Practicing gratitude came upon me as a form of grace. It was not something that made a whole lot of sense to me during the darkest times of illness. No, gratitude did not come easy from that darkest of dark nights and yet the little there was I clung to for dear life (quite literally). For me the bearers of this gift were my cats. While there was nothing else I could find any consistent source of comfort from, I could find it from my cats. For that, I was profoundly grateful and because I had that gift my practice of gratitude began. … I want to suggest and even underscore that practicing gratefulness does not entail denying the difficulty of our lives. I think it’s equally important to honor and embrace our pain and anger and hurt. If we are feeling those things we need to approve of and love the parts of us that feel all those things. That does not negate also being grateful for that which we can be grateful for. So many times when things like gratefulness or forgiveness or other virtues are considered the message is that we should not feel all the bad stuff. I say that’s crap. Feel it all…the bad and the good. Feel grateful and angry. It’s all good and necessary. … [click on title to read and view more]
One of my practices is to not attach to beliefs. We really know very little. What is true most often depends on context. Context is always changing. What is right for me may not be right for you. What is right for me today may not be what I need tomorrow.
Practicing non-attachment to belief and also being aware of when perhaps I’m not able to do this has opened up my world in lovely ways. Fixation is stagnation. Dogma is a fixation of belief.
Healing and resiliency, I’ve found, require a lack of fixation…a sort of fluidity of spirit and intention. It is from this place that much of my healing comes. By not attaching to belief we can also reframe our experience and thus the narratives of our lives. This is powerful medicine really. … [click on title to read and view more]
Today I’m very grateful for Shinzen Young. I woke with very contracted energy this morning and felt pretty distressed. I thought about how my energy contracts and expands a whole lot. When I thought about that I remembered that Shinzen Young’s youtube channel is called “expandcontract.” So I ventured over to his channel and found this dharma talk which was just exactly what I needed. Yes, guidance leads me to what I need pretty much always now. Guidance is showing me how to heal myself. … [click on title to read and view more]
Van der Kolk draws on 30 years of experience to argue powerfully that trauma is one of the West’s most urgent public health issues. The list of its effects is long: on mental and physical health, employment, education, crime, relationships, domestic or family abuse, alcoholism, drug addiction. “We all want to live in a world that is safe, manageable… predictable, and victims remind us that this is not always the case,” says van der Kolk. When no one wants to hear about a person’s trauma, it finds a way to manifest in their body. … [click on title to read and view more]
As awareness spreads about there being something wrong with existing approaches to “psychosis” aka “madness,” interest grows in exploring what to do instead…This conference promises to stand out in terms of the variety of voices, perspectives, approaches and traditions that it will bring together to focus on the deeper issue of how helpers can best understand and interact with those experiencing what is called psychosis. … [click on title to read and view more]
By Jacqueline Gunn, PsyD and Brent Potter, PhD
This work stands out as distinct from all other books written on ‘borderline personality disorder’ and other so-called psychiatric diseases. We do not assume that BPD is what is outlined in the DSM and the literature on psychopathology. At no time do we refer to it as a diagnosis or psychiatric disease. This is why you will repeatedly see ‘borderline personality disorder’ in single quotation marks. It isn’t a thing, like a disorder residing solely in the brain organ of an individual. An individual only takes up possibilities disclosed to him or her by the cultural-historical environment. To say otherwise would be to say that the individual creates them out of nothing which, of course, would be absurd. Since distressing states of mind are variations of common human experience, they are expressed in typical ways. For these reasons, we do not consider ‘borderline personality disorder’ in a decontextualized fashion. … [click on title to read and view more]
When we are emotionally dysregulated or in an otherwise emotionally reactive state we act impulsively and without consciousness or interest about consequences because we want relief from that momentarily intolerable emotional state. We cannot imagine an alternative in that moment. Until consciousness comes to such behavior we effectively have no choice. … [click on title to read and view more]
Writing has most certainly helped me profoundly, so I’m posting this in the interest of sharing yet another possibility for a healing method and practice. I have dozens of them at this point. Practices. We all have different ways of finding out how to live well. Expression of some sort seems to be vitally important for most if not all people. … [click on title to read and view more]
The idea of food and local herbs as medicine mostly dried up after world war II. Processed foods, microwave dinners, industrialized agriculture and shopping markets filled with food from far away started to dominate the Western landscape. Food became veryimages bland and tasteless. The notion that food was the essential medicine was overwhelmed by the idea that medicine was found in a drug.
The psychiatric revolution really began in earnest in the 50’s at the same time that industrial farming took off. The first antipsychotic known as thorazine was synthesized in 1950 and was given to people who were deemed psychotic or labeled with schizophrenia. Interestingly, this first widely prescribed psychiatric drug was first developed as a pesticide to kill parasites in pigs. … [click on title to read and view more]
The idea of “Being with what is” — my favorite mantra is also shared here. I’ve come to believe all fear and terror and anxiety is essentially the same…even that which gets pathologized by psychiatry. All fear is experienced in the body on a physiological spectrum, let’s say. So it will all respond to this sort of framing. It has for me in any case. As someone who has dealt with the iatrogenic injury from psychiatric drugs I can speak to this. Even the heinous iatrogenic terror I’ve dealt with as a result of acute psychiatric drug withdrawal syndrome which seems to be a variety of extreme and complex PTSD, responds to these methods, though, clearly it can take a long time and a lot of work. I write about how I started doing that in baby steps here. That journey continues since the reprograming of the neural networks take time given the sort of brain injury the drugs incurred. … [click on title to read and view more]