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

Acceptance

 

Acceptance

It is the basis of healing. The ground floor of the elevator. The floor of the elevator comes to stop, you hear the bell “bing”, and the door opens. Your new reality awaits you. You step out and the sun is shining so brightly and you have trouble focusing. You feel a little confused and disoriented in terms of where you are now. You look around and start to orient yourself to this new view.

You know you’re in a building and you know you are okay. You are breathing and you can feel. You can see your hands and hear your voice. Life is not over for you. Your life is now different. 180 degrees. A paradigm shift in thinking has just arrived at the door of your mind. You realize your choices are now yours to some extent. You own them as they are not shared with the person who is not leaving with you out of this building. It is hard to leave because you came in together, and now you are leaving by yourself. But you do it. You do it because you have no choice. Acceptance is the key here. It is the key that opens that door to your mind to allow the paradigm shift in thinking to take place.

I accept what has happened. My mind is full of gratitude, love, and peace. I am going to allow some space for grief and sadness and I will give it away at the end of the day. I will breathe it out. It will not take root in my mind and leave me stuck in one spot. I am moving forward and looking ahead at my life. I have so much to be grateful for. Jackson. My home. My community. My friends. My family. My job. My health. My strength and new understanding. With acceptance comes healing. With healing comes happiness.

Grief

IMG_0209Grief

 

Through this process that has occurred in my life due to the death of Jordon I have gained a hard-earned understanding that is very difficult to put in to words, but it needs to get out, to be expressed. We are limited here on earth by our 5 senses and our minds in our communication to each other and our ability to sense emotions and to feel and relate. There are concepts and words and expressions, colours, and emotions that we just can’t reach with our human understanding. They range from the elation of ascension into heaven all the way to the deepest despair and mass loss. We live our lives in the middle until something big happens. Why shouldn’t we? Grief brings us to the edge of what is known and gives you a glimpse into the farther truth if you allow yourself to look and absorb and remember. Grief is the 10 out of 10 on the emotion scale, and at some point we will all go through it. It is a valuable life lesson and a purification process. It can stop you in your tracks or launch you. Accept this process when it does happen. Absorb it. Ask for understanding and open your mind to forward-thinking thoughts. Act “as if” so you can see yourself going through your day. Do what you can to not get stuck. Reach out to people. Show love back. Accept help from others. Be grateful.

The Lighthouse

photoI want to state my beliefs first. I believe in the universe, energy, God, spirit, focus, intent, and love. Pain and grief is a cleanser allowing you to enter and achieve a greater understanding of the process in life and why we are here. This process is the reason why the good die young. Have you ever met someone who right away you felt a connection and that you knew them? They felt familiar and comforting to some place deep inside your mind? There is a reason for that- we do know them. I believe we are all on a continuum and a journey and sometimes we go through our lives here on earth weaving in and out with the same people, yet choosing different lives to live to enrich our souls and to gain different perspectives that help us learn and to move farther on that continuum. I believe we all chose what we want and need and accept the challenge and then through birth we forget. That’s where free will comes into play and choices are made- life is a test and a journey.
I also believe there are no hierarchies in heaven and we are all on a continuum towards oneness with God and Spirit and each other. I think Jordon is far up the chain. He chose his path of difficulties for a reason and so do we all. Jordon chose the tougher path to gain a better understanding and a deeper meaning here on earth. His death serves as a reminder and a guide to us as to what is important and what to focus on. Anytime someone who is young and good dies young- it hits us all. The “why”question always comes into our minds. It causes a chain reaction of souls here on earth to understand the importance in life that they might not have otherwise understood by taking for granted the gifts around them or living in assumption that nothing will ever change. This can be mourned, but what can happen is a positive energy can overcome and an understanding and appreciation can develop. The choice is ours to take and we can see the beauty and majesty of our gifts on earth as it is in heaven.
I will give you an analogy of why the good die young. His death serves as a lighthouse. We are all on a boat at night. Look up and look out for there is a lighthouse guiding us around the rocks and craggy shoals of life. Soon we realize the triviacy of everyday problems, and our focus and path becomes clear. We begin to keep our eyes on the light it sends us. It casts out light-circling, warning, and guiding us to a safer shore. We now understand our course and know we are nearer to the truth and how to navigate our lives in a more steady and true direction. When someone good dies young it is a great sacrifice for our greater good-
The waves around the lighthouse serve us as well. Their rippling effect casts out waves that start where they begin and flow back to other shores across the sea-sharing what is learned by all, touching, and causing impact. If you feel this impact, that is good. Jordon is now my lighthouse and maybe he is for others too. I love my lighthouse.