Adversity - Meet it With Strength

Napoleon Hill once said “Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.”  Adversity is part of life. Adversity gives us opportunities to connect with others and use our strengths to rise to the occasion and overcome it. When we are clear about our values and character strengths, we can hold things together, for the best interest of all, to come out stronger on the other side.

Adversity: Despair or Stimulus for Growth?

It is often believed adversity leads to depression and despair.  But what about stimulating growth? There is a very long tradition of viewing suffering as offering the possibilities for positive change, such as in the work of Maslow (1998). This is not to say, that growth will be an inevitable result, but that personal distress and growth often co-exist. Critical life crises can offer possibilities for change

Beyond 9-11

Successful Relating
Fulfillment through Connection and Community
Alice G. Vlietstra, Ph.D.

==============
In this issue:
==============

1. Welcome
2. Real Learning
3. Adversity Fuels Greatness
4. Your Inner Strengths
5. Announcements

=============
1. Welcome
=============

Welcome. September brings the memory of  the 9/11 attacks.  It was September 11, 2001, that I set my intentions for promoting the positive, which led to this e-newsletter.  After viewing many of the replays on TV in 2001, I finally shut it off.  I no longer could be a passive viewer.  As with many Americans, I began to question and take action instead.  

Today, I have become increasingly aware that each of us has a significant power for creating peace, one moment at a time, in our daily actions with each other.  Rather than being passive viewers following the demands of the TV, it is much more gratifying to act as whole human beings, using our creative energies to build the community and eco-systems we need.  This e-newsletter explores this shift, and the central role of values in the learning it requires.

==============
2.  Real Learning
==============

 Today, with the concerns for safety, the strains on our ecological systems, we are facing challenges that cannot be solved in old ways. We need people who are awake, aware, engaged, and ready to take a hard look at what works and what does not. 

This need is marked by an increasing focus on real learning.  An important aspect of this learning is an awareness of our values.   In his latest book, Weapons of Mass Instruction, John Gatto writes that people who have a real education do not organize their learning around the accumulation of information, but around their values.  The first step, he believes, is recognizing our values, our ancestry, culture and place, as well as those of the surrounding community and the different cultures of the world. 

You can see this orientation in many educated leaders today.  John Gatto supports his position, by investigating the values that are influencing education. Caroline Myss 's audio CD's "The Sacred Contract of America" urges us to honor the values of our Founding Forefathers. She gives a fascinating account of American history from the perspective our evolution as a people. David Korten (2009) inspires us to move to our higher values in his book,  Agenda for a New Economy.  Finally, Peterson and Seligman (2004), in their book,  Character Strengths and Virtues , unite us by identifying the values common to most  cultures.  All have a strength-based community building effect.

 This kind of learning is not just about memorizing facts, but one of getting in touch the inner strengths that bring out the best of ourselves.     

=========================
3.  Adversity Fuels Greatness
========================

We all have heard the saying "Greatness is born out of adversity."  Unfortunately, this is not always true.  When under pressure, emotions climb.  Adversity can bring out our courage, brilliance and strength, OR it can make us ugly beasts, fight, and run for cover.  When we are clear about our values, it helps us to take actions to hold things together, for the best interest of all, so that we come out stronger on the other side. Our values bring forth a higher calling. They help us become disciplined enough to stay committed and rise to the occasion to ride the challenge through. Every great country, business, family and person became that way because of pressure.  It brings out the best in us, but only if we can maintain our sanity.

Today, we can no longer see ourselves as independent individuals, families, businesses, and countries. We need to learn to work together as a planet in order to survive. The 9/11 Attacks officially marked a beginning of this higher evolution. We need to move beyond war to find solutions for peace.

From a psychological perspective, I believe one of psychology's great contributions is the identification of the character strengths to help us stay sane.  Each person family, business, and institution carries special aspects of these strengths, a unique signature. This helps us to be unique, while connected, and to see how our daily actions contribute to the whole.  You can gain a brief over view of these strengths going to the Authentic Happiness website (www.authentichappiness.org) and taking the brief strengths test.

