The Avivo ArtWorks Collective Artists Thriving in Community

Housed in a basement art studio in Avivo’s Minneapolis Community Support Program, we organize together as the Avivo Artworks Collective. If you ask us who we are, we would say we are artists – first and foremost. What brings us together is the goal to create community so that we can support one another. Our mission statement reads, “As a collective of artists, we embrace diversity, build community and present publicly. In doing so, we are challenging mental health stigma, and demonstrating that people living with mental illness can achieve success in art and life. We also aim towards building … Continue reading

Growing Up With Emotionally Detached Parents

John Driggs

I live with my girlfriend in what you might call a mutual arrangement. It’s about all we can handle. Neither one of us wants to be married. We’re both successful career people. It works for us. That is until recently. Last week my girlfriend said she would like to have a baby. I half facetiously asked her, “Well I suppose you want one with me?” Many of her women friends were having their first child and she felt like odd person out. Now raising a child is at the bottom of my list. Neither one of us is into cuddling, … Continue reading

Mental Illness Gets a Hearing

“I’m a veteran of mental illness combat,” declares a gray-haired man with years of untrimmed beard from the History Theatre stage in downtown St. Paul. David Beebee is reading from his personal writings to a crowd of friends and supporters of Vail Place, a clubhouse in Uptown for people with severe mental illness where David is a member. “I deserve to be proud,” he reads. “I fought the good fight. I nearly died. I survived.” He notes there is gay pride and black power and the purple heart for the wounded, and asks, “Where is my mental illness pride power?” … Continue reading

Stress: How Mental Distress is your Signal to Make a Change in your Life

Physical or mental distress can be challenging at times. We certainly don’t go out of our way to acquire it, and we generally try hard to prevent it, but like Murphy’s Law if something can becoming challenging and distressful it will, and probably at the most undesired time. Just the idea of distress is frequently distressful. Our minds act in concert with our bodies in how they handle or respond to our specific environments. When our bodies are perceived to be under attack from, say, a virus, the hypothalamus – the area in your brain that acts as your body’s … Continue reading

Offering Love to People who are Dying

In the past few days, since news was shared that a beloved friend is dying, several people have come to me to ask what they can do. This friend is such an exquisite human; it is no surprise that so many people want to help and that there has been such a beautiful outpouring of love and kindness. After almost 18 years in the rabbinate, I’ve learned a few things about dying and loving and grieving and getting back up again. Here are some thoughts and suggestions that may be of help. I’m not an expert. This is simply what … Continue reading

Living with no Ending

by Susan L. The ending began in the fall of 2016. I went to an appointment and this ignited a series of steps. After a second x-ray and an ultra sound, an indication of a mass in my breast was determined. Mass — what a mediocre word for the ugly word tumor. The radiologist in the small clinic wanted to do a biopsy. I wanted to think about it overnight. The reason I wanted to think about it? I knew I would be moving back to the metro area within two weeks. At first I thought I’d have the biopsy … Continue reading

Waking Up in Winter: In Search of What Really Matters at Midlife

By Cheryl Richardson HarperOne As a best-selling author and professional life coach, Richardson is known for having answers. Then she experienced events that made her reevaluate and reexamine her life and what really mattered. She shares her journal entries and candid thoughts about age, marriage, work, friendships and priorities in life. Richardson says, “I want to give people the tools they need to take better care of themselves-the language to say no, permission to gracefully disappoint others, strategies for setting firm boundaries that honor one’s time and energy. This is not selfish, it’s spiritual. I’m encouraging people to honor the … Continue reading

Meister Eckhart’s Book of the Heart: Meditations for the Restful Soul

By Jon M. Sweeney and Mark S. Burrows Hampton Roads Publishing Meister Eckhart was a 14th century German mystic and philosopher who thought the search for God was a search for the self. He has been credited with influencing spiritual teachers from Erich Fromm to Rudolf Steiner. Sweeney and Burrows took a collection of Eckhart’s sermons and manuscripts and put them into poems for contemporary readers. Eckhart’s description and understanding of the Divine is expressed in short, quick images that allow the reader to see and deeply experience their understanding of God. However you interpret his writing, Eckhart’s sermons and … Continue reading

