Welcome to another post for the Priorhouse APRIL 2022 series. Yesterday’s post (here) was about reading Drucker at the beach, for a week, back in June of 2021. Today’s post is about a different beach reading adventure.
Last month, my husband and I celebrated our wedding anniversary with a short trip to Norfolk, Virginia. The weather was cold, but we still enjoyed being beachside for a bit.
I brought a few gag gifts and two books. One book for him and one for me.
- The book for my husband was Appalachian Trail: A photographic Journey (1999) by Carol Highsmith and Ted Landphairand. My husband has hiked a handful of trails and he liked this book. The authors provided historical details with some fantastic photos. They also provided ideas for anyone wanting to be a “thru hiker”- which refers to those folks that hike the entire length of the Appalachian Trail (which takes about six months). (Appalachian Trail is available here on Amazon)
- The book for me was HUMAN BE-ING: How to Have a Creative Relationship Instead of a Power Struggle (1974) by William V. Pietsch. I grabbed this book at the last minute and took a chance that it would be engaging. It was engaging and it was a fast read (so thankfully I didn’t have to go and find brochures or something else to skim- ha). I think this author, Pietsch, was ahead of his time with succinctness and minimalism. This book delivered very practical wisdom about communicating, understanding perceptions and expectations, and learning how to “BE” human – with drawings and perfect wording. Now I need to mention (again) that for many of us today, these topics are quite familiar. They are buzz words and wellness topics are all around us. However, I think in 1974 when this book was first released, so much of this wellness and intrapersonal skill information was just starting to emerge. I am curious to check out the 2000 version of HUMAN BE-ING, which is here on Amazon.
Some of Pietsch’s Practical Advice
- Formal education is heavy on teaching objective facts (and knowledge) while it provides very little about subjective feelings and how to manage emotions (p.94).
- Being human means that we grow and reach maturity in stages.
- Potential maturity exists when a human being has balanced life branches. Those life branches are: LOVING, TENDER, HUMBLE, CREATIVE, SEXUAL, INTELLIGENT, INDEPENDENT, ACTIVE, ETC. (p.55).
- Pietsch argues that all branches need to be tended to and allowed to grow across the life-span.
- If people have an imbalance (it can lead to harmful drives) and it might from imbalance.
- Imbalance if life branches is called “cutting off growth” – like a tree that is pruned too much on one side – causing it to have too much growth on the other side. This imbalance makes it vulnerable to problems (p.57). So the goal is to allow our branches to grow and make sure there is balance with loving and being loved, with having empathy and tenderness, with humility and not getting too cocky, with tapping into one’s creative side, having physical needs met and sexual expression, feeding one’s intelligence and having challenges, staying active and moving while living a full life, and and then having the right amount of independence so one does not feel smothered.
- The effect of pressure on human emotions can make some emotional areas out of proportion. If emotions are held in, that adds to the pressure and intensity. Pietsch used a balloon to show how emotions can get out of proportion and then noted that a garden hose can have an explosive release if the water is held in (imagine the water being held back with your hand and then when you remove the hand, water spurts out). Rather than hold in emotions and let them build, humans use dialogue and safe spaces to share their emotions and problem solve.
- Pietsch noted that in order for people to relate effectively in ways that are “human” – we need to be trusting, listening, and clarifying.
- Sometimes we need to withhold judgment so trust can build.
- People who stay phony (and keep up a front of an image) are pretty much saying they want your cooperation but do not “trust” you enough to let you inside the true them. (This was super helpful because we have a distant family member who doesn’t let people in and she never will risk letting there people see her for who she really is – and whew, we don’t take it personal because we do understand how layered it is – and it is also quite miserable to live in that mode).
- We need to ask what is the purpose of a certain feeling and try separating the action from the feeling.
- Growth involves risk (and mess); don’t be afraid to fail (p.186).
- People see what they expect to see – and so find ways to clarify and communicate while being aware that we all have different perceptual filters.
- Set boundaries and limits for what must be worked with and then make sure the meaning of an issue or problem is made clear for each person (p.234).
- Because people see what the “expect to see” – is everyone making sure they are staying open to new and unfamiliar ideas or solutions.
There were many beautiful cacti along the beach and right outside of our patio. I actually shared a photo of this cactus with blogger Donna (here) because that same day, she was sharing cacti on her blog. Anyhow, looking at the beachside cactus reminded me of some of the points Pietsch made in his book: Human beings have much beauty – and we also have protective thorns. We have seasons of being fruitful and providing while we also need to stay nurtured and balanced so we don’t dry up and die. We need sunlight, nutrients, and dormancy.
- Which book would you have read from the two listed here – the Appalachian Trail or Pietsch’s Human Be-ing?
- Have you hiked the Appalachian trail – or been on any good hikes or walks lately?