The Bliss Blog

The Bliss Blog

Depression and Spirituality

One of the many hats I wear is that of a psychiatric social worker, serving people with varying degrees of mental health issues and challenges.  I view these symptoms and the people who experience them in ways that are outside the realm of the medical model.  Rather than seeing pathology, I come from a strengths based perspective. I cringe when I hear the term ‘religiously pre-occupied’, as if taking about God, angels and spirituality is, in and of itself, a dynamic of mental illness. While I have experienced people being over the top in their expression, some with the belief that they alone are privvy to some special wisdom, I know just as surely, that having a spiritual practice can indeed be healing.

I have never experienced clinical depression, but like most people on the planet, I have had those ‘dark nights of the soul’ during which I have wondered why I was stumbling around, bumping into walls when I could have turned on a symbolic as well as physical light. When faced with life challenges, such as I have had lately; I KNOW that my spiritual practice bolsters me and keeps me afloat. For me that includes: meditation, yoga, prayer, writing, drumming, dancing, crying, time in nature, immersing in visual art, chanting, time with loved ones, massage, creating vision boards and yes, even time on facebook, as silly as that may sound.  It is there that I have a sense of what goes on in the world, an open door into the lives of folks I may never meet face to face; a chance to offer love and prayers, good wishes and healing for another soul. An opportunity to receive that if I need it as well.

I spoke with someone recently who was plagued with symptoms that terrified him. He was convinced that what he saw was ‘real’. Using meditation as a tool, surrounding himself in white light, he shared that although he still believes that those images exist, with his spiritual practice, “I am stronger than they are and they can’t hurt me.”

Take a moment to watch this video interview with actor Jim Carrey as he openly and with vulnerability, shares about the ways in which spirituality has been a source of strength in his own bouts with depression.

 http://youtu.be/KfWN5EW5eo4

 

*If you do experience mental health issues, I encourage you to seek support and professional guidance. For family members and friends, a good resource is called NAMI (NATIONAL ASSOCIATION ON MENTAL ILLNESS) 

 www.nami.org 

 

 

Om Is Oneness

Take a moment to breathe in the day; drinking in all of the sensations that surround you. Breath is essential and without it, life would cease to exist. As you exhale, chant the word ‘om’.  I like the idea that some of my favorite words contain these two letters:  Shalom (Hebrew for hello, goodbye and peace) and Home (a place we carry within us as a reminder of our Divine origin, regardless of where our feet are planted)

 

 Om is said to be ‘the sound of the Universe’.  The symbol looks like this

 

                                                ?

 

According to Wikipedia:

 

Om or Aum (also Au?, written in Devanagari as ? and as ???, in Sanskrit known as pra?ava ????? [lit. "to sound out loudly"] or Omkara or au?k?ra (also as Aumk?ra) ????? (lit. “au? syllable”) is a mystical or sacred syllable in the Indian religions, i.e. Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism.

 It has the literal meaning of “It is” or “Will be”.

The feeling of it, for me, is transcendent when chanted and even more profound in the form of what I call an ‘Om Hug’.  Stand heart to heart with another person, take a deep breath and together, chant “0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0mmmmmmmm”  You will feel the vibration between you and even after the sound dissipates, the sensation will remain. What comes to mind for me is riding a wave of sonic serenity that carries me into the next moment.

 Dyana Jean, a Philadelphia based  D.J., created and performed a tribute to the sound of om. She is a musical mixologist who blends hip hop with rollicking rap that has a deeply spiritual flavor. The lyrics are life enhancing and with clever twists, they cajole you to dance along, with a you-can’t-help-but-smile on your beautiful face. She has a commited sense of social consciousness that flows into her creations.

 

This song is  guaranteed to get you moving wherever you are.

http://youtu.be/rg-39LKCxhw  Om Is Oneness

 

 facebook.com/Dj.DyanaJean 

 

Om Shalom~                   ?      ????

The Flight

A facebook friend  named  Kim Summers posted this quote today, perhaps for me to find at just the right time.

