Posts Tagged ‘Art’

C-Tears

Posted: March 20, 2022 by Ty in Current Events
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Want to be able to share what the pandemic has been like? Here’s your change:

email is cdw@knoxcalgary.ca

And for some inspiration, my youngest is an amazing emergent artist and chose to work in the electronic art format. Viewing layering effects, and learning, here is– C-Tears:

It’s…Adrien

Posted: September 6, 2021 by Ty in Spirituality
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Another OC, from the tablet art of my youngest, J. Enjoy!


My youngest is quite the artist, always exploring new things. This past few weeks they have been playing around with drawing on a computer, and here is an example:


Burn that Bunker Down

 

The third ART Treatment burnt down the solid concrete bunker that was holding the horrors at bay. It was an image I had used through my therapy to describe the dribs and drabs my body would allow out for healing. Solid concrete, with small cracks and crackling green flame behind it that could peek out as my body prepared to deal with the next wave of pain.

The challenge is that after the second treatment, the mind webbing down before brought me to an almost shooting death by the police after saving a suicidal individual. But the spider-webs out had dealt with connecting points of other moments of being threatened, assaulted, shot at, entering into the world of hoarders, vicarious trauma and bed bug infestations[1]. This had alleviated flashback, anxiety, and depression pressures and fears upon my system for the two weeks between treatments. It was a freedom I had not enjoyed for many years.

The freedom though allowed me, like a soul archaeologist, to continue the fine work of getting to core memories. The true horrific traumas that my body was attempting to protect me from upon this journey.  Entering into my third treatment that I had innocuously stated to explore the deaths (613, but again dear reader, pick up the first volume) who collage and crushing grieving emotions began taking hold after the last treatment on my being.

The homework (prep work? soul work?) before this session I began mapping out the deaths. Trust me not a fun time. It left me weepy, my emotions raw. Basically struggling to ensure I was present, and still the me on the healing journey for my family for I was not going to be collapsing back into Psychogenic Non-Epileptic Seizures despite the rawness of what was emerging.

As was written previously, the molestation memories came back at this point. BUT it was not first. See, my soul mapping started at first with the deaths- professional, friends, connected to family, my family, brought me down to when my Granddad died when I was 16 years old. The last words he spoke to me the night he passed was, “it’ll be alright” which triggered the shattering flashbacks of the summer of 8 years old, noted before.

The Vacation Bible School ones came back first, but then came down to Grandpa Joe. Thankfully the attempt stayed on top of the clothes when I had gone to get ice cream during a BBQ, and my Grandma and Mum saved me, and then built in safety precautions until he died when I was 12 years old which was a huge relief to me. I did not understand then, this was buried deep.

It came up in dreams from then until he was dead. These dreams were of adults in my life, at meal times, BBQs with everything feeling like a normal family time. Then the adults would pull off their faces, which were like Scooby Doo monster masks, to reveal a reptilian head beneath, much like the Gorn from the Original Star Trek episode, the Arena.

Note the symbolism?

Our subconscious protects and buries. It also attempts to work through. The crashing down of my neuro and physical systems unearthed this core memory which became the memory to be treated during my Accelerated Resolution Therapy and would produce a new emotion for me during this journey.

See it was through this process that the fear, anger, and hurt was replaced. There was healing. The image of the concrete bunker exploded and was consumed by the green flames. I literally felt electricity leave my body (as I had with two previous sessions, but this wasn’t just extremities, it felt as from my heart).

The negative emotions moved slowly through processing to neutral. I walked through where each of my family was, but there was still reconciling this ass-hat who some still looked to fondly, and what he had tried to do—Joe. He was dead. One could say with my religious connotations I could take solace that he was in Hell. Except, that does not work with how I had come to believe, readers of volume one will note my short treatise on Purgatory. The final purging of all that keeps you from Heaven that meant Joe was with Jesus.

But not the monster on earth, a new creation.

It was this thought from my heart that tipped the balance of neutrality to positive ever so slightly. As the treatment continued, and I focused more on how the matriarchs of my family worked within the system to protect me, hope began to emerge.

From hope we moved to…joy.

