Getting to know you

Knowing a little bit about his personal number 3 has helped my son, Chris, get a clearer understanding of who he is and what he was put on earth to do. Learning that he is a  number 3 has helped me better appreciate Chris’s strengths and the areas where he may struggle a bit. The ancient Chinese astrology, Nine Star Ki, digs a little deeper, using three numbers associated with the atmospheric conditions present on the day, month, and year of one’s birth. It is based on the observed cycles of nature ( life force “ki”), which are nine year cycles comprising smaller cycles of nine months and even smaller cycles of nine days.
Numbers and astrology can be especially important to people who have experienced a prolonged mental health crisis. I believe cycles of nine resonate at the vibrational “gut” level, complementing compassionately spoken and intuitive words. Recently I had the pleasure of enrolling in the online Recovering Our Families course. One of the first reading assignments was authored by psychologist and activist Pat Deegan, and included the following quote: 
The goal of recovery is to become the unique, awesome, never to be repeated human being that we are called to be.
Determining the awesomeness of who we are and who we are meant to be is never an easy task, and one that is particularly hard for people who have been diminished – physically, emotionally, and spiritually – by a lengthy mental health problem. 
It’s not just the person experiencing the crisis who has been diminished – families empathy for, and expectations of, the person have also taken a grave hit. Many of us are more used to seeing violent and angry outbursts from our relative, silly or naive behavior, dependency, apathy, lack of self-confidence. We adopt a vocabulary of despair.
The course encourages the participants to try to consider ourselves or our relative in a different light, to see strengths instead of focusing on deficits.
We call our newfound attitude “conscious refocusing.” The course got us all started by giving us practical examples what it looks like to focus on strengths when the habitual response might be the opposite.
Example: “He is alone and isolated”  becomes “He is an individual who has a rich inner life and follows his own path.”
But, here’s the thing. Knowing the numbers will bolster any flagging conviction you may hold that you or your relative is beyond hope. It will bring you further down the road of practicing recovery and helping you or your relative become that  awesome, never to be repeated, human being.
Chris’s numbers are an instantly recognizable portrait of himself, and believe me, he is unique and awesome. He is a quiet presence, a deep thinker, who has a great need to serve humanity. He is a skilled manager, and a hard worker, something I had almost lost sight of about him. The early stages in particular of his crisis made me forget that he was once well-organized. He is extremely capable today, assuming charge of household chores while taking on more managerial volunteer jobs.

My middle son Alex’s numbers are a recognizable portrait, too, of an awesome, never to be repeated, individual. Had Alex been the one who underwent a mental health crisis, I’ve always thought that he would be a less gentle presence than Chris. We would have had many violent altercations, until we learned how to work together. His numbers do not lie. Amongst his other attributes, Alex’s numbers reveal that he doesn’t like being told what to do. Duh!  I’ve known that since he was a toddler. Properly channeled, being aggressive and not taking crap from anyone, is a positive thing, an entrepreneurial skill, but there is also a less positive side. The numbers also reveal where Alex goes when under stress, another recognizable self-portrait. Where we go under stress is never a good place, and not the side we wish to present to the world, but it’s instructive to how to handle our baser instincts, and the numbers help us out there, too. 

Numerology and astrology, for Chris and me, is much more than a frivolous pastime; it has proved to be a useful strategy that helps us both to maintain a positive outlook. 

The new aging

Another birthday milestone was celebrated this past week-end. Mine. Looking over the past eleven months in terms of numerology, I was in a personal year 2, which means I began a new nine tragetory of change in 2011. A personal year 2 is a wait and see time, of small contributions rather than large ones, of delays, detours and stoppages. It does seem that 2012 has been stoppages and delays, since I have virtually stopped working on my eponymous memoir.  I just can’t muster up the enthusiasm.

Chris is in a personal year 4 of hard work, transitioning this coming January to a personal year 5, a year of major change, freedom, new friends and social activities. The good news is that I, too, will be transitioning to a more action packed year in 2013, and, according to the above link, “a good time to expand personal creative talents, particularly those related to the arts and verbal skills. Recognition in this regard is likely this year.” Maybe I’ll finally finish the memoir!

