What It's About

TRIBEWORK is about consuming the process of life, the journey, together.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Good Start... Now to Go On With It

WE MAKE THUNDERINGLY POSITIVE STARTS TO MANY OF OUR RELATIONSHIPS, but we inevitably always get to a plateau. There seems a time for all of us where we tire of the initial passion and we can then be faced with quite biting realities; living with this person.

Making a good start in our relationships isn’t as hard as maintaining the good initial effort, not that most of the time the start is any real arduous effort at all; it’s often a pure joy.

Going on with our relationships year in, year out takes tenacity and resilience which is not common to us, but these are qualities we can learn and develop if we’re aware of the need of them.

We need a vision. Where do we see ourselves at the end of the journey? When we look back, what will we see?

What are we hoping to achieve by maintaining a great relational rapport with our partners? There are many considerations, so it’s important to have our own personal desires (and theirs) defined in words.

Life gives us time to create our own vision—our own dream, if you like—and time to re-create it in actuality. What a dazzling thought that is!

There is nothing more inspirational, in terms of relationships, than two people pulling together for the common good—both requiring the best of their individual selves in order to play their responsible part in the divine story that is their life, together.

And so it is for us... to start, yes, but then again more fundamentally to continue, to strive, to go onto the next revelation and the one following and so on—not clinging to the present or the past.

We can only do this well when we have the other person firmly in the grasp of our own minds and hearts—at least enough to silence our own persistent whinges that set themselves on trapping us beyond a heavenly relationship we’re otherwise destined for.

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

What’s Going Unsaid?

There are many things in our relationships that people simply bear with against their own wills and certainly against their desires. We “endure” those things we’re in cahoots with simply because we think we have to. This should, however, never be the case.

In a perfect world none of us would have any relationship problems whatsoever. We’d constantly revisit those romantic times that set the scene of the early relationship.

You remember, don’t you? These were the times when we always felt positive about the relationship and our partner. And when we weren’t absolutely positive, we’d be humorous, blowing off any suggestion of a rift. We had rose-coloured glasses for sure!

But, relationships don’t last in that space. The realities of life bite at some point. Life returns to normal. Our partners didn’t so much change—life just became “normal” again. It’s when this occurs that we start to get bugged by the little idiosyncrasies (or worse) of our partners.

And when they start “living” again, i.e. with us not always the absolute centre of their universe, we can begin to feel a bit miffed; like we’ve been duped.

A relationship can only ever truly mature if it’s got two people willing to be honest with themselves and each other—in this way we see four relationship dynamics that must be in tune and in line for it to all work out favourably. These are each partner with themselves first and foremost, and secondarily, it’s then each partner with their partner. The odds are already against us, particularly when the playing cards of pretence, a.k.a. “romance,” are all left face up on the table.

Think mathematically about those four relationship dynamics. Add to these four the myriad of positive and negative responses possible. Most of the time people will be tempted to protect themselves and will want to live with the lie permanently rather than face the temporary discomfort of their pride being conformed to the truth.

Not many want to be wrong. But, for the relationship to succeed and grow both partners need to be wrong occasionally. Both partners need to be able to say an authoritative “no” to each other, in accepting responsibility for themselves and their role in the relationship.

If only both partners to the relationship can “hunt” in this way together they’ll be threatened less and they’ll also have a freer, cleaner life for the honesty they invest in. It was Mark Twain who said that lying is hard work—it requires a much better memory!

Whatever is going unsaid in any relationship can only be harmful to the necessary trust and respect all relationships need. We must trust our partners with what is really on our hearts.

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

I Didn’t Mean to Be Mean

REFERRED PROBLEMS. People feeling grumpy not so much for the problem they’re grumpy about but for some farther and deeper underlying cause. It happens. Yes, it’s even happened to each of us.

We see them all the time. But the person affected often doesn’t see it at the time because they’re all at sea with a flurry of unreconciled emotion.

I was reminded of this when watching U.S. relationship drama show, Gilmore Girls. Rory, one of the main characters, is upset at her mother and father for marrying without them telling her. In her confusion and seething inner anger, as a Yale editor, she writes an article involving one of her rich boyfriend’s parties. The piece is supposed to be light and humorous, but instead it is tinged with sarcasm, and it mocks the innocent subjects. Needless to say it sparks a domestic for Rory and her boyfriend. Only after it does she see the error in her way and what lied beneath it. Of course, she’s quick to apologise, as we all should be.

