Rank #1: 13 On the Front Line with Grace and Ned
As caseworkers and social workers, the front line means getting someone to the next day. Ned and Grace are a father/ daughter combination who work with at risk populations in New Jersey. This often means helping individuals with mental illnesses and substance abuse disorders get beds at inpatient facilities, help find jobs, housing, security, among a range of other services. A key piece of this episode is how long many sufferers, from both substance abuse issues and mental health issues, have to maintain motivation before they can get the proper inpatient care they need to succeed. People like Grace, Ned and the tens of thousands of other case workers do the work on the front lines, helping those suffering today.
Music by bensound.com
Rank #2: Joseph's Corner - Ch. 5 - Andromeda
The fourth poetry book that I wrote was named Andromeda. You’ve probably heard the word Andromeda if you are into Astronomy or Greek Mythology. So it won’t be a surprise when I tell you that this book was inspired by both. I have always had a passion for digging into the roots and meanings of why things are the way that they are. How did some of the earliest forms of civilization see stories in stars? Or were the stars telling the stories? I guess we’ll never really know but I was hell-bent on trying my best to find out. I can promise you this, I do not have a magical cure for depression, however I will promise you that if you go out and look at the stars you’ll be amazed again and again and again. Without fail you will have to ruminate that your life IS worth living after all. If you feel like you can’t see the miracle that is your life, go outside and look up tonight. If Andromeda was saved and still shines bright, you are going to be alright.
Rank #3: 12 Joseph Fusaro's Life Story, part 2
Check out the 2nd half of Joseph Fusaro's life story - one of the best raw conversations we've ever had on Collected Layers.
Rank #4: JCK News vol. 3
What's going on in the JCK Foundation world? We just finished our first set of Legends Programs!
Rank #5: Joseph's Corner - Ch. 4 - Harmony
Harmony, harmony, harmony…. This word replayed on a figurative loop in my head after I release my second book Letters to the Universe. I had noticed a trend in my writing. I would get really frustrated, irritated, and overwhelmed at the beginning of starting the first 2 books. I would then feel this need to spill my frustrations onto paper. After the first 10 to 20 poems I would start to feel a little better. Still anxious, still overwhelmed, but somehow a little better than before. Then for the final 100+ pages of the writing process I could somewhat enjoy it without feeling like I was caught somewhere between the tidal wave and its undertow. Stuck in the foam with just enough air to choke. I was now treading water, but damn, I wanted to float.
Why was one of my favorite things causing me so much stress? Was this a microcosm of my life? Did life need to be stressful? Does a job need to be difficult and boring? Does a relationship need to be dramatic and psychologically devastating? I had all of these questions and the answer seemed pretty plain to see. No. Could I teach myself how to separate myself and my life from the status quo?
Life is supposed to be filled with peace, grace, joy, fun, contentment, and ease. I needed to find my Harmony. So I wrote until it made sense to me.
Rank #6: 11 Joseph Fusaro's Life Story, part 1
It's tough to fit Joseph Fusaro into a description. We recorded a 2.5 hour interview with him last summer where we recorded his life story, mostly in chronological order. We split this episode into 2 parts to capture the serious ups and downs he's had with manic depression and the myriad of other struggles he faced tangentially. You've also heard Joseph on our blog the last few weeks, he's a prolific writer and hosts a podcast himself called Hysteria Radio, where he talks about the connections between art, creativity and mental health. Check back in next week for Part 2.
Rank #7: Joe's Corner - Ch. 3 - A Little More Time
Check out the 3rd chapter of our collaboration with the talented writer, Joseph Fusaro. Big hint! We recorded an interview with Joseph last summer and will be releasing it on Sunday May 5th in honor of Mental Health Awareness Month! Sit back and enjoy the calming voice and writing of Joseph Fusaro.
Rank #8: 10 Matt Shyman
Matt Shyman has been through many battles in his life, from being diagnosed with depression to being diagnosed with cancer, his radical acceptance and resilience is something to be admired. When you hear him tell a story, you can’t help but listen and his “cartoon character” like charisma made for a really special interview. Editing this weeks podcast is another special man, Peter Esposito. A longtime listener with a heart of gold and keen ear for content, “Pops” provided a special perspective as this week's guest producer and host.
Rank #9: Joseph's Corner - Ch. 2 - A Little More Time
As I started putting together my poems for “A Little More Time” I wanted to make sure that I was being as authentic as I could without ending the book on a sad or hopeless note. I decided that the best way to do this was to start with only a few pieces from the years that I felt suicidal and gradually take pieces from my timeline leading up to 2013 when I first started to feel like myself again. One of the most important things that I figured out from writing the last 22 years is that I feel better when I leave off my journals with a positive message. Now, even on my worst days, even if I write 10 pages about how helpless, humiliated, and disgusted I may feel, I will make it a point to turn it around for the last few lines. When I end with pain, I felt pain. When I ended with hope, it left room for me to keep going. I felt a little more free. I felt a little more able to cope with my life and the world around me. There is a lot of truth to the saying “ We write our own story.” I think that “A Little More Time” is where I first started to realize this.
Rank #10: 09 A Tribute to John Kelly
Today would have been John Kelly's 33rd birthday. We've decided to make it a yearly tradition at the JCK Foundation to honor his memory by re-airing the podcast we created in 2018 in his honor. This episode is John’s story told by friends, family members, and acquaintances. We share their memories of him to show the world who John Kelly was and why his legacy will never die. Sit back, relax, and enjoy learning about the legend that is John Cleaver Kelly.
More stories of John >> JCKFoundation.org/johnkelly