Sunday, August 7, 2011
I just watched the movie The Beaver. I wanted to write while it is still fresh in my mind and heart. I want to give Jodie Foster kudos, one for directing the movie and two for being one of the main characters. Mel Gibson plays a mentally ill character that Foster is married to. They have two children a teen age boy and one a gradeschool boy. Early on in the movie you realize that Gibson is a depressive (perhaps schitzophrenic as the relationship between him and the hand puppet develops), the movie actually starts with him being asked to leave their home, he finds a beaver hand puppet in a dumpster and this begins the story about the Beaver that initially appears to be a friend and a tool to Gibson to work with his depression.
The main focus of the movie is really the relationship with Gibson and the Beaver, yet the other main story line is of a woman that is willing to attempt to be non-judgmental of her husband as he tries to work his way through life. Foster continues to directly engage Gibson with questions and expectations that at some point the relationship with the Beaver will end; Gibson repeatedly explains it away or blatantly lies to Foster. Again Foster puts her foot down and leaves her husband.
There is a scene when Gibson is alone and he and the Beaver are actually at odds, there is a fight, an actually physical altercation with Gibson and the Beaver in which Gibson is physically hurt. When Gibson recovers from a black out the Beaver is there telling him that he is his only friend and that he is the only one who loves him. Gibson in the end uses a table saw to remove the Beaver puppet from his arm... by now Gibson believes the Beaver to be real and is unable to simply remove the puppet from his hand.
Foster remains true to her husband. She is in the background of the story line choosing love for her husband over the fear, shock, shame, and disappointment that are so obvious during the movie. She always chooses her and the children’s safety over Gibsons sickness, yet she never slams the door in his face. In an emergency she is there, even though the story line revolves around the mental illness in Gibson, for me it was Fosters character that seemed the most courageous. As difficult as it is for someone with a mental disorder to exist and be in the world it can be even more difficult to love a mentally ill person.
I personally have spent my life attempting to distance myself from people with mental illness. I have become angry at their inability to change, their lack of stick-to-it-ive-ness, their lack of compassion for the people they live with and claim to love, and the selfishness living with a diseased mind can portray. Yet, there is no amount of smug judgmental behavior that is any kind of a match for true chemical imbalances in the brain of those affected with mental illness. No matter how much the rest of us know, no matter how many suppliments, medication, medical treatment, energy and bodywork out there; we aren’t the ones living inside the mind that can believe a stuffed Beaver is real and must be violently detached from the body.
I have spent years walking away from people that were unbalanced. Years weighing the behavior of my family and my friends and my lovers against what is or is not healthy behavior. And I have time and again walked away feeling disappointed and empty.
My father was schitzophrenic, certainly his time in Vietnam created an even worse case scenario for him, he lived across the country from me in my young years so I never got to know him and in my judgment that was just fine with me, who needed that kind of a father anyway? I would wager to say my own mother has dealt with differing levels of depression in her life, my brother is also dealing with diagnosis that makes his life harder than I wish it was for him. My own daughter had shown signs of chemical imbalance most of her young life and as she matured these chemical imbalances became worse as puberty set in. She battles with her own mind daily and I am happy to say whether it looks like it or not she is on top of that particular battle and I am very proud of her.
Below are a few statistics regarding mental disorders. It is frightening to see how many people are truly afflicted and affected with a chemical imbalance. As I turned 40 this year I was dealing with yet another person that I cared for finally getting real about their own mental imbalance. I am hopeful that she has learned a great deal from her experience and I do wish her well on her journey. Since that time my brother who has been missing in action from my life for about 14 years has resurfaced. My mother and I are actually talking about healing our relationship instead of me keeping her at arms length. I have begun to re-assess my own part in loving these people and learning to keep love in the relationship even when it appears that mental illness is winning. It has become painfully obvious (at times) that it isn’t for me to run away from those that I love to keep myself safe from them. The people I have judged are still real and still loving me, so my lesson now is learning acceptance and love in the face of what used to frighten me.
overall U.S. 2002 cost of schizophrenia was estimated to be $62.7 billion, with $22.7 billion excess direct health care cost ($7.0 billion outpatient, $5.0 billion drugs, $2.8 billion inpatient, $8.0 billion long-term care). (source: Analysis Group, Inc.)
