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Free Screening of The Drummer & the Keeper

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The USAC Cork Summer Program is delighted to invite you to a special, free screening of The Drummer & The Keeper a film by Irish director Nick Kelly, which will take place on the UCC campus this Friday, 29th June at 2:30pm.  Nick Kelly, who wrote and directed the film, will join us for the screening and a Q&A following the film.

The Irish Film Institute describes the film this way:

Drummer Gabriel (Dermot Murphy), recently diagnosed with bipolar disorder, is forced to curb his erratic behaviour when his therapist changes his medication and insists he join a special football team. When he meets goalkeeper Christopher (Jacob McCarthy), a 17-year-old with Asperger’s Syndrome, a fraught relationship gradually develops into a firm friendship as each learns to respect the other’s foibles. Writer/director/composer Nick Kelly captures the mental health pitfalls of a rock’n’roll lifestyle with sharp insight, while his portrait of a young man with Asperger’s, drawn with affection and deep understanding, is perfectly observed. This uplifting and comedic feature début deservedly bagged the Best Irish First Feature Award at this year’s Galway Film Fleadh.

The screening will take place on Friday 29th June at 2.30 pm in UCC’s Film and Screen Media auditorium, located in the basement of the Kane building (B10). See #48 on the UCC campus map.

This award-winning film has been acclaimed in Ireland and beyond, so we hope that you can join us for what is sure to be a wonderful event. Contact Mary Steele (mary.steele@usac.edu) or Tamara Daily (dailyta@mountunion.edu) for information.

If that were not enough, Nick Kelly will also be performing music at The Friary. The gig is scheduled for 8:30 pm and The Friary is located at 62 Shandon St, Cork.

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But Now I’m On This Side: Reporting on Suicide Deaths

A Friend on the Walk

I “grew up” from a career perspective in marketing. My years at L Brands and then at Cheryl’s Cookies taught me a great deal about how to communicate with customers. I was good at my job and was part of a leadership team that saw significant sales growth over the years. I understood the importance of appealing to my audience in a way that would win their business.

From August 7, 2012 and prior, I would have told anyone who didn’t like how a business was being run where the door was. That would even include businesses I wasn’t that familiar with. If people would complain about how the media did their job my typical line of thinking would go like this: “They are reporters. They have a job to do. Their job means reporting in a way that garners as much attention as possible. It’s at least, in…

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UMU Celebration of Courage Iris Sale

Download the order form here:

Celebration of Courage Order Form

2017 Mental Health Awareness Lecture: Dr. Elizabeth Ford

2017 Mental Health Awareness Lecture: Kerry Magro

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National Eating Disorders Awareness Week Event February 24, 2016

MarriNational Eating Disorder Awareness Week 2016
Keynote Speaker: Marrianna White

When: February 24th, 2016 @ 7:30pm
Where: Newbold Room in HPCC (old East room)

Marri White, a senior track athlete here at Mount Union, will be sharing her heartfelt and inspirational story of how she lived with and recovered from severe clinical depression, anorexia, and bulimia.

Come out to support a fellow Raider in honor of National Eating Disorder Awareness Week!

 

UMU Celebration of Courage Iris Sale

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Use this form to order your irises: Celebration of Courage Order Form

Mental Health Awareness Lecture October 14, 2015

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Seeing Beyond the Surface

The past several weeks have been, to say the least, difficult. I’ve watched people I’ve known for years, decades even, alternately rise up in defense of deeply held values and devolve into behaviors more characteristic of the most dysfunctional reality television stars. As the emotional intensity of the events has waxed and waned, I have seen both of these in myself and find it unsettling.

Righteous indignation is a seductive thing to feel. Believing we have been wronged prompts the ignition of an immediate fire. Instead of putting it out, we nurture and fan it. Being the aggrieved, the victim, offers up something too tempting for us to ignore–motivation to fight back and fighting feels so very good. Fighting requires an opponent, however. In social psychology it has been demonstrated time and again that, when we feel harmed by another, it is our tendency to simplify our image of the victimizer as purely to blame and ourselves as purely blameless. Doing so preserves our precious but fragile egos and frees us to be mindlessly brutal in defending ourselves.

