Jasper

God of All Creation

DSC_0037THIS IS THE PHOTO (ROUGHLY) THAT APPEARED IN THE EDMONTON SUN NEWSPAPER

     Hello Dear Readers!  Well, I am in a good mood today.  I have been given a wonderful opportunity to work for the Schizophrenia Society as a presenter of my own lived experience with mental illness.  Basically I wrote a speech and now and then I get asked to give talks to different groups.  Last night I presented to a family wellness group and it went so well.  The talk kind of ran for a long time, but people seemed pretty responsive.  I should note that for a long time I have been working a job I love as a stage hand, but it has slowly gotten to be almost too much for me.  Now, I have this job with the Society and I am able to utilize all of my knowledge and skills (and a little bit of bravery-public speaking can be difficult at times!)  Not to mention that on some occasions I am given permission to bring and sell and sign books.  I get so much better response for my book sales when I do something like this, last night I sold three copies of “Inching Back To Sane” which is a lot considering at (a)there were only 10 people there to present to, and (b)at a book signing at a book store the other day I sat for five hours and sold just one book!

Another thing that I am finding is that as I meet with people and share about my illness, I am learning a lot about new coping strategies, new events and generally helping my condition a lot.  The lady who runs the Edmonton office of the Society seems to be impressed with me and has asked that I write a special speech for a fundraiser they are having in the fall, I am really excited about it.

I don’t know how much I have shared about it, but I recently completed a ‘Wellness Recovery Action Plan’ or WRAP course and I am hoping that I will be able to become a facilitator for this group in the new year.  For anyone that doesn’t have knowledge of it, I suggest you Google the name and also look for information about Mary Ellen Copeland, she has developed this method of becoming aware of the things that help get you through a bad day or a serious crisis and also making plans that you can share with others for what to do if you end up in crisis and many more things.  There is actually a ‘WRAP app’ on iPhone and Android where you can access on your smartphone all of your lists and even email them to anyone you feel might need them, say your therapist or doctor or health care worker or even family member or friend.  Just the other day I was feeling a bit out of sorts, possibly because I had been getting out in the hot sun a little too much and it wasn’t doing my mental health much good.  I opened up my ‘WRAP app’ and went through a list of things that I knew would make me feel better.  One of them of course is reading, and I picked up some light material and got myself through a time when I may have felt so ‘ill’ that I had to contact my Doctor or Nurse or put pressure on a family member to try and help me.  There are courses and books out there that I think could be very beneficial.

Another resource I wanted to mention was a thing I found on YouTube, called ‘guided meditation’.  There is this one video that comes up that shows an orange sunset over waves and in the video the announcer talks you through some deep breathing and relaxation techniques, and I swear it is better than a hot bath with epsom salts for relaxing you.  A large part of the video is just the sounds of waves gently crashing on a beach and it takes me back to times when I was in Honolulu near Waikiki Beach and I couldn’t sleep so I took a walk and then just sat on a park bench sipping a milkshake and listened to the waves, thinking to myself how incredibly cool it was that I was out on the cusp of thousands of miles of water.  It was such a powerful experience.  Anyhow, if you scroll past today’s second picture below you will find a poem, and below that in the previous blog I wrote you can find a YouTube link to a video I made of a nearby national park situated on the Alberta side of the Rocky Mountains.  I hope all of you are well, please email or comment if there is any information you want to see on this website or even just want to say hi.  viking3082000@yahoo.com

Take care!

DSC_0077        THERE HE IS AGAIN!  THE MAN WITH THE HAT!

 

Goldilocks Princess

 

Often when times seem unfair and way too rough

I steel myself and try to be strong and tough

But hidden deep down inside my mind

I long for days when the world was more kind

 

As a boy happiness was everywhere

I received so much dear love and care

My Mom and Dad would do all the worrying for me

And I was free to just live and play and be

 

But when that young boy reached the age to become a man

No one seemed to want to help or give a hand

I soon realized I had to make my own way

Work all day with no time left over to play

 

I still remember when I first cooked my own meals

Trying to understand the bus because I had no wheels

Waking up each day to work and try and build a life

Hoping somehow to meet someone to be my wife

 

And then so many awful things got in the way

It was all I could do just to make it through each day

Some people learned I was giving and kind and cleaned me out

But I know there are still good people, of this I have no doubt

 

And then after a time came the miracle that changed it all

My sister had a baby, so precious, adorable and small

I love her now just as though she were my own

And pray she never has to be alone or leave her home

 

I so much wish that she never wants or needs

I’ll work for her wellbeing until my fingers bleed

And then something that makes me feel a little shy

Is that she loves me back so dearly and I don’t know why

 

I’m just a simple writer, a lonely ageing man

Trying to do the most for those I love that I can

Nothing sweeter than to hear a little child say

I miss you when you are so far away

 

