bullying. A few choice words here and there, and cuts are made to the heart and maybe to the skin. I wonder how many suicides and suicide attempts have a few words as the catalyst of destruction.

A barrage of abuse on a weakened spirit can break the will to go on. Words like nails are hammered into your psyche.

I think of Jesus and the barrage of words rained down upon him in his trial. Matthew 26.

Words can drown out life.

Words can also be the soothing balm needed on a wounded heart.

Little phrases like

Well done
Thank you
You’re going to make it
I’m going to help you

I am with you

Words and gestures from ‘Big people’ in your life. That older person, that person with the street cred, mana, wisdom, grey hair. That one, for reasons unknown to yourself, who just whispers to the heart ‘you’re going to be ok’.

I listen to many words through a range of podcasts.

I discovered Nadia Bolz-Weber on the Podcast Onbeing where she was interviewed by the host Krista Tippet.

In the podcast Nadia states these words.

I have this thing about being a preacher who reveals things about herself, and it’s that I always try to preach from my scars and not my wounds. So, talking about depression is not in any way a wound for me.

When I heard this I felt connected with her journey, her depression, wounds and scars.

Words.

So I created a meme, and now it has been my most repined image on Pinterest.

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

Why has this been so incredibly popular?

I think that the image grabs you because it’s a real person, like us. Not some model, superstar or icon, and yes I know they are real too.

The words I think touch down on some core pain points. Our wounds and our scars.

They give us a sense of hope that wounds can, in time, become scars. That we don’t have to be stuck as wounded forever and that out of those battles there can come a gift.

For Nadia Bolz – Weber, as a pastor, the gift is preaching. For others it could writing, singing, teaching, listening etc…

What is your gift?

Today I listened to a an interview with Rob Bell. He was talking about a time where he was speaking in Miami and a women in the audience stood up and asked this question.

What do you say to somebody whose young daughter has just died from a mysterious illness that only a few people get. What do you say to me, because I have just lost my daughter.

I said first off in the ancient wisdom tradition in some suffering there are no words, there’s silence.

So first off I would begin with that any one that does give you nice clear-cut answers for why your daughter died, I don’t know.

Secondly I do know this, that some point down the road your going to meet up with a women who has also lost her young daughter and your going to look at her in the eyes and your going to say ‘me too’ and in that moment that you’ll be standing on some holy ground. Solidarity is divine. When someone stands with you.

Here is what happens. The woman standing next to her starts gushing and says ‘My young daughter is really sick and they have only given her a little bit of time to live and this woman turns to her.  Rob Bell – How to Practice and Understand Faith and Spirituality

Words, solidarity, hope.

 

Barry Pearman

Christmas – What Others Think of Me is None of My Business

 

Here are some conversations that may have taken place around the Christmas story

Angel: Hi Mary, your going to have a baby.

Teenager Mary: I’m the Lord’s maid, ready to serve.
Let it be with me. What others think of me is none of my business

Angel: He will be the saviour of the world. Its going to be so exciting. Us angels are going to throw you the biggest baby shower ever.

Teenager Mary: I’m the Lord’s maid, ready to serve.
Let it be with me. What others think of me is none of my business

Angel: Oh yes, Joseph, your fiance, may well reject you

Teenager Mary: I’m the Lord’s maid, ready to serve.
Let it be with me. What others think of me is none of my business

Family and friends: So your pregnant, you have God’s child within you who is going to be the Savior of the world? Are you psychotic???

Teenager Mary: I’m the Lord’s maid, ready to serve.
Let it be with me. What others think of me is none of my business

Joseph: I don’t fully understand but I had a dream. Should I trust my dreams?

Teenager Mary: I’m the Lord’s maid, ready to serve.
Let it be with me. What others think of me is none of my business

Innkeeper: You want a room? You look like you need a delivery suite. I have one of those. Its a hole in the ground where the cows sleep.

Teenager Mary: I’m the Lord’s maid, ready to serve.
Let it be with me. What others think of me is none of my business

Shepherds: Kind of ugly isn’t he but he has a special kind of starlit glow to him doesn’t he. Perhaps he might become a shepherd too. (wink wink nudge nudge)

Teenager Mary: I’m the Lord’s maid, ready to serve.
Let it be with me. What others think of me and my baby is none of my business

Wisemen: (In true barber shop style) We three kings have come from a far. Following some crazy big star. Here we sit, here we ponder, a baby born to be king. ohhhh …

Teenager Mary: I’m the Lord’s maid, ready to serve.
Let it be with me. What others think of me is none of my business

 

Ok, enough levity!

It is Christmas after all and it is serious business this religious stuff. Living under the expectations of others. Making sure we get what we think they would like. Looking at their faces for approval as they are handed yet another box of scorched almonds.

In the way we give do we hope to find some sort of approval. Is there a self centred motivation in giving?

‘What am I going to get back in the form of approval’

‘Have I have met the expectations of my family, friends, society’.

‘You know you really are a loser if you don’t give everyone the newest flashest most expensive present out there’.

Performing to other peoples supposed expectations will destroy your peace.

Mary was different.

I’m the Lord’s maid, ready to serve. Let it be with me. Luke 1:38

‘What others think of me is none of my business’ was a quote from a podcast I heard this week.

