It’s taken me five days to recover but I feel empowered. Let me explain – for me this is complex but underpins all I do and plan to do into the future. It’s about behaviour – our behaviour. It’s about the impact we have on others. It’s about being of value and valued. My focus is the following: Freedom Joy Empowerment Happiness Enlightenment Peace Ultimately based on my 50+ years of life experience everything in our lives is there to educate us and help us flourish if we so choose. So how does bullying and being bullied help someone feel empowered? Well it’s a bit of a story but bear with and enjoy. So my neighbour is wonderful and has been extremely helpful in supporting me integrate and settle into my local community. He’s a bit of an intellectual so we’ve had some enjoyable conversations about politics and what’s happening in the world. He’s a member of a local volunteering association. He’s the chair of the membership committee. I didn’t know this when I submitted my online application. My other neighbours had their Xmas party Tuesday evening. I was invited but did not attend as I was feelings a bit exhausted from all the stuff happening in the world. So I get a call on Wednesday morning from an unidentified mobile number. My neighbour’s mobile is stored in my phone so I wondered who it was. “It’s Sergeant XXX, we’ve had a number of complaints from residents in the community about a late night party in your residence” I gave him the facts. He responded. It went on. I stood my ground. I was furious. And then he revealed the wind-up. And then he said: “We’re having our Annual Xmas Party this weekend and would you like to come along and meet some of the other members?” I agreed. But when I ended the mobile phone conversation, I was both furious, entertained and exhausted emotionally. A grumbling continued in the energy of my nervous system for a few more days. The day of the Xmas party, I woke up and decided I did not want to go. The emotions were too raw. And I value my: Freedom Joy Empowerment Happiness Enlightenment Peace Maybe he does not realise the impact of his behaviour on Wednesday. He certainly does not know my full life story. Does he need to? No. Would it help him better understand me? Maybe. Would it help me better interact with him? Maybe. And so this is where I ponder the conversation and where we are at with mental health and mental illness. It is also a reflection of where we are in the communities understanding of mental health and mental illness. Communities has an ethos and an ethic; it’s what glues them together – call it social cohesion. Unyet here we have the Chair of a Membership Committee bullying a potential new member. How does that work? Yes on face value it was funny. But it also had other layers to the experience, to the interaction. And this is what happens time and again in the world. We meet people. We judge people. We believe we understand them. We interact with them. Unyet we have little understanding of their life story, of how they receive what we communicated, how they felt about the interaction. Did they feel safe? Did they feel accepted? Did they feel enthused and energised as a result of the conversation? Was the conversation empowering or disempowering? My focus is “karmically, ecologically constructive” in each interaction. How do I know I’ve achieved this? I tried to conclude as many conversations as possible with people laughing. I feel it lifts people spirits and the vibe more generally. That’s the value of being a human being. That’s the value of following the science. That’s the value of experiencing mental illness. That’s the value of experiencing the trainings of the greatest masters human behaviour and personal growth. My diagnosis was a gift. My madness was a gift. My depressions were a gift. They did not feel like that at the time but I sense now the value in releasing what was not me to allow a new me to emerge, a calmer and happier individual. So if you are faced with a situation where you sense a bullying issue emerging, lift your self out of the experience and become a dispassionate observer; ask what you see, ask what you hear, ask what you feel, ask what you value from this situation and proceed accordingly. For me, this is about my role in the community. This interaction with my neighbour is just an interaction. I’ve attached stuff to it and moved on. Whist it’s taken a few days, it’s nothing do with me and it’s everything to do with me. It’s my stuff, my triggers, my healing, my recovery. It’s helped me focus more deeply on my purpose and my mission. That’s the learning for me. I’m more committed to my legacy. That’s got to be a good thing eh?