Finding Light in the Darkness: A Suicide Prevention Toolkit – by Jennifer Scott

Photo courtesy of Pixabay by Sharokh

 

It feels like heartbreaking suicide reports have recently been all over the news. We’ve been shocked by the celebrity deaths of beloved comedian, Robin Williams, and talented musician, Chris Cornell. There have also been far too many teenagers, adolescents and adults who have committed suicide – such as the widely-publicized death of 15-year-old Audrie Pott, who is now the focus of a new Netflix documentary. Indeed, our world has been rocked by millions of people taking their own lives because they feel trapped with no other way out.

Suicide remains the 10th leading cause of death for people of all ages. Suicide is also the 2nd leading cause of death for adolescents and teenagers aged 10 to 19 years. Facts such as these have led many experts to suggest that the current suicide rates are a national “epidemic.”

Although these statistics sound grim – and they are – there is hope. Keep reading to learn short-term and long-term methods for helping yourself or a loved one who might be struggling with suicidal thoughts.

 

Suicide Prevention Toolkit

This suicide prevention toolkit listed in this article contains two parts: short-term (emergency) prevention resources; and long-term suicide prevention strategies.

    1. Emergency Resources and Short-Term Prevention
      If you (or a loved one) have recently been struggling with suicidal thoughts, it is important to seek help now rather than allowing the thoughts to escalate further. Suicide prevention hotlines, chats, and licensed professionals specializing in intervention can all be literal life savers during your time of need. These short-term prevention methods and emergency resources could help you (or your loved one) remain in the present moment and not give into suicidal thoughts during an emergency situation.
    2. Long-Term Prevention
      Suicide rates in the United States have recently climbed to a 30 year high, and some of the leading reasons include drug abuse (such as heroin addiction) and alcoholism. For this reason, it is crucial for anyone struggling with addiction or alcoholism to seek recovery. There are many licensed professionals with years of experience in suicide prevention, postvention and recovery techniques who can help regain one’s life and manage mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, or trauma. In addition, daily breathwork practices such as yoga and meditation may also be helpful in treating symptoms of depression, anxiety, stress PTSD, and suicidal thoughts or behaviors. Maintaining a spiritual or religious practice, attending church, and deepening one’s relationship with a higher power can also assist in healing, recovery, and suicide prevention.


Author
JK Rowling once wrote: “Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” Remember, there is always a light, even on your darkest days. Never give up and never lose hope.

With the suicide prevention toolkit listed in this article, we hope to provide resources for those in need – so we never have to lose any more beautiful lives to the pain of suicide. Good luck with your journey to healing!

~ Jennifer Scott

 

 

 

Best of 2016 Mental Health

“The more you gloat, the less you actually have… as eternal happiness can only be found in the soul.”

~unknown

Dear Friends, Colleagues, Clients, and Yogis,

You have not heard from me because I am in the process of publishing a self-help book about psychological trauma. I hope to release it in time for the holidays as it will be a great gift for many.

The above quote is about this email blast, as it is an announcement about being chosen for “Fairfield’s County’s Finest 2016” in healthcare, education, technology, nonprofit, and business.

“The more you gloat, the less you actually have… as eternal happiness can only be found in the soul”, sums up how I feel about self-marketing. There is a difference between humility and self-promotion and a difference between empowerment and pride. My hope with this email is that you know that I am coming from a place of deep gratitude, humility, and empowerment when I announce the “Best of 2016” with the link below.

http://www.proactiveresources.com/102716/

I learned a long time ago in musical theatre auditions that no matter how talented we are, there is always someone better than us! Also, we are all replaceable I am sorry to say. With that said, a lesson is to be learned in being able to take feedback as “feedback” and not perceive it as “criticism” which is a difficult task.

Particularly with writing my upcoming book I have been subject to lots of feedback, good and not so good, and have been able to take it with a thicker skin than years ago when everything hurt! My intention for you is to have a thick enough skin to NOT get crushed by feedback, but not so thick that you cannot accept love and encouragement and show your vulnerability and true self.

