The Bliss Blog

The Bliss Blog


Thriver

I met Janet Berkowitz back in the mid 1980′s through our mutual friend; author and speaker Alan Cohen. A group of us had been invited to her home to watch the classic Franco Zeffirelli film Brother Sun, Sister Moon. I was drawn to her laughter and welcoming presence. What I didn’t know at the time, was that facade hid a frightening secret. For much of her life, Janet faced sometimes paralyzing depression that in the interceding years would have her hospitalized on numerous occasions and send her plummeting into addiction in an effort to manage her symptoms. By the grace of God and through deep personal practice, Janet has been clean and sober since 1987. What I admire most about this amazing woman is that she is much more than a survivor. She is a thriver who has taken her own lessons and turned them into workshops and performance pieces that she, along with her husband, Phil Garber, offers through their organization called Creative Communication Builders.

How do you live your bliss?

Lately, it’s been my bliss to be with people and share open dialogue with them when they are ready to be vulnerable.

How did you become a mime and performance artist?

I was performing in shows in high school. I’d caught the bug from my mother who’d studied acting and did local theater. I became a mime, in 11th grade, when I quickly needed an idea for a class project, which I’d fashionably left to the last minute. I had read an article in Smithsonian Magazine about mime becoming popular in the U.S. I created a Charlie Chaplin type of character based on the pictures in that article. My mother would direct my self-designed skits. Then I started seeing Marcel Marceau (world famous mime) when he toured America and I mimicked his work. Eventually my own ideas for skits came through.

I know that A Course In Miracles has been a pivotal part of your life. How do you feel it guides you?


I have been keeping it very simple with A Course In Miracles these days: constantly checking to see if what I’m up to is love or fear.

You have the ability to take the devastating subject of suicide and transform it into something profound and perhaps even lifesaving for others. How did that come to be?


My work in the field of suicide awareness and prevention came strictly out of desperation. I called all over the country and could find only one group that supported people who were experiencing suicidal ideation or behavior: Suicide Anonymous, unfortunately only in Tennessee. I kept hearing God’s voice saying “Start your own groups.” It was the closest thing to His guidance that I’d heard in the many years since suffering with crippling depression. I started a Suicide Anonymous meeting in N.J. and co-designed a workshop addressing the topic using the arts.

What keeps you going when you face the challenges of your own mental health experiences?

What keeps me going when faced with challenges is to keep busy, especially with art projects….mostly with ones I give as gifts.

What would you suggest for others when they are feeling despair?

When people are feeling despair I suggest they immediately reach out of themselves and relate to someone else: first by phone, then in person. Get to some sort of meeting. If no other 12 step group works there’s Emotions Anonymous.

Do you have a favorite performance piece?

My most favorite recent performance piece is a dance collage, where I dance to all kinds of different snippets of music (everything from the Monkees to ACDC). I do it just for fun!  But I guess my all time fave is ‘Global Unity’, in which I’m reaching out to all kinds of different people in need of help and in the end learning to love myself.


www.creativecommunicationbuilders.com


http://youtu.be/_nAM1GU_Ps4 is a video of Phil and Janet performing Dance Collage at Phil’s recent birthday party.



Previous Posts

I Wish To Live A Life
Do you ever wonder how much of your life happens at random and how much 'by divine design'. What if you could wish your life into the form that would most delight you? Many people would laugh at such a thing, believing that their lives are already mapped out for them and the 'good things' should mak

posted 10:53:44pm Apr. 23, 2014 | read full post »

This Pretty Planet
  April 22nd , 1970 was the date that began a legacy of love for the planet, as Earth Day made its debut. John McConnell, Gaylord Nelson and Denis Hayes planted the seeds for the eco-fest that now 44 years later has taken on epic proportions as the need for environmental awareness has r

posted 10:18:34pm Apr. 22, 2014 | read full post »

I Stand For Love
I am proud to proclaim that I am a heart forward love-monger. I grew up in a touchy feely, mushy gushy family in which verbal and physical affection flowed like water from a fountain. No one left the house without hearing the words I love you and without a hug or kiss from my mom or dad. As a result

posted 10:52:32pm Apr. 21, 2014 | read full post »

Pity Party
I had to giggle when I saw this meme, created by Theresa Byrne, another contributor to The Good Men Project,  since it was sucked right out of my spinning mind. Many's the time I have petulantly pouted about the way life events were unfolding. I have stomped and stormed, raved and raged (interna

posted 11:02:45am Apr. 18, 2014 | read full post »

Making The Ordinary Come Alive
  I became an adoptive parent in 1992, when diminutive blond haired, green eyed Adam became my son. I like to say that my stretch marks are on my heart, not my hips. A high energy kiddo with his own ideas of how life should be, there were times when I questioned my ability to keep up with hi

posted 7:25:34am Apr. 17, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.