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When it comes to the window, I have two points of view: The actual window and the virtual Window 7 Am I looking in or looking out. As it turned out, when I opened my computer, a message popped that … Continue reading
“The Gift-Wrap & The Jewel” by Wanda B. Goines
I looked in the mirror and what did I see,
but a little old lady peering back at me
With bags and sags and wrinkles and wispy white hair,
and I asked my reflection,
How did you get there?”
You once were straight and vigorous and now you’re stooped and weak,
when I tried so hard to keep you from becoming an antique.
My reflection’s eyes twinkled as she solemnly replied,
you’re looking at the gift wrap and not the jewel inside
A living gem and precious, of unimagined worth
Unique and true, the real you, the only you on earth.
The years that spoil your gift-wrap with other things more cruel,
should purify and strengthen, and polish up that jewel.
So focus your attention on the inside, not the out
On being kinder, wiser, more content and more devout
Then, when your gift-wrap’s stripped away your jewel will be set free,
to radiate God’s glory throughout eternity.
Original news you may read here.
I am talking about mental health to support Bell Let’s Talk Mental Health Awareness Month. It is no secret that I live with mental illness diagnosed with major depressive disorder, seasonal affective disorder and generalized anxiety. For years, I have … Continue reading
Canadians from around the country sharing their stories about mental illness that is sponsored by Bell Let’s Talk January 30 National Awareness Campaign. Well known Canadian I know of that suffers from mental illness is Howie Mandel, Clara Hughes and … Continue reading
Joining a guided walking and sightseeing holiday in Cuba with Walker’s World is not actually a pilgrimage. However, I made sure that I consider it as one for I always consider myself a pilgrim on this earth. Visiting Churches is … Continue reading
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Pink is about acceptance. Pink is about safety. SAFE KIDS: “Schools play an important role in helping children and youth develop this essential aspect of their social development – both by teaching healthy relationship skills and by modeling healthy relationship … Continue reading
Watch Howie Mandel`s Testimony after this clip: two words that made a big difference. In his words: I’m crazy, I’m mental, I’m talking about it.
The birthday of my nephew who turned 25 years old this month of October and the demise of his friend took me back 23 years ago on Easter. This is a photo of my nephews and nieces I keep close to my heart as a reminder how far I have gone along in my journey of “mental” illness. We had more children added to this group since then.
Being released from the hospital on Easter, it was a great celebration but short-lived, I relapsed quickly. My family admitted me back to the hospital and stayed for a long time to make sure I get better. It was April fools and the joke was on me.
Some people are cruel that they are hasty calling me crazy. My response to this is “you have no idea” followed by a sinister laugh and facial expression similar to “one flew over the cuckoo’s nest” that I mastered to scare the living bejesus out of them for labelling me.
When they are too quick to judge, I fire back with a retort “take a hard look at yourself!” A statement that gives them something to think about.
Stigma? That is not in my vocabulary and I refuse to feel victimized.
Crazy as I may sound, I think being afflicted with this “mental illness” is a “blessing”.
I am blessed because I learned humility, compassion, love, kindness, tolerance, respect, perseverance, understanding, recovery, patience, hopeful, peace, joy, live at the moment and enjoying the in-between.
I learned to become thick skin and have broad shoulder. I used this “illness” to my advantage. I am aware that I will have this for the rest of my life, a part of me but it does not define me.
I am lucky that the medical professions that treated me are more knowledgeable about this illness. Even the school industry is educating the children and employers are actively promoting wellness in the work environment.
I simplified my life, focus on the ordinary, and make them extraordinary.
I can educate and advocate for young ones in my family and people in the community that no one has to live alone with a disease that is hereditary or caused by adversity in life.
With care, love and prayers of family, friends and community. I have the courage to come back and live a normal life.
Should I have succeeded on dying, I will not experience the joy of watching these children grow up, get married and have their own children. To hear Baby James call me Miss Pretty is music to my ears and the best medicine to provide relief to sadness.
