Improving your Relationship

Winner's Circle Network with Lou Tice - 12/8/11 - "Improving Your Relationship"

What can you do when you want to improve your marriage or close relationship, but your significant other seems to be content with the way things are?

Marriage or other close relationships offer us unique opportunities to grow. Sometimes, though, conflict arises when partners in romantic relationships have different visions of what the relationship should be like and different ideas about the direction it should take.

If you think your close relationship could use some work but your partner doesn't, what do you do? Well, for starters, you don't start blaming them for disagreeing with you and don't assume that there is something wrong with you. What you can do, instead, is share your visions with each other. Can you describe, as specifically as possible, without blaming or judging, just how you see the problem?

Sometimes professional couples counseling can be a great help in opening faulty lines of communication. But whether you decide to get help or not, make sure you stay focused on a vision of how the relationship will look when it is fixed, and maintain a non-blaming, non-judgmental attitude throughout.

Remember that disagreement doesn't have to mean someone is wrong, and conflict can lead to greater harmony if it is handled properly.


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The Pacific Institute, Inc.

The Intuitive Mind

The Intuitive Mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant.
Albert Einstein.

The Divided Brain

RSA Animate

Thinking about giving up on your dream?

Did you know that... Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper editor because "he lacked imagination and had no good ideas." He went bankrupt several times before he built Disneyland. In fact, the proposed park was rejected by the city of Anaheim on the grounds that it would only attract riff raff.

So if you're thinking about giving up on your dream, think of Walt Disney.

Different than you...

An article by: Lou Tice - The Pacific Institute, Inc.

How tolerant are you of people who look and think differently than you? With global terrorism continuing to rise, this is an important question - one which drives down to the very core of who we are as human beings.

I am deeply concerned about hate crimes (meaning crimes motivated by racism, intolerance or bigotry) today. It's also very troubling that people under the age of 18 commit more than half of these vicious crimes in the United States - and the trend seems to be spreading to other countries not normally known for such behavior.

A Harris Poll some time ago indicated that over fifty percent of the high school students had personally witnessed racial confrontations and four out of ten said that they would be willing to either participate in or silently support racial incidents. From the front pages of the newspapers, I don't think things have gotten much better.

Now, my experience has taught me that hate, fear, and violence only survive where there is ignorance, and where a poor self-image makes it seem desirable to see others as somehow beneath you.

I think that schools should teach tolerance and respect right along with basic skills. After all, we live in a world where diversity is the rule rather than the exception. If our kids are threatened by differences or uncomfortable around others who don't look or speak as they do, they aren't likely to grow or go very far.

I challenge you to join me in taking responsibility for supporting tolerance in our schools and to help every child you know to realize that we are all more alike than different. A first good step would to be to practice what we preach by getting to know someone different than ourselves.

Lou Tice - The Pacific Institute, Inc. - to subscribe to Lou's email newsletter articles go to:

Mosaic faces from a mosaic table - images taken outside Wauchope Community Centre... sorry I don't know the names of the fabulous creators - if you do, please let me know.

Thinking in colour and images

Mind Map Image from: Buzan

What? Thinking in colour? Sometimes it seems to me that we can all be found guilty of thinking in black and white... either or scenarios. Let me explain... something happens at home, we put the brakes on... and then before you know it we are in an argument saying... 'it's my way or get out'... and so many relationships can finish that way. Relationships that may have you wondering later on, why did I leave like that?

Perhaps black and white thinking can be helpful sometimes, when we need to put the brakes on in certain areas of our lives. When we drink to much and want to start moderating, or stopping. However studies have proven that our brain loves images and colour.

So lets consider colour and image thinking. When other people are important to us, we need to start thinking outside our normal way of response. We need to start to become creative and work together to find out news of being together.

This is where mind mapping can be helful... you might like to read Tony Buzan's book on Mind Mapping or watch the video below.

the Peace Pavillion

On a recent visit to the Arts Centre at The Gold Coast, I discovered a gem in the middle of the park at the back of the centre. The Peace Pavillion. I don't know if the same feeling of peace will be felt by looking at these pictures, that I felt while wandering around there, but I hope so.

The Peace Pavillion... is dedicated to each person who spends a few moments of the day discovering inner peace. You are joining people from all over the world who celebrate peace as a an active part of their lives.

If peace were a picture what would it be?
If you could touch peace, how would it feel?
let your thoughts slow down completely,
Imagine you are spiritual light.

