Posts Tagged ‘Change’

Usetacould

Posted: July 20, 2019 by Ty in Spirituality
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Toby Keith has a song, As Good as I once Wasas it is a country party song about someone reminiscing to their bad old days of barroom fights we miss the wisdom. Yes, there is wisdom in a Toby Keith song for recovery or living with a chronic illness. It is not simply about aging, and how we change. It speaks of simple things, that as we change, we can be stuck in this grief cycle.

Image result for u theoryIt is part of a learning curve, that I think the U Theory speaks to the best in the stages of change. You are different. You are not the same you once were, and yes as a result you need to refocus. Or as the U shows us, let go of what was, and begin to enter into what will be, and trying out the new yous to see what is truly emergent.

This is where recovery can stall out in the grief stages of hate and anger. We see that at a country level in America, but closer to home in Canada, Alberta has a quorum stalled out in anger and hate, because they are unwilling to let go. Let go of the “usetacould’s” or the “shoulds”…instead of looking at what is remaining of the cornerstone and building from there upwards. In my own journey yes there was high levels of frustration, and anger as I had to figure out what my brain was doing to me, there was also the focus on what mattered, and needing to reconfigure, and take the steps necessary to begin to understand who I was now, not grieve for who I was. As I struggled with focus in October 2017 at 80-90 seizures a day, I could have thrown out writing and reading as too much and just stayed in bed or on my couch. Instead I struggle walked (scared the living s-h-i-t outta my wife) up to the bookstore and bought a Star Trek novel, to struggle through to ensure, even though it was painfully long to read now, that I kept at the skills. To see what they would develop in to.

As I work on the sequel to Soul Ripples in real time, I asked some good friends to provide a forward, reflections on what this time was like. One good friend shared how I had never lost hope that I would get through it, and what was to come. In the moment I may not have realized it, but I did know change was happening and unconsciously was working through it. My PNES psychologist was shocked with the way I took to the treatment, it was due to a courageous safe space created by her and her student, but also this knowing of hope and wanting to see what was to emerge. It was relational based, like those who stuck by me and my family during this continuing journey (y’all are now family, not just friends by the way).

On day 101 of seizure free, I do not know what the future holds. I am still with my PTSD treatment in the letting go phase, and letting come of the U, but there is, and always has been, hope.

How different would our world be, if we let go of what we used to be, or the could’ve beens, and presence in the NOW for who we, and our world is? What has to be let go of? What has to let come? What is being prototyped? And what is being crystallized?

What happens when we live in hope?

 

 

 

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A series of reflections on the Harvard Business Review’s (2011) 10 Must Reads on Strategy…

Sometimes when reading business writing one feels they honestly wanted to be a part of a philosophy class. Such is the gest with the concept of Red and Blue Ocean (like the red and blue pills) put forward in Kim & Mauborgne (2004) “Blue Ocean Strategy”.  The red ocean is the known territory that an organization exists, functions and grows in. The blue ocean though is the land of dreams, it is the unknown. Many plants in the unknown blue do happen by established brands but can take 10-15 years to fully establish, yet there is also the same time line for new ventures.

Why does this matter?

I believe it holds to dreaming. It is also about truly acknowledging your now reality, and what the reality in the blue ocean is. Is there a fit? Is it a worthwhile venture?

Think this to the personal level, is there a fit in jumping to a new industry, a new job? What has changed in the familiar red ocean? What is it about the blue that is making your ponder, and wonder? Perhaps it is simply time, there is that factor. Usually though it is about expanding your own self…and that too is okay.


A series of reflections on the Harvard Business Review’s (2011) 10 Must Reads on Strategy…

Reinvention. We have all be there. Wanting to transform who we are. In business it comes from technological innovations. In Church there is a history of reformations and restorations, mystics and monastics attempting to get the monolith that is dying from the head down back on track before it collapses under its own wait. Regardless of the brand/denomination/mega-church you affiliate with the rate of decline is the same (just percentage wise a mega-church has many more seats to empty before it becomes noticeable, while a 100 person church notices a 15% yearly decline quicker).

Johnson, Christensen, and Kagermann (2008) tackle this topic in “Reinventing your business model”. It can be daunting, they write using case studies of successes and marks missed. They lay out rationale as to why a business model needs to be changed. It isn’t, or rather, shouldn’t be a reactionary measure, but rather as a means to grow participation, profit (what is profit when one is looking at it from a religious organization lens? Some would say offerings, I believe it is a depth of relationship, belonging, and growth in self and community within the Great Commandments frame work, thoughts?).