Do I sound arrogant? That is not my intention. It’s pointless to wallow on self-pity and negativity. There’s plenty of that going around and it’s more contagious than a common cold.
There is a positive point of view in every situation. One can maintain a joie de vivre rather than resign to c’est la vie.
I hope you don’t mind me addressing you on a first name basis, Neil.
Your commencement speech to the 2013 School of Visual Arts graduation ceremony is entertaining with so much wisdom and advice not just on art but life in general. The graduates were laughing so was I. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.
You may call me, Perpetua.
There is part in the speech that I find fascinating, compelling and disturbing. Allow me to quote you:
“When things get tough, this is what you should do: Make good art. I’m serious. Husband runs off with a politician — make good art. Leg crushed and then eaten by a mutated boa constrictor — make good art. IRS on your trail — make good art. Cat exploded — make good art. Someone on the Internet thinks what you’re doing is stupid or evil or it’s all been done before — make good art. Probably things will work out somehow, eventually time will take the sting away, and that doesn’t even matter. Do what only you can do best: Make good art. Make it on the bad days, make it on the good days, too. “
You may call me, Perpetua.
Before I continue, please pardon me for intruding. As an esteemed artist, I think highly of you.
You see, Neil, I am thinking of the cat that exploded. Translating that in my mind it goes: Dead Cat – make good art. Death – make good art, Anxiety Recording – make good art, Suicide – make good art.
I am in a very tough situation. There is a funeral going on in my brain. My nephew’s friend committed suicide. This bothers me. A lot. They grew up together, studied at the same school and graduated. My nephew just turned 25. She must be the same age. Young. Too young to die. This is so close to home.
What I want is to make good art out of the recording from her heartfelt experience of illness on anxiety. I tried writing it in a poetic way, but, I don’t have an ounce of artistic mind. The purpose is to use this as a tool to educate people.
This is the transcript of her recording five months ago.
On My Anxiety
I am cut to the core by a beast I can’t control. Not cut as in my wrists, as in my legs because, you know, that beautiful woman next to me in the Psych ward does it there.
The beautiful woman in the coffee shop a 5-minute walk away, which is 5 minutes too long of a walk when you’re depressed, ornaments her arms, her legs with deep and close bloody gashes. Gashes that I want to bandage with love and heal, but “I have too many problems, I think, I don’t know how to help you.”
Nonetheless, I am cut.
Cut by the words of people who don’t understand what it is to live with a demon inside your mind, your chest, your shaking hands, and your body that is wretched and dried out from all your tears and is so nervous that you have to pray you are always near a bathroom because even your insides don’t work properly.
But, of course, you don’t really pray. Not by this point at least. By now you know if there was a God you would be better, that none of this would have ever happened.
If you don’t see the stigma against mental illness then you probably don’t have it or you’ve never used the internet or stepped outside.
You’ve never had to write a heartfelt resignation letter to end a job only to be eliminated from the workplace silently without any acknowledgment of your soul-bearing words.
You’ve never had your own family tell you to suck it up or not dwell on things so much.
Do you think I WANT to FUCKING DWELL on the things I dwell on?!
Dwell on the fact that I would rather have suffocated myself to death than have attended my Grandma’s 75th birthday because there were gonna be too many people there.
Dwell on the fact that I’ve had to stop seeing all my friend because I’m so anxious.
Dwell on the fact that I can’t see my in-laws without feeling nauseated by my anxiety.
I cannot SUCK IT UP!
Not just that, I can’t do anything except unexpectedly write poetry at 3 am and this has only happened through a careful balance of Lithium, Clonazepam, Abilify, Olanzapine, and Zopiclone.
If those sound scary it’s because they are.
It’s scary to have your brain need to be invaded. To experience the world drugged. To experience the world drugged and still want to throw up at the thought of having to attend a social function.
Andrew Solomon writes on depression and says: “If you said to me, you have to have acute anxiety for the next month; I would rather slit my wrist than go through with it.”
If you’re looking for a way out there may not be one.
Suicide is so seductive. I almost gave up. Almost walked through that exit.
