Archive for the ‘Spirituality’ Category

Medicine 20/20

Posted: April 17, 2019 by Ty in Soul Psalms, Spirituality
Tags: , ,

A wonderment if medical staff were allowed to be curious with patients…

So long ago,

the anxiety waved

first tour done,

another to begin

mother with cancer

told no big deal, old news

take these pills

they’ll calm you too.

Wonder if time had been spent

discussing what was past tense,

and how it affected one’s present tense?

A tremoring hand

a doctor not wanting to dig

off to drain blood one goes

back the doctor asks no question

no quarter need be given

the answer he states

unequivocally

is one must drink more water…

with hindsight 20/20

one ponders if simply ability

willing

to play at curious

may have scuttled

what was yet to

come undone.

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Image result for star trek forgotten historyChristopher L. Bennett is an excellent writer of Star Trek novels. I first encountered him with Enterprise, but then picked up a Department of Temporal Investigation (2012) Forgotten History which is truly a story of the Federation wrestling with time travel, this reality foisted upon them due to ships called Enterprise, and their captains (Archer & Kirk).

Image result for dr. mccoyIn the midst of sorting out the ethics and repercussions, a debrief interview with Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy, in regards to the benefits of time travel for historical research justifying the risks,  brings us this McCoyism to mull in our own journeys (p.87):

 

“No, I do not. What’s so blasted great about the past anyway? Rampant filth and disease, primitive medicine little better than butchery, ignorance and hate everywhere. . . .They say people who don’t study the past are doomed to repeat it, but in my experience, it’s the people who can’t let go of the past who end up repeating it.”

What in you past can you not let go, so you continue repeating?

 

In just googling around found this fun page Top 10 Dr.McCoy quotes.


In just two months my monthly trip to the comic shop to pick up the new Heroes in Crisis Image result for detective comics 1001will come to an end. As this has aided a renewal in some fun in life, I have decided I should figure out another series to pick up and read. With news Supermans titles would be going weekly it became a bit too expensive to pick up. With Detective Comics #1000 I was piqued with the new storyline starting in 1001 and picked that up.

Though Tom King was the writer of H.i.C. and Batman #68 looked like a standalone story to sample. Well, it was part of the Knightmares storyline (part 6) of the deconstructing of Batman. I will try not to give any spoilers.

It was a fun story of a bachelorette night with Lois Lane and Selina Kyle discovering friendship and shenanigans.

Image result for Batman 68How can this be a Knightmare in deconstructing Batman/Bruce Wayne? Seeing joy is wrong?

No.

It is deeper than that, and for anyone that has perhaps journeyed through trauma you can get it. You become hyper-vigilant to seeing the horrors, and the catastrophic. It leads to constantly being a fight/flight/freeze scenario. You replay your life, and relive that which you have lost. For Bruce, it was seeing Selina who he had lost, and coming to the realization that there was nothing that meant more to him. The inability to feel/focus on gratitude it one of the biggest emotional numbing agents within PTSD before and during healing.

The other piece is in the conversation between Bruce and Clark, about the worst nightmare for Bruce. The quiet. Bruce hates the world that makes Batman necessary, but what happens if Batman is no longer necessary?

What is the greatest fear of the situation you are in?

Batman-68What is your major support? Have you told them so? Authentically, have you paused. I have written previously of the Jonah Effect, those that bail on us when crisis or illness arrive. Yet, how often do we truly acknowledge those that have continued the journey with us and been there for us.

The Knightmare was for Bruce realizing that which could possibly be no more, because he was too focused on everything else to let himself be present for the good. That is Selina.

Today I was proud to be able to share the supports of my wife, kids, 3-5 close friends, Dad and his wife that have continued on this journey of pain, sorrow, and now healing with me. There is gratitude which provides more healing. It was humorous and learning to see this type of struggle from our world shared in our current mythology.

Before you go forward, whereever you are on the journey, truly take time and pause–

Who are those that support you and you support them in the journey?


Okay I am a wee nip loving the discount trade paperback bin at Revival Records and Comics by my house. There I have said it, but I in no way want an intervention currently. It is a great way to discover those stories that the Public Library has yet to score, and that I just can’t swing paying full cover price for at Chapters.

