Lately I have been busy caring for my elderly mother. She fell and broke her arm. That would be bad enough but she is also 92 years old, has advanced cancer (untreated, metastasized for 5 years), has trouble walking, she’s mostly blind and also deaf. I had gone on a vacation- my first real vacation ever, to Palm Springs for a week. The night I got back she had fallen and was in the hospital. She needed 24 hour care (up until now she’s lived by herself). Within a couple days the hospital was going to discharge her to the first Intermediate Care Facility on their list.
I’ve been off work for a month and a half but mostly housebound. Not going stir crazy but getting more than a little irritable.
having or showing a tendency to be easily annoyed or made angry.
Well, spring is here in the Northern hemisphere. Time for birth and reproduction in the natural world. Mostly just a few early bloomers in my part of the word so far. I’ve heard some frogs croaking. The weather is mostly wet, not too cold. Regular western Oregon climate.
Speaking of birth…
Larvae from a parasitic wasp are being born from a caterpillar which will be their first meal.
seahorse having babies (!)\
Cockroaches are mommas too
Just starfish and eels having a party- maybe it’s someones birthday
What else is new? Hell if I know. I’m out of the loop.
Pictures from my vacation (click for full size):
My fiance, Candace
Courtyard view from our motel room
It was so fantastic to be somewhere with the daily temperature in the 80s, no rain, palm trees everywhere. A stark contrast to what was happening back home.
Candace by some rocks at Joshua Tree National Park
Me, Joshua Tree in background. Notice how blue the sky!
43.7 Million Americans Experienced Mental Illness in 2012
$31 Million Announced To Improve Mental Health Services for Young People
Nearly one in five American adults, or 43.7 million people, experienced a diagnosable mental illness in 2012 according to SAMHSA. These results are consistent with 2011 findings.
[Does anyone else besides me suspect that the reason so many are diagnosed is because of marketing of psycho-pharmacological drugs?]
Top Three Reasons Adults Did Not Get Mental Health Treatment in 2012
They worried about affording the cost.
They thought they could handle the problem without treatment.
They did not know where to receive services.
“The President and Vice President have made clear that mental illness should no longer be treated by our society—or covered by insurance companies—differently from other illnesses,” said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “The Affordable Care Act and new parity protections are expanding mental and substance use disorder benefits for 62 million Americans. This historic expansion will help make treatment more affordable and accessible.”
On December 12, 2013, Congressman Tim Murphy (R-PA) introduced the “Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act of 2013”. While the National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health applauds Congressman Murphy’s inclusion of provisions that would reauthorize the Mental Health First Aid Act (S.153/H.R.274), the Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act (S.116/H.R.2734), the Children’s Recovery from Trauma Act (S.380), the Excellence in Mental Health Act (S.264/H.R.1263), the Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Act of 2013 (MIOTCRA;S. 162/H.R.401) and the Behavioral Health IT Act (S.1517, S.1685/H.R.2057), we decry provisions that would effectively reverse the progress made in mental health treatment and support over the past 30 years.
For decades, organizations such as the National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health have been working to add a more balanced approach to mental health services and treatment. The National Federation advocates for the rights of children, youth and young adults who experience mental health challenges. As family members, we feel it is important that our loved ones are able to receive the support they need while remaining at home and in the community. We realize that mental illness does not affect just one person, it is something that the entire family experiences; therefore, it is crucial that initiatives are in place to support the entire family unit.
Rep. Murphy’s bill magnifies the stigma of mental illness by creating an extremely biased link between mental illness and violence. Countless studies have determined that the relationship between mental illness and violence is minimal and that individuals experiencing mental health challenges are 11 times more likely to be the victims of violence than the general public.
The National Federation rejects the expanded use of involuntary outpatient commitment (IOC) and urges Congress to champion practices proven to be effective in facilitating a holistic approach to treatments and supports for children and youth who are experiencing mental health challenges and their families.
Finally, the National Federation strongly opposes legislation that threatens to essentially dismantle key efforts and programs of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) which functions as the lead public health agency dedicated to mental health and addiction treatment, services, and supports. Transferring authority away from SAMHSA and decimating significant activities within the Department of Health and Human Services are not in the best interest of our most vulnerable citizens who are striving to be participating members of their communities.
