In our mental health community, the subject of limits often comes up. We consumers often talk about our limitations. The larger community either tries to understand our limits or dismiss us because of them. In others words limits are perceived as a negative label. Limits mean we can only go so far. Is that so?
To use driving as an example, limits are not stop signs. The journey may be longer, may wind about so much we might feel lost, but we are still moving toward our destination.
Physical limits may not mean we stop. Jean Dominique Bauby was the Editor-in- Chief of French ELLE magazine who suffered a stroke. He woke up from a coma with Locked in Syndrome. He was mentally aware, but he was completely paralyzed. He could blink his left eye, move his head, this was the only motion he had. But he wanted to tell his story of his everyday experience. Working with assistance he wrote his memoir The Diving Bell and the Butterfly by blinking his eye over 250,000 times to indicate words. The book was a best seller and the movie received acclaim around the world.
Finances may be limiting, but not always. Composer Irving Berlin grew up poor in New York City in the late 1800’, begging on the streets. He had very few skills, very little education, but he could sing. By age 18 he was a singing waiter at a bar where, after closed, he taught himself to play piano. He only learned one key but that was enough to start a career in music. He needed help he could not read nor write music, there was an assistant to write down the songs he created, among them White Christmas. Later he had a piano built that could shift keys for simple modulation. Berlin asked composer Victor Herbert if he should study music. Herbert’s reply was that it was not necessary. Irving Berlin had the skills he needed. He died at the age 101, one of the most successful songwriters of the 20th century.
There are far more stories about overcoming limitations and perhaps more will be told on this site. What is more important is for our community not to see mental health issues and physical disabilities as the end of the road. Despite challenges we still have the freedom to explore, to challenge ourselves to go beyond hardships. We have the right to try and make life better, the right to recover. So why not ride past the limit signs and see where the road goes.
By Richard Aldret
Amazing things happen every day at 9Muses Drop-in Center on Oakland Park Blvd.
On my very first visit, I sat in silent awe as Rick and Pat (Music Therapy instructors) engaged, encouraged and ignited a small gathering of vocalists and musicians that were also mental health consumers. Strumming guitarists were finding the right chords, a pair of young singers were discovering the beauty of their own sweet songs, an accomplished vocalist serenaded us with a poignant, expressive melody -heartfelt in its delivery.
This scene invoked in me a feeling, that which can only be described as...holiness. What came to were the words of a Nuevo gospel song "no one is a stranger here, everyone belongs..."
Personal acceptance, warm encouragement and a healthy shot of good humor is the order of the day at 9Muses.
Persons living with mental illnesses gain hope and do enter into recovery. 9Muses is a healing place.
Thank you to Chris (Director of 9Muses) and his awesome staff.
9Muses Member Articles for Recovery and Mental Health Awareness
What do I do when I don’t want to?
What do I do when the pain is so painful it seems to be all consuming to the point I’m gasping for air?
I do! I get out of bed and show up to 9Muses. 9Muses is the place that even on, or especially on my worst days I know I need to show up. Yes, 9Muses is an art studio, but it is so much more. 9Muses is magical; minus the glitter (sorry glitter is forbidden). I’m not sure it is possible to explain to someone that has not actually been in. Sure I can tell you our hours; the classes offered and support groups that take place. The true magic however is the friendships, community and support that far extends beyond what is on the calendar.
Welcome to 9Muses; A drop-in center where amazing artists and wonderful people share the secrets of the arts. Jewelry, painting, ceramics, mosaics, creative writing, talent shows, music, singing, support groups, tie dye, tai chi, and meditation. Learn to calm yourself with the arts at 9Muses Art Center .
7139 West Oakland Park Boulevard, Lauderhill, FL 33313 Hours of operation: M-F 9:00 - 6:00 pm and Sat 10:00 - 5:00 pm
Rita Claire Rosenblum
Recycled paper??? Who would have ever thought recycled perfume boxes would make beautiful, in color, light in weight, wonderful to wear, jewelry. Necklace, bracelet, and earrings are made by talented artist, Kathy Garcia who takes different kinds of paper and creates jewelry to be worn on special occasions or for everyday wear.
The combinations are endless; Original one of a kind jewelry. They seem to have a calming effect on me when I wear them. People are always commenting on my necklaces. What a conversations piece.
Rita Claire Rosenblum
9Muses Art Center
The place I go to just be. Feeling fickle today, but there I am okay. Driving there today was somewhat challenging. These racing thoughts interfere with my focus. Right on University, I go North and cross Oakland, puzzled and frustrated; the time ticking, tick, tick, tick. Am I going to be tardy to one of my favorite meetings? I arrive during introduction. A deep breath brings composure. I am looking forward to learning something new. My thirst for enrichment and knowledge must be quenched. I am here.