The United Church of Canada after 20+ years of knowing it was drowning under the kitchen sink approach to governance from union in 1925, finally in 2018 restructured. It was a catalyst from the grassroots, a lack of funds, and technology changes that allow better communication without having to be physically present.  It was also part of beginning to understand that not everyone found belonging in committee, and that the concept of “village” needed to be re-thought. The challenge is that they have lost ground with other denominations that synced with ways of doing and jointly funding things.

The flip-side is a less affiliated denomination, that is more congregation centered, as newer generations enter into leadership wanting more collaboration with other congregations of their brand. That is now trying to create something to inter-connect those that have grown separately.

Regardless of either thought, at the local level, just as with a business, it comes down to what does the person in the pew, and the leaders get out of involvement within the local community? Why would someone want to join? Why would someone growing up want to continue to affiliate?

Why are you there?


The first question arose about the retired Supra agent Jacobs had been seen with after the shoot out at the trailer. He hated turning Sunday Service into a media blitz, but sometimes the Liturgy (work of the people) was about being the catalyst for change. Jacobs chuckled it was a very Catholic Workers or Social Gospel or Liberation Theology movement, but it was true. Today in the parking lot outside the office, as the writ had been dropped and Melanie Moon was no longer an MLA, and the Social Credit party ceased to be. It became outdoor church.

Already the mud slinging by the former governing and former official opposition parties had begun. Jacobs’ heart was to filled with sorrow to track the rants and lies. The fact that old things were dragged up to attack character, but no newer patterns of same behaviour were there to show legitimacy or current causation. That is even though it may be true (an attack, not a smear) it was without merit and did not allow for the fact that human being grow and evolve over a lifetime. Or the stirring of the hate and fear pot. His opening prayer had been simple at this cross roads of grief:

“Loving Creator, we are a people, a province at the crossroads. Change is grieving. We are trapped in anger and denial. Gnashing our teeth and shaking our fists against that which is no longer possible or plausible. We need hope, we need to let go that which was, and be fully present in our new reality, a province where all belong simply because they are. A true community with an open table, that loves as our Brother Jesus commanded and lived for us to do. Let us surrender our pain in this wilderness so that we can let come the new blessings that await… Alleluia!” Jacobs prayed.

As hecklers from the back in blue shirts screamed at him about not being “Heretic! Racist! Not a Christian!”

There was police present, as well as the strip mall complex security. Jacobs waited as the regular attendees of St. Jude’s began chanting “Alleluia! Alleluia! Love Wins!”

Moon nodded to him. Sean James and Beth Venus closed ranks around Jacobs, they knew this could turn sketchy, as he answered the question about Louie Regis. Beth spoke silently into her up turned denim collar so Speedster was aware. Kyla Storm, the Speedster was just on the outskirts of the crowd, her costume hid under a trench coat but ready if powers were needed. Venus stood by her promise to Jacobs, hate had to be defeated with hope, not super hero involvement.

“It’s always funny to get a press question during a church service.” Jacobs spoke again into the outdoor microphone. The regular congregants of St. Jude’s were alternative verses of Jesus Loves Me and Come in, Come in and Sit Down you are apart of the family. “I did not know retired Agent Louie Regis well. I knew of his reputation when the police came to tell me someone had assassinated him. I use that term, because folks need to understand murder/assassination are the same thing. Usually it is title or socio-economics that determine the word choice. Louie may never have made it above working class salary in-spite of his white collar look, but he served our Country. He retired due to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and should’ve been able to rest and heal.” Jacobs takes a sip from the McCafe coffee he had picked up on his way to the parking lot. His eyes scanning for anything that could be a long shot gun. The goon mobs of extremist party members were still trying to agitate, and he noted the attire of some known hate groups as well. He was happy to see that the police and security were starting to root, arrest and move along.

“Unfortunately the passion he put into protecting others, and being their pillar of strength he did not think himself worthy enough of. I hope the Governor General allows for a full honours funeral, and I pray this is a change in the national dialogue around trauma, mental health, addiction and violence so that we can truly become a nation that loves our neighbours, but also loves ourselves with the same love. Louie’s death is a reminder what happens when we only fulfill one part of the second Great Commandment, love of neighbour without honouring our own Imageo Dei. Now back to your regularly scheduled service.”

Melanie Moon opened a well worn New King James Bible, and reads to the gathered crowd:

34 But when the Pharisees heard that He had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. 35 Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying, 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?”

37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

She hands the microphone back to Jacobs. He finishes off his cup and deposits it in a recycle bin. “Anyone with a passing knowledge of the Hebrew Bible or Donnie Osmond Musicals (editors note for the youngsters: this is a Dad joke about Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, fyi, my daughter says her aunt does Dad jokes better). Knows we need to pay attention to dream work for sometimes it is simply our subconscious dealing with bull shit, other times it is a healthy place to release the hurt and pain. Sometimes it is where we learn…and on a very slim moment it can be a mystical experience.