The details in this bill reflect the continued, urgent need for a national conversation with individuals who experience mental illness, their families, and their communities to facilitate the creation of systems and networks that support maximal health, safety, and welfare for all community members. We urge Congressional leaders to take this opportunity to create legislation on behalf of their constituents that solidifies a bond among all stakeholders that highlights the dignity, respect, and self-determination of all individuals.
This morning I gave the following assignment to my writing group: “What was the favorite gift you have ever either received or given for any occasion (Christmas, Birthday, Anniversary)? Write about it and answer these questions:
What was the occasion?
Who were the players—giver and recipient?
What emotions were felt or expressed?
J.N. from Bird 3 (Salem) answered:
“Liz, my group home manager in Grants Pass, when I spent Christmas there gave pajamas to me for a present. I laugh because I needed P.J.’s. They were navy blue. I could put them on before bedtime and unwind in writing on the computer. They were light and comfortable. I felt like a million bucks in them because it was decades [since] I had a bed, and P.J.’s to sleep in. You see, I had spent years on the streets and I slept anywhere out of the weather. My clothes stayed on me, but my shoes came off when I climbed into the sleeping bag.
When my care-provider gave P.J.’s to me I acted like a child of joy. The smell of new P.J.’s was pleasant. Crisp, fresh P.J.’s were like I was high class. I did thank Liz for the thoughtful gift. She is a wonderful person and considerate. Now, feeling human and high class I wrote better with a new mentality…..Liz [fed] us a balanced diet and shows love in working around the house.
Love for P.J.’s is the tender feeling while nights pass. And I sleep…”
When our patient read this aloud to the class, my eyes filled with tears. What a wonderful expression of thanks flowed from this patient’s pen! There are a lot of things to be sad and disappointed about in our world today, but as you reflect on this story I urge you to consider “Who can I bless with “P.J.’s” during this Christmas/Hanukkah/Holiday season?”
Dr. **** ******, Clinical Psychologist
If you have followed this blog you are acquainted with JN and his powerful images, intensely emotional poetry. Of course, he is no longer in the 50 Building- which is now abandoned across the street. He lives in this giant new beast, shiny and deceptive. They rolled up the old hospital and brought it here into a new edifice. Here’s something else-
Understood into self as the clouds drift away
Sun rises to the word of reality with shinning focus
Wind whispers it while awake in the Desert
Mountains’ tree sings it out with a hoot
Rocks roll in the snowy water stream
The birds fly with uplifting wings
Chairs hold you in faithful promise
I absorb it like food for nourishment
Rain falls to the gravities law
Air gives way to breathe of life
Monks hum to it in meditation
Spirit listens in ah while thought is created
Soul will carry it to heaven
God rewards you for understanding
Flowers wilt by it after seeding
A Babies cry with it when born
Believe while doing all things and it will be
Stories are written with the thought of it
Companions make love for a child
Can’t touch it with your hands, but imagination flourishes
Since March 14th I’ve been on disability leave, endured and been given a lot of changes (e.g. gotta move, can’t afford to live in my awful basement apartment), pain (tempered and made somehow worse by using powerful prescribed narcotic pain meds), poverty (well, that’s just basic- no frills), new life with a new friend (lover, sweetheart), surgery, hospital, inability to walk, blah blah blah. This will be my first major new post since I’ve been on this journey. It will be my last before I return to work.
Here is my new bag to take to work-
This is me before surgery-
This is me after surgery:
Here is my new hat-
So much stuff-
First, here is my friend Steve’s MySpace music page. He’s one of my favorite musicians, one of my oldest friends. There was a time we wrote together and made music for friends. He has always been great, he has gotten even better and he is a terrific person.
My friend, Dr. Jack, is continuing his fight against the Beast as a now retired, former employee who doesn’t have to keep his mouth shut. I have so much from Jack that I hesitate to post anything. e writes to me about daily. Here is an excerpt from one email. No names are used.
The old building. Everything is all better now, since we have a bright shiny, new, cramped, walled, horizon-free, super-secure new Beast.
