zen

There Were Beaches To Be Taken

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Today’s Poem: (scroll down for blog and a second photo for today)

 

Insanity Poem

I am the shore; the beach

And I see endless waves capped by headless demons

Each with an issue of blood, a smell of death

Demons riding gentle sloping water mountains

Always coming

Waves that carry Satan’s surfers

Deep in the recesses of my soul and mind

I thought only Christ could walk on water

No, not in my head

If I knew my brain would do all of this to me

What once could I have done to it?

 

When young; so many things undone

 

I thought then that life would be peaches, roses

All at once complete

And happy

Happy as the minute the clock ticks away

Finally making it to the 3:30 bell

On that last day of school

Before short precious summer days of sun and fun

Those days were not so fun

When school ended for all time for me

And life was still newly begun

 

Leif Gregersen

February 10, 2016

     Good morning Dear Readers:

Well, I don’t really have a lot off the top of my head to say, but I suppose I can still manage to rattle of f a bit of stuff.  I had a very cool job interview today for a temporary position as the teacher of a writing class and I have to admit I am feeling pretty good about it.  I will be helping adults to develop their writing skills and though it is part time, the hourly wage isn’t too bad.  I am really looking forward to something that is my own idea, I want to try and take my class on a field trip to the amazing Edmonton Public Library and show them some of the many resources available to all citizens of our great city.  Most of these people will be adults with mental health issues which makes me feel even better about the job.  I have always really enjoyed working with people who are at a disadvantage, whether it be an issue of their age or mental state or physical state.  For some time I volunteered at a veteran’s extended care hospital and I really loved some of the wonderful old men that were there.  I got some good story ideas from it and made good friends with the hospital chaplain who in more recent times has been a great supporter of my writing efforts and a wonderful guy.  I know what I do isn’t volunteering, but I would encourage anyone dealing with a mental health issue who has gotten beyond the initial difficulties of establishing housing, medication and a routine to volunteer their time in projects like this.  It can only help you get regular jobs further down the line, help you to meet people and keep busy, and be an amazing learning process.  I always encourage people in Edmonton to contact the volunteer network, but in many cities there are places where a person can be put in touch with volunteer opportunities.  The neat thing is that you can basically choose your job.  I knew a young woman with schizophrenia who was able to get valuable accounting experience using this idea.

One of these days I wouldn’t mind going through a couple of book reviews.  I wonder what some of the favorite books of my readers are.  My favorite book of all time is Robert M. Pirsig’s “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” in which he tells the story, a true memoir in a way, of a trip he takes across America with his son and two best friends on a motorbike.  As he drifts down the highway he has these talks with himself and thinks through a lot of stuff in his life.  This book was one of the first books I read that talked openly about mental illness, I think I have read it numerous times, it was so good.  The same author also wrote a sequel to this book more about sailing called “Lila”.

There is another book that had a great influence on me called “The Richest Man in Babylon” but I won’t get too deeply into that now.

I suppose I could talk a bit about growing up and friends.  One time I was discussing friends and friendships with my Psychiatrist, and he told me that he doesn’t have that many friends, and has no problem functioning at a high level.  I had some times when I was young that I desperately wished I had friends, anyone to play with, talk to, get into trouble with.  From as young as seven to even just a few short years ago I was very alone.  One of the worst summers of my life was when I was sixteen and I spent the whole summer with no friends at all, deep in a depression working full time, driving around with no one to talk to, no fun things to do.  What was odd about it was that just before school let out that year I had a lot of friends and even went on a few dates with some very attractive young women.  Then, seemingly just as school ended everything kind of went to shit.  I have played these times over and over in my head and I have never been able to understand where things went wrong, what I might have done to shun these people from me.  A couple of years later when I was severely mentally ill I had such a hard time understanding why so many people seemed to be against me.  It had seemed that all my life I had only contributed to the community, done good things.  Maybe I will never understand.

The only thing now that I really understand is that it feels good to be a hard working, giving person and to have many friends.  I also know that I would be in serious trouble without my daily medications, especially the one that stabilizes my moods and Prozac, my anti-depressant.  I have been so content lately most of the time, much more so than in previous years.  I really like being an adult and attending church, having neighbors who are good friends and supporters.  I often associate all my good fortune partly to quitting drinking, gambling and smoking some time ago, and in a much larger way to publishing my first book (I have now published 12 and have 10 in print).  What is takes is just a little concentrated effort, with a goal in mind, a destination, just a little effort each day towards that goal be it big or small, and I honestly feel dreams can come true.  For many years I dreamed of being a writer and now I can honestly say I am one and that I likely have a great career ahead of me.  Anyhow dear readers, I have made a decision to put out a blog with a poem a little less often, but still keep checking back for a new one once or twice a week, and as always, please feel free to contact me or to post comments to this site.  viking3082000@yahoo.com

