Hold on – Nightwulf

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Hearing Voices Cafe: Toronto, Fall 2017

“Many social movements have their origins in cafes, Toronto’s Hearing Voices Cafe is one such… ”
Matt Galloway, CBC Metro Morning

Join us for a different kind of conversation about whet it means to be human in this world.

Easy print poster [pdf]
Please, feel free to print, share our poster wherever you can.


And don’t forget, Oshawa / Durham now has a Hearing Voices Cafe too/
see here.  


Posted in Difference and Diversity, Event | Tagged , ,

Colonialism is a factory in which madness is manufactured


Achille Mbembe talking about the importance of Franz Fanons’ ideas in today’s world and his own emerging ideas, which he says are “preliminary”, and only “sketched-out” around what he calls the  “politics of viscerality”- how the political situation or environment we find ourselves in plays out in the viscera, in our experience and in our internal felt-self…

and as he says, how that environment , that political context “manufactures madness”.




Posted in Ideas

Carnval des Voix comes to Oshawa, Ontario

What did you do yesterday?
Did it SUCK LESS  than this…?

Carnival des Voix, yesterday,
Oshawa, Ontario


Posted in be awesome, Crazy World, Difference and Diversity, Emancipate yourself..., Event, Healing, Ideas | Tagged

Listening as Healing – Margaret Wheatley

This one of my favourite articles, one of those I try to make a point of reading again every now and then. Margaret Wheatley on listening- such a simple act, an act of generosity.

  • Listening is healing for both the person being listened to and the listener; listening creates relationship
  • Not listening creates fragmentation, and fragmentation is the root of all suffering




Listening as Healing

Shambhala Sun, December 2001
Margaret Wheatley

You are reading this in December, but I have written this just a few days after September 11th, 2001. I have tried to imagine what the world feels like now, two months later, what else might have happened, what has changed, how each of us feels, if we are more divided or more connected. In the absence of a crystal ball, I look to the things I believe to be true in all times and for most situations. And so I choose to write about one of these enduring truths: great healing is available when we listen to each other.

Listening is such a simple act. It requires us to be present, and that takes practice, but we don’t have to do anything else. We don’t have to advise, or coach, or sound wise. We just have to be willing to sit there and listen. If we can do that, we create moments in which real healing is available.  I have seen the healing power of good listening so often that I wonder if you’ve noticed it also. There may have been a time when a friend was telling you such a painful story that you became speechless. You couldn’t think of anything to say, so you just sat there, listening closely, but not saying a word. And what was the result of your heartfelt silence, of your listening?

A young black South African woman taught some of my friends a profound lesson about listening. She was sitting in a circle of women from many nations, and each woman had the chance to tell a story from her life. When her turn came, she began quietly to tell a story of true horror–of how she had found her grandparents slaughtered in their village. Many of the women were Westerners, and in the presence of such pain, they instinctively wanted to do something. They wanted to fix, to make it better, anything to remove the pain of this tragedy from such a young life. The young woman felt their compassion, but also felt them closing in. She put her hands up, as if to push back their desire to help. She said: “I don’t need you to fix me. I just need you to listen to me.”

She taught many women that day that being listened to is enough. If we can speak our story, and know that others hear it, we are somehow healed by that. During the Truth and Reconciliation Commission hearings in South Africa, many of those who testified to the atrocities they had endured under apartheid would speak of being healed by their own testimony. They knew that many people were listening to their story. One young man who had been blinded when a policeman shot him in the face at close range said: “I feel what has brought my eyesight back is to come here and tell the story. I feel what has been making me sick all the time is the fact that I couldn’t tell my story. But now it feels like I’ve got my sight back by coming here and telling you the story.”

Why is being heard so healing? I don’t know the full answer to that question, but I do know it has something to do with the fact that listening creates relationship. We know from science that nothing in the universe exists as an isolated or independent entity. Everything takes form from relationships, be it subatomic particles sharing energy or ecosystems sharing food. In the web of life, nothing living lives alone.