My natural positive energy is beginning to flow.
I am serene, calm and confident,
filling with lightness and ease.
Quietness encircles me
I feel close to the Source of peace and love
I absorb soothing streams of silence and power
Peace is mine I feel renewed.

I am a Peaceful Soul
and I take this into the world.

The Culture of Peace

Give Peace a chance... John Lennon

We walk together on sacred ground, Black feet, white feet, footprints soft upon the land. The Dreaming moves beneath our feet. The landscape is alive. Pitjantjatjara People.

It is important from time to time to slow down, to go away by yourself, and simply be. Eileen Caddy

Although it is difficult to bring about peace
Through internal transformation, this is the only way to achieve lasting peace. The Dalai Lama

It is only with the heart that I can really see.
What is essential is invisible to the eye. Antoine de St Exupery

We seek to heal our past and move on together. Mark Dodson

And the Peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds. Philippians 4

God is the friend of silence. Trees, flowers, grass grow in silence.
See the stars, moon, and sun how they move in silence. Mother Theresa

Aim at heaven and you will get the earth thrown in.
Aim at earth and you will get neither. CS Lewis

Peace is the vessel in which all blessings are contained. The Talmud

I believe in the sun even when it is not shining. Anne Frank

It gets dark sometimes, but morning comes. Keep hope alive. Rev Jesse Jackson

Reach out for your spiritual side, for it is the only possible way that you can be who you are... Receive the fullness in your heart that is yours for we are of a spiritual design and destiny my brothers and sisters. The Confederation Tribes of Warm Springs Oregon

"Would you tell me please, which way I ought to go from here?" asked Alice
"That depends a great deal on where you want to get to". said the Cat
Lewis Carroll

When you do the things that you can do, you will find the Way and the Way will follow you. Winnie the Pooh

Be melting snow. Wash yourself of yourself. Rumi

I learned to love you Today

I Learned To Love You Today

You're miserable and probably one of the rudest people I've ever come across.

When I approach you, you turn away and pretend that I am not there, until you're ready.

I have tried a thousand times to make you smile, and you have tried a thousand times not to.

I have dreaded even having to deal with you. I even tried coming at another time only to find you there at all hours.

The hard, staid, look on your face remains unchanged no matter what day it is, what time it is or even what season.

A "Beautiful day!" gets a moan.

"Hello, how are you today?" always returns "The same."

I have given up on you; I have been angered by you. I have even thought about complaining to the manager, but didn't.

Then one day I caught myself acting just like you and realized that I must stop.

I finally resolved myself to the fact that you are who you are and I cannot change that.

You are a fact of my life, and I must learn to deal with it.

You made me.

The one day that I permitted myself to return the emptiness, rude behavior, terrible attitude and silent treatment, you chose to say something.

I approached the checkout and you said, "Are you Okay?" I was stunned. I could actually feel my brow, my entire face scrunch up apparently angry that you would ask.

"Am I okay?" I said in disbelief.

"Yes." you replied. "You are usually so upbeat and chipper."

I stood in this dream-like state confused by what was going on.

You looked at me and said, "I depend on you to lift my spirits every time you come in. I work three jobs, my bills are piling up, my kids need clothes for school, my husband left me and three weeks later I found out I have cancer."

I was speechless.

"Now you come in with this attitude today," she said.

I actually apologized.

I never considered that you were much more than a clerk. I never tried to understand that behind that face was personal pain, life challenges and loss.

Sure you should learn to separate work and life, but sometimes life digs in, hurts, and you end up wearing it like an ugly dress. It fits, but no one wants to see it.

Knowing now how difficult your life is, I will see you through the eyes of love.

Love is more than romantic. Love is compassionate.
Love is kind. Love is forgiving. Love is seeing beyond the pain.

"I learned to love you today."

~by Bob Perks
in an email from Mountain

"Separating Self-Worth and Behaviour"

Whether you are raising kids or trying to improve your own self-esteem, the relationship between who you are and what you do is important. Whether you are a parent, grandparent, or simply trying to build your own self-esteem, it is important to realize that we need to separate our sense of self-worth from our behaviour.

Imagine this scene: A three-year-old asks repeatedly, "Mama, do you love me?" Each time, Mom answers, "Of course I do." Then the child takes her hand and leads her to a broken flowerpot or shattered toy and looks at her questioningly.