These predictions may sound as vague and open-ended as a daily horoscope, but I have come to rely a lot of numerology, almost as nature’s way of telling me to take a longer term view, to be thoughtful and patient. Change takes time. Change is continous. With mental health labels, we often let time be our enemy. Most of us don’t think in decades, we think in deadlines. If I’m not married by the time I’m 30, if I don’t have a career or even a job or degree by the time I’m such and such an age, etc.

Paying attention to numerology is also a needed dose of optimism that change will happen. I’ve been a hovering parent for the past ten years and I don’t want this role much longer. Chris is coming along nicely. He’s loving his musical theater work and has found a good group of diverse individuals who share a common passion for music and the stage. He has picked up a girlfriend (a chorus girl!) who shares these interests. It took him eight years to open up enough to seek out the companionship of others.

Change needs to happen for us both. I’ll be retiring at the end of 2013 and would like to see Chris by then having a toehold on a future path so that I can be free to enjoy wherever mine will take me.  Chris has plenty of volunteer work to his credit. He needs to start building credentials either through vocational training and/or further schooling . Will he be able to make the transition? Does he have the commitment to set a goal and carry out the hard work involved in getting there. This is a question mark. He’s still too concerned about MY welfare. How do you explain to someone to forget about me, be selfish for you? I’ve tried making that point many, many times since Chris was a child, and from what I can tell, it’s part of the territory of SZ to be so totally self-less. (In her memoir, author Elyn Saks writes that  she once told a therapist that she no longer wanted to see her (Karen) because her parents were upset that the therapist hadn’t figured this out and come up with a plan, and that it cost them too much money to continue to see her. “It never occurred to me back then (and if it occurred to Karen, she didn’t say so) that I was taking better care of my parents than I was of myself.”) Amen, Elyn.

I’ve told Chris in as many ways I can make the point, that his father and I aren’t feeble, we aren’t looking for his support, nor do we want it. Our job is to help him become independent, which is largely about his putting himself first, for once. He can also be of much greater service to others, I continue to point out, if he has some credentials behind him that can orchestrate bigger, more permanent changes in people’s lives than helping little old ladies across the street or a picking up litter on a daily basis.  

105 today! The men all died off years ago.

Continuing on the path

Last week I had a phone appointment with Sue Frederick, a career intuitive/numerologist. Numerologically, I am in my second Saturn return. Though I missed a career path in line with my “non-awakened” self on my first Saturn return  (aged twenty-eight), I have a second chance around the age of fifty-eight. Since I had already read Sue’s book, and know my number (22/4) I was mainly using this conversation as a chance to see if she could add anything that would help me with my future plans, which include retiring in two years.  What I was hoping, was that Sue might suggest something different than the path I have been on for nine years.

What I have been doing the past nine years is my path, according to Sue. She must have noticed the enthusiasm I displayed when I talked about schizophrenia. No doubt I was born to have a son develop “schizophrenia,” and then for me to find it the most interesting thing that ever happened to ME! But how can you think it’s all about you, some may ask, when clearly your son has suffered this terrible tragedy?  Well, as you know, I don’t see schizophrenia as a tragedy, I see it as an opportunity for growth, especially for the so-called afflicted, but also for anyone around him or her who cares to listen and learn.

I did get some immediate ideas from Sue about taking advantage of my second Saturn return. One is to do a proper book proposal, including a market analysis, chapter summaries, etc. I have been concentrating on finishing the manuscript edits, but Sue convinced me just to get the proposal sent out to agents before August. The book doesn’t have to be finished. I knew that, but an agent had asked me to send him the finished book, so I was putting all my effort into finishing it. Sue says September will be a numerologically  important month, and the proposal should be in as many hands as possible by then. The stars will do the rest. Oh, yes, a laptop is essential for what I want to do, she added.

Since my work is cut out for me before I leave on vacation in August, I am encouraging Chris to write a blog post on the topic “what worked for you and what didn’t work for you in your recovery?” He is free to trash  his parents’ misguided efforts to help. It may be a question of getting him to stop writing.

How numerology increases understanding

I have posted elsewhere about the value of numerology in understanding so-called mental illness. I believe that numerology is an insightful way of relating to people who are in a mental health crisis. Ancient mathematicians, like Pythagorus, imputed meaning to numbers, based on vibrations and planetary movements. People experiencing schizophrenia see meaning and connections that are not apparent to others. Jung called this synchronicity.

