A Lack of Creative Vision Makes Prisoners of All of US…

A Lack of Vision Creates Prisoners of All of US…

In just this last year in this area at least 100 people were killed or wounded by someone reported to have mental health issues. Even more concerning are the statistics which show 1400 mentally ill individuals killed family members, 13,000 committed suicide and the numbers are only increasing. These cases more often than not, end up in our juvenile & prison systems… after they’ve passed through our schools & communities. One half to two thirds of these people were “formally” diagnosed with a specific mental illness which is a stretch anyway considering the poor accuracy rate of the current testing methods.

The mentally-ill inmates in our prison systems are dealt with in ways which are at best ineffective and at worst archaic and stunningly cruel. This also applies to many of the disciplinary actions in many facets of our communities where students, inmates, patients & other community members are acting out and at risk to themselves & others. Our police & prison officials need to be adequately trained to handle them & our laws need to be changed to reflect the reality of the situation beyond the antiquated “just lock-em-up” mentality of the Old West. We’re living in a technical age. Not only is it ineffective, the cost to the taxpayers for utilizing these solutions is much, much higher on levels well beyond the financial.

Traditionally, inmates with serious behavioral issues while incarcerated are automatically put into solitary confinement. This can result in an endless procession of people doing their time there and then being released into the main prison population only to repeat their behavior & be returned literally for years on end. They’re confined to a tiny, concrete cell & allowed no human contact… their meals slid through a small opening in the door like feeding time for the dangerous animals in the zoo & an allowance of only 1-2 hrs. a day to exercise or walk around with 2 armed guards. I’ve read accounts of inmates being subjected to this treatment for 23 YEARS or more at a stretch. As any intelligent person can imagine, the result is either a far more fractured personality or total insanity. These people are often released back out into our communities far more wounded than they went in with little or no hope of successfully acclimating to a productive, non-violent life. What we do to ALL life, we ultimately do to ourselves.

I’ve always believed that the old, ineffective ways which have historically been chosen to address many problems on a personal level & as a collective society have shown a distinct lack of creativity, vision & compassion as well as an acute overdose of ego. This same “lack of” holds true for war. The legacy of pain & dysfunction it creates branches out in ways we don’t even realize. Being cut off from their humanity will do that to a person… Fighting fear & violence with more fear & violence = perpetuation NOT solutions, whether it’s physical, verbal, emotional or spiritual. At some point don’t we need to ask ourselves “How’s this working for us?” & get serious about the answer?

 It’s not about tip-toeing naively through the flowers, sprinkling fairy dust & happy intentions all around… It’s about having the wisdom and insight to see a bigger, healthier picture beyond what ails us & then having the courage to step into our Power. We have to become responsible for ourselves, work to create change & claim on our right to not be manipulated by those we trust to have our collective, best interest at heart.

                                         GET CURIOUS…. REMEMBER


Mental Health Rides on Relationship… Eco-Psychology


OK… so think about it… Hopefully most of us eventually figure out that to have a healthy, symbiotic relationship with another person, it’s necessary for BOTH parties to make a concerted effort to “water & feed the garden” so to speak. We have to put the necessary time into tending it or it dries up. If it’s just beginning to show signs of deterioration, you can start watering it again & you might be fortunate enough to see it sprout back to life but you wait too long & it dies at its roots & then it’s too late. For both parties to survive in it… they BOTH have to pay attention.

That’s also a perfect metaphor for our relationship with the Earth & Natural World. The last time I checked, this is where we humans get everything we need to have access to in order to survive… clothing, food, air, water, shelter… the basics. I always wonder how we can be so arrogant to think we can just go along continuing to systematically mow down the forests which contribute to the air we breathe & provide homes for creatures which provide so much & share our world with us… to genetically engineering our foods to look “perfect” on the outside & yet not only provide less nutrients but also create new allergies (think gluten)… to raising  animals in such inhumane, horrific ways  for our desires and uses or killing off those which we don’t care to have around…  to dumping toxins into our waters until a “good, SAFE” rule for our seafood is just not to eat more than “the suggested” amount in a given time-period. Is this what it’s come to?? Mankind has literally almost bitten off the hand that feeds it… a very delicate & perfectly balanced one at that. The list seems almost endless regarding the disrespect our species has shown for this planet in so many ways.

