Understanding our feelings will lead to freedom from them

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Teaching about Aztlan isn’t easy.  Neither is teaching writing.  People tend to associate writing with mean teachers who couldn’t be pleased and so they tense up at just the thought.  Plus. most people haven’t heard anything about the Chicano Movement or its concepts and so I have to teach about the historical Aztlan and then I have to teach about Aztlan as the source of power inside all of us. I called him the Bear-Man.

So, because of the challenges, certain classes and students have stuck in my head.  One particular class really challenged me to frame my thoughts.  One very large man simply didn’t want to learn about Aztlan nor did he want to write.  One day, he really challenged me. It was the last time this class would meet and I was almost certain he wouldn’t get anything out of my class.

“Ok, Teach,” he started his assault. …

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Can a substance abuser be the scapegoat for a family’s dysfunction?

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One of the frustrating things about working with substance abuse is a scenario that appears to repeat itself.  There might be different people filling the necessary roles, but certain themes present themselves over and over again. For example, there’s usually someone filling a “hero” role, someone filling a “good cop” role and, the one I see within substance abuse treatment, someone filling a “scapegoat” role.

Often, families come to need the substance abuser to continue using.  While it may sound strange, it’s a pattern that I do see and I think it’s rooted in the fact that, while the substance abuser is actively abusing substances, the individuals within the family can focus their attention on the substance abuser and not on themselves.  The substance abuser can become the scapegoat, of sorts, for those families whose relationships are toxic.  That is, the substance abuser is seen as the problem within the…

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The more we understand Addiction and Depression, the more we can heal their wounds

Among many other things Anais Nin said was, “The writer’s responsibility is to increase, develop our senses, expand our vision, heighten our awareness and enrich our articulateness.”  Without any doubt, that’s why I write so much about Addiction and Depression: I believe it’s my responsibility to expand people’s awareness about the mechanics of Addiction and Depression.

The more we can collectively understand about how these diseases really work, then perhaps we can do more to disrupt their destructive force.  While I do work with clients one on one, it’s just as important to me to work on a systemic-macro level.  That is, if I can provide enough information to as many people as is possible, then perhaps their literacy and articulateness about Addiction and Depression will increase to the point of changing attitude and opinions about those who struggle with those heinous scourges.

But, I can’t do it alone: I need soldiers who are also willing to take digest the information I provide and then either challenge it or accept it.  Either way, I ask that people do not ignore the fact that there is work to be done.  The less we do as a collective community, the more people will come to the black point of finality to which both Addiction and Depression lead.

So, to challenge everyone: The next time you hear about someone suffering (or dying) due to Addiction or to Depression, try to see them as someone stricken with a terminal illness.  Try not to think of them as weak-willed people who could’ve stopped their slide into dark death by making a simple decision or praying a simple prayer.  Deciding and praying are important, but if a frog decides to jump to another lily pad, until he actually jumps, he has done nothing.

I hope that I enrich people’s articulateness about Addiction and Depression; I hope that you take the information I share and rip it to shreds in your own terms. And then I hope you act to make changes, in the best way you can

2 things that everyone should know about addicts

Talking with someone struggling with an addiction can be frustrating. Not for the reasons that you might think, but because they’re so mired in self-hate that almost every thought he or she utters is a projection of that self-hate. So, as I’m talking with someone I remind myself of two (2) things that I think we all should know: 1) An addict has no real clue as to how to change; and, 2) we all tend to apply rational thought to a situation that is anything but rational.

An addict has no real clue as to how to change

One of the saddest things in the world is when a grown person breaks down in tears over his or her sense of loss. When I hear the anguish, all I can think is that it’s not their fault, at least not entirely. Really, if people with addictions could change, I’m CERTAIN they would. They tend to reach out, hoping that SOMONE can tell them what to do to not have the issues they have. They want someone to tell them HOW to rid themselves of their addiction.  It’s painful to hear; I remind myself that, though, that they have no idea about what to do about the addiction.

We all tend to apply rational thought to a situation that is anything but rational.