Our natural state is to be together. Though we keep moving away from each other, we haven’t lost the need to be in relationship. Everybody has a story, and everybody wants to tell their story in order to connect. If no one listens, we tell it to ourselves and then we go mad. In the English language, the word for “health” comes from the same root as the word for “whole”. We can’t be healthy if we’re not in relationship. And “whole” is from the same root word as “holy.”


Listening moves us closer, it helps us become more whole, more healthy, more holy. Not listening creates fragmentation, and fragmentation is the root of all suffering. Archbishop Desmond Tutu describes this era as a time of “radical brokenness” in all our relationships. Anywhere we look in the global family we see disconnection and fear of one another. As one example, how many teen-agers today, in many lands, state that no one listens to them? They feel ignored and discounted, and in pain they turn to each other to create their own subcultures. I’ve heard two great teachers, Malidoma SomŽ from Burkino Fasso in West Africa, and Parker Palmer from the United States, both make this comment: “You can tell a culture is in trouble when its elders walk across the street to avoid meeting its youth.” It is impossible to create a healthy culture if we refuse to meet, and if we refuse to listen. But if we meet, and when we listen, we reweave the world into wholeness. And holiness.

This is an increasingly noisy era-people shout at each other in print, at work, on TV. I believe the volume is directly related to our need to be listened to. In public places, in the media, we reward the loudest and most outrageous. People are literally clamoring for attention, and they’ll do whatever it takes to be noticed. Things will only get louder until we figure out how to sit down and listen. Most of us would welcome things quieting down. We can do our part to begin lowering the volume by our own willingness to listen.

A school teacher told me how one day a sixteen year old became disruptive-shouting angrily, threatening her verbally. She could have called the authorities-there were laws to protect her from such abuse. Instead, she sat down, and asked the student to talk to her. It took some time for him to quiet down, as he was very agitated and kept pacing the room. But finally he walked over to her and began talking about his life. She just listened. No one had listened to him in a long time. Her attentive silence gave him space to see himself, to hear himself. She didn’t offer advice. She couldn’t figure out his life, and she didn’t have to. He could do it himself once she had listened.

I love the biblical passage: “Whenever two or more are gathered, I am there.” It describes for me the holiness of moments of real listening. The health, wholeness, holiness of a new relationship forming. I have a T-shirt from one conference that reads: “You can’t hate someone whose story you know.” You don’t have to like the story, or even the person telling you their story. But listening creates a relationship. We move closer to one another.

I would like to encourage us all to play our part in the great healing that needs to occur everywhere. Think about whom you might approach–someone you don’t know, don’t like, or whose manner of living is a mystery to you. What would it take to begin a conversation with that person? Would you be able to ask them for their opinion or explanation, and then sit quietly to listen to their answer? Could you keep yourself from arguing, or defending, or saying anything for a while? Could you encourage them to just keep telling you their version of things, their side of the story?

It takes courage to begin this type of conversation. But listening, rather than arguing, also is much easier. Once I’d practiced this new role a few times, I found it quite enjoyable. And I got to learn things I never would have known had I interrupted or advised.

I know now that neither I nor the world changes from my well-reasoned, passionately presented arguments. Things change when I’ve created just the slightest movement toward wholeness, moving closer to another through my patient, willing listening.

note to editor: I’d like to add the following reference to the end of this article. This column is adapted from Wheatley’s new book: Turning to One Another: Simple Conversations to Restore Hope to the Future, January 2002.


