What It's About

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

Sunday, October 31, 2010

It Always Pays to Care

Imagining that email you just sent scrawled all over your State’s newspaper – front page... just think about that before you click “send”.

I was most surprised to read the following out-of-office auto-reply to a recent message I sent via email. It read:

“From Good Friday, 1 October 2010, I am out of this office forever. Thanks for your communication but please refer the matter to someone who continues to care, such as... [name]”

It was even more surprising to me that the person this message had come from had previously held quite a respectable office, but in the tone of this auto-reply they’d perhaps lose every semblance of credibility with the unsuspecting reader.

Why do we burn our bridges? We are never to tell when we might want to cross back over.

Whether we like it or not, any hint of not caring about things rebounds back into our court with monotonous regularity, to which we’re quickly caught out-of-bounds.

Those who insist on making ‘their statement’ will find it comes at a great cost, and a remorseful attempt at a reversal will come too late. The damage will already have been done.

It is bad enough to make an innocent mistake with email; how much worse when completed with malicious intent?

There is a great deal of wisdom and potential for face-saving in checking not only content but motive before we click the “send” or “save” buttons. Better to be humble and honest about our resentment-producing hurts before the regretful event than remorseful afterwards.

Whenever we choose to expel our responsibility to care in life we also choose to cast our destiny upon the devil. It will not end well from there.

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Why is He or She So False and Misleading?

Caring for our attributions, why is it that we second-guess so much? Many times people cannot share as they’d perhaps like to due to their own lack of self-esteem. It isn’t as much to do with them not trusting us as we think it is. They, indeed, perhaps, struggle to trust their true selves – as we all tend to do.

As people we’re naturally are so tempted to try and understand life through assumptions. We want to fill in the gaps in our understanding, and we have the most creatively ‘natural’ ways of doing this very thing.

When people mislead us or don’t tell us the full story—omitting what are to us, important details—we have to fight the tendency to think poorly of them, especially as we recoil in our hurt. These have affected our trust of them, or so we’re inclined to think.

It is good to be aware of this phenomenon. Only with awareness are we able to temper down our instinctual responses in the negative to what we’ve seen.

Enters – at This Point – Does the Logical Mind

Awareness is often the most critical starting point. When we’re suddenly aware of our dramatic leaps-of-logic we can wonder back to how we got there.

Here’s a moment of chiding inner embarrassment, but it’s essential in fixing our thinking.

There are truly many reasons why people find it hard, or even impossible, to be honest, or why we as people fail to trust as perhaps we could or should. The reasons are not as important as perhaps just the fact.

Falsity will become our communications more than congruence, truth and authenticity—until, that is, trust is secured, and that can only occur on a rapport-by-rapport basis.

Understanding, Always

All we can do is accept these facts, understanding that people are not generally ever vexatious in their dealings with us, not those who generally care.

This understanding promotes empathy and perhaps even our own reflections regarding these very things—our own incongruence and failures to trust; misleading people. Here we have seen the plank in our own eye and what a revelation of God that is, as we might see fairly the real size of the little speck in the other’s eye (Matthew 7:1-5). We’re suddenly not so quick to judge.

So many times there are answers there when we dig a little deeper with the right intent of mutual or overall understanding. People’s mistrust is generally very well understandable.

Blessed, really, are those enquiring of their assumptions.

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.

Friday, October 29, 2010

The Simplest Way to Become an Enigma

By far the most surprising aspect of our relations with others is the encounter we have with the completely honest person. Our experience of life hasn’t prepared us for these.

If we have the penchant to be enigmatic and the want to come across with people as ‘special,’ and most people deeper down want this i.e. to be recognised as such, then it is authenticity to the core that is getting us there.

People will be most transfixed and mystified by our utter transparency, for it tells them, “This person actually trusts me with their information.”

Honesty is refreshing in a holy way and it’s relatively rare in any age. It reveals the moral integrity of a person who’s gone around the block a few times in their own self-development with God. They have become, and truly are, themselves.

It pays to be honest, in so many ways, not least regarding the esteemed favour we enjoy with God. Sweetness for us is sweetness for all.

