Monthly Archives: August 2014

70 Things from Clergy Wellbeing I couldn’t forget (51-75 – Stress, Woodstock, Spirals)

51. If you can remember Woodstock you weren’t there (and apparently the 90s version doesn’t count)




53. In a Gallup survey by Tom Rath, across many cultures, the following were identified as essential components of wellbeing- Career (in a general sense), Social (happiness of those around us), Financial (have to have enough), Physical, Community (security around us).  This is also the order of importance in which they ranked.  You can do your own survey online.

54. “The most successful places of work see growth of employees as an end in itself.  What’s best for the employee is not at odds with the organisation” – from Tom Rath.

55. Church lifecycle is like a bell curve – you can stabilise, and you can also go beyond the threshold of change.

56. Stressful environments present us with the eternal question mark which scrapes away at our internal teflon.

57. Different people come to seminars for different things – some have huge gaps, some have a little knowledge, and some come looking for pearls.

58. We need to learn to manage our time, but our energy.

59. Going up to Loch Vale is enough, but if you are prepared to climb over the boulder field and up the water fall, you can get to Sky Pond.  Do you want to go there?  You’ve got to climb a waterfall to get there, but it is worth it.


60. If bread can be holy, so also can be its creation.


61. Pizza and ovens and Churches and community are a superb combination.

IMG_3855 IMG_3862

62. Becoming Bread by Gunilla Norris.

63. Apps – Mindful and Insight Timer

64. “They pushed new leaves from their stubbed limbs” – Hurricane by Mary Oliver

65. Walking meditation begins with the left foot and might end like this:


66. “I love myself” “I accept myself” “Yes” Yes”

67. Transformation is not likely to happen through singular revelations (“Scrooge” transformation), not straight lines, but spirals – precontemplation, contemplation, preparation, maintenance, action, termination (Prochaska and Norcross)


68. Our wordle



69. There is a high correlation between dancing and wellbeing across all cultures

70. There could only be one choice…





70 Things From Clergy Wellbeing I couldn’t forget (26-50 – Forgiveness, Fitness, Happiness)

26. Beware of Hootie Pie.

27. Lewis Smedes later regretted the second part of the title of his book “Forgive and Forget”.

28. Enright notes four stages of forgiveness – Uncover, Commit, Work, Deepen

29. According to Enright, forgiveness is not the same as justification, leniency, pardon, reconciliation or forgetting.

30. Story of professor at conference who gets people to spend time remembering an episode in their life of which they are deeply ashamed, and then asking the person next to them to turn to them and say the words “Me too.”  Shame derives much of its power from its secrecy, and loses power through sharing – this underpins much of the work of 12 step movements.

31. Hours of sleep before midnight are vital to wellbeing.

32. Excercise should consist of Cardio, Stretch and Resistance

33. Dynamic stretching before exercise, static after, static at night.

34. The move to positive psychology began in the 1980s when Martin Seligman’s daughter kicked over a pile of leaves he had just raked together.  When he complained her, she asked the world’s foremost expert on depression “Why are you always so grumpy?”

35. We overestimate rates of depression and underestimate rates of life satisfaction in others – a diagnosis doesn’t wipe us out.

36. Happiness = Set range (50%) + Circumstances (5-18%) + Factors under voluntary control (32%).

37. Happiness takes practice and is a practise.

38. 80% of factors for your happiness are available to you – Thich Nhat Hanh

39. Positive influences on happiness – live in wealthy democracy, get married, have friends, avoid negativity, get religion.

40. These are things that do not generally make a difference to happiness – make more money (unless you’re wired that way), stay healthy, acquire education, change climate, race or gender.

41. According to Stepen Ilardi , these are the voluntary factors which effect happiness – Omega 3, avoid rumination, exercise, light exposure, social support, sleep hygiene.

42. Breathe – It’ll be okay.

43. mindfulness_poster_UK


44. Mindfulness is attention in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment and non-judgementally – Jon Zabat-Zinn

45. It is worth spending time looking at and smelling a raisin.

46. Albert Ellis says there are four irrational beliefs which cause my unhappiness- people need to like me, I need to be perfect, things must turn out the way I want them to, people must behave the way that I want them to.

47. Two massive trends amongst clergy – I need to be liked, inhibition of anger (even if 5 people in a congregation of 200 don’t like you, that’s still a 97.5% approval rating, what politician would not be desperate for that).

48. Approach life with curiosity – “Gee, I’m being sued, I’ve never been sued before, I wonder what that feels like.”

49. Mom’s advice – Go outside and play, get enough sleep, eat your fruit and vegetables, to have a friend – be a friend.

50. Some books to read





70 Things from Clergy Wellbeing I couldn’t forget (1-25 – Trauma, Dessert, Nutrition, Forgiveness)

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.