A Return

Depression, anxiety and what is thought of as mental illness is not pleasant. Living with these challenges can be and is often quite disturbing and stressful (for me anyway).

Two and a half years ago I had another major mental breakdown. I previously had three documented psychosis’s in my early twenties. I am now in my early forties. I have been on psychotropic medication for over half of my life. I don’t like taking the medication. However, I know that if I do not take them, I will lose much of my physical freedom. I will quite likely be living in a psychiatric institution or I will have completed suicide.

Even while taking the medication(s) I now often think of suicide. Sometimes it is very difficult to deal with. In this moment, I compare the thoughts with the craving for a cigarette that a chain-smoker may experience. It is almost over-powering. I fight these thoughts and work hard to put them on a shelve to be dealt with again later.

Life on the medication is difficult. It does not take away all of what I live with, suffer with. It is not a cure. Inside my being, my reality, I hurt deeply. I see things both off and on the medication that can be difficult to express and explain in a way that is meaningful or useful for ‘others to take both personally (empathetically) and seriously. Often, I would say: “I experience life Biblically or in and end times sort of way”.

For just over half a decade, I have felt as if I’m living in a place similar to what may be thought of as “Mordor”. I live in a city. I grew up in the country. Initially, I moved here for work. Thankfully, I am now married and have built stronger family relationships. Due to my Family commitments and other present circumstances, I must stay in the city.

My psychosis reality is so real, and I just can’t shake it. The medication treats me so as I am less likely to act out or seem stranger than now. It feels as if “it” is like an invisible straight jacket, locking me up and hiding me from myself. I often must fight it, for inside me, inside the straight jacket is seems a relationship with my Creator, the Universe and with Life that is more beautiful and moving than most anything. It feels like a link to the Divine. A reason to live. To get up. To hope. To love. To be.

I experience both love and pain for all humanity, for our planet, for every living and spiritual being. For God, and yes, for the Fallen One.

In my reality, we are all ‘fallen. I pray, wish and meditate for our return. It feels dreadful and almost hopeless that we will indeed return home (Note: HERE/NOW). However, I just cannot bring myself to give up.

Yes, I realize that there is not always happy endings. I realize that there is not always a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow, that life is not a fairy tale. Unicorns do not exist. Obviously when something is extinct or dead it is dead. Heck, even as a ‘believer: it is difficult to imagine the Red Sea parting, saying to the mountain, “jump into the sea and watching it do so”. Yes, maybe some things are figurative or are even allegories, pointing to a greater truth.

The Universe seems to have “LAWS” and these laws may be “fixed” and unalterable.

Are we humans fixed to destroy ourselves? Have we run our course? Fulfilled our life cycle? I can’t help to believe that we have so much more potential. That there can be a happy ending. At least a continuation or a new story/chapter.

Unfortunately, off of my medication, I worry my family and people don’t understand me etc. On my medication, I get lost and lose part of myself that I most often feel is who I must be in order to live out my dreams, my personal calling.

This may well seem ridiculous our laughable. But, for me it is more than real, and it is very painful. I have a vision and a hope that I cannot let go of, for without it, I’d be dead not just physically, emotionally but spiritually. Spirituality is Key to my survival. It is the Greatest “Magic” in the Universe. It allows me to love you, others, all life. Simply put: It allows me, commands me to love GOD and Creation, “Everything”.

True, I am not a good man. I want to be, I pray one day to be. But, like you: I too must return home. I pray with a prayer of prayers that we will travel home together, united. Even though we live together, I am alone and so are you. Yes, if we have the eyes to see the ears to hear, the sense of touch etc., we live in a Universe of our own, yet connected in a Multiverse. Now, I am not a true genius, this is just a thought of my experiences.

Even though in this world, I see you. I have always felt alone in my body, in my mind, in my reality. I seek companionship and comfort, Love. Others, yes you help to fulfil this (at least partially) is this any different with you? With God? We all require love. Just like plants require water. Without love, Life is a burning fire with no comfort or safety, simply a hell. It feels as if life, for me anyway is sort of hell NOW, again I now experience Mordor. I cannot un-see this experience. I also cannot un-see my experience of seeing parts of Heaven and some of Gods Creations. You see, I am living in a battle, a war of world’s, realities of universes. Our multiverse is at war. We are at war with each other. We are at war with ourselves.

