Leadership in times of crisis and uncertainty.

A piece I wrote for Religica.com

Leadership is a tightrope to walk at this time in history. As a leader in any profession or industry, one must look out and look up to God as to the way forward given that the answers to many of the questions and decisions we are faced with are nebulous. No person on this planet has lived through a pandemic coupled with the political and religious upheaval we are facing, a situation that feels very Biblical in nature and worldwide in scope. With the internet, we can see and communicate with people all over the world in real-time. Nostradamus predicted this would be the age of the antichrist and from the inside of our quarantined lives looking out into the world at large from our television sets and smartphones, we can see that the world is going through massive change — on the precipice of both enlightenment and disaster.

Most do not recognize that we’re at such a critical tipping point because the changes we are experiencing have been spurred by grief over the loss of our lives as we knew them — and for many, the loss of loved ones. Normalcy is now non-existent. A New Normal is in the making, being molded and formed from each and every decision made, from the individual level all the way up to national and global levels. No person can claim to have not been affected by this monumental worldwide event. even if a person’s world has not changed much, the world around them has.

Grief is a life-altering, mind-blowing, game-changing experience; it hits and shakes a person at the very core of their being. I experienced this personally, and as I worked with a team to build out an international grief support organization, I saw how similar the circumstances and impact were for others going through the exact same experience. These series of individual experiences are now amplified out into the human experience and we are seeing from a societal perspective how grief affects humanity as a whole. Without knowing it, everyone is now awakened to the experience of grief even if they do not yet recognize it as so.

These times will make or break a person in a leadership position because true trailblazing is necessary to guide your family, community, organization, or business through the transition to the New Normal. Every human being is unique. We come to the table with different views and different values, and the striking differences in opinion are leading to complete breakdowns in relationships among families, co-workers, communities, and even nations. This was the reason I used the tight rope analogy earlier.

If you’re a leader in an organization, now is the time to define your organization’s culture and how you will keep the peace within the turbulence of stressful emotions and ensure the forward movement of your mission. In this time of strife, gas-lighting, and angst, a polarization is happening, and ideologies are becoming clear grounds for the breakdown of relationships both in a personal and public way. The very platforms that host humanity’s communications are taking sides and redefining their objectives, leaving millions of people disenfranchised and others believing in storyline narratives. Trust is truly broken in many ways.

How does a leader navigate through such circumstances — ones that threaten our very existence on this planet? You stake your claim. You decide what you believe, and you build around those principles, while still maintaining an openness to others. A new definition of life is upon us because collectively we are no longer naive. What you know and understand has changed. This is normal in the grief process. To deny this is the new reality is to get pulled down in the undertow in waters of grief and chaos. This is the time to Let Go and Let God or the Divine help you see the way forward because the path forward is a maze. Go back to the core principles and morals of your faith system and work from there, even if it seems impossible.

Life is about our connection to each other. Do you want to be surrounded by only those who think the same as you? Then make that declarative statement and do not hide your intentions. Do you want to be open to others with differing thoughts with compassion and understanding, then build out that concept within your network of connections and declare it so. Now more than ever, it is important to be transparent about your goals, mission, and actions so that others know your intentions. Trust has been broken from a macro-human standpoint as we stand mired in a time of misinformation when lies are often told as truth for the benefit of a few and the detriment of many.

Every human that comes into this world has their heart on display for God (or the Divine being of their faith) to see, so there is no hiding intent or deeds. Those that have sewn discord, chaos, and evil will be exposed to the Light. Those whose hearts are true and live a just life will be rewarded. Each of us must decide which path through this maze we will take. Those who hold positions of leadership need to be especially thoughtful in our decisions as many are relying on you to guide them forward into this new life.

I personally have returned to reading more in-depth about the teachings of Jesus. I am re-reading his stories and the parables he taught his disciples and followers during a time of great turmoil when the Romans had invaded the Holy Land, causing much strife and warring among differing cultures. To me, it seems we are living in the time of Jesus now, and just as before, it is up to us — using our faith and moral systems as a guide and Lighthouse — to navigate these waters and find our way to safer shores.

The following passage from Matthew 22:37-40 (KJV) has been a guiding force for me during this time of crisis:

Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

This is the first and great commandment.

And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.

On these two commandments hang all the laws and the prophets.

This is the foundation and the rock that I am building my house on for all the rest of my days here on earth.

What is your foundation?
Where are you leading from?

