WisdomWithin Podcast now available across multiple platforms!

We are happy to share that WisdomWithin podcast episodes are now available through the following platforms:

Anchor.FM: https://anchor.fm/WisdomWithin

Google Podcasts: https://www.google.com/podcasts?feed=aHR0cHM6Ly9hbmNob3IuZm0vcy84ZjFjMjIwL3BvZGNhc3QvcnNz

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/1To3Y1WbQuKxi8B05bYzgo

Breaker: https://www.breaker.audio/wisdom-within

PocketCasts: https://pca.st/q727

RadioPublic:   https://radiopublic.com/wisdom-within-GKbdoD

Stitcher: https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/anchor-podcasts/wisdom-within

… with further distribution in progress! Check us out on your favorite pod platform today!  We currently have five completed episodes available, with several more in progress! Be sure to share us with anyone who might be in need of support in their wellness and recovery journey! With our love and thanks, as always!

Exciting news!

I know you haven’t heard much from me lately, but there’s good reason. Very excited to share what I’ve been working on… a podcast version of the WisdomWithin blog, same moniker, encouraging emotional/mental health awareness, education & support, promoting self advocacy, recovery and HOPE. Episodes will run about 30 min. The hope is in reaching people “where they are”, with support, resources and encouragement. This is our test drive, and the show will hopefully develop and improve organically (if not technically), as we go. We are, in general, just out to do good. 👍🏼 We hope to add invited remote participants in the future, who can speak on a range of topics from a range of experience. There may even come some guests who wish to remain anonymous. Hoping you’ll give us a listen and share with anyone you think we might encourage. Would love your feedback, input, suggestions, topic ideas guest ideas, your yays and your nays. Podcasting; apparently the future is now. The anchor link is live already, but should work in your favorite podcast platform within a few days. Apologies in advance for a couple of pregnant pauses between sections. Gotta learn to edit better. But this is a self taught endeavour, so I’m just gonna chuckle on through. Thanks all!


Moving from the maelstrom …

A swell of very good people are struggling at the end of a gut wrenching week.

First, I hope that you are taking time out, during and from the madness, to just take care of your self and be grateful for what is good. There is always good.

Then, as the maelstrom ensues, may we all calmly seek some sort of perspective; some outside-this-moment thought process, which I admit to presently struggling for myself.

Out of recent social discussion, in obvious current events, where folks were civil, but of obvious and diametrically opposed thought; finding myself overwhelmed by the need for looking bigger picture, comes the following …

I invite you to look at epigenetics.

Think, “epic” and “generational”. In your own line of humans; in our collective lines of humans. The concept that each generation is affected, effected, adapted by, ravaged by, some social, national, international event(s) of epic proportion. The effects of each are then handed down, for better or worse, through all the generations that follow. No wonder then, we all might feel in chaos.

Just in our young country’s time (and we are a very young country, fellow humans), revolution, evolution, Civil War, slavery, abolition, women’s suffrage, hurricanes, earthquakes, WWI, drought, prohibition, The Great Depression, WWII, Korean Conflict, Vietnam War, civil rights, equal rights, human rights, assassinations, Watergate, AIDS, Gulf War, 9/11, Iraq, Afghanistan, market crash/recession, more hurricanes, wildfires, the opioid crisis, MeToo, Puerto Rico, internet and social media, Ford/Kavanaugh … clearly, you get the idea.

My point, dear people, and I do have one, is that each generation faces its own epigenesis; we either work through it, so that we can adapt and evolve, or we can be crushed by the chaos that consumes us.

Our internal, innate survivor, enables us to adapt and evolve, individually. What we choose to do with that evolution going forward, and how,  is up to us, individually and collectively.

This all said, my offering of the moment, something that gives me a bit of hope in difficult times, something from the next generation, developed by my now grown son, (educated by all our tax dollars and his own epigenetics, poor lad), and now his own amazingly well-evolved work team  … wherever U stand, TheVoteNeedsU …


The voice that no longer serves…

Denial of truth doesn’t make something untrue.

How often, we hear the phrases, “he’s such a good man”, “it didn’t happen,  “he wouldn’t do that”, and “I didn’t/wouldn’t do that”?

What perpetrator ever actually says “oh, yeah, I am that guy; I’m an abuser, I’m a rapist.”?

Generally, it’s one person’s word against another’s when it comes to abuse.

So, most often, we don’t speak.

Now, seemingly through every manner of media, survivors of abuse are met with groupthink denials of assault, pervasively based in, when we get right down to it, political affiliation. Assault victims are “all lying”, because a current nominee to the Supreme Court faces assault allegations.