But I’m still here.
Here because of support. Here because of that place. Because of the psych ward that they only seem to ever let you know about when you’re at the point of actually killing yourself.
The ward is full of some of the nicest people you could ever meet but they’ve been so hurt by the world they can no longer function.
We are there because we feel too much. Hurt too much. We are sponges for negativity, depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, and more.
It’s taking drugs, love, support, and money to recreate myself.
To pull myself away from that place where your sob to your husband, plead with him to let you die because your anxiety is so bad, so bad you can’t take a breath without feeling the tight know of pain in your chest, the French brain in your stomach, the shaking of your insides, the hot tears streaming down your face.
Not everyone pulls away from that. Some of us are gone forever.
Unfortunately, Neil, she did not make it.
With my nephew’s farewell note to her, I played with it to read like poetry.
Like a quake in an ocean
A Tsunami of emotion
Waves upon waves of memories
Come flooding back.
I had a feeling that last conversation
and parting hug would be a while until the next.
I never imagined it would be our last
of this life until ‘The Next’.
Well my Friend, rest peacefully.
We can catch up once we meet.
How can I make good art on this? Can this be written in a poetic form? Or should I just leave it as is? What do you think? At any rate, your comments would be much appreciated.
With warm regards and respectfully yours, Perpetua.
This week I will be posting a series of awareness to advocate for people who suffer mental illness. As much as I would like to discuss my experience, I would rather share what is happening NOW.
I want everyone to know that a lot of people are striving to be back in the main stream and live a so-called “normal” life with the help of caring people and communities.
It pains me to read and hear that these people are called “selfish” because of the illness especially one committed suicide.
The other night, I was watching the news how a boy raised funds to help his friend received the operation his friend badly needed. His friend is suffering from cerebral palsy and can hardly move. He raised more than enough money for the operation. The main question for the boy was what made you do it.
His answer was: “If you see someone needs help, you just help them.”
Yes! Just help. It’s that simple from the mouth of a boy.
The world would be better if we can help one another.
Thousands of people with chronic mental illness live productive lives in Metro Vancouver thanks to the support offered by Coast Mental Health. The non-profit organization provides housing, vocational training and employment opportunities, and community resources to over 4,200 people with mental illness every year. In recognition of Mental Illness Awareness Week (Oct. 6 to 11) Coast strives to spark meaningful discussions about mental health.
Mental illness is a thief. It can rob you of your identity, take away your livelihood and isolate you from friends and family. It can leave you a shadow of yourself – alone and hopeless. And if diseases like depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia were not bad enough, add to that the pain of stigma and discrimination.
Coast Mental Health is a non-profit private organization that supports recovery from mental illness by providing intervention and care. From our meal and clothing programs and supported housing, we see restored dignity. And from our life skills training, education and employment programs, we see reduced poverty and increased security.
With the right supports, people can and do recover from these illnesses. Mental illness is simply another obstacle in life.
Find out what Coast Mental Health does to help individuals suffering from mental illness and homelessness, click here.
When it comes to promoting Dialogue, I keep my eyes on art and media.
Working previously in an advertising agency, it opened my vista to the wonderful world of communication with very few words using art. Words for me can get in the way. I choose my words. The softer the word the better. Simple words preferably. It’s interesting to learn new words every. I subscribe to a word a day and learn new vocabulary. But for what purpose? The word is only useful for me if it’s life-giving and to bring awareness.
Shhh…. look, just look and listen to what I am showing you. What thoughts and emotion are starting to form in you?
Can you hear? Can you hear your own thoughts? Your own prejudice?
When you speak, what language do you use? What I mean by language is not the word. It’s more than words. Do you say the truth, do speak love, do you resonate kindness?
Do you see what I mean? It starts with yourself, family, friends and to the outside world. If you keeps your eyes wide shut, what is the point of having a vision?
It happened, still happening. Not just at school, not just in Canada, it`s everywhere, it starts in you. This is not to scare you. This is to learn from the power of media.
