Busted Halo
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August 13th, 2014
A reflection on Robin Williams' suicide and the disease of clinical depression

Robin Williams made the whole world laugh, and he died of sadness, how can that be true? I mean, he was the psychologist who healed Good Will Hunting. He was Patch Adams,… the doctor who brought laughter to sick beds. He brought humanity to Vietnam. How could he, of all people, take his own life? This is the unspoken irony beneath all the tributes pouring out at the sad news of the death of this unique, talented, and gifted man who inspired so many.
Robin Williams talked and joked about his struggles with addictions, with sobriety, with heart disease, and with his depression. We hoped that he was victorious over them all. If the report of his suicide is to be believed, apparently that was not true. I am a clinical psychologist

August 12th, 2014

It’s that time of year again — back to school! You might be (or know) a college freshman, junior, or grad student. Even if you don’t fall into one of those categories, you might be experiencing your own moments of back-to-school stress and transition. Busted Halo® has compiled a care package of resources just for you! Who doesn’t love receiving a care package? Explore what’s inside by clicking the icons below. We hope you can put these items to good use. And happy back-to-school season!

 
Featured in Busted Halo’s Dorm Room Care Package:
 
“Foods to Fight Back-to-School Stress” by Alexandra Horne
“Back to College: What To Pack and What Not TO Pack”…

August 6th, 2014
Where to go for a relaxing, spiritual vacation

Whether you’re on a mad dash to plan a vacation before summer ends or you need an escape from the stress of your daily life, we have some places to go where you can recharge physically, mentally and spiritually. We’ve picked out our top 10 Catholic sites to visit (nine in the United States and one in Canada). Add the one closest to your vacation destination into your itinerary, or, if you live nearby, just plan a day trip, or a long weekend. These places offer breathtaking art and architecture, and inspirational histories, along with their obvious holiness. They are great places to bring the family or to take a solo pilgrimage.
West
Shrine of Saint Therese (Juneau, Alaska)
In these modern times, when our lives are…

July 30th, 2014

“If you build it, he will come.”
This is perhaps the most famous line of the movie Field of Dreams, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. With summer upon us and America’s favorite pastime in full swing, I have been reflecting on the movie’s deeper meaning for my spiritual life today.
Ray Kinsella, an Iowa farmer, hears a voice in his cornfield: “If you build it, he will come.” Ray has a vision of a baseball field on his farm that will host the ghosts of Shoeless Joe Jackson and seven other Chicago White Sox players who were banned from baseball in 1919 after throwing the World Series. Despite nearly losing his farm, Ray goes ahead and builds the baseball field. He receives other messages that…

July 24th, 2014

Are you overwhelmed planning your annual summer vacation? We’ve narrowed down the list of places to visit to the best spots in the U.S. of A. with saintly names. Take your family somewhere new and exciting, but make it a learning experience too! These places have loads of history, as well as good eats and fun activities.

St. Louis, Missouri 
The city was named for Louis IX of France, the only canonized king of France. In fact, many other places are named for him in addition to this “Gateway to the West.” Louis IX thought of himself as the “lieutenant of God on earth” and died during his second crusade. If you visit the city, you certainly will find plenty to do. For a spiritual adventure, visit the Black Madonna…

July 22nd, 2014

Sometimes the most simple and repetitive moments can lead to something extraordinary. I had volunteered at the St. John of the Cross garage sale for many years, and had never thought about the impact that my volunteering might be having on others. A sunny Saturday in 2004 was when I met Lynda, a woman who would become like a grandmother to me.
The St. John of the Cross School transforms one person’s unwanted item into another’s treasures. A math classroom becomes a jewelry store. A history classroom becomes an art gallery, and so on. About 200 volunteers work hard for a whole week before the garage sale even begins, making the necessary preparations. People drop off their unwanted items at the door, and volunteers…