We often don’t mean to be mean, but when we have unreconciled stuff “boiling” within us it can hardly help—our conscious minds swimming in muck.

It pays to be honest and forthright with others as well as ourselves and resolve the dissonance before we hurt people and are left embarrassed and troubled further.

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.

Life Coaching for Balance

IN ANY ROLE IN LIFE there’s the core work involved and the self-sustaining journey of character buried and latticed within the management of that work. Balance is necessary within, and between, these two.

When people begin to have relationship issues due to any role they have in life, whether it’s in the home, at work or in the community, there is always work to be done on this secondary character level. It’s never usually a case of technical incompetence, although the barriers put up can suggest so.

And this is where coaching can help.

Coaching for balance involves three things, fundamentally:

  1. Offering support
  2. Creating challenge i.e. to help the person coached set goals
  3. Facilitating a professional or personal vision (or both) for achievement

Particularly when we have difficult-to-counter change occur in life, we have problems with balance, and whilst we’ll often try stoically to go on with our tasks in the face of difficulties, we can’t hide the impacts these imbalances cause.

They leak out of us, and so the relational upsets occur because we’re not ourselves. People can’t help notice the change and the impacts that change is making on us.

Coaching doesn’t so much help with the technical aspects of the work, but it ties all contingencies of the work together in the form of the relationship efficacies—re-creating the worth and value often missing at the relationship level.

Relationship efficacies, the central pivot of most technical outcomes and their sustainability, can only be realised with support, and from that, a challenge that will facilitate the required transformation the person coached seeks.

For this they’ll need to define their own personal and/or professional vision of what the outcome must look like. From there, the coach will simply lead them through a process where the person coached will direct their own destiny.

When balance is eventually struck the perfect technology of effective coaching is again seen as winning the day!

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Images of Solemnity – Ode to the ANZAC’s


The barest movement underscores the reverent mood as people gather for the task of remembrance.

The cool and wafting breeze, the stiff back, the numbed feet—nothing, simply nothing, compared to the pain the soldiers faced and forfeit they endured.

Oh, the harsh sacrifice forlorn,

ushers the peace earlier forborne.

The soldiers stood and trembled,

for us, we the assembled.

They faced an end in life altogether too soon—it is recounted: in merely one serene moment six hundred and forty five plunged hopelessly to their deaths. We can’t begin to imagine that sort of horror.

This is it; it’s down to this,

this is how it’s to end!

Finish the hope, an end to bliss,

a tearful prayer to send.

With barely a moment, the microseconds ticking aggressively past, the men of war go their way, only ever now to trouble and grace our memories, this exact day. Life is such like. Losses continue to sweep in and overwhelm us, if but for a moment.

[Enters a harrowing truth]

Life cannot be more characterised than by death, for death shows us how absolutely finite the physical life is—this life which is just about everything to us.

Death it is that gives it shape,

a worldly life given to take,

Life no more things left unseen,

death comes to claim so clean.

War might be humankind at its worst, simply reeling from the atrocities of the satanic order. The weight of losses incalculable, we just thank God that the resolve of the time—for those who stood there—who stood against such evil.

Their legacy is left, intact. Legacy is all we can leave. It’s the quintessence of solemnity.

Try it now for then one day,

others will come to enjoy the play.

I don’t suppose we think it true,

our acts of course will be their glue.

As they did, their generations ago, we do now; the flame’s passed to us today. What legacy are we leaving? How will the memories of such courage, endurance, mateship and sacrifice define our present and futures?

© 2010 S.J. & S.J. Wickham.

PHOTOGRAPH: Sarah J. Wickham (taken at 0535hrs – ANZAC Day Dawn Service, Kings Park, Perth, Western Australia).

Saturday, April 24, 2010


Grief is the summary statement of the average life. It surrounds us in not only the deathly hellish things that occur, but in our momentary lives as well. For this reason, active and effective grief management is a daily must for all who wish to succeed. Allow me to illustrate.

Our main problem in life is we can’t live the way we want to live without certain negative consequences coming into play. We do too much or too little of certain things and we create problems for ourselves and others. Due to the very nature of these problems we have to face our grief of them or deny them and therefore avoid the grief.

The former is attending to the grief ultimatum; the latter sees us only dogged with further problems.