Margaret Wheatley is a well-respected writer, speaker, and teacher for how we can accomplish our work, sustain our relationships, and willingly step forward to serve in this troubling time. She has written six books:
Walk Out Walk On (with Deborah Frieze, 2011);
Perseverance (2010);
Leadership and the New Science;
Turning to One Another: Simple Conversations to Restore Hope to the Future;
A Simpler Way (with Myron Rogers); and
Finding Our Way: Leadership for an Uncertain Time.Each of her books has been translated into several languages; Leadership and the New Science appears in 18 languages. She is co-founder and President emerita of The Berkana Institute, which works in partnership with a rich diversity of people and communities around the world, especially in the Global South. These communities find their health and resilience by discovering the wisdom and wealth already present in their people, traditions and environment (www.berkana.org).Wheatley received her doctorate in Organizational Behavior and Change from Harvard University, and a Masters in Media Ecology from New York University. She’s been an organizational consultant since 1973, a global citizen since her youth, a professor in two graduate business programs, a prolific writer, and a happy mother and grandmother. She has received numerous awards and honorary doctorates.
Margaret Wheatley bio at:
http://margaretwheatley.com/bio.html, and may download any of her many articles (free) at

Posted in dialogue, Healing, Listening, spirit, story | Tagged , ,

What we need to talk about is…

Image | Posted on by

talking about “psychosis”…

Psychosis is not a “thing” except as a kind of  aperture or a lens through which we view someone struggling. It’s an interpretation, a way of seeing, of categorizing, naming, and talking about a person’s struggle.

That that lens, that interpretation, that way of seeing and talking about tells us as much and more about the person doing the looking as it does about the person whom they gaze upon and who is struggling.

… and that’s all our choice, the one we make.

Here’s one way of choosing…







Posted in dialogue, Difference and Diversity, Emancipate yourself..., Healing, Ideas | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

There’s so very, very much more to it than popping pills.

‘Popping my first Citalopram was quite a thing, not least because I dropped my pill about 90 minutes before curtain up for the RSC’s production of The Tempest at the Barbican.’ Photograph: REX

Most people know about SSRIs, the antidepressant drugs that stop the brain from re-absorbing too much of the serotonin we produce, to regulate mood, anxiety and happiness. And a lot of people know about these drugs first hand, for the simple reason that they have used them. Last year, according to NHS Digital, no fewer than 64.7m antidepressant prescriptions were given in England alone. In a decade, the number of prescriptions has doubled.

The first indication that something was up came as I approached my local tube station. I noticed that I was in a state of extreme dissociation, walking along looking as though I was entirely present in the world yet feeling completely detached from it. I had drifted into total mental autopilot.

Luckily, I was able to recognise my fugue. It’s a symptom of my condition, which, as I’ve written before, is complex post-traumatic stress disorder. The drug-induced dissociation was more intense than I’m used to when it’s happening naturally. I use the word advisedly. Much of what is thought of as illness is actually an extreme and sensible protective reaction to unbearable interventions from outside the self.

Because I’ve been in very good psychotherapy for about a year now, I’ve learned to identify times of dissociation, and “ground” myself. Hitting myself in the centre of the chest works best for me, especially now that I’ve stopped wearing the necklace I used to thump into my breastbone. Of course, you look like a bit of a prat, striding about banging your chest, but there you are. The one thing that makes you feel normal is the one thing that alerts others to the fact that something weird’s going on.

I’ve been resisting dissociation for pretty much every minute I’ve been on the drug since then. Being in good company helps most, and being in parks, fields, gardens and nature. You have to keep busy. The leaflet that came with the drug, which I read thoroughly before starting the course, does warn that in the first few days you might find that the symptoms you’re trying to escape come back more strongly. Unfortunately, I tend to dissociate in order to avoid having panic attacks. So, as I get better at managing the dissociation, the panic attacks surge. It’s like playing symptom whack-a-mole, except that you’re whacking bits of your psyche, as well as your chest.

I spent pretty much all of Thursday in one long low-level panic attack – keeping busy, telling no one. I didn’t want to mention it, because that would make it worse. At one point, in the park with my brother, he insisted, randomly, that I walk up the hill to the bus stop instead of down it, like I wanted to, in the heat. By the time I got to the bus stop, my legs were barely working, and I was in the grip of convulsive shudders.