Thank you for reading and I will release the book information as soon as we are up on Amazon.com. The soft cover and Kindle version will be available in the near future so look out for upcoming email blasts about the book.

Till then I wish you L’shana Tova (Happy Jewish New Year) and Happy Thanksgiving if we do not speak before then!

Love and Blessings,
Pamela

 

My 30 Foot Jump


Just Do It!  (As in the “Nike” slogan)

I recently jumped 30 feet to land on a cushioned platform and face my fear of heights. Here is the video where I get a slight running start.

After the jump the very next day, I did the zip line at Okemo Mountain. I was the only one who almost chickened out after the initial walk over the bridge and the instructors and the group convinced me that I could do it.

Well, I don’t think I will do the zip line again, but I did it and faced the fear of heights once again. I did all of this to remind myself that no matter how uncomfortable life can become, there is a way out… and that means through!

I recently agreed with a girlfriend of mine that for our 50th birthdays (next year) I will sky dive with her. OK, I’m not sure why I agreed to this, but I think it’s because I want to visualize flying in the clouds with all of my angels and landing on my feet where I will be grounded and comfortable in my skin.

Before my 30 foot jump I was instructed to land on my back for the impact, and I landed on my feet! This was not the best option but it reminded me that I always land on my feet even when I think I will land on my ass! Please excuse the French!

Moral of the story? Stretch out of your comfort zone so that you can move forward in your life with grace and confidence.

With Love and Guts,
Pamela

 
 
 

My Miracle Peacock!

 


Just last week I had a visitor from the Universe or G-d. Whatever your beliefs are, this visitor came to me at a time when I needed it most.

We all have moments of defeat in life and sometimes it takes more than friends, family, resources, and mentors to lift us up.

I became lifted up by a Peacock! AND this was no ordinary Peacock. He was literally knocking his nose on my glass back door for hours so that I would pay attention… and attention was paid.

He is no longer at my home and Stamford Animal Control has been trying to capture him to keep him safe, with no luck. He flies away when they try to capture him, so I am hoping he will fly away when the coyotes approach. I love my miracle Peacock! I named him “Buddy” because as you can see in the video below, he responded when I said, “Hey Buddy!”

Here is the link to the video I posted on Facebook and some of the reactions I received from the posting:

“In Siddha Yoga the Peacock means that G-d was present.”

This comment was said after I told my friend he pooped 4 times on my deck:

“You get the beauty and the poop. That’s what G-d sends us in life. So you can appreciate the beauty and clean out the poop.”

The next comment was made after a conversation about men:

“Man is proud and walks like a peacock.”

Other comments were:

“Into our lives some crap must fall.”

“That is unbelievable.”

“Really cool!”

“Absolutely beautiful!”

And lastly:

“Given the moment it appeared…how could it not be G-d speaking to you? The Peacock hung around long enough for you to realize it wasn’t a coincidence, but G-d’s Divine word.”

On that note, I leave you with HOPE and FAITH that no matter how bad things seem in the moment, they will change.

With Love, Blessings, and Faith,
Pamela

 

 

Fall Is In The Air



www.karinsphotos.com


As we are savoring our last days of summer, notice what happens inside your body as Fall comes closer. For me, there’s a sense of hope and new beginnings. There’s a momentum that wants to explore and explode with new ideas and new activities. Challenge yourself to quiet the mind enough to sense what is inside. This is some of the work we do in our Somatic Experiencing sessions. When the stuff inside is too mucky or dark we learn to pendulate out of the trauma to places that make us feel good and whole again. Our goal is being able to have a healthy nervous system that flows easily from the good to the difficult sensations, and back to the wonderful ones. Embodiment has been a new term for my clients to digest. How do we stay in our bodies and grounded during times of distress? Meditation and Yoga can sometimes take us out of our body. To stay within it takes awareness and sensation. Becoming aware of when you leave your body and noticing bodily sensations that will help keep you grounded, in the here and now, and in your body. EMBODIED

I wish you a beautiful, safe and grounded Fall! Remember… our Wednesday 6pm Yoga class begins in Stamford next week. If you are interested, just reply to this email and I will forward details.