The way home is not over-complicated. It is simple enough for a child to walk. The trouble is, we’ve lost the child within us while growing into the adults that we’ve become. We’ve eaten from a tree so to say. A verse has come to me… “come to me like a little child with the mind of an adult”.

Again, I am no genius or don’t expect to be seen as such any more than you. Again, I am not better than you (or worse). I am not all good. I too am somewhat lost. I desire to return home. I pray that you’ll want to return home. I pray that no man, woman or child will be left behind. I pray for ALL Life, for every Created Being, yes, I even pray for Satan and for his fallen Angels. I pray for a complete healing. I pray for this “DARK learning CYCLE” to be completed. I pray for a new earth and for a new heaven, I pray that we will take with us into this new earth and new heaven(s) the knowledge and understanding, the gratitude for lessons learned and that we will think very, very hard: Not to ever fall again! That we will indeed love our God with our whole heart, love Him with our everything, love ourselves and our neighbours, love ALL Life with our everything! And do unto everything as is ideal to be done unto ourselves (in a perfect world).

May We ALL Return Home. Amen.

Love,

Aaron

A Gift of Personal Reflection

Recently during conversation, I learned of a term: “Social Justice Fighter”. Wow, what a serious and powerful identity/term. Furthermore, as a term, the concept of “social apathy” has also been now introduced into my reality.

Without “empathy” we are at serious risk of being “apathetic”. Apathy serves little good for others. I’d also imagine that apathy is not personally rewarding either. The result is one of a dis-connect, a distance and isolation from the collective spirit of community.

As living beings, humans are an organism. Community is a integral part of our organisms healthy functioning and an opportunity for creative growth/survival.

True, being a spectator may seem to be the comfortable and safe stance to take for oneself. At times it may seem to protect us from undesirable consequences.

I’d say, it is important to practice empathy and do our best to love our neighbour and our planet as ourselves. Not just think, but act.

Sure, sometimes we may be mistaken in our understanding of what to act on (and how to act). We may even lack some wisdom. In all likelihood, we are bound (at times) to let others and ourselves down. However, usually, it comes down to “intent”. While it is important to “trust our Gut”, we also must try and have some faith that “common good” will win out.

Common good is a team sport. We are a collective community. Each of us must play a role. We are not to be mere spectators. We are to be supporters: Supporters of each other. Ultimately, each of us is on the same team. Enemies and opponents are illusions. Growth and survival is our end goal. How we reach the goal is through faithful participation.

We may ask… what are the rules? I’d venture to say that you instinctively know the answer to that question. I’m here for you. We are ALL here for you. “Trust your Gut”. I will repeat: we MUST do our personal best to love our neighbours and our earth as ourselves.

Ultimately we are one. What we do to another, we do to ourselves. Once we individually and collectively realize that we are not just spectators, but players on ONE team, that we are not opposing each other… then we will not just imagine a better world, that world will actually be. In fact that world is “HERE”. What time is it? Same as always… it is “NOW”. Let us wake up and live the dream! Here and now.

True, we all have made mistakes. I know, I sure have. When we fall or fail, we must get up, brush ourselves off, make necessary amends (when at all possible) and try, try again. Life is a sport. Let’s play it right!

Perfection in our “Life Craft” is the goal of many a person. I almost stated a “skilled person” or “skilled craftsman/crafts-person”. But, the bottom line is: while we are beautiful and creative creatures, we are in a constant state of “becoming”. Life is our trade. We are builders. Our body is a temple. Each of us a mirror. I see you!

Today, I’m doing my best to love each of you as my brother and as my sister. Join me in this. I’ll continue to be here for you. I ask that you please excuse me as/when I stumble. I’m going to continue to get up and do my best to actually “see you” as my brother, as my sister and work to treat you with right intent. Please note: My hope and intention is to actively excuse you too as you learn your craft. We are in this together.

