One thing the globally mobile lifestyle requires from us all is to adjust to change. In Third Culture Kids: Growing up among Worlds, David C. Pollock and Ruth Van Reken introduced the concept of ‘building a RAFT’ to help ease us and our children through moves to new cultures.
RAFT stands for:
But RAFT is not only for moves across cultures. It is a change model for transitions of all kinds and can help us adjust in times of rapid change, ambiguity, even turmoil, such as what we are experiencing today.
(For full details on RAFT, please refer to Third Culture Kids, now in its third edition, by David C. Pollock, Ruth Van Reken, and Michael Pollock.)
In this publication, the authors explore the experiences of those who have become known as third culture kids (TCKs) – children who grow up or spend a significant part of their childhood living abroad. The book is rich with real-life anecdotes and examines the nature of the TCK kid experience and its effects on maturing, developing a sense of identity, and adjusting to one’s passport country upon return. The authors give readers an understanding of the challenges and benefits of the TCK life and provide practical suggestions and advice on maximizing those benefits. (Amazon)
One way to process your own grief is through writing of a lament. Here is one way to engage in that process.
Writing your own lament
By James Covey (adapted from Healing Teen’s Wounds of Trauma)
One positive way to deal with the hard things that go on in our lives is to create a “lament.” A lament is a way of expressing our pain to God when we feel bad. It might be done in words, in music, in dance or any other form of creative expression.
A lament helps us expose all the stuff that we have tried to hide and share it with God. This is a good way to start telling your story and releasing painful memories. As it becomes more comfortable for you to share it privately with God, creating a lament can lead to sharing your story with another person when you are ready.
There are many examples of laments in the Bible. Trauma after trauma happened to the nation of Israel as a community (wars, captivity, displacement, famines) as well as to individuals (abuse, rape, abandonment, murder). Many of them found comfort in bringing their pain to God. They had an honest way of speaking to God where they poured out their complaints to him, sometimes even as they declared their trust in him. There are over 40 laments in the book of psalms (making it the most common type of psalm). Laments have the elements below in them but they must have a complaint to be a lament. It is helpful to also have a review of God’s faithfulness and a vow of trust in God.
Parts of a Lament
Address to God.
Review of God’s faithfulness in the past.
Complaint. (must have this)
Confession of sin / Claim of innocence.
Request for help
Vow to praise / statement of trust in God.Examples Psalms 142, Habakkuk 3:17-18, Psalms 130, Psalms 13Here is Psalm 13 and the parts of a lament in it. This might help you in creating your own.1. How much longer will you forget me, Lord? Forever? How much longer will you hide yourself from me? 2. How long must I endure trouble? How long will sorrow fill my heart day and night? How long will my enemies triumph over me? 3. Look at me, O Lord my God, and answer me. Restore my strength; don’t let me die. 4. Don’t let my enemies say, “We have defeated him.” Don’t let them gloat over my downfall. 5. I rely on your constant love; I will be glad, because you will rescue me. 6. I will sing to you, O Lord, because you have been good to me.Vs 1-2 Address to God and Complaint Vs 3-4 Request Vs 5a Statement of Trust Vs 5b-6- Vow to Praise
Shop Talk with Brandi and James Episode number 6 (Subscribe on wherever you listen to podcasts)
followers of Christ to learn to listen to God in the context of contemplative, abiding prayer where God is enjoyed and desire for Him stirred. As I’ve learned and grown deeper in my own intimacy with the Trinity, a passion has developed to help others experience the joy of discerning God’s work and presence in their lives. Believing that God is always at work, I love the ministry of spiritual direction as a means to become aware of and responsive to Him. I desire to create a safe place for people to listen, explore, and respond to the Father.
S – S stands for sitting squarely. So you sit and face the person that you are talking to. We should sit attentively at an angle to the person, so that we can look at them directly and show that we are listening to them and paying attention to them.
O – O stands for having an open posture. Do not cross your arms as this can make us appear anxious or defensive.
L – Lean forwards to show we are interested in what the person is talking about. It also means that the person can lower their voice if they wish to, if they are talking about personal issues, for example.
E – E stands for eye contact. Maintaining eye contact again shows that we are interested and listening to what the person has to say. It doesn’t mean stare at the person as this can make them feel uncomfortable, but maintain good, positive eye contact.
R – R stands for relaxed body language. This shows the person that you are not in a rush to get away, but are letting them talk at their own pace.
To make sure your goals are clear and reachable, each one should be:
Specific (simple, sensible, significant).
Measurable (meaningful, motivating).
Achievable (agreed, attainable).
Relevant (reasonable, realistic and resourced, results-based).
Time bound (time-based, time limited, time/cost limited, timely, time-sensitive).
Professor Rubin also notes that the definition of the SMART acronym may need updating to reflect the importance of efficacy and feedback. However, some authors have expanded it to include extra focus areas; SMARTER, for example, includes Evaluated and Reviewed.
The Enneagram’s structure may look complicated, although it is actually simple. It will help you understand the Enneagram if you sketch it yourself.