Today the leading theory of why people get schizophrenia is that it is a result of a
with an environmental exposures and / or stresses during pregnancy or childhood that contribute to, or trigger, the disorder. Already researchers have identified several of the key genes - that when damaged - seem to create a predisposition, or increased risk, for schizophrenia. The genes, in combination with suspected environmental factors - are believed to be the factors that result in schizophrenia
The Prevalance Rate for schizophrenia is approximately 1.1% of the population over the age of 18 (source:
) or, in other words, at any one time as many as 51 million people worldwide suffer from schizophrenia, including;
6 to 12 million people in China (a rough estimate based on the population)
4.3 to 8.7 million people in India (a rough estimate based on the population)
2.2 million people in USA
285,000 people in Australia
Over 280,000 people in Canada
Over 250,000 diagnosed cases in Britain
At least 2 million people in the United States have this illness. When given proper treatment, most people with bipolar disorder can lead more stable lives.
The most important thing to remember at this point is that there is no winning or losing with mental illness. It is just what it is and people who are living with the diagnosis of a mental condition are not purposefully striking out at those they love, it is actually a manifestation of the disease itself. If I can keep that one single truth in mind perhaps I will lovingly accept my family with just as much compassion as I can a stranger, because in the past I believe I have actually had way more patience and compassion for people I do not even know.
Reiki assists me in delving into ever deeper levels of finding forgiveness inside myself. I can not imagine that I would be in this place in my life willing to mend relationships with family had Reiki not found me.
Sunday, June 5, 2011
Interestingly one of the attitudes (stubborn-ness) I have worked to balance is the one attitude that got me to Tampa in the first place, I felt terrible. I slept and slept and woke up early Saturday morning making a plea to God, I felt even worse than I had the night before. I said into the hotel room air around me, "God if my eyes do not open 10 minutes before that class starts, I am simply going to lay in this bed and sleep until theis weekend is over." I promtly laid down and fell asleep. My eyes opened at 9:50 that morning for a class that began at 10 a.m. I went to the class, and I was miserable. I can't really imagine how I seemed to the other participants. I was grumpy and growly and felt incredibly bad. Somehow my Reiki teacher recognized that I was in need of some kid gloves, she intuitively knew that if she pressed me too hard to participate in the class or pushed for me to give verbal answers to things about myself she was going to lose me. I was the lucky one though, because I was so filled with defensiveness, rage over what had transpired in my past, and simple anger and sadness that it most likely oooozed out every single pore, and she was sensitive enough to recognize how really fragile I was at that point in my life.
At the time of this monumental Reiki class I did not believe in angels, infact I believed that they were a mass hallucination on the planet! So of-course my Reiki master talked about them, and encouraged the students that weekend to pick up an angel card and read about the angel, and I adamently refused to do so. The class went on and on with my ego making regular appearances. "This is b.s., this is impossible, you already know about this, these people have no idea what they are doing, that teacher lady is wierd." If a judgement could be had I was having it, along with feeling badly, it made for a rather uncomfortable day. I couldn't wait for the class to end and get back to that bed in my hotel room, but first we had to become initiated into the healing system by attunements. GREAT! I not only was over being there with complete strangers, now someone had to touch me too. As my mind was wrapping itself around each concept that was being shared, my ego stalked the concepts like a rabid beast looking for anyway to break down the truth into a lie, I felt a bit like a ping pong ball. Little pings and pongs of truth were making it down inside the angry facade that I had unknowingly created to protect myself. I had gone from anger and disbelief to fear and hope, an emotion that I was really uncomfortable with.
We were given instructions on how to prepare for our attunement process. We sat serenely with our hands folded into prayer positions and I silently waited, okay; not absolutely silently because that rabid ego of mine was screaming RUN! At the time I felt so much fear I was shaking. I don't remember which moment it was that Spirit took over the process, but it happened. Because of the years of meditation I had previously studied, it was pretty easy for me to get into an altered state of awareness, my body seems to lock down and then at times I had been given to visions and information from the Spirit around me. At the touch of my Reiki teacher my body was in the lock down phase, ego screaming RUN!, and electric light shows and visions flitting across the surface of my mind. There I sat wondering and waiting, the visions became vivid and subtly the most gigantic angel I have EVER come across came into my field of vision, he seemed to be bigger than the building! The golden robes were all I could see and at the same time I was completely aware of the entire angel's being and the words and healing that were being poured into my heart and mind. Tears came, emotions flowed, and all I wanted to do was sleep. I wrote as my teacher had suggested after the attunement. I felt bigger somehow, expanded, and I almost ran not walked to the basket holding the angel cards, the angel I pulled was Raziel, and for me it meant an awful lot at the time. By the end of the weekend my strep throat was completely gone, my Reiki teacher had shown me kindness and compassion, I learned that I had not been the only person hurt by an egotistical spiritual teacher that abused their position and wielded pain and suffereing. Most of all though, I heard the sound of Spirit begin to stir within my heart and that was just like coming home.