People who don’t have an addiction or who haven’t experienced one in some way, tend to apply logic and reason to a situation in which logic simply does not apply. Most people behave, on average, within their best interests. However, people with addictions pursue substances and/or behaviors that appear contrary to their best interests. If fact, logic would dictate that a person who’s addicted to opiates, for example, should just stop. Really, it makes no sense to the non-user that someone would seek something that causes little more than pain and frustration and brings loss of money and friends and health. But, an opiate addict will obtain his or her drug through any and all means. This is irrational, yet is reality.

I think, though, that having some options available in light of the two (2) things of which I’m always reminding myself can help. Shoot, even just knowing those two things can shed some light in an otherwise dark situation.

Art can be the ultimate weapon against Addiction (and depression)

I wonder if people believe me when I say that art, in any of its forms, can in fact heal depression and addiction.  I believe in art’s healing power so much that if someone asks me, “Do you mean art ALONG WITH meds can heal?” I have absolutely no problem saying, “while meds can be useful, art, to me, is so powerful that it really reduce the need for any medication.”

There are difinite mechanisms at play behind art’s capability to heal.  According to Tian Dayton, “Art has the ability to concretize inner experience, to give shape to that which floats around the psyche in a shapeless state.  It portrays inner experience not only as it is seen in the world, but as it is seen in the mind’s eye, combining symbol and word so they make sense to the heart” (Dayton, 1994).  This means that, when a person allows him or herself to explore the almost ethereal feelings thoughts that have no structure, he or she can: first: Understand those shapeless entities; and, second: Find the meaning in those entities such that their meaning can be expressed and then reframed.

Before anyone can act on something, he or she must think it.  But, even before they think, people sense and sometimes are limited in expressing those sensations.  I honestly think that some people suck up bad juju like a kitchen sponge.  The problem for them is that they neither realize how much they’ve soaked in nor do they even know what they’ve soaked in.  Art allows people to concretize everything that they’ve soaked in and then express it such that they can get it out.

Therefore, I believe with my entire soul that mining dark energy and then expressing it not only reduces the amount of dark energy associated with Depression and/or Addiction; but it also provides fuel for creation.  Depression and Addiction are both consumptive and destructive art, through creation, provides the antithesis to death: Creation.

Dayton, T.  1994.  The Drama Within.  Deerfield Beach, Fla.: Health Communications Inc.

Free Gift to my Readers: Download Journey to Aztlan

I wrote Journey to Aztlan to show people that there is hope for those who are stricken with Depression.  For me, I found healing by returning to the very source of who I am and I believe that if everyone does so, they will find their own truth.  Journey to Aztlan means so much to me because it’s literally a slice of my soul that I’m sharing with others.

As a way to show my gratitude to my readers, I have made the Kindle version of Journey to Aztlan free for the next few days.  Even if you don’t have a Kindle, Amazon offers a Kindle Reader app for computers and for mobile devices.    Just CLICK HERE to download Journey to Aztlan.  It’s a great read, as it’s both entertaining and useful.  Enjoy it at your leisure.

Time is precious and scarce: Thank you, everyone, for giving me the opportunity to do that which I love more than almost anything in this world by reading my words and taking time out of your life to do so.  I appreciate you more than you could ever know and I do hope you take me up on the gift of gratitude I offer you.  Thank you and may God bless and guide you all.

A Balanced Perspective may aid in Treating Depression

There are many different approaches to the creative process that access many different means of inspiration. These varied approaches often are seen as almost maniacal. For example, many artists have been seen as crazy, as was Vincent Van Gogh; or had substance abuse issues, such as Ernest Hemingway. To me, the reason that their processes involved various forms of “insanity” was that they never learned to control the means from which their art emerged. That is, pain is often mined for inspiration for a work of art. When pain is accessed too many times, the pain yields darkness for which the artist pays with his or her life.

To me, however, creativity should emerge and draw from conscious application of “light.” That is, while darkness is an aspect of all human life, there can not be something bad in a life without some aspect of good. It’s impossible. The challenge is to recognize that see the good; the bad in a life is easy to see, whereas the good isn’t always obvious. Therefore, if someone is depressed, they must learn to see all that is good and strong an beautiful, as Depression masks those very things. While many depressed people have created great works of art (Sylvia Plath comes to mind), they have done so from an unbalanced perspective.