– Amen

You can find my article and many others at http://www.Religica.com

Holly C. Barker is the founder and president at Grief Resource Network, LLC and Grief Anonymous, an international online grief support organization and owner of the Launching Pad on Route 66 in Wilmington. http://www.Geminigiant.com

Ask and Ye Shall Receive on Heaven’s Watch, Not Ours…

Last week was my son’s last football game for the season. It was an emotional day for many, many reasons. One being my son had done so well during his first season of football ever. I was so proud of him for making the team and for playing a starting position his first season of the sport in his life. See, I pulled him from hockey after 7 years of him playing it to move him back home to the south. He was ready for the change because hockey represented a heavy void in his life because his father passed away from cancer last year. He couldn’t think of hockey without feeling a terrible pain of sadness for the loss of his father. So instinctively we both knew it was time for a change to something positive without the intense, sad, emotional ties to the past. Some people did not respect my decision and did not ask for my son’s feelings about this decision that we both made. It was painful for us to not feel that support that was needed; they did not choose to ask or to understand why we would change our direction.

Along with this closing game of the season came a clarity and realization of the final weaving together of this book of mine that I feel is so long over due. What I did not realize was that it was this week that was supposed to happen as it did with perfect timing. Here’s how the day played out on Heaven’s Watch:

The morning of the gameday was special. There was a special gameday breakfast and I was anticipating the day and feeling hopeful for many things that are starting to come to fruition in my life. I got a call from my grief coach who is also a writer and a widow. I made the commitment to finish the book, was very fired up about it, and I gave myself a lofty goal date of the next week to finish the book. When I got off the phone with her I went onto my blog. I was going to hit 50,000 views that day!!! Pretty significant milestone in my book, so I posted a prayer request on my Facebook page telling my friends what was happening and asking them to pray for help from above and for support from family and friends. Well, I am here to say I got it. And in a big, BIG way later that afternoon!!

I went to my son’s game and after I got settled into my chair I looked up and saw an amazing cloud formation. The clouds looked like they were forming a tunnel. I saw the Light coming through. But all I saw was the tunnel. I felt very strongly I was supposed to take a picture because I could not take my eyes off the tunnel. I quickly snapped the photo with my camera phone and turned it around to look at it. This was the image I saw (look at the Angel standing on the cloud at the bottom of the tunnel):
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I was Dumbfounded. Speechless. Shocked. And Amazed. My Angel was there in all his regal beauty. He was there the day I asked for him, requested help from him in a public domain- Facebook that morning. He was watching over my son’s last game of the season. He was showing me that Divine Timing is on Heaven’s Watch, not mine. And this day was the day for me to write the purpose of this book. To reach out to all of you to let you know we really are loved. We have an inclusive, all-encompassing, benevolent, loving God for us all. All for one, and one for all. He does answer our prayers. But we must also be open and believe when we do ask. And we must understand that answer will come to us. It might be what we want to hear and know and experience. It might not. Sometimes our prayers are answered in ways we don’t see in the apparent. But we must have faith to know we are always heard and cared about. We need to be receptive to our intuition that God gave us. Our intuition is the gateway, the doorway, and the window to our connection with him. Don’t second-guess yourself. What you see, feel, and hear, and understand is his communication with you.

So, Heaven also has a sense of humor and loves to lovingly respond back when their communications with us are accepted and shared. So… I saw you Angel. I know you are a Messenger from God. And thank you for choosing me that day to be your conduit. I will share YOU with the world today and share your message with as many people as I can. And when I told him that, he smiled back at me.
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Happy Easter to All

Good Morning to You,

Holidays are tough for those grieving the loss of a loved one.  My prayer goes out to you on this beautiful holy morning that whatever your faith and understanding of the Divine is that you feel that peace and love that comes from above.  The feeling of separation weighs heavy especially on holidays and we have to make a physical, mental, and emotional effort to lift our hearts up into the plane of divine connection.

I remember Easter mornings with fond memories and I am pushing through the pain of absence today and allowing in some gratitude for those times shared.

Hugs, Love, and Light to you.  Enjoy the beauty and art of pure gifted voice.

Holly

The Pain Jar

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I have a guardian angel. We all do. I became keenly aware of mine the day Jordon called me to tell me to meet him at the cancer center because he had just found out he had advanced metastatic cancer. I have written about my guardian angel’s presence in the car with me on the drive over in my book. I had an hour drive by myself and I needed some support to get me there safely with this news heavy on my heart, mind, and body. Today I want to tell you about the pain jar he holds for me.