====================
 4.  Discovering Your Inner Strengths
====================

One way to identify you values is reflect on the stories that are most important to you.  Stories help you discover the hidden factors that influence your life.  They also help you to appreciate your ancestry.  Many families have cherished old stories, told and retold at family gatherings.  These stories encourage us to talk about what is important.  When you take time to reflect on these stories, look for the hidden factors that helped you and others rise to the occasion, face your challenges and come through.  These are the character strengths and values important to you.  As you become clear about these values, you will become more centered within yourself and clearer how your daily acts can make a difference.     

For example, I come from a family where we have the character strength of a "love of learning."  My paternal grandfather, an immigrant from Scandinavia had only an eighth grade education. Because of his love for learning, he developed the first school bus in his locale, a horse drawn sleigh.  His son, my father, with his love for learning, became a country school teacher.

My father was especially touched one day in his rural classroom when a little girl fainted, too weak to concentrate.  She told him, "It was not her turn to eat breakfast that day." Inside her lunch pail was only a cold potato.  He shared his lunch with her, and began to learn about nutrition.  He subsequently went to Michigan State University where he became a teacher in the agricultural sciences and encouraged the members of our family and many of the community farmers to seek a higher education.  It was his life-
long mission to promote the growth and development of people.
 
Michigan State University was chartered as the nation's first land grant institution, designed to provide practical information for the betterment of mankind.  It was supported by an Act signed by President Abraham Lincoln.  Now, who would have guessed that a country school girl was connected to famous President?   It happens through our values. It is through the values acted upon in our lives that we become significant and bring out the best of our selves and others.

Let this 9/11 be a moment to honor the values that give meaning to your life.

Warm Regards,

Dr. Alice

=================
5.  Announcements
=================

1. Tuesday, September 15, 7:00-9:00 PM.  Join us for a demonstration of the power of releasing old patterns and identifying your strengths. It will be held at the monthly open house of "A Gathering Place." 12131 Dorsett Road, Ste. 101.

2. Monday, September 21, 7:00 PM CDT we will be having a complementary telesminar: "From Stress to Success."  Learn how your actions every day can create a shift on three levels: Cultural, Relational, and Personal. Just Click this Link:
http://www.instantTeleseminar.com/?eventid=9062832

================

© Copyright 2009 Alice Vlietstra.  All rights reserved. The above material is copyrighted but you may retransmit or distribute it to whomever you wish as long as not a single word is added or deleted, including the contact information.
However, you may not copy it to a web site without my permission.

Forward this newsletter to people you think would like to read it!

Disclaimer:  By reading this e-newsletter you understand that the information given in the e-newsletter, and related teleseminars, and blog are presented for informational entertainment purposes and "food for thought," not professional advice. You are solely responsible for the use of the ideas, concepts, and content and hold Lifetree Solutions LLC, its members, affiliates, and Dr. Alice Vlietstra harmless in any event or claim.

 

Newsletter Name: 
Successful Relating

Overcoming Tragedy

Successful Relating
Fulfillment through Connection and Community
Alice G. Vlietstra, Ph.D.

==============
In this issue:
==============

1. Welcome
2. Real Learning
3. Adversity Fuels Greatness
4. Your Inner Strengths
5. Announcements

=============
1. Welcome
=============

Welcome. September brings the memory of  the 9/11 attacks.  It was September 11, 2001, that I set my intentions for promoting the positive, which led to this e-newsletter.  After viewing many of the replays on TV in 2001, I finally shut it off.  I no longer could be a passive viewer.  As with many Americans, I began to question and take action instead.  

Today, I have become increasingly aware that each of us has a significant power for creating peace, one moment at a time, in our daily actions with each other.  Rather than being passive viewers following the demands of the TV, it is much more gratifying to act as whole human beings, using our creative energies to build the community and eco-systems we need.  This e-newsletter explores this shift, and the central role of values in the learning it requires.