Till then,

La Shana Tova for those of you who are celebrating the Jewish New Year and

Namaste to all!

 


From West to East

“From West to East”

Pamela doing a variation of Warrior I - Virabhadrasana I

 Pamela of doing a variation of Warrior I – Virabhadrasana I 

“The Yoga we practice is not for ourselves alone, but for the Divine; its aim is to work out the will of the Divine in the world,
to effect a Spiritual transformation and to bring down a Divine nature and a Divine life into the mental, vital, and life of humanity.”

~ Sri Aurobindo (Indian Sage)

 

Dear readers,

I’m so blessed to have had a vacation out West in Idaho!  Yes Idaho!  When people from the East Coast hear “Idaho” they think of potatoes .  Northern Idaho, the land of gorgeous lakes and mountains is a hidden gem. The water is as crystal clear as a diamond and the air is a pure delight to breathe. The people are happy, friendly, and live a wonderful quality of life. On the main page of my website (www.PamelaTinkham.com) you can see some photos of this beautiful place. A quote from my mentor in CA is, “New York, slow the F–k down! California, hurry up!”  West coast is definitely more “chill” in the most positive way. What I noticed coming back East was that everybody had an intensity that just did not exist over there. The stress levels here are so high and yet everyone is used to the stress so it has become our way of life. People don’t even realize the stress in their bodies and seem to have no awareness of it until they get sick.

Now I would like to mention West to East on a global level. In the West we tend to treat physical symptoms in the moment as they occur, while in the East they look at the entire body as a whole system and include spirit as well. In Eastern traditions there are many aspects to health and a holistic practitioner will do an exhaustive interview to know everything about you before prescribing a natural remedy. In the West we just prescribe drugs to treat the presenting problem. Please don’t misunderstand, I’m all for drugs and have taken many! I just think we overlook many things and don’t always get to the root of the problem.

So… where to live, what to do, and how to thrive seems to be the subject here. Personally, I want to live where I feel God’s presence. I want to treat my body as a temple and nourish it in the best possible way and I want my soul to soar with nature and be free! Sounds mushy? Maybe for some…

As I return to my routine, I notice that the amount of people on the East Coast adds to my overall stress level. Whether it is in traffic, a line at the grocery store, or even wanting to find peace and quiet at the beach and there’s a crowd. (Or people having sex on the beach if you read the last email blast ). Also, if anyone has been away to a beautiful, peaceful place and has come back to one of the New York airports, you know exactly what I’m talking about. It’s almost like you going from Paradise to Hell. Please excuse me if you are an “I love New Yorker”. I love the restaurants, the arts, the culture, the diversity, and I believe there is no comparison when it comes to those things. NYC is one of a kind and cannot be compared to other cities. My sincere apologies if this email offends anyone!

Where I am going with this is…

To simply inform you that I am moving to the West Coast soon! Actually in about 2 years. I’m not trying to sell myself or my services to anyone. (Although I wouldn’t mind having more business ). I’m letting you know that if you have been putting off trying the combination of Yoga and Psychotherapy, you have 2 years to come in for an appointment. With that said, once I move I will be offering a generous discount for existing clients to continue working with me via FaceTime or Skype. The union of Yoga and Psychotherapy has been a gift to me and I am passionate about sharing it. I am also in the beginning stages of a 3 year training in Psychological Trauma and will continue the training out West and will have the credential of a SEP, (Somatic Experiencing Practitioner). Somatic Experiencing is all about how emotions are stored within the body and how trauma affects the nervous system. It’s all very exciting work to share with you!

Once again, thank you for reading. I know that lengthy emails are annoying during the times of receiving 100+ emails daily. I appreciate you taking the time out of your busy day and look forward to hearing from you in the near future.

