Just back from Total Clergy Well-being 2014, one of the most transformational and inspirational, informed and affirming experiences that I and Anna have ever been part of.
Here’s some things we learned:
1. Trauma – in severe or milder forms – may lie at the root of much ministerial dysfunction.
2. CBT has not been so effective in treating trauma. The most effective treatment, EMDR, was found by accident, by Francine Shapiro. Those who tried to discredit this treatment not only ended up validating, but also refining it.
3. You can cope with much trauma if you know what your exit strategy is.
4. As well as undoing the power of negative memories, EMDR can also enhance positive ones.
4. Oak Ridge Conference centre at Chaska, outside Minneapolis, is a phenomenal venue. The dessert selection alone was awesome. We are missing not having an omelette chef at breakfast time.
5. Guilt is “I made a mistake”. Shame is “I am a mistake.”
6. Buy from the perimeter of a supermarket. Avoid the centre – it is a transfat danger zone.
7. Good fat is good. Carbs make you tired after lunch. Protein improves meal satisfaction.
8. A glass of milk contains over 100 hormones and other chemicals. This really messes us up.
9. Omega 3 is just good on so many levels. Watch out for the level of DPA versus EHA.
10. What fat you cook with matters. Unsaturated – liquid at room temperature – is good for salads. Saturated – solid at room temperature – is good for cooking. The greener olive oil is, the better.
11. With carbs – 3:1 Veg to fruit ratio to sustain weight. 5:1 veg to fruit ratio to lose it.
12. Eat slow – it takes your body 20 minutes to tell you you’re full.
13. Eat in the order of Protein, Veg, Fats, Fruit/Grain, Indulgences.
14. We should drink twice as much water as we eat food.
15. The best you can stay out of trouble is to have an interesting private life.
16. Being clergy is like being a step-parent – coming into a pre-formed family in a parental role.
17. There is a general anxiety out there that Church is not doing well, and that filters down.
18. 5 key areas for clergy well being – Physical wellbeing, Sabbath time, Taking time off for vocations, Reciprocal relationships (being out of role), Sources of joy.
19. An important image for clergy is of being filled up. The opposite is being burnt out – this is an image from the early days of rockets, where a rocket would continue in trajectory for some time, under its earlier momentum, but without fuel to sustain it further.
20. I am a recovering deity.
21. Where you put your attention is where something will grow – Thich Nhat Hanh
22. Four stages of forgiveness (according to Smedes) – i. Acknowledging your hurt; ii. Blame the other; iii. Give up right to get even; iv. Pray for person who wronged you.
23. In 1997 there was very little psychological literature on Forgiveness. A key figure in Forgiveness becoming a major subject in the literature has been Robert Enright, a founder of the International Forgiveness Institute (which is what the Church has been for centuries).
24. The remarkable story of the Derksen family – the murder of Candace and the Forgiveness project.
25. The Amygdala is one quick operator. Normal brain processes are about 800ms. It can spot a negative person in about 80ms. To come away from those signals we need to consciously calm down – breathing is key. It takes men about 20 minutes to calm down and start using there Frontal Lobe for decision making.