==============
2.  Real Learning
==============

 Today, with the concerns for safety, the strains on our ecological systems, we are facing challenges that cannot be solved in old ways. We need people who are awake, aware, engaged, and ready to take a hard look at what works and what does not. 

This need is marked by an increasing focus on real learning.  An important aspect of this learning is an awareness of our values.   In his latest book, Weapons of Mass Instruction, John Gatto writes that people who have a real education do not organize their learning around the accumulation of information, but around their values.  The first step, he believes, is recognizing our values, our ancestry, culture and place, as well as those of the surrounding community and the different cultures of the world. 

You can see this orientation in many educated leaders today.  John Gatto supports his position, by investigating the values that are influencing education. Caroline Myss 's audio CD's "The Sacred Contract of America" urges us to honor the values of our Founding Forefathers. She gives a fascinating account of American history from the perspective our evolution as a people. David Korten (2009) inspires us to move to our higher values in his book,  Agenda for a New Economy.  Finally, Peterson and Seligman (2004), in their book,  Character Strengths and Virtues , unite us by identifying the values common to most  cultures.  All have a strength-based community building effect.

 This kind of learning is not just about memorizing facts, but one of getting in touch the inner strengths that bring out the best of ourselves.     

=========================
3.  Adversity Fuels Greatness
========================

We all have heard the saying "Greatness is born out of adversity."  Unfortunately, this is not always true.  When under pressure, emotions climb.  Adversity can bring out our courage, brilliance and strength, OR it can make us ugly beasts, fight, and run for cover.  When we are clear about our values, it helps us to take actions to hold things together, for the best interest of all, so that we come out stronger on the other side. Our values bring forth a higher calling. They help us become disciplined enough to stay committed and rise to the occasion to ride the challenge through. Every great country, business, family and person became that way because of pressure.  It brings out the best in us, but only if we can maintain our sanity.

Today, we can no longer see ourselves as independent individuals, families, businesses, and countries. We need to learn to work together as a planet in order to survive. The 9/11 Attacks officially marked a beginning of this higher evolution. We need to move beyond war to find solutions for peace.

From a psychological perspective, I believe one of psychology's great contributions is the identification of the character strengths to help us stay sane.  Each person family, business, and institution carries special aspects of these strengths, a unique signature. This helps us to be unique, while connected, and to see how our daily actions contribute to the whole.  You can gain a brief over view of these strengths going to the Authentic Happiness website (www.authentichappiness.org) and taking the brief strengths test.

====================
 4.  Discovering Your Inner Strengths
====================

One way to identify you values is reflect on the stories that are most important to you.  Stories help you discover the hidden factors that influence your life.  They also help you to appreciate your ancestry.  Many families have cherished old stories, told and retold at family gatherings.  These stories encourage us to talk about what is important.  When you take time to reflect on these stories, look for the hidden factors that helped you and others rise to the occasion, face your challenges and come through.  These are the character strengths and values important to you.  As you become clear about these values, you will become more centered within yourself and clearer how your daily acts can make a difference.     

For example, I come from a family where we have the character strength of a "love of learning."  My paternal grandfather, an immigrant from Scandinavia had only an eighth grade education. Because of his love for learning, he developed the first school bus in his locale, a horse drawn sleigh.  His son, my father, with his love for learning, became a country school teacher.

My father was especially touched one day in his rural classroom when a little girl fainted, too weak to concentrate.  She told him, "It was not her turn to eat breakfast that day." Inside her lunch pail was only a cold potato.  He shared his lunch with her, and began to learn about nutrition.  He subsequently went to Michigan State University where he became a teacher in the agricultural sciences and encouraged the members of our family and many of the community farmers to seek a higher education.  It was his life-
long mission to promote the growth and development of people.
 
Michigan State University was chartered as the nation's first land grant institution, designed to provide practical information for the betterment of mankind.  It was supported by an Act signed by President Abraham Lincoln.  Now, who would have guessed that a country school girl was connected to famous President?   It happens through our values. It is through the values acted upon in our lives that we become significant and bring out the best of our selves and others.