My guardian angel is more like a guide. He is Native American and he speaks quietly to me with light pokes with his arrows and gentle pats when something is happening that I need to take notice of. I don’t hear direction from him; he is just a large force I can feel that is keeping me moving forward, steadily. He is silent, but his love and compassion is great. Slow steady positive pressure is his way. But I know one thing for sure that he has shown me. He holds for me my deepest, saddest, most awful pain in a jar. Twice before Jordon died he opened the jar, just a touch, for me to experience what pure, raw, unforgiving grief feels like. The experience had me both times curl up in a ball and wanting to die. That pain, for just those two short times, drives me for the rest of my life to try to reach out and help others who live day to day with that gut-wrenching emotion of loss and despair. I know without a doubt that I would not be able to write, share, understand, or cope if I was living out that pain day to day. I know its there. I have felt it. And my heart breaks every time I meet someone who’s in the clutches of it.

The key to healing is to not get stuck in that pain and to move forward. That pain is the pure pain of physical separation from someone you love. It is the act of breaking a physical love-bond and it is excruciating. That person is no longer here to hold, to kiss, to hug, and to share with. The physical void has no relief or resolution to it.  This, my friends, is a life experience that we will all go through at some point.  No one escapes losing someone they love, unless you are the first to go.  The key to passing over this pain is to live, breathe, love, and accept the connection and continuum of spirit and oneness that you have with that person and to oneness with all.  Know we really never die, but just cross over. The only death is a physical death. When we really accept this as truth and live and bathe in belief, and notice the signs all around us, healing comes in and takes over and love and light fills the heart, mind, and spirit with joy and gladness and forward understanding of another time when we will be connected again. These statements have become cliché sentiments over time and are often over looked with simple comments from well-wishers to the point that people often see it as a glossy term of endearment or a generalized safe statement to the bereaved…..But truth often lies in the clichés. The truth really is~ till we meet again.

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Warrior Angels

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One of the toughest days I had during the time between Jordon’s diagnosis and his passing was a particular day at the cancer center early on. He was going through a barrage of testing that week. He had a bone scan, an MRI, a biopsy, on and on….but one particular day was the hardest. His abdominal CT scan. That’s where the cancer was. There was a known factor in this scan. And it was going to be the determining outcome in Jordon’s time that he had left.

His pain had been increasing steadily so I knew this was not going to be good news. I felt a physical, emotional, and spiritual weight on my shoulders that day. It was so heavy. My speech was slowed, Jordon’s thinking was slowed. We barely talked. It was like we were going to a sentencing to hear judgment. The day was dark overcast. We parked and entered the cancer center. We turned down the hall to head towards the radiology department. It was like people were parting the way for us. I could feel an emotional energy around us that I have never felt before.

It made me look up and to my left and to my right. I had the sense that two huge giant warrior angels were walking beside us. One to our left and one to our right.   I imagined them worn-looking and dressed in Roman battle attire. Their wings were dirty from dragging on the floor. I really felt them. Was this my imagination? Maybe. But I have learned now since Jordon’s death to question my skepticism. They were going into battle with us walking down that hallway. I knew they were there for protection. We were never alone that day. They were there to support Jordon as he had to wait for hours in a crappy waiting room chair. His pain had become intense yet he was managing. They were there for me to keep me sane and somewhat strong enough.

Being a witness to physical trauma on a personal level is life-changing. Opinion changing. Motivation changing. Behavior changing.

In our worst hours we are not alone. These hours will play out at some point in everyone’s lives. There is inevitablility in truth. I do see angels, rarely, but I do. There, I admit it. But I think a lot of us do see or feel things out of the ordinary but it just doesn’t register or we don’t accept it.  We reason it away.  I didn’t see these angels, but somehow I knew they were there. That’s why I am telling you this story. Question your skepticism~ Lorna Byrne.  Believe you are special and you have a guardian angel that is always with you no matter whether you can see them or not. If you feel them, that’s good and don’t second guess yourself. You only have everything to gain and nothing to lose!

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Afterthought that I want to share with you:

What is the purpose of the ability to imagine? What are our imaginations for? Imagination is the centre from which manifestation happens. Our imagination needs to be better understood. For as children when we felt and saw things we were told it was just our imagination. We then interpret our extrasensory perceptions as just that~ imagination with the connotation of it being not real and just a colourful thought. The root word is image. Where are these images coming from? What do they mean? When we believe and notice, we set this centre of our understanding on fire and the realization and purification of the fire brings in truth and clarity and then connection and understanding. Think on this.