My son, Chris, is quite interested in how numerology has relevance to his life. A few months ago I gave him a book on numerology for his birthday which he studies from time to time. This enables us to have interesting discussions about his personal growth and perhaps an eventual career path. These discussions are much less intrusive than “Well, son, when are you going to be ready to take on a full time job or studies?”

Example: Chris is becoming much more socially outgoing. Sure enough, he is in a personal year 3, the year of becoming more outgoing. He is really opening up to me with his personal thoughts and reflections. This is not something that he did as a child. I am seeing a reconstructed personality emerging.

In numerology, there are nine year cycles. To understand where you are with respect to that cycle, you take your date and month and the current year, and reduce the numbers down to a prime number (11s and 22s being the exception.)
For example, if tomorrow (3)/(5) is your birthday, and you were born in 1965, you are on year three of the nine year cycle.

3 prime number
5 prime number
2011 (=2+0+1+1=4)
Out of curiosity, and based on Chris’s numbers, I revisited the time when in hindsight Chris’s troubles were beginning to surface, to the present day. In 1999 he ended a nine year cycle and began a new one. What I recollect from that year concerning his health is that he began to experience very bad acne. (Dr. Abram Hoffer says that severe acne at this age is often a precursor to schizophrenia. It is a pellagra like condition related to a lack of B3 or niacin.)

Both Chris and I agree that his most recent hospitalization in 2008 marked the end of his nine year cycle and the beginning of his new nine year cycle. Since leaving the hospital, he has taken baby steps towards discerning his life path by taking a course here, a small job there. He is currently working ten hours a week helping an artist with his projects and tending the artist’s garden.

I find that the numerology perspective helps me to be patient, to see that life is change, growth, and there is a time for everything.

The number 18

The New York Times ran a story today about the deteriorating mental state of Jared Loughner.

TUCSON — Officials at Pima Community College, where Jared L. Loughner was a student, believed that he might be mentally ill or under the influence of drugs after a series of bizarre classroom disruptions in which he unnerved instructors and fellow students, including one occasion when he insisted that the number 6 was actually the number 18, according to internal reports from the college. As for his remark that he did not have to go along with his instructor’s view that the number 6 was actually the number 6, a counselor, Delisa Sidall, wrote: “I reminded him that a complaint was made that he was disruptive in class and he said, ‘I was not disruptive, I was only asking questions that related to math.’ I asked him to tell me the question he asked? He said, ‘My instructor said he called a number 6 and I said I call it 18.’ He also asked the instructor to explain, ‘How can you deny math instead of accept it?’ ”

I am one of many people who firmly believe that the people labelled mentally ill are laboring under something cosmic. A quick check of an Indian numerology website gives a plausible clue for the cosmic consciousness that was overwhelming Loughner.

This website follows the teachings and preachings of the late Pandit Sethuraman.*

18 is the number of Mars; 1+8 = 9 (Mars). It is a number of war, strife and bloodshed and a number that denotes decline of Divine Grace and the ascent of rank materialism and selfishness. Look at the following names of cities (or countries) that have their names under the number 18

Mumbai (18) from Bombay (17)
Sri Lanka (6 + 12 = 18; 12 is also a sub-par number) = 18 from Ceylon (24)
Amritsar (18) from Amrut Sarovar (39) OR Amrit Sarovar (34)
Myanmar (18) from Burma (15)

In all these cases, the name was changed to an unfavourable number from an originally favourable one.

•Myanmar is ruled by the military junta. Burma was the rice bowl of the world; Myanmar is a begging bowl.
•Till the name was Ceylon, it was a prosperous and happy land. But once it was changed to Sri Lanka the ethnic problems surfaced as a violent movement that is going on even today.
•Bombay’s name change to Mumbai has caused increase in violence; bomb blasts now occur once every year.
•Amritsar was bloody throughout the 90s; even the army (denoted by Mars – 9) entered the Golden Temple (loss of divine grace) fully denoting the significance that numbers hold.

Let us learn the importance of numbers – how they rule our lives and how by understanding them we can attain सुखः and समृद्धि

Was Loughner that far off by insisting that the number 6 was actually the number 18? The number 6 is the number 9 turned upside down. Upside down is how his world must have appeared to him at that moment.