Here is a little child, on this earth only three short years, already asking one of the most profound psychological questions any of us can ask: "Is my ability to be loved tied to what I do? Am I the same as my behaviour?" The answer for all of us, no matter how old we are, should be the same, "No, indeed!"

The importance of this point can't be overemphasized. To increase self-worth, it is vital that we respond to behaviour while remaining friendly and respectful toward the person. This means that when a child misbehaves, we don't call him a "bad boy." And when a child does what we want her to, we don't say, "What a good girl!" Instead, we praise the behaviour and hug the child.

The same goes for how we treat ourselves. Remember that you are not simply what you do any more than you are what you wear.

Article by: Lou Tice

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The Pacific Institute, Inc.

Buzz Lightyear's Helmet

Buzz Lightyear's Helmet

"See how Buzz Lightyear's helmet flips up!
It is a working helmet," my five-year-old excitedly explained.

He was sitting in the bathtub playing with an action figure called Buzz Lightyear from the movie "Toy Story."

I listened and watched intently as he explained every detail of the toy. It was about as exciting as mini-bike brakes. In fact, it was exactly as exciting as mini-bike brakes.

Over 30 years ago, I bought a brand new, candy apple red, 3.5 horsepower, Cyclops mini-bike for $175.00. I worked during the summer and saved $25.00 per week for seven weeks to pay for it. I earned $1.00 per hour, so it took most of my pay to put $25.00 aside for the mini-bike.

If I could afford and purchased a multi-million dollar Lear Jet tomorrow, it wouldn't have half of the excitement that the Cyclops had. I remember that I rolled it inside of the house and parked it in my bedroom for the night.

My mother noticed the smell of gasoline in the house and asked what the smell was. When she discovered I had parked the mini-bike in my bedroom, she promptly made me take it to the garage.

Nothing material has ever come close to the mini-bike in terms of raw excitement and the fulfillment of a dream.

So what does that have to do with Buzz Lightyear and his helmet?

You see, the mini-bike had drum brakes, just like a car. The brakes weren't operated by hydraulics but rather by a cable from levers on the handlebars.

I remember proudly explaining to my father about the brakes on the Cyclops. How they operated just like his car. I explained how safe they were and the principle on which they worked.

My father listened as though I was explaining the secret of life to him. My father was not a mechanical man. I now know that he didn't really know what drum brakes were. He didn't care either but I didn't know that.

He knew that his son cared about them. He knew the importance of listening, even if it was something that he wasn't interested in. I remember his intense steel gray eyes as they peered at the brake mechanism nodding approval.

Drum brakes on the Cyclops, hinged helmet on Buzz, same thing.

It's been over 30 years. My father has been gone from this life nearly ten years. I still remember. The Cyclops is now nothing more than dust in some junkyard or landfill. The memory of the intense gaze and the nodding approval is still strong.

It's why I gazed so strongly and paid so much attention to the hinged helmet. Buzz, like the Cyclops, will soon be gone, but the memories will shape a spirit and remain.

Little things that you do can change a life.

You never know when that moment is.

What a person puts in front of you could be their dream and constant labor. You never know what a little attention can do. You also never know what inattention can do.

My son was naked in more than the physical when he showed me Buzz. He had the shields removed and opened his heart to share what he held precious.

I thought that my father listened as though I was explaining the secret of life to him. I now realize that he was showing the secret of life to me.

Remember what is precious to another, may not be to you, but it is precious nonetheless. You'll have your opportunities to shape a spirit.

Don't let it pass you by, be it Buzz or brakes.

~A MountainWings Original~


Bear Cottage Hospice for Children

Bear Cottage, located in Manly, is a children’s hospice – a very special place dedicated to caring for children with life-limiting conditions and their families. At Bear Cottage, every life, however short, is enriched, enjoyed and celebrated.

Bear Cottage is a place, where cherished moments and special memories are created – a place where life is for living. Whilst staying at Bear Cottage, families receive individual, specialised support delivered by a team of dedicated and highly skilled professionals.

A stay at this home away from home is exactly what each family needs it to be. Families do not pay for any services they receive from Bear Cottage, instead the $2.5 million required to keep the doors open each year are raised entirely by the community.

For more information visit the Bear Cottage Website

If you are interested in participating in a fundraiser for these wonderful kidsBear Cottage Go Fundraise - Click here for info

How to get more of what you want...