Being aware of this pattern has not provided me much protection from falling into the trap. The trap, because it is a trap, creates separation or more accurately the illusion of separation. The result is losing the ability to see the full humanness of those we have classified as other.When that happens, fights are ugly and oriented toward winning rather than dealing with the real issues that sparked disagreement in the first place. How do we break this cycle?

The seventh of Jampolsky’s Principles of Attitudinal Healing is that “we can become love-finders rather than fault-finders. Regardless of what another person’s behavior may be, we can always choose to see only the light of love in that person” (Jampolsky, 2000, p. 129). I’ll be honest, when I’m in the middle of a situation where I need to stand my ground, I’m not looking for goodness in others. I’m looking for weapons aimed in my direction. Eventually this doesn’t feel good. It feels isolating and induces fear.

Breaking the cycle requires, among other things, learning to listen. I remember once telling a friend that she wasn’t hearing what others were trying to say because there was too much chatter going on in her own head for her to listen. Hearing requires being silent. When I’m in fight mode, being silent is hard to do.

One of my favorite writers is Tara Brach. In one of her posts, she wrote about practicing deep listening in order to improve relationships and heal wounds. As she puts it, “[l]earning to listen involves stepping out of our incessant inner dialogue, and using what St. Benedict called the ‘ear of the heart'” (Ear of the heart, 2013, para. 2).  The incessant inner dialogue includes starting your counter offensive arguments or planning your next statement while the other person is still talking. Stopping this is by no means easy.

After reading Brach’s description, I have been trying to listen without judgement and resistance more often. In one case, my teenager was in the passenger seat of my truck and apparently needed to vent about her teachers. While she talked, I caught myself developing bullet points for use in responding. I stopped immediately and forced myself to simply listen. What I heard was a kid who was stressed out and worried rather than a snarky, selfish adolescent who was being unfairly critical of adults doing a job she doesn’t understand. When she finished her rant I asked her if it helped to do that. She let out a huge breath but wasn’t sure it had. What was clear, was that had I argued points with her, the conversation would have become a useless and angry interchange of no benefit to anyone.

Deep listening is both inner and outer directed. I have to hear my own reactions (feelings of tension, resistance, hostility, or disappointment which are automatic and chronically accessible) and allow them to be there without judgement (Ear of the heart, 2013, para. 10). I also have to allow the other person in the conversation the space to be heard. As Brach describes it, doing so allows the “heart to soften with care” (Ear of the heart, 2013, para. 13).

Still, what do we do when we believe we are in fact being attacked or lied to or manipulated? Sharon Salzberg, in a blog post entitled Fierce Compassionargues that “[i]t is indeed natural to be outraged in the face of injustice or cruelty. But when anger becomes a steady presence, it narrows our options, perceptions and possibilities. It burns us up. Unfortunately, many of us are taught to see non-aggression, and the resistance to us-vs.-them thinking, as passivity, weakness, or [as]delusional. In fact, it is an act of courage to step outside our familiar reaction patterns to discover approaches that can shift the dynamic we face” (Fierce compassion, 2012, para. 5).  The exercise of fierce compassion means “redefining strength, deconstructing isolation and renewing a sense of community, practicing letting go of rigid us-vs.-them thinking — while cultivating power and clarity in response to difficult situations” (Fierce compassion, 2012, para. 6).

In an earlier post (Working with Your Enemies), Salzberg does not suggest being passive in the face of those who wish to harm us. She acknowledges that there are those who cause pain and we shouldn’t remain defenseless (Working with your enemies, 2008). Instead, Salzberg argues that what is required is “a readiness to step into new terrain, to be right at the edge between those we include, care about, feel responsive to, and those whom we wall off, exclude, automatically reject. It means taking an honest look at what really constitutes power and strength” (Working with your enemies, 2008, para. 6). I suppose one step in working with “my enemies” is not labeling them enemies any more. No more comfort and safety in us-and-them. As Salzberg states:

Imagine if we dropped our rigid need to be right, our easy perpetuation of what we are used to, our compulsion to take the easy way and just be like other people, and actually tried to practice what the Buddha taught: “Hatred will never cease by hatred, it will only cease by love.” It would be a whole new way of living: vibrant, creative, and perhaps quite surprisingly effective. (Working with your enemies, 2008, para. 9)

I hope I’m up to the task.

I’m Standing. Are You?

Join the Healthy Place Stand up for Mental Health Campaign. It’s easy and it matters.

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