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

Grief Survival 101- Walking the Tightrope of Internal and External Expectations

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You have found your footing on this rope. It is what you have been given to stand on. The rope is harsh against your feet and it doesn’t feel good. But the rope is sturdy and it fits your feet. God planned it this way~ he wouldn’t give you a rope that was impossible to walk on. You are looking out ahead of you to see the big picture of your life. On each side of the rope lies a different view. Your job is to navigate this rope, to reach the other side. You’ve been given a balancing stick to help you balance your steps as you are moving forward. The stick is your guide, your conscience, you faith. When you lean too far right, the stick dips to the left helping you to balance as you move above the abyss below you. You are ready and you take your first step in this new life of yours.

The vast spaces to your left and your right are the expectations you put on yourself and of the expectations that others have of you. You are being watched. You are conscious of your new life and the other side’s expectations of you and how they see this situation you are in high up on this tightrope. Both, through this process of grief and loss, will pull at you and bring you off balance. Expectations, outside of simple, fundamental truths, are external and internal forces of energy that rely on a future value that doesn’t exist. How can you or anyone have an expectation of how to feel, how to act, how to grieve. When we focus on these influential spaces we pull our eyes, mind, and feet away to give energy to a space of expectation. This space will disrupt you and pull you left or right and away from your center, your true self. Too much focus on either side and you will fall. The tightrope is your gift from God. Your stick is the conscience mind he gave you to balance. Your feet keep you in the physical. Your eyes are the communicators and connectors to your body to help you focus on the big picture. Look up and out and you will find your truth. Look down and you will lose it.

As you are walking this tightrope, you will come across negative energies of expectation both from others and from yourself. Outward remarks from others will say things to you to make you second-guess your steps. Your ear will hear them and your body will intrinsically bend in that direction pulling you out of balance. You might second-guess your decisions, as you don’t have that living, breathing soul next to you anymore helping you navigate. Two trusting souls leaning on each other find a more steady balance and you are now without that other half. You must learn to steady yourself as you are on your own now and your decisions are yours. Be careful as you can pull yourself over from insecurity and doubt and loose your footing on the rope.

This is life. This is the test, this tightrope. The key to walking the tightrope is inner balance, courage, forward focus, and movement towards what you feel is good and right for you without the interference from outside energy. As you practice this centered focus you will gain strength and balance. You will become more assured of your space, your footsteps, and your mind. Your faith will grow and you will move with grace and sure-footedness on this tightrope. You will block out the negativity and the balance-altering pull of opinion and diversion. You will be able to see it for what it is. You will see the concern, the doubt, the good and bad intentions from others, and personal views that do not serve you. Above you is the Light shining down on you to guide the way. Follow this Light as it beams into your heart exposing the truth that you are good and deserving and whole. It will pull you forwards helping to balance you and settle you. It will soothe your feet so you don’t feel the harshness of the rope. We are not given the view of the end of the rope for the light shines too brightly and it is not ours to know. But when we do reach the end, we ourselves will become the light we have followed and join in the connection and the only pull we will feel is LOVE.

Soulmates – from an NDE Perspective

This article is spot on in every sense. A must read. I never had an NDE, but I did through crisis experience this Love and Light. I wrote a journal about it:

Eight years ago in the late summer my new life was just starting. My mom and my sister and I found ourselves at a mountain retreat for a spa day. We all desperately needed it. Jordon had just been diagnosed in July with Malignant Melanoma skin cancer. I had a four-year-old son and a busy career and family…. A spa day was in order. But what happened that day I will never forget. I haven’t spoken of it since but now I understand that it was meant for now. Not then. I would have gotten it wrong back then. Timing is patient and is everything sometimes.

