Discarded Time

Feeling Lost
Everyone knows the feeling but as adults, we have learned to hide our emotional scars, leaving jagged timelines in our lives, discarding moments we choose not to confront, leaving relationships that we’ve allowed to be damaged. The writers of ABC’s hit series, Lost, recognized the universality of this feeling as they layered metaphor upon metaphor, week after week. The series captured viewers’ shared emotions, defying the possibility of anyone being able to verbalize the show’s meaning. It’s difficult, if not impossible, to deconstruct a feeling. Can anyone really find words to describe fear, longing, regret, or remorse?

Making Connections
Dr. Katherine Stein, a character in The Parallax, recognizes this fact when she asks everyone in her workshop to think with the story, instead of about it. The real question, when examining our stories is not, “What’s this story about?” The real question is more difficult to put into words and can only be answered with an affective analysis, connecting feelings of chaos, confusion, and fear that characterize our lives as we search for restitution and forgiveness.

Yearning Forgiveness
Singer Bryan Adams touches on this need in his hit song, Please Forgive Me. We spend our lives trying to get things right, but often, as a result of our imperfections, we fail. We make mistakes. We hurt and we are hurt. We yearn for restitution, wanting to reconnect but fear failure. We are left with inaction and ineffectiveness. We live in a world that has taught us to discard those things that are broken. Sadly we have forgotten how to fix things. But it’s possible to reclaim those discarded moments.  Real forgiveness requires sincere reflection which can be achieved through self-awareness, self-direction, and self-control. Take your life back. Determine what’s important to you and make choices based on those values—you’ll be glad you did.

 

Leadership, Love and Change

 

Fall Trees

Photo by Donald R. Rickert, PhD

Change Is a Verb
Aspen trees paint the mountain landscape with a blaze of gold as fall approaches—a welcome change from the hot-dry summer months. We await the metamorphosis with great anticipation. Similarly, we often treat change in our lives as if its’ a manifestation of inevitable consequences. This viewpoint is embedded in our language: Change happens. We’re under the grip of change. Couples in love recognize that an effective relationship requires that we understand that love is a verb, not a noun. It’s not good enough to fall into love. We must constantly work at loving. And so it is with change. Spencer Johnson, MD, in his best-selling book, Who Moved My Cheese, uses cheese as a metaphor for change to teach us this lesson. He tells us that we have to plan for change—“Smell the cheese often.” Effective change requires that we view it not as something that happens to us, but something that we facilitate through the choices we make. We act so we aren’t acted upon and, as we do, we become a model for others.

couple holding handsEffective Change Inspires Others
St. Louis musical artist Erin Bode recently released a song, The Space Between, inspired by ten-year old Katelyn Jackson, who is afflicted with a congenital heart defect. Erin used audio recordings that doctors had made of Katelyn’s heartbeat, during her years of treatment, as the background rhythm for the song. As an artist, Erin understands that her music can tell a story. She created a song that allows us to connect with our deepest emotions, becoming a model for what her lyrics implore—“Maybe, if you hold my hand…” She demonstrates how we can become a positive force for change as her song helps, not only Katelyn, but thousands of others.

Effective Change Makes a Difference
It’s when we understand that we have the power to impact our future through the choices we make that we become truly effective. Accessing our emotions and connecting with our stories move us toward that goal. Our stories allow us to see ourselves with new understanding, providing an impetus for change, marked not by passivity and acceptance, but distinguished by active involvement and inspiration. Kyle, a character in The Parallax, learns this lesson from Nicole, another character in the book, who unsuspectingly through her leadership becomes his role mode, influencing a positive change in his behavior. Everyone has the opportunity for leadership.  Ken Blanchard, author of The One-Minute Manager, reminds us that “leadership is a journey, not a destination.” Leadership, love and change, they are all journeys. As we embark on these journeys, we learn that we each have a role as we interconnect with others, recognizing that the outstretched hand that we clasp may be the giver as well as the recipient of help. We discover a truth—“Maybe, if you hold my hand…”

How do you handle your moments of despair?

Buy The ParallaxThere have been times in my life that I have struggled with emotions that have threatened my relationships and diminished my personal effectiveness. My guess is that everyone has had similar experiences in their lives. Often, we may not even know what the source is to the anger, fear, confusion, and despair that reside beneath the surface of our consciousness. My new book, The Parallax, provides the secret to handling these difficult situations.