So I’ve written a book. It was a hard slog showing up every day with a gaping chasm of a blank page staring at me. And spending ages hacking away at sentences to get them just right. Not to mention the years of getting the whole tone and voice right. So after nearly 19 years of putting it back on… Read more →
I’ve finished the book! Whoop whoop. High Five! It has a new ending after my EPIC Pilgrimage to Santiago, which wrote itself into my head on the way there. Now I need to find an agent/publisher. I also need a larger platform. I know there’s potentially thousands if not millions of people who would DEVOUR my book if they only knew… Read more →
Peer Supported Open Dialogue is revolutionising the way people are treated in the mental health services. It developed in Finland after their mental health system collapsed. Finland had had the worst statistics in Europe for schizophrenia. Now it has the best.
A group of family therapists got together and asked, how can we do it better? Open Dialogue is the answer. It is based on a totally different model to the current one which adopts the brain chemical imbalance theory. It brings together the social network of the person at the centre of concern (the patient) and encourages all those voices to be heard. It taps into the power of the social network, so that it takes an active part in the healing of the family member. It sees mental health problems as a symptom of the social network breaking down and so it aims to repair them. It is a social model that believes in the power of the individual within the collective to heal.
It is being introduced by Dr Russell Razzaque author of the radical book Breaking Down Is Waking Up. And Green Lane Films (my production company) has been asked to film it. My personal and professional life have finally joined and had children! And this video is the offspring.
Melinda Messenger features in this clip that I shot at the Open Dialogue Conference in London earlier this year. Melinda is doing a Transpersonal Psychotherapy training and is the Patron of the UK Spiritual Crisis Network.
If you want to know more about Peer Supported Open Dialogue sign up to the POD Bulletin.
I wrote the last sentence of my book this morning. Whoop whoop! High Five! Backflips all round… Over two years of discipline and commitment, not to mention the amount of wading through the quagmire of my sabotaging mind. My confidence in my writing has increased with the help of some critique from Elizabeth Diamond. I sent her another 20,000 words… Read more →
If you need something to validate your experiences and help you understand them in a better light you would do well to read Servants Of The Sacred Dream by Linda Hartley. Here’s an extract: “A person going through a process of profound inner change is often viewed by society as mentally ill, suffering a pathological condition that needs to be treated… Read more →
Here’s an extract taken from the last episode, when I’ve just come out of hospital:
“It’s so good to be home where I can potter around, make healthy meals and listen to the radio. I have it on as a soundtrack to my cooking. Like the classic Morecambe and Wise breakfast sketch where they dance to the striptease tune, I move around to the music. Taking a side step and sliding my other foot, Tango like, to join my first, before opening the cupboard door. Reaching for a pan and twisting to the hob and placing it deliberately on the beat. My every move is a dance, connected through the fabric of space, to the rhythm of the Universe. Even when the radio is switched off, I still feel the pulsing of life taking me as its partner.”
I met Norwegian Performance Poet, Artist and Love Activist Åsmund Seip at a poetry evening in Totnes. I was impressed with how he came to write his book of poetry: He wrote one poem every day for 10 days—a practice of honesty and vulnerability. 10 days became 100 days, which eventually became the book 100 Days of Love.
My ears pricked up when I first heard the line ‘I just want to be Normal!’ I’ve thought the very same thing. Towards the end of each episode, I just want the whole ride to end and feel normal again. I want to get back to work making films and going to the cinema and hanging out in cafes. Each episode lasts up to four weeks, and during that time I have to keep away from the crazy fast paced world of modern human industrial life. I’m best communing with the awesome power of trees and animals.
At the end of the poetry reading, Åsmund gifted each of us in the audience with his newly published book. This inspired me to make him a film for him. I hope you enjoy it!
I’ve just sent off my next 10,000 words to Elizabeth Diamond to critique. This means I am now a third of the way into the book. It doesn’t feel nearly as daunting as it did in the beginning. I’m well into episode 3 of 7. I have bullet point notes that I made after each episode to jog my memory… Read more →
Here’s another extract with reference to a piece of music in. This time a classical number. Another one for the Booktrack soundtrack to my ebook.
“We’ve booked tickets to see a string quartet performing Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, which isn’t the kind of thing either of us would normally go to. But it’s so cultured in Venice that a classical concert feels compulsory so the poster stood out. It’s one we both know. Who doesn’t?
“It’s a fairly small space and the audience is sitting at the same level as the musicians. As the music begins, I try to picture a spring landscape so that I can connect with what Vivaldi was trying to portray. But it’s no use; I’m distracted, searching for the advert I’m only half remembering. Maybe it’s an airline company. Marco Polo Business Class with Cathay Pacific? Definitely something trying to get across a sense of class. I lure myself away from this thought by deliberately imagining a fawn frolicking in a woodland. But that doesn’t work either. It’s usurped by an image of a bunch of people dancing around a Baroque Ballroom in 18th Century grey wigs and too much white face powder. Then faint memories of another commercial steal my attention away again. How am I supposed to enjoy this? The music has so many associations my ears are too biased to hear it properly.
“I decide to stop trying so hard and instead I focus on the musicians’ bows moving in unison: two violins, a viola and a cello. I watch their fingers moving quickly across the strings and let out a sigh as I relax in my seat.
“Around each player is a purple glow, the same colour auras I saw in the hospital years ago. When I tense up they disappear but when I relax they appear again. I deliberately tighten up and let go a few more times to test this theory. I can definitely only see them when I’m in a relaxed state. They can’t possibly be hallucinations.”