Posts Tagged ‘PTSD’


What follows is an installment publishing (like old newspaper pulps) of the next steps of the journey began in Soul Ripples, upon completion of the journey these installments will be collected into a free e-book on the site. A companion volume to Soul Ripples. A pilgrimage of belonging and into the heart of the Sacred.

Dedicated to

My best friend & soul mate,

Shawna,

And our two blessings that are and will light this world on fire,

Leland & Justina

Hear, O Israel

Hear, O Israel,

the Lord our God, the Lord is one.

Love the Lord your God

with all your heart,

with all your soul,

with all your mind,

and with all your strength.

This is the first and the great commandment.

The second is like it: Love your neighbour as yourself.

There is no commandment greater than these

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As I was informed I am under consideration for an honourary Doctor of Letters for my writing, specifically my latest work Soul Ripples, I came to understand the need to share the story of what happens next. Before that, here is what came before (available through Amazon & Barnes and Noble):

coverA stone skipping across a pond leaves ripples with each impact.

The joys and life of traumas are the like the skipping stone through the generations.

Soul Ripples

What happens when the helper needs help?

For over 20 years Ty Ragan served his neighbour from the rough camps to the shelters to home and every where’s in-between. The simple life lesson of Jesus of Nazareth to love your neighbour as yourself was the centre question to be answered in his life. In May 2016 his life would begin to change drastically through unknown seizures and strokes.

Enter into the ripples that brought him to 2016, the transformational power of love of family and friends as he seeks new ripples in hope for his soul.

I began contemplating the real time sequel  I have been writing since my first volume ended with the entry of my first psychotherapists office on February 14. I encourage you to enter into Soul Ripples, and discover the holistic connecting points of life- ourselves, family, neighbours and history with our faith.

After riding those ripples, I am inspired to share the real time sequel here, bit by bit– once the healing is complete then the posts will be a compiled free e-book…so watch the category called Soul Ripples 2 for the story continues…

centennial coffee


We are in an era of politics where apathy and entrenchment has led to an inability to actually talk to one another if they choose one party colour over another. An era where vandalism, threats and bullying have become common place in our body politic and campaigns. Where one can live in a comfort ability of post-truth. It has led to a disengagement and-or apathy (I mean, c’mon 54-60% turn out are historic highs).

I have been politically active my whole life. We had rambunctious conversations at dinners, over the television news, and at family celebration gatherings on topics such as health care, human rights, feminism, political parties and beliefs (I will not bore you with the details of my journey in political party land where I have been everything from Reform Party to Communist Party-both federally and provincially for those fun stories of my life, and Uncle Ed’s attempt to recruit me to the SoCreds, I refer you to my book- Soul Ripples). Suffice it to say I was more about what party policies were doing to aid citizens than partisanship- though I definitely went more to the progressive-pragmatist end.

I reflect on this journey that saw me run in 2006 as I look at the picture with Jack Layton. I ran for the New Democrats federally, but how my elders responded speaks more to how party’s should function within our democracy. They are to be a function- that is something that is influenced by the members, and elected members. Not simply the automatons of a leader. It is with the former how we get Peace, Order and Good Governance. My Great Uncle Red believed I would be a good Member of Parliament, but in conservative Calgary was concerned of my orange ways. He actually took the time to figure out what it would take to get me on the ballot as a Conservative if I so chose.

Community, family, working together on goals. Having the conversations about why and what makes our country (province) a better place for all. What is the core values. How do we use academics, science and scholars in line with the human factor to come up with the best solutions. But it only happens with community and belonging.

It is bumpiest journey, and where we are at currently politically it is hard to see folks across ideology have discussions. Yet it is possible. This what I was able to be a part of with a new movement, not about a new partisan party, but about connecting citizens, education, discussion and community. It is about taking what we learn through our conversations back into our own political realms or just our own circles of influence, to continue conversations.

The simple pieces of ensuring that our constitutional promise in Canada is held. Our current provincial government doesn’t represent that, but we can get it there. We do that, by being engaged and conversing.

The simple steps build bridges across the chasms of ideological trenches. For once you have had a meal, or even a cuppa with a person and a good conversation– it is hard to paint them as other.

rebootalberta.com is a movement of discovery, learning and connecting across partisanship, and post-partisanship. Check it out–they also have a Facebook page.


It is a question that gets asked of me quite a bit. Why Church? In this era when most of my generation has checked out, and as frequent readers know over the years the headaches we have had with church (for some of those fun anecdotes I direct you to my memoir Soul Ripples ), everything from a pastor trying to break up my family to another stalking me from church to church to being fired in an AGM as the church did not want a youth group made up of children with disabilities…sigh….

Anyone can write the litany of why the hell not to bother with church. I mean this past Sunday I sent in a prayer request to our Calgary congregation because due to some douches (it is a very holy word I promise) bullying in the pew my son does not feel safe in worship. We are working with my son to re-discover the love of the Holy Trinity that has it his life from when he was never to leave a hospital bed to being the awesome fun loving teen ager he is today. Church was also part of that love.

See that’s the crux of it. Where many point to abuses (and yes those who abuse should be tossed, no questions asked, and turned over to appropriate authorities); or to the worship of money (go to an AGM and you will discover what your local church holds to be true about money, for more structured church services where they place things speak of its value–that is the closer to the end the higher the value). In regards to money, we visited a mentor’s church of mine this past Sunday, and offering was after the few opening worship songs, my wife had heard me pontificate about the idea of Liturgical structure, but the freedom this created in the person not to worry about money during service struck home, simple placement.