With love and blessings always…

Namaste,
Pamela

 


“Sex on the Beach”

 

by Pamela Tinkham, LCSW, C-IAYT, SEP

 

On Saturday, June 27th, 2015 at 9:15am, I arrived at West Beach in Stamford to teach Beach Yoga and discovered a young couple right on top of the lifeguard stand having sex. I set up for my 9:30 class as far away from them as possible, but there was no way to avoid seeing them. When my class arrived, the overall mood was “shock”. The couple had seen us but did not seem bothered by it. In 48 years, I have not seen that outright in public. I may have seen it in Central Park, NYC with a blanket covering the act. There was always some level of discretion. This was outright in public with no shame, even though they had seen us sitting there on the beach. There were clearly drugs and alcohol involved and no inhibitions. This pushed my boundaries to the edge and angered me about how I would possibly teach Yoga. It was not my best teaching, I must admit, as I was distracted throughout the entire class. I did begin the class with asking everyone to just notice their reactions to the event. Towards the end of class when the young man was walking past us he said, “You are doing Yoga? That’s weird!” He then told us that he was drunk. No kidding!   He thought Yoga was weird, but having sex on the lifeguard stand was perfectly normal. OY VEY. Here are my Yoginis (female Yogis) reactions to the event:

“Something to check off my bucket list. Watching people have sex on the beach.  Not exactly something that sets the tone for a yoga practice”.

“Embarrassment!”

“Anger and astonishment!”

And lastly, this is so well thought out and written that I wanted to print the entire thing. Please take the time to read it. It touches on many of the issues of today and touches my heart as well:

On the beach event:

Plato lived twenty-five hundred (2500) years ago and it’s amazing how he predicted that such an event would occur in our times, today.   Although he did not mention all the specific details, that a man and his lover would perform explicit sexual acts, in the morning, on a public beach, indifferent to the disgust of onlookers while disrupting the yoga practice of a group of special yoginis.   The practice of yoga, which is none other than the cultivation of the mind, body and spirit to the highest attainable human potential, could not be practiced because the yoginis attention was redirected towards the ensuing explicit sex acts instead of remaining focus on the actual yoga itself.

Is there any justice in this event?

It is probably safe to assume that the man was in violation of some existing local ordinances and broke some laws on the state and federal level. However, yoginis do not arrest criminals and bring them to justice before the law; and so that day, the man got away scot-free.  Not to worry however, violators of this sort are often compulsive and it is just a matter of time before the law catches up with them.

The real question is, how did Plato predict this event 2500 years ago?

For that we must revisit Plato’s – The Ring of Gyges.   Gyges is an allegory of how even a good man would behave if he discovered a magic ring that could make him invisible.   It turns out, that with this new found power, the power of invisibility, a man known to be moral and ethical, would soon become corrupt and fall to the depths of his lowest nature and commit every imaginable perversion in order to satisfy his basest appetite.   This occurs because invisibility offers anonymity, no harm to reputation, no consequences and no punishment.   Under these circumstances, man’s lower nature is left unchecked and he will exercise the full consumption of his appetites unrestricted.    And this is exactly what we saw the other day.  A drunken intoxicated man, which gave him the illusion of being invisible and so, he felt no compulsion to adhere to any social conventions and acted out the full consumption of his appetites unrestricted.  And in this way what Plato predicted would happen, happened.   To which, in the final analysis, according to Plato, the fact that a man and his lover would perform explicit sexual acts, in the morning, on a public beach, indifferent to the disgust of onlookers while disrupting the yoga practice of a group of special yoginis was bound to happen.

How is this helpful?

Well, if it’s any consolation, there is no reason to despair about what is inevitable.

So what should we do now?

A)   We can acknowledge trauma that it caused and look into finding a good psychotherapist.
B)   We can write to our congressman and lobby for more protective laws that will safeguard our yoga practice from unexpected interruptions.
C)   We can acknowledge that the event occurred, accept it, move on with our lives, rededicate ourselves to the yoga practice and be open to the universe as it continues to reveal its mystery to us.

I think C is the right choice, but these difficult matters are best determined by the thorough investigation of a nominated committee, so I welcome other responses.