Through Darkness, Into the Light BY
I recently talked with a friend who’s spent time in the same deep darkness that I’ve known from time to time. In the course of our conversation, she shared a beautiful poem with me — a poem she wrote about an experience that helped her come through that darkness back into the light.
As the poem itself says, this may not be for you. But I wanted to share it here, with her permission, knowing that if the poem brings light to only one other person, I’ll be glad I passed it along. I know it brought light to me.
by Willow Harth
This poem is not meant for you
unless you too have been underground
choking on your life’s debris, and
playing peek-a-boo with death seriously
then the surprise of ten thousand buttercups
out of nowhere on every side where they’d
never been before on my daily walk
might have had the effect on you it did on me
I wanted to understand how these particular
flowers came to be—the whole evolutionary
history of mosses, ferns and angiosperms,
the miracle of photosynthesis and DNA, not
to mention the longings of the Milky Way
to reflect itself in the form called flowers and
in these buttercups, which seemed like a
visitation from the sun, urging me to tell you, in
case like me you had forgotten
we are the universe’s latest way of blooming.
Source: On Being With Krista Tippett
There is no straight path.
You Zig your way
You Zag the other way
Zigzagging as you go along in life
Avoiding the pitfalls and perils.
The big rocks
The sandy wind
The blinding sun.
You stumble along the way.
Pick up yourself
Shake the dust off your body
Wipe the blood of your hands and knees.
You cry some
You laugh some
You ignore some
You wonder what am I doing?
Even the camels
Even the mountain goats
They are smart enough to
Walk, jump, crisscross in the
Treacherous rocky mountain.
Don’t be fooled
For there is no short cuts
In the mountain of life.
No short cut.
There are tremendous reasons
To place the blame. Be it people,
Situations, yourself, or anything
Or anyone. These are obstacles in life.
Unless you have a God
For your God
can make a straight path
Watch. This could save your life.
Please Read Important Notice
I posted “Extra Ordinary Bonds“ (EOB), the photo of a Sadhu and Monkey, taken by Sirish BC for National Geographic assignment “The Animals that We Love” recently. Subsequent to this, I posted “Is it love or we just see what we want to see?” another photo of a Sadhu taken by VJ Photography with his comments to EOB.
What made me do it, you asked? I did it out of respect for Sirish BC and because words get in the way. Sirish did not ask me to delete my post but he deleted his assignment at National Geographic. I want to support him.
It was based on his in reply to VJPhotograpy at EOB:
Sirish B.C. Jul 8, 9:50 am “Nanda, This was your observation as a tourist…but I don’t want to debate as I am not a very very very wise, intellectual and big shot like you, so deleted my picture on NG…”
I am aware that the photo of the Sadhu and the Monkey was shared to another form of social media and it was reblogged thousand times over, not enough to have gone viral.
By deleting the source, Sirish and mine, I am hoping the that we can maintain a spirit of peace and harmony in this celluloid word. I am asking you all who have shared this if you all can support Sirish BC by deleting it from your site.
Perpetua aka The Seeker
My thoughts for you
May you have a peaceful day.
to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children,
to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends,
to appreciate beauty,
to find the best in others,
to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition;
to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded!”
source: Ralph Waldo Emerson. poets for justice
JOY IS LIKE THE RAIN
I saw raindrops on my window, Joy is like the rain.
Laughter runs across my pain, slips away and comes again.
Joy is like the rain.
Words and music: Miriam Therese Winter © Medical Mission Sisters 1965
Said the Master:
“To be public-spirited and belong to no party,
to move without being bound to any given course,
to take things as they come,
have no remorse for the past,
no anxiety for the future,
to move when pushed,
to come when dragged,
to be like a mighty gale,
like a feather in the wind,
like weeds floating on a river,
like a mill stone meekly grinding,
to love all creation equally
as heaven and earth are equal to all
—such is the product of Enlightenment.”