When will mental health systems recognize that mental illness is an understandable and often insightful coping mechanism? When will individuals respond appropriately rather than further isolating the individuals by dismissing them as “creepy and hostile,” as reported in the NY Times article. When will mental health systems and people reach out compassionately to those who are suffering before we see another replay of an all too-predictable scenario?

“So far I was under the impression that Mathematics had only four facets, but this man – Pandit Sethuraman had revealed to me amazingly that it has a FIFTH facet too. Truly, he is great genius!”
Sri. M. VISVESVARAYA 3rd September, 1946 (Divan of Mysore State,; Famous Engineer)

Schizophrenia and numerology

What do numerology and schizophrenia have in common? Synchronicity! The New York Times article says that everyday people are using their lucky numbers in a variety of profitable ways, from setting a marriage date to buying an apartment. The difference between what they are doing and your natural skill is that psychiatry dismisses your synchronity as psychosis. You may ask your shrink, “So if everyday people in certain cultures believe in it, why am I labeled psychotic?”

You might also like I see your dream job and The intuitive mind.

Sometimes, Lucky Numbers Add Up to Apartment Sales, New York Times, October 22, 2010

One reader’s comment to the NY Times Patient Voices

If you see meaningful coincidences everywhere, you get quickly labelled schizophrenic and called “delusional.” You are urged to take drugs and told that if you don’t accept your illness, this also proves you are delusional. The New York Times article that I referred to in yesterday’s post received a lot of interesting comments, many of which urged a different way of looking at schizophrenia. A few readers clung to the idea that their relative was delusional partly because they wouldn’t accept their illness.

Here’s a comment from a reader that fits in with my previous posts on Pythagorus, numerology and seeing patterns. Now, if it were recognized that the experience of schizophrenia is actually an experience of trying to make sense of the environment and is therefore a healing experience, more people, properly supported, actually would heal.

The skeptics use the term “apophenia” to denote delusions of the mind. It includes seeing patterns in nature, which to them, are just coincidences.
Nonsense, I say:
I’ve obtained an emphatic verification from a senior research group at Princeton University, which finally proves that an aspect of “mind” does transcend space and time, i.e., precognition.

This is their letter:

P.O.BOX CN5263

FEBRUARY 8, 1993

Dear Mr. Laurence:
Thank you for sharing the description of your “meaningful coincidence” with us.
It is an EXCELLENT example of connectedness between the subjective and objective domains of human experience, mediated by the symbolic language of numbers. In a very real sense, as was recognized by Pythagoras and his successors, this symbolism lies at the root of all science, including even the contemporary, whereby the human mind seeks to interpret in some tangible and communicative mode the intuitive insights gained from observing nature. The error lies in our FORGETFULNESS of the origin of these symbols.


*Brenda J. Dunne
Laboratory Manager

*Author, with Dean Robert G. Jahn, “Margins of Reality” – the role of consciousness in the physical reality. (C)1987, 2009

Rossa’s comment: The skeptic in me says that if the letter author had written to Brenda J. Dunne and stated that he was suffering from schizophrenia, she would have dismissed him as a crank, despite the fact that the experience of synchronicity is even more profound in the so-called schizophrenic.

I See Your Dream Job

Numerology has been used by for thousands of years to tell us who we are and what our life path may look like based on the vibrational energy of the numbers 1 to 9, 11 and 22.

Sue Fredericks, career intuitive and author of I See Your Dream Job (see also The intuitive mind), makes an excellent case for why numerology does a better job of helping you to discern your true career path than any other career book I have read. This is not just another horoscope book, where the astrological descriptions often seem so generic that they can apply to just about everyone. Her added value lies in directly linking destiny path to career choice. Most of us would probably not make that link, figuring that our destiny is not necessarily our career. We should think again if we are looking for fulfillment.

We have all heard that it is better to find something you love to do as a career choice than something that you think will lead to money. The money will always follow the path you love, is the thinking. Finding something we love to do is tricky. We very often confuse what we think we like to do with what we are good at doing (skills we have learned). Another false step is to want to be like someone else, usually someone famous or fabulously rich. We are not like anybody else. We are all born with a unique molecular vibration that makes us who we are. Being who we are can earn us all the money we will ever need, Sue Frederick reassures us. Intuitively, this makes sense to me.