Positive thinking is certainly a powerful thing, but positive expression is equally important. Many people, especially marriage partners and parents of small children, seem to believe that the best way to get somebody to change for the better is to consistently point out to them what they are doing wrong.

These authority figures criticize, day in and day out. Eventually the people they are talking to become frustrated and often start to feel angry, because they see that nothing they say or do has any positive effect, and sometimes things even get worse.

Has this ever happened to you? If so, there's a principle of cognitive psychology that I teach in my seminars you'll want to know about. It's simply this: We move toward and become like what we think about. And we automatically behave in ways that match the image we have of our capabilities and ourselves.

When you focus on what is going wrong, you tend to experience more of the problem. And when you focus on the solution, you move toward it, as surely as day follows night.

So instead of telling folks what they are doing wrong, why not tell them what they are doing right? Instead of telling them what the problem is, why not tell them what the solution looks like and how it will benefit them personally?

And while you're at it, why not tell them how much you enjoy and appreciate the thoughtful or bright or funny things they say and do. Remember the behavior that you focus on and praise tends to be repeated.

Lou Tice

The Pacific Institute

Talking with Teens

What should parents do if they want their teenagers to confide in them? Dr. Joyce Vedral, author of several books on the teenager-parent relationship, asked a large number of teens to answer this question, and here is what they said.

Generally, teenagers tend to feel comfortable talking with those parents with whom they can laugh and joke, parents whose understanding they know can count on. When asked why they would choose one parent over another to confide in, they invariably say they choose the one who stays calm even when they, themselves, are emotional, and who never says things like, "That shouldn't bother you."

Here's something else that's critical. In our efforts to get our teenagers to talk to us, many of us neglect to talk to them - especially about how much we appreciate, love and admire them. Sometimes we get so caught up in our efforts to keep our kids on the right track that we forget to tell them how great they are. That is a big mistake.

Nothing can be more encouraging and more conducive to building their self-esteem than you taking the time to express confidence that they have what it takes to make it in life.

They may not tell you on the spot how much your approval matters to them, but believe me, it does.

P.S. Don't feel guilty if you haven't done these things so far. There's no time like the present to start!

article by
Lou Tice
read more or sign up for newsletters at:
The Pacific Institute

Listening to Teens

An article by Lou Tice...
Parents of teenagers often complain that they can't get their kids to communicate. Sometimes there are good reasons why.

Teenagers really want to be able to talk to their parents. In fact, in some cases, they're dying because they can't. Most teens who commit suicide are those who feel they can't talk to either parent, and their feelings of loneliness, isolation and despair take over.

Parents, without realizing it, do things that stop their teen-aged children from confiding in them. What sorts of things? Well, they interrupt to give reprimands and lectures instead of just listening, giving support and saving the moral lesson for another time.

Or, they discount what the teen is feeling by making it seem trivial or unimportant, especially when compared to the grown-up responsibilities parents must cope with.

If you catch yourself behaving in these ways when your teenagers try to talk with you, stop and apologize. Your teenager will appreciate your efforts to change your behavior to gain a closer relationship, and he or she will give you another chance - maybe not on the spot, but soon.

If your communications have broken down completely, a few visits to a good family therapist can help get you back on track. Few things in life are as important as your relationship with your kids. Why not make it as good as it can possibly be?

by Lou Tice
Learn more or read more at:
The Pacific Institute

people who try to belittle you

"Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great." Mark Twain

How Does Divorce Affect Teenagers

Parenting Question

"After a turbulent 18 years of marriage, I believe my husband and I will be getting a divorce soon. We've split up lots of times before (due to both his and my affairs) and we've tried counseling, but this time I think it is finally over. There is too much hurt and too much anger. Cliché of me perhaps, but I have stayed because of my kids. I just want to know, how does divorce really affect teenagers? I have two teens: a 14-year-old girl and a 16-year-old boy." --Soon-To-Be Single Mom

Positive Parenting Tip for Teenagers Dealing with Divorce

Dear Soon-To-Be Single Mom:

Bottom line--getting a divorce will rock your teens' world.

Yet chances are your children have already experienced the negative affects of your strained relationship to your husband. Yongmim Sun, assistant professor at Ohio State,conducted a National Education Longitudinal Study with over 10,000 students and concluded that: "The negative effects that we associate with divorce are actually evident in teens at least one year before the marriage has ended.... It's not accurate to say divorce doesn't matter at all, but it is true that much of the damage to adolescents has already occurred before the divorce." (Journal of Marriage and Family, August 2001).