The Self-Discipline Handbook: Simple Ways to Cultivate Self-Discipline, Build Confidence, and Obtain Your Goals

By Natalie Wise Skyhorse Publishing, Inc. Wise explains the art and science of self-discipline. She describes boundaries and the influence of internal and external stumbling blocks. She even explains why she thinks persistence is a virtue and self-improvement is exhausting. However, to maximize progress and minimize confusion, Wise affirms, “Small positive choices set us up for success.” The handbook includes spaces to journal and draw and prompts with room to list items such as “My Values,” My Strengths,” and “Curiosity Sparks.” Readers will find thought provoking activities that may help them evaluate their goals and build the confidence to reach … Continue reading

A Course in Mysticism and Miracles: Begin Your Spiritual Adventure

By Jon Mundy, PhD Weiser Books Drawing on the teachings of A Course in Miracles, Mundy explores mysticism and how it fits in today’s world. He is also the author of Living a Course in Miracles. In this book, he describes what mysticism is, and what it isn’t. He explains how mysticism has affected various religions, but more importantly, how it influences spirituality. He expands on the topic of mysticism and how it is so simple it can be found in “ordinary” experiences. Readers will learn about self-fulfillment and that peace is available to all. If you have a book … Continue reading

Sharing the Love is Happiness

When I was in high school, I swore I would get rich working on Wall Street. I knew if I had a lot of money I could get whatever I wanted to be happy. My parents would tell me that this wasn’t the case, but I knew better. In college I majored in economics because knowing how money works helps you make more money. Duh. Well, thankfully, some things shifted, and I began a deeper exploration of what it means to be human and of where happiness comes from. From my studies of Buddhism, I turned on to the view … Continue reading

Harboring Hope

“Hope inspires the good to reveal itself.” Emily Dickenson If I were to create an image of hope I would picture it as the water wings children wear to keep afloat. I see young children swim across a pool with the aid of these inflatable arm bands. It is not the device that holds the beginning swimmer, it is the air inside. When the air is gone, the water wings are useless. Hope is like the air in the water wings. I can’t quite see it but I sure know when it’s not there. Some days it feels like my … Continue reading

Sanity in the Age of Facebook, Google, Amazon, and Apple: Reclaiming our Lives

The traditional objective of yoga is union — to connect the mind to body, and the self to soul. That’s what the yogi masters say in the ancient scriptures — connect to your higher self, realize that we are all connected, and transcend the ego. In the modern age, sometimes many of us feel like we are disconnected from our bodies, our emotions, and from all those around us. Sometimes we may feel like we are stifled by our own egos, suffocating in lonely desperation. Some identify our technology as a source of our disconnection. It’s true, because when we … Continue reading

Twelve Steps for Slouches

The first thing I want you to know is that I do resistance training. I use resistance bands, weights, and such. OK, that’s on a good day. Truth be told, I probably do more resisting than I do exercising. I’m more inclined to be a slouch on the couch, thinking “maybe later” when it comes to toning my muscles and all those other fine fitness goals. I can also claim with great justification that I have more urgent and more important things to do. I am convinced I’m pretty important, after all. Darn, why is it so hard to just … Continue reading

What Does Nourishment Mean to You?

I have always associated the word nourishment with food—and eating. The word nourish actually means to provide food or other substances necessary for growth, health, and good condition; to promote growth needed for nourishment (including spiritual nourishment); and to maintain/ support/strengthen. What is interesting about the definition is that it makes the distinction among the ways that we nourish ourselves, i.e. our whole selves — mind, body and spirit. Understanding this concept—of nourishing one’s whole self—is so important for people in recovery because the minute we put down drugs and alcohol, we pick up food. It is a rite of … Continue reading

Vitamins, Minerals, Hormones: How to Find your Spiritual Adrenaline

How many of you paid attention to what you were eating in active addiction? Not many I bet. I certainly didn’t. When you’re in active addiction, the only thing that matters is chasing the next high. As soon as it wears off, it’s right back at it. The vicious cycle keeps repeating itself and everything else becomes irrelevant. For me, I remember not eating for days at a time so I could buy cigarettes, alcohol and drugs. When I ate, I often gobbled down comfort foods, usually from fast food joints. My relationship with food was completely dysfunctional. In sobriety, … Continue reading