My Heartfelt Message to Teenagers: Seek & Explore

Adolescence, the newest research shows, is from 13 to 26+.

The first Adulthood begins between 28 and 30.

A mother of babies ages 1 and 3 called me this week for marriage counseling. She’s 23. Her husband, 24, called me today to cancel, he refuses – he’s not ready. They’ve been together 7 years, he’s moved out. And, even with such little information, I know that, of course he’s not ready! He’s an adolescent boy ready for adventure and exploration. My hopes that he might consider developing his manhood now would require him to resist his innate drive to develop identity and leap (unprepared, immature and un-mentored) into the responsibility for the role of husband and father. We need our men – but we can’t mix up an instant fix to inject them with adulthood; that takes time, experience and the wonder of growing up.

I see this all the time: we, the adults, abandon the schooling of many teens in the ways they need (most of them have given up trying). So, without healthy adventures for experimentation, the teens self-stimulate. They usually find what kids can access; they “use” sex, alcohol, drugs, protest songs and virtual reality with their peers to assuage the relentless desire for experience which naturally sculpts identity.

So, at 16 and 17, these two teens got together and now they have two children. She can’t leave her little ones and he can’t take the conflicts over his going out to do what adolescents do with their friends rather than staying with her as a husband and father. She is left exhausted, discouraged and trapped as a girl who must abandon herself and care for her babies. My heart weeps for all of them.

Meanwhile, dear teenagers, may my mentoring help you to put yourself in adventures and experiences. I encourage you to seek and explore the best in the world that you can reach. And, I hope that you refuse to stay stuck with those who abandon their shining dreams, substantial goals and thrilling adventures.

Chill Chops! or How “Downshifts” Enrich My Marriage

I took a week off near St Petersburg, FL after presenting The Enneagram at one of the Yellow Ribbon conferences for the Army before immersing back into my life in Dallas. Small, comfy condo. Reading, writing and working out. So grateful to be typing on Jack’s iPad!
Asking for visions and insights for my next goals as I walk on the beach.

It’s foggy and cool – but the condo has a heated pool and hot tub!

On my last day at Indian Shores, FL – not ready to leave and yet also ready to be home with Jack. Nice paradox. Just means that I want to schedule a Staycation next time we have a clear weekend now that I’ve re-established my style of “chill chops!”

When we marry, we say to ourselves and others: this is the man/woman I choose above all others and that is the commitment we receive in return. One of the dimensions of intimacy is this focus and faithfulness. I am now my spouse’s source of private and personal love.

As Jack’s wife, I think of my role as being the conduit through which love passes to my precious husband. If he is to be loved, then I want to be free to offer all of the ways of being loved there are because he has limited himself to what I can provide. Of course that’s, in essence, true of him and of most sincere spouses or intimate partners.

This is one of my most powerful motivators to be the best me. When I am healthy and happy I am a better lover in all the ways of being a woman in an intimate relationship.

When I ask a couple to do the Enneagram Inventory, I am assured that I can narrow into a focus on what the partners do well and what may be their blind spots or problem areas. Knowing our personality type reveals where we need to be sensitive about learning and growing to better care for our partner. Since my Type is E2w3…the Helper or Hostess, I know that self care is my blind spot.

That’s somewhat counter-intuitive. But, as a Helper, I tend to care for others before I care for myself. And so it is important to my ability to stay strong, happy and healthy for my husband and my marriage that I take time for myself. Of course, this is true for other Types who give too much as well.

Keeping Your Zest for Life Handbook - uses the Nine Habits Pyramid of a Healthy Lifestyle

Keeping Your Zest for Life Handbook – uses the Nine Habits Pyramid of a Healthy Lifestyle

I recommend taking the free “Happiness Compass” offered at The Blue Zones website: blue for The Nine Habits of a Healthy Lifestyle. Number Three is Downshift.

Some of us have a lot to learn about Downshifts or self-care…it’s how my topic “When a Bubble Bath and a Massage Aren’t Enough” evolved. We can be limited by guilt, low self-esteem, responsibilities, etc. or just ignorance: not having an assortment of high quality experiences to draw from which have nothing to do with tending to others. If you have some favorites, I invite you to send them to me.

Turns out that for me in Tampa it revolved around:
1) the hot tub and strapping on my deep water aerobics belt for an hour of working out in a heated pool,
2) simple fun foods, drives and walks down the beach,
3) guided imagery audio files on my iPhone,
4) my watercolor palette and paper,
5) a who-done-it novel and
6) thinking and writing in a recliner surrounded by writing implements, spiral bounds and an iPad.

Peaceful sleep, fired-up imagination, free time to rest my body, mind and spirit.

Then I can return home to Jack and my works with enthusiasm, strength and confidence. I think that’s part of being my best self and, therefore, a woman who can love her man.



Yellow Ribbon Program for the Army to Help Marriages and Families

New Friends

The last three days I have been one of the Subject Matter Experts for the new Yellow Ribbon reintegration program for soldiers returning from theater and the Families of the Fallen including those murdered at Ft. Hood.
Partly, I’m inspired to give my best; partly I am drained by the intensity.

Its been wonderful connecting with both my colleagues on the staff and the soldiers assigned to helping us.

I created a Power Point on Purpose and Mission and Enneatype Personalities.

The Nine Enneatypes

The Nine Enneatypes

I only wish I could do more.

UPDATE: It’s a couple of years later and I’ve done my Enneagram presentation fifteen times in cities all over the nation. I’m so grateful to share my best tool with soldiers, spouses and family members as the soldiers are headed home from the East. We have so much fun with my husband’s hilarious Enneagram Song.

It is my wish that this introduction to personality strengthens individuals, marriages and parenting.

Teaching Enneagram Types for the Army Yellow Ribbon Conferences

Teaching Enneagram Types for the Army Yellow Ribbon Conferences