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

An Open Letter to the Human Race: Please Love One Another, by Holly C Barker

Our children are simply not going to be prepared for the world we are handing them if we keep heading in the direction we are in. It’s a two-fold reason.
1.We shelter them from so much. Remember our childhoods where we disappeared into the woods for hours only to emerge at dinner time? Wasn’t that an awesome experience?? But because of the state of our minds these days we collectively shield them from all the negativity out there in the world. And even with our most intimate family relationship struggles we don’t tell them what’s happening and the authentic reasons why. We want to protect and preserve their innocence of not knowing what we know. This does not serve them for their own growth and understanding of how the family dynamic can work with positive outcomes (whatever they may be) so they understand and use the knowledge gained as a means to build their future relationships they form.
2.We are creating that world that we want to shelter our kids from. We are the cause and effect of what we don’t want for our children. This starts at the level of individuals and how they treat each other all the way to global communities.
For this simplistic reason alone we must learn to love and trust each other again. We need to put focus of the positives in this world through our own eyes and thoughts all the way to what the media wants to show us. If we want positive and ask for it- they will show it. If we as people gravitate towards the positive, the “powers to produce” will create opportunities in the media to show us that which we ask and yearn for. It’s both our responsibilities. We look for the negative because we want to be informed by what’s possible out there so that we may protect our children and our own well-beings. Which is a just cause. But only to a point. Somehow the energy and focus of negativity of the hardest-core, farthest end of the spectrum took over as a 1% occurrence or less and became all encompassing in our minds as shown through our media and the actions and reactions of all of us. The 1% horrible, negative took over our fears, and then took over the media, which then feed our minds that we were correct in our assumptions about that which we fear the most. But it was only an illusion of our worst fears that began to then manifest. Folks- this is dangerous and we are headed in this direction. This is where our momentum and focus began to shift and the manifestation of our fears came true. We need to pull the reigns of the horse of life and turn her back to galloping into the sunrise of a new direction and perspective of our futures and the human race itself and what we want to hand to our children.

Seek out the positive. It takes less energy. It makes you feel good. It makes you feel safe. It makes you feel love and compassion for the people around you. And it makes you happy. When we collectively turn our focus towards positive types of energy and actually want and ask for it???? Our families, the media, governments both local and national, the governing world bodies and organizations will have to take notice.
We will save ourselves by starting with how we treat the person next to us with loving, respectful, compassionate intent.

Amen.

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A Message from Above~ Love One Another

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Never give up your spiritual quest to know God! Seek out and find what resonates within you. Just as you are unique, so are the paths to find him. Learn everything that you can learn and never stop that process. We are all spiritual students for life. From spiritual learning and growth, one finds direction and purpose. God comes to us in many forms. He’s not a foreign concept in our minds; rather a familiar something that we gravitate towards and it resonates within our understanding of the world we live in. Through our history, our DNA, our tastes and interests, and our families he finds us and he connects with us.

Truly indeed, God loves us all! We are all his children and we are all worthy of living happy, prosperous, productive, giving lives. This kind of connection is of pure desire borne of love for each of us. This love is indescribable in any high word in any language, and he has it for us all.

We must seek him within our own understanding and we must try to realize that others see him differently from their own visions, own environment, and own belief systems. This is what makes us all unique and different and is one of the many yet important tasks we have to learn here as a human race. We as humans jump many of the hurdles that are put in front of us, but this is one we are losing on a massive, collective global scale. We need to embrace one another. Learn about each other. Accept one another. Show compassion and love for one another. This is the one thing that must change for the better; for our collective future depends on it.

Last night the bombings in Paris were the tipping point. The catalyst. We must for our highest and best from a personal standpoint to a global standpoint learn to LOVE ONE ANOTHER! We are at the precipice now on a global scale. We must through our actions rise above the hate and the violence and the intolerance to see the larger perspective of human oneness. What we do to others, we do to ourselves. Can we please take a small moment and pause to consider God’s love for humanity and the possibility of peace before we all plunge ourselves into a massive world war of hate and violence that will lead us to trying to wipe each other off the planet. We all have a great choice to make. Let us choose wisely. Either way, we will succeed.