With all the current chaos within our communities here & around the globe, anxiety is more prevalent than ever. It’s at the root of many mental health issues which might not have come forward at all without that push. We have teens & young adults depending on medications like Xanax to cope instead of healthier ways like exercise, nutritious eating & learning how to get centered.

When we go against the natural balance of anything, we hurt ourselves as well. It’s a Universal Law based on physics. The ancient societies throughout time knew & lived by this wisdom, not only in relation to Mother Earth but also with themselves and others. We’ve forgotten how to connect with each other beyond our latest & greatest “devices”… to go deeper… to be curious. It also creates a society which is too “drugged” on many levels to take its own Power back which makes us ripe for the picking for those who have other agendas.

Spending even 15 to 30 minutes daily outside… feet on the earth… is immensely helpful in keeping us grounded & tuned in to a different set of priorities that SHOW us how to RESIDE IN THE MOMENT… to BREATHE… to have ENOUGH… to BE enough. This isn’t the place where anxiety flourishes. It’s the core of true wisdom which was here long before any of the rest of it.

                                              GET CURIOUS… REMEMBER…

Mental Health… So what’s in a label?

Among the countless things I don’t know is one thing I’ve learned FOR SURE… life is anything but black and white… neat and tidy! It comes instead, in a spectrum of shades… often overlapping according to facts and perspective. The issue of mental health falls perfectly into this conundrum. We seem to have a need to define everything and give it a name. It makes us feel safer… more in control regardless of how far from the truth that really is.

The professional field of mental health has historically been broken in many ways. A diagnosis can only be as accurate and effective as the tools used to assess any given situation along with the insight and training of the psychologist and or psychiatrist making that assessment. Until recently due to a lack of funding and priorities, the human brain has not been studied beyond a certain point. The tendency has always been to view the issue from only part of our human spectrum which is only a slice of the entire pie. The reality is we’re all made up of physical, emotional, mental and spiritual bodies… each just as essential as the next and all connected and symbiotic.

Good therapists are worth their weight in gold but sadly those who aren’t seem to far outweigh them. This has been not my personal experience repeatedly but also mirrors the opinions of many friends and peers of mine in this field who have identified this as a real problem as well. Nobody in a healing profession can be effective unless they’re willing to also do their own personal work. People are often drawn to professions like these because of their own tough experiences and a sincere desire to help others. What they don’t yet understand however is we can’t help anyone else unless we’re willing to help ourselves first. When we know better… we do better. Knowledge gained through books and class-time is very different from wisdom. This is what we gain from going through the process ourselves. It shifts our perspectives and the way we deal with everything and everyone around us. Otherwise, it becomes just another way to avoid our “stuff” by focusing on someone or something else. That’s not empowering for either party!

Unfortunately, the propensity for life-long damage to someone who is incorrectly diagnosed or mishandled by the so-called “professional” they’ve sought help from can be heart-breaking. It certainly has been for me as I’ve listened to countless personal stories from clients and friends who have suffered the repercussions of being incorrectly diagnosed and labeled. They’ve all held the belief that they WERE their diagnosis… somehow less than everyone else… flawed… not worth having a joyful life or a healthy relationship. In every single case, they could not have been more wrong. NOBODY should go into the field of mental health unless they’re empathic and compassionate enough to see and understand the perspectives of those they are supposed to serve. The damage I’ve witnessed from ignorance on the part of the professional who should know better has left me many times with my mouth hanging open in amazement.

Learning to truly identify who we are at our authentic best requires letting go of the antiquated beliefs that keep us stuck, powerless and unable to see the bigger picture and truth of it. Becoming aware of the labels which hurt and shame so many and keep them hostage is something everyone of us can and should do. It also means having the courage to speak up when we hear or see someone doing something counter to that. At our cores, THAT is who we ALL are.