Now the monster was dead. The ashes were consumed away. I drank deeply of joy.

The journey continued…as it was time to confront the other ripples in my life, but today joy was felt again. It is how faith, psychology and community work together to craft a new me.

[1] For more on infestations and such, I direct you to Soul Ripples.


Soul Archaeology

Some would say a healing journey is a kin to a cozy mystery. Sifting clues, and finding the solution. This may be true on the way to diagnosis in regards to the conditions, but when it comes to the healing one feels more like a paleontologist or an archaeologist. Like Dr. Grant in Jurassic Park or the intrepid Indiana Jones you need to sift the crap and the debris away to get to the core.

This has never been more evident in my own journey than with the lag between Accelerated Resolution Therapy (ART) sessions, where I am left with the debilitating flashbacks that in some ways and some days lead me to succumb to the feeling of less than, failure, depression, anxiousness and anger. Yet as the tides recede what is left is the soul work-dream work-mindfulness of what lies in the flashback. See for me my flashbacks sometimes come as day or night mares (and I dream in 1930’s Technicolor animation so yes it is a trip), hallucination of sound and-or image, but mostly it comes in flashes like a comic book double splash page. It is in this work I am the archaeologist  beginning with shoveling the big pains/traumas that are surface level raw. These are the items the hot thoughts, CBT, mindfulness, narrative-talk therapy and prayer work well with. These are also the beginning of my mind maps (spider-webs) as these memories trickle out more and more to the core trauma that ART will heal. See, our bodies only release that which we are able to deal with, and as we heal, it hurts more as we go deeper and deeper until the final release. I currently have sifted quite a bit of the clunky debris and sand away, and have moved down the levels into the pyramid corridor towards the burial chamber of pain.

But, as I journey through this, I look at the societal allegory this creates as well. As I have written of before, my province is in a grieving cycle. We do not have leadership equipped to name it. To act as the societal and communal archaeologists to create the space to clear away the debris, and move into the corridors, and the burial chamber. To be able to leverage that which we know, the truth of society and economics, coupled with the acknowledgement and action on the human impact, to make our world better. It would go a ways to create a healthier now, staunch the flow of lies if I may be so bold and blunt from those that only want to hear from their own ideology, and close off hatreds that have been allowed to grow like weeds in the bright light of day once more.

It also allows for open, pragmatic conversation on the state of community. As I reflect on my own political journey as a religious man. It has been weird within the “progressive” circles how unwelcoming one can be made if they admit their beliefs start with a Higher Power/creator. Unwelcome is the nice term, there has been derogatory attacks, name calling, and hatchet jobs. Talking with others that would be seen as religiously liberal-progressive-pragmatic that have chosen to exist within the Conservative political ideology as I have not, I asked why. Simply because these movements allow for the extremist-fundamentalist form of religion to be given a clarion bullhorn of media so that it becomes the only view of a belief system. The answer? Space is allowed where these core beliefs are not belittled, and it creates superficial belonging. So, if they are allowed to be themselves EVEN though other parties are 70-99% more in line with their social justice and faith understandings of what we are to do on this earth.

So let that settle, as we clear debris at the macro societal level. Anger and hatred exists in all ideological camps. A whipping post has become religion, yet within religious circles, the same political spectrum that exists in your neighbourhood exists within your local spiritual centre. Yet, at political active levels that is not usually seen, because either, like many, there is disengagement, OR false belonging because you cannot check a core belief or are weary of taking the slings and arrows for a million things you never did or believe.

Just like being an archaeologist of your own soul. Communities and groups need to do the same on their own soul. They need to authentically understand diversity, accessibility, inclusion and what belonging is. Key point- it does not mean a collection of automatons behind a leader that is the Galactic Empire. It actually is more like the United Federation of Planets…which gives me a good allegory for the archaeology work on the healing journey whether at the macro, micro or personal level, take two hours, and watch Star Trek V: The Final Frontier…

What are you going to do with your pain?

What are you going to do with your path?

