Today’s FB memory: on 2/27/13, I started a new job – back in my old field of “mental health”! Yay! (Read on…)

2/27/13 – my Facebook post (which Facebook very helpfully reminded me of today)

“I start a new job on Friday! Full-time at Family Preservation Services (a wonderful agency) in their adult day program (a wonderful program). I’m totally psyched! It’s been a good run at Greenlife, but after almost two years I’m very ready to bless it and let it go – and go back to my old field of counseling, where I can use more of my rifts.”

What a amazing memory, from my current perspective (2/27/21).

I left that job after just about two weeks, saying that I was too depressed to be able to do the complicated mental work.

Sure! The “complicated mental work” was to organize and document the psych evaluations of new patients.

As a clinical psychologist myself, I probably could have actually performed those psych evaluations better than the person who did them.

But my karma in this lifetime is to do battle with the entire process of judging and labeling people, especially by the psychiatric profession.

Hear the dialogue at NPR’s 1A program on January 10 (not even two months ago) about “mental health”, in which I twice – calling in to the show – try to shift the conversation away from giving labels to people.

At Family Preservation Services, I was not overwhelmed by writing up those diagnostic evaluations because it was too complicated for me. My brain was resisting that work because it was exactly what I am here to try to stop.

At that point, I was still in the throes of believing that I myself had a psychiatric disorder. I had recently gone through of solid week of training to be a “peer support specialist”. I was in that job because I was “someone with a psychiatric problem” trying to help “other people with psychiatric problems”.

I didn’t know then that I was actually there to let the animals out of the zoo cages. I was there to open the jails and say “Run free my friends!”

(Last summer, my very young friend Sam rode with me and Pancho in our van – Narwal the Whale – for 10 days. When she happened on us, she was homeless and in a world of trouble. She did better with us every day. “Sam, wherever you are, I still love you and promise to come looking for you.”)

Last summer, the first night that my friend Sam rode in the van with us, we “somehow ended up“ parked in that parking lot – where I worked for Family Preservation Services and where I also, during another period, attended depression and bipolar support meetings in a Family Preservation Services conference room.

Sam had told me very clearly earlier that night last summer that “I do not dance”.

So when she and I ended up – at three in the morning – dancing in the moonlight in that parking lot, it was one of the great karmic triumphs of my life.

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These days all of my identities are converging: whether I am offering a blessing in the grocery store checkout line, offering a prayer in a poem or experiencing the kinship with all life while walking my or a client's dog - it's all the same. It's all Life.

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