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You, Me and Them is a captivating, humorous, cleverly written book which will provide the reader with the ultimate enrichment experience related to intercultural awareness.Author Elijah Levy, Ph.D. brings over 15 years experience teaching individuals how to increase their capacity for tolerance and identify their counterproductive biases.In a clever, humorous and engaging style, Dr. Levy guides the reader through how early socialization experiences and reinforcement of culture bound values can result in dichotomous, habitual ways of thinking about others. Throughout the book, Dr. Levy challenges readers to risk exposing their potential cultural and religious biases so they can be checked against reality; so distorted perceptions and cultural assumptions can be removed. Dr. Levy shows readers why differences between cultures are not inherently negative; that it is not that the culture bound values of other cultures are wrong, but that values, norms and customs are relative to a culture and can only be understood in terms of the survival function they serve in a culture. In the end, readers are liberated from their limited, polarized thinking patterns to appreciate and experience a more pluralistic, inclusive view of the world.

In this collection of poetry Levy illuminates in a passionate, sensitive, yet provocative style the fundamental existential dilemmas of our time. Modern life tends to undermine the search for authentic meaning and enduring happiness, contributing to alienation and meaninglessness. The speed at which our society moves has accelerated dramatically unlike any other historical period, compelling some to cling to traditional values as undesired change creates difficult adjustments that upset work-life balance. Americans admit experiencing stress from long commutes to work, insecure jobs and dissatisfying careers. The dilemma arises from confusion surrounding what we really want out of life in uncertain times. Alienation is a pervasive, subjective feeling produced by living in an impersonal, industrialized society. The vulnerable individual cannot resist honoring enticing images of conspicuous consumption and defining success as financial prosperity.

I"In this collection of poetry, individuals living with mental illness convey in an intimate, evocative and vivid style their longing for acceptance, meaning and recovery. The therapeutic benefits for the mentally ill writing poetically is a journey of self-discovery and the writing process organizes and clarifies their situation in life. For the mentally ill, writing poetically by using imagery and metaphor is a safe passage to reclaim who one was before the illness emerged. The metaphor relies on an analogy or symbol to create new meaning by expanding the imaginative mind that ultimately pushes one into a new reality that generates insight. The metaphor is fascinating because of its power to silently express a complete picture in an instant. Individuals living with symptoms of Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder are a vessel of truth and writing poetically about suffering transforms that truth in a way that makes it meaningful and amenable to healing. What is dormant, and undoubtedly shameful to disclose is awakened, and although it describes the limitations the illness imposes in their lives, it energizes one to act in some way to heal the pain, overcome and defeat ongoing devaluation, loneliness, stigmatization and alienation. In the end, it is hope that gives life meaning and sustains faith for the good life. Without hope, one lives in despair and futility. Meaning gives one the strength to overcome. The evocative nature of poetry transforms silence, alienation and insignificance to sound. The mentally ill live in their safe, beautiful, intimate and private world. The written word-- the poem, allows one to share this experience in a public forum for others to identify with and ultimately connect them to the larger world to reduce alienation and increase integration. At some level, the healthy mind will invariably understand the depth of suffering and through empathy, the ability to take the role of the other, appreciate and render compassion to the mentally ill."

This anthology of poetry and stories are insightful reflections of life written by residents of Carmelitos in Long Beach, CA.  The project demanded the entire year of 2016 to complete and it revealed how the power of a shared community goal intrinsically motivated members to persevere and get words to paper.   The group wrote tirelessly and the process generated confidence that their poetry and stories mattered to the world.  The written words inspire, and bring hope and strength to those in despair.   In the end, the reader appreciates that courage and faith in God is required to restore true and sacred living.  The pain we all are vulnerable to experiencing lifts when we no longer feel hopeless and trust that God remains our secure, spiritual base and lifeline.  

 

The poetry in this anthology will reveal how one discovers insight into the real self, how we search for light in our passage out of darkness and find the courage to reinvent ourselves.  The aging process, what it reveals to us and how to appreciate the beauty of God’s creation can be healing.   The art in the book captures the world as the “artist sees it.”  In the end, this anthology will be instructive and compel the reader to conduct a self-analysis to enhance self-awareness and meaningful living.

Documentary on Mental Illness Filmed at Founders House of Hope

A documentary on mental illness filmed at Founders House of Hope. The spirit of the documentary celebrates how the recovery program at Founders enables individuals living with mental illness to restore meaningful living by not surrendering to the symptoms of the cruelest mental illness known to humanity. 

Documentary of Veterans Recording Their Stories

A documentary of a veteran returning home from Vietnam and his adjustment to civilian life.  John Adame is a member of Dr. Levy's Veterans Legacy Project which has been meeting since 2000 to document and preserve the stories of our veterans. 

Books by Residents of Founders House of Hope

The Ironic Truth: Poetry by Cecile Mermelstein

In this collection of poetry, the author uses irony to “tickle the mind” and to remind the reader that contradictions in life are inescapable and function as a reminder of how precarious and unpredictable life is.  Mystery and the unanticipated events that emerge in our lives are teachable moments and according to the author “fate governs life.” For the author, irony represents  deliberate contrariness.  Reading this poetry will remind the reader of life’s twists and turns.  The poetic form used in this book of poetry is rhyme, in addition to incorporating mythological characters such as dragons, mermaids, centaurs and unicorns to have the reader dive deep into a world of magical realism. In the end, the reader will truly appreciate how the evocative themes and images expressed in the poetry captures the essential meaning of life.

Cecile began writing as a child.  She loved reading and took an interest in writing poetry at age 12.  As a child, she wrote stories on pads of paper and drew images to reflect her writing.  Her goal was to become a famous author.  In high school she enjoyed creative writing at Stevenson High School in Livonia, Michigan.  Cecile attended a poetry reading group at Cobb’s Corner Bar where she read her poetry on stage and became more passionate about writing.  At age 18, she was diagnosed with Schizophrenia and took a Greyhound from Detroit to Lake View Terrace, CA  She is currently at Founders House of Hope and still enjoys writing poetry, art and writing in her journal.  Cecile’s parents are deceased and she regularly communicates with her sister and brother.

U -Knight  (Poetry by Andrew Knight) 

 

 

Andy first discovered his artistic and writing talents in high school. He was attracted to poetry like he was attracted to his first girlfriend. He attended Rocky Mountain College in Billings, Montana to pursue art and a new experience. Currently, he has found his passion in writing poetry, abstract art in acrylics and he hopes to compete in his first triathlon soon. Andy's poetry is inspirational and it motivates him and others to achieve and discover their talents. Writing sustains his passion for life and he hopes to inspire a new generation of young writers. Andy draws inspiration from his art which reflects the intersection between music and his perceptions of what it takes to unite the world. The mosaic mixture of colors in his art subscribes to the notion that a fabric of colors can be weaved to create a unified world.

 

In this collection of poetry, Knight canvasses the sphere of human existence, from the meaning of love, vulnerability, joy, hope and recovery. The unforgiving forces demanding your surrender are defeated and the hope, vision and celebration of a positive future are embraced and provide the motivation to become the ideal self. In a sensitive, yet evocative style, Knight captures the essence of being human-how we are at times, compelled to live within mystery as long as it feels right. In his poetry, Knight reveals the challenges of aging, the power of relationships to unite lovers and enable others to find a common ground. Glimpses of existentialism weave through the work and reveal how individuals pursue meaning, despite acknowledging how freedom of choice and responsibility can undermine our pursuit for meaning and clarity in life.

Contact information for Elijah Levy:

 

email: thelevylaunch@yahoo.com

 

Cell: (562) 230-3334