Rotting Roots of Webs

With the Accelerated Resolution therapy, I reflect upon the words of Captain Kirk from Star Trek V, about we need our pain. This is true, we learn through trials and tribulations, as much as our joy and jubilation. It is the events that have shaped us, but our memories should not hold us back. This is where the pre-work I had undertaken in preparation for the ART treatments worked. Why pre-work? Simple, there was such lag between sessions, and such pain being experienced in the flashbacks.

At this point preparing for the third treatment I said I wanted to begin exploring and treating the deaths[1] so I began the mapping as the flashbacks continued. Much how a mindful monastic or mystic would unpack visions or dreams, I set about unpacking the comic book splash pages of death and decay.

What happened as I mapped, was that the deaths, and my pain in response (grieving if you will) had been dealt with and put to rest as my addled brain and soul began to reset. Yet the digging continued downward now that the debris had been cleared.

In previous sessions this had been the fear of disclosure of who I was, and the session I announced this at I had rebooted the healthy dealing with shootings (7 I had been a victim of, or near victim of including one by Calgary Police Service); bed bug infestations and hoarders[2]. These were traumatic memories, flashbacks and hallucinations my body, mind and Spirit were using to protect me until I was ready. We are amazing organisms upon the healing journey.

Once cleared away I mapped out the death vault, and then spiraled into the intergenerational trauma of my family that was anchored in one man’s ripples of violence my grandpa, Joe Ragan[3] had inflicted upon the family and whose memory continued this warped manipulation of control.

Like a nine square puzzle in a large square box, where you would slide the images to create a picture, the image fell together of a Father’s Day BBQ he attempted to molest me. My Grandma, Mum and other matriarchs saved me, and would work for the remainder of the 4 years he would live to ensure we were never alone, knowing the monster that lurked beneath.

This was the core memory I thought.

But there was more from the summer of being 8 years old.

Part of being a part of evangelical Christianity for higher education is the concept of testimony, that idea that there is a big moment when you accept Jesus Christ into your heart. It is a hard concept to wrap one’s head around when you were baptized at 2 months old Anglican in a Roman Catholic School gymnasium, attended a Christian & Missionary Alliance Pre-School, a regular public school, and “church” up until age 10 years old was the local ecumenical Vacation Bible School (VBS).

It was great part of a week of fun in the summer of Bible stories, songs, plays, games, and crafts. My godmother was a lead at her church, and we went with her kids. It was a church I would return to several times in my journey, Centennial Presbyterian Church but I believe in the cul-de-sac there was a Lutheran and Evangelical Church a part of the fun as well.

The summer when I was 8 years old though in that one week, two things happened to me that my Grandpa Joe had not been able to accomplish. A participant forced kisses upon me until I flipped him, and it was I that got into trouble for tossing him. The rationale was that it was just a kiss.

The second was an adult volunteer groped me in the bathroom. It left me shocked, and yes I suppressed much with the memory of what happened with my Grandpa, until the soul archaeology dug it out.

The challenge though, is exposure therapy.

See, it was a church that my daughter had been attending their VBS at, and was currently volunteering with. It was where my family was members, attendees and in ministry. I just had finished being a resource for the national church on a resource for welcoming newcomers so they would come back.

No, I did not see the abuser anymore.

Yet, we had gone through our own trial over a year, as propriety Christendom beset my family[4]. This was about pew seating. Whether by accident or design there is but a few spaces in a church designed to be used for wheelchairs. My son uses one, and we had encountered snark, verbal abuse, physical in the pews, one such parishners had ground into me and I had not yet unpacked enough to understand the flashback it created. It took quite a bit to be heard for the Board to take action and get seating highlighted for those with mobility devices, and their families/caregivers.

A rather progressive-pragmatic answer finally arrived at, or in my own life, a Brother Jesus result. Unfortunately when it was finally settled, they followed the idea of messaging by putting a member face on it so folks who were disrupted by losing their “pews” would understand. Instead, the result as you know dealing with bullying, is that it painted a bulls eye on my son’s back and family for those that had not felt a need to stand up, now could vocalize what they saw as entitlement and disruption.

The first Sunday they were around, my son was sick and not in attendance. The question was not where my wife and son were, but “Oh guess you really don’t need that designated seating.”