Rest assured, there is just as pervasive a group reaction.

Our initial reactive mind in the face of such pervasive denial?  Words alone can leave us feeling re-traumatized; even re-victimized.  We may spend years rising above, recovering from abuse, from assault, from rape; rebuilding our lives. If you haven’t lived it, you can’t know. To have survived though, we have already learned about our reactive mind. We understand that these haunted, horrifying feelings resurfacing, by whatever trigger, but especially in the face of  current events, are a natural response.

So how do we work past our natural reaction to group dismissal? Whether we have spoken our truth out loud, whether we reported or not, whether we were 35, or 24, or, 6 years old (or all three), we are still here. We are not negated.

Choosing conscious action, be it finding a support group or hitting a punching bag; writing… a journal, a blog; registering (and exercising our right) to vote; writing and calling elected officials; working, living, trying to maintain our gratitude for the good in life – we alone, determine our steps forward.  Listening to our intuition, asserting our positive action, walking our own path, this is where our learning lies and how we continue to grow.

It is also where courage is needed.

The closer we get to speaking up, the louder our inner critic gets, with reasons to keep our mouth shut and our head down. That critic speaks from the past, not the present. That voice no longer serves us, no matter how persuasive.

None of my perpetrators ever questioned my politics.

I was 35. I was 24. I was 6.

I am still here.

I vote … and I am not alone.

#WhyIDidntReport … #ItStillHappened

Trending on twitter, #WhyIDidntReport, in response to the current barrage of commentary in media, in politics, in general conversation, around why a woman would wait decades to report sexual assault or rape.

The free press and social media have opened the floodgates for all manner of pundit and politico, to pass judgment on how or when an accuser should make an attack known. This, obviously, in relation to the accusation by a college professor against the current nominee for the Supreme Court, regarding a sexual assault alleged to have occurred when they were still in high school.

One of the frequent comments: the decades since the alleged incident, and why so long to report. This pervasive judgment, through ignorance alone, speaks volumes toward why victims struggle. It has also prompted all manner of women, and men, to tweet #WhyIDidntReport. Go; read some of the Twitter thread. Just pick a spot and read a few. These are human beings still struggling to speak, and some are speaking for the first time. It’s moving. It’s haunting. It’s heartbreaking. It’s liberating. It’s empowering.

Why I didn’t report?

1. I was 6. I didn’t know ANYTHING.

2. I was 23, alone in another state, visiting a high school friend. We had been been drinking. By the end of the night, an acquaintance had raped me. Yes, I said no, many times, before I passed out. The next day was my flight home. I told no one, until many years later. The first person I told …  became my next abuser.

3. I was 35, outside the U.S., and sexually assaulted. I came home and said nothing… for years.

To those speaking truth to power, you matter, you inspire…  and I believe you. #WhyIDidntReport #ItStillHappened

In Tribute … ;



This is such a difficult post, yet, even if no one ever reads it, here I write, out into the cyber-verse … in tribute… ;

A truly profound and soul-crushing event happened very recently.

In the huge news of the world, it received little mention or notice. Nonetheless, some folks are really struggling with it …

The inspirational founder of Project Semi-colon, Amy Bleuel, a young woman who bravely shared her struggles and encouraged those living with mental illness to continue to choose to keep going…… sadly ended her own battle.

There are many,  living our mental health journey, who have struggled with similar illness and/or thoughts of suicide over the years. Amy was a brave voice of empowerment, saying to us, in essence, “choose to keep going”.

There are many others, who say, how can someone be so selfish as to take their own life?

The truth is, and it’s nearly impossible to understand if life has not beaten you into that place;  that at that moment in time, when you are in that place emotionally and physically,  and you are so beyond pain and exhaustion that your entire being is ready to be done, it is the hardest, most overwhelming, most painful option available; to choose to keep going; to realize there is still a choice to keep going.  To make that choice is to physically and emotionally overtake a somehow primal need to make it all … stop.

Amy encouraged that positive choice; empowered that choice, gave voice in the struggle for that choice, for many, many people. We will forever be thankful for her life.

We are stunned by her loss, pained by her pain, and grieve with those who loved her.

There remains a sense, though, in some of us, as strange as it may seem to give voice to – that we somehow understand.  It is not her “fault” that she could not, this one time, overcome the overwhelming need to leave. No one can know how many times she DID overcome that; how many times she did choose to keep going; or how many others she inspired, and yes, continues to inspire to keep going.