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Prevalence of Relationship Violence – Resisting It

Signs of relationship violence are awkwardly familiar to the many. Some are just so surprised what it can be. Chances are we’ve both been victims of it and perpetrated it.

Relationship violence can be as obvious as a partner hitting the other and injuring them (or not) and as innocuous as a restrained threat. The actual activities of violence are so wide-ranging; we’re all given to have been affected. Very few of us either hasn’t been affected or won’t be affected in future.

Did you know that the following—as a sample only—constitutes violence?

ü Driving a vehicle too fast to incite fear in passengers.

ü Constant nagging or needling of a partner.

ü Not allowing a partner to choose their own friends.

ü Belittling a partner in public.

ü Controlling, or restricting access to, money.

ü Sexual violations, whether intended only or acted upon.

We can readily see here that violence is really a failure to love our partners, family or others appropriately i.e. with the required level of care that’s expected.

Why Violence?

Violence occurs perhaps mainly due to reactions of fear from people who feel out of control. For an instant they lose the logic to problem-solve for themselves and therefore go with the reptilian brain—to fight their way out of the issue.

This doesn’t help the victim much.

They very easily see that their way of life, especially if the violence is regular and repeated, is hopeless and anxiety- and depression-related illnesses and disorders can be brought on or ensue.

This also doesn’t help the perpetrator, who might actually loath themselves or be deeply remorseful for their unloving attitudes and behaviour.

Resisting Violence Is About Taking Action

Resisting it is as much about taking action than anything else. What we let go of we give tacit permission to, or approval for it to continue. It can be seen here that we can very easily perpetuate bad situations through a lack of action, and these contributing to our own demise.

Not that it’s our fault if we’re being abused.

It’s just up to us to take action and get help; not just for us, but for the situation and for the perpetrating partner too.

If our direct actions at intervention, i.e. with the partner or perpetrator, haven’t worked, we need to be prepared and courageous enough to go steps further.

We could speak to a trusted friend or support person. We could speak to our doctor. Also at ready access is a violence help line. Information and support are vital.

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.

Further Reading: John Ashfield, Taking Care of Yourself and Your Family – A Resource Book for Good Mental Health – 11th edition (Norwood, South Australia: Peacock Publications for BeyondBlue, 2004), pp. 218-20.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Let’s Talk – Even When We Can’t

Silences characterise many a struggling relationship, despite the want of one or both to communicate. We do not, however, give up hope.

One of us knows,

And one of us don’t,

Coming to blows,

Is our only hope.

Want for a time,

When all are awares,

Impatience is sublime,

Beyond mutual cares.

Disjointed we seem,

Jelly and glue,

Distances apart,

If only you knew.

Holding out hope,

Silence in the extreme,

Bellowed the note,

All but a dream.

Pushed to despairing,

Beyond thought limit,

Hopeless the pairing,

Light wrought to dim it.

Still is the hope,

Prattled and rumpus,

Longer the rope,

Hold fast the compass.


There are times in many relationships when we’ve despaired for getting through. Like ships passing closely but silently in the night, neither partner has gauge on what the central problem is or how to fix it. Silence becomes them, despite one partner clawing at the other to speak up.

It is generally, though not always, the woman who wants the issues out on the table so they can be deal with truthfully.

In the poem, “coming to blows” doesn’t at all mean fisticuffs. It is really simply a metaphor for having the conflict out, and for generating some vocal jousting as a stimulus for problem solving. Sometimes things can be allowed to get worse before they’ll be allowed to get better.

For many silences, “coming to blows” is at least a hope of getting the issues tabled, though conflict resolution is always best handled between minds and hearts stayed in reason and logic.

“Jelly and glue” seem as dichotomous, as materials go, as chalk and cheese do. This merely gives credence to the fact that for many couples, at times over the course of the relationship, there can be such a wide-ranging polar distancing in individual objectives.

There are perhaps times when we’ve dreamt of meeting the conflict head-on, giving action to the impasse, and as we wake we suddenly realise nothing’s happened. Nothing is fixed.

We may feel all is totally hopeless, and perhaps it is, or even for the foreseeable future.