What they failed to realize, is that persons with brain injuries and epilepsy are rather fragile. That is, that any jostle of the brain can cause unexplained death. My son had been jostled enough that his un-diagnosable vacant times had increased, he cried that his God buddy’s didn’t love him (my son, was a greeter at the church)…and he was scared that he may not come back to us.

All because adults, a minority, could not think outside themselves to the value of another made in the Image of God.

I left that Sunday, before my daughter’s week of volunteering at VBS began melancholic. Two days in the image of the almost molestation, broke through as a flashback of what happened at VBS when I was 8 years old. Now it was time to decide what and where this meant for me in ministry and my family.

 

[1] As the readers of my site: tyragan.wordpress.com and my book Soul Ripples (Bookstand, 2019) are aware that number was at 613 and growing…

[2] I refer you once more to my foundational memoir, Soul Ripples

[3] Ibid

[4] For other stories of Christendom targeting the last “acceptable” group to be prejudiced against, persons with disabilities, I direct you dear reader to Soul Ripples.

Soul Ripples 2: What’s Faith…

Posted: October 8, 2019 by Ty in Soul Ripples 2
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What’s Faith Gotta do with it?

 

The question of how my faith plays with my healing journey is present. For some, there is the misnomer that one only needs prayer and faith to be healed of anything. For others it is all simply science and medicine. It was in two different conversations with two different therapists that this topic was struck.

The first was with my PNES treatment, as it arose with my spiritual background if I held to a medical solution for my prognosis. The answer was simple, yes. If I had believed it was demonic possession I would be speaking with an exorcist not neurologists and psychologists.

The other was in the early days of my PTSD treatment, when the therapist simply asked how my faith fit in with this situation. It is part of the journey of life.

“First you pray, they you act”.

-Pope Francis

It was where I start. As Pope Francis would say about prayer is my practice. First, centering in the Holy Mystery, taking those moments to listen to the soft, quiet voice that is the Holy Spirit speak into my soul. Due to the seizures and insomnia, it had been a while since I had been able to hear that voice, yet I stayed the course knowing there was light on the other end of the tunnel (and no, not in a death way).

This is where my faith played. It wasn’t about the how the healing was going to take place. It was knowing, that even in the moments I felt separation, or as I would journal be in the wilderness, that there was a time of emerging from it. The wilderness is imagery from the Hebrew Bible story of the Exodus, where Moses took the Hebrew Slaves out of ancient Egypt to wander the wilderness with their present God for 40 years, until entering the Promised Land. This imagery is then echoed in the Christian Testament in the story following Jesus’ baptism where he enters the wilderness for 40 days while he is tempted and tested. The basis of both stories is what forms the season of Lent within the Christian Church year, which is 40 days of fasting (giving up or making room in life for more moments of the Still Small Voice) that leads to the Holy Week which precedes Easter.

This was the season of my life where I was entering into the healing for my PNES. The starting point was the Lenten Season, and that gave a grounding imagery for the journey ahead. 40 is not a literal number, whether days or years, anthropologically speaking from ancient stories it basically means “a lot of”, which I was good with…this journey of healing would take in a lot of days, one day at a time.

It also tied into my journey of faith on the teaching that is the lynch pin of this book. My vocational life had been centered on the Greatest Commandments of Loving God and Neighbour; I had lost the ability to love self. This was the wilderness in discovery of what it meant to love myself, to be kind to me. Another grounding as I moved forward in treatment.

Little Brother

Me and Jesus, got our own thing goin’
Me and Jesus, got it all worked out
Me and Jesus, got our own thing goin’
We don’t need anybody to tell us what it’s all about[1]

It is a strong question what does faith has to do with anything in my journey. The song lyric resonates with me, same as the words of the song about someone who travels life. A pilgrim singing of his journey with Jesus, overcoming much, and having no time for that fancy stylized consumer driven religion on offer. Rather it is the guttural roots of the Love Commandments of belonging that keep him going.

