Sunday, 11 May 2008

The Who's Crazy Now? News & Views

The Who's Crazy Now? News and Views
Published by Elly Litvak
Mental Health Coach, Consultant & Public Speaker

The Who's Crazy Now? News and Views provides information for
people recovering from a mental illness, their families, friends
and mental health professionals.

Website: www.whoscrazynow.com
Email: elly@whoscrazynow.com

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May,2008 Volume 1 Issue 8
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Please forward The Who's Crazy Now? News and Views to your friends
and associates.

For subscribe or unsubscribe instructions, please go to the bottom
of this ezine.

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In this issue
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1. Welcome from Elly
2. Feature Article: Spirituality and YOU: The Role of Spirituality
in Recovery
3. On the Horizon: A Spiritual Poem by Janet P. Scott
4. The Loonie Awards (Not Just Another Recovery Awards Show)
5. Now Who's Crazy Now? The Play
6. About Elly
7. Coaching and Mental Health Services
8. Subscription Information

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1. Welcome from Elly
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The subject of spirituality has been challenging to write about
because it means something different for everyone. My intention is
to open the doors of spiritual exploration whether it's learning
about religions like Buddhism, Sufism or Judaism or experiencing
the benefits of meditation, yoga or regularly scheduled "calm,
quiet" times with yourself.

Spirituality is an important part of the recovery process but is
also very personal.

Thanks to all of you for your feedback and ideas for future
newsletters. Send your feedback to elly@whoscrazynow.com.

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2. Feature Article: Spirituality and YOU: The Role of Spirituality
in Recovery

In 1978 I was diagnosed bi-polar and lost custody of my two small
children. Finding myself completely alone without any support from
friends or family, my mood sank. I was agonized by the endless
cycle of pain, suffering, loneliness and manic episodes that I
thought would never end. I began thinking of suicide. I even had
a plan. But in a snap the plan to end my life was interrupted by
what I consider to be a spiritual intervention. I wrote a letter
to God asking to be let go of all the pain and suffering. It was a
poem, the first I'd ever written, but what struck me most is that I
was referring to a God that I hadnever believed in. The very act of
asking this "God" for help took some of the pressure off of me.

That was the beginning of a spiritual quest that has since evolved
into daily rituals that are a key factor in maintaining balance in
my life. Over the years I have grown to understand the important
role that spirituality plays in recovery.

Talking about spirituality is no longer a taboo in mental health.
Many mental health practitioners understand the benefits of
spirituality and provide support and resources on the subject to
their clients.

But what is spirituality and how does it help improve our lives?

Defining Spirituality

Most dictionaries have a number of definitions that usually include
religious values. Spirituality is an important part of religion
but religion is not necessarily an important part of spirituality.
The two are very separate things. Being a spiritual person doesn't
necessarily mean that you follow an organized religion. Religions
offer you faith, strength and support however it is not an
essential component of spirituality.

I think spirituality is a state of awareness and consciousness, a
connection with your deeper self. It is in maintaining a
connection with your deeper self that gives meaning to your world
and the world at large. It has had different meaning for different
people throughout history. Spirituality, described as "linking the
deeply personal with the universal", is inclusive and unifying. It
applies to everyone, including those who do not believe in God or a
'higher being'.

Practicing Spirituality

The role of spirituality in my life has evolved into daily rituals.
The daily practice of yoga and deep breathing gives me a sense of
calm and clarity of thought. My body has also benefited from daily
stretching. I feel years younger, I'm more flexible and more
energetic. When I'm feeling overwhelmed with ideas, work, or
emotional overload yoga calms me down. It gives me a sense of
inner peace, tranquility and the confidence that everything will
work out.

It's also important to take the time to be with myself on a daily
basis. Each morning I start the day by rolling out my yoga mat,
lighting a candle, and practicing. Yoga includes stretching, deep
breathing and meditation. It is a practical aid, not a religion.
It is about balance, the word 'yoga' is from the Sanskrit root
'yuj' which means "to join" or to "yoke".

But yoga and meditation isn't everyone's cup of tea. Ways of
practicing spirituality boils down to personal choice. In my way
of thinking, whatever gives you a sense of meaning and connection
with your deeper self is spiritual. Maybe it's a daily stroll,
journaling, taking time to sit quietly by water or simply being
conscious of the moment. Playing music, listening to music,
dancing, singing, drawing, painting, reading, writing, studying can
also be ways to explore yourself spiritually. And hey,
self-improvement is always a good thing.