 
 “Remembering that the Butterfly becomes the Butterfly, because of the tight confines of her cocoon. She needed that time. That experience served her well. It made her wings strong…… Focusing on the flight!!”
 
Sleep eluded me most of the night, before I arose to write this missive for You to find.. Since the home of the Bliss Blog is a spiritual website, I have the blessing of writing about matters of the soul. This is one of them.  I have long considered myself a woman with a deep and solid connection to the Divine in all of its grand and glorious forms. Growing up in a loving family with parents who ‘walked the talk’ and lived their beliefs in all they did, I had fine role models.  In the midst of ‘life stuff happening’, they always reminded my sister and me that things work out for the best; as my father would say “As long as we love each other.” and my mother would add “What will be will be.”  And we did and it was.
 
In my daily work as a social worker-writer-therapist-speaker-healing catalyst, I remind people that love trumps fear and that they have survived every challenge that has ever occurred in their lives, because they are here to tell about it.  Sometimes those words feel profound, sometimes they ring hollow.  At the moment, they are a lifeline for me. 
 
When I look at my life, I see that I am surrounded by loving family and friends, amazing opportunties to stretch and grow, miracles unfolding, the spaciousness to express my creative gifts, glowing health, a keen mind, an awareness of what is good and whole and holy….and yet, at the moment, I am also achingly aware that my beloved parents are not here in body, that I have encountered major unexpected expenses, my dreams for myself seem to be taking way to long to manna-fest and that I sometimes feel simultaneously stretched/stressed/compressed beyond what seems manageable.
 
I have ongoing dialogues with the God of my understanding and ask, not “Why is this happening?'”  but “What are my next steps?”  At the moment, I feel the compression of the chrysalis tight around me and a bit of the confinement that speaks of uncertainty. I am immersed in a training called Zoetic Workshops right now that at the onset, had me pondering the question “What do I want to experience in it?”  The answer was “Trusting myself.”  I have so many decisions to make in an overwhelming number of areas and the image that comes to mind is that of a hollowed out portion of the beach in which water had  poured and it lies empty for ever so brief a time, and then fills up again. It seems as if no matter how much I clear space, it doesn’t lie open for long.
 
Much of last night was spent pondering what to do about the choices that are clamoring for attention, for which I have no immediate answers. Living in the ‘just don’t know’ of them is where the anxiety resides. Bleary eyed with a full day ahead of me, I am still encompassed by the chrysalis. I welcome the spreading of my wings in free flight~
 
In the midst of all of this soul searching, I discovered a card that had been given to me by a friend more than 10 years ago. In water color, with a rainbow stretching over a mountain and river, the words “With God, all things are possible.” remnided me that I am not alone in my decision making and with that Energy as my spiritual advisor, I can indeed trust myself.
 
 
 

Light Is Life

What is light?

According to online dictionary Encarta:

  1. energy producing brightness: the energy producing a sensation of brightness that makes seeing possible
  2. quality of light: a particular kind or quality of brightness
  3. artificial source of light: an artificial source of illumination, e.g. an electric lamp or a candle

In spiritual terms, light is of the Source, something that illuminates our hearts and souls; that guides us from darkness. It allows us to see past illusion to what is Real.  Have there been times in your life when you have been immersed in the shadow of despair, fearing that you will never find your way out? And then, a phone call, or letter, message, visit from a friend or loved one, or perhaps an encounter with a stranger, re-awakens the certainty that just like the theme song from Annie assures us, “The sun’ll come out tomorrow. Bet your bottom dollar, there’ll be sun.”

And if you are like me, you will forget and the light will dim, but those times will be fewer and farther between as you allow more light and more love to enter your every day existence.

Little darlin’, it’s been a long, cold, lonely winter….here comes the sun~

 

One of my favorite shows now off the air that brought with it a sense of quirky wonder, was Northern Exposure.  Listen as the character of ex-con/small town D.J./minister Chris holds forth on the importance of light in our lives.

 

Shine on, y’all!

 

 

http://youtu.be/U2TPMoP01Sc

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