I go along with things I don’t want to do, things that ignore my wants and needs, then hate myself for my compliance. The little examples, such as this one, reawaken my feelings about the huge ones. I was bullied a lot as a child, and my parents were needlessly strict and deludedly all-knowing. It’s grown into a major cognitive dissonance. I loathe being bullied or bossed about, yet at the same time it feels so familiar and comfortable that I’m complying before I even know it, eager to please people who can’t be pleased.

Then I feel full of resentment and anger against the perpetrator of the control – so much so that it becomes overwhelming, and my mind and body rebel. I literally shake the feelings out. It’s the reason why I recently began to seek NHS psychiatric help, on top of private psychotherapeutic help. A couple of interventions of epic proportions have recently been perpetrated against me. They have left me so poleaxed that I’m unable to assert myself enough to walk downhill.

A breakthrough occurred, though. I was able to tell my brother, calmly, what was happening to me and why. He kissed me on the cheek. He never does that.

Why am I writing this down for publication? Practically, it’s because these powerful drugs arrived with so little guidance about what to expect. An NHS case-worker I’d been interviewed by once – not a doctor – called my GP’s practice and arranged for a prescription to be written by a GP I’d had nothing to do with. I was told on the phone what the prescription was, and that it was waiting for me to pick up from the local pharmacy. I wasn’t consulted about the drug I was being offered at all, although I had said that I wanted to try an antidepressant. I’ll meet a different GP and the case-worker in two weeks’ time.

The process has taken about five weeks, and has been circular. In crisis at the end of May, I asked my GP practice for help and was told to go to A&E instead. I didn’t react well, and left upset and furious. Returning a few days later, I said that I would prefer a less dramatic referral to mental health services than A&E, which is how I met the case-worker. Then, back to the GP practice and that remotely dispatched prescription. Which is not to blame the practice. The whole system is itself in crisis mode all the time. Which is particularly bad, obviously, for people with mental health problems.

There is “soaring demand” for NHS mental health services. Some 80% of bosses of NHS trusts surveyed by the trade organisation, NHS Providers, have expressed worries that they have too little budget to provide “timely, high-quality care”. That’s so dangerous. I absolutely needed a year of psychotherapy before I started taking this drug. At the start of the therapy, I had become emotionally numb, unable even to weep. I wouldn’t have had the insight to understand what this drug was doing to me, let alone control it or explain it to others when I couldn’t.

I might never even have got the diagnosis that helps me so much to make sense of my entire life, because that took months. All I can do, apart from look after myself and my kids, is speak out about how complex is the task of managing a mental health condition. There’s so very, very much more to it than popping pills.

There’s so very, very much more to it than popping pills.


ORIGINAL HERE: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jul/08/antidepressant-effects-psychotherapy-mental-health-crisis-nhs


Posted in Crazy World, story, Trauma, Trauma, woundedness | Tagged | 1 Comment

Ring Ring Ring (Ha Ha Hey) – De La Soul –

Hey, how ya doo in?

Hey how ya doin’
Sorry ya can’t get through
Why don’t you leave your name
And your number
And I’ll get back to you
Hey how are ya doin’
Sorry ya can’t get through
But leave your name (uh)
And your number
And I’ll get back to you

Once again it’s another rap bandit
Fiending at I and I can’t stand it
Wanna be down with the Day-Glo
Knocking on my door, saying, “a yo yo”
Knocking on my door, saying, “a yo yo”
“I got a funky new tune with a fly banjo”
I can’t understand what the problem is
I find it hard enough dealing with my own biz
How’d they get my name and number
Then I stop to think and wonder
Bout a plan, yo man, I gotta step out town
You wanna call me up? Take my number down
It’s 222-2222
I got an answering machine that can talk to you
It goes

Hey how ya doin’
Sorry ya can’t get through
But leave your name and your number
And I’ll get back to you