Love and for Your Highest Best,

Holly

To Unravel is to Heal

To be tightly wound up in grief is not a good way to walk around on a consistent basis. But it seems it’s good for society~ for your coworkers, friends, acquaintances, family, and strangers alike. We, the ones going through grief, have to keep it together when we are around others. Society wants to see stoicism, pride, and a measure of control out of us. They are looking at you to show them that losing someone to death can be handled and managed, compartmentalized and tucked away for private moments of contemplative weepiness. We feel the unspoken pressure and comply for everyone, including ourselves. An outward display of overwhelming grief is scary to behold and very disconcerting and uncomfortable for others and ourselves to witness. It seems a common value we have placed on ourselves to suffer the real emotions of grief in private. And by private I mean~ totally by ourselves. Even our core families are often uncomfortable seeing an unraveling of grief and pain. People don’t want to see the raw truth because grief is an inevitability for all of us that is better put off for another time. To talk about the true day-to-day of what I experienced and witnessed during those last few weeks is undignified and not in keeping with what societal expectations are. Everyone wants a sanitized, sleepy version of what its like to see someone you love die, like in the movies. The hand grip, the closing of the eyes, and the sweet last staggered breath, the last kiss on the cheek. That is what people want to envision for themselves. And through love, they want to believe that’s what happened to you… Many, many times this is not the case. And it wasn’t mine.

But the truth is at some point~ the unraveling for the grief-stricken will happen. And sometimes it is multiple times. The first inclination and instinct many have is to stand back, to turn away, or close your eyes and cover your ears. The flashbacks, the scenery, the smells and sights and sounds of your surroundings, all of it will make its way to the top and bubble over in our minds. How could it not?? I am a part of closed grief groups online. Many talk privately about wanting to die. Wanting it to be over. And some sadly find a way to make that happen. There is an underlying aspect to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and I know it is often a part of grief that no one is seeing or talking about. There needs to be an outlet. An understanding. A way to go through these feelings, this experience, and project it out of our bodies and minds all that we witnessed and experienced and to let it go into the universe for transmutation and diffusion. Reliving it doesn’t help, getting it out of us- does. Keeping this inside ourselves is the most unhealthy thing we can do, but it is also the expectation and sadly and oftentimes the advice that is placed on us by society, our families and friends and coworkers, and ourselves. We must find ways to emit this powerful destructive energy out of our minds and bodies to regain emotional and physical health.

The crucial part of this is to allow one who has suffered loss to grieve at their own pace, at their own volume, and not under anyone else’s timeline or expectation. If you really love them, show patience and ride the waves with them. This level of pain cannot be sustained and it often flows in waves, many times for years. God only gives you what you can handle and waves seem to be a natural form of release, just like the tides of the ocean. You must accept this in order to be fully vested in understanding and support of this person who is suffering. Do not tire of it, do not try and fix it, do not tell them to move on and get over it and suck it up. If they are living, eating, working, and communicating with you they are already crossing over hurdles you haven’t experienced yet perhaps.

One of the ways I let this energy out is through scream therapy. If I were to allow others to hear me they might call the police or an ambulance. Yes~ it’s that powerful. I get in my car and drive somewhere where I know I wont be heard and I let out the most god-awful scream I can muster. I am hoarse for days afterward sometimes. But I can feel this energy leave with the sound and vibration in my throat and it is cathartic, powerful, relieving, and forgiving. And afterward I feel at peace and can move through my day without shell-shocking others. I’m not really advocating public meltdowns, but I am trying to help people connect and understand each other through this process. This journal is for those that need to unravel. And for those that need to understand the unraveling. And to accept this, honor it, and heal, and to form lasting bonds with those that choose to stay. One day when this happens to you, you will have someone who knows and understands be there for you too!

This journal is for my parents. Thank you so much for your undying love, support, and patience for me these last years.

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