I scheduled a massage. An earthy-looking peaceful woman called out my name and I followed her into the room where she preceded to wash my feet ceremonial style and then I got up on the table and laid down facing up. She came in and positioned herself above me and put her hands on my head. She started with slow circular movements on my head with her fingertips. That’s when it happened. A bright, luminescent, circular, yellow light appeared to me when I closed my eyes. Immediately tears began flowing. My eyes were drawn up into what felt like a tunnel. The pale yellow light was moving and flowing and shining like the sun without the burn. I could look straight into it and not feel pain. As soon as I acknowledged it I started to take my mind off my vision and onto what was happening to my heart. I literally felt it open and be pulled up. Drawn up. I felt this inescapable, magnificent, overwhelming, comforting, beautiful, peaceful, palpable love. The gate opened and a rush of amazing, forgiving, loving emotions came to me all at once. I thought of all my family and friends and I wanted to jump off the table and contact each one of you and tell you how much I love you. The binds and band-aids and scars on my heart instantly melted away and all that was left was love. I was so blinded by happiness!!! I was not spoken to. I was shown a feeling. I remember seeing letters and I was writing.

The session lasted an hour. I cried for an hour. I lived in Heaven for an hour. I know that now. I didn’t understand that then. I thought the massage therapist had some sort of mental trance on me. I reasoned it away and did not share what happened. I didn’t understand it as I was going through the darkest moments of my life at the time. I wasn’t ready to handle what I had seen and felt. I understand that it was meant for now. It is a deep, wonderful understanding of what happens to each and every one of us. What a remarkable experience! I know and feel where Jordon resides. It is a beautiful, wonderful place that escapes earthly words in any language. No literal understanding. No way for me to paint, sing, write, or speak of the love that is felt there. The important thing is that it exists and to not be afraid. Believe and notice.

AngelicView

“I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where. I love you simply, without problems or pride: I love you in this way because I do not know any other way of loving but this, in which there is no I or you, so intimate that your hand upon my chest is my hand, so intimate that when I fall asleep your eyes close.”
Pablo Neruda, 100 Love Sonnets

Written by Jody Long (NDERF – Near Death Experience Research Foundation)

We never thought we would be talking about soulmates.  We heard of them, but never expected to be in a soulmate relation.  Now we recognize we are soulmates, and are eager to see how our experiences compared with others.  There is surprisingly little on the Internet.  We then started asking people what they thought a soulmate was; the answers were quite varied.  Answers from others…

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The Tunnel of Light

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Eight years ago in the late summer my new life was just starting. My mom and my sister and I found ourselves at a mountain retreat for a spa day. We all desperately needed it.  Jordon had just been diagnosed in July with Malignant Melanoma skin cancer. I had a four-year-old son and a busy career and family…. A spa day was in order. But what happened that day I will never forget. I haven’t spoken of it since but now I understand that it was meant for now. Not then. I would have gotten it wrong back then. Timing is patient and is everything sometimes.

I scheduled a massage. An earthy-looking peaceful woman called out my name and I followed her into the room where she preceded to wash my feet ceremonial style and then I got up on the table and laid down facing up. She came in and positioned herself above me and put her hands on my head. She started with slow circular movements on my head with her fingertips. That’s when it happened. A bright, luminescent, circular, yellow light appeared to me when I closed my eyes. Immediately tears began flowing. My eyes were drawn up into what felt like a tunnel. The pale yellow light was moving and flowing and shining like the sun without the burn. I could look straight into it and not feel pain. As soon as I acknowledged it I started to take my mind off my vision and onto what was happening to my heart. I literally felt it open and be pulled up. Drawn up. I felt this inescapable, magnificent, overwhelming, comforting, beautiful, peaceful, palpable love. The gate opened and a rush of amazing, forgiving, loving emotions came to me all at once. I thought of all my family and friends and I wanted to jump off the table and contact each one of you and tell you how much I love you. The binds and band-aids and scars on my heart instantly melted away and all that was left was love. I was so blinded by happiness!!! I was not spoken to. I was shown a feeling. I remember seeing letters and I was writing.

The session lasted an hour. I cried for an hour. I lived in Heaven for an hour. I know that now. I didn’t understand that then. I thought the massage therapist had some sort of mental trance on me. I reasoned it away and did not share what happened. I didn’t understand it as I was going through the darkest moments of my life at the time. I wasn’t ready to handle what I had seen and felt. I understand that it was meant for now. It is a deep, wonderful understanding of what happens to each and every one of us. What a remarkable experience! I know and feel where Jordon resides. It is a beautiful, wonderful place that escapes earthly words in any language. No literal understanding. No way for me to paint, sing, write, or speak of the love that is felt there. The important thing is that it exists and to not be afraid. Believe and notice.