Archive for: April 2013

Hot Seat!

I attended a seminar sometime back and recently came across my notes in buried in a book I happened to open. What jumped out at me now—several years later—is what the now-unknown speaker said about groups that people attend for the purpose of improving their lives. This can apply from therapy groups to church groups to anything else in the ball park.

The presenter’s train of thoughts went like this:

We must do more than just tell people how to do the right thing and then hold them accountable. We must collaborate, come alongside, support and encourage each other through our growth processes.

This long-ago presenter finished with a powerful commentary. When groups don’t know how to relate to each other, they don’t know how to encourage, sustain, show acceptance of the other’s process, they tend to emphasize accountability!

Hot Seat!

When we don’t know how to relate with the positive and meaningful interactions that actually promote interpersonal growth, we retreat into ourselves and become critical, taking potshots at those around us because we subconsciously believe it will make US feel better! So we put them in the hot seat. Can you see the divide-and-conquer thing going on here?

Since change happens by working together, and being honest with ourselves and others–let’s challenge ourselves!

Next time I feel critical, I can remind myself that it is acceptance, collaboration, and encouragement that make the difference. I can choose—again and again—to relate to those around me through this framework. When I can’t let something go, I am putting that person in the hot seat for the purpose of making myself seem a little better. Next time you find yourself in the critical mode, stop and ask yourself, “Do I really want to tromp on people just to toot my own horn and hold forth at the top of the heap? Really?”

Accountability starts at our own back doors—and yes—our shoulders are wide enough to do this. It’s time for us to look in the mirror!

I can choose, practice, and learn to think this way—and so can you!

The Princess on the Glass Mountain

A number of years ago my therapist friend, Dr. Jimmye, asked the members of a group she was conducting to do a re-write of a fairy tale. Group members were to write themselves into the story and then change the ending to whatever would underwrite their hopes and dreams. Dr. Jimmye wrote about the story of the princess on the glass mountain.

The original tells the story of a beautiful princess with a highly-protective father. Daddy, who took great pride in the beauty of his little-girl-becoming-woman, perched her atop a glass mountain. Knowing that the glass was very smooth and slick, daddy intended to discourage would-be suitors. Alas, this precluded Miss Princess from partaking of the full joys of life.

Princess on Glass Peak

When Dr. Jimmye re-wrote the story, she played the Magical Princess, who felt that her level of education may have put her at arms-length, preventing her from meeting the man of her dreams. In her re-write, her Prince Charming flew in his aeroplane from the peaks of his Glass Mountain Range, landing neatly beside her before swooping her into his arms and carrying her off to his castle where they would Live Happily Ever After.

Dr. Jimmye has a delightful imagination. But now for the rest of the story. . .

About a month after Dr. Jimmye had put herself into this magical tale, she got a phone call from a man she had dated years earlier. They had both gone on to marry someone else, but he had never forgotten her. This Man was calling from Denver, smack dab in the middle of the Rocky Mountains. He had three questions for her.

  1. Are you married?
  2. Are you engaged?
  3. Are you dating anyone?

When she gave him her three ‘No’ answers, he said, “I’ll be right there.”

He hung up the phone, jumped in his aeroplane and, carrying her in his heart, he soon landed in Spokane, rented a car, and forthwith appeared on her doorstep. He took her to the nicest restaurant in town (which at that time happened to be out of town, at Patit Creek in Dayton), wooed her, asked for her hand, and moved into her heart.

. . . the takeaways?

  1. Don’t be afraid to dream!
  2. Accept life on its own terms!
  3. Live in gratitude!


Further Reading

I recall–from classes I have taken along the way–the section at the end of the syllabus noted, “For Further Reading…”

When I have been particularly taken by an idea or a method of relating to others, to family, to the world around me, or to my Creator, I will sometimes ‘research the research’ and at times find a virtual treasure trove of titles that send me off in other slightly different directions.

One of the best things I know is to curl up with a great book in some conducive setting, and enter another world. . .

Hammock Girl Reading

So here are a few books I have known and loved. . .

1.  His Needs, Her Needs – Building an Affair-Proof Marriage, by Willard F. Harley, Jr.; Revell

2. The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, by John M. Gottman and Nan Silver; Three Rivers Press

3. Pre-Parenting – Nurturing Your Child from Conception, by Thomas R. Verny and Pamela Weintraub; Simon & Schuster

4. Parenting from the Inside Out – How a Deeper Self-Understanding can Help You Raise Children who Thrive, by Daniel J. Siegel and Mary Hartzell; Tarcher /Penguin

5. Change Your Brain, Change Your Life, by Daniel G. Amen; Three Rivers Press

6. Belonging, by Nancy and Ron Rockey with Kay Kuzma; Sycamore Tree

7. Forgiveness – Breaking the Chain of Hate, by Michael Henderson; Arnica Publishing

8. Bold Love, by Dan B. Allender and Tremper Longman,III; Navpress

9. Unbreakable Bonds, by Cheryl Meier and Paul Meier; Baker Books

10. Connecting, by Larry Crabb; W Publishing Group / Thomas Nelson, Inc.

So jump right in, readers! Curl up in a sunny nook with a cup of tea and fall in love with a new fave book. May one of these titles bless you as well. Bon voyage!