~ Anonymous

Please feel free to reply to this with your feelings, thoughts, and reactions. I’m thrilled to say that since the event, I now have 100 RSVPs for the last 2 Beach Yoga classes on July 25th and August 1st (only kidding   ha-ha).

Thank you for reading!

Namaste and Love ,
Pamela

Ski Therapy

 

by Pamela Tinkham, LCSW, C-IAYT, SEP

 

What’s the best treatment for depression and anxiety?  MINDFULNESS

Mindfulness, or being mindful, is being fully aware of your present moment. You are not judging, reflecting, or thinking. You are simply observing the moment in which you find yourself. After skiing with my Yogini (female Yogi) buddies this weekend with wind chills below zero degrees, I realized that ski therapy is a wonderful way of cultivating mindfulness.

Being present does not allow you to ruminate about the past or to worry about the future. When you are on a mountain with ice and snow piles in between where your skis can get caught, you cannot be anything but present. All of the sudden everything you were obsessing about goes away because you must be present “OR DIE” .

This form of mindfulness can be done with any activity that pushes you to your most fearful edge. It can be snowboarding; zip lining, rock climbing or even riding a bike if that is difficult for you. Choosing an activity that pushes you to face your fears, work through them, and come to the other side can increase your self-awareness, self-esteem, and overall sense of courage.

It’s never too late to try a new activity and greatly advantageous to find the warrior within and the strength that you did not believe you had! Thanks to my daredevil friend Jackie, I was able to push through my greatest fears to have an awesome weekend.

Love to all of you and thanks for reading!

Namaste,
Pamela

Open Heart, Wise Mind

 

by Pamela Tinkham, LCSW, C-IAYT, SEP

 

Open Heart:

What does it mean to have an open heart? From early on in childhood, we build walls around our heart from disappointments and hurts from family and friends. In Eastern Philosophy, we work with the Chakras (energy centers) and Bandas (locks of energy) in our bodies. Specifically our heart chakra can be open or closed. It is the radiant color of green (not red ) and it opens when we trust that things will work out. It is closed when we are fearful. That is a very condensed version of a complicated system. TRUST and SURRENDER to the universe or a higher power will allow you to have a vibrantly, beautiful, green, open heart chakra. FEAR (False Evidence Appearing Real) will close it immediately. TRUST is the key here, and I know personally (loving to control everything) that it is easier said than done. It is our life work to SURRENDER and TRUST.

Wise Mind:

In Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) we teach “Wise Mind” as a way and a place to live in and strive for. The diagram below illustrates how this works

 

You are usually fluctuating between “Reasonable Mind” and “Emotional Mind”. It is only when you connect with your true self or your higher self that you can be centered and grounded enough to be in “Wise Mind”. To get to “Wise Mind” you can do some form of meditation, visualization, Yoga, Reiki, or exercise. It is the zone where you feel confident and knowing in a genuine way; not in a grandiose, egotistical way. It is a sense of feeling things in your gut and understanding your truth. Again, this is a consolidated version of a complicated topic. “Wise Mind” 101 says that when you are in a place of peace you are in “Wise Mind”. When you lead with your heart instead of your head you are in “Wise Mind”. When you trust your instincts and do not allow your negative thinking patterns to interfere, you are in “Wise Mind”. And lastly, when you are your true, authentic self, you are in “Wise Mind”. A quote from the Bhagavad Gita (Yogic text) says it perfectly: “Yoga is the practice of tolerating the consequences of being yourself”. Yoga is just one of the ways to get to “Wise Mind”. Skiing may be another way to “Wise Mind” . As long as you have a way to get there, that’s all that really matters.

To summarize, Open Heart, Wise Mind is a way to move forward in life with love, trust and faith while remaining mindful and aware. There is always a place to protect yourself and close off your heart… and you will only know this if you are in your “Wise Mind”. Does that make sense?

Please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have. I love hearing from you.