Let this 9/11 be a moment to honor the values that give meaning to your life.

Warm Regards,

Dr. Alice

=================
5.  Announcements
=================

1. Tuesday, September 15, 7:00-9:00 PM.  Join us for a demonstration of the power of releasing old patterns and identifying your strengths. It will be held at the monthly open house of "A Gathering Place." 12131 Dorsett Road, Ste. 101.

2. Monday, September 21, 7:00 PM CDT we will be having a complementary telesminar: "From Stress to Success."  Learn how your actions every day can create a shift on three levels: Cultural, Relational, and Personal. Just Click this Link:
http://www.instantTeleseminar.com/?eventid=9062832

================

© Copyright 2009 Alice Vlietstra.  All rights reserved. The above material is copyrighted but you may retransmit or distribute it to whomever you wish as long as not a single word is added or deleted, including the contact information.
However, you may not copy it to a web site without my permission.

Forward this newsletter to people you think would like to read it!

Disclaimer:  By reading this e-newsletter you understand that the information given in the e-newsletter, and related teleseminars, and blog are presented for informational entertainment purposes and "food for thought," not professional advice. You are solely responsible for the use of the ideas, concepts, and content and hold Lifetree Solutions LLC, its members, affiliates, and Dr. Alice Vlietstra harmless in any event or claim.

 

Finding Resolve

Successful Relating
Fulfillment Through Connection and Community
Alice G. Vlietstra, Ph.D. Editor

August 2006

In this issue:

1. Welcome
2. Stress and Resilience
3. An Evolutionary Perspective
4. Evolutionary Solutions
5. Announcements
1. Welcome

Welcome. We all face adversity. At this point
in time, we remember Hurricane Katrina and
the tragic events of 9-11. They affect us all.
Yet, in the midst of these adversities, there
has been new life and a deep resilience of the
human spirit.

The external disasters that shake us do not
need to bring us down. Instead, they can make
us unwilling to give up. This resolve gives
birth to new solutions.

In this e-newsletter, we will take a broad
approach to the adversity in our lives, and
explore how it can help us to grow.

2. Hurricane Survivors Find Resolve

Terrible catastrophes do not necessarily lead to
depression and despair. In a new study on the
survivors of Hurricane Katrina and its impact on
depression and suicide, researchers did not find
an increase in suicide. Indeed, only one percent
of the troubled survivors in the New Orleans area
thought or planned suicide, as compared to 8 percent
before Hurricane Katrina.

In fact, Harvard researchers found evidence of
post-traumatic growth. More than 95% of the
individuals surveyed professed more faith in their
ability to rebuild their lives, now that the disaster
made it necessary to do so, and 70% reported they had
more inner strength.

This capacity to grow from catastrophe may be an ancient
survival process that has helped us to evolve. At first,
we experience loss. But once our negative emotions have
subsided, we can choose to look at what we have and the
strengths that exist within ourselves and within our
communities. This gives us an opportunity to rethink
release old patterns, and begin to grow anew. Later,
we are able to look back at the situation, and determine
what has been accomplished and gained.

3. An Evolutionary Perspective

I find an evolutionary perspective to be most helpful
in terms of understanding the deeper meaning of these types
of events. In the short term, adversity seems to lead to
unhappiness and despair, but, in terms of a broader
evolutionary perspective, it is a stimulus for change.

Indeed, the well-known evolutionary writer Barbara Marx
Hubbard, argues that problems precede quantum leaps.
She argues that change does not occur just step by step.
Instead, significant change occurs in leaps when whole
new systems emerge. For example, once there was no life,
then life appeared. These leaps are preceded by crises.

She calls these crises "evolutionary drivers." They are
vital stimulants that trigger astounding "design innovations"
that bring forth new capacities. From an evolutionary
perspective, problems and crises are "necessary to overcome
the inertia of the status quo and fulfill the primary
tendency in evolution toward greater complexity,
consciousness, and freedom."