July 18th, 2014
How volunteering provided clarity for my career

Stacking mountains of canned goods might be considered more of a backbreaking activity than a life-changing one. I was not looking for “life-changing” when I volunteered at my parish food pantry in Chicago a few years ago. I had prayed that getting lost in the canned goods would provide some distraction while I figured out my career path.
I signed on for a four-hour volunteer commitment each week. The first day I arrived at the pantry, I was not sure what to expect. Volunteering in a food pantry or a homeless shelter is not an activity I did with my youth group or even as an undergrad in college. Social justice work was what other people did while I was busy pursuing a career in journalism. Through all of my 20s, I was…

July 16th, 2014

The summer entering my sophomore year of high school was a bittersweet one. I was transferring from my public high school to the Catholic one in the area. I was mad, but wanted to cherish the summer with my neighborhood friends. In order to graduate from St. Thomas, I had to complete 60 hours of community service, and I decided to get it out of the way that summer.
There was a farm down the street from my house which I started volunteering at three days a week. It was a community-supported agriculture (CSA) farm — this means that through funding and volunteer work from the community, we were able to enjoy fresh veggies all growing season. I thought, and still think, that this is a spectacular concept. CSAs teach us the importance…

July 14th, 2014

It’s summertime! That means beaches,
barbecues,
long-awaited vacations and …
volunteering?
We already know all the things that make summer so wonderful, but this year, why not add something new to that list?
Don’t know where to start?
 
Here are five easy ways to find your volunteering niche this summer:

Clean House and Take Action

Go through your pantry and fill a box with nonperishable goods that you could do without. Summer is actually the time of year when food pantry activity is at its highest, since children don’t have access to school lunch and breakfast programs. Now, instead of just dropping the box off at your local food pantry, schedule time to volunteer. There are plenty…

June 20th, 2014
How to pick your team for World Cup 2014

Having trouble picking a team to root for in this year’s World Cup? As the competition heats up, here’s a guide (broken down by World Cup groups) to some of the teams’ Catholic roots.
BRAZIL (Group A)…
Not only is Brazil the host country of World Cup 2014, but for centuries Catholicism has been the biggest religion in the country. Brazilians threw one heck of a party for Pope Francis on Copacabana beach last summer during World Youth Day, and that might be enough reason to give them your support. The team has a player named Hulk who gives them a clear edge. He was recently injured and is muddling through the tournament. But you can’t keep a Hulk down for too long. By the way, there’s a huge statue of Jesus in Rio de

June 17th, 2014
Two years in a row huge crowds have descended upon Rio de Janeiro to celebrate faith (2013) and soccer (now). Can you tell the difference?

It is happening again. Nearly a year after Rio de Janeiro hosted World Youth Day, millions of screaming, face-painted, flag-waving fanatics have flocked to Brazil to fill up the streets and stadiums and make some noise. But this time it’s not the Catholic faith or Pope Francis inciting these pilgrims, but rather their love of a sport and the likes of Ronaldo, Suarez and Messi motivating them as they journey to worship at the altar of soccer, or as they call it all over the rest of the world, football, for the World Cup 2014. Noting the similarities in dress code and nationalistic pride between the two groups of pilgrims (or disciples, zealots, or supporters, depending on which vernacular you prefer…

June 9th, 2014
How walking across Spain for two weeks changed my life

There is a saying amongst pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago, Spain’s ancient pilgrimage path: “The real Camino doesn’t begin until you arrive back home.”
The place where we grew up is typically “home.” It’s an anchor, and we can always return to that physical location. But the thought of returning also brings up a sense of apprehension because home is usually, in some way, dysfunctional. It can be difficult to leave home and return when older, as a different person.
Starting at a young age, I emotionally ran away from the arguing and fighting dysfunction in my family. When college rolled around, I physically ran away from my hometown of Portland, Oregon, to Spokane, Washington, hoping to escape…

