THE BLOG
01/22/2014 12:36 pm ET Updated Mar 24, 2014

January Joys: Surprises Prevail -- Twilight Is Here, Darkness Is Gone

Twilight is the space that we find between light and dark. It can be candlelight, moonlight, even starlight; it can be Aurora the goddess of the dawn where the appearance of streamers of reddish or green light up our sky. It can be the space or spot that happens in between our sunsets, and the nighttime when every and any color in the natural order of life tells us about its beauty. We watch in awe as it reminds us of the greatness and the divine; that's twilight time. No matter how you view twilight, it is not darkness.

In 2014 we have stepped into the twilight and out of the dark.

The mental health field's barometer or scale of measurement is brand new; it's changed; it's progressed; it's elevated; it's totally magnanimous. The scale of measurement now is from twilight to light, it's no longer a measurement from darkness to light.

January joys, and surprises prevail.

This movement is big; it's happening on the largest of scales; it's federal and universal, and happening on the seemingly smallest of scales; it's local and in our community. The magic is that it's happening both at the same time; the story is big and grand, but also small and at home. That is why the movement is really profound.

So exciting.

On the federal and national level it's multifaceted; it is government; it is television; it's books, and it's the internet. All commenting on the progress of mental health and education, often highlighting drug and alcohol use and abuse, with prevention being in the obvious forefront.

The priceless prevention part of this story is the best, it is the acknowledgement of prevention that reminds us of the innocence that saves us, and it is the stability of all human basics. It is the baby, and it is where everything is born. If in the beginning, you set something positive into motion, it carries you through the duration.

"By the end of 2014 Under the ACA, substance abuse treatment will also become part of primary care, and will be focused more on prevention", taken from an article on drugfree.org directly.

In the NBC Television show Parenthood, on Thursday nights at 10 p.m., we are seeing genius, creativity and exceptionally tenacious courage as they have successfully introduced day-to-day backdoor and controversial issues, such as Asperger's Syndrome, and the obvious drug and alcohol use and abuse.

Chris Lawford, my very dear friend's new book dares us all to open our perspective even wider about mental health, specifically drug and alcohol use and abuse.

In a recent Ted Talk show that flooded the internet, a boy shared his experience about alternative education, and then that talk tied in to an even more important Ted Talk show by Sir Ken Robinson titled Does Education Kill Creativity. We are seeing that when a child leaves traditional education, sometimes the results can be surprising, even shocking.

So at our local level, with drug and alcohol use and abuse and education, exactly our point. Intellectual information solely is completely cerebral/mental. Emotional and creative intelligence is inclusive of the heart and all parts of a person.

Angels at Risk similarly has left the tradition of how drug and alcohol prevention has been taught. We are coming from the heart, coming from creativity -- coming from story telling all of it together, in an "all together" way, is the best way to teach.

I love our West Los Angeles community; it's exceptional; it's special; it's attractive, and it's at the forefront of a cutting edge future. Both our public and private school community, and all the administrators, from the extraordinary Dean Tom Nolan at The Crossroads School, to SMMUSD's Dr. Eva Mayoral and Dr. Jerry Block, they are consistently interested in making courageous changes that are better and brighter. They aren't stuck, they are smart. They are awesome; they collaborate, and they love our Angels at Risk goal of moving from after school programs to lunchtime programs, which is happening everywhere now. And that is a very great thing.

With lunchtime meetings, kids in the winter don't have to walk to bus stations and bus stops alone in the dark. They don't have to miss after school activities such as sports, cheerleading, library meetings, art classes and other things that are truly important to continuing to participate in a more regular life. They don't have to experience parents that are mad and parents that are lost because they have to figure out a new way of life to support this after school consequence. With a lunchtime meeting, a lot of kids can maybe find their way. Kids who are curious can come, kids can bring their friends for fun, and kids who might be secretly trying to stay off of drugs can join us (draws other people in). We provide pizza and the school supplies the rest.

It's positive, it is not punitive. It is not after school, it is part of school.

We are part of the day, part of the community, part of all the staff and part of all the stuff that happens all the time with everybody together at the school instead of isolated away from.

So happy New Year, happy 2014 -- it's all such a happier mission.

The dishonor of our person and the dismantling of our hearts, which comes from the fear and hiding all found in previous mental health drama, is seemingly being dissolved, no longer is it something that is being accepted, not at our federal level or our local level. It's all so awesome. America is taking hold of its heart. Mental health is being included with everything else.

Coming from a family history steeped and speckled in mental health struggles in complete and total darkness, and me, myself, having paid the price of our social ignorance and naivety of mental health and heart, I say it's all a bunch of joys and surprises; certainly it's my opinion, again a tremendous triumph, and a bigger than fabulous celebration.

Twilight is magical.