Draw a circle and mark nine equidistant points on its circumference. Designate each point by a number from one to nine, with nine at the top, for symmetry and by convention. Each point represents one of the nine basic personality types.
The nine points on the circumference are also connected with each other by the inner lines of the Enneagram. Note that points Three, Six, and Nine form an equilateral triangle. The remaining six points are connected in the following order: One connects with Four, Four with Two, Two with Eight, Eight with Five, Five with Seven, and Seven with One. These six points form an irregular hexagram. The meaning of these inner lines will be discussed shortly.
The Sacred Enneagram: Finding Your Unique Path to Spiritual Growth by Christopher L. Heuertz
The Road Back to You by Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile
“an extended period of time where someone experiences exhaustion and a lack of interest in things, resulting in a decline in their job performance.” “In those situations, the demands being placed on you exceed the resources you have available to deal with the stressors.”- David Ballard.
Certain amounts of stress can be positive resulting in peak performance. However, eventually more stress does not result in more productivity. There is a point where excess stress results in a decrease in productive resulting in fatigue, discouragement and Burnout.
Symptoms of Burnout
Withdrawing from others
Cynicism about self, others, work
Lowered frustration tolerance
forgetfulness (long term and short term memories)
Health; blood pressure, tight muscles,
Exhaustion, Loss of energy
Getting sick more often and easier
Withdrawing from responsibilities
Lack of Motivation
Feeling of failure vocationally
Reduced sense of satisfaction or reward for hard work
Sense of helplessness
Belief you are no longer effective
Generally Decreased Satisfaction
Falling behind with an inability to catch back up, resulting in being more behind
Sense of Shame (feeling of failure)
Feeling helpless, trapped and defeated
What to do
Recognize – Watch for the warning signs of burnout
Reverse – Undo the damage by seeking support and managing stress
Resilience – Build your resilience to stress by taking care of your physical and emotional health
Some Things to help reverse symptoms of burnout. If you can’t imagine having the energy to do any of these things seek help from a counselor, coach or friend.
Take rest/relaxation seriously- do the things that rest our body, mind or soul
Margin/Boundaries – say no to things. The challenge with this is sometimes saying ‘no’ results in feelings of shame “I’m not good enough”. Don’t buy in, burnout happens from overextending one’s abilities
Cultivate a rich non work life – church, friends, family, community
Sleep– good, restful sleep. It might even be helpful to monitor your sleep for a week and see how many hours of quality sleep you are getting.
Organization – it may be worth not doing other things in order to plan out a day, week or month in a way that seems more sustainable
Physical health; eating right, sleeping enough and well, getting exercise
Social Awareness – Know when its you, and when its them
Find new friends.– Perhaps your networks is small, unavailable or negative
I normally work from home so the rest of the world is joining my normal reality. The nice part is you get to dress like a mullet business half and fun half. Here are some tips for working from home, especially during the current crisis.
Create an office space. If you work from home or even a shared space, developing some physical boundaries for work will help you maintain life boundaries from work. That way when it’s time to ‘work’ you do it from the ‘work’ space and when work is over you leave it in the physical office space. It will help prioritize work staying at ‘work’ and home life not being interrupted. It will require practice in not allowing work things to infiltrate other parts of your house and life. An example will be if it’s an work email, only answer it from the ‘office’ location.
Find opportunities for “virtual” connecting. Working so far apart means its worthwhile to try and find unique opportunities to connect in-person with teammates or like-minded workers whenever possible. Because of social distancing it means using things like: facetime, whastapp, zoom, skype, Marco polo. Use these virtual means to connect with work and non-work people. You may have to initiate but its worth it.
Maintaining Margin or Work/Life Balance. Even the most structured among us may have difficulty keeping all of our daily tasks in the right category. Margin means having extra time in the week that isn’t planned but open. That way when things do come up they can take ‘work’ time in the ‘office’ and not disrupt the rest of one’s life. It may be worth recording how many actual hours are worked in a week (remember anytime answering emails is work time). Schedule in breaks from work – espcially if your families are all at home too. Play a game, do family exercise time, read a book or follow #2 and call someone.
Time on Computers. This is more of a warning. Since computers are intrinsically linked to working remotely it important to be careful about the overall time spent on one. It would be a worthwhile activity to measure the time on a computer/tablet/phone over the course of a week. This would include any non-work activities on these devices. Then figure out a healthy amount of time in a day or week and limit your usage to those times.
Fast/Retreat. Take time away technology and work. This means a break from all technology for certain amounts of time. This could be connected to quiet time, personal retreat or silent retreat. Regardless, replace that time with something that is good for you mentally, physically, spiritually or emotionally. As a community, lets hold each other accountable to being healthy individuals.
Take Care of your health. One of the best ways to avoid illness or be prepared if you get sick is to be as healthy as possible. Increase immune boosting nutrient dense foods. Use time at home to try new recipes or swap ideas. Exercise either going outside or in your home. Get plenty of sleep and drink lots of water. Other things like vitamins or supplements can be helpful.