KJ_web.jpg At the time of this writing (July of 2016) my website is 13 years old. It needs another update!   I'd like to start out with some recognition for my beautiful wife, Kathleen.  We have been together for 30 years now, married for 28.  Kathleen's love and support, her commitment to our relationship and her kind and compassionate heart have been essential in my own health and healing from bipolar disorder.  We have faced many challenges together and we have grown very close by the grace of God and our willingness to keep on keeping on! I think its important to recognize how a tender, loving relationship can bring deep healing to someone who has suffered much while living with bipolar. This caring for one another should go both ways; there has been times in recent years due to health problems that I have been able to reciprocate as the care giver for my wife when she was trying to find her way through her own "the dark night of the soul".   We have had our share of financial problems over the years, some of which was cause by my holding on to my visions and dreams of being a writer, a teacher, a public speaker, even a "spiritual leader of great importance" (or so it seemed 30 years ago!), but in the end our simple heartfelt love for each other has proven to be of lasting value. We have, with the mercy and love of God, assisted one another in our soul's evolution on this planet.



One of the biggest changes that has taken place in recent years was my prayerful decision to pursue  a new career as a hospice chaplain.  This was a big step for me, an important decision that required 4 years of graduate school while working full time (I also completed 1 unit of CPE internship).  Recently I have felt the need to update this web site to make it more real, more current with what is actually happening in my life at the ripe old age of 62. The much older, more mature Jay now has an opportunity to reflect on the younger Jay who struggled intensely with peak experiences and often disillusionment not long after. It was at times bewildering for me as a young man (in my twenties and into my thirties as well). Some peak experiences were truly marvelous and I think authentically mystical . Other instances were more questionable.

 

CNC_Flowers.jpgI think it is important for me to clarify that much of what I was envisioning for my life in my younger years has proven to be false.  Perhaps exaggerated is a better word than false. The great intensity of my inner experiences, wonderful as they were, and utterly convincing to me at the time, have proven to be overblown and eventually illusory. Mindfulness practice helped a great deal in becoming more grounded and centered.  It became apparent to me that it was time to let go and move on with my life, to find an alternative way of love and service. Something more real and meaningful.  It is true that I have certainly enjoyed the workshops and classes I have taught for a period of about 11 years, and I continue to feel thankful for the opportunity to communicate with others via this website.

 

However, my biggest dreams have definitely shifted, have faded out in a way. It has been very humbling for me and I want to share this experience with others who may be struggling with bipolar and a sense of disillusionment. Having the ability to discern what is real from what is unreal, to surrender those things which are simply beyond our reach in this present life, to be at peace with the present, with those opportunities that God has provided for us, this is, I think, what a healthy "bipolar person" needs to learn how to do.  Its about finding the balance, the beauty and goodness in the everyday circumstances of our lives. Gratitude is important and I have admittedly had some difficulty with feeling and expressing gratitude in my life.  I trust (God willing) that this website will continue to inspire others and offer hope, and that it may also be an example of humility and finding peace in our lives as they truly are (not just in our imagination as I had spent many years of longing and sometimes holding on to fantasy).

It has helped me a great deal to have a more heartfelt purpose to pursue in my later life. I am enjoying my new career which, as it turns out, is not in hospice but rather working in a mental health treatment center (hospital). It is a healing ministry of service to others in great need. It speaks to my heart; I do feel that it is a sacred work. I am inspired by the prayer of St. Francis, “Lord, make me an instrument of your peace… let me sow love, where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; and where there is darkness, light. O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love.

May God bless.