This week it brought some contemplative fun around family, and can folks actually change. One is a collection of one shots centered around the up coming nuptials of Catwoman (Selina Kyle) and Batman (Bruce Wayne)-yes there may be some spoilers.

But it is truly about family, and weird connections, as an undercurrent story is The Joker actually trying to get an invitation to the wedding because he does not see Batman as an enemy, but rather as his best friend who he has grand ol’ times with. Then there is the story of Damien Wayne, the current Robin, coming to terms with what it means to have a step-mum, and truly moving away from his grandfather’s heritage to accept the true him.

Image result for batman prelude to the weddingBatman’s boyhood friend, Hush, comes back to show that he has finally found away to get what he wants to be–close to his friend Bruce (the Batman) by physically altering himself to be Dick Grayson. The shenanighans started at Batman’s bachelor party with Dick (Nightwing) and Superman.

A great father-son moment ensues after the superhero battle of Dick and Bruce acceptingRelated image and acknowledging how good of friends they are, and then Dick realizing Superman has the rings.

And the response is awesome- “I get it, he’s Superman”

And then there’s more fun as Batgirl tackles the Riddler in a move to ensure no villains crash the party, and Harley Quinn decides to get some “exposure therapy” for her PTSD from the abusive relationship with her Puddin’ Mr. J.

Each story raises how do we determine who are family is…and more importantly our path to happiness.

Image result for batman: bride or burglarWhich then leads me into the flow of the second find, Batman Vol. 6 Bride or Burglar by Tom King. They are a collection of stories in King’s wheel house, how the human being will respond to trauma, and where our centre’s rest. The opening story is about a wealthy son who has lost his parent’s to violence “The Origin of Bruce Wayne” is a one and done story mystery about how Zasz has gotten in and out of Arkham to commit murders and add to the tallies’ on his skin…only for it to come home to roost that the child, wants desperately to be Bruce Wayne, he is the murderer.

What happens with pain and grief that goes unprocessed? What happens when a child truly has no one? Is this the way our society should be in the world?

Then there is the Super Friends story arc with Wonder Woman where she and Batman go into another dimension to give the eternal warrior, the Gentle Man, a break from the hordes of evil for a day so he can see his wife. A day though our time, is decades there time. Can Bruce still hold to Selina as his lightning rod? As the weariness of war wears him down? Will the Gentle Man decide to return and if not, what does this mean for our world?

Why does this story (or any comic story matter)? Simple, like our television shows and movies, I challenge you that they are our new mythology. Our heroic meta-narratives, and within this arc what King is asking is:

Can someone else fill your vocational call?

Image result for batman: bride or burglarThe volume closes with a story of Poison Ivy, that leads into Heroes in Crisis (regular readers know is one of my favourite storylines currently, issue 8 out April 24). Ivy believes she has killed, and has lost it. Tied into the green she literally takes over the world and all the 7.5 billion minds along with it. The Bat and the Cat are left free, for a reason, to play out what is happening.

Can they help Ivy find the truth?

The journey through the darkness, the wilderness, to allow the truth to emerge. As the truth emerges (she did not kill, the Riddler did during the Vol.4 War of Jokes and Riddles), she becomes open to PTG (Post Traumatic Growth) by healing, by entering Sanctuary.

It raises questions as we challenge and examin our own journeys. In contemplative spirituality, the Daily Examin is not a list of sins, or screw ups. It is a time to pause, reflect, and contemplate what was good, what was meh, what can change, and where have we grown. During Lent the Daily Examin brings us into the wilderness experience, a literal example here with Ivy in this story, as we move towards the SONrise, but first, we must journey and choose.

Where is your wilderness taking you?

What needs to be released?


What are you hoping to get out of this weekend? Is preliminary table talk at any conference and honestly, I had no clue. It fit my budget and healing goals. The still small voice of the Spirit had told me to click yes, and that’s all I knew. I was not expecting the amazingly courageous safe space that had been created where I rapidly bonded with folks, and opened up to answer “what is it you are doing now?” From the apprehensive mumbled sabbatical to the truth of a forced medical sabbatical after decades of walking with folks out of the darkness to home, and the repercussions living with Psychogenic Non-Epileptic Seizures as the Conversion Disorder of A-Typical Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

The sessions from Dr. C. Leonard Allen were a point of discovery, re-discovery, and renewal of learning. The Tuesday night talk led by Kelly Carter, Lane Scruggs and Jonathan Straker in regards to the Restoration Movement was another Spirit moment (and having learned about the historic biblical deism, it is quite a thing) …as discovering the Spirit is shaking and stirring many traditions outside of their historic homogenous roots and functioning with the beautiful mosaic blessing that is Canada (the world outside our front door).