I am a little embarrassed to admit, initially, when I heard the term “Social Justice Fighter”, I thought of it as a kind of fanaticism fought by individuals lacking lived experience and wisdom. Now, as I write this, I too may equally be as naive as those whom I quickly first judged without knowing their individual hearts, spirits and minds.

You see, I too am fully human (a work in progress). I too judge people. I too need to perfect my individual craft. You see, deep within my be-ing… I too hurt. I hurt for humanity and life on this planet. At times, I can be callous. And, I hate to admit: I’ve even had “exit plans”. However, my writing and breathing is an expression of hope. Actually, faith. I pray my life may be (as a friend and mentor once said) “part of the cure”. Yes, I desire to be part of the cure. True, (you see) like many of us, I too am broken, damaged, judgmental and somewhat naive. Like you, I am many things.

In my heart, I want to love you. So, I will continue reflecting, practicing love and making love a reality. As I see you and I in each other… our healing that we need will NOW be built and we can find warmth, kindness and shelter together: HERE.

Another dear friend spoke of something, that I believe we could agree is: “A Gift of Personal Reflection”: Judging and not forgiving leads to personal judgement and non-forgiveness. It’s futile. It leads us each into a trap. You see, if I cannot accept you… If, I judge you… how can I accept myself and my life. We are mirrors… How can I/we find true freedom. By judging, I put myself in a personal prison. It would be difficult to find true happiness, peace and contentment. Have I/we walked a mile in their shoes, a mile in yours? No, I have not!

Folks, we have things in common. We all bleed red. We are all born. We will all transition and our life’s energy will one day transform into its next use. As living beings, members of one community… we are ALL worthy of love and compassion. We are resilient. Each of us is a builder of our global community. Let us come together and unite. I pray that we can each agree on this intent.

Dear Reader, thank you for the gift of your life in our shared world. Again, lets have a good time building and growing together. Amen.

Love,

Aaron

Infinite Hope

Emily Dickinson once said: “If you take care of the small things, the big things take care of themselves. You can gain more control of your life by paying closer attention to the little things.” ~Emily Elizabeth Dickinson (December 10, 1830 – May 15, 1886) was an American poet.

Yes, It’s easy to worry. Worry in itself accomplishes little. In itself worry can cause unnecessary anxiety and stress etc. This article is about faith and action: Hope Really! One day at a time. One action at a time. Individually and Collectively.

You are an important part of our world. Do not worry.

And, yes it’s important to take life seriously and for us to do our best. After all, let’s say: if one is sitting on a mat on one side of a road and wants to reach the other side. One could likely wait sitting down for a great length of time and find that they haven’t moved very far. Worrying alone won’t get us there. Yes, action is necessary. For most of us we just have to go through the motions of “getting up and walking”.

It is one thing to say: do not worry. Another thing to practice… Hint: it’s an exercise.

If we desire to achieve something it takes action. Again, get up and walk. If one has difficulty walking… it is important to find the means or tools to achieve our goals. Worrying without action avails us little.

Most of us are very capable and resilient people with access to many resources. We have language, community and often resources to aid us (if we just put it in our minds to access them). That is: we need to take action.

The human experience can be dark and disappointing. It can be full of trials. Don’t lose hope. Have reasons to get up. Reasons! Do your best (I know that you are)…

You are an amazing person. Don’t let life grind you down too much. Energize yourself. Remember the Spirit of the younger you: with all your dreams, goals, aspirations!

Inside, you are a deeply beautiful person and WE need you!

All of us have unique gifts and have much to offer. Please share your gifts. Please!

United, together: we can ALL contribute to a more beautiful, loving and healthy world.

No conflict can ever truly be won with hate. As someone once said: “holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.” ~Buddha.

When we decide to love our neighbours as ourselves: we will then be able to pick up our mats, figuratively get up and walk across the streets of this (OUR) world… Collectively our world will find healing One human being at a time. This is true success.

This is not too complex. Let’s just take a moment(s) to simplify. One word: Love. Practice. Again, it’s an exercise.

If you find yourself having difficulties: pray and/or meditate in a way that you may find comfort and purpose. If you think that you do not know how to pray or meditate: have faith, you do!