May 28th, 2014

I don’t remember the first time I made someone laugh, but I must have liked it. As a boy growing up in suburban Chicago, I watched David Letterman nightly with a devotion bordering on obsession. Sleep, school and grades were all sacrificed at the altar of Stupid Pet Tricks and Top Ten lists. The world of late night television seemed to be so contrary to the grim, hyper-organized world of school, which dominated my life with its obligations, tasks and duties. Late night was a world of irreverent pranks, loud music and fun conversation. This was a world I wanted to be a part of. Little did I know.
Before becoming a Jesuit, I spent the better part of my 20s as a struggling comedian, and I can tell you right now that a life…

May 7th, 2014

It is the time of the church year when we consider that a dead man came back to life and walked among us for 40 days. In the lingering energy of Easter’s festivities, I sat down to catch up on ABC’s new drama, Resurrection, which is set in a small town in Missouri where people begin to return from the grave.
The show began as a couple wrestled with the reappearance of their precious 6-year-old boy who had drowned decades earlier. In recent episodes, the town’s pastor must face the sudden return of his love who had committed suicide years earlier. The uniqueness of the series is grounded in human emotion. We witness the resurfacing of feelings that death had exacted in the lives of these characters, and the unravelling…

May 1st, 2014

High school students are entering a critical time of year — college acceptance/rejection letter season — when seniors find out where they got in and decide where they will attend in the fall. For most students, it marks the beginning of the biggest transition they’ve ever experienced in their life. But while you may be at the top of your class, the bottom or somewhere in-between, everyone is challenged by some bad habit or another when it comes to school. If you’re a high school junior or senior you may already be painfully aware of the bad habits that get you into trouble and make your life more difficult than it needs to be. The real danger with high school bad habits, though, is that they often…

April 15th, 2014

It is easy to share the personal highlight reel of my life, but I will stutter if you ask me the last time I truly felt vulnerable. I enjoy being independent and do not ask for help from others unless I am put in a tough spot. The first time I purchased a car on my own my parents offered financial assistance, but instead of accepting their offer, I picked up extra jobs to save up. When I was in college, I paid for my own tuition with scholarships and by working part-time. Like many young adults, I take pride in my independence and find it jarring to be put in a position where I have to ask for help.
That all changed when I was in a car accident this winter. The wheels that carried me to work and social outings and on road trips were no more.…

March 20th, 2014
A look at the intersection of Catholic colleges and the NCAA College Basketball Tournament

As the Madness of March and college basketball descend upon the sporting world, once again there are many Catholic colleges in the mix. Over the years, Georgetown, Marquette, Gonzaga, Notre Dame and many other Catholic schools have been a part of the landscape that is men’s and women’s college basketball. Of the more than 350 schools that compete in Division 1 NCAA basketball, about 10 percent of them are affiliated with or classified as Catholic schools. And year after year, the presence of Catholic schools in the NCAA tournament stays true to the 10 percent, or more often exceeds it. This year, nine of the 68 teams in the men’s bracket are Catholic schools (13 percent) and seven of the 64 teams…

February 6th, 2014

This February brings about a very special time in the sports calendar that comes around only once every four years: the Winter Olympics. The coastal resort town of Sochi, Russia, has been selected to play host to the world this winter. There will likely be much fanfare and media attention given to the medalists and other contenders whose prominence transcends their own sport. Over the years, Kristi Yamaguchi, Peekaboo Street, and Shaun White have become names familiar to the U.S. Olympic enthusiast. Additionally, athletes competing in sports particularly popular during the Winter Games have become household names and a part of the pop cultural landscape, sometimes for the drama beyond the sport itself (think:…

February 5th, 2014
The connection between faith, writing and waiting

I just read a really terrific short story, and now I feel myself bobbing like a cork toward a deep dark cataract of despair. On the one hand, part of me truly delights in this well-crafted, mysterious piece of prose by a writer of growing renown. At the same time, though, the marvelment I feel is coated in a very thick layer of, not envy exactly, but a sense of comparative professional inadequacy. I stare at the pages in my hands like I’m trying to decipher hieroglyphs, and I ask myself: How did he do that? How did he write something so subtle and memorable and complex? Why can’t I do that? When will I be able to do that? Will I ever?
I say that I’m floating toward a deep dark cataract of despair — deep and dark, yes,…

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