Tag Archives: thanksgiving

thanksgiving, peace, metta

no more war“may there be peace” – what a strange and faraway thing to say about mumbai in the middle of this destructive chaos. and yet. may there be peace.

may there be peace in iraq. peace like i have among my friends, peace i am grateful for.

may there be peace in the congo. peace like we have in our family, peace i am grateful for.

may there be peace in afghanistan. peace like we have here in canada, peace i am grateful for.

may there be peace in thailand. peace like i have at work, peace i am grateful for.

may there be peace for all those frightened by the current economic upheavals. peace like the peace i have in prayer and meditation, peace i am grateful for.

may there be peace for my neighbours who are going through divorce. peace like i have in my loving household, peace i am grateful for.

may there be peace for my clients restless with worry whether they will find a job. peace like i have in the walks through this beautiful city, peace i am grateful for.

may there be peace for my writer friends, who are using words to dig themselves out of desperation. peace like i am given by watching our beautiful cat, peace i am grateful for.

may there be peace for everyone, right now, this moment, who is pacing the floor agitated by mental illness. peace like i get from many good nights’ sleep, peace i am grateful for.

may the blessings of peace that have been given to me so abundantly flow over, into the nooks and crannies of my neighbourhood, onto the city, the continent, may they join with everyone else’s overflowing blessings and touch the world.

may our friends and enemies, all humans and animals, all created beings, may we all have peace, freedom, health and happiness.

the image of the hiroshima peace memorial park comes from hira3

thank you, mental illness awareness bloggers

today concludes the last day of mental illness awareness week, and the beginning of canadian thanksgiving. i’d like to give thanks, then, to all the bloggers who’ve written about this topic. here is a small selection of them:

mental health and poverty

the kick-off of “mental illness awareness week” in canada is coming with the usual storm of media articles wherein various and sundry demand more money for mental health. generally, that means, mental health professionals demanding more money for mental health professionals, while claiming it’s not actually for them, it’s for their patients. but if they really cared about their patients, we’d much more often hear mental health professionals lobbying for more money for social assistance and other types of anti-poverty initiatives, as the BC health living alliance does in this vancouver sun article, citing the ample research that shows how dramatically poverty damages health and, of course, psychological resilience.

more at the canadian mindscape monitor

the faces of mental illness

we invite you to visit the website – letsfacethis.ca – and post a photo and message on the “tree of support”. with each new photo added, the “tree” will grow, symbolizing growing awareness, education, fundraising and hope for those suffering from mental illness.

more at real mental

mental illness and mental health

although there is a slight difference between mental illness awareness (for the long term mentally ill) and mental health awareness (for those who have troubles coping with the various events in their lives), they are equally as important to understand. there are common misconceptions in the general public about the mental ‘illness’ state that one needs to be in before they can seek treatments. another is the idea that they have to be referred to a counsellor by a doctor before they are able to get the appropriate counselling that is needed to help them function in their day to day life.

more at the kipling citizen in saskatchewan

not accepting the stigma
i was touched by how “out” this engineering student was about his situation:

i personally suffer from mental illness – i have been diagnosed with severe depression with suicidal tendencies and have been receiving treatment since winter 2005. my journey has been difficult, but i have made it through with the support of family, friends, and medical professionals. i am not “in the clear”, and i do not know if i will ever be, however, i take each day as it comes and do my best to make a difference in the world.

more at iron warrior, the online news site from the engineering department of UWaterloo

mental illness awareness in schools

dr. gariane gunter, a psychiatrist in south carolina, recently was crowned mrs. united states and will dedicate her reign to raising public awareness about mental illness. as part of her education campaign, gunter is working with the national alliance on mental illness (NAMI) and in honor of mental illness awareness week (oct. 5-11) she writes about her advocacy efforts on the NAMI blog.established by congress in 1990, mental illness awareness weeks promotes public education on mental illness, treatment and recovery through local outreach efforts. gunter is currently teaching NAMI’s “breaking the silence” curriculum to all fifth grade classes at an elementary school in her hometown. the program is designed to educate students in upper elementary school, middle school and high school about mental illness.

more at yubanet

mental illness and the US elections

the nation is currently preoccupied with tremendous financial woes and an upcoming presidential election. where is mental health in all this?
let’s start with the second issue first: the race between obama/biden and mccain/palin.
i would like to see both candidates address these issues:
1. the failure of de-institutionalization due to the lack of funding for community-based treatment.
2. the pending need for mental health services for veterans returning from the iraq-afghanistan war.

more at fighting for those with mental illness

thanks, violeta

the other day, i came across pensieve, who is challenging the blogosphere to come up with a thanksgiving limerick.

since i’ve been digging back into my chilean songs lately, i came up with this harebrained idea of trying to turn violeta parra’s gracias a la vida into a limerick. it doesn’t do justice to violeta’s beautiful poem and music – but it was a great opportunity to look more deeply into violeta parra’s art. maybe i’ll write a post about her one day – the story of her struggles with mental illness, her creativity and her social activism certainly fits well into this blog.

so, pensieve, here’s my thanksgiving limerick:

life, thank you, you’ve given me so much:
stars, mountains, words, legs, eyes and love.
a heart full of joy
and room, too, for sorrow,
and a song to share with my brothers.

for a link to mercedes sosa singing this song, the spanish lyrics and a translation into the english, visit mikkelina.

thanksgiving all over the place

in my post yesterday i referred to the thanksgiving weekend. some of you readers in the US might have thought that i ought to take the confucius on confusion course i talked about the day before.  thanksgiving isn’t until late in november!

but, actually, this time i’m not confused. i could have pointed out, of course, that canadian thanksgiving is this weekend, about six weeks before the one in the US.

as you know, gratitude is an important topic on this blog so i’d like to talk a bit about thanksgiving festivals that some of you may not know very much about.

here in canada, we celebrate thanksgiving on the second monday in october. apparently, the first time it was celebrated by caucasians was by captain james frobisher who was thankful that he had survived a long journey in 1578, almost 50 years before the famous pilgrim’s thanksgiving in the US. says david watts in an article on canadian thanksgiving

frobisher sailed under elizabeth I, whose reign was marked by gratitude from beginning to end. for her first 20 years she held public thanksgiving simply for having lived to ascend the throne.

thanksgiving, of course, is a harvest festival, and neither canadians nor americans “invented” it. harvest festivals are as old and varied as agriculture, and maybe they were even held in hunter-gatherer cultures. so naturally, there were pre-colonial harvest celebrations among our first nations, such as the iroquois haudenosaunee, whose thanksgiving prayer you can read here.

germany, where i come from, has a harvest celebration in the christian churches that is held on the first sunday of october. it’s called “erntedankfest” (literally, “erntedankfest, or thanksgiving, in germanyharvest thanks feast”). in a tradition that, like so many christian celebrations, clearly harkens back to pagan times, church altars are richly decorated with bundles of wheat, apples, flowers, cornucopias and other goodies. some towns and villages have processions with decorated tractors and other agricultural implements.

another harvest celebration that’s important for people living in vancouver, which has a high proportion of people with a chinese background, is the mid-autumn or moon cake festival. it has been celebrated in asia for the last 3,000 years and falls on the week of the full moon closest to fall equinox. equal in importance to chinese new year, it is a time of family and togetherness – and a time for eating absolutely delicious moon cakes

(thanks to swamibu and tin-g for the images)