As a parent of a young adult in a mental health crisis, you may be doing your child a real favor by absorbing what the book has to say about possible career paths derived from being yourself. A person in a mental health crisis knows a lot about pain. This book advises you to consider your pain as your career fuel. Choose the right time to open up this career path dialogue, when your relative is well along the road to recovery. Forcing the issue too soon can provoke a crisis, as my husband and I learned the hard way last year.

For most people, getting further education or training in a field of interest is key to eventually working at a job in a field that they love. For young people who have lost precious years due to a mental health crisis, their sense of self worth needs a boost, which actually provides a wonderful window of opportunity to get started or get re-positioned in something they love while still young.

Which brings me to the numbers.

Adding up Chris’s birth day, month and year and reducing it to a prime number reveals that he is a 3. This is his birth path, his destiny number. Combining it with the astrological sign adds flavor to the life path number. Chris is a Capricorn 3. Number 3s are creative and possible career paths according to Sue Frederick are acting, music, art, fantasy or science fiction writing and teaching. So far, this doesn’t sound exceptionally insightful, but Sue Frederick adds her insight to it. Number 3s are better off teaching in none-traditional settings, she advises, as a large school system would probably feel too restrictive. The negative qualities of number 3s will surface if they are not doing what they love to do. Unlike hardworking number 4s, who often get lost in the drudgery, if number 3s are not having fun at what they do, they will quickly lose interest. She also cautions number 3s not to rely on other people for handouts. (Thank you, Sue!) They are perfectly capable of making a career that pays their way. I have been pushing Chris to think of music and fantasy writing as a career focus, so the book confirmed my hunch. Because Chris is naturally intuitive, and sees meaning and relationships where others fail to see them, numerology makes sense to him. He appreciates being a number 3. It’s becoming an easy sell.

Now, when we sit down to discuss options for taking classes at the university, the discussion go along the lines of: Don’t bother to look at this course, because it is off path for you. Consider this one instead. Using your pain as your fuel, is great advice for an aspiring writer or artist. In schizophrenia, there is plenty of pain to fuel an eventual career path. Make that pain work for you.

The intuitive mind

In addition to counting physical objects, numbers have a spiritual meaning that resonate with us at an unconscious level, according to sixth century Greek mathematician, Pythagoras. Pythagoras also believed that colors have a spiritual meaning and are aligned with musical notes. Though separated by centuries, Pythagoras, Dr. Masaru Emoto, Dr. Alfred Tomatis and and Chris’s sound shaman are speaking the language of resonance, that physical objects, colors and symbols have a vibratory energy that imbues the universe with connected meaning. Ancient peoples were much more intuitive than modern man. They sought meaning through numbers, symbols, colors, communed regularly with the gods, and looked for signs from the heavens. It doesn’t sound too terribly different than people today who are given a diagnosis of schizophrenia. In Chris’s reporting of his recent experience with sound therapy, he said “As I heard the colors and shapes……” This is not crazy thinking, this is intuitive thinking.

Numerology is these days considered an esoteric pursuit, but not to Pythagoras or maybe not to anyone on the autism spectrum. Some people on (or even off) the autism spectrum see colors in musical notes or numbers. Chris has always been extremely good with math and music. To be good at advanced math and music, one would assume that meaning and connectivity are seen in numbers and musical notes. Out of interest, I looked into Chris’s numerology by adding up all the numbers in his birth date (month, day and four digit number for year) and kept adding until I arrived at a number less than 10, in Chris’s case, the number 3.

According to career intuitive Sue Frederick, a good career choice for Chris would be actor or singer, to name just two possibilities arising from the number three. Interestingly, I seized upon acting as a way of breaking through Chris’s communication barrier when his doctor hinted that Chris was really good in the clinic’s acting class. Since then we have also discovered that Chris is a good singer. Numerology strikes me as good a way as any to make your career choice. Rather than tediously wading through the popular book What Color is Your Parachute?, why not make your career choice based on what Pythagoras might have chosen for you? I am putting Sue Frederick’s book I See Your Dream Job under the Christmas tree this year.