With trust and faith from my Wisest Mind and my Purest Open Heart!
Pamela

 

Stay In The Light

 

by Pamela Tinkham, LCSW, C-IAYT, SEP

 


How do you stay in the light when darkness seems to prevail?
What do we mean by staying in the light?  The “Light” is all that is good in the universe. It is all that is holy or sacred. You can even refer to it as God or as the Divine within. Whatever your beliefs are there is no doubt that we are in a world of duality where there are opposites in many ways and darkness and light are just one example. The ideal would be to have this duality come closer to a unity where we embrace some of the darkness and permeate some of the light into the darkness. The goal would be to not hide from the darkness or act out in fear of it which causes all kinds of world suffering.


In layman’s terms we are talking about good and evil and we all have a little of both

In Judeo Christian beliefs, it is said that the meaning of suffering is to bring you closer to the Light; perhaps to learn a lesson within the suffering and to appreciate the good when we have it. In Kabbalah (Jewish mysticism), it is also said that we may not understand the pain and suffering and we should embrace and actually bless it anyway because God is good and He would not give us anything we cannot handle and there is a blessing in disguise that has not yet been revealed.

In Hinduism, the belief is about Karma and that our soul carries with it an imprint of our past actions. he belief is that if we are suffering in this lifetime we may have done something in a previous lifetime that was harmful to others and we have to pay back the karmic debt because of the pain we caused others. The belief also states that by doing virtuous acts in every moment of every day we will create good karma that will help clear the bad karma. Specifically meditation and yoga can help clear out any bad karma that is lurking.

Buddhism has a similar view about past lives and karma and states that pain and suffering are caused by attachment and we need to embrace that everything changes. Once we detach from things that seem so important, we can lesson our pain and suffering. The belief is that nothing in our human experience can provide us with lasting happiness and that trying to force things to stand still and make us happy is the main source of suffering.

The Taoists believe that birth is not a beginning and death is not an end. There is an existence without limit because the soul is eternal. The goal of Taoism and Buddhism is to transcend life on earth as a physical being, and to achieve harmony with nature and the universe. Therefore, the view on pain and suffering is also about detachment to material things. According to the Tao, one can achieve Nirvana (bliss) through proper living and following the correct path guided by inner light. Therefore, pain and suffering come from not following this inner light and guidance and by making poor choices in life.

Pamela Tinkham LLC incorporates all these ideas and philosophies when dealing with this topic. Unfortunately, when darkness hits it seems to take over completely and we need to stay focused on the one percent that is still going well in our life, not on the 99% that is going haywire! Focus on what is hopeful, not on what is dreadful. Keep a gratitude journal and write at least one thing every day that you are grateful for. Trust and have faith during these times of darkness that it will change because life always changes. It may not be in the timing that you want and that is where patience comes into play. If you focus on what is good, positive or the “Light” in each situation the “Darkness” will start to dissipate… and over time it will be gone. With time and patience, the Light will return even stronger than it was before and your understanding and connection to the Light as well will be strengthened by the intimacy with the Divine that was caused throughout all the pain and suffering.

This may sound confusing and maybe even too religious for some tastes. Again in simple terms, we need to be the best person we can be and do the best we can do in this lifetime even when things seem to be beating us up. Don’t try to analyze why this is happening or have an attitude of, “Woe is me, this is the card I was dealt, I must be cursed!” Just make wise choices and continue being a good person and it will turn around over time. Continue giving and sharing and being open even if pain and suffering cause you to want to shut down and become selfish. To live a life of generosity is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself and the world. Peace begins with one soul at a time and we can all make a difference. Even if it seems so small the reality is that love, generosity and joy are contagious and just small acts of kindness can bring about great change over time.

Unfortunately, we all have to deal with pain and suffering at one or many points in our lives and there is no easy way around it. The more we ground ourselves in meditation, prayer and doing joyous activities, the easier it will be to ride the wave when problems arise.

As said in the Buddhist Loving Kindness Metta Meditation:

May you be happy
May you be healthy
May you be free from pain and suffering
May you be safe

Have a wonderful summer and I look forward to sharing with you all the yogic philosophy I will be learning in the next two months.

Namaste! (The Light in me honors the Light in you)