Too often, therapists focus of modalities and processes without regard to a person’s spiritual state. Perhaps it’s because our society likes to separate church from state and science from “religion;” however, the good and strong and beautiful derives from that which is sacred to a person and must be accessed in order to emerge from Depression. In my opinion, someone is depressed, he or she must be provided with means of seeing and expressing light, otherwise, the Depression’s darkness will only be reinforced. The mechanism through which someone accesses creativity’s light is individual; however, beauty exists, objectively, and should be reflected upon to find “good” meaning to a depressed person.

I overcame Depression — download Journey to Aztlan for free to read how

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I wrote Journey to Aztlan to show people that there is hope for those who are stricken with Depression. For me, I found healing by returning to the very source of who I am and I believe that if everyone does so, they will find their own truth. Journey to Aztlan means so much to me because it’s literally a slice of my soul that I’m sharing with others. Really, it’s among the most important things I’ve done.

As a way to show my gratitude to my readers, I have made the Kindle version of Journey to Aztlan free today and tomorrow. Even if you don’t have a Kindle, Amazon offers a Kindle Reader app for computers and for mobile devices.   Just visit my Amazon page and download Journey to Aztlan. It’s a great read; it’s both entertaining and useful. Enjoy it at your leisure.

Time is precious and scarce: Thank you, everyone, for giving me the opportunity to do that which I love more than almost anything in this world by reading my words and taking time out of your life to do so. I appreciate you more than you could ever know and I do hope you take me up on the gift of gratitude I offer you. Thank you and may God bless and guide you all.

Clinicians are Shadow Warriors meant to bring light to darkness

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One cold and blustery morning, a shadow spread its wings and announced his dominion.  “Welcome to my home,” he said.  “Please, scan the detritus that your kind has left in worship of me.”  His flight-path guided me and showed me the grayness the llano had become; what I imagine to have once been a fertile and lush pasture was now a field where dead branches and windblown weeds pepper the landscape.

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I followed the course the Shadow prescribed and I could feel death’s pulse pump through my own veins.  I feared that maybe he showed me too much; I only entered the llano to stretch my legs and fill my lungs with fresh air.  “I didn’t mean to disturb you,” I said.  “I just needed a break and get a sense for the day’s weather.  There’s not much I need to see here and–”

“Oh, but you’re wrong,” the Shadow said.  You are among the Shadow Warriors.  Those human souls who brave the darkness, not because you’re not afraid, but because you know that the shadow’s darkness can be illuminated.  Look, your enemy is as much much a part of the earth as the Juniper shrubs.”

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I looked down and saw an empty can sprouting form the cold dead earth.  It was accompanied by empty Yukon Jack miniature bottles and I couldn’t help but be reminded about how much alcohol and other substances have permeated and poisoned our collective soul.  A whole region of my homeland is enslaved by alcohol and opiates.  Depression and Anxiety disorders have turned our humanity into as much of a cold and lifeless plain as the llano over which The Shadow presides.  But we only have ourselves to blame: We don’t teach our youth that they can stand on their.  Rather, we teach them that they are entitled to happiness just because they exist.  But happiness must be cultivated and developed.  No one’s future is guaranteed.  Life is a miracle, but the miracle lies in the seed that lies within our souls that is meant to grow and extend hope and love.

The cold air pierced my clothes and inflamed my lungs.  I cried and my tears might as well have frozen to my cheeks for as much as they stung.  “Don’t cry, shadow warrior,” The Shadow said.  “It is your mission, as it is all Shadow Warriors, to let the shadows teach you such that you can learn to bring shadow’s darkness into light.  Let my path remind you that death’s decay gives way to life’s rebirth.  Walk in the shadows — I welcome you to our home”

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Photo credit: juan blea

The Psychology of Facebook Depression: Avoid Social Comparisons & Envy | World of Psychology

The Psychology of Facebook Depression: Avoid Social Comparisons & Envy | World of Psychology.

The article found at the link above is relevant and timely for anyone facing depression an/or Addiction.  Facebook is dangerous and risky and should be used sparingly.