Below are excerpts from an email to an OSH friend (by sending this, I am trying to help others see my own thinking as we approach our discussion, and spur new ideas by community people which will be the most important ones): (emboldened only to set the whole of it off from this email to all of you; not for dramatic emphasis)
My vision is that if we assemble and talk about our experiences together with interested community individuals, we will be able to elicit their understanding of the grave situation at OSH [no pun intended 🙂 ], and hopefully arouse their passion about doing something. They have the power. They can have the OSH sucker punches thrown at them and those punches will miss, because they are outside the range of being hurt by that shit. They have the power to say, “We won’t play the game that way. I demand that we play by fair rules, or we will expose that the game is rigged.” You and anyone still attached to OSH will need to safely just watch and cheer on, and those outside in the vantaged positions will be able to tell by the responses from those within if their efforts to change to a fair game are being effective. (Many inside) have already risked more than should be expected. Healing time for (them). Reinforcements will be coming, or the alternative is the one for you that you have already described — find a different ballpark with no bullies in it.
An excerpt from my email yesterday to another OSH psychologist (talking about an OSH administrator):
I do think that you should not trust (him) and the appearance of good will. He is truly intent on getting the “treatment” of Recovery moving, but he really doesn’t capture the connection you are making between those “treatment” principles and similar principles related to best management practices, and to just healthy human relationships in general. Just the fact that (he) isn’t using the Peer Specialists and some excellent patients who are versed and more directly experienced with these principles shows his continued belief that he and other nominal hospital leaders are the ones to educate staff. That itself reveals his unawareness that in a Recovery culture, the people receiving services are central to all decisions — personal, system-wise, and political — about Recovery implementation. There are excellent examples of inpatient Recovery being implemented in the U.S. (not many, but of good quality), and a person I know who is a national leader is sending me a presentation she recently made back East about the success in a hospital there and what it took. The circumstances there, though, involve the consumer survivors themselves being in leadership positions together with traditional providers, and psychiatrists and other professionals following their recommendations and advisement. (The administrator) sees himself as the center of OSH change, and he is ruthless in protecting his fragile hold on that self-promoting way of seeing things. He is not creating a culture change to Recovery; he is trying to change the “psychiatric treatment” approach to Recovery while still using a medical model management structure to “enforce” it. Thus we can understand his almost tantrum-like coercive responses when he sees the “patient” (Recovery-oriented personnel) being “treatment resistant” (suggesting to him that perhaps they know what is best for themselves, and that they can help him assist them better if he would just listen). But, his support of psychiatrists being the ones to lead OSH Recovery reveals that he continues to use the medical model “doctor knows best” fallacious reasoning about what patients need.”
If ever there’s a time for youngsters to understand what’s happening to their brain during puberty, it’s now.
The founder of Life Education, Trevor Grice, says the pressure of society, the increase in youth suicide and easy access to drugs and alcohol make it essential for young people to understand what’s going on inside their heads.
However he says it must be explained to them using today’s technology and in a language they relate to.
As a result the Life Education Trust is developing a digital brain that youngsters can look inside, see what happens during puberty and how drugs, alcohol, peer pressure and relationships affect how it works.
This year Life Education is celebrating its 25th anniversary in New Zealand and has committed itself to developing the latest technology to engage with primary and intermediate students.
At its annual conference last month the latest mobile classroom – its 45th – was unveiled which the Trust considers will propel it into the next 25 years as a relevant and essential player in the health curriculum.
The technology demonstrated to John Key, who opened the conference, replicated his skeleton and organs and demonstrated to him how they work so he can have a greater understanding of his own body.
To this technology, which will be rolled out into every mobile classroom, Trevor Grice intends to introduce the digital brain.
New HUD Olmstead Guidance Step in Right Direction
Washington — June 5, 2013 — The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has issued new guidance on how the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in the
Olmstead case applies to HUD’s programs and activities. The guidance makes clear that HUD and entities that receive financial assistance from HUD must provide housing for people with disabilities in the most integrated setting appropriate to their needs. Integrated settings, according to the guidance, are “those that provide individuals with disabilities opportunities to live, work, and receive services in the greater community, like individuals without disabilities.”