On hearing these words, one of the younger disciples cried, “This sort of teaching is not for the living but for the dead,” and walked away, never to return. ~ Anthony de Mello, SJ
MORSEL: All Spiritual being is in man. A wise old proverb says, “God comes to see us without bell,” that is, as there is no screen or ceiling between our heads and the infinite heavens, so is there no bar or wall in the soul where man, the effect, ceases, and God, the cause, begins. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson, Essays “The Over-Soul”
As a child becomes aware, he notices that the
world around him is filled with other living things.
There are animals, bugs, birds and creepy
crawlers going about their own lives
that fascinate him.
A caterpillar inches along.
A chickadee sings high in up on a tree.
A bee buzzes from flower to flower.
Suddenly he is filled with wonders.
And a million questions begin.
I wonder why kangaroos have pouches.
I wonder why caterpillars eat so much.
I wonder why camels have humps.
I wonder why horses wear shoes.
I wonder why spiders spin webs.
I wonder why the sun rises.
I wonder why whales sing.
Why do birds sing?
Why can’t penguins fly?
Why do plants have flowers?
Why do leopards have spots?
Why does it get dark at night?
Why are bees busy in summer?
Why do kangaroos have pouches?
Too many questions.
I wonder myself, too.
I cannot seem to remember for
my thoughts have been placed
by useless mundane stuff of
everyday busyness of life.
It is true. All prisoners, myself included, constantly wait to be let go. I decided then and there that my captivity would not be merely a time of resignation but a turning point in my life. I decided I would not wait. I would live the present moment and fill it with love. For if I wait, the things I wait for will never happen. The only thing that I can be sure of is that I am going to die.
No, I will not spend time waiting. I will live the present moment and fill it with love.
When the Communists put me in the hold of the boat, the Hai-Phong, along with 1500 other prisoners and moved us to the North, I said to myself, “Here is my cathedral, here are the people God has given me to care for, here is my mission: to ensure the presence of God among these, my despairing, miserable brothers. It is God’s will that I am here. I accept his will”. And from that minute onwards, a new peace filled my heart and stayed with me for thirteen years.
The words of Bishop John Walsh, who had been imprisoned for 12 years in Communist China, Waiting in captivity.
We don’t have to go far to find the treasure we are seeking.
There is beauty and goodness right where we are.
And only when we can see the beauty and goodness
that are close by can we recognize beauty and goodness
on our travels far and wide.
There are trees and flowers to enjoy, paintings and sculptures to admire;
most of all there are people who smile, play, and show kindness and gentleness.
They are all around us, to be recognized as free gifts to receive in gratitude.
Our temptation is to collect all the beauty and goodness
surrounding us as helpful information we can use for our projects.
But then we cannot enjoy it, and we soon find that
we need a vacation to restore ourselves.
Let’s try to see the beauty and goodness in front of us
before we go elsewhere to look for it.
by: Henri Nouwen
Look at it at the point of view when a child is born.
“there’s no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation.“ ~ Pierre Elliot Trudeau
“There’s no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation.” Those unforgettable words made famous by Pierre Trudeau in 1967 caused a tidal wave of controversy that rippled across the entire nation. Trudeau’s Omnibus Bill brought issues like abortion, homosexuality and divorce law to the forefront for the first time, changing the political and social landscape in Canada forever.”
Awareness day: May 17 is National Day Against Homophobia.
Public school system in British Columbia is gradually adopting a strict policy on anti-homophobia in order to create a safe structured learning environment for the children and it’s employees.
These posters are educational materials used in an ongoing staff development that I attended.
Do you know that homophobia is one of the major causes of drugs, alcoholism and suicide on children? So think twice or more before acting negatively, it can have a devastating effect.
My two dads
My two moms
Imagine that these are adopted
children and brought into
a loving home. They were given
food, shelter, education,
plenty of love to be had and
grew up happily. The only difference
is that their parents are in the same
Moms, Dads, daughter, son.
Imagine that these two children have no
parents, unwanted, grew up on the street
and became a statistics.
“Heterosexism refers to the assumption that
all people are heterosexual and that
heterosexuality is superior and more
desirable than homosexuality.”