But in just a couple of weeks I will see her once more

Closer to her adulthood than ever before

I will take a flight to her family’s big city home

And I know she will inspire many more poems

 

The emotion a young one inspires is so wild

I sometimes wish she were forever a child

But she will grow and take her place all in due time

For now though she is sweet loving child so kind

 

And so with these words I hope I touch your heart

Remind you to love your family and never depart

Because my little miracle saved me from pain and despair

My own goldilocks Princess with so much love to share

 

Leif Gregersen

July 8, 2015

My Ship Came In But I Was Stuck At The Airport

IMG_5877A few raindrops on the windshield but still some of the most beautiful country you can see

Well Dear Readers, I hope you all had a good chance to bond with your fathers or children yesterday.  I went for a very cool dinner cooked by my brother who is something of an incredible cook, having taken 3 years of formal training and many years of experience as a professional cook.  At the moment, I have the honorable task of helping edit a book that is not yet released by one of Canada’s top writers, Richard Van Camp.  The book is literally incredible, it weaves together a lot of the characters that Richard developed in his stories and the movies he made of them, including “The Lesser Blessed” and “Midnight Mohawk Runners”.  Then yesterday I was working at the Edmonton Coliseum, also known as Rexall Place, loading the trucks up from the Cirque De Soleil show.  Friday I was interviewed by an Edmonton Sun Reporter, Cam Tait and I am anxious to see how the article will come out.  And then last Wednesday I taught my second writing class to a grand total of one student, but still it was fun.  The student is a young man who grew up in this area and he is a very interesting young man and not a bad poet.  Like they say, those who can’t do… teach!

Another thing that happened this week was I completed my Wellness Recovery Action Plan course which means I can now take a further course to be a facilitator.  I think this would be a great experience for me, I have been considering writing another book with regards to mental health, only this time one with more hard data and facts and all that rather than just stories of what happened to me.  I feel there is a great power that occurs when a persona can honestly share their own stories, in fact I think it is the main problem with mental health treatment today–too many people are too worried to admit they have  a mental health issue.  The only fact I really know is that 1 in 5 to 1 in 4 people will need to seek treatment for a mental illness at some point in their lives, but if all the people who were trying to tough it out or didn’t trust Psychiatrists or were too worried to reach out for help were counted in, it could be a lot more, who knows?

Anyhow, that is the long and short of it.  In the morning I am going for a business lunch to discuss me taking on more responsibilities in the fall session of my writing class.  I don’t really know how long I want to stay up but I might have to stay up all night just to make it in.  I will most likely go for a swim in the morning to keep myself going, not an easy thing when I have worked as a truck loader the night before.  I guess the price of influence and self respect is a few nights of missed sleep here and there.  All I can really say about the last couple of years is that it has been such an amazing experience publishing a book, and then publishing many of them.  I am meeting so many people, doing so many things.  The money isn’t really there, I have sold a lot of copies of one of my books and I think if I am lucky I am close to breaking even, but writing is such a wonderful experience.  I like to quote a man named Bronowski, a scholar who was the host of “The Ascent of Man” a TV show my mom used to really enjoy, which was also a book of the same name by the same person, the quote went something like: “The magic of reading is that no matter where you are, no matter the time or place, you can open a book up and be instantly transported into the mind of the author.”  I thank you Dear readers, for reading my mind 🙂  Poem to follow below today’s second photo.

DSCF5316     This is a photo I took underwater snorkeling in Hawaii last fall

First Love

 

Please let me paint a picture here with words

A story unlike any you’ve ever heard

It all begins in a sunny late spring day

When all the little boys and girls came out to play

 

There was a little boy who stood out among the crowd

Somehow as just a lad he seemed to stand tall and proud

And a little curly blonde-haired girl caught his eye

He could have made her his friend but didn’t try

 

This cute little pair of children grew up very fast

Funny enough the girl had a crush on him as time passed

But as they went through school together it was all a game

A race to see who would first get fortune and fame

 

At first as a model and a scholar the girl did well

Though the strong young boy was going through a kind of hell

His life at home got worse as each day went by

It was all he could do to not curl up, give up and cry

 

One day when he had taken all he could

He thought of the one thing in life he saw as good

He reached out to the curly blonde haired girl for hope

He was at the end of a nasty, slippery rope

 

All at once our blond girl expressed her love and true respect

But he didn’t want to start out his life in her debt

He thanked her but then went off to make his own way

He never stopped hoping to see her again one day

 

Life had never seemed to him all that fair

It had been so awful he really thought no one cared

But still he set off to conquer life on his own

He left his friends and his community, he left his home

 

Our boy put out his thumb and headed for the coast

Overnight to all his friends he became a ghost

Vanished out of sight and out of mind

Wondering to himself why the blonde girl was so kind

 

