Posts Tagged ‘Grief Work’


It is a comic book based on a video game. Normally it would be a unique read, but it is not Archie’s Sonic the Hedgehog or Mega Man we are talking about. It is Taylor, Raapack and Miller’s Injustice: Gods Among us Year One. When boiled down to its core, it is the story of grief, loss and the corruption to the soul that happens when one cannot seek help. The first issue sets the stage (yes there are a few spoilers, but not many).

Image result for injustice gods among us year oneThe Joker is bored with losing to Batman, and hatches an evil plan to see what happens when you rip the soul from a hero. Superman is gitty anxious, for Clark Kent has just woken up surprised to hear the heartbeat of his child inside his wife, Lois Lane. The Scarecrow murdered and his fear gas taken. Lois and Jimmy off to break a story. BANG! The Joker quips he has gotten Jimmy on his shoe. Lois kidnapped.

The scheme hatched.

Fear gas and Kryptonite leave Superman seeing the monstrous Doomsday about to rampage, as the Joker tells him Lois is dead, and did you know she was pregnant? In a rage he flies Doomsday into the atmosphere, too late for Batman to warn him it is not Doomsday, but Lois, still alive, and made a living deadman’s switch to a nuke aimed at Metropolis.

What happens when Superman loses Clark Kent as Lois Lane and his city die?

Image result for injustice gods among us year one

I miss Superman. I miss the guy who actually inspired people. The Superman who had time to help a kid who fell off a bike. Before he was changed. Before he gritted his teeth and looked angry all the time. Before he became all hard and dark because people supposedly, needed him to. I miss the City of Tomorrow and the Man of Yesterday.

-James, a boy who Superman fixed his bike B.L. (Before Lois died)

Grief can do many things to a person’s being. Depression. Anxiety. Anger. Physical pain. To name but just a few. When lost in the anger and the grief, when someone is not able to see the path out for themselves, and those around them are unwilling to remove the veil from their own eyes. The eyes that just want to believe everything is hunky-dory…then grief is destructive. Within this story construct it leads Superman to work to create the world in his own ideal world of no crime or violence. Sounds great, but i completely removes free will, and is enforced.

Batman leads the resistance as he realizes that Superman has jumped the shark “Superman is no longer the man we knew.”

But backing up, it is Catwoman and Martha Kent that get what is needed. Not more bloodshed, not removing control of the world, or breaking of the Batman. No, it is something far simpler, for this hurting hero:

Catwoman: is this what you’re doing now? Killing criminals in sewers.

Superman: No! I wouldn’t–I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to scare you. I just want to talk.

Catwoman: So talk.

Superman: It’s Batman.

Catwoman: What happened?

Superman: Nightwing…Nightwing died. He’ll need someone.

Catwoman: You’re supposed to be his best friend. Go talk to him.

Superman: I can’t. He wouldn’t–

Catwoman: Oh, you idiotic, stubborn, scared little boys.

Superman: Too much has happened.

Catwoman: That’s crap! Batman would throw himself in front of a bullet and you would fight Doomsday to the death— and you’d both find that easier and less terrifying than trying to talk to your friend. It’s maddening.

Yes, Selina Kyle, Catwoman is right. It can be maddening how a helper can find it so difficult to open up to another helper to…

HEAL.

How different would this story have turned out, if these two best friends, had chosen the good grief path?

Will you heal today?

 


The canonical gospels and Acts of the Apostles shows the quick declaration of belief. It is a declaration that comes quickly for those who do not see themselves as complete. For those seeking value, and being seen as a complete human being, citizens wanting to embrace their inherent worth and not be trapped in caste by labels of religiousity, socio-econimics, culture or race to name but a few. The Epistles are like the Prophets and Wisdom literature of the Hebrew Bible, they shake out the nuts and bolts of the new life recovery journey. One of the key pieces in either harm reduction or abstinence approaches that is missed, is the social transformation that needs to happen. That is the way one lives, and those that are within their social circle changes to keep up the new healthier lifestyle. This is the work found within the Corinthian correspondence (1 Corinthians 2:1-5).

Paul opens up the conversation reminding of the journey’s beginning, and that they have tools at their disposal for the life challenges ahead. That is the grief cycles they will enter into, even if the life had not been affirming of their inherent self-worth, it would still be missed as the change takes one out of the normal:

Yet among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away. But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But, as it is written,

“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,
nor the heart of man imagined,
what God has prepared for those who love him”—

10 these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. 11 For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.12 Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God.13 And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.[d]

14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. 15 The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. 16 “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.

