July 13, 2015
My urge for autonomy is screaming at me – it’s bouncing off the walls of my neo-cortex.
This time I am going to succumb.
Before I get hit the details let’s be sure that this is not a new thing nor is it peculiar to me. You probably have it too.
When my sons were much younger I’d take a shower to be alone. Or, I’d close myself in downstairs if the boys were napping upstairs and pretend I was in the house alone. This did it – it met my needs for autonomy. They settled down, at least until morning.
When I could legally leave my sons at home alone I’d go to a local coffee shop with a Time magazine and pretend I was on vacation, or, I’d go to Fresh Market and meander through the tropical fruit stands and pretend I was living back in Kona.
Once I was so desperate to think an uninterrupted thought I took the boys to church then lurked (unseen) through the building to the parking lot and headed for an early lunch at PF Changs where I pretended I was in Hong Kong.
I picked up the boys an hour or so later and felt like I’d had a sabbatical.
Anything, yes; anything – I’d do about anything to satisfy my strong urge for autonomy.
Next week is going to be an unusual week.
Nate is going to “The Great Escape” in Wisconsin. Thulani is going on a mission trip to New Orleans.
I am going to take the VW Beetle and drive to my brother California – and, wait for it, I bought myself a floppy hat so I can do it with an open sun roof!
July 11, 2015
A handful of (newspaper) readers have asked about our travel.
The suggestion is that I am independently wealthy, perhaps a little bored:
1. I travel mostly to speak in Youth With A Mission and its affiliated University of the Nations. I try to take my sons with me. This is a volunteer organization operating in hundreds of locations. I think I’ve been to about 40. I teach classes about growing up, personal responsibility, and about the concept of Differentiation of Self. I have loved this imperfect organization since I was 17. I have tried to play my role since 1986.
2. Outside of YWAM I have developed a readership through my newspaper column (The Mercury). Consequently, I have been invited to address schools, colleges, and public groups about various matters like RACE, ADOPTION, and SINGLE-PARENTING. My newspaper audience is predominantly in South Africa although invitations have come from the UK and Eastern Europe.
3. I travel to assist individuals and groups in conflict. I help people speak and hear each other and engage in necessary and meaningful conflict. On such missions I have no agenda but to help parties articulate what they think they need.
4. I don’t use PowerPoint, I have no bells and whistles. It’s all about the process, respect, mutuality, and love. When I use the term LOVE in this context I mean seeking the highest good for all concerned.
[YES. I will come to you, your organization, your school, church or whatever. It’s all about time and availability. No destination is too far. Am I expensive? YES. It will cost you everything – and the least expensive aspects of what it costs will have to do with money.]
December 28, 2014
When making your New Year resolutions – whether they involve very personal matters like ridding yourself of excess weight, changes you’d like to bring to your family, or how you conduct yourself at work – consider and respect the power of homeostasis.
This is the systemic pressure for things to return to “normal”. It’s the pressure that resists change. It’s the force that wants things to go back to the way things were.
Think of the power of homeostasis as an influential undercurrent, an invisible force. It’s why losing weight in the short term is easier than keeping it off in the long term. It’s not only that you may just get slack about watching what you eat. It is more than that. Your body is reaching for, even aching for, a state it once knew.
Understanding homeostasis will help you understand why some people will leave one abusive relationship only to appear to welcome another.
It’s why the “new broom” boss was only able to change things at work for a short time.
If you can accommodate the power of homeostasis in your plans you are more likely to succeed.
Understand this pressure is real.
Embrace it, build your plans around it, and you are more likely to harness it.
Awareness is a powerful tool.
December 26, 2014
What gifts will you offer yourself and others in 2015?
Here are mine…
I shall make every attempt to be clearer about what I need and what I want, knowing full well that clarity and definition on my part do not guarantee that I will get what I need and want.
I shall make every attempt to be softer and gentler with my opinions, clearer with my humor, and less terse when annoyed both in print and in person. Readers have been more gracious than I deserve in pointing out this necessity to me and my close friends have been kinder than I deserve in accommodating my strong views.
I will use my skills and my privileged platform to promote the gifts and the skills of others.
I will vet requests on my time more carefully than I have done in the past so that I may give myself more fully to the things I love and to the things about which I am passionate.
I will look for the treasure in others, treasure that is so often hidden behind tough façades.
December 5, 2007
“I want to save my marriage. Our situation has risen to a new level with issues of jealously and trust. He takes my car keys, he checks up on me, I no longer have friends around, and am no longer allowed ‘ladies nights.’ My brother is not allowed to visit. My husband doesn’t want children. He picks on me constantly. He complains that I don’t give him enough sex. He checks on my cash slips so I don’t spend too much money. I have the urge to run and run. I was independent and a professional artist but he took it away. I am constantly walking on eggshells not to upset him. He turns things around so I look bad. Please help. (Minimal edits for space)
Dance on the eggshells, invite your brother, and make a spare set of car keys, invite friends to visit, go out as often as you want. Initiate sex only when YOU want sex. Take back your power or this will never be a marriage. Control is never love so stay out of it. Get your life back: you are a wife, not a prisoner. His jealousy is HIS issue. Don’t make it yours. Until you focus on your behavior and not on his, this marriage will not improve.
October 25, 2007
“My wife spends a lot of time at home because of family commitments and I understand that she needs to circulate with other people. When she does go out she seems to go over the top and stays out late. She doesn’t want to talk to, stating that she knows everything about me. When she spends a lot of time with other men, I tend to get jealous. I have been married before and I am scared that my wife will leave me for another man which is what happened in my previous marriage. She says she loves me but I don’t know whether of not to believe her. I am really fighting with my self internally to give her the space she requires and to not stifle her. Is there some things I might read, or things I should do to try and releive my fear, or try and get to the bottom of how she feels.”
Getting to the bottom of how you feel is sufficiently difficult, let alone trying to get to the bottom of how she feels. Leave her feelings alone. Read David Schnarch’s Passionate Marriage. The book will help you see where you end and she begins – that is what is at the core of your troubles.
October 2, 2007
“Three years ago our pre-marriage counselor used a few of your columns to get us talking. I was annoyed because they made our engagement seem so business-like and so un-romantic. It seemed very cold to discuss money when you feel so in love. Now I can see how important it was to talk about money and children and faith as if I was entering a business relationship. Thanks. You have helped us a lot.” (Edited)
Perceiving a marriage as having many elements of a business contract will enhance, and not detract, from a marriage relationship. The absence of money (fights over money, the misuse of money) in a marriage can quickly kill any feelings of romance and goodwill. “Cold” talks during an engagement can help warm a home for many years to come. He or she, who, during marriage preparation refuses to engage in such talk, is declaring loudly and clearly that he or she is not quite ready for marriage. I am most honored your counselor used some of my work to assist you in you marriage.