Examples of integrated settings include scattered-site apartments providing supportive housing, rental subsidies that enable individuals with disabilities to obtain housing on the open market, and apartments for individuals with disabilities scattered throughout housing developments. “By contrast,” the guidance states, “segregated settings are occupied exclusively or primarily by individuals with disabilities.”
The guidance is intended to better educate state and local housing agencies, housing developers, and housing providers on their obligations under the “integration mandate” of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). To make real the promise of the ADA, the guidance instructs, “additional integrated housing options scattered throughout the community” are needed.
In issuing the guidance, HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan recognized that the “Olmsteaddecision-and subsequent voluntary Olmstead planning and implementation, litigation by groups representing individuals with disabilities, and Department of Health and Human Services and Department of Justice enforcement efforts-is creating a dramatic shift in the way services are delivered to individuals with disabilities.” He affirmed that “HUD is committed to offering housing options that enable individuals with disabilities to live in the most integrated settings possible and to fully participate in community life.”
“We are encouraged by the issuance of this guidance and its important recognition that HUD-subsidized housing must afford people with disabilities the chance to live in the most integrated setting,” said Jennifer Mathis, director of programs for the Judge David L. Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law. “The vast majority of people with disabilities want to live in ordinary housing. We hope this guidance will spark development across the country of mainstream housing for people with disabilities.”
The Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law (www.bazelon.org) is the leading national legal-advocacy organization representing people with mental disabilities. It promotes laws and policies that enable people with psychiatric or intellectual disabilities to exercise their life choices and access the resources they need to participate fully in their communities.
To many modern Christians, words like “meditation,” “mystic,” and “mysticism” bring to mind Eastern religions, not Christianity. Certainly Eastern religions are known for their mysticism; however, mysticism is not only a vital part of the Christian heritage as well, but it is actually the core of Christian spirituality. Mysticism simply means the spirituality of the direct experience of God. It is the adventure of “the wild things of God.”
The direct experience of God is a kind of knowing, which goes beyond intellectual understanding. It is not a matter of “belief.” It is marked by love and joy, but it is not “emotional experience.” In many ways, it is better described by what it is not. To describe what it is, we must use metaphors—the marriage of the soul to Christ, the death of the “old man” and birth of the “new man,” being the “body of Christ.”
Jesus proclaimed “I and the Father are one,” (Jn. 10.30) showing the world what the union of God and man can be. Christian mysticism is about nothing else but this transforming union.
“Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires; and will turn away their ears from the truth, and will turn aside to myths.” (2 Timothy 4:2-4)
I have spent my life. driven by an inner. undeniable need, trying to find my way closer and closer to God: it is not a trivial thing. I was from an early age full of a loneliness and desire that I could not name. I can’t live any other way. The only thing that satisfies me is to keep making the spiritual effort, Sadhana, without it I may as well not exist.
My life has been full of visions, voices, indescribable encounters with the ultimate and Un-Nameable One. And I still have no dog in the fight between the various wings of the Christian churches from the most liberal Quaker Meeting to the most Fundamentalist Church. I mat sometimes slip but I want mostly to remain open because I know only tht I don’t know. So I can’t, in good concience, argue dogma or anti-dogma. I have my feelings and the things that are closest to beliefs but I can’t say who is right or wrong, if anyone is.
I suspect that none can speak the truth because by it’s very nature, truth is unspeakable.
If you live in, or plan to visit, the Portland, area and have an interest in Tibetan Buddhism, Buddhist scholarship, or meditation, please attend one of our events, take a class, or contact us for a tour.
1119 SE Market St.
(cross street SE 11th;
3 blocks S. of Hawthorne)
Portland, Oregon 97214
Just a bit over a week until His Holiness the Dalai Lama and His Holiness Sakya Trizin arrive for the Dalai Lama Environmental Summit!
His Holiness Sakya Trizin to teach at Maitripa
Maitripa College is very honored to announce that His Holiness Sakya Trizin, head of the Sakya school of Tibetan Buddhism, has accepted our invitation to offer a special teaching at Maitripa College on Sunday, May 12, at 6pm. Registration and further details coming soon!
