Counting Our Blessings
(Column: Ask the Peer Specialists)
Peer Specialists are professionals who have mental illness and work to help their peers who struggle with mental illnesses daily. Often, Peer Specialists work in psychiatric facilities such as State Hospitals and clinical settings. Some work as part of ACT or mobile crisis teams that go to the homes of peers to see how they are doing. If you want to learn more about this profession, please call The Howie the Harp Peer Specialist Training Program (212) 865-0775.
Paul Chipkin: Many who go through mental illness are concerned that life just plain doesn’t offer us enough! ‘Counting one’s blessings’ is a prescribed antidote to the problem. In this month’s column, peers discuss their varied approaches to the gifts we get every day ‘from Above.’
Celeste Macheath DuBoise: Open the mind and one must think of oneself. Open the heart, one must love. Open the mind towards the heart, one must love humanity. Open the heart towards the mind, one must love evolution. To be healed is to be happy and to share the goodness of the healing is the cosmic flow of love for all, the created world of God and Man. To know your fellow man is to know the Source of Creation. It’s the spark of life, the universe. To know the universe is to know one’s self. To be cut-off from one’s self is to be blocked from the Universal Flow, this flow of emotion, from On High. And so, as the universe squeezes and stretches, spins and implodes, explodes and expands, so do we. If you squeeze me, I get emotional. If you don’t, I scream out for, ‘Squeeze!’ Who will squeeze a forgotten soul on the path? I need love, too. I really, really do!
Dee Jordan: The ultimate love is to risk one's life to help a stranger. It's easy to love anyone that shows us love and respect. The Buddha and Christ both emphasized that loving one's enemy is the path we should all strive to take. The greatest gift we can bestow is to lay down our life for another; the universal karma is so much greater when the life you save at the expense of your own death or injury is someone who was unkind to you. Even praying for them brings an ability to love on a different plane and be blessed with inner peace.
Paul Chipkin: If the one who is most different (by whom one may be the offended) if one sacrifices it all for ‘freak of nature,’ (One may even hope, for the world’s sake… ‘a rarity’); if one believes in the of that strangeness: if one chooses a person whose value is hidden amongst oddity, is hidden and if one is drawn in especially, then the journey will, likely, not be smooth, but if the commitment is with a full heart, the ‘bounty’ will likely be full. One will be richly blessed.
Mark Berman: What is a blessing? What is it to be blessed? To be blessed is to be able to function normally and well, and to be thankful and grateful for the things we take for granted like walking, eating, seeing, hearing, shitting, peeing, thinking clearly, having all our feelings intact. What a blessing it is not to be in pain! So many people are in wheelchairs, blind, permanently wracked by disease, paralyzed, or their mind scribbled away under the hell of schizophrenia and deep depression. Then there’s Alzheimer’s. To be blessed is not to have these maladies and to be grateful and thankful for your health. It’s a blessing to be able to have food and a decent place to sleep. It is a great blessing to love and be loved in return. Perhaps the greatest blessing of all is to know God’s presence and love all day long, with every step you take, His hand in everything you do.
Mary Pinkerton: Bless me with the wealth to cover my head in high thread-count Egyptian cotton. To restore my soul, lie me down by the still blue green waters of St. Thomas. Oh Lord, bless me by keeping your rod and staff off my exfoliated and pampered body. Anoint me with oil applied by skilled hands, to sooth the pains of ennui. Lord, forgive my sins and bless me with six lawyers and a judge who understand my sensitive mind. If I must confess, let the world know that I have found you yet again! Keep my ass out of jail. When I rave let it be seen by the light of gold to be…brilliant.
Oh Lord, if it is your wish that I reach the depths of despair, find me before my heirs do. Bless me with the best drugs and doctors that my wealth can provide. If it is your will that my insanity lead to my death, know that I arrive before you poor. Bless me with the riches of heaven. Amen
Paul Chipkin: What wonderful writings are contributed to this column! Are we inclined to be inventive, interesting, daring and inspired, of unique quality as writers because we “think outside of the box?”