Meditation In Movement

I choose to live my life left of the dial because I value mental and physical fitness.

The VU meter metaphor is apt because it signals everything is in balance on an even keel.

The yoga analogy is that a person can live a life of “meditation in movement.”

Doing this is a way to shift the needle to the left so that our thoughts aren’t loud and chaotic and our feelings aren’t raging so full-on that they overwhelm us.

I’m the only one I know of who clearly, directly, and passionately champions having a fit mind in a fit body.

The so-called consumer recovery movement has been taken over by anti-psychiatry folk who do not value being in remission like I value this. The ultimate benefit of living your life in synch with yourself is that your feelings and thoughts, values and action, the rhythm of your life: all of this is in balance.

I doubt anyone wants their thoughts to sound like an industrial German noise band’s music: drilling, banging, using a shopping cart as drums.

No. I make the case for unity. The true definition of irony is the union of two conflicting elements. So that there’s an equilibrium and an emotional stability in our lives.

Free movement-of the thoughts in our head and our bodies outside our homes-that is the goal: free movement.

Meditation in movement: it’s something to think about.

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Harmony / Evensong

Left of the Dial is the title of my memoir because I champion living a life in balance with the needle on the left of the dial of the VU meter. So that everything’s balanced. No loud noisy thoughts in a bar room brawl with your feelings. No severe symptoms veering into the red on the right.

The goal is to have harmony in your head, in your body and mind and spirit.

Harmony: that’s the word that’s the ticket to having an easier time of it in our lives.

Living a life left of the dial signals you live in harmony with your values first of all, no one else’s. So if you’re a mainstream girl in a body-pierced world, that’s your way of living your life left of the dial. If everyone’s sporting tattoos, you’re the rebel if you have none.

You don’t have to worry about other people not liking you for who you are. You just have to like yourself, and be okay with your choices. You find stability and security in a home of your own and that home can be in your own skin.

Here’s to every one of us who is starting out in life on our own. Here’s hoping that when each of us nears 50 (as I am) we can view our lives in a cheer-view mirror instead of a negative rear-view mirror.

I firmly believe that right where you are is where you need to be at this moment in time. And if it’s less than ideal, take action every day to change your life for the better.

As well I champion not being afraid to do your own thing: to stand up and decide what’s right for you to do at this time in your life. I fought a brave fight to be taken seriously in my goal of living independently and obtaining a full-time job in the early 1990s when it was unheard of for a person with SZ to do this.

I will tell readers now and I will tell readers always:

Dare. Take the risk that things will be better on the other side.

Risk doing the thing that scares you. Do the thing you think you cannot do.

Pay attention to the voice that tells you “I must try no matter how hard it is.”

Find your own happy house in your head and in your neighborhood.

Staten Island Book Talk

I’ve also listed this book talk in the speaking engagements blog on my website.

Details:

Christina Bruni spring book talk

Freedom from Fear building
308 Seaview Avenue
Staten Island, NY 10305
NAMI-Staten Island information meeting
Wednesday, April 8, 2015 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Buses that go there are the S78 and the S79 along Hylan Blvd. to the Seaview Avenue stop. You can ask the bus drive to tell you when the Staten Island University Hospital bus stop comes up because that’s where you get off. The Freedom from Fear building is just in off Hylan on the right side of Seaview Avenue. You’ll see a 7-11 convenience store on the corner of Hylan.

Staten Island / Aubade

City living is now stratospheric.

In the 1980s, it might have been possible to live in Manhattan. Yet you have to do what’s right for you not to follow a trend. The goal is to not go into debt.

I have no regard for the Williamsburg hipster life, now out of reach for most young people. I’m also not a flannel-wearing, chai-tea imbibing gal.

Staten Island was the place to be if you couldn’t afford to live in the city. The rent was low. You could take the ferry into Manhattan and come home at 3 a.m. on the tiny Alice Austen boat. A woman with silver hair read my fortune on that ferry once.

This blog entry is a paean to doing your own thing even if it’s not deemed cool or hip to live or be or act that way. I lived on Staten Island at a time when everyone else coveted living in the city. A secret cachet exists when you do your own thing like this.

You have to trust your instinct or intuition about what makes sense to do.

I spent Saturday nights at Millard Fillmore’s: a restaurant where you could order the Blooming Onion. I and another woman had fallen in with a band of outsiders led by a guy who was a dead-ringer for Michael Stipe.

Why be forced to take in a roommate to pay the rent in a ruinous apartment? Do you want to be stiffed with a $200/telephone bill when the roommate fails to pay up? Do you want to run out of toilet paper or milk because the roommate doesn’t buy anything when it’s their turn?

Gaggled-up living isn’t what it’s cracked up to be.

This blog entry is my humble abode to a time and place that is not ever to be again.

I urge everyone reading this blog to consider your options. Going into debt isn’t cool. It isn’t necessary to go into debt to live on your own.

Consider the road less traveled.

A Million Thank You’s

The book is taking off.

I want to send out a million thank you’s to the readers who wrote reviews for Left of the Dial on my Amazon page.

I’m going to try to be involved with the International Women’s Writing Guild’s author book fair at their Meet the Editors and Agents Big Apple event in New York City in April. There, I might be able to sell copies of the book in person.

On Tuesday I will publish here another memoir excerpt.

I wrote my memoir because I wanted to get out the message that individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia can live full and robust lives just like people who don’t have an MI.

Too often, the media is a cacophony of war stories, hell stories under the umbrella of “misery memoirs.” It was in my estimation time for the tide to turn. I wanted to publish a positive account of what happens when psychiatry gets it right.

The Lizard Lounge

The memoir excerpt below takes place just before my first pdoc lowered the dose of Stelazine to 2 mg.

