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>Reconnecting with life after bereavement

29 May

>In this post I want to look at the irreplaceable loss of bereaved parents. I had planned to complete my account about meeting my spirit guides but, for whatever reason, I am being led to do this post.

When someone dies a void opens up in the fabric of the family and the community. The community is able to respond fairly quickly in replacing the person – the boss hires a new worker, the team recruits a new member, etc. The family’s response is usually much slower, and even then, varying members are affected differently. I remember thinking about this concept weeks before Andre was killed, when I heard the news of the death of a popular, young football player. The team and community were distracted with grief, and I remember saying to someone, “In a few months they will have moved on and only his family will still be there to grieve him.”

I have had time to reflect on the issue of replacement, or maybe a less mechanistic word would be ‘reconnection’. I remember consoling Andre’s girlfriend shortly after the funeral, and thinking, “At least she will one day meet someone else. It is I who will never have another son.” I also know that if young Josh gets a loving father he will be able to reconnect easily to this relationship and not have to grieve the absence of his real father all his life.

But it is harder for the parents and grandparents who must sit and stare into the void for a long time, if not forever. Yet, the idea of reconnection, at some level, would seem to be an important part of our recovery as it gives us an outlet to redirect some of the love we hold.

In his book Ritual – Power, Healing and Community, Malidoma Some notes. “When love exists it must continue, or it will turn dangerous for the person who loves. Human feelings are an energy that can turn dangerous, negative, if not honoured. So when a loved one dies, those who survive must reconnect the ‘plugs’ from the dead person to people who are still alive.”

I guess this explains why so many survivors feel the need to get involved in trying to help others who have suffered. It may also explain why persons who lock themselves away, physically or emotionally, tend to have a harder time moving back into life.

So, how do parents reconnect the plugs? I guess the answer to that will be very specific to each individual. For me, it was very important to develop a relationship with my grandson, but also to reach out to other young people. There is such a great need for parents in the world, persons who can mentor and guide. I see parents in conflict with their kids over what they want for them, as opposed to what the child feels the need to do in order to express him/herself in the world, and I just want to say, “Just enjoy the fact that they are with you.” Maybe, if nothing else, this is this perspective that we, bereaved parents, can provide.
I found an article called ‘How Grieving Can have a Positive Effect on your Life’, that has some useful tips on reconnecting with life after the loss of a loved one.

>Angel 54: How many more of us are there?

24 May

>After having agonized for so long about posting about my spiritual experience following Andre’s death, I finally did so in my last blog, and found that I was not as alone/unique as I had thought.  That same evening I read online, the experience of another mother who had experienced an even more dramatic spiritual breakthrough.  So maybe this isn’t so strange after all.

She’s written a book called, Angel 54: A Mother’s Sacred Journey from Grief to Healing.  I haven’t read it yet, but I have read her story on another internet site. Her son died in a car crash at age 18, and this precipitated her spiritual awakening.  I am hoping that we will be able to connect.  But I now wonder how many more parents have had this experience.

>Are we programmed to self-destruct?

17 May

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I read something years ago to the effect that even the most buttoned down individuals among us are deep down inside just as insecure as the rest of us about fitting in, and we are all, in one way or another, dealing with our own shit. Without pre-judging Dominic Strauss Kahn, I just want to say that the exposure of vices in high profilers and those who we consider role models seems to prove this point. Could it be that those who court and wield power are the ones dealing with the most shit?

In recent times, in Jamaica at any rate, there has been an undercurrent of panic about the Second Coming and the end of the world, much akin to the pre 2000 hysteria in some circles.  Have we so internalised the idea of our unworthiness that we are willing to believe we deserve to be punished?  Maybe this is what drives powerful and materially successful persons to self-destruct in the most bizarre ways.

I am coming to the conclusion that this idea of Original Sin, and the unworthiness of mankind is itself the demonic force that threatens to destroy us.  If we are really ‘born in sin and shaped in iniquity’ as some would have us believe, then there is obviously a threshold above which we can never rise.  And if, according to this teaching, we are dependent for our salvation on a vengeful God who permits the most horrible atrocities against the weak and helpless, then we begin to suspect that we are truly screwed.

This philosophy has installed an internal self-destruct button in our psyches which fosters what psychologists call the impostor syndrome – the nagging feeling that we will never be good enough- forcing us to cover our nakedness with the trappings of wealth and power.

The Gnostics seem to offer the best Christian answer to the dilemma that I have seen to date.  Not to confused with Agnostics who have no interest in matters godly, Gnostics believe that an understanding of the Divine comes through individual and direct experience.   According to the Gnostic creation myth, the worlds in which we live are actually a replica of other worlds created by the original creative force.

The female aspect of that creative force, in her vanity gave birth to a son, without the knowledge of her male counterpart – apparently simply because she could. Anyway, the being she created had all of the power and none of the goodness of the original Divine Light and was banished from the higher realms.  This discarded offspring decided to create his own realms based on the innate knowledge that he inherited of the divine realms, going as far as to create a replica of the original divine first man, created by the original creative force.  But he was tricked by his repentant mother and others.  After putting the various parts together to produce a human male, he found he couldn’t quite get him up and running, so he was told to breathe into him.  What he didn’t know was that by doing so he would pass on to the man whatever spark of divinity he had inherited from his mother.  When he found out he had been tricked he set about trying to sublimate the man’s understanding  of that divinity by creating distractions including gold and money.

Of course my account is an extremely simplistic, and possibly careless, rendition of the story but you can read it for yourself in the Apocryphon of John, also known as The Secret Book of John.

According to Gnostic tradition, the mission of Jesus and other great teachers was to point us to that divinity – literally the Kingdom of Heaven – within us. However, early Church fathers such as Irenaeus corrupted the message, and  taught that we were sinful beings whose only hope of salvation was through belief in the divinity of Jesus.  For the Gnostics, what is needed is more than belief, it is persistent action to revive the spark of divinity in us so that we too can achieve Christ consciousness.
 
Interestingly Carl Jung, one of the fathers of modern psychology seems to have been a strong proponent of Gnosticism.  A synopsis of the philosophy of Gnosticism is available on the website www.gnosis.org  under the heading ‘The Gnostic Worldview – a brief history of Gnosticism’.


>The Heart Believes the Truth – grief and sprituality

14 May

>A former colleague of mine who is probably on the far side of 60  once encouraged me to blog by saying “Everyone has an interesting story to tell.”  Easy for him, I used to think. His idea of a relaxing weekend is cycling down some treacherous slope, some place in Europe with an unpronounceable name.  Me, I was the PR manager for a large, conventional conglomerate, with a vague sense of dissatisfaction, and a 20 year old son who seemed destined never to get on the beaten path. Hardly a recipe for a riveting blog.

Then two years ago my life changed dramatically. The son was murdered, an event which precipitated what I can only describe as a spiritual awakening, and which has challenged many of my personal assumptions about life. Since then I have been opening to amazing messages from the Universe that have changed my life and continue to open up new paths.

Even then, I believe this transformation might have remained an individual and private journey.  However, two months ago when I finally yielded to the urgings of Spirit to quit a great job, and great boss, to make myself available for something yet unspecified, I began to suspect that maybe this was a journey I should document.  When I decided to devote this newly found free time to developing a programme for grieving children in Jamaica…and to spring my toddler grandson from pre-school to provide him with more ‘enriching’ experiences,  I definitely understood that I would need to document the pains and joys of this journey into life. Actually, I thought, ‘Hell, I’m going to need some serious moral support!’

The title of my blog, ‘The Heart Believes the Truth’ is actually taken from a guided journal that I received as a Christmas gift from my mentor in grief support, in 2000. Besides encouraging my first step in journalling, it has provided a metaphor for my opening up to the truths that I realise I have always known, about the need to find the purpose for which I volunteered to be born.

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I hope that by journalling in a more public way, I may be of use to other homicide survivors, especially parents grieving the loss of a child.  I also believe that spiritually awakened persons are being called to be of service to the planet in our own individual way and a part of this involves coming out of the closet spiritually. So, in effect, this blog represents my own coming out, so here goes…

I look forward to sharing this wild and scary ride.