So how will your teens react? There is no way to tell for certain, but generally teens and pre-teens dealing with their parents divorce may become:

1. Angry and highly critical of their parents' decision.

2. Depressed or withdrawn from both parents, while seeking stronger connections with peers.

3. Disillusioned with marriage and feel rejected by one or both parents.

4. Better behaved--hoping that this will save their parents' marriage.

5. Involved with risk-taking activities (i.e. skipping class, turning to drugs and alcohol, becoming sexually active, etc.)

6. Withdrawn from one parent as a form of punishment--while taking the side of the other parent.

Fortunately, you can mitigate some of these negative effects by:

1. Maintaining current family routines (as much as possible) and ensuring that your kids have quality time with both you and your husband.

2. Resisting the urge to lean on your teens for support and instead seeking counseling and the support of your own friends.

3. Taking a vow of silence whenever you feel compelled to speak ill of your husband while in the presence of your children.

4. Ensuring that your teens have support from friends and family. Research suggests that support from extended members of your family and community can make a world of difference when it comes to having your teens successfully survive a divorce.

5. Finding a counselor for your teens that they like and can confide in (school counselors are sometimes useful to consult).

6. Continuing to expect respect from your teens and maintaining your current household rules.

Divorce (and the lead up to divorce) puts a strain on everyone in the family. By striving to make your divorce as amicable as possible, by finding support for your teens and counseling for you, and by staying connected with your children you will get through this--and so will they.


Article by: Kelly Nault, MA author of When You’re About To Go Off The Deep End, Don’t Take Your Kids With You inspires moms to put themselves first—for the sake of their children. She shares time-tested tools that motivate children to want to be well behaved, responsible and happy!


Would you stop to listen?

The Setting: In Washington, a Railway Station, a cold January morning, a man with a violin played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, approximately 2,000 people went through the station, most of them on their way to work.

He finished playing and silence took over. Of all the people walking through the station that day, very few people stopped to notice. No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the greatest musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, with a violin worth $3.5 million dollars. Two days before, Joshua Bell sold-out a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100 each to sit and listen to him play the same music.

The Experiment: Joshua Bell, playing incognito in the D.C. Metro Station, was organized by Gene Weingarten of the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and people's priorities.

This experiment raised several questions:

*In a common-place environment, at an inappropriate hour, do we perceive beauty?

*If so, do we stop to appreciate it?

*Do we recognize talent in an unexpected context?

One possible conclusion reached from this experiment could be this:

If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world, playing some of the finest music ever written, with one of the most beautiful instruments ever made . . .

How many other things are we missing as we rush through life?

An excerpt from

A nurturing family

Feelings of worth can flourish only in an atmosphere where individual differences are appreciated, mistakes are tolerated, communication is open, and rules are flexible - the kind of atmosphere that is found in a nurturing family. Virginnia Satir

Harbouring hate and resentment

"A Rattlesnake, if Cornered will become so angry it will bite itself. That is exactly what the harboring of hate and resentment against others is - a biting of oneself. We think we are harming others in holding these spites and hates, but the deeper harm is to ourselves." E. Stanley Jones

Hope can be given...

“Just as despair can come to one another only from other human beings, hope, too, can be given to one only by other human beings.” – Elie Wiesel

Never underestimate the power of kindness... a kind word, a smile, helping someone push a heavy trolley to their car... all these little things can turn someone else's world from despair to hope - and you have that power.

Look in your heart and see the truth

When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth, you are weeping for that, which has been your delight. Kahlil Gibran

Wellness Mandala

This Wellness Mandala and many others can be found at: Soul Art

Take time to breathe today

Sounds silly doesn't it, take time to breathe today, after all we are all breathing all the time... But if you will just stop what you are doing, just for a minute or two, and give yourself some time alone - and focus on your breath, breath in and breath out... you will start to feel the benefit of relaxation. Let your thoughts drift, simply bring your awareness to your breath in and then your breath out, then keep focussed only on your breath for a minute or two, or 20 if you can.

If there is somewhere in nature you love to go to - picture this place in your mind, or have an image of nature you like to gaze at, and bring your awareness to your breath.

The image above is from

Embracing Ageing

I've put this image of the front yard of an old house we once rented in a sea side town in NSW, as I'm particularly fond of old beac...