It is interesting how through challenge and contrast many of us find our ways back into the innocence we were born with. It was through the contrast of my egoic experience, my pain, my drama that I could see how differently things could be and how I could strive to be a story of success and courage rather than yet another person in the ranks of the abused on the planet that had fallen into the cracks and stayed there. Reiki comes to the heart of humanity in an individual and special way. It whispers of hope and peace and reminds us through the 5 Reiki principles that there is indeed another way. Reiki and the practice of it's ideals in our lives opens up and encourages the use of intention in our daily lives. Of course it is a choice, how, when, where, and why we use Reiki is as individual and numerous as there are living beings on this planet and beyond this planet; yet it comes. Sometimes it finds us and shakes up our lives so loudly we are deaf after all of the shaking and rearrangement. Sometimes Reiki whispers to those of us willing to search and be silent enough to hear. Sometimes Reiki comes like cool and soothing spring water, washing the dust our own boots have kicked up, right out of our eyes leaving clarity and a sense of direction. However Reiki comes, it creates space in the mind and the heart for the budding of a new seed of hope. I wonder... how will Reiki bloom within you?
Thursday, May 19, 2011
I did heed his warning, I stayed away from any kind of spirituality for a couple of years as I began a lengthy healing process for PTSD. Reiki kept finding it’s way to me however, through articles on healing, conversation, and the constantly repeating word Reiki in my mind. When I finally gave in to the call to study Reiki it was through continuing education in nursing. I actually thought I went to the class to prove how impossible Reiki and hands on healing could be! I went armed with my logic, practicality, and nursing background, and none of that prepared me for the incredible and healing experience I was offered by Reiki and the universe.
You see, in my mind I had lost the ability and the space to welcome spirit into my life or my experience. I had no trust and I had no belief. I had become bitter and egotistical about anything that had to do with spirituality or spiritual teachers. Spirit had whispered to me my entire life, yet I slammed the door down and refused to ever open it again. The attitude served me well as I really did need the wall of protection that my small-minded beliefs were giving me at the time. In fact I had lost the space for anything in my life, no space for goodness, comfort, relationships, and very little space to be a good mom; my perceived wound took over my life and I was utterly depressed and bereft at the time I took my first in person Reiki class.
Little did I know but through the years Reiki had been making space for itself inside my life. I believe that I had been called as an intermediary in which people found peace and comfort as they shared their concerns and hurts, My children were toddlers when I went to nursing school, I was young and confused, and in many way a broken person. I didn’t believe in myself and often used other people’s opinions of me to define myself; the problem was everyone around me was invested in my failure including me. After I came to Florida I felt lost and alone. That is when Reiki called me to a continuing education class in Tampa Florida. My life changed that weekend, Reiki powerfully moved disbelief, pain, and years of hurt just enough to take a firm hold on my heart. Many miracles came into my life that weekend and I can't wait to tell you about them!
This is the second in three articles about Reiki creating space stay tuned for more!
Sunday, May 1, 2011
With even 11 years of Reiki practice under my belt I still find myself looking at my own re-creation in my life and the spiritual path that Reiki has become for me. When Reiki called to me in my 30’s. My focus at that time was getting my life in order and healing the many things I felt were “wrong” with me. I was a mother of young children, a life partner, a nurse, and a survivor of PTSD, among other things.
Reiki found me and I began to put the many shattered pieces of myself into order. Even as I struggled through my own mind and judgments; Reiki was there, gently guiding me. In some times it had been the only place I found solace.
Now as June approaches I find myself approaching the age of 40. Many people love to tease their family and co-workers about being over the hill and washed up, yet I don't view it this way. At this point in my life I am still a mother of early 20 something children, I am a partner to a sweet and very kind lover, I remain a survivor of PTSD, and although I have added massage therapist, clinical hypnotist, and qi gong instruction to my tool box I am still getting my life in order. And each wrinkle and line, each change to my body and sometimes to my mind are evidence of the lessons I have learned and the loves that I have shared and sometimes lost, but each moment has created who I am today and my capacity to forgive on even deeper levels myself and those who may have wronged me in some way in my life.