And as some do in sunny summer days

The young man succeeded in numerous ways

But when he returned home all the love was gone

The little curly blonde haired girl had moved on

 

No words could ever win her back again

He had to face the fact that this was the very end

And so he went on living like a ghost

Drifting north to south and coast to coast

 

Then one day he met a young troubled soul

And he found that holding her made him feel whole

Soon a wedding came and not long after a child

They let the baby grow up just a little wild

 

In their humble home there was always love and fun

And before too long our boy saw past memories as done

It meant so much to just lay back and hold his child and wife

By losing his first love he was given the perfect life

 

 

Leif Gregersen

June 22, 2015

Distant Shores, Poem of Brotherly Love

DSCF5243This is a shot of one of the best beaches I ever went to.  

You actually have to pay to go to this beach, but it was soooooooo awesome!!

     Hello My Dear Readers!  I think I would like to talk about writing today.  I don’t know how many aspiring writers there are out there, but I think there are a few.  I always say to people the first thing you have to do if you want to write is learn to keep a journal.  It’s more than a diary, it’s a book where you keep anything you want to write down, usually your thoughts, but it is good for ideas too.  I used to force myself to sit each day and write a full page about things I have done.  Now I kind of use this blog for that, but writing is writing.  I have been reading a few things about creativity and they all seem to stress trying to write every day no matter what.  For myself, sometimes I end up either getting stuck or putting out crap and so I will occasionally take a day off or two, and I find if I rested myself mentally, physically and emotionally I will go back in better shape (so I hope).  I had a book signing in my home town of St.Albert, which is a medium sized city north of Edmonton.  It went really well, sold about 10 books.  I don’t know if I’ve beaten that yet, I know with my very first book signing ever I was only selling one book (Through The Withering Storm, still available through this website under ‘books’ on the menu), and I ended up selling eight copies, which added up to just $5 less revenue than I earned the other day.  One of the neat things was having some press coverage, thanks to my good friend Scott Hayes with the St.Albert Gazette. It also helped to post the event to Facebook and let a few people know they were welcome to stop by.

     At the signing I think I learned a new trick.  I will admit you get a few grumpy people who don’t even say anything, but I originally thought if I say hello or hi to each person that went by I would get sales, but what a person really needs to sell a book is to engage the person in conversation and just be a nice person and let them know you have a valid story to tell in your work and I think about 60% of the time if I could engage people in conversation they would buy a book.

     One of the things I like about going to St.Albert is that the Chapters Bookstore they have there is a really good store.  I could easily spend a thousand dollars in one, but this time I spent $45.00 which was kind of a risk because I spent it before I started my book sales and didn’t know if I would make it back.  I ended up making double the cost of the two books back.  I think I would like to start doing book reviews when I get more followers.  To all my loyal readers that is two things I promise as this blog grows in support, I will have book reviews and contest giveaways.  I have been getting into graphic novels lately, and if anyone out there wants an incredible read, I picked up a graphic novel adaptation of a movie (I haven’t seen the movie) which was called “Kingsmen” and it was hilarious, gripping, had some great plot twists, and extremely entertaining.  I won’t talk too much about it, but I would like to say the book doesn’t cost much (I think I paid $13.00) and it is really high quality stuff, especially to anyone who likes James Bond.  Other than that, I think I will try and find another Hawaii photo to put below here because the poem for today is on a sailing theme.  All the best folks!

IMG_7460

This is actually a shot of a lake in Jasper National Park where my family goes a few times a year in memory of my mom.

You, My Dear Brother

 

Somewhere deep down there is a little more

Push hard to get yourself outside your door

A world awaits that needs someone like you

There is a chance our dreams will all come true

 

Love and riches await for all who dare

You can not tell me you no longer care

You and I brother we once had it all

This world is ours if we answer the call

 

Brothers together can change the whole world

We’ll live to see our bold flag fly unfurled

Glory awaits lets take it while we can

Stand with me brother I have the perfect plan

 

We’ll work like dogs and hide away each cent

We’ll work each day until we are all spent

One day we will buy a ship to sail the sea

For once we will be men and will be free

 

We shall set sail for distant lands and ports

We’ll drink and sing old songs until we’re hoarse

Throw a dart in the air to plot our course

We’ll live happy and free in far off shores

 

Come now with me before we grow too old

This world belongs to men hardy and bold

We don’t need this snow and bitter cold wind

Come now my brother new life will begin

 

You’ve been there for me since I was a tot

I have to say I owe you all I’ve got

Now come with me leave this place far behind

Wasting your life away is just unkind

 

We have this chance but it won’t last too long

Open your mind and sing a different song

Let’s aim for places new and women fair

With smiling faces, flowers in their hair

 

Leif Gregersen

January 25, 2015