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Another moody winter arrived. Margot introduced me to her new boyfriend, Lizard, a strange Pisces. He was a perfectly cast grunge character who played bass in Cargo, a rock band that performed at SRO, a club on Bay Street.

I spent the weekends with her at his place because I had nothing better to do and nowhere else to go. We ordered in Mexican food—quesadillas and nachos—because we were too lazy to go to the store and get the provisions. He had enough beer in the fridge to outlast the next century.

In Lizard’s pad, everything new was old before it’s time: the slipcovers, the shabby worn arms of the overstuffed easy chairs, the going-down-behind-the-mystery surface of real life into the still waters of a placebo high.

They sat on the couch in front of the wall, and I sat on the chair under the window. Four milk crates topped with a mirror formed the coffee table. The living room had a disposable feeling.

Lizard liked to get high on weed, listening to Pink Floyd albums and spouting amber philosophies.

“Is that your favorite color?” he asked, pointing his Corona toward my purple shirt.

“Not exactly. I’m a red person.”

“It’s just a shirt,” I said, though I took care when I bought it. A shirt was never just a shirt to me: it reflected who I was—the face I presented to others. I felt that if I dressed in sharp fashion, people would think I was interesting and admire me.

“What face are you behind the face you show?” Lizard challenged.

“Excuse me?”

“You have a startling effect.” He stared at me.

He looked like a disheveled freak that you’d find riding a late-night bus. I ignored him and flipped absentmindedly through the pages of Mirabella, a women’s magazine.

“Let her be,” Margot said.

He finished the joint and placed another album on the turntable. She went to change into her kimono.

When the music was over, she said, “Later for you guys; I’m going to bed.”

At two in the morning, he crawled around looking, having forgotten where he stashed the Thai stick, and in the half-light of the kitchen, he was just another stoned Jesus working his jones like salvation.

“I kept it here, I know I did,” he muttered.

When he found the private reserve, it was rather skimpy. He was a daily pot smoker, and wouldn’t have enough left for tomorrow.

“That bum CR sold me out again.”

I continued to read the magazine as if he wasn’t there.

“Let’s knock on his door and make him pony up.”

Those stained clothes, the scruffy jeans; I didn’t know what Margot saw in him.

She walked in as if she wasn’t aware she came out of the bedroom.

“What are you saying? What are you saying?”

She continued: “It’s two in the morning and we’re not going to walk the street at this hour.”

Lizard: “Shit, what am I going to do?”

Margot: “You should have thought of that earlier.”

He waved his hands in the air. “Go find me a beer.”

My God, how did she stay in the relationship? The next thing I knew, she popped open a Heineken and poured it on his shirt. “Cool off.”

“Sick chick.”

“You know you like it that way.” She laughed. “Come to bed, darling.”

That was my cue to take solace in the spare bedroom. I was a night owl again. Too cold, I lay awake looking out the window to the backyard. It was three, four, and then five in the morning. You haven’t lived until you’ve made it to 3:00 a.m. eternal—when the sky is the silver-gray of a knife blade, and you feel that you’re the only one awake on earth.
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Left of the Dial Amazon Page. It’s also available via special order at bookstores.

Clove Lake Park

Clove Lake Park was the meeting place for young people most of the time in the dark after midnight. Here’s a scene from the memoir in daylight:

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One day Margot and I walked along the road through Clove Lake Park. We found a bench where we could sit and drink Harp’s with a view of the satin water.

“Look,” she lifted up her right pant leg to expose the most beautiful rose tattoo I’d ever seen—and I was not a fan of tattoos.

“Cool tat.” I smiled.

“It’s by Devil, a guy I know. I treated myself for my birthday.”

Margot had balls. She was my kind of woman.

“I’ll be twenty-six this year,” I told her. “What have I done with my life? Is this as good as it gets?
Crowley depresses me. I have a closet full of power-blue straitjackets.”

“We’ve got to unwrap you, girl—free you from your lamentation.”

“Now I just work to pay the bills. I have no energy on most days. I’m beached out on the couch and can barely do my writing.”

“I’m going to see to it that you blossom again. You just need to come out of yourself more. Remember the good old days when we’d go dancing?”

“What happened?” I wondered.

“Real life got in the way.”

Days like these took us back. The beer calmed me. The sunlight reflected on the lake.

She threw back her head, and her elbows hung over the back of the bench. She wore a tee shirt and cargo pants, to which she’d pinned a Funky but Chic button on the pocket. She looked like a vagabond punk.

Utterly in love with her persona, I was her trusty sidekick in my shrunken cardigan and black denim jeans. It was warm outside now yet I was always colder.

“You’ve got it,” I said. “How do you do it?”

She stuck her breasts up prouder. She wore a tee shirt that said, “Georgia’s Best Peaches.”
“I work it,” she laughed, “because I can.”

She swigged her bottle of beer, finished it, and leaned down and placed it in the six-pack. She turned her face toward me. She gave me a beatific look.

“You just need to get the confidence,” Margot sensed.

I fell in love with her all over again. She was right. I had to take risks.

“You can do it; I know you can.” She boosted me up.

I’d show her I was not inhibited. Climbing up on the bench, I stood tall.

“What are you doing?” she asked.

I shouted like a blues singer, “I’m going to win. I’m going to win.”

Two teenagers walking down the road looked in our direction.

“Hello, how are you? If you like peaches, you should meet Georgia here.”

“My dear sick twisted child, I believe you are crazy,” Margot said. She burst out laughing.

“I won’t give up without a fight. I know I’m right.”

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The memoir Left of the Dial is available on Amazon or through special order at bookstores.