Still we hope and we pray for ways of communicating with gentle and respectful effect. At such a time as this, even with all our rope of patience let out, it would not be advisable to drop our compass. We keep to our bearing and arm ourselves with the fortitude to endure as patiently as we can.

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.

Taking Life On Its Merits

Getting ahead or getting behind; common problems them both. It is better simply to take life as it comes, learning to plan, but little enough to retain the delicate balance.

Our motives, those further down than we’re often aware, are frequently our ruination.

More important to us at these times is ‘divining’ our place and how to maintain or improve our position. But life is more than positioning.

Denying Our Essence

When we go strongly past the issues closest to our true selves—and we do this will increasing ease—we begin to lose access to ourselves.

Strangers to ourselves we can become—at the extremes.

This is about identity. When we compromise that, we begin to entertain time to search on that wasteland road that most feel trapped on as they realise ‘suddenly’ they’ve arrived there—something that’s been cooking for months, if not years.

There’s hardly a more important thing to us than our identities. From the identity the person is.

Denying our essence is a dangerous business and it’s precipitated by the chronic practice of competing with a world that wins anyway. Seen this way, it’s a futile exercise from the very beginning.

A Better Way

It’s a repetitive message, but one that is constantly needed. We venture off the path of due merit all too freely.

The very best idea in living life is not getting ahead or behind—it’s simply about keeping up. It’s not scheming and developing intricate plans that will need to change anyway, as if romanticising life gets us anywhere productive, for it doesn’t.

Sure, we do it for entertainment, but that’s all, and in that we need to know the tenuous boundaries we operate within—these of which are most difficult to see, and are therefore often best avoided.

Rather than positioning ourselves for success, we’d do better to simply focus on the process of living. We’d find that a better and safer way through the journey that is life, and we’d have more joy and peace to boot.

It’s a simple message, but one with power to live... if we’ll only just simply live it.

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

It’s a Bigger World Than We Think

Knowing and accepting the actual size of things in this world, and in life, is a great advantage.

Put very simply, no matter how hard we try we’re never going to conquer the world or overcome it our natural way—either via ambition or reticence. The former is attempting to meet and leap over any and all challenges. It will be found despairing eventually. The latter has given up already. It is no threat to itself, let alone the world.

The only way we ‘conquer the world’ is through an uncommon acceptance, or accepting how awesome life and worldly things are. This is necessarily a willing acceptance and not a resigned acceptance.

Tiny Calling to Tall

And perhaps what makes this world so huge in our estimations is the size of the miniscule things; one human cell, for instance. We don’t usually view ourselves as the conglomeration of a few billion machines.

It’s not until we see ourselves as ants that we truly see how large elephants are. This is not even regarding the wonders of space and the universe. We are very small. But it’s in our tininess that we see from a more right-sized perspective.

Seeing things for the size they actually are is a great testimony to the acuity of our sight; it’s not something ever to be taken for granted.

So, What Are Some of These ‘Great’ Advantages?

Seeing things as they truly are means:

1. We waste less of our lives chasing mirages. In this we dream less the useless dreams and dream more about what we could achieve. Our ‘calculated’ risks leave us with a quiet and humble confidence for the capacity to achieve. Our dreams are more grounded in the possible than they are in the impossible.

2. Fears are reconciled to truth. Fear is not a bad thing if we are ‘fearing’ correctly. Yet, ninety-nine percent of everyday fear is nonsensical; still, we’re apt at fearing—all of us. Fears that are reconciled to truth are not to be feared; they warn us about how to live life, that’s all. These are not the sorts of fears that produce anxiety or depression in us.

3. We get to more fully appreciate the beauty and wonder in and of life in this macrocosmic world. To live a minute without wonder is to negate the blessings of God that are to live in a world such as ours. It’s actually high treason (and, therefore, so amazing is God’s grace!).

4. Acceptance, finally, is something to become us. The endpoint and goal of life is acceptance. The quicker we traverse our way there, the more fulfilling life will be from that point onward.

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Walks of Joy

The simplicity of a young family’s morning walk. A portrait of peace in four-bodied unison.