Just trust your “GUT”. And if you still do not understand. Have more faith, ask, seek and knock. You will find what you’re looking for. Again, indeed you are one very gifted and resilient BEING. Just do it. Do not worry. Have faith. Walk in action… You’ll see. We will all see. I/WE believe in you.

Don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow has enough worries of its own… Do what you can today. Little by little. One thing and then maybe another etc. One day at at time. Again, it’s an exercise.

We may not all be exactly the same as the next person or have the same gifts, abilities and means to achieve our goals… But as humans, we have a general resilience and when we practice faith (in action) we can quite literally move mountains in our lives.

Individually and Collectively we indeed can and will work wonders, build Community and change our world for the better. Say Amen to that! Amen.

In closing please remember:

“If you take care of the small things, the big things take care of themselves. You can gain more control of your life by paying closer attention to the little things.” ~Emily Dickinson

&

“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”~Martin Luther King, Jr.

Thank you for BE-ing!

Love,

Aaron

Start where you are.

Here is a simple and useful quote to live by: “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can”. ~Arthur Ashe

We all have dreams… The question is: are we living them? and if not: what is preventing us and what are we prepared to do!

Are we living a life that counts, of course we are! However, are we making all the difference(s) that we’d like to make?

How about at home?

At work?

With our friends?

In our community?

Some more questions that we may also want to ask ourselves: What is our message? What kind of impact would we like to make? What would we like to change? And… do we feel it’s too big or too small: and why? It’s also important to ask: What do we want out of our ministry for ourselves?

Now, will we do what it takes? (yes!) What does that look like? Who will we include? Why?

So… back to the opening quote by Arthur Ashe: “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can”.

You have dreams: Live them!

“Every man, woman and child has a ministry”. ~May I Help Ministries

Please consider sharing your ministry with us. Thank you!

 

There is only one of you!

One And Only You

Every single blade of grass

and every flake of snow-

is just a wee bit different…

There’s no two alike, you know.

From something small

like grains of sand.

To each gigantic star

all were made with THIS is mind:

To be just what they are!

How foolish then, to imitate-

How useless to pretend!

Since each of us comes from a MIND

Whose ideas never end.

There’ll only be just ONE of ME

To show what I can do –

And you should likewise feel very proud

There’s only ONE of YOU.

That is where it all starts

With you, a wonderful, unlimited human being

~James T. Moore

How “we” think about stress matters.

Are you… or is someone you care about: stressed?

May I Help Ministries has come across a few resources that we’d like to share with you. Check them out! They just may help…

Attached is a Ted Talk (YouTube) video called: How to make stress your friend | Kelly McGonigal.

Lets get better with stress!

NOTE: Also, below this Ted Talk video there is another Rethinking Stress Toolkit link.

Also, below are some more resources that May I Help Ministries would like to share with you. We hope that this may help you or someone that you know.

Stanford SPARQ: Social Psychological Answers to Real-world Questions toolkits translate research into step-by-step activities that drive psychological, behavioral, and societal change. Explore individual toolkits to tackle specific problems, or dive into a collection to take on bigger issues. Then measure your impact using each toolkit’s evaluation materials.

The Stanford University: SPARQ Stress Toolkit: (Link: Click Here) Note: this Stress Toolkit will take some personal effort… We hope this helps!

At May I Help Ministries, we believe that: “Every man, woman and child has a ministry”. We request that if you have helpful resources… please consider sharing: using the Contact Us Menu (Link: Click Here). Thank you!

Victoria Maxwell, Crazy For Life Co. (Bio and Professional Resume).

Victoria Maxwell (BFA/BPP*), self-proclaimed Bi-Polar Princess, is one of North America’s top speakers on the experience of mental illness, recovery return to work and dismantling stigma. She lives with bipolar disorder, anxiety and psychosis, and has been presenting her workshops and award winning one-person shows across Canada and the States for more than ten years. She’s also a blogger for Psychology Today.

For information about her shows and workshops or to purchase DVDs of her plays, please visit: www.victoriamaxwell.com. To read her blog visit: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/crazy-life   (*Bachelor of Fine Arts / Bi-Polar Princess)voice