But I digress.

Do I attend with my wife and kids, as others we know speak of going- tradition, habit, and-or fear of going to the warm place with the pokey things? NO

So why the hell do I bother with church?

Simple, we attend because we believe. We believe in Love as lived by Jesus, we believe in the community birthed by the Holy Spirit, and the creation we have been given care of by the Creator.

I have seen the good of church. In my own life, it was a place to heal after a storm. I saw my kids eyes light up with wonder when they chose to be baptized.

I have seen the church as a whole activated to care for those in need, the literal homeless, ill, caring for elders, and those with dementia. Creating space for celebration of birthdays and weddings and life victories. Journeying with those in love, who are in transition or mourning.

Standing in loving justice that all are blessedly the same but gloriously different.

My Nan told stories of the church in England during the war, the place of comfort and meeting. How the Salvation Army ensured all were fed.

The children of her neighbourhood told stories no matter who they were, the Mays was always a safe place and Granddad and Nan were their second parents.

My Grandma wrote in her journals of the blessed belonging different churches created for her and my Dad and Uncle during their years.

Small groups caring for neighbours…generational homes being spaces always open for those that needed a port in a storm.

Note what is missing? Politics. Love of Money. Deciding who is Holy.

What is present, is a simple response to the Image of God before you with love and belonging.

Why do I bother, because it is in my soul– the HOPE that should and will be there with church when the Spirit moves…

The Pilgrimage continues…

Early September 2019 through the Presbyterian Church in Canada is an awesome resource coming that I was blessed to be a part of on being a church that visitors will want to call home. Watch for it!

 

Soul Archaelogy

Posted: July 28, 2019 by Ty in Spirituality
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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 inline 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 neighborhood 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?

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?

 

 

 


Okay this is a unique thing that keeps popping up in my brain. We have the tubi.tv app on our television, which shows older shows, with commercials, so it is a free streaming service. On this service, we stumbled across the show out of Jay & Silent Bob’s Secret Stash owned by Kevin Smith– Comic Book Men. It is a fun show for one that grew up in geekdom such as myself. With the journey I have been on, it is also fun because it bringing back memories that had been literally shook out of my mind the last few years.

It has brought up great conversations around the ol’ Hard Travelling heroes, Uhura when she came in for her own mego figure, Mego’s in general, and the ones I would get from the Tops & Toys store discount bin in Sunridge Mall growing up (the era of the fuzz ball with googly eyes at Smitty’s for kids). Also chatting about Spider-Man’s wedding, Star Wars, The Avengers, Star Trek,  Munsters, Robin Hood, etc. Seeing the conversation around Golden Age comics, silver age comics, cos-play, Superman, Batman, JLA, Wonder Woman has tapped into some good memories. Even talking about the Death of Captain Marvel, where the hero died of cancer and it was the first graphic novel. I recollect the coolest graphic novel ever, Batman Digital Justice, which art work was completely done on a Mac Computer back in the day. This is back when computer’s took harder floppy disc’s so it was impressive. Seeing the Return of the Jedi Ewok tree house, and going, oh yeah those Prince of Thieves figures I have, they re-issued the tree house as a Robin Hood toy back then too.

Seeing the bat cycle, bat copter, KITT, and Batmobile reproductions were cool…and hey, Bionic Woman as well. Talking to my wife about the made for t.v. movies about Six Million Dollar Man, and Bionic Woman when I was a kid. Ah the t.v. movies of shows that had ended, but kept new adventures going (now those adventures only continue in comics).

But it does raise the question as to what is the Holy Grail of collecting for you? What is the one thing you wanted as a child, or had and no longer have. Contemplating it, as I look at my Adventures of Robin Hood (t.v. show) hat in the shadow box my parents got me, I do ponder there was 3 cool comics that literally dissolved in my ownership due to over reading:

Image result for Black Panther avengers first appearance3) The third, was picked up in a comic shop in the later 1980’s, it was one I went to with my brother and Dad. It was a treasury edition, these things were huge like read on the coffee table huge. I can’t remember the number, but it had 4 silver age adventures, how I met the Avengers (next series I would read would be the death of the Avengers). It had the first Vision, Black Panther cometh, the wedding of Wasp and Yellow Jacket, were three of them.

Image result for last star fighter movie adaptation comic2) The Last Starfighter Comic Adaptation (Marvel). My Dad had come back from a service call at a Mac’s store, and I think my brother got BMX plus, and he brought me this sci-fi comic. I read that sucker so much, that I wore the cover out that my brother and I used card stock and remade a cover for it.

Number One: Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (DC Comics) movie adaptation. It is quirky, that there was a comic adaptation to the Motion Picture when Marvel had the rights, and then DC got the rights and started with this adaptation (no Wrath of Khan). We were either out with my Nan & Granddad or visiting her at work, for I remember finding it on the comic spinner at WoodWard’s Foods. It was the same place I got the Klingon figure that came with a rubber Targ from the movie as well. This was my fun, it was the show I was allowed to stay up late and watch on CBC, and nowImage result for Star Trek III Search for Spock comic they were in comics. Literally this comic dissolved on me mid-00’s for how much it traveled with me, reading it, and yeah it came camping a few times.

Yeah they would be holy grails to stumble across again in travels, but they would also have to be quite frugally priced for what they are.

But why this ramble?

I think its always good to remember sometimes the good memories are just as important as working out the sludge of the past.

What would be the things from your childhood reading you would like again?