But, first, the theory of the vision: Glimpses are visions transparent and true, what we’ve seen only God knew. Bold and brassy, free of demotion, they come to us without pull of commotion. Angles they are, of how life’s to be, splendid and arched, under a tree. Formed there for wonder, despite our pain, trident to plunder, it’s our life’s gain.


I’ve a vision to share,

One to embrace,

Hope you’ll care,

It’s truly about grace.

It’s about a woman and a man,

A child and a dog,

Fast as they can,

Off with a nod.

Away they trot,

Scarcely denied,

Don’t want for a lot,

Purposed they glide.

Monday morning,

Workers go by,

They’re forlorn,

Walkers can’t decry.

Walkers take in,

Wonder and sun,

Like fish with a fin,

Walking’s such fun.

Hello delight,

Thought and amuse,

Borrowed in flight,

No hope of blues.

A world their own,

Chiding awares,

No thought of a moan,

Beyond bystanders’ stares.

Family’s a foursome,

Hotchpotch of hope,

Experience is awesome,

As if to elope.

Home it is at,

They finally arrive,

Foot on the mat,

No joy to deprive.


There have been plenty of family walks that haven’t met this standard of joy. At times it’s the best way to have the argument—go and walk it out!

But this one above was ideal.

It commenced as a vision I saw of four individuals pulling as a team... the family in view above. They had no axe to grind with one another. They just left their home and walked in the beautiful sunshine, away from the cares of the world for a while.

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Comprehensive Wonders of Curiosity

One thing is the pride and joy of human motivation: curiosity.

Take a scenario: four small children playing alone in a room with parents mingling together in a living room elsewhere in the house. Suddenly one of the parents detects silence; all parents have learned to suspect trouble from such a situation. Surely enough, the little foursome have found themselves some ‘fun’.

We are all innately curious. This can be both the life and death of us.

The heart can tell from the outset whether it’s trouble or blessing that’s created from such a landing as curiosity’s bringing. All our curiosity is characterised from the heart which forms it.

Forwards or Backwards – Never Still

Curiosity is like the gears of the transmission in a car. It can only drive us forwards or in reverse. It bodes us for either blessing or cursing. There’s no safe middle ground.

We learn and make a passion of learning, or we look for and ‘enjoy’ mischief. We all do, and truth be told, we do both. The person who’s characteristically wising themselves up to their folly, however, is going ‘forward’ in their curiosity; they learn and they love learning. It is life to them.

The person who’s enjoying the satisfaction of their sin—the short term curiosity gorging on what it doesn’t know will trap it in the end—is heading off the track of life, and though life seems blissful, that ‘blessing’ has a nasty bite to it. Sooner or later the truth will beckon and the trapdoor will shut, and out in never-never land we’ll find ourselves, spiritually.

Ever Forward We Go – If We Want to

Our positive curiosity—all in the basis of learning—will take us wherever we want to go on God’s mysterious path. We will, of ourselves, have majority say as the bounds of God are already established. We’ve committed to learning and God’s taken us seriously. The Spirit is, therefore, not obliged to send us on trips of harrowed learning, such that our pride, greed etc might be used to teach us lessons.

A sense of proceeding with life in an ever-learning manner is in keeping with fellowship, for we learn most from people, and in the midst of our relationships. These teach us most even about ourselves.

Learning, then, is about observation, reflection and application as much as it’s about re-observation, re-reflection and re-application. Over and over again it goes, continually.

Never are we to become sickened by its generous though repetitive cycle.

A great truth entwined in curiosity is this: when we forget to be curious in the most positive of ways we somehow forget to live at joy with our world. We begin to limit our perspective, and we begin to see all sorts of things that are there alright, but don’t truly warrant our time or consideration.

With some things in life, ignorance is bliss. Curiosity is keeping us ignorant-in-purity, for we have too much positive stuff going on to install the negative.

Good curiosity is protecting us from the dark way, for there are plenty of them, and each is to be avoided.

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Oh That Infatuation!

“Tell me how to win your heart, for I haven’t got a clue.”

~Lionel Richie, Hello, 1984.

Is there a worse place to be than head-over-heels ‘in love’ with someone who either doesn’t know it yet, or who’s just flatly not interested? Well, we should know that ‘in-fatuation’ is not really ‘in-love’. It’s a lie. It’s not love because it’s unrequited.