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A Taste of My Life Full of Blessings

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Hello Dear Readers.  I have to admit I am starting out today’s blog with a bit of a blank mind.  When I started blogging, I had a lot of great ideas to write down but as time passed I narrowed my focus a little more, until being at where I am now where I want to mostly write about mental health issues.  In some ways that has made things easier and in some harder.  Anyone who hasn’t read my favorite book, “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” I suggest that they go and get a copy.  The book is about so many things, from teaching to thinking, to philosophizing, to managing a mental health issue in a family that goes across generations.  In one part the author was talking about teaching writing and had told students to write about a building and few of them were able to write anything.  Then he told them to write about one wall, then one row of bricks, then one brick and when he had narrowed it down enough the words started to come.

I am hoping this apparent wisdom works because in a few short weeks I am going to be teaching my first writing class.  The class is focused on people with mental illnesses, but is open to the public.  Anyone in the Edmonton area interested in attending feel free to contact me and I will give you details.  My email is as always, viking3082000@yahoo.com

So I am going to try and take people who have never published anything and maybe written a few poems or a story and I am going to try in one month to get at least one or two of them published in some smaller local papers.  More if I can of course.  There is this one student named Benson who is young and seems to have a great deal of potential.  He is kind of fascinating to watch because once we were given a writing assignment and he picked up his phone and appeared to be texting.  I felt a bit ticked off at this, it seemed rude, but then when we were asked to read our work here he came with a beautiful piece of writing that he had typed into his phone.  Things sure are changing.  Although I am very computer literate, I still like to start all of my work with pen and paper, then be able to edit not only as I re-read the work, but as I transfer it to my computer.

All that aside, things really seem to be going well.  I had a long and grueling week.  Yesterday I went to a nursing college and gave two talks for the Schizophrenia Society to a group of nursing students.  I really wanted to engage these people and make my talk a success, so when it came time for the question and answer period, I wouldn’t let people sit and not ask or say anything.  I asked for a show of hands as to who wanted to work in the mental health field and what their motivations were and people really opened up.  One young woman was actually moved to tears talking about a person in their family that had Bipolar Disorder who died and a young man talked about a sister he had who once went of her medication for a long time and I ended up asking him questions.  It really is rewarding work and I honestly feel like I’m making a difference.

It is really kind of refreshing to make a difference.  I am hoping I can make a difference for this young man Benson, I have already loaned him some poetry books to study and I honestly think with some prompting he can go far.  With some of the other people in the class, I don’t know how much I can do for them other than empower them to express themselves, but that may be enough.  I know for a fact that there is one person who used to come to the group who has been paid to publicly display his work, something that I have been trying and hoping to do for some time.

Well, I suppose that will make this a short blog for now.  I wrote a poem in my Wellness Recovery Action Plan class and I thought I would share it under today’s photo, so don’t forget to scroll down.  For the last blog entry I made, I got a very nice comment from someone, I would appreciate any comments anyone has, and if any of you are suffering and need help, or even just need to talk to someone who has been through a lot and done well for themselves, please don’t hesitate to contact me, as always, viking3082000@yahoo.com

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Making a Differerence

 

On my journey through this dark, stark land

It seems so many need me to lend a hand

I wish I could give my all to each and every one

Take them to a feast and fest on the beach and in the sun

 

But sadly it seems there are too many here

It touches my heart, makes me shed a tear

They smell, they’re shaggy, dirty, disabled

They ask for things that would only enable

 

One time I bought ten loaves of bread and a little meat

Even some cigarettes just for a special treat

I passed them out but didn’t feed the masses

I wanted to navigate the pearly gates’ passes

 

Is the only thing that I can do is take up my pen

I do have a heart for this women and men

Cruel people laugh at them and tell them ‘get a job’

But all those that hire workers think they’re slobs

 

Even the washrooms post signs to keep the homeless out

And if they go in anyway people scream and shout

Maybe if enough people came together and took someone in

Right now it seems to me their indifference is a sin

 

Soon there would be no more lonely, sickly poor

And acts of kindness would open closed doors

One day we could make it so all have food and clothes

They will never get them now the way it goes

 

Open your heart and mind and try

Ask why not instead of asking why

So many people need your kindness

So many out there are lost and homeless

 

Can you give a little, life will give so much back

Rethink your fear and change your tack

It’s isn’t resources that we lack

It’s not a case of white and black

 

It’s the union of all women and men

Let the world begin again

Share your love and learn to care

The way life is going it just isn’t fair

 

 

Leif N. Gregersen

May 16, 2015