Yo, check it, exit the old style, enter’s the new
But nothing’s new ’bout being hawked by a crew
Or should I say flock cause around every block
There’s Harry, Dick, and Tom, with a demo in his palm
Now I’m with helping those who want to help themselves
And flaunt a nut that’s doggy as in dope
But it’s not the mood to hear
The tales of limousines and pails
Of money they’ll make like a pro
I be like, “Yo black, just play me the tape”
But at the show the time to spare I just make
But the songs created in they shacks
Are so wick-wick-wack, situations like this
And now I hate they give me smiles Kool-Aid wide and ask
“Was it def?”
And with the straighest face I be like, “Hell yes”
I slip them the digits to Papa Prince Paul
So I don’t go AWOL but yet I know when they call
They get

Hey how ya doing
Sorry ya can’t get through
Why don’t you leave your name
And your number
And I’ll get back to you
Hey how are ya doin
Sorry you can’t get through
Why don’t you leave your name and your number
And I’ll get back to you
Check it out

Party at the dug-out on Diction Ave
Haven’t been to the jam in quite a while
Figure I’ll catch up on the latest styles
‘Stead piles and piles of demo tapes bi-da miles
All I wanna do is cut on the decks wild
But edition up here bi-da miles to the center
Reliever of duty, Plug One mosies in
And I be like, “Yo G, Pos does all the producing”

Now woe is me to the third degree
Mase pulls the funny so I make like a bunny
But I’m getting used to this demo abuse
Getting raped and giving birth to a tape
Cause there’s no escape from the clutches of a hawker
Attached to my success, sent like a stalker
Make way to my radius playin fly guy
Try to get on my back they force like Luke Sky
Me Myself and I go through this act daily
And rarely do I not
No matter how I dodge some jackal always nails me
No matter what the plot
And even out on tour they be like
“Yo I got a tape to play you back at the hotel”
I be like “Oh swell”
Unveil the numeric code to dial my room
And tell them to call me at noon
But of course there’s no answering machine in my room
But a pretty young adorer
Who I swung on tour
And if it rings while we’re alone
She’ll answer the phone
And with the quickness she’ll recite like a poem

“Hey, you done did the right thing, dial up my ring ring
Now you’re waiting on the beep
Say, I would love if you’d sing
The tune to Tru instead of fronting on the speak”
So no problemo, just play the demo
And at the end it’s break out time
Please oh please don’t press rewind
Cause I’ll just lay it down the line

Hey how ya doing
Sorry ya can’t get through
Why don’t you leave your name and your number
And I’ll get back to you

Hey how ya doing
Sorry ya can’t get through
Why don’t you leave your name and your number
And we’ll get back to you peace

Written by Glenn Francis Skinner, Julian Brookhouse, Michael Drummond, Paul E. Huston, David Jolicoeur, Vincent Mason, Michael John Mcevoy, Kelvin Mercer, Nicholas Thorp, Martin Volpeliere Pierrot • Copyright © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc, Universal Music Publishing Group


Posted in music

Workshop#1 – Accepting Voices Fri July 28th

This workshop is open to all.
Registration is required, see below.

This workshop offers a human way of understanding the kind of experiences that get galled “psychosis” and offers non diagnostic way of understanding such experiences and also offers a  better understanding of how we can support those who live with them.

  • Do you work with people who hear voices and who struggle with that?
  • Do you have someone in your life who hears voices and struggles and feel limited in your ability to understand and support them? 
  • Have you come to realize how the story that a person hearing voices must mean “illness” ? limits not only them but limits you and limits all of us? 
  • Are you weary of the notion that we must fear ourselves and fear each other ?
  • Are you curious to learn more and are you asking “what else can I do?”

If so then this workshop might help you tilt your universe and emancipate yourself with new very simple and human ways to understand and begin to act.

Our aim is that you can feel more confident in your ability to offer yourself as a one person safe space to people who hear voices and struggle.

Jwe envisin a society that understandsoin us in enacting a world that understands voice hearing, supports the needs of people who hear voices and regards them as full citizens.

Registration is required

  • Limited spaces.
  • Registration is available now, online at Eventbrite

To register now…

  • register nowEither: click the red button to the left 
  • or click on, or copy/paste the link below…



Standard    $125

Early Bird   $100 – limited number available until Feb.

