Posts Tagged ‘Molestation’


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.

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