Friday, November 5, 2010

"Sunsets and Hurricanes: Is There Peace in Chaos?"

This keynote presentation was given by Brian Miller,Ph.D. at the NAMI Utah Annual State Conference on November 4, 2010.

These are my notes from his talk: (If they post his original talk on line I will link up)

One of the first things Brain said was something like this - NO! THERE IS NO PEACE IN CHAOS! then he asked if there were more refreshments because his talk was through.

But of course he went on...

He explained about his in-laws buying property in a hurricane zone. Every time a hurricane happened it would wipe out everything and then there would be a few follow up tropical storms and then there would be a sunset. And they would start to rebuild.

He said -
A hurricane is a hurricane, it has a beginning and an end.
We need to have patience - when we are caught in a crisis we believe there is no end, but there is.

Mental Illness moved us into the hurricane zone and we can't sell and get out.
We may or may not have a hurricane season ever again, but we have to realize we might and get more tolerance.

We can't see around the corner, we don't know what is going to happen next. So we have every reason to hope we can survive the hurricane season. One can prepare for a hurricane.

The most important movement you can make toward peace is something you create.

“Peace is not something you wish for; It's something you make, Something you do, Something you are, And something you give away.”
Robert Fulghum

“My therapist told me the way to achieve true inner peace is to finish what I start. So far today, I have finished 2 bags of M&M's and a chocolate cake. I feel better already.”
Dave Barry

Peace is the deliberate adjustment of your life to reality.

Look at the bones of your crisis, what can be changed, what can't be changed.
1. You are in a hurricane zone
2. There may be more hurricanes so build your house between hurricanes, build your docks so they float, use removable fencing that can be taken down before the hurricane.
(I took from this to talk with your loved ones, family, friends, doctors, therapists, and make a plan for when the hurricane strikes. What will help you survive the hurricane, do you need to just sleep or do you need a punching bag, what works for you)

Know when a tropical storm is emerging
1. Identify early warning signs for the hurricane.
2. Monitor frequently (daily?) against early indicators.
3. Define what you will you when the hurricane threatens
4. Mentally rehearse keeping panic in check "this hurricane will pass"
5. Remember the hurricane is not the way


"Go with the pain, let it take you.... Open your palms and your body to the pain. It comes in waves like a tide, and you must be open as a vessel lying on the beach, letting it fill you up and then, retreating, leaving you empty and clear.... With a deep breath--it has to be as deep as the pain—one reaches a kind of inner freedom from pain, as though the pain were not yours but your body's. The spirit lays the body on the altar."
Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Brian also highly recommended reading the book Crazy Like Us by Ethan Watters.

I will be posting more information I got more the conference, but right now I have a sick child. Hopefully this is just a gust of wind!


  1. I needed to read those words today. I'm shifting down a bit, going through my own little crisis here, and I've been weepy the past 48 hours.

    As you say, it will pass. It is not a hurricane, at least not yet. It's just a tropical depression. They don't last forever.

    Here's hoping your gust of wind blows out soon and you see clear skies.

  2. I went through an earthquake in Alaska...once was close enough to see a tornado. That's about all the excitement I've had.

    I have added myself to follow your blog. You are more than welcome to visit my blog and become a follower also.


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