There's a lot of arguments about the positive effects of prayer.
Here's where I weigh-in. I believe in the power of prayer. Many
years have passed since I wrote that poem 'Letter to God' and I
have developed my own notion of what God is to me. Once again it's
my belief that God is whatever you believe the entity or non-entity
to be.


Tread with Caution

There's lots to learn and huge benefits to exploring spiritual
avenues and developing a regular spiritual practice. You need to
be careful and cognizant of negative effects from obsessing about
whatever spiritual topic you are involved with. You also need to
be aware that there are many unscrupulous individuals selling
questionable spiritual services. In these instances, common sense
rules. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

3. On the Horizon: A Spiritual Poem by Janet P. Scott

The poem below is a beautiful example how some quiet time by one's
self by a sea shore can be a deeply spiritual awakening, inspiring
creativity and significant life changes.

Here are the waves and there is the shore:
To stand on the edge of the ebbing tide;
To feel a cool rush of ocean water flow
Through invigorated toes, and retreat
Back to your claimed but small section
Of sand,
Watching forever from the shore:
The heavy sway of water,
Never forgetting your perspective
The horizon, your eyes making it
The reference point you always
Gravitate back to. Being on the edge,
The periphery of warm sand and slapping
Water, makes you the observer.

You watch the colour and form
Of the arc and tumble restlessness;
The sound ripples in the cradle
Of your ear like water brushing
Over smooth stones.

The more you feel the sensation
Of the ocean, the more you long
To try it out ...
And when you do, you become
You become part of what you once only watched from the shore:
Your horizons stretch out forever.


4. The Loonie Awards (Not Just Another Recovery Awards Show)

The Now Who's Talking Recovery Theatre project's Loonie Awards show
was a great success. A huge thank you and congratulations goes out
to the cast and crew for all their hard work and dedication to the
project. You stuck it out guys ... through thick and thin!!!

I would also like to thank the audience members who turned up on
Easter long weekend and who played along with the Red Carpet
shenanigans. No doubt they didn't expect fake paparazzi making a
big who ha, sticking microphones in their faces and snapping
pictures when they arrived. Humour really helps when you're
talking about a heavy subject like mental illness.

Another thank you goes out to the St. James Community Hall, the
surrounding businesses and community police for all their support.
It truly made for a real community endeavour, one that aims to
understand mental illness, the recovery process and ultimately stop
stigma.

The DVD of the show will be completed at the end of this month and
parts of the show will be posted online. Stay tuned to this
newsletter for further info.

I'm also developing Recovery Theatre Resources for agencies and
organizations that want to start a Recover Theatre Program. These
include a Facilitator Manual, a Participant Workbook, and other
valuable recovery tools. Stay tuned to www.whoscrazynow.com for an
official announcement.

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5. 'Now Who's Crazy Now?' The Play

What is mental illness? Is it a health condition characterized by
dramatic alterations in mood, thinking and behaviour? Is it a
chemical imbalance? Or is it the common euphemisms we hear tossed
about daily like 'out of your mind' or 'nutty as a fruit cake'.
What is recovery and how do we achieve this elusive goal?

In this fast paced, one-woman play 'Now Who's Crazy Now?' I
chronicle my experience living with and recovering from a serious
mental illness. 'Now Who's Crazy Now?' is highly entertaining and
educational, with a message that there is hope for recovery for
everyone.

Some audience feedback:

"...thank you for an uplifting, poignant, funny, sad, thought
provoking and above all inspiring evening."

" ...an inspirational real life story that demonstrates Elly's
ability to turn her pain into power."

"Brilliant, fun AND, most importantly, entertaining education."



More info at www.whoscrazynow.com

For bookings contact: elly@whoscrazynow.com


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6. About Elly
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Elly Litvak is a mental health coach, consultant and public
speaker. She is driven by the passion, the knowledge, and the
experience that recovery is possible for everyone. Elly is
committed to supporting people in recovery, as well as the
families, friends and mental health
professionals of those in recovery.

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7. Coaching & Mental Health Services
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Who's Crazy Now? Provides mental health coaching, consulting and
public speaking services to people in recovery, their families and
friends and mental health professionals.

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Privacy Policy
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You're privacy will always be respected. Your name and email
address will never be sold or given to anyone.

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Pass It Along
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Please feel free to pass on this newsletter to anyone you think may
benefit from it. Please ensure that you keep the entire issue
intact and unaltered.

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8. Subscription Information
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
To subscribe to this ezine go to:
http://www.whoscrazynow.com

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Copyright Elly Litvak 2006. All Rights Reserved.
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