Living with mental illness can be, at times, massively overwhelming. A person’s strength to fight truly seems to leave their being from time to time. The gnawing feeling that the world would be better off without us, gets plowed into by that feeling of ultimate failure, loss, grief (whatever “it” is that spikes this latest battle). It has been the encouragers, the un-intentional leaders, those who survive and find their way along the journey of wellness, who then give that message forward to the rest of us, despite their own ongoing struggles; those are the people who have moved mountains in mental health awareness, education, advocacy and yes, hope.

Amy wanted to be known for having lived. Her ending should not erase her message; her ending, pardon the expression, serves to punctuate her message, though in a way we all wish had not been. We remain emboldened by her bravery in living, and the message she gave to the world during her short life; choose to keep going.

In Support of Peer Support…

An invited article on the meaning of peer support to the peer support professional in mental health and wellness:

While I haven’t yet been “working” in our field, I have been working hard (as a volunteer) since earning New York Certified Peer Specialist (NYCPS) certification in May 2016. My purpose in obtaining certification and my focus since, has been around development of programming in mental health awareness, education and advocacy.

I didn’t know there was such an entity as a peer specialist when I was diagnosed or in the early years of my recovery.  There was a time, I thought I’d never be well enough to be of use to anyone in an actual job again, and before my illness, I had worked since I was 12 years old! I worked long and hard for many years, in many roles. I learned a lot. Then my illness took over and I learned even more.

It was several years in to my recovery journey when I found the NYCPS coursework and application online, I thought, here is a way to somehow contribute in the world again. Since certification, I’ve worked with organizations in the early development stages of peer support programming; I’ve developed an awareness/education/advocacy website in support of those who seek resources and information as a peer or family member. It includes lots of resources, basic support information and blog articles written to encourage peers and families in self-advocacy and wellness. I’ve guest blogged for Academy of Peer Services. I’ve guest-edited a recent online newsletter for international Association of Peer Supporters (iNAPS). I’ve also been working on a presentation for Western NY Girl Scouts, to help them earn the Mental Health Awareness patch, available through the International Bipolar Foundation.

I share all of this, not to toot my horn, but to sort of explain that I am not doing peer support work “in the field”, i.e., in someone’s home, or traveling around a specific region for one organization’s peer programming. Not that I don’t want to. But, I do recognize my own level of recovery. I recognize what I am capable of. I recognize what I am not yet capable of. That’s important in peer work. I believe, if we have the passion to use our lemons to batch up some lemonade, then we should do so, even if we don’t yet, or ever, fit everyone’s specific mold. I believe that has to be okay. There’s more than enough work to be done in this effort. We need all of us.

In sharing these thoughts though, I’m making the point of this article. You never know in what way you will be of support to a peer, or a fellow peer supporter. You may not recognize that you are being that voice an individual needs at a certain time. You may find, after talking with a peer, that you are thinking more clearly on a certain topic, or that some small part of a conversation the two of you had, has put a light on a missing piece to resolve your current puzzlement. Each interaction is an opportunity.

As Peer Specialists, we maintain that fine line between peer and support; the clients we serve are not intended as personal relationships, but recovery relationships in support of the clients’ goals. Yet, still in recovery ourselves, we may often find ourselves very much in need of our own outlet to vent to, or pose a hypothetical to, or doubt ourselves in front of, or question the process with, or insert your topic of the moment here: _______________.

You get my point. The value in peer support is not only in what we offer for our clients, but what we informally offer each other. By continued, open discussion, forum dialog, conference attendance for those able to do so; webinar participation, group projects, and so forth. We are all recovering, every day. No matter how much good we want to put out into this world, we are wise to recognize where we are in our own recovery, be understanding of the timing in the recovery journey of others, and be respectful and mutually supportive of everyone’s contribution. The fact that we are able to support one another, while we work to support others toward self-advocacy and recovery, makes us stronger in our work. We inherently find ourselves exemplars of the peer support model, both as supported and supporter; talking the talk while walking the walk.

“Nothing about me, without me!”

I’m still here.

The call to action, “nothing about us, with out us!” was coined decades ago, by a group of mental health consumer/survivors who, through sheer determination, formalized the mental health peer movement and truly enabled the meaningful voice it has today.

No longer is the science behind mental illness denied. No longer are we at the mercy of what experimental treatments might be the latest en vogue. No longer do people deny that mental health and physical health are all part of one person, one wellness.

Well, most people don’t deny it; especially, understanding that 1 in 5 people, across cultures, across regions, across continents – will live with a mental health condition during their lifetime. (Currently, 58 million people in the United States!)