The still small voice stirred, as a table mate would coin the phrase at our table as being “odd ducks” how apropos. Odd Duck. My mulling over the days had brought peace to a restless spirit inside me finally in the few quiet moments one could steal in the fun, learning and loving. It was true, because it was finally accepting not fitting fully any tradition, but being a child of all of them on a Spirit-led pilgrimage to discover living the Love of Jesus, and the soul of God. It is why my journey as the progressive Social Gospeler who was equipped at Alberta Bible College fit me so well, even though it confounded many.

But the full-on affirmation by many, to simply abide in the current Wilderness as I heal. Ensure I heal fully for it is possible, do not let the excitement of the new push away the pain. Rather place the excitement of the new on hold, so that I can exorcise the pain, and make the scabs into scars to move forward whole. Like I said, a courageous safe space formed in minutes like nothing never before felt.

And the added blessing, my wife, Shawna would chuckle about as I would come home with the question put to me throughout by different folks, “after you heal, have you ever thought of being a pastor?” or “stay in touch through the healing, and let’s see what happens with this.”

I came to the conference with no preconceived notions, it was simply a check box on a goal sheet for a course. The Holy Spirit knew better, and the still small voice buried in my soul became vocalized by new friends and mentors.

Thank you to all those who created community, fed the body, mind, and spirit.

Alleluia (yes even in Lent sometimes jubilation breaks through).

This piece had been submitted the day after the Summit hoping to make it into the Evangel (Alberta Bible College’s Newsletter), unfortunately it had gone to press before the Summit, hence I thought to share this here.

If you are looking for a post-secondary undergrad practical bible education and spiritual formation I recommend Alberta Bible College  (and not just cause I’m Alumni).


Lent. It’s a liturgical church thing, but also a deep rooted spiritual practice that has mainstreamed as well.

Lent begins on Ash WednesdayImage result for ash wednesdaywith a solemn service of mourning (technically with Mardi Gras of Fat (Shrove) Tuesday where we celebrate and clear out the larder). Image result for shrove tuesday

What is it?

Image result for LentFor some, they keep it pretty basic the fast from something (i.e. coffee, sex, social media, candy, etc.) and that may be part of it for the praxis of Lent comes from the Wilderness stories in the Christian Testament (if we want to you can create the allegory to the Exodus that Jesus time in the Wilderness was supposed to echo). It is a practice of making space to fully come into Communion with the Holy Mystery.

40 Days (Sundays do not count) from Ash Wednesday to Maundy Thursday (the betrayal night). Do not rush ahead for Sunday morning, be in the seeking and imbibing of Communion. Let the dust of the wilderness get your feet dirty.

Pause and reflect.

Image result for jesus in the wildernessThe Holy Mystery, our loving Creator God. This time in the wilderness is when Jesus drew nearest to his loving Creator, for he was able to walk and-or turn away from the temptations of the materialism and power. He was ministered to in Community to heal. It was a living example of two things:

  1. The Holy Eucharist (also known as Lord’s Supper, Communion) that which Jesus eucharist-3214782_1920shared on the last night. Bread and juice. Some say the body and blood, I prefer and think in the wilderness it resonates more…bread of life, cup of promise. For who are we in the Holy but blessed and very good, with our vocational life path of choices ahead like a buffet.
  2. The Greatest Commandments:

“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[c] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[d] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

-Gospel of Matthew 22: 37-40

Everything of their faith was not about laws, wars, or prophecy it came down to the greatest gift of all:

L-O-V-E

God + Self +Neighbour

Rest in that during the time in the wilderness. Lent. Do you feel it? More than simply giving something up, though that is not a bad thing. The key is if you are surrendering something it is to make more space for God. To know God is to live the Commandments, that is loving of Self and Neighbour which are mutually inclusive (you cannot love one without the other) and that is loving God.