Every time we want to eat something but aren’t hungry, for instance, the subconscious mind is kicking against the rational mind, resisting the grief we feel for ‘missing out.’ There is a sad dissonance created within and we subconsciously want to reduce that tension. But the point is we can’t—not that way.

Denying our problems only increases the tension.

Let’s further consider the following problems:

è Consumer debt from ‘retail therapy’;

è Societal crime from discipline issues with children where parents couldn’t say “no,” or continually took the easy way out;

è Pre-marital or extra-marital sex and relationship breakdown.

We’ve already mentioned obesity/lax dietary control. All these are due to denial responses of the grief ultimatum. They’re a flat and proud rejection of truth.

Not always, but small problems generally lead to bigger problems.

Certainly small problems not met most often become larger.

The grief ultimatum is this: to succeed in life we must believe that grieving is so much an intrinsic part of us that it insists on our continual attention and compliance.

We must comply or we face the consequences. All of life applies to this principle.

Those people with great ‘will power’ are illustrative of those who’ve learned to cope effectively with their momentary grief. Indeed, they still grieve for the little things and ‘acts of want’ like others do; they just don’t give way to temptation as much. They’ve adapted to grief.

Grief is experienced almost continually. Even when we are in the heights of pleasured joy and sustained peace we suffer grief, as least subconsciously, simply because we know we can’t retain these halcyon emotions.

The only way we can get better at living life with these facts considered right at the forefront is to learn how to grieve better, and accept that active grief management for the never-ending miniature (as well as the massive and all sizes between) disappointments in life is the only way.

This is a sharp rejection of the denial response and the growing of the strength of resilience so it can be used at all available times.

And still, because none of us are perfect, we will still choose the denial response occasionally. This simply proves the eternal power of the grief ultimatum.

The grief ultimatum hits us and demands our attention in its unique ways, custom-designed to our distinctive personalities. Our task is to understand these and find ways of grieving appropriately.

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.

Friday, April 23, 2010

What in the World is Love, Anyway?

“What is love, anyway... does anybody love anybody anyway.”

~Howard Jones, What is Love (1984).

Set a task: discuss love. No instruments of help, no reference material whatsoever. Can the average person describe love, 1 Corinthians 13 style, and get it almost just about right? Love, for starters, is a broad and abstract concept enshrined at its most fundamental as the selfless act. That’s a bold front. Can that hugely broad thing of love be caged by that simple three-worded concept?

If we think of Paul’s charge to the Corinthians as in having them taste, touch and smell love, through the rich imagery of word pictures he uses, we too can taste, touch and smell love. It’s not some wishy-washy thing we go all gooey over. It’s a tangible and raw definable act resplendent in the blessing of another, to the exception of ourselves.

Yet, would this love acceptably meet us, ourselves, blessing occasionally the vendor? Most certainly, and perhaps this is the point; that the person most apt at loving (recalling it’s selflessly delivered) is the person who has bestowed upon themselves, love.

What is love if not an act above and beyond all acts? An act reliant on nothing but the pure and holy aversion to selfishness, it could easily be. But, surely it’s more positive than that. Patient it is; enduringly patient. Kind, generous, not boastful. We know from Eugene Peterson’s, The Message, that love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have. Love holds its things lightly; not so its rank opposite number, fear. Fear grabs, grasps, holds, squeezes tightly, suffocates. Not love.

Love is:

è Tangible.

è Tickles and laughter.

è Cooking dinner, doing the dishes, or both!

è Helping each other out.

è Playing and spending time together.

è Hugs and kisses.

è Foot and back massages.

è Unexpected gifts.

è Sitting quietly together.

Equally, we think of love in a whole myriad of colluding ways. No matter, it’s truly about what we do for the other people in our lives that characterises our love... not only now, but always!

Love is a theme, a practice, a divine privilege and right; a challenge to each one of us. Go on in deeds of love as the day unfolds, and we will find the inevitable bindings of love coming back to us in unforeseen ways we’d never imagined. It begins with us!

© 2009, 2010 S. J. Wickham.


Sarah J. Wickham, Love is (Perth, Australia: SJW Especially for you, 2008). This was my Christmas gift, a one-off photo book by my wife, dedicated to me and inspired by 1 Corinthians 13:4-7.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Lust and Marriage

“Could we believe that regardless of how sexually free we might have been before tying the knot, marriage is no place for the naughtiness of lust?”

