Sunday, November 29, 2009

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

The Depression and Bipolar Support alliance is a wonderful resource for those struggling with depression or bipolar disorder and for those who care about them. It offers information, support groups, a newsletter, a wellness tracker, advocacy services, podcasts and so much more. The mission of DBSA is "to provide hope, help, and support to improve the lives of people living with depression or bipolar disorder. DBSA pursues and accomplishes this mission through peer-based, recovery-oriented, empowering services and resources when people want them, where they want them, and how they want them."
There are also local DBSA offices and support groups. Information pertaining to the Maine state organization follows:

State Organization
DBSA Maine
Contact 1: Jeffrey Irving
Phone: (207) 650-3248

Friday, November 27, 2009

Continuing to Practice Gratitude

Matthew Fox wrote, "…gratitude has been at the heart of my spirituality. It has to do with awe… the awe of just being here.” This seems important to remember on Black Friday. While so much of the world rushes all around me, I am tucked in at home, safe and warm. I'm focused on what I have, what I love, what is right before me. And I truly am awed....

Friday, November 20, 2009

On Gratitude

As Thanksgiving approaches, I’m reminded once again of the benefits to each of us of integrating a gratitude practice into our lives. Allowing ourselves to fully experience a sense of gratitude on a daily basis has proven to be highly beneficial to our minds, bodies, and souls (for more details about how this is so you might want to read, “Giving Thanks: The Effects of Joy and Gratitude on the Human Body” .)

Episcopal priest and author, Matthew Fox declares that gratitude is at the heart of his spirituality. Roman Catholic theologian, David Steindl-Rast, advices that gratitude is the source of our happiness, and Greek Philosopher, Epictetus, maintains that gratitude is a characteristic of wisdom. My own experience supports the assertions of these grateful sages.

When I practice gratitude on a daily basis I not only feel better, I believe that I become a better person. I’m more generous, appreciative, peaceful, and more easily open to wonder and awe. When my practice slips away, it’s not long before I notice the difference. I’m much more likely to be vulnerable to envy, discontentment, and anxiety. I worry more and sleep less; hoard more and give less; work more and celebrate less.

Melodie Beattie observed, “Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity.... It turns problems into gifts, failures into success, the unexpected into perfect timing, and mistakes into important events. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.” My life is fuller when I practice gratitude, it makes more sense, and it offers so many more gifts as my heart opens wider to them.

Gratitude Resources:

Selfless Gratitude

Spirituality & Practice: Gratitude

Lets Create more Grateful Organizations

Selfless Gratitude

Highlights from the Research Project on Gratitude and Thankfulness

Friday, November 13, 2009


Not too long ago I read, “Ecotherapy: Healing with Nature in Mind” and wanted to share the following points made by the various authors of this very thought provoking text.

  • Ecotherapy is a psychotherapy modality that recognizes the deep connection between humans and the rest of the natural world.

  • A significant problem today is an ‘inner deadening’ – a defense against the stressors of living in an industrialized society overrun by advertising, toxic chemicals, unethical business practices, consumerism, unhealthy food, overwork, propaganda, and perpetual war.

  • Psychotherapists should be addressing the cultural issues that create so much pain and suffering today. Instead, most mainstream therapy ignores these issues.

  • During this time of environmental crisis, it is irresponsible for so many mental health clinicians to fail to connect epidemic rates of depression and anxiety with the suicidal destruction of our home- the earth.

  • Many clients fail to recognize that their grief and fear may be connected to “the death of so many living beings and the ongoing distress of Earth, air, and ocean life all around us. Because we’re not being informed about links between mental health symptoms caused by the way we live and the accelerating inner and outer devastation, we remain mystified about why we feel so much pain.”

  • Most people living in our culture have been treated like objects for all of their lives. “This is the source of the wound to the soul underlying most of human misery that therapists encounter. Because people have come to experience themselves as objects, they in turn objectify other people and commodify the world. They feel alienated , isolated, and empty, believing their lives hold no meaning.”

  • In the absence of soul and connection, we are confronted with a profound emptiness and loneliness. This emptiness leads to cultural distress that in turn manifests through social and economic inequities, violence, dysfunction in individuals, families, organizations, and entire communities, as well as a host of societal and psychological disorders.

  • Our connection to the very source of life has been severed, consequently we are possessed by an unrelenting hunger that we attempt to satisfy by consuming more and more goods, and in the process we continue to destroy our environment.

  • Ecopsychology attempts to respond to the sources of our cultural illness and to repair the lost connection “with the more-than human world. Its intention is to re-animate the world, to restore its soul.”

  • Ecotherapy is soul work and involves an awakening to beauty.

  • The unrelenting pursuit of money is one of the most pervasive and accepted forms of psychopathology (craziness) in our culture.

  • Bill McKibben points out that the consequences of the ethos of looking out for number one that permeates our culture is apparent on so many fronts. For instance, the United States used to be the healthiest nation in the world, now its rank is twenty-seventh.

  • Community is the key to both physical survival and human satisfaction. In fact, if you don’t currently belong to any group or club of some kind, by joining one, you reduce the risk that you will die within the next year by half. We truly do serve as healers for one another.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The World Abounds with Healers

We are surrounded by healers. They're everywhere.

All we need to do is to open our hearts....