Which brings us back to making space.

There are secular practices such as the place an item a day for 40 days to donate (excellent) can be food for the local food bank, books for the local free library, or items for the local shelter (some get into the groove it becomes a bag a day to many different organizations to share blessings). This is more than spring cleaning, it is about creating space in your physical environment, it also is about helping others (and yes we have been dropping off loads of donations to the Calgary Drop In & Rehab Centre Donations and Recycling Centre to help our new neighbours exiting homelessness get good starts).

Then there is the adopting a new practice. That is either Yoga, Tai Chi, a sport, a Martial Art, a Fine Art, setting up regular time for sacred reading, meditation or prayer. These are good as they help to centre yourself, and grow your spirit. Excellent soul work, and a better you is better able to see the good in your neighbour.

One area though not talked about is electronic. Yes, one can note fasting from social media or Netflix (or cable) or video games…but I am talking about creating space, not just stopping something to dive back in.  When was the last time you really scoured out your e-mail? Old e-mails, e-mails not dealt with, the plethora of e-letters we get subscribed to? Just went through this practice, being mindful of what spoke to me, and brought positivity to my life. The simple act of getting a cleaner e-mail experience allows a daily practice of being more present while checking e-mail as to not be just responding to get to the next one. That is you can spend time seeking to understand, instead of reading or forwarding to respond.

The other is our social media experiences. Last night, I purged 1,400+ twitter accounts I was following…wow what a different experience this morning on Twitter. Actually interacting with folks that had followed me, as I followed them. The few key media or political or religious outlets I value as well. The dissonant noise of distraction cleared away (and during a drag in the mud Alberta Votes 2019, it was a fresh take on a day)…I encourage the same practice with all your social media. I have slowly and with presence started working through pages liked, groups and friends on Facebook as well.

The beauty of social media is how it keeps us all connected. The falsity of social media, is that relationships pre- social media that would naturally run their course and end now can continue on in perpetuity. Much like cyber “stalking” of ex’s and old friends etc. online via their social media accounts.  Part of the Wilderness is not succumbing to that which draws you off the path laid out for you.

All these practices create new wonders. Release old pains and sorrows.

They aid in the wilderness journey that healing can feel like. For it frees one of the past that can be weighing them down. For me it has been a blessing to have a physical-mystical representation of the past almost 3 years of discovery, diagnosis, and now beginning the healing. This is the blessing of Lent.

Each step along the way, being present no matter how bad, good or downright ugly it becomes for there is something better on the other side of the wilderness. To often we want to rush from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday SonRise. We don’t want to be lost in the wilderness, or betrayed, or the old to die…and have to wait in a mystical holding pattern. That is, the story is there to show us the journey of life renewal…

The question is, are you living presently in the journey, or skipping to the end?


100 years ago

The heart of our country rocked…

For equality

End of worker harrassment, unsafe work, ability of owner to rape female and child workers, end of child labour, living wages, vacations…

To be treated as …

Humans…

A minister’s head was cracked open,

and a denomination had to face an ugly truth?

Was it the employers rights or the rights of the worker that mattered?

1919-2019 -Winnipeg General Strike— 100 Years On

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Compassion Fatigue.

Burn out.

Pandemics,

Wars.

Extreme emergencies created by government policies

Lack of mental health care

Lack of addiction support

Rampant child and family poverty

Epidemics.

Crack…Meth…Opioids…Fill in Narcotics crisis here to numb the trauma pain

A system breaking under lack of capacity.

A wheel with spokes with no hub

Do more

With less

is the normal cry for human services

no matter the employer

some do better

some do worse

Many say…

The pain goes with the job…can’t take it get out.

Not our job to care for you, your job to care for you…

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Self-care- do yoga, exercise, drink water, pray, have more faith…

But what about?

It is one size fits all…

you skid out you only have yourself to blame….

Here to help our world

make it better

like in the midst 100 years ago

Well Rev. if you weren’t there

you would not be hurt,

and in a cell needing bail…

But no one asks,

what about my neighbour?

And what happens,

when you need to be loved as you have loved your neighbour…

because your tank is blown out…