I don’t know what Mary’s self talk was like through the Christmas story. She actually doesnt say very much. I wonder however if through this whole crazy adventure (advent_ure) she kept her focus on the conversation and experience of the angel visting her. (Luke 1:26-38)

There are things we need to hold onto to get us through crazy times. Self talk we need to repeat over and over again to maintain focus on what is truly important.

Christmas is first and foremost a time of relationship restoration. God restoring his relationship with mankind by becoming mankind.

Worship God the best way that you see fit, because Christmas is about what God thinks of you and is nobody else’s business.

Barry Pearman
Photo Credit: Jesse Michael Nix via Compfight cc

Shadow of Light – Discovering you’re not alone

 

It was a shadow, in the background, going unnoticed.

It was a Shadow of Light.

Weird really, but a shadow it was. You couldn’t touch it but it was surely there.

Light normally fills a the dark room, creating the shadows, but this was different. It was a Shadow of Light in my very very dark places.

It wasn’t bright neon ‘impossible to look at’ light, it was more ‘just there’. Dim and warm, soft and inviting.

Well it was inviting to me, but to those whose hearts and eyes had been conditioned to the darkness it was something to  pushed to the back of the room. Into the corner, out of sight, and definitely out of mind.

It just watched, silently and sadly at the darkness of thought and motive. Its image bearer hands glowing softly. Rope marked torn hands were clenched in fists that once held whip.

Shadow of Light moved a step forward then pulled back. It wasn’t time yet and I noticed a gentle restraining hand draped over the shoulder.

Why didn’t Shadow of Light act I wondered? Why the constraint in this time of pain?

I focused my eyes in on the throbbing gentle heartbeat of the Shadow. Then zoom, I was transported to his side. I leaned into listen. With the gentleness of a secure lover I felt an arm reach around behind me, gently pressing my head upon his chest.

This Shadow of light was now absorbing me into its image bearing self. A warmth was filling me that the darkness, the dirty, shameful, raping darkness could never rob away.

Do I want the shadow to intervene in the abuse of my soul? Yes, of course I do, but if it means for one moment that I could lose the sound of loves heartbeat then ‘No’ I would respond back.

There will come a time when Shadow of Light will banish every flicker of darkness away.

Till that day, I will secure myself knowing that there is a Shadow of Light walking beside me. No darkness can stick on me, no evil can define me, no abuse will ever shame my true identity.

I am a child of the ‘Shadow of Light’.

Perhaps my own Shadow of Darkness is being transformed by this Shadow of Light. Perhaps you are too.

Zoom into his heartbeat.

 

Barry Pearman
Photo Credit: kevin dooley via Compfight cc

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6 Markers of a Healthy Spirituality

Over my life I have been involved in many different styles of Christian denominational expression, or Ice Cream flavours as I like to say.

Staid conservative Bible fundamentalism, ‘swinging from the chandeliers’ Pentecostalism, social justice activism and many other ice cream flavours.

They all have strengths and weaknesses. 
Some aspects of all of them have been helpful to my Mental health while some aspects have been down right destructive.
People often ask me ‘What Church should I go to?’
I suppose I would answer this question with this statement.
‘A Church that keeps you grounded with reality, connects you with Biblical truth, is actively part of the local community, and promotes a healthy spirituality.’

David Benner provides 6 markers of a healthy spirituality[1]

1. Grounded in Reality, seeing things as they are.
There is no greater disaster in the spiritual life than to be immersed in unreality, for life is maintained and nourished in us by our vital relation with realities outside and above us. When our life feeds on unreality it must starve and die. The death by which we enter into life is not an escape from reality but a complete gift of ourselves which involves a total commitment to reality. Thomas Merton

It is the acceptance of what reality can and cannot fulfil that leads to real change because, short of the progressive destruction of illusion and consequent mourning, one cannot discover the world as it is. Donald Winnicott

Reality itself – my limited and sometimes misinterpreted experience -is the revelatory place for God. But for some reason we prefer fabricated realities to the strong and sensitizing face of what is. The spiritual life begins with accepting and living our reality. Richard Rohr

2. Awareness
The spiritual life is, first of all, a matter of keeping awake. Thomas Merton

We have to accept that we are all sleep walkers. We need to awaken and we need to learn to see. Spirituality is about seeing. Once you see, the rest follows. Jesus tells us that if our eye is healthy our whole body will be full of light. Richard Rohr

3. Hopeful openness

  • To life, to others and to God

The most important question each person has to answer -“is the universe friendly?” Einstein

4. Loving connectedness

  • Connectedness with others, with the earth, with God
  • Interdependency, compared to codependency and independency

5. Transcendent meaningfulness

  • Making sense of personal reality in a way that gives direction and purpose to life
  • Having a framework to make sense of failure and suffering
  • Making suffering sufferable
  • Movement beyond egocentricity and entitlement
  • Capacity for grace and gratitude

6. Capacity for love, work and play

  • Altruistic attitude toward others
  • Sense of vocation
  • Spontaneity and playfulness

Questions to Consider and leave a comment.

  • How would you answer the question ‘What Church should I go to?’
  • What would be the signs for you of a Healthy Spirituality?
  • In what ways can Mental Illness rob you of a Healthy Spirituality?
  • In what ways can Mental Illness actually lead you to a Healthy Spirituality?

Barry Pearman
Photo Credit: Cayusa via Compfight cc

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