Coming Out of the Mental Illness Closet

I am mentally ill. It sounds a bit shocking to hear myself say that. Such a notion had never even occurred to me, until recently. My unexamined assumption was that mentally ill people were the ones living in institutions, ranting and raving and disrobing in public. They were schizophrenic, psychotic, and secured in lockdown wards.

Grim Reaper, M.D.

Is it me, or is every health care facility I take my elderly parents to secretly intent on killing them off? As a culture, we have moved from death as the ultimate taboo, through a stage of speaking openly about the dying process, all the way to the opposite position: “Death? No worries, mate, why keep putting it off?"

Gabrielle Roth, 1941-2012: Disciple of the Deep Dark Divine

Gabrielle Roth passed away on October 22nd, 2012, two years ago today, at the age of 71, from lung cancer, and it is only now that the significance of our initial moment of connecting—of transmission—has finally become clear to me.


Apparently Slash was recovering from yet another heart-breaking ending of a relationship, and had spiked his spirulina/ pomegranate/kale smoothie with LSD, psilocybin, Ecstasy, Geritol and Pepto Bismal, and he was found wandering on Main Street, downtown Galapago, wearing a rabbit suit and shouting, “Free the Bunnies! Free the Bunnies.”

Her Car Would Only Go Backwards

I keep her at home because after 67 years of togetherness I still want to be by her side when I go to bed and when I wake up; I want to kiss her good morning and (not always) have her smile and say “I like that” when I kiss her as she opens her eyes.

Moments of Joy with Alzheimer's!

I’ll never forget playing “Tangerine Poker,” a card game my niece Julie and I made up as we went along: I would pick a card, and put the tangerine next to the salt shaker. Julie would put a card on top of mine, and peel the tangerine. My mother would study her hand carefully, look down at the table, and eat the tangerine.

Living With the Gun

By Guest Blogger lj rey: "When I was a young man I had a Winchester hanging over my bedroom door. I thought the right to bare arms had something to do with Marilyn Monroe in a sleeveless dress. Guns were the building blocks of manhood."

On Being Safe in an Unsafe World

The whole world is having a collective anxiety attack. Post Newtown, the situation we all find ourselves in is growing more and more difficult, if not impossible, for us to bear. After the shooting, I entered a full-on crisis of faith, and I know I was not alone.

For Our Loved Ones With Alzheimer's...

My mother lost her words in stages. At one point, she may not have known the name of that thing that cleans the rug, or the other thing that rings, but she knew to refer to both the vacuum cleaner and the telephone as “the machine,” which made its own kind of sense.

Take My Money, Please!

I am not a trust fund baby, technically, because I’ve never been the beneficiary of a trust fund, although I’ve recently learned that some of my closest friends have always assumed that I am. I can certainly understand their misapprehension: I am a baby, and I have always trusted that I will have funds.

PRE-Traumatic Stress Disorder!

If seeing dismembered body parts and burnt flesh all around you doesn't at the very least stress you out, then you are the one in trouble.

Fear of People

There’s actually a word for it: anthropophobia.

When It's Not Your Time

A bit of advice. The next time you are cruising down I-95 at 70+ mph and you get run off the road by an unauthorized driver in a rental car with a suspended license be sure to point your vehicle safely towards a cedar tree.

On Being an Average Person

The whole team went out for ice cream to celebrate except me. I had nothing to celebrate. Who cared about the team or the championship? I had missed the ball.

Hypo-Hypochondria, Or Is It Me?

Comedian Richard Lewis once began a performance by saying, "I just came from spending a weekend with my family; I can't tell you how glad I am to be speaking in front of 20,000 strangers." I don't like to whine and complain about my various physical ailments to my friends and family... much.

Limbaugh and Hannity Endorse Obama!

My elementary school friends, Melvin Limbaugh and Charley Hannity were always such blowhards. They had an opinion about everything. And they always agreed about everything, which I could never quite understand.

Couples in Conflict

A friend of mine was speaking to me today about an ancient relationship, and commented, "That was during my food-throwing years." I asked for further details. "Melons. I specialized in melons." "Canteloupe?" "Honeydew." "Are we talking the whole melon, or little melon balls?" "The whole melon; I'd usually crack it over their heads."

Shootin' the Blues Away

“Shootin’ the blues away” was the subject line. The email was from D., a new acquaintance I met at an art opening a few months ago, a 70+ writer guy with Parkinson’s. The content of D.'s email was a single line: "Would you like to go out in the woods and shoot some beer bottles with a .22 single action six-shooter?"

40th Anniversary of the "est" Training

Forty years after the inception of "est," one of the original intensive consciousness seminars that launched the Human Potential Movement of the 70s, its graduates are reuniting at the Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles on December 17th.

Kicking My Bucket List

I don't usually get headaches. (Photo to the left is not me.) So when I woke up at 4 a.m. for the third consecutive day with a splitting pain in the back of my skull, I drew the logical conclusion: terminal brain tumor.

You Are Not "Chemically Imbalanced"!

I just read such a depressing book that it would make just about anyone need an antidepressant if it wasn’t for the fact that the book itself debunks the entire psychopharmacological industry in such a convincing way that it would be maddening if it weren’t so saddening.

Be Love Now: A Visit With Ram Dass

It was 1997. I was visiting the Neem Karoli Baba ashram in Vrindaban, India, when I learned that my old friend and spiritual teacher, Ram Dass, had had a major, possibly life-threatening stroke. How strange to hear such news in that particular place?

Self-Caregiver Burnout

In the infant days of the New Age movement in the United States, it was often said about relationships that, "In order to truly love someone else, you have to love yourself first." I tried that, but found that I needed to have an open relationship with myself, so if things didn't work out I'd be free to see other people.

I Go To Pieces

The foot guy at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York told me I had no cartilage in my big toes, and I only had two choices: surgery to fuse the bones, or be in pain when I walk. The surgery requires ten weeks recovery time per toe, most of it lying down.

I'm the Gift!

I had to get her store credit at The Cat Store for the oversized kitty nightshirt I bought her; I had never noticed that she sleeps au naturel. (I’m not always the most observant guy.)

A Day in the Strife of a Writer

Things I did to prepare to be guest teacher at a writing class: Dug up old handouts from the desk drawer in my studio out back where I haven't set foot in months. I look around, notice how disgusting the studio is, the floor covered with dead stinkbugs. I get the portable dustbuster down from the storage loft, begin vacuuming,

60 Is The New 8

I'm already upset, in advance, that the local movie theaters in Richmond, Virginia will grant me the Senior Citizen rate in just 1 1/2 years, when I turn 60. For I have been the "Eternal Puer"- married late (47), have no kids, and few responsibilities except to be pretty and occasionally water the plants. 

Is it Time for Masculinism?

The feminists have had their say over the years, and most men got the message: It's not okay to objectify females, to speak to them as if there is a microphone nestled between their breasts, or to act as if young women in miniskirts and revealing halter tops are the least bit interesting to us unless they also happen to be carrying a copy of Goethe's Faust.