In the recent gun violence and murder of vulnerable and innocent children, anger and questioning come after the shock and grief. Were we misled, gaslighted? Who is the blame? Why again, who is responsible or who was irresponsible? Why is our country the world’s leader in possession of deadly firearms, with little regulation or safety requirements? Another mass shooting has occurred, this time of nineteen innocent and vulnerable elementary school children and two adults killed by an 18-year-old with a military-like assault gun. How do the murderers and perpetrators of gun violence slip through all detection and become so twisted and radicalized to carry out their horrendous actions as in recent mass shootings?
The season for a fresh start seemed upon us with its promise of renewal and healing. Out of the deep darkness, a seed, a kernel of insight, grows towards the light and life with opportunity and challenge. People were reemerging after a trying and difficult period with some hopefulness of new beginnings.
The scourges of a pandemic seemed to recede with the anticipation of a reopening of society. The regaining of prosperity and security was the hope. But then, there was the possibility of new variants and surges. There were still people that had lost their faith in science, vaccines, climate control, our government, and democracy.
|Ron Parks, MD Feb 25|
Valentine’s day that passed recently reminds me that there are more profound realities than myself and related busyness. The holiday about love and relationship almost got overlooked, with my over-involvement and preoccupation with what I was doing. Luckily, my wife and something in the news gave a subtle reminder of Valentine’s Day coming. After reflecting on the day’s special significance—love, relationship, and our mutual interdependence—I went into action with roses and a special day together.
Unfortunately, the loveliness of the holiday was diminished by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The dynamics of relationship and choice-making become even more poignant when seeing the tragedy of another war unfolding. I reflected on the relationship between an individual’s emotional and mental functioning and extension to one’s social group, society, or country.
We all experience what seems like a bit of inattention that leads to a disaster—a disruption in the flow and harmony of daily life. A burned tea kettle incident led to the exploration of the deeper operations of our inner psychology, its related outer expression, and the different levels of awareness and personal meaning of possessions.
My wife and I had sat down to watch a recent movie about a family with turmoil and conflict. After the first short segment, we suddenly became aware and jumped up. We had forgotten about the tea kettle…
I’m Simon, and I have bipolar disorder. I like to joke that I was a late bloomer, very tongue in cheek, because that was far from the truth. I was in my mid-forties when I physically collapsed. Life and everyone in it just became too much and my mind and body had come to a place where something had to give, or in my case, both gave way at the same time.
I spent a long time in bed thinking that the heart palpitations, cause by my excessive drinking, were killing me. Eventually, I took a stupid Am I Bipolar? test in a magazine, and found that I ticked all of the boxes. That led me back to my GP, who set me up with an appointment with Arno, my first psychiatrist. Within an hour, and with prescription in hand, I entered life after diagnosis and the circus show that comes when dealing with extended family and friends. Luckily, I had Jax to help me...
Dr. Sid—endearingly just called “Sid” by his peers, colleagues, and fellow healthcare workers—made his way through the city in the early morning darkness. For fifteen years, he’d traveled this way, but the ordinarily busy city was now quiet, a sad reminder of the pandemic’s impact. He cranked the heater as a shiver crept up his spine at the thought of what lay ahead of him.
As a nine-year-old boy, while enjoying the warmth of the midday sun, I was easing my way out onto a branch of a wild apple tree. It was in a deserted field with the sweetest green apples I had ever tasted. These weren’t like the shiny red ones you can buy at the local store. The tree’s singular presence in an untamed field of weeds and wildflowers made it an even more tempting challenge to climb.
Growing up in the rural countryside, I loved to run and play, in the open fields and woods, with my friends and dog. I became good at swimming and other sports. Even though polio was in the news with pictures of children paralyzed from the untreatable illness—there was no effective treatment or vaccine. I felt invincible and in robust health. But with a turn of fate, the virus found me one summer day.
The spin away from the“inconvenient truths” in the current COVID-19 crisis, represents business and politics at their worse.
In business and politics, controlling the narrative towards what will win customers, build a brand, or gain a captive audience of followers, can be the way towards profits or power. People’s awareness and attention, unfortunately, gets diverted away from critical issues that need action. Not attending to these vital issues is a formula for disaster and recurrence of tragedies like the deadly pandemics from COVID-19.
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