The one thing that has changed however is the thought process that something is “wrong” with me and that I am broken or malfunctioning. What I identified as sick and wrong so long ago I now realize is the action of war within my own being, and I am happy to say that I no longer consider myself the kind of warrior willing to berate or malign the temple of my body or mind with unkind thoughts and words. I have laid down my weapons of sharp edged thought and piercing memories, I have put to sleep the idea of remaining in a barred cold prison built seemingly by my parents and life’s early experiences; when in truth it was only real because I believed it could be. Because I never knew another way.
I have unknowingly begun to create the space for God to dwell deep within me. With each feeling that clutches my heart, each thought that twists my stomach; I know the kindest thing is to gently nudge the truth out from the fear that still lives in the cells of my body. To allow the light to shine upon the things that my own mind lovingly buried so that I should not suffer deeply and daily for the travesties and hurt that had been my past. As I move gently through the process I have begun to invite the light, and the Creator of the light, even deeper into my life experience.
The practice of Reiki is still my tried and true friend and confidant. A place to find solace and peace, a place that can never cause any harm. Reiki is a place that nurtures the gentle and kind practice of less worry, less anger and of kindness to the self.
This is the first of 3 articles of Creating Space with Reiki, more to come…
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Perhaps the way to invite compassion on a global level is to invite compassion and peace first within ourselves. Perhaps each time we begin to feel as though we must judge ourselves or the experiences we would rather not have; instead we can lay down our weapons of mass destruction that we have been subduing ourselves with; and create a kinder way to access and heal difficult and challenging energy blocks within us.
If we truly want our world to change we must first feel the peace within ourselves. To feel peaceful within we must begin to understand and forgive ourselves, less explosions and more kindness and love.
That is my two cents this week, lets all uncover the barriers we have created within ourselves that turn our hearts and minds toward war within, and begin to prefer inviting healing and light deeply into our lives.
Just for today do not worry.
Just for today do not anger.
Just for today be kind to every living thing.
Just for today be thankful.
Just for today do your work honestly.
All My love!
Sunday, March 13, 2011
Thursday, March 3, 2011
One of the buddhist beliefs is to remain un-attached to anything... a teacher, a job, a partner, a home, a thought, etc
It is one of the most incredible things to see or experience the way a buddhist monk painstakingly works for hours to create intricate and beautiful mandalas made of colored sand, then in the end to sweep it away like nothing special at all.
In some ways it feels as though the years and incredible focus that I have put toward my research, my active healing work with people, my personal healing work with myself, the identities of mother, nurse, therapist, intuitive, partner, lover, and teacher are like the sand that a buddhist monk with a generous and compassionate heart; creates beauty and intensity in a mandala with. And just like the incredible art of mandala creation, the hand of the Great Spirit is sweeping through the colors and facets of my life asking me to lose my attachment to everything that is less than reality.
And my Ego is being swept away.
These days the moment I attempt to identify and define myself I find everything in my life re-organizing to show me the folly of the thought "this is me".
My human-self wants to believe that I matter because I can.... (fill in the blank.)
My ego wants me to believe that the confusion and the discomfort that I am feeling as I question my attachment is actually pain and certain death.
Which lets me know I am most certainly on the "right" track.
The seeds that Spirit and I have planted within me will not grow and flourish with garbage and stones blocking the growth. Everything I have thought I am, everything that I am, everything that I will be exists always... Everything I teach myself and call reality is like garbage and stones blocking the light of the sun, truth has never existed out side me and I honestly believe that is the teaching that Spirit offers me these days.
Whatever tool we choose to work on ourselves with, at it's core; is something that was created to remove the lies and fallicy of life and outdated belief systems handed down generation to generation. For me Reiki, hypnosis, past life regression, Spirit Release Therapy, chanting, meditating, yoga, Qi Gong, art, aromatherapy; give me really powerful tools to remove the veils that hold me from the truth that Spirit whispers to us all each and every day.
"Everything is as it should be, there is no separation"
Just as this whale dives deeper into the waters, I too find the need to dive deep within my subconscious to find the obstacles that I place in my own way. To find the very things that keep me feeling small and separate. Thank goodness like this whale and it's family pod, I am not alone, I am supported not only by Spirit and family, but by the incredible work that others who have gone before me have done. In the end there is no separation and that is incredibly soothing during the lesson of non-attachment!