See below for a full Workshop Description.
You will also find there  PDF easy-print versions of

  • The poster
  •  The full descriptionA big thank you to CMHA Durham region for offering their pace to hold this workshop in Oshawa so making it available to people in Durham region, and also allowing us to reduce the price at which we can make it available.


    There will also be an option to enjoy a  $5 lunch from CMHA Durham’s  teaching kitchen.


working with voices

Ready to take your next step?

If you have attended this workshop then you may be ready for the next step

Workshop #2 Working With Voices.


Workshop Description

This unique and innovative workshop offers you a non-diagnostic understanding of the kinds of experience like hearing voices that are that are sometimes called “psychosis”.

We offer you simple,  everyday language to show you how you can understand such experiences not as “disconnected from” but intimately connected with reality and in ways that can be overwhelming, painful, frustrating, sometimes terrifying response to the reality we share, 

It also offers a framework you can use to connect and draw from your own experiences to help you truly empathize and understand how better to support people who might be undergoing such difficult experiences.

You’ll leave feeling more at ease with both yourself and your ability to offer yourself as a one-person safe-space to people who struggle.

Join us in enacting a society that understands voice hearing, supports individuals who hear voices and views them as full citizens. .

What you can expect and connect yourself with a community of people doing just that.

This workshop will enable you better to …

  • Understand hearing voices [and other experiences] as a normal human experience, that can become problematic, when a person is left to struggle without support..
  • Share simple data and stories about just how common it is to hear voices- how it is not in itself a problem and many people do – some cultures regard it as bringing great benefit.
  • Peer through and beyond diagnostic frameworks – resist the urge to catalogue and categorize everything you witness as “symptom”.and instead,
  • take an interest in the person struggling with their experience of voices and other experiences called “psychosis” as a human being having a hard time..
  • Begin to accept even the most difficult of human experiences as something that can be understood, explored and even valued.
  • Look within your own experience and relate with different experiences like hearing voices, visions, unshared beliefs.
  • Explore how you can be at ease in your role and be more real with people who have difficult experiences .
  • Offer yourself as a one-person safe-space to people who struggle with experiences like hearing voices.

Who this workshop is designed for…

We believe the hearing voices approach is emancipatory for all.

If, in your work, you work with you come into contact with people who hear voices and who struggle with that; and you have experienced how that can leave you feeling uncomfortable or worse, then we think you’ll find this one day workshop useful.

So, if you’re a doctor, nurse, social worker, community worker, housing worker, peer support worker, psychologist, therapist, police officer, etc. then it may be for you.

Families, carers, everyone. 
The workshop is also highly suitable for you if you love, live with, care for people in your life who hear voices and struggle with that – and you have come to realise the limitations of an approach that limits understanding to illness-brain chemicals and you are curious about how else you may understand, and what else you can do..

Workshop design…

This is an intensive workshop covering a lot of ground , together we will :

  • Gain insights from people who hear voices, and from others who work with people who hear voices.
  • Learn how we can think differently about voices and other experiences that are sometimes labelled “psychosis”
  • Explore how, as workers, we can accept ourselves and each other, relax and enjoy our work: the better to offer support for people who hear voices.
  • Interact – with deep personal reflection,  shared sense-making and dialogue.
  • We will also share some simple, practical approaches that you can use in your practice on return to work.
  • Connect with resources and both local network and the global hearing voices community.

This workshop is designed to leave you feeling more competent and confident in your own ability to offer yourself as a one person safe space for people who hear voices.

You will not become an expert in one day but you’ll have a good basis for starting and feeling more comfortable – and more human – as you do.



Please feel free to help us let people know about this by print, post, distribute, …or why not hand to your worker colleague o boss, and ask… “when are you going to do this training?”

PDF Poster  hv-trg-1-accepting-voices-poster-31mar2014

PDF Full Description:  hv-trg-wkshp-1-accepting-voices-mar2017-full-description

Posted in Event, Training, workshop