The Children, The Garden and The Pets We Love
We seem to have messed around with the creator’s plan
He gave us all to share and nurture life in this sacred land
Most don’t seem to care that we poison our mother earth
Each day that we live starting at our very birth
Many people have said many times to me
You will go crazy living in the North Country
But this is the only place I know that I can see
Clean air and water, this is the place I need to be
This is our precious home to walk and gather as we sit
I worry so much about what man’s hand does to it
Don’t people know there is room for all to fit
If not here then in the deepest recesses of the fiery pit
That is where we all will go if we take this place
And destroy it collectively, the whole human race
It was given to all of us by the creator’s grace
And one day our creator we will all have to face
Each blade of grass, each tiny bird
Was bequeathed to man in God’s word
Yet species die off every single day
And mankind’s hope slips further away
We frack for oil and leave the waste behind
Are these fat cat oil billionaires blind?
All they seem to see in the land is dollar signs
To pull one strand of the web will make the web unwind
It makes me feel so sad that soon there will be no hope
When we lose all our plants and animals how will we cope?
All these precious creations given to us all
Soon will be no more and mankind will truly fall
In a far off place one tired old medicine man
Was the only one who could truly understand
No matter the reward, this was a lousy plan
To refuse to change, though we know we can
I ask you all to be a good steward of our planetary gift
The creator will reward us if we make something of it
The earth, the air, the water and all the life
Avoid the pain, avoid the deep and searing strife
It is all so simple, yet so many have it oh so wrong
You need to hear the medicine man there was a solution all along
You can’t walk in peace by covering the world in leather
Cover just your feet and in harmony walk this land together
April 1, 2015
THE PLACE OF RELIGION IN THE LIFE OF A PSYCHIATRIC PATIENT
Well, this is a difficult topic. I remember that one of the very first times in my life that I went to a church of my own accord I was in Alberta Hospital, a Psychiatric hospital near Edmonton. My mind was ablaze with delusions and so were the minds of several other people in the room. It was a Catholic service, but I had no idea about different religions or services. All I could really remember was that when I was about 12 or 13 my brother and sister would take me to church and one time my brother pointed out a particularly cute young woman and told me that girls like that were half the reason he went to church. My reason for going to church was that I was having delusions that some very wealthy people were conspiring to either bestow great riches and rewards on me or to kill me or thwart my efforts to control the world, etc., etc., etc. It was actually a bit, no a lot–scary. I somehow believed that in order to be the world or business leader that this mental hospital was somehow trying to convince me I wasn’t, I had to go to church.
All this must seem very confusing, and I am sure I am not telling the story all that well, so I will try to go back a few notches. In my 18th year, back in 1990, almost a year after I should have graduated high school, I was still going to high school and had been under a great deal of stress. Add to that I had yet to have any kind of girlfriend and then the fact that I was genetically prone to mental illness, and you have a real mess. Over the course of a month or so I was in and out of hospital Psychiatric wards and had also spent some time in a Psychiatric Hospital. One of the first things I did when I got home from the hospital was start drinking beer, a very bad idea with any medication, and I got a little drunk and called up a young woman I was very fond of who brushed me off but said she would still be my friend. Over the next while, I suffered from psychotic delusions so real and so intense about a number of things that even now I marvel at how the human mind can come up with such false ideas and somehow tailor every day experiences to make them even more confusing. My only idea was that there really was a God. But that isn’t always the healthiest thing to convince a mental patient.
As time passed, my thoughts slowly returned to normal, but not until after I went through quite a bit. One of the things that stands out for me is that when I was at my sickest, a hospital chaplain would come and visit me, a very kind and wise man from the Anglican church. Later on in my mental health journey, I was in the University Hospital and I went to a service there and, while having a hard time with delusions, had another chaplain explain to me that the bible had predicted the end of the world and some of the things in it were really happening in the world despite that it was written thousands of years ago. This was extremely disturbing, but somehow I tried to learn more and after a lot of mishaps, I found a church that makes a lot of sense to me with a priest I really like and respect, and on some Sundays I actually make it out to mass. The problem though is that there were times in between where I was obsessed with reading the bible, times when I thought I had special status because I read the bible and prayed and went to church, and even times when I had delusions about Jesus. So what is the solution, what is my grand answer to what people should believe if they are sick and hurting and want the comfort of religion or even spirituality? I don’t think a loving God, and I believe he is a loving God, will hold anything against a person who has made mistakes because of an illness. My priest even told me once that when you are mentally ill and deep into a depression, though it is not exactly giving permission, it is a forgivable sin to commit suicide. In no way do I want to condone suicide though, it is a horrible thing, but often people who are in a depression are not in true control of their actions. This gave me comfort because I lost an aunt and a very close friend to suicide, both from depression and I would like to think I will see them in heaven. Aside from the forgiveness part of it though, I want to try and explain here that suicide is something that hurts so many people, something that is never beneficial. One of the sad facts is that unless you make a serious suicide attempt, a lot of hospitals won’t admit you for help you may feel you need for other things. I am so lucky because I have found a home that gives me structure and enforces medication compliance and regular Doctor and Pharmacist visits. I myself have lived on my own and fallen away from those things and let myself get isolated and been near wanting to kill myself. One of the few things that helped me through those times was having the ability to go to church and bible studies.
Now, I just want to say a few words about when religion can be a bad thing. Some mentally ill people get obsessed with reading the bible, some of them misinterpret or have delusions about things in the bible. This can be very unhealthy, but I don’t know what the solution is. I know one lady who has Schizophrenia who had a breakdown as a result of reading the bible too much and needed help, needed her Doctor to step in and tell her to stop reading the bible and increase her medication. Regular visits to your Psychiatrist and counselors are your best bet in watching out for things like this to happen. Regular visits where you are as honest and comfortable as you can be with these people. In my life, and I feel like I have a pretty good life, I sometimes use Yoga for exercise and flexibility, I sometimes use techniques I learned from Buddhist teachers to meditate and clear my thoughts, and I also attend a Catholic church. In the end, I feel it is most important that I’m a Catholic because the church has a lot to offer me and the people seem so kind and helpful there to everyone. It doesn’t stop me from finding comfort in other religious practices though, I just kind of feel that people need to follow the wisdom from an old Frank Capra movie, I believe it was called “The Snows of Kilamunjaro” in which an old monk summed up his philosophy in one sentence: “Everything in moderation, including moderation.” Take care and keep commenting!!