“Homophobia is the irrational fear and hatred
of homosexuals. Both of these are
perpetuated by negative stereotypes and are
dangerous to people and communities.”
Think purple, Wear purple. It’s a purple kind of day.
May 12 is Fibromyalgia Awareness Day. Please wear purple to create awareness and help find a cure.
And to lighten up a heavy topic, humour is the best medicine.
10 best things about Fibromyalgia
It’s Mother’s Day. I don’t feel like celebrating, not because my Mother has long since gone, not because I do not have children, but because of mother less child.
Every Friday, on the way home, at a corner street, I see a group of people with a baby stroller with no baby in it. Instead pictures of a baby inside of a womb occupies the stroller. Out of curiosity, I asked what is the purpose of their presence and jokingly asked where the real baby is?
“We are here to educate people.”
“About what? “
“Abortion? Why here?”
“See that building across the street? Above that bank is an abortion clinic.”
It was shocking for me to hear that an abortion clinic existed in this area.
“We are standing outside the bubble zone. By law, we are not allowed to protest in front of the building.”
We discussed about abortion for a good half hour while pedestrians passed by in a hurry to catch the bus or the train. I walked away thinking which one of these women that just passed us by just walked out of the building after an abortion. I cannot tell.
“See those men on the other side of the street? They are with us as well. They are there to pray for the women and the aborted babies.”
“I will keep your group in my prayers as well as those women and the dead babies.” And I bid farewell.
With this whole incident, I reflected the life of Mother Mary who had an immaculate conception. This is more of what if situation.
I am thankful that Mother Mary said YES.
Prayer for Reverence for Life
Almighty God, giver of all that is good, we thank You for the precious gift of human life:
For life in the womb, coming from your creative power,
For the life of children, making us glad with their freshness and promise,
For the life of young people, hoping for a better world,
For the life of people who are disabled, teaching us that every life has value,
For the life of the elderly, witnessing to the ageless values of patience and wisdom.
Like Blessed Mary, may we always say “YES” to Your gift. May we defend it and promote it from conception to its natural end. And bring us at last, O Father, to the fullness of eternal life in Jesus Christ, our Lord.
To find a light streaming through a hole on a door
in a dark room made my outlook brighter.
In the threshold of my thoughts that gives me a
glimpse of hope that life will be bearable
in between these spaces lie a threshold
a passage that will open a door of transformation.
The awareness of the light,
I am grateful for the threshold
for without it, there is no possibility to know
that there is a brighter life behind this door.
Franz Kafka said, “we ought to read only books that bite and sting us.” What’s the last thing you read that bit and stung you?
When was the last time I borrowed a book from the library? It was such a long time ago. There is a period in my life that I devour all the books at the library and suddenly BOOM, I stop reading.
Bite me, I dare you. Vampire books are enjoyable to read because they bite. What stings them is that they still have their humanity, the love to be amongst the living. Ah, love, it makes my heart grow fonder. It’s lovely to feel the love of the Vampires. I feel so much love. Just wait a minute, that doesn’t sting.
There are a couple of books beside me that I pick up to read between TV commercials. I tell you, I can read a chapter by the time the ads are over, too many commercials on TV. “All I really need to know I learned in kindergarten” by Robert Fulghum and “The Pleasure of Finding Things Out” by Richard P. Feynman. These books are filled with humor and they both sting, a little.
The book that I keep on coming back that I never seem to finish reading is titled “Awareness … the perils and … opportunities for reality” written by Anthony de Mello. This is not an easy read or a romantic novel. This book cuts through the core, and I bleed just by reading it.
When I picked up the book, it opened on this chapter, and I quote in part:
At a loss for Words: “God does not die on the day we cease to believe in a personal deity. But we die on the day when our lives cease to be illumined by the ready radiance of wonder renewed daily, the source of which is beyond all reason. We don’t have to quarrel about a word, because “God” is only a word, a concept. One never quarrels about reality; we only quarrel about opinions, about concepts, about judgments.”