What many people may not know about me is that in 2012 I lost my cousin to suicide. What is strange is that she was always so “happy” and I really couldn’t rationalize how this could have happened. It took me a while to really grasp what had happened, and being as close as we were, I had wished she would have just picked up the phone that night and given me a call. What even more people would not know about me is at that time I was falling into some pretty dark days myself and really wasn’t too sure how my future was going to play out here. With her death I had an awakening; however, it took about 6 months, a brash move and escaping modern medical “fixes” that were prescribed to me to get to that point.
As I came out of the fog, I found that I had a new understanding of happiness, what it looked like and how to achieve it, and had to radically change my life. I started to talk to a few holistic practitioners, “witch doctors”, as my friends and I in the ER called them when we used to openly laugh about people using tea and chakra balancing for their health; however it was only with these techniques I really began to hear my life play out in a much different story than I had imagined. The more I opened up to talk in a “holistic” manner, IE cutting the bullshit lies I used to tell everyone else about my feelings and actually telling people what I thought and how I coped with daily life, the more I began to understand the power of communication and how without speaking our feelings, we really do not get to use all of our senses to rationalize our environment.
The more I talked, the more I learned of myself and the more I began to find my resources I truly needed to maintain my daily life. Each day became another day of learning and living in a manner where my mind was set up for looking for solutions rather than seeing problems. Low and behold my mind began to settle, substances subsided, medications were released from my daily routine and I distinctly remember a day I stopped in the grass walking my pup through my favorite trail in Seneca Falls and said out loud “wow this is what happiness sounds like”. I had heard nothing but those words in my head, only to look around and watch as my world became brighter, lines were crisper and the smells of nature overwhelmed my being. I then thought “All of what I wanted and needed for my happiness and this is where I am left?”. I went home and thought of how powerful those first few conversations were with those practitioners and then eventually with myself and I wanted to learn to help others in that same way. After a year of personal work and self-care, I started to reach out and develop the healing network and within my first week of casually talking about wanting to help people out I had a few conversations that I will tell you I could never have expected or planned if I tried. All I could think was “I’ve found my path.”
As my words changed so did my experience in this life and I was told by many that I needed to continue what I was doing, as those coming to me were saying I was changing their minds and the way they thought about life. I found that I wasn’t doing anything more than empowering them in a way, spiritually, that they had never experienced before and was ministering to their spirit. I was helping them find their own resources and solutions to the problems they wanted to talk about and at times never saying more than the words of “hey" and "what do you think we should talk about today” before the ideas of change people desired came flowing out. Although I was having great experiences with some clients physically, who were getting stronger, it was always the light in their eyes that led me to knowing we had a successful session. That light doesn’t come from fixing someone’s situation, it comes from releasing their spirit from the current “what if” or “oh shit” that is taking over their mind.
Opening my heart to the role of a minister really was, and continues to be, a great change from the man I used to be and the path has blessed me with so much, that I now hope to give back. As I have many free days on my hands with the traveling teaching job I started this fall, I recently have been developing a website for resources for the ministry I started a year ago. On one page in particular you will find a link to an online crisis network called IMAlive. IMAlive is a 24/7 call center and online chat resource for those in crisis and at risk of committing suicide. I have given it a lot of thought and wanted to find a purposeful way to spend my free time, along with continuing my ministry outreach work. I was thinking this training and experience would also be priceless in the event that I had a family member, friend or communicant in crisis and really was overwhelmed with excitement that I could help out. Last week I applied and today was informed that I have made it through the first round of screening!
The way IMAlive commits to their caller’s safety during these times is by ensuring that every volunteer is thoroughly trained in crisis intervention and undergoes a training program and supervised period before ever answering a call. This training costs $250 and is mandatory for each volunteer, but IMAlive seeks to have you get your secondary references in a different way. They develop a link and page for each volunteer who seeks to work with IMAlive where people who support you, pledge to help you raise your training cost.
For the cost of a fast food breakfast, a beer at the bar or night at the movies, you could help me raise my training funds to support IMAlive’s mission and callers. If you would like to support me in this path I ask that you please follow the link and give any donation you are currently able to make, even if it is a few dollars. I then would also ask that you share the link with anyone you know who could also help as well. I find myself sitting around for hours on end thinking of different ways I could find resources to help people and learning new techniques, but right now this would be a great addition to my spiritual work I seek to live in everyday. Please follow the link here to make your pledge today!