She further argues that all leaps move towards greater
wholeness. For example, we no longer can think of Planet
Earth just in terms of different countries. The planet
now is integrating in to one complete system.

The new system that prevails is the one that best allows
beneficial cooperation. It is the system in which the
self-interest of the separate parts is served better
through cooperation rather than separation. Therefore,
approaches that promote conscious choice for the benefit
of the whole will bring more positive outcomes, as
opposed to approaches that leave things to chance or to
self-centered gain.

Barbara Marx Hubbard believes that we are currently
undergoing a quantum leap. She says: "The power we have
inherited to radically affect the material world will
either destroy us or evolve us. We cannot continue even
one more generation of over populating, polluting,
being at war and using weapons of mass destruction."
We are at the threshold of a major step in evolution
or devolution."

4. Revolutionary Breakthroughs, Evolutionary Solutions

In the last e-newsletter, I shared with you a new approach
to stress, the Attractor Field Technique. We looked at how
it was a revolutionary breakthrough in that it allows us to
perceive stress as our creation and under our control, rather
than a force that is outside of ourselves. It is evolutionary
in that it helps us see our common humanity by overcoming
the judgments that keep us separate.

AFT is embedded in a much larger Map of Consciousness
developed by David Hawkins in his landmark work "Power vs.
Force." This map places conscious thought on a scale from
lower levels such as shame and guilt to higher levels that
include love, peace, and joy. Such a map is helpful for
understanding how the different levels of consciousness
relate to a larger whole.

The AFT technique is unique in that it releases the energetic
blocks at the lower levels of consciousness. That release
increases spiritual flow and positive energy. It can be
integrated with other existing approaches, thereby increasing
their effectiveness.

For example, I routinely use AFT with Positive Psychology.
In the process of using one's virtues and strengths, individuals
often get into situations that cause stress, and, hence, the
patterns at their lower levels of consciousness need to be
cleared. I also use AFT in relation to work so as to replace
co-dependent patterns with more autonomous spiritual energy.
I have found this technique to work for individuals, couples,
families, and even small groups. In group situations, one
person's work can have a positive influence on others.

There is no question in my mind but that AFT is a powerful
technique that has emerged to help us to evolve in a positive
way. It gives us the power of conscious choice, and it is
holistic, integrative, and inclusive. It promotes cooperation,
which paves the way for new solutions.

Would you like to learn more about AFT? Dr. Ebert will be
coming to Saint Louis on September 23-24 for a two-day
introductory workshop. If you want a healthier, more fulfilling
life, this is a workshop you will not want to miss.

Warm Regards,

Dr. Alice

Dr. Ebert’s website: www.the-tree-of-life.com.
Barbara Marx Hubbard's website: www.evolve.org.

5. Announcements

Come join us for "A New Look, New Life: Beyond 9-11.
In this workshop, you will have an opportunity to
resolve any remaining trauma, and learn a new approach
to better handle adversity. It will be held at my
office, on 9-11-2006, from 7:00 - 9:00 PM. Email me
for a flyer or phone me at 314-729-2855.

Dr. Ebert will be presenting a two-day workshop,
"A New Look at Stress: Introduction to the Attractor
Field Technique" on September 23 and 24, 9-5 PM.
This will be held in St. Louis at my office location
at "The Gathering Place. Email me for a flyer or
phone me at 314-729-2855.

Copyright 2006 Alice Vlietstra. All rights reserved.

About Dr. Alice

Alice Vlietstra, Ph.D., formerly of the University of Missouri
St. Louis, was first trained as a researcher in Human Development.
This training provides the integrative developmental focus of her
work. Currently, she works as a family psychologist, coach,
and family business consultant. As a graduate of the
Authentic Happiness coaching program, she is trained
in promoting the positive. As a certified practitioner
of mind-body techniques, AFT and NET, she is also highly
skilled in understanding and releasing our blueprints
from early childhood conditioning. This combination leads
to high-powered strategies for enhancing our well being by
advancing our consciousness.
 

Newsletter Name: 
Successful Relating
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