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The Journey: Escaping Immaturity and Arriving at Maturity

You rightly have asked to know our menu.

Our Curriculum.

What we can do for you. 

So here it is.

Here is the journey we take you on.  

It shows you the kind of thing we do for individuals (we do something very different for companies or teams).

Here are the skills in the order that people find helpful.

This page Begins with the journey in two parts:

First for arriving at Basic Maturity

Then Relational Maturity.

Parts 2 and 3 consist of definitions, explanations and some stories. 

Part 2 are the topics we teach first; Part 3 are the topics we teach as and when they are needed.

These sections

Are for reference

Are quite technical.

Are to answer the regular question, "So what are the skills?"

By the way, we are all of equal value, whether or not the journey would place ourselves at "immature" or "mature". We ourselves started at the beginning in our 40s and that's what happens to many of us. As we discover some of the skills it helps us to understand our past and our relationships and improve our futures.


The Journey


Practice Gratitude.

Notice and Name Some of your Inner Emotions

Understand the 4-Level Relational Processor in your Brain

Give off the Vibe you are Happy to be with People

Soothe Yourself and get to a Place of Inner Quiet

Notice and Name Attachment Styles

See What God Sees and Experience his Presence

Share a Mutual State of Mind with Someone: be able to get close but also be happy while separate

Notice and Name the Parts of Your Personality.

Learn How to Get Back to "Being-Glad-to-be-Together" Even when going through Big Emotions. 

Notice and Name Maturity Levels




Form Family Bonds for Three

Time When to Disengage

Quiet Interactively

Recognise High and Low Energy Responses

Tell Non-Verbal Stories and Be Socially Appropriate

Getting Life into Focus - living as a wholehearted follower of Jesus

Tell Synchronised Stories

Act like yourself in Big Emotions

Stop the Flesh

Identify Heart Values from Suffering

Recover from Complex Emotions

Intervene where the Brain is Stuck


As Christians we have found this overlaps with our faith development - our Christian journey.


Beginning Christian Journey where you are

Exploring Jesus

Starting following Jesus Christ

Growing as a whole-hearted follower of Jesus

Loving, maturing and Serving as a Jesus follower - Spiritual Maturity



Escape Personal Immaturity

If you had had a perfect parent you wouldn’t need the skills. If your primary care-giver was loving, perfectly relational, self-aware, all-knowing, untraumatized, non-sinful parent who got everything right and helped you pray and relate to God, then you wouldn’t need Joyskills.

You likely loved / love your primary caregiver - your mum or your dad or significant other (though I know your story may be so traumatic that there is no love there and if that's you then I feel that pain). Your primary caregiver hard-wired their patterns of being into you. But no-one can pattern everything right for their child.

Joyskills training is designed to pattern better reactions and relationships and connect people with God.

This section outlines where we begin.

Practice Gratitude. This can restart positive experiences 

"Enter His Gates With Thanksgiving"

Have you ever had to bump - start a car? When a battery is flat you can get a friend to push your car to get it going again - they bump-start your car. Gratitude can do that for your brain. It can bump - start your flat mood and spark some positive feelings.

When you appreciate things around you, notice the value of things, and name it to yourself or others, it begins to change the wiring of your brain and helps you feel better. You are training yourself to look for the good things in life and life feels different. One moment your emotional battery was flat, then quite suddenly you feel different.

You can do this by recalling positive things from the past and turning them over in your mind which begins to improve your mood as you do it over time. This begins to change your outlook on life and can help your relationship with God too.

Mike developed a helpful tool for growing in appreciation which can help you turn this from a nice idea into an enjoyable, life giving habit. It is a habