No doubt, many sense that not is all right with our society. What some do not seem to realize is a wave of civil terrorism afoot, and not by those we are being led to believe through “hitleresque” propaganda and fear mongering. Do we really think the likes of the KKK and Skin Heads have simply gone away? It is my observation that no, they have simply made their way into religion and politics, continuing to drive an agenda of hatred, preying on existing fears that all is not right with the world, seeking their sense of entitlement to supreme power.

The tyranny our forefathers saw to obstruct by creating a constitutional republic was not, in fact, that of government but of the existing governing body, a ruling class of royalty – a class of the financially and power entitled. Our forefathers sought, with the constitution and the formation of a democratic republic, to obstruct the ability of tyranny against the individual by any organized power. They sought to build a governing body elected and thereby in essence ruled by the citizenry of this great country. Our constitutional government has, over its mere two centuries, existed to preserve the rights of the individual, and still seeks to do so for the most part, but in more recent decades has been slowly infiltrated by the likes of civil terrorists, often in the name of religion, looking to undo the rights of the individual so that their agenda of entitlement to superiority might be driven.

So, in this effort, the likes of the KKK and Skin Heads have joined ranks with what is too quickly becoming a ruling oligarchy, preying on our fears with rhetoric of a tyrannical government when in truth it is their ruling class form of tyranny they espouse and pursue. Have we not all heard the phrases, “takes one to know one” and “the pot calling the kettle black”? We left a ruling class of elitist royalty but have now entered an era of an elitist oligarchy supported by an elitist army of white supremacists. This, too, unfortunately, is an historical part of our founding, given the machine of slavery for which our forefathers and this country are infamous, yet perhaps too forgiven.

Why else does our education system continue to lag the rest of the free world? Perhaps to enable a tyrannical class to infiltrate and upend the very system our forefathers put into place to avoid, that this would-be ruling class would have us believe is the very problem. And perhaps it is indeed becoming so?  It has been a slow coup, and many probably haven’t even realized their part in it. It can be seen in the erosion of politics as a short term service to the populace into a long term career opportunity; in the gerrymandering of voting districts to remain in power; in the likes of Citizens United – which is, I would hope obvious by now – a uniting of the ruling oligarchy and supremacists by making ownership of business representative of those they employ. Really? Do we really think that everyone in an organization would knowingly support the wishes of an entitled would-be ruling class? Well, we do. Our fear is great enough, and they are wily enough to convince us to do so, because in truth, it is simply human nature at work. They may not, excepting a few, even recognize themselves as the civil terrorists they are. Power simply has an unruly effect, and when the same had already been hiding out in the name of religion, our sensibilities on that front had been eroded, except where – in our primary case – Christ’s own anti-tyranny message has gotten through despite best efforts otherwise.

I’ve been listening to NPR / WBEZ several times a day as usual.  Seems every two to three stories has something to do with the oil spill in the Gulf.  I’ve heard how experts are trying different tactics to cap the exit point, talks with oceanographers and those who were able to learn something from the Exxon-Mobil disaster, chats with locals about the losses of livelihood and lately it’s been an inquiry into what caused this to happen.

Are we really there already?  Don’t get me wrong, BP owes a great whopping contribution to what is being deemed the greatest ecological disaster the world has ever known, and my hope is that this is all this is.  My fear is that it will give plenty of angry, fearful people a witch to burn, that we’ll enter the long disastrous spiral of a blame game so that we needn’t recognize the part every single one of us has played in leading us to creating a gaping wound under the sea on mother Earth.  We have no idea what this means for our existence on Earth in the coming decades, centuries, quite possibly the next millenium.  I find it hard to believe that we no longer suffer effects from the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  But I digress.

What comes to mind is some words of Christ I’ve always found quite poignant.  Let he who is without sin cast the first stone…  When we are hurt, it is our human nature to “throw stones”, look for blame, reject any responsibility we have for a situation.  It is also human nature to overestimate the positive and underestimate the negative, and I would venture this point is key to just about any disaster of this kind.  We anticipate all the “great” we can get out of a venture and completely overlook the possible damage we could cause.  Let me say again, this is human nature, folks.  Yes, BP has an inordinate amount of responsibility for this situation given it is their rig that buckled.  All I want to get across is that it could have happened to any of the oil companies, and although the others claim surprise that BP lacked in its precautions; they have also gone so far as to say that none of them would have been prepared for such a situation. 

Yes, every single one of us should be worried and recognize the part we have played simply by owning a gas-powered vehicle or using plastic for that matter.  I’m not saying we should ban all carbon-based products.  Any extreme is ludicrous in my mind.  I’m just wanting us each to take responsibility for the part we have played as individuals, communities, societies and cultures by the simple use of these products.

I am also of the mind that when it comes to a solution and clean-up, it should involve both BP and the government.  And, we might look to BP and its peers to create a panel of folks who know the most about both to lead the effort.  Only because I’ve also heard the debate of whether BP should continue to lead the charge or the government should take over.  And in this case, no one, as far as I can tell, solely has the knowledge, skills or capacity to deal with this crisis.  I’d like us to recognize that both, plus many more, heads in this are better than either on its own.  I’d like us to focus on the solution more than solve “who done it”, because that’s the only way I see us getting out of this mess as a global society.

I have started facilitating sessions with folks in job clubs on the subject of Building Trust in Transition.  In preparation, I shared my drafts with a couple of colleagues, and one colleague, Steve Gawron, suggested addressing Grief In Transition as a precursor.  So I have, recognizing that along the lines of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, some folks may just not be in a place to think about, let alone address, actioning trust in their lives.

I also attended a professional development network meeting where Lee Hecht Harrison introduced us to a method they offer to help companies through change.  As we discussed the process that employees traverse as they deal with change, it occurred to me that the issues we face with regard to change are fundamentally involved with the grief process.  Bottom line, change is about the loss of what has been, moving toward what is to be.  Evidence exists that the grief process, although most evident with the loss of a loved one, is also observed with the loss of employment and other stressors.  So, although we may not negotiate grief to the depths we do in these more stressful situations, it must be our human nature to do so to some degree, though at different paces depending on personality, with regard to all loss; hence, with all change.

Change has been dubbed “The New Normal”, and rightly so, though it occurs to me that the quote “the only constant is change” has been around, well, since well before our “New Normal”.  I find that simply bringing awareness of the grief process to folks in transition makes it all the more bearable, transition that is.  There comes a sense of camaraderie in learning it is simply part of our human nature, that it is a process, that it is a process we can witness once aware of the steps, and a process with which we can eventually become comfortable with practice. 

And so it can be with the grief of change.  Let’s say change is the ocean, vast and looming.  As it hits shore, it crashes in waves, large waves down to small waves.  Each time I visit the beach, I always take my first encounter to just watch.  I stand, or sit, and watch the waves come in.  I look beyond the waves to the seeming calm.  Next, I reacquaint myself with the water, ankle-deep first, then inch myself in deeper until I must hop over the smaller waves.  At waist deep, I must jump up and over to keep my head above water.  Eventually, I become used to the rhythm of the waves, they become familiar.  I actually start to enjoy them passing as if through me.  Then, I take on the larger waves.  I dive straight into them, confident.  Then it is time to swim on through them to the other side where my feet no longer touch bottom, where I tread water and float in calmness and familiarity and trust in my ability to swim.

No doubt you, the reader, may approach the ocean in a different fashion for all kinds of reasons.  Perhaps you are completely unfamiliar with the ocean.  Perhaps unfamiliar, mostly, with how to manage an encounter with the ocean.  Perhaps fearful of this unknown entity.  We are like that with change, aren’t we?  Each approaching change in our unique way, each encountering the grief process as individuals at different paces.  And what if each of us was aware of the commonality among us to traverse grief as a process?  And what if we each was gifted with the realization that it is normal, part of being human?  And what if we all knew with certainty that the last stage of grief is acceptance, light at then end of the “grief tunnel”?

Awareness of the grief associated with change could very well be our saving grace toward success in a changing world.  Let’s appreciate grief – denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance – in each other, and support one another through it by sharing our grief experiences and its process.  Let’s all get to treading change, calmly and confidently, to succeed in this “new normal” world.

Hugs out to ya…

~ Jacqueline