The following is an excerpt from a 15 minute interview with Connie from ASIA, the Journal of Culture and Commerce:
1. Why did you decide to help the mentally ill people?
A: It started many years ago when my family went to Saint Vincent De Paul’s center to help serve Thanksgiving dinner to the homeless.
I discovered that contrary to what people think about the homeless, that they are lazy, they don’t want to work, that they are dangerous to the society, etc., being a volunteer gave me a different outlook. In reality, most of the homeless people were very nice, and many are diagnosed as mentally ill. Because of their illness, they are unable to take advantage of help that the State has to offer such as housing, medical, food, etc…(I may contribute some articles in the future on the homeless & mental illness).
Since mental illness strikes one in five families according to the American Medical Association, people need to be educated to help the mentally ill just like we help the physically ill (heart disease, cancer, AIDS, etc…)
2. What can Feng Shui do for them? How can it help people?
A. Feng Shui is the ancient practice of living life in harmony and balance. By practicing Feng Shui, it removes stress from our daily life, and that would help people from becoming another Prozac user. For the mentally ill, a harmonious environment is very important because in their mind, there is no rest, and the mentally ill do not need additional stress. A calm and serene environment is very important for their peace of mind.
3. Why do you choose to help mentally ill people with Feng Shui?
A: The media creates the wrong impression of the mentally ill; that they are dangerous, lazy and that they just need to snap out of it and go get a job. That is realistic thinking of so called “normal” people.
The mentally ill do not have that luxury.
They cannot think like “normal” people.
Most of them are gifted and exceptionally bright.
Perhaps that is the reason most geniuses are diagnosed with some form of mental illness: Famous painter: Van Gogh, President Abraham Lincoln, Princess Diana, Marilyn Monroe, Prime Minister Winston Churchill, Nobel Winner John Nash (Beautiful Mind), and so on…
4. How effective is Feng Shui with treating people with mentally ill diseases?
A: Feng Shui can add calm to an environment, and create harmony, allowing the mentally ill to be serene in a Feng Shui environment with dignity. Feng Shui cannot take place of medication and love. To be effective, and to help in speedy recovery, everything must be done together to achieve goals by having faith in God (prayer), applying science (medication), and creating harmony (feng shui); and the most important ingredients: love & compassion.
(Deer Park Monastery in Escondido, founded by our beloved Thay Thich Nhat Hanh, free to all who come to visit and practice mindfulness, which would help “zen” your mind and body).
5. What is the connection between Feng Shui and making people lives better?
A: When Feng Shui is practiced correctly, you can benefit from it almost immediately. You begin to understand the laws of the universe, and how to combine Yin and Yang to balance your lives. Feng Shui principles can be applied to enjoy life as a whole. For an example, if you have wealth and no health, you have nothing. Or if you have wealth, health, and fame but have no family, or friends to share your success with, what good would it do? Feng Shui will balance all 9 areas of your lives: wealth, health, family, children, career, fame, relationship, knowledge, Helpful people (God, Buddha, etc…)
6. How have you benefited with Feng Shui?
A: I have been practicing Feng Shui all my life. I credit my happiness to Man luck (hard work), Heavenly luck (fate) and Feng Shui luck (sitting in the right direction at the right time to create the right opportunity, etc…).
7. What sets mentally ill people’s lives apart from other people’s lives?
A: The mentally ill are more honest. They see things as they are and they do not pretend. There is no mask, no agenda.
8. What is your background with NAMI or with the San Diego County Psychiatric Hospital?
A: I know about the NAMI Headquarters located in Virginia. National NAMI invited me to speak about Feng Shui and Mental Illness at their Annual National convention in Minneapolis, and again this year in September at Washington D.C.
My husband and I are volunteer members of The San Diego County Psychiatrist Hospital Auxiliary (SDCPHA); a nonprofit organization that supports the San Diego County Mental Hospital. The President of the Auxiliary, Gail Andrade, is a wonderful woman with a warm heart, along with her angels, working tirelessly to support the hospital and the mentally ill. The SDCPHA organization is also very open minded. Their love for the mentally ill allows them to listen to any new ideas that would benefit the patients. We are just so glad to be members in this organization.
SDCPHA is having a spring luncheon yearly, to recorgnize Hero, Angel, and Star.
Our first Hero (Karen Hogan, the Director of San Diego County Mental Hospital, who has contributed above and beyond her duty), the Angel (Lois Kolender, the wife of retired Chief of Police, who is helping tirelessly for the benefit of the mentally ill), and the Star (Shanna Lee Moore because of her strength and her determination to regain herself from her mental illness).
(Photo of Lois Kolender’s husband ~ the wife of retired Chief of Police Kolender, who is helping tirelessly for the benefit of the mentally ill, and Gwen Coronado).
10. What other public service do you perform?
A: I used to go to Vietnam to help deaf children with hearing aids, and helping various orphanages in Viet Nam that are run by the sisters and nuns.
Every year, the SDCPHA has a Christmas function to give Christmas presents to the mentally ill in the Hospital & serve refreshments. The event is usually held on December 24. My husband and I very honored to be servers at the event.
We are also involved with the Tariq Khamisa Foundation, a group which educates children about getting along without violence by teaching peace. The founder of this organization, Azim Khamisa is a wonderful person. His only son, Tariq Khamisa was killed by a 14 year old gangster. He is mourning his only son by forgiving the person who took away his only son’s life. He went to the prison to visit the kid gangster and he led by example by “loving & forgiving the enemy”. The foundation’s motto is adapted from Gandhi’s philosophy: “Teach Peace”.
(Photo of Azim Khamisa & Ples Felix, Azim, his only child was killed by Ples’s grandson, but Azim forgave and worked together with Ples to preach: “I reached the conclusion that there were victims at both ends of the gun”)
My husband and I were so honored to meet Gandhi’s grandson: Dr. Arun Gandhi. Quite a remarkable man! Quite a remarkable organization! It teaches me that love can override anything, and that one person (Azim Khamisa) can make a difference.
Email us Gwen@GwenCoronado.com if you would like to schedule a speaking engagement, a Feng shui walking tour, or a feng shui consultation. 100% of my net proceed from my speaking engagement for mental health is to be donated to NAMI. Blessings!