~Esther Perel, Mating in Captivity.

A dichotomy forms in-between the definitive stages of passion, the initial stages of romance—and intimacy, the maturing of love beyond the first year. When we consider both of these factors—passion and intimacy—ebb and flow through the duration of the relationship we certainly note the usual waning of passion the longer things go (and with it often, though more latently, intimacy can diminish too) through the seasons in life.

Most marriages struggle for passion, at least from time to time. It’s a rather elusive quality.

The author of the above quote mentions that she is astounded “how much people are willing to experiment sexually outside their relationships, yet how tame and puritanical they are at home with their partners.” It’s clearly a moral wrong and a will bent to sluggard-gain. Lust is clearly a very alluring thing when the generous helpings of love required are doubly hard in relationships; especially as they wind on to the hum of everyday life.

But, what if we could engender “lust” in our marriages?

Refreshingly she calls us to maximise the erotic hope in the home, with our marriage partner of choice—the one we chose all those few or many years ago.

It doesn’t take a lot of imagination how we might “spice” things up a little—the main thing is interest level. Are we interested? Both parties to the marriage need to be.

Sex is only staid because we make it that way, when in all reality it’s like God—there’s an infiniteness to the issues of desire and creativity. We only have to open up to it. And, of course, there are the doubters no matter what is said. The doubters never break away in faith and engage beyond their fears, selfishness or laziness.

Passion needs spontaneity, doesn’t it? Yet, Perel turns the tables on spontaneity. She believes that planning—not spontaneity—increases anticipation which in turns switches on desire—this in turn engenders intimacy as there’s a lot of forethought and discussion going on between the partners. She also wants us to cultivate play and to become more ‘erotically intelligent’—after all, if emotional intelligence can be grown, why not erotic intelligence?

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.


Esther Perel, Mating in Captivity – Sex, Lies and Domestic Bliss (London, England: Hodder & Stoughton, 2007), p. 200-20.

LOVE – It’s What We Live For

“Love is a symbol of eternity. It wipes out all sense of time, destroying all memory of a beginning and all fear of an end.”

~Author Unknown.

When we ask people, ‘What is love all about; what does it mean?’ we get all sorts of ideas back. People have many and varied responses, none of which are often categorically wrong.

When I trawled through a bunch of quotes on love recently I was amazed as to how many quotes I saw that I didn’t expect to see—such was my narrowed perspective regarding what I was looking for. I was looking for a quote on romantic love. Do you think I could find one?

Try these two:

“Love is an act of endless forgiveness, a tender look which becomes a habit.”

~Peter Ustinov.

“The hardest-learned lesson: that people have only their kind of love to give, not our kind.”

~Mignon McLaughlin.

The latter quote is getting close but it still wasn’t really what I was looking for; still its truth struck me. I was then reminded of the strength and power of love—the Divine glue that holds us together.

Love, a “thing” that can’t easily or adequately be defined, is the thing, however, that we live for. We need to love and be loved. These two—apart from having something to hope for—are central to our living purpose. Without love resonating in our life, in both giving and receiving, we seem destined for many perilous ends, not the least of which a plethora of mental, emotional and spiritual illnesses. Certainly we’d have a joyless, helpless and hopeless life.

We could extrapolate this out to a dreaded ‘loveless society’ and the end of the age of many freedoms would certainly be afoot. A glimpse of this reality was 1930s-1940s Europe under the Nazi tyranny. In many ways those curses have echoed and even affect us today.

Societies need love, as represented in the justice system, charities for the poor and needy, as well as the legislature for social fairness and care, and our communities would rapidly breakdown if not for these and other forms of communal love. Dare I say it but “government” is the institution for ensuring love perpetuates itself through the generations. They regulate society to ensure the right balance of love, care and concern is always represented—that’s their quintessential goal.

When we begin to think in these terms i.e. about the necessity of love, we’re hopefully forced to consider what our personal contribution is.

Like, how are we contributing—in love, through acts of good, patience, kindness, humility etc—to the lives of those around us? Where are we otherwise too selfish? What about our contributions in the community? Where are we otherwise too lazy?

If we wish to project a vision of safe eternity—or at least safety in this life—playing our small but important part, we must love. We cannot afford not to.

Love is power for life.

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Oh, the Wicked Webs We Weave!