I had one of those multi-coloured mystical moments. To the citizens of this province I want to let you know that our hero is not coming to pull us out of this quagmire of fear and hate. The original Bionic Knight is gone.”

Jacobs let that sink in, seeing some faces tear up, even the hecklers, bullies and aggressors in the audience were gob smacked.

“His name is Rick Saturn, his wife was our beloved mayor that vanished last year, Susan Kobwash. They have two amazing super heroes as children blessed to experience this life with Cerebral Palsy and Autism respectfully. They have joined the pocket verse between the multi-verses…” a few heart beats to let that sink in. “They are living their best life, as both Susan and Rick, and their kids shared with me, he has moved through the destruction wrecked by the a-typically cellularly ingrained Post Traumatic Stress Disorder into what is known as Post Traumatic Growth… or to a simple shit disturber like me, the path of Light renewal.”

A break out of singing old hymns from all around. Then the voices become more unified as they sing an old favourite of St. Jude’s, John Lennon’s Imagine . As the singing comes to a close, before he continues, Jacobs opens up for the Lord’s Prayer. As is the custom of his congregants, and to the beauty being sent out via the news. They do not pray in English, they may if that’s their language, but Latin is heard, Cree, Blackfoot, German, Russian, many African and Island dialects. For Jacobs he calls it the Pentecost moment of service, where the simple prayer is said and heard so all may hear it in their language.

“Saturn wants us to release our anger and hate. To grieve. Let the tears flow don’t hide behind toxic human beliefs. Feel. Love. He knows he can be in the next phase of life, for the hope is here already within each of us. The still small voice that speaks what is honest, good, and true. That which allows us to have compassion for ourselves and neighbour, and to truly know that the only way forward to a bright future is by embracing the beautiful Mosaic like is gathered here today.”

Venus and James watched the rabble rousers, the next part was the heading to the closer, and the benediction was going to be the tell.

“So my family, however you identify we are connected through the holy spark, that blessed breath that gave us life. Listen to the simple words of Jesus, Love your neighbour as yourself. It is how we show love for God. If anyone piece falls down, we are not truly living the sacrament of Holy Love…and then hate and fear win. So Love.”

Another break out of campfire hymn singing. As it quiets down, Jacobs picks up the bread “On the night he was betrayed, betrayed out of fear and hate for change, for the old ways dying away. For those oppressive powers and control authorities realizing they needed to release and let go and let come the new Holy Love. Jesus took bread and broke it. This is the bread of hope.” As if on cue lunch bags, snacks, you name it started coming out, and a potluck smorg was shared with all. It was St. Jude’s way. Communion was not just a simple piece of bread it was eating, like the feeding of the masses miracle. Jacobs handed the bread to Moon and James who let it out to the crowd, as well as the baskets of sandwiches.

He nodded to Beth Venus. The next part. “Then he took the cup, knowing that his blood was about to be spilled. That he was to lose his life for simply sharing the story of Holy Love and belonging. This is the cup of promise. Drink and be at the table together as family.” Beth got volunteers to begin rolling out coolers with juice, pop and water to share.

She noted tears in people’s eyes at the simple acts. Those in hate garb, some let it drop off as they made eye contact for the food. Simple, kindness.

“Go now in Holy Love of the Creator, the blessing of Brother Jesus, and the Family of the Holy Spirit. Go. Embrace. Simply say, I love you.”

The pop shattered the moment.

A Province Grieving

Posted: April 9, 2019 by Ty in Alberta Politics
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It is hard to fathom that Alberta is only 107 years old. We have seen a lot of change in that time, and have been the instigators of quite a few. From the Famous Five and the battle for Women’s rights (yes I realize I am short forming, but please forgive as it is a post, feel free to flesh out more in the comments with information) to launching two political movements:

  1. The Co-operative Commonwealth Federation which led to the NDP which brought us amazing things such as Universal Health Care, Pastor Tommy Douglas led the charge from Saskatchewan as he believed no one should suffer because of inability to pay.
  2. The Social Credit Movement which brought about some pilots of things to be solidified later. Yes it did, Rev. William Aberhart laid the planking for that. The concept of Social Credit, that is essentially free money to the populace, was a plan out of Britain if I recall, and it brought the SoCreds from a coffee party discussion and radio broadcast to governance beating out the United Farmers of Alberta. Now pause and think, what are monies from governments to aid one to not be in poverty? Alberta Works, AISH, Child Tax Benefit, Carbon & GST Rebate. Plus his protege and successor, Ernest Manning created the citizens royalty plan for our oil so well used and leveraged for economic’s by PC premiers Lougheed and Getty.