I’ve had two significant episodes of life-disordering infatuation rock my world, one as a teen and another as a thirty-something. Both were remarkably similar in their inception and the character of the feelings as I look back, and what they caused in me, a funnelling into depressive feelings on both counts.

A Deeper Look at Infatuation

Infatuation is an overly romanticised point of view.

It is choosing for something that is—and probably will always be—a rank fantasy. Now, certain fantasies are harmless, but not this one. It may not harm the other person or anyone else, but it will function harmfully against us, as our thoughts are led away from truth more and more routinely.

For one example, we become tunnel-visioned as our focus shifts off things we should be thinking of, and onto things that don’t bear that sort of continual consideration, or perhaps any consideration at all.

But we’re to be forgiven for being attracted to people, and for not having the faintest clue as to why. Why become infatuated? The infatuated hate it—it’s generally not a choice they’d choose.

Infatuations make children out of grown adults and in a flash we’re back in that schoolyard situation blushing uncontrollably and fumbling our words.

What To Do About Infatuations

There’s probably no better way of dealing with such irrationality as putting it to bed as quickly as possible, and this is easier said than done. If the issue is unrequited it makes little sense to continue entertaining it in our consciousness. Talking to a counsellor about strategies for ‘re-thinking’ these situations might help.

Additionally, we try to think of the things we really do need to focus on, like our family and our responsibilities, and the good things in our lives. We try to do those the best we can and therefore negate what are otherwise extraneous thoughts that come to mind at the least expected moment.

Perhaps most of all we should go easy on ourselves and understand that of all things we cannot take the child out of us completely. We’re given to all sorts of childish responses and infatuation is just one of them. Accepting that we’re vulnerable is a sign of maturity all itself.

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Here’s to Stumbling Perhaps, But Not Falling

We all sense that pride precedes the fall. But at times, however, we don’t personalise it before it occurs. Our challenge is to see our pride as it looms and then humbly quash it before we have our consequential ‘problems’ to deal with.

It appears a condition of our humanity that we will all experience faults in the continuity of our attitudes to living situations, particularly as it pertains to our responses with people.

Still awry to our consciousness is this pattern that escapes. Only later perhaps do we find ourselves kicking ourselves within or, worse, we’re bitterly remorseful for an act or even an attitude, a mumbled word or thought. Complaints are often a sign of this. Worse than it all is we’ve made this sort of mistake before. It’s not the first time we’ve put our foot in it.

Heeding the Conscience

Warnings do come as our attitudes split off from our core values. Perhaps we’re quite understandably hurt. Notwithstanding, our own responses are our own responsibility.

It’s not that we want to beat ourselves up for our falls into pride. We can see from this relative distance—reflecting on the pride-trapped times of old—that everyone battles with it.

However, listening to and heeding our consciences is something that is a good habit to get into.

Our prayer is to be ever mindful of the cause and effect nature of stumbling attitudinally and falling into pride. Staying in God’s will this way will ensure:

“Though they stumble, they will never fall,

for the Lord holds them by the hand.”

~Psalm 37:24 (NLT).

Humility is but a ‘Willed’ Step Away

When we refuse ourselves the ‘right’ of pride, conforming ourselves to the standards of godly maturity, we live out the blessed reality that Psalm 37:24 speaks of. God is pleased to hold our hand as we stroll through the Spiritual garden of life harm-free.

We’re all tempted, and then we’re honoured of God when we sidestep that temptation, gaining that reined-in rule over our thoughts and feelings; the mind and heart behind them.

Awareness is obviously a key thing. Once we’re aware we can very easily make the disciplined decision that saves us much heartache and embarrassment later on. Then we can really thank God for the presence of insight bestowed on us by the Holy Spirit as we glance back.


When we boil down all the liquid of life we’re left with a very important ‘residue’—how well, really well, do we know ourselves, and especially our fatal flaws?

Everyone has fatal flaws.

If we have sufficient self-awareness—a thing Emotional Intelligence experts have claimed for themselves—we have everything at our stead to ward against harmful pride. Self-knowledge is itself a journey.

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.