THE RELATIONAL DYNAMICS IN THE WORKPLACE can be very often tenuous and incredibly malignant. Motives define the causative nature of our hearts with monotonous regularity. None of us can hide it.

Each person’s motives, including those of our own, on any given day—indeed even to the moment, determines much of what we call “history,” the ebb and flow of deeds done in the flesh.

We hardly ever think why people acquaint with or betray us, but it’s always for a purpose—a reason—a situational reason. We become quite confined and very attached to our moments as a general rule. Our moments do manipulate our hearts.

The question we should ask is, ‘Whose side is so-and-so on, and why?’ Or more aptly, ‘Whose side am I on, and why?’

It matters little, actually, as to why—emotively speaking—people take sides, but we should seek to understand why. We should remain curious to know the reasons.

Knowing and being cognisant of the human beings we routinely have to deal with gives us certain advantages—not over them—but for them, and us. We compensate for their weaknesses and our own. Regarding crooked motives, we’re more understanding and therefore more forgiving.

Our expectations are hence fitted more in line with reality. Betrayal is less sensational; we’re hurt less.

The wicked webs we weave are emergent from our subconscious fear and inadequacy as we attempt to bend the rules of life to our gain, in response to our fears. We all tend to do this instinctively, without much thought. An acceptance of this is crucial, firstly, so we accept ourselves and, secondly—and most fundamentally—so we understand our need of a Saviour.

Without being overly evangelistic, the need of a sinless saviour is made obvious when we understand we need acceptance beyond ourselves. Our own acceptance is fine, but it’s inherently limited in value. It’s never really spiritually enough.

We really must try our best in life to come to an understanding that ‘the heart of the human problem is the problem of the human heart’ (from J. John). When we truly realise we’re all basically crooked—even though we try our best not to be—we are more tolerant of the people in our workplace, in our families etc. We’re more tolerant of ourselves too.

What might seem initially a ‘doormat compromise’ is soon peace for us and all those we extend this grace to. It really is the only sustainable way to relate with people.

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I Did Not Fail. I Just Found Ten Thousand Ways that Didn’t Work

I WONDER IF THOMAS A. EDISON actually said this. I suspect he did. And I believe he propels us toward an unconquerable resilience when we do accept this truth—the catapult to salacious learning. So what about when it comes to finding a mate or getting that elusive job we’ve tried to get for years?

You struck out once and then twice—again and again over the years the relationships don’t last the distance; time and again there is the same depressingly grizzly result. Similarly, the career advancement opportunities don’t come up; there’s always a “reason” you’re ‘not quite the right person for this job.’

You think, ‘Is it me?’

Well, it could be. But there’s bound to be a range of issues involved—some of which we’ll never see or know about, well, until it’s too late, unless that is we’re using these failures as a platform to eventual success through learning.

‘Eventual success’ doesn’t mean success is around the corner. It means it could be off at a distance or even not there at all—but the difference is we have the faith to not give up on the good thing we desire.

God wants us to have the desires of our hearts but he won’t give us the desires of our hearts—the way we want them—until we routinely put him first (see Matthew 6:33). When we put him first on a more or less continual basis we’ll find he conforms our desires into a good thing for us and relevant others i.e. we’re not simply thinking of ourselves. God never works for us where we’ll work against others.

And this learning business can be confusing... ‘What, learning? Did that at school; wasn’t much fun…!’ Life learning is different. For starters, we’re intrinsically motivated to learn how we can create our own happiness—the abundant happiness God’s calling us to. ‘Okay, I’m starting to see something now...”

To have an interest in ourselves, certainly as it applies to success with others, is a key life goal to get on board with. We should all want it.

What does learning involve? Humility. Acceptance of failure. Celebrating little successes as they come. Never totally giving up. [Add your own!]

Edison’s quote is inherently about learning. All geniuses are innate learners. They’re inquisitive and curious about life in eccentric, irrepressible ways. Nothing, it seems, gets them down for long.

Learning is about perfecting the right we do and negating the wrong. It’s about growth. Growth never goes backwards—well, not for long. It keeps looking forward, not compromising. And any of us that want that sort of resilience that keeps us coming back for more—hopefully the “good” more—would do extremely well to bear this unconquerable truth in mind.

If at first we don’t succeed, try, try, and try again we do. But, what are we learning? It’s no good failing to succeed if we’re not learning something good that’ll get us closer to our inevitable goals.

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.