If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well.[2]

This is what happens when I open my own Bible to my favourite epistle[3], James. Now James is a controversial epistle, it made it through quite a few old folks trying to remove it from the Christian Testament. Most notably Martin Luther[4] who called it the Epistle of Straw, why this disdain for the words of a scant few pages? Simple, it is an epistle that points out that love and action go hand in hand. That is one cannot have a faith in a vacuum, or actions in a vacuum, like us as human beings, they are intrinsically linked. It was an Epistle of Straw to Luther because it smacked of “earning salvation” rather than he understanding it is the disciple life conversion that Jesus taught.

Why would this guy named James get that?

James was the Bishop of the poorest church in early Christianity that is the one of Jerusalem. He was also, the little brother to Jesus of Nazareth. I can hear the gasps already. Depending on your church background that is scandalous and borders on a heretical statement for it means that Joseph and Mary[5] had intercourse after Jesus’ birth. It challenges the doctrine of perpetual virginity for Mary, even though it is a Roman Catholic doctrine, many churches function as if it is reality.

How do they explain James then? A metaphoric brother, a cousin even, perhaps Joseph had a wife before Mary who had passed and left children. Yet it does provide a challenge when the canonical (accepted in the Christian Testament) stories of Jesus list his family as coming to stop (Mark 3:21) his work, and his brothers called him crazy, not step, not cousins, not Joseph’s kids. Full stop his family. So here was James’ looking at the upset, the struggle his Mum was going through because his father was dead, and challenges older brother to come home and do what society dictated he should. It did not go as James’ wanted.

Yet, here we are post ascension into heaven of Jesus after the big “nope” from the cosmos of his lynching, and he is established as a solid leader within the early church. It speaks to the role of leadership Mary of Nazareth (Mumma Mary if you will) took in building upon the foundation Jesus laid, and grows from there. A movement that his family joined, and thrived in, a community care model that James kept reminding even the earliest church about[6].

My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, “You sit here in a good place,” while you say to the poor man, “You stand over there,” or, “Sit down at my feet,”have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?[7]

I have never been confused for the wealthy man. Many times as my wife has reminded me if I was in a meeting with delegates, booked to speak, or teach or preach or even simply going in to work in a shelter I would be confused as a client and treated as such. It is a way to get an empathic look at systems theory. Many apologies are made about the confusion or mishap once revealed, the challenge being what does that say about how we treat people due to how we see their standing in society or within the scope of employment? The apology is only necessary if we are not greeting the person before us as a full person.

It is very rare one would hear my credentials, unless they were needed to open a door for help for family or a client, or to get the attention of a system not willing to listen. We have not become that much more enlightened than the ancient world James was writing about in that flash, dazzle and labels mean more, than our neighbour before us.

His epistle is hard to read for some who have faith, because they want their faith to be the label that separates them, makes them better than. Rather the faith is a call to healing, justice, and working for a better place of belonging for all. It is why it is such a scandalous letter.

What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? 17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.[8]

The Hear O’Israel was the call on my heart. The grand circle of the Love Commandments, where the Holy Mystery, Neighbour and self are connected in a flow of the Holy Love, James points out astutely the failure of the love of neighbour if you are comfortable while your neighbour is in lack. The challenge is the balance so you are not lost in the darkness constantly, but can come through to the other side. Faith or works by itself is dead. Just as Holy Love missing any of the pieces is dead on arrival as well.

James lays out the importance of having solid social relationships with our loved ones. Family (blood or chosen), those that we know or discover will be with us through the thick and thin of life. These are the pieces, same as trusting the professionals in our lives called into their vocation as well to aid us. For it all comes from the same source of Mystery.

Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you. Your riches have rotted and your garments are moth-eaten.Your gold and silver have corroded, and their corrosion will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure in the last days. Behold, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, are crying out against you, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. You have lived on the earth in luxury and in self-indulgence. You have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter. You have condemned and murdered the righteous person. He does not resist you.[9]

For those leading the Reformation, James was the awkward second cousin of the Christian Testament for it called out the elite they needed the backing of to break away from the Roman Church. For those in Rome it was the book you simply have on the shelf because it looks impressive, but never dust off for it would create dissent in the masses that would see the hypocrisy.