Lama Etiquette & Protocol
Yangsi Rinpoche invites the community participating in the Dalai Lama Environmental Summit, including ticket holders and volunteers, to attend a presentation by Dean Namdrol Miranda Adams regarding Lama etiquette and protocol. THURSDAY, 6 – 7 pm.
Public Teaching with Yangsi Rinpoche
Please join public teachings with President Yangsi Rinpoche on Thursday evening at 7:30 pm. Donations gratefully accepted.
Security for Dalai Lama Environmental Summit
For the safety of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and all event participants, the following items are prohibited from the venues:
Large bags or backpacks
Outside food or drink
No video/audio recording is allowed, and no professional camera lenses or flash photography are permitted
Because there are no storage facilities available and these prohibited items can not pass through the security screening, please leave these and similar items at home.
PLEASE ARRIVE EARLY TO ALLOW TIME TO GO THROUGH SECURITY AND TAKE YOUR SEAT. Doors will open at least two hours prior to the start time of each event/session.
A limited number of questions will be posted on the event website, and some will be selected for the Q&A sessions during public events on May 9 or May 11, 2013 in Portland, Oregon.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama Events are Sold Out
Tickets are currently sold out for all events of the Dalai Lama Environmental Summit. We look forward to seeing you all there!
(And for those who cannot join us in person, please stay tuned for information about webcasting; we are finalizing these details now.)
Classical Tibetan Language Summer Courses
Summer Tibetan language study options from beginner to advanced translation skills. Applications currently being accepted, limited spaces remain so apply now to reserve your space. Learn More & Apply Here
Where Could a Maitripa Degree Take You?
Learn more about degree entry for Fall 2013 to earn your Masters in Buddhist Studies (MA) or Master of Divinity (MDiv) degree.
Applications currently being accepted!Questions: firstname.lastname@example.org
What do older people regret when they look back over their lives? I asked hundreds of the oldest Americans that question. I hadexpected big-ticket items: an affair, a shady business deal, addictions — that kind of thing. I was therefore unprepared for the answer they often gave:
I wish I hadn’t spent so much of my life worrying.
Over and over, as the 1,200 elders in our Legacy Project reflected on their lives, I heard versions of “I would have spent less time worrying” and “I regret that I worried so much about everything.” Indeed, from the vantage point of late life, many people felt that if given a single “do-over” in life, they would like to have all the time back they spent fretting anxiously about the future.
Their advice on this issue is devastatingly simple and direct: Worry is an enormous waste of your precious and limited lifetime. They suggested training yourself to reduce or eliminate worrying as the single most positive step you can make toward greater happiness. The elders conveyed, in urgent terms, that worry is an unnecessary barrier to joy and contentment. And it’s not just what they said — it’s how they said it.
John Alonzo, 83, is a man of few words, but I quickly learned that what he had to say went straight to the point. A construction worker, he had battled a lifetime of financial insecurity. But he didn’t think twice in giving this advice:
Don’t believe that worrying will solve or help anything. It won’t. So stop it.
That was it. His one life lesson was simply to stop worrying.
James Huang, 87, put it this way:
Why? I ask myself. What possible difference did it make that I kept my mind on every little thing that might go wrong? When I realized that it made no difference at all, I experienced a freedom that’s hard to describe. My life lesson is this: Turn yourself from frittering away the day worrying about what comes next and let everything else that you love and enjoy move in.
This surprised me. Indeed, I thought that older people would endorse a certain level of worry. It seemed reasonable that people who had experienced the Great Depression would want to encourage financial worries; who fought or lost relatives in World War II would suggest we worry about international issues; and who currently deal with increasing health problems would want us to worry about our health.
The reverse is the case, however. The elders see worry as a crippling feature of our daily existence and suggest that we do everything in our power to change it. Why is excessive worry such a big regret? Because, according to the elders,worry wastes your very limited and precious lifetime. By poisoning the present moment, they told me, you lose days, months, or years that you can never recover.
Betty, 76, expressed this point with a succinct example:
I was working, and we learned that there were going to be layoffs in my company in three months. I did nothing with that time besides worry. I poisoned my life by worrying obsessively, even though I had no control over what would happen. Well — I wish I had those three months back.