Everyone knows someone affected by mental illness. The peer movement, and now the peer support movement, are here to stay; and still here, to say that there is recovery, there is help, there is hope. We are better selves when we help ourselves, and when we help each other.

Also true, however, as with any journey, that any recovery can experience setbacks; no different than recovery from any physical ailment might. Its true for everyone. It’s also often the case that physical ailment can contribute to fluctuations in emotional wellbeing. Or perhaps, some sort of unexpected life detour puts up a roadblock. Let’s be honest. Any number of things can result in an emotional setback, whether you live with a mental health condition or not. Enough to sort of end up feeling in limbo, almost unable to take a next step, even if we know what the step needs to be.

Having experienced a similar crisis of confidence very recently myself; doubting my ability, doubting what help I’m actually being; I found it was the informal support of another peer supporter, that helped me recognize, out loud, what was behind my feeling of, well, “stuck”. More importantly, it brought me to realize that I am still contributing to the greater good, even during setbacks, because that’s what my goal is. That’s who I really am and what I feel called to do. It’s taken me decades to get to know me. I’m not going to lose sight of myself again, even though setbacks will come.  The journey is here for everybody. I’m no less a part of it by my condition, by my setbacks, or by my sometimes less than stellar confidence level. I am still here. I am on my journey, with all of its ebbs and flows and failures and successes, just like everyone else.

I will continue to make my voice heard, to promote mental health awareness, education and advocacy. I will stand up. Life isn’t about me, but I won’t have it happening without me, either. Because I’m still here.

Fog-clearing attempt…

imageAs we advocate for such a diverse population here at WisdomWithin, we endeavor to remain apolitical.

That clear:

During recent peer discussion about fears and concerns raised by reported pronouncements and legislative upheavals here in America, questions arose that we are not qualified to answer.

So, legal friends, for the benefit of those of us who are willing to ask questions but are not necessarily sure where to go after a certain point, I offer the following query, as I have emailed to my elected officials (with resources):

Are we to understand from the following, that everything the new president has signed thus far, are executive actions, not executive orders? Therefore, basically, wishful thinking?

All help appreciated.

PBS.org (Listing all to date)



Executive Actions Versus Executive Orders

Executive actions are any informal proposals or moves by the president. The term executive action itself is vague and can be used to describe almost anything the president calls on Congress or his administration to do. But many executive actions carry no legal weight. Those that do actually set policy can be invalidated by the courts or undone by legislation passed by Congress.

The terms executive action and executive order are not interchangeable. Executive orders are legally binding and published in the Federal Register, though they also can be reversed by the courts and Congress.
When Executive Actions Are Used Instead of Executive Orders

Presidents favor the use of nonbinding executive actions when the issue is controversial or sensitive. For example, Obama carefully weighed his use of executive actions on gun violence and decided against issuing legal mandates via executive orders, which would have gone against the legislative intent of Congress and risked enraging lawmakers of both parties.
Executive Actions Versus Executive Memoranda

Executive actions are also different from executive memoranda. Executive memoranda are similar to executive orders in that they carry legal weight allowing the president to direct government officials and agencies. But executive memoranda are typically not published in the Federal Register unless the president determines the rules have “general applicability and legal effect.”
Use of Executive Actions by Other Presidents

Obama was the first modern president to use executive actions in lieu of executive orders or executive memoranda.
Criticism of Executive Actions

Critics described Obama’s use of executive actions as an overreach of his presidential powers and an unconstitutional attempt to bypass the legislative branch of government, even though the most substantial of the executive actions carried no legal weight.

Some conservatives described Obama as a “dictator” or “tyrant” and said he was acting “imperial.”

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, a Republican from Florida who is considered a potential presidential candidate in the 2016 election, said Obama was “abusing his power by imposing his policies via executive fiat instead of allowing them to be debated in Congress.”

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus called Obama’s use of executive actions as an “executive power grab.” Said Priebus: “He paid lip service to our fundamental constitutional rights, but took actions that disregard the 2nd Amendment and the legislative process. Representative government is meant to give voice to the people; President Obama’s unilateral executive action ignores this principle.”

But even the Obama White House acknowledged that most of the executive actions carried no legal weight. Here’s what the administration said at the time the 23 executive actions were proposed: “While President Obama will sign 23 Executive Actions today that will help keep our kids safe, he was clear that he cannot and should not act alone: The most important changes depend on Congressional action.” (Uspolitics.about.com)