Yet here we are in 2019 and it is still within our scriptures. The words ringing as true today, as they did when James sent them out, Jesus’ little brother wrote them to remind the early church of what it was his brother lived, died and rose from the dead for:

A BETTER WORLD.

When left with the question what does my faith have to do with my healing? It is about that better world. Finding the “me” that I am today, formed through the darkness, coming through the challenges, yet, finding my core, and asking the question what is next.

It is also holding me to be present in the moment for the healing, so it is a true healing and not a false jump so I wind up back here.

Faith and works, or pray and act. It is simple; one cannot be without the other. Just like ourselves in the mental, physical, emotional and spiritual health are intertwined.

 

 

Cobwebs

A Soul Psalm for the next steps in the healing process of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and how our memory works.

Accelerated Resolution Therapy

Roll the dice

Spin the roulette wheel,

What is the most traumatic event?

Can’t say?

We’ll start with the earliest.

48 hours away.

A week to mull it over.

The energy crackles in the mind’s eye

The heart sings a song of sorrow

As the spider web comes alive

No more musty cobwebs

On the interconnections

Of the past and present

To be scourged away

To open the soul

To the future.

 

 

3.5 hours of intake work determining triggers and traumas before entering into the treatment.

 

 

[1] From Tom T. Hall’s Me and Jesus gospel song, I prefer Brad Paisley’s recording

[2] James 2:8, English Standard Version (ESV)

[3] Epistle means letter.

[4] Martin Luther led the Protestant Reformation in Germany. The Lutheran sect of Christendom came out of his understanding of religion in response to the Roman Catholic Empirism of indulgences and oppression, though the Reformation wouldn’t have gotten far if the feudal lords and monarchs had not realized it was there time to seize land, money and power away from Rome.

[5] Jesus parents on earth.

[6] If you are not a person to read the Bible but are interested by the teachings in James, I suggest you simply Google the Epistle of James.

[7] James 2:1-4, ESV

[8] James 2:14-17, ESV

[9] James 5:1-6, ESV


Lived experience…

so we are told is the greatest school of learning

Yet even the struggle comes from within

to seek knowledge, live wisdom

to aid those called to help

what if…

the one called

is the one in need?

13.5 years

since the night of blackness

since a crutch was thrown away

a mental break with the anger that seized

drove to be soothed

through a warm…strong…amber…liquid…

no longer soothed

released in grief

yet this genie needs no bottle

it is a demon tearing at the soul,

rending and ripping

as the aromas of long ago soothings once more in the house

BEGONE!

Release,

weep,

it is okay to cry,

true humanity embraces emotions,

lives into them

and out emerges a soul

that is ready for renewal…

But the struggle will always be

below the surface

for in all of us exists

the duel capacity of self—

love or destruction…

but one must choose…

Love

 


Flag of Calgary

Flag of Calgary (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today in the NE of Calgary, was the Village Fair, a free family event at the Village Square Leisure Centre that included performances by community arts groups, games for the kids, local agencies and businesses booths, and craft tables.

It was a fun time, in spite of the hiccups of those in wheel chairs needing to track down facility staff to access the arena level where the majority of stuff was happening, and then again to re-access the top level… a simple solution would have been to have the doors necessary for easy flow of all traffic types unlocked or propped open.

So VSLC out of touch?

Then though, while this was going on in the holy cul de sac, a church was actually having a craft sale & business fair (Prince of Faith Lutheran Church)… hmmm… let’s see a building designed to be the town centre of the Properties (Rundle, Pineridge, Whitehorn and Temple) hosting a huge Village Fair… and then a little church duplicating the offerings…

What IF the church actually showed they were engaged with their local community and had merged their event and had tables at the Village Fair? (Please note: Robert McClure United Church was actually at the fair with a table, but they could’ve event taken it a step further by staffing with volunteers, which they might have I am not sure).

So is the church Out of Touch?

Hmmm…just ponderings that struck me today in my neighbourhood as we start to unpack what it means for the Christianities to survive, thrive and reform in this new era we exist in.


Iconic French artist Jean ‘Moebius’ Giraud dies at age 73 – Your Community.