Life is simply too short, the oldest Americans tell us, to spend it torturing yourself over outcomes that may never come to pass.
How should we use this lesson, so that we don’t wind up at the end of our lives longing to get back the time we wasted worrying? The elders fortunately provide us with some concrete ways of thinking differently about worry and moving beyond it as we go through our daily lives.
Tip 1: Focus on the short term rather than the long term.
Eleanor is a delightful, positive 102-year-old who has had much to worry about in her long life. Her advice is to avoid the long view when you are consumed with worry and to focus instead on the day at hand. She told me:
Well, I think that if you worry, and you worry a lot, you have to stop and think to yourself, “This too will pass.” You just can’t go on worrying all the time because it destroys you and life, really. But there’s all the times when you think of worrying and you can’t help it — then just make yourself stop and think: it doesn’t do you any good. You have to put it out of your mind as much as you can at the time. You just have to take one day at a time. It’s a good idea to plan ahead if possible, but you can’t always do that because things don’t always happen the way you were hoping they would happen. So the most important thing is one day at a time.
Tip 2: Instead of worrying, prepare.
The elders see a distinct difference between worry and conscious, rational planning, which greatly reduces worry. It’s the free-floating worry, after one has done everything one can about a problem, which seems so wasteful to them.
Joshua Bateman, 74, summed up the consensus view:
If you’re going to be afraid of something, you really ought to know what it is. At least understand why. Identify it. ‘I’m afraid of X.’ And sometimes you might have good reason. That’s a legitimate concern. And you can plan for it instead of worrying about it.
Tip 3: Acceptance is an antidote to worry
The elders have been through the entire process many times: worrying about an event, having the event occur and experiencing the aftermath. Based on this experience, they recommend an attitude of acceptance as a solution to the problem of worry. However, we tend to see acceptance as purely passive, not something we can actively foster. In addition to focusing on the day at hand and being prepared as cures for worry, many of the elders also recommend actively working toward acceptance. Indeed this was most often the message of the oldest experts.
Sister Clare, a 99-year-old nun, shared a technique for reducing worry through pursuing acceptance:
There was a priest that said mass for us, and at a certain time of his life, something happened, and it broke his heart. And he was very angry — he just couldn’t be resigned, he couldn’t get his mind off it. Just couldn’t see why it had happened.So he went to an elderly priest and said, “What shall I do? I can’t get rid of it.” And the priest said, “Every time it comes to your mind, say this.” And the priest said very slowly, “Just let it be, let it be.” And this priest told us, “I tried that and at first it didn’t make any difference, but I kept on. After a while, when I pushed it aside, let it be, it went away. Maybe not entirely, but it was the answer.”
Sister Clare, one of the most serene people I have ever met, has used this technique for well over three-quarters of a century.
So many things come to your mind. Now, for instance, somebody might hurt your feelings. You’re going to get back at him or her — well, just let it be. Push it away. So I started doing that. I found it the most wonderful thing because everybody has uncharitable thoughts, you can’t help it. Some people get on your nerves and that will be there until you die. But when they start and I find myself thinking, “Well, now, she shouldn’t do that. I should tell her that . . .” Let it be. Often, before I say anything, I think, “If I did that, then what?” And let it be. Oh, so many times I felt grateful that I did nothing. That lesson has helped me an awful lot.
Worry is endemic to the experience of most modern-day human beings, so much so that following this piece of elder wisdom may seem impossible to some of you. But what the elders tell us is consistent with research findings. The key characteristic of worry, according to scientists who study it, is that it takes place in the absence of actual stressors; that is, we worry when there is actually nothing concrete to worry about. This kind of worry — ruminating about possible bad things that may happen to us or our loved ones — is entirely different from concrete problem solving. When we worry, we are dwelling on possible threats to ourselves rather than simply using our cognitive resources to figure a way out of a difficult situation.
A critically important strategy for regret reduction, according to our elders, is increasing the time spent on concrete problem solving and drastically eliminating time spent worrying. One activity enhances life, whereas down the road the other is deeply regretted as a waste of our all-too-short time on Earth.
current status- click if it doesn’t animate
this kind of thing requires patience and dedication