I’m Ash Merchant, and I started Wild Ruby as a platform for new wild ideas, and ways of doing things in mental health. Really, I believe emotions are under-acknowledged, and run the undercurrent of our world, including running our physical well-being, too.
Authenticity, transparency, love, joy, culture, and honesty are pretty important to me, and I seek to bring this into working with each individual and group.
Our current mental health system is suffering, which reflects in the participants involved in care. Many people in our local communities, society, culture, and world suffer as a result of a mental health system that bares the burden of a lack of mental health funding, a health insurance crisis, over-worked, underpaid employees, pharmaceutical companies, and out of date facilities that are trying really hard to get ahead, and simply find walls everywhere. I have personally experienced this growing up with a Dad who had a severe mental illness, and I believe ultimately died as a result of a broken suffering system. This unfortunately has become the norm in America, and even the world. Our suicide rates have drastically increased across the board, and if we don’t do something different, well as the great Dr. Seuss said, “unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” If we don’t change things do not change. Change starts with the self.
If feeling alive does not resonate with you, then you are most likely either suppressing feelings, numbing out, distracting yourself with being busy, feeling anxious, overwhelmed with emotions, or walking around without a purpose, and ultimately avoiding pain.
Your job in healing a broken system is to first heal yourself. Oh, and you don’t have to do it alone. Doing it alone doesn’t really work anyways. As humans we are programmed to need others, and especially when dealing with any kind of unresolved grief. Again, don’t do it alone. Don’t. Don’t do it. I’ve got your back if ya want to work with me, or lots of other resources if ya don’t.
Currently I work in the emergency department and an inpatient unit in Bend, OR as a therapist, and while these are needed and important I see opportunities to grow. I’m one of these people eager to get a little wild and weird in the mental health world and start doing things differently. In fact, i’m not even too fond of the word, “mental health.” I’m also not too fond of the word, “system” because it operates out of black and white thinking, and emotions are everything in between. Emotions can be beautiful, powerful, intuitive, and creative with the awareness, and tools to navigate through.
Most of us are aware animals, plants, nature, and connection with other human-beings are healthy. A lot of people in the mental health field joke about how this is what everyone needs, and what lacks in the field. Since I don’t have a billion dollars, yet, to create the ultimate healing sanctuary it has to start somewhere. That somewhere started with the inspiration from my Dad who was a wild thinker, musician, writer, artist, and spiritual philosopher deeply inspired by the outdoors, arts, and quantum physics. My inspiration to start somewhere is also inspired by pain. Because I have seen pain, experienced it , and spent many years learning to navigate, learn, and heal I’ve got a lot to offer in the wild world of emotions. When a path has gone from fear into love perceptions change. We all have neuroplasticity in our brain and the ability to change our brain literally to become different human beings, and new research with epigenetics even shows we can heal, and change our own genes. How incredible it is that the only thing you need to do in this moment is to focus on your own healing…to be a part of creating well-beings in this world. Wild idea, right?
Dreams are pretty wild, too. A friend gave me an unpolished ruby once, and I found out they naturally form hexagons. Really I just thought this was cool, because something as simple as bees create healthy ecosystems, and also form honeycombs in the shape of hexagons. Its a pattern that naturally appears to represent health so there’s got to be something to it. Plus, the Ruby is a symbol of good fortune, pure love, health, and loyalty. Anyways, I had a wild dream one night about an owl and a ruby. This dream inspired creating, Wild Ruby.
Wild Ruby was inspired to be a mental health practice that is “out the box.” To create wild ideas out of pure love and the desire to redesign how health looks. We currently operate out of literal boxes. Most therapy practices hold meetings in a square office type room. Most hospitals have square rooms. Most systems in mental health I feel operate out of what I will call, “square thinking.” Hexagons just have more angles, more options, more room for shape and feelings. A type of emotional wellness that thinks outside of the norms.
My first idea is to start an online class, because it promotes global connection, as well as human-connection – something we so desperately need – connection. I also have another wild idea in the works to hopefully share within the next year where I will be able to offer therapy out of a different type of environment. One of the most wild ideas I have is that one day emotional healing will become something that could even be considered fun, potentially even mainstream, and popular. Similarly to how we perceive physical fitness, and working out at the gym, or outdoors as something positive and good to do weekly…my belief is that one day people will want to start working their emotions out weekly to become more emotionally fit. We currently live in a society with a bunch of people who are emotionally weak, because we don’t promote emotional well-being the same a physical fitness. Who grew up going to gym class in school? Did you grow up with an emotional gym?
My style in working with individuals in unique. I’m very much into exploring the most authentic version of yourself, and all the layers that may have gotten damaged along the way and how we can, together, come up with ways to heal yourself. It is possible, and if you are willing to get a little wild with me you can become strong in who you are, what you stand for, and how you operate internally and externally within this world. Cheers to a new you!