-1 Corinthians 2:6-16 (English Standard Version)

Some would call this intangible wisdom the Akashic Records; some as we have seen in Alienbrews believe it is extra-terrestrial; or other understandings of the Holy Spirit (ghost, breath, cosmic dust, within the Holy Mystery and Holy Mystery within you). It is about the journey of wholeness. That is the wisdom that one ties themselves to, allows for the soul work to understand how and why you were created. What is the grander purpose of your being? This is the ongoing soul work of the life, once you have acknowledged the Holy that exists within, and denied the soul sludge that kept the light hidden.

It is this search you need to hold to as you enter into the exploration of the divisions in the church. Human divisions that are seen in many organizations (1 Corinthians 3), such as in academia we are this faculty or that, in religion this denomination or that, this career or that, within organizations and institutions this department or this level of hierarchy; all of them false divisions and ones that Paul was pointing out as folly as stating if they were of Apollos or Paul. The true wisdom is knowing to set aside the labels, and the positional leadership or prestige. It is entering into the journey of growth and discovery, like an infant to a toddler, moving from formula to solid food, and the slow addition of solid foods so one’s system can figure out likes and dislikes, tastes, digestions and allergies.

It is taking the emerging soul work on the grief journey and understanding it transcends outward labels to the most important inward labels of the transcendent Holy Mystery of Love (God); that it intertwines one’s love of self and neighbour. Once this becomes centered the petty squabbles begin to evaporate for the ego is removed, and the living falsity of only desiring money and power is gone.

This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful. But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. For I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God.

-Epistle of 1 Corinthians 4:1-5 (English Standard Version)

Soul Work. Some call it spiritual direction or life coaching or therapy. Perhaps all three, that bring daily practice into our lives that allows us to hear the still small quiet voice within. The Holy Mystery’s voice of guidance to true identity; as Paul writes to Corinth- purpose of the heart (1 Corinthians 4:6-21).

How different would our communities be if we truly knew our heart purpose?

And lived it?


Change management, much like efficiency has become buzzwords around multiple industries from human services to political organizations to spiritual gatherings to corporate board rooms.

But what is change? And why do we only manage it?

Alberta currently can be a case study in drastic change. Change creates friction. Leads to identity politics in some instances where groups entrench to be on the preserve or change sides. Perhaps there is a frozen entrenchment were yelling just happens (hello NDP-UCP Governance)… but the root is missed completely.

See change happens. It is part of human society, and human life. It can be expected (such as boom and bust economic cycles, and the need to diversify). It can be that even though the wealthiest may not be doing as well, the economic shift is changing things. Those are some examples. Others are when belief systems shift, say in a church denomination one is apart of. It can be seemingly as insignificant as a focus on youth or children, as innocuous as leadership-governance structural changes or simply a new cleric. Yet ripples are sent, some stay, some go. Emotional weight hits many, and we yearn for a black and white existence.

Unfortunately the world has never been black and white. It exists in worlds of gray mostly due to the pesky of factors- humanity. As I wrote in the past about ISO systems and such under efficiency, it was the strategic process of an organization mapping out what they did, and what role did what in the process so that anyone could walk in and take the thick binder off the shelf and know what to do.

The mechanics of the work. The how, not the why.

That is the cusp of change management. Reactions to change need to be processed, not managed. You can manage chaos as a manager or director. This can mean continuing to push forward, pull along those who are willing or need survival income, but many will fall off and be lost in the wilderness to different levels of harm. Either financial, emotional, physical or spiritual. In the end though you can claim being proficient in change management as you had mapped out a process, a manual anyone can now pull off the shelf to show the system and that it is implemented. Yet in the push-pull to accomplish, what was missed is the values-morals-ethics that brought one to your organization.

It is not so much about managing change, as processing grief. We are at a time in human history where we know much about grief and trauma. Great knowledge, yet without application there is no wisdom. We seek those who can manage, not those that can lead. Mostly due to the fact that true leadership in the icky field of values, in grief work is not something that comes with fancy title but is the one that others seek out to understand and process with.

It is in the journey of processing. The ritual of acknowledging what has been lost. Celebrating what remains, that one can become open to the new being birthed within their community, organization or institution. The same journey of healing one goes through with a death in their life, or an enforced change of life circumstance due to health. It is a journey. It happens with every life change, we go through a grief cycle it can be brief or long dependent on what is changing, the social and professional supports we have access to, and if the new reality fits within our existing values, or are those values being challenged for growth or change or holding firm to the values and making a different change in life.

When it comes to change it is a harder conversation, and requires and understanding of those who are in the journey. It is not about managing change for the outcome wanted at a strategic level.

It is processing grief for the new direction to be birthed organically.

But it is messy, and requires seeing all pieces of the organization as people, not cogs. Are we willing?