In the 1990’s we say a rise of populism as a party essentially campaigned against themselves. The Klein way hit, and hit hard. Reading back on his movements inner circle they admit they had no plan. They had a slogan and started slashing. They moved our resource (oil) from a citizens commodity to a company right, gutting royalties but it was hardly noticed as the price of oil per barrel was insane. Systems of care were shifted to prove need and that you are not (the great WASP myth) abusing it, and things like disability and AB Works (Welfare) became harder to get and at this juncture were not about living (Redford did bring in an AISH raise, but that was almost a full or half-generation later depending on how you count generations). Seniors lost their supports, and what was given back was a pittance. Universal health care was tinkered with under the auspices of the “The Third Way” and hospitals were closed and imploded, the beds not fully replaced. We knew back then that the Baby Boom was the largest looming generation of retirement yet we were not planning to care for these elders to be, instead we placed money over citizens.  It led to incomplete transitions for folks needing full time medical or mental health supports as large institutions closed but they were not fully transitioned into smaller homes, or group homes, many ended up in Homeless shelters.

Public schools under the auspices of parents choice bled students, funding eroded, and drop out rates increased as big oil advertised good work (and yes we knew it was a crisis as many mentoring non-profits popped up attempting to stop the bleeding of Gen X and elder Millenials).

It was also the 1990’s that showed Alberta’s hate proud. We had a KKK Rally and cross burning that made national news (sadly I cannot remember the exact township). Jim Keegstra our public school teacher and Holocaust denier made the news of being in and out of courts. At some point Keegstra was silenced, and the KKK lost their provincial non-profit/charitable status (can’t remember if the government pulled it, or they forgot to file some taxes and it was quietly closed). It was also in the 1990’s that the Government attempted to exert their censorship muscles by creating banned book lists in public schools (published on the first day of Freedom to Read week, oh the irony) and threatened theatre companies funding for putting on plays such as “Angels in America”.

(Neo)-Nazi the term alt-right is en-vogue pointing out that Nazi’s were about white supremacy, yes and no, and only anti-semitic, yes and no. Nazi’s were filled with hate. The co-opted Norse Mythology for their imagery much like other extremist groups have co-opted Christianity or Islam today. The Holocaust not only involved 6 million Jewish folks. The zyklon B gas chambers was tested for efficacy with German citizens who were Roma, LGBTQ2+, Persons with Disabilities, and mental health concerns (about 7 million we know of). Medical experiments were run on folks of multiple births (twins, etc) as they gave a control subject. The prime drive was an enforced tier system of humanity where some were full people and other’s not (also noted in Stalinism’s brutality and murders, take any spectrum full circle and you get extremists and hate nothing more).

Liqour stores privatized and so did registries. They finally ended the tiered minimum wage for workers under 18 and over 18 years old.

In the 2000’s we were advertising we were open for business, but the jobs available that drew folks could not pay the cost of living. Emergencies were declared in homeless shelters in winters. Oh, and parents now could sign off on their 12 year olds working at places such as fast food restaurants.

Premier Stelmach attempted to create royalties on oil focused on the citizens products, not the companies and well he was not premier very long.

And it was deemed good by the small percentage that turned up to vote in the polls. Eventually any governing party runs out of steam, and after 44 years, and 7 premiers the PC Party lost the 2015 election to the New Democratic Party (going from 4 seats to government). They inherited what had happened a generation ago, the austerity cuts that had left huge infrastructure and capacity gaps (literally crumbling schools). To offset this as well, the usual way the Alberta Government and people were comfortable with solving issues, the price of oil had tanked and was not looking like it was going to return. Jobs were lost. The types of jobs that with oil prices regressing big companies realized were not necessary, and could be handled with new technologies.

Like anything, the cycle of change:

Image result for stages of changeWhere do you see yourself in the emerging Alberta? Your neighbours? Our politicians and media? I believe as a province as a whole we are in the pre-contemplation to contemplation stage of change. Which is why it is so easy to be divisive, to use attack ads, to yell sound bytes, to not have actual debates and conversations of issues. Most importantly, to not realize that local action can create ripples that change outwards for the positive.

Being in the first two pieces of the cycle has us reflect on grieving. It became a pragmatic expertise era of working with students as mentor and guide for almost 2 decades from multiple disciplines:

Image result for kubler ross stages of griefWe are living through a province fluctuating between denial, anger and bargaining. Our leaders, are managers trying to keep their bases appeased and not willing to take a risk to speak into the void of pain. To let the silence do the heavy lifting.

Why?

The cycle of depression, before acceptance is scary, and it is where our province as a whole needs to move. Once into acceptance we can move into the stages of change into preparation, action plan and maintenance. But the first step in actual Peace, Order and Good Governance for the citizens.

For a theory that may be more visual to get, I like the U Theory:

Image result for u theoryWe as a whole province are stuck in the downloading arc. We cannot get past the letting go in a collective understanding of who we are and what our vocation is?

April 16 is a big day for Alberta because it is our time to decide to enter authentically into grief, healing and a new dawn. To do that though we must move beyond the rhetoric, the hate, the attack ads. We must demand better of those who want to represent us.

We must let go, and let come the new Alberta.

VOTE HOPE.

Experience grief, and heal.

 

Renewing Leaders

Posted: January 27, 2019 by Ty in Brunch & Bible
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The stories of Nehemiah and Ezra  are about returns from exile. Communities growing and changing, rebuilding themselves. Deciding what is the important pieces of their historical story, and what needs to be left to the shadows. How many people and organizations are in this flux currently? Mainline or evangelical churches?

There are some keys lessons within these stories to be teased out. The first is a belief in what one is called to do. Nehemiah could have continued on as the cup bearer to the oppressor king, but he took a risk on something different. An act of rebuilding and renewal. I know many look to this as how devout he was, and this is probably true to hear the still quiet voice and respond, but there is still the internal struggle of change, the grieving for what is lost as one steps into the unknown.

At the rebuilding of the city wall, we get two lessons in leadership. One is being in the midst of the work with the front liners. Literally these workers were building with one hand, and had a sword in the other. Nehemiah as a leader understood the stressors that the workers were going through, the risks they were taking because he was not hidden from them. He was in the midst.

Then he would take midnight rides. Those times a leader must pull away from the day to day operations on the lines, to get to a higher plain (a balcony view some call it) to take in the whole scope of the work, the project. It can be a quiet coffee shop away from work in today’s world to remove distractions, unplugging from phone, e-mail, social media for a span of time- a day retreat, a few hours, to remove the constant white noise buzz of busyness, and rest in the silence. In the silence to hear the guidance, to renew one’s mind, heart and eyes to look anew upon what is being done.

This clarity leads to better understanding, on how to manager transition, transformation, rebuilding and renewal, while bringing as many as possible along for the ride. If there are losses, it can create a space where those are healthy transitions.

In Ezra we see the high priest, rebuilding the sacred imagery by rebuilding the temple. In ancient wars, as we see echoes of today by extremists, winning was not just beating the other army but proving one’s deity (ideology) superior to theirs by laying waste to that which they held sacred. It is in the rebuilding history guides us to the “discovery” of the lost fifth roll of the Torah- Deuteronomy. It is within this re-telling of the Law, that rules are tightened up and there is a move to transform the community. Though it still uses the same understandings, meta-narratives, and trappings that provide comfort.

It is easy when on the journey of change to want to be an iconoclast, I also enjoy blowing things up. Letting the pieces blow away in the breeze and start anew. Sometimes though, it is honouring what has come before, building the next level upon the already existing foundation. It was through this journey of renewal that the sanitized history of Israel would be produced- 1&2 Chronicles, which re-writes the stories of 1& 2 Samuel, and 1 & 2 Kings, but takes out all the drama, treachery, rape, bloodshed, and well, non-holy things that the people and kings had done to end up broken and in exile. The new history was a way to highlight that when things were done as they should be, when the new-old system was working properly, things were good. It was an encouragement text. It was also a prime example of how history can change due to one’s own point of view.

As one enters into leadership, it may not be as a Paul or a Peter striking something brand new, it could very well be tasked with a vocation like Nehemiah or Ezra in rebuilding and renewing. Which do you feel called into?

Out with the Old

Posted: January 19, 2019 by Ty in Musings
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I am blessed in the fact that I am raising my kids in the house I was raised in. The house I was brought home from the hospital to, and have called home my entire life. As I sit here the new living room furniture and kitchen set is coming in (Thank you Brick and your delayed payment events!). As I had shared with my wife, it is not that I dislike new, or change in the home environment, it is after all our home.

The challenge is in the short term watching what is so familiar go away and the new come in. Quite a metaphor for the change-grief process of life. The old fades away to a memory as the new reality solidifies. Bless her, my wife said we didn’t have to get rid of X, Y, or Z but then we just wind up storing that which when paid forward can bless another family.

For that is the story of this old house.