Counselor-Facilitator Baldy Hughes

Please consider me in your search for a talented, innovative and dynamic professional Counselor-Facilitator.

My early work experience includes time spent as a Communications Officer at The University of Calgary, a daily and weekly reporter in Nanaimo, a Journalism Instructor in Edmonton, and a Marketing Manager in Campbell River.

In 2002, I accepted my first international teaching position as an art instructor for ISM International School in Libya. Ten years later, I returned to Canada having taught primarily art and mathematics in Libya, Mongolia, Saudi Arabia, Norway, the UAE and Japan. This experience introduced me to many different cultures and the faiths of Islam, Buddhism, Lutheranism and others. It also introduced me to hundreds, if not thousands, of discussions with students and peers on plans, ambitions and life.

Returning to Canada in 2012, I settled in Prince George in 2013. In my varied work experience since then, I have bundled seedlings for tree planters at the JD Little Forestry Centre, helped stock a new Pharmasave, and served as a Licensed Property Manager. My most relevant working positions would be my time spent as a care provider with AiMHi and Thompson Community Services. My adult clients came from all ethnic backgrounds, including indigenous men and women. Informal counseling was a significant part of my role and I worked with individuals dealing with drug and alcohol dependencies and mental health issues, including autism and depression.

In 2013, I purchased a home in what is known in Prince George as the hood. Unaware of the neighborhood’s character, I soon found myself interacting with the heroin addicts next door. The suite in the home I’d hoped would help pay the mortgage turned out to be a gateway to having anything that was valuable to me stolen, while I worked a night shift at AiMHi. This was a test of my spiritual teachings that told me I was never a victim and what I experienced in my life, no matter how unpleasant it seemed, was a projection of my own mind.

In 2014, I met a woman who was a heroin (down) and crystal meth (side) addict, living on the street and separated from her family. I took her in and worked very hard trying to convince her and the medical world that she was seriously delusional and needed treatment. A year and a half later, she was admitted to the third ward, where she escaped, and I proved instrumental in returning her to treatment. After about three weeks, her mind cleared to a certain extent and she returned to the streets, her drugs, her delusions and again looked to me for support. I also managed to reconnect her with her family.

Like all artists, my life experience informs my work. My video, Brand New Song, visualizes and vocalizes my belief the world can be viewed from an entirely different perspective. I would be pleased to put my artistic and creative talents to work for Baldy Hughes.

In the minds of some, but perhaps not to those who believe in abstinence, hers is a success story, as she made the decision to move away from her delusional state. She is off heroin and, after trying “old school” and regular methadone and, very briefly, suboxone, she has settled on Kadian to suppress her heroin addiction. Other prescription drugs at her disposal include gabapentin, Abilify, dillies, monthly shot for restless leg syndrome, etc. She continues to consume great amounts of side and claims it is extremely difficult for her to quit and, at most times, has no interest in quitting.

“How many treatment workers does it take to change a lightbulb? Just one,  but the lightbulb has to want to change.”

Working with this woman and others I met has introduced me to the Nechako Centre, the needle exchange, Central Interior Native Health Services, UNBC Hospital’s ER department, Vinnie’s, the foodbanks at Sally Ann and PGNFC and Narcan training. It has also introduced me to leading addiction treatment doctors in Prince George that believe physiological treatments (medicines) that replace illegal drug dependencies with prescribed, life-long dependencies are not only a valid treatment to addiction but, for almost everyone, the only one that will work.

I do not ascribe to the view that there is only physiological “healing” to addiction and other forms of disease. I do believe that physiological approaches can have some effect and should be used in an effort to reduce fear and discomfort, but my core belief is that all fear and disease exist in the mind of the experiencer and that true healing is available and can be found only in the mind.

This belief is mirrored in step-2 of the 12-steps: The belief there is a greater power than ourselves that can restore us to sanity. While there are many definitions of sanity, mine is expressed in one word: happiness. Or, to put it another way, to be sane is to be happy. It’s also important to note step-2 uses the phrase “restore us to sanity” as this suggests, and rightly so in my opinion, that sanity exists prior to and independent from “insanity.” I maintain that creation is not made up of opposites. Sanity does not require insanity. Health does not require illness and love does not include and require hate to be, nor does truth, illusion. There is only the Truth of Being and that Truth is experienced as a Love without opposite.

“To know the truth of one’s Self as the sole Reality, and to merge and become one with it, is the only true Realization. – Sri Ramana Maharshi”

Part of my time spent while with this woman (who I hoped would be my partner one day), and away from her when I worked in Courtenay, was spent in attending AA, NA, Al-Anon and Nar-Anon meetings, where I was introduced to the 12-step program. My experience at these meetings varied. At times, I was transfixed by the open, emotional and cathartic expressions of honest and heartfelt emotions, while at other times quite amazed at the control members seemed to want to exercise over the conversation.

My search for understanding life’s meaning (happiness?) has led me to the teachings of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, where I learned to meditate and was introduced to a set of advanced mind techniques, known as the Sidhis. Since then I have studied the teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi, Gangaji, Eckhardt Tolle, Jesus and others. Since 2012, I have been following the spiritual practice taught in A Course in Miracles (ACIM) and two companion books, Journey Beyond Words and The Other Voice.

I believe we are part of a collective Oneness and the invulnerable spiritual Effect of a Divine Cause. Our egos speak of life on earth in terms of frailty, disease, individuality and death but I believe these are all (including the ego) parts of an illusionary dream we have made up and accepted as reality. Reawakening to the Truth of our Selves can be forwarded by responsibly using aspects within the dream such as medicines, nutrition, physical activity, meditation, acts of service and, most importantly, the training of the mind, to listen to the Voice for oneness and not separation.

“I am one Self, united with my Creator, at one with every aspect of creation, and limitless in power and in peace.” A Course in Miracles, Lesson 95

All belief systems have the capacity to become adopted “religiously” and become dogmatic and I believe this to be true of some followers of the 12-step program. As Mark Twain would put it:

“What gets us into trouble is not what we don’t know. It’s what we know for sure that just ain’t so.”

So, let me ask: Do you really seek innovation and have room in your organization for someone who approaches healing from a completely spiritual perspective? Do you see value in having someone who believes understanding comes through the open inquiry into ideas that could be seen as antithetical? Finally, are you willing to work with someone who believes that life, when seen through true perception, is always and can only be an expression of love?

Until recently, I volunteered in the Salvation Army Food Recovery Program during the week and read medicine cards at the Wilson Street Farmer’s Market on Saturdays. The latter proved especially rewarding and I have interacted with indigenous members of the community trying to reconcile past experience with the present. Being as compassionate as I could, I emphasized that the past can only influence our present experience if we let it, and that we can and have the ability to become masters of the only thing that can dishearten us or save us, our minds.

In addition to the training listed on my CV, I have completed the Alpha Course, an “11 session open discussion [but not really] on the Christian faith” held in 121 countries and completed by almost 30 million people. This course further strengthened my conviction that the fundamental teaching of the existence of an unconditional loving God who will eventually send large swaths of his “souls” to eternal torment is illogical and insane. This teaching is not limited to Christianity, just google “Buddhist Hell” if you don’t believe me. To offer an alternate interpretation of our existence, I was a presenter on behalf of spirituality at the last two World Religions Conferences in Prince George. Should your organization choose to pursue my application further, I would be pleased to present my PowerPoint, The Object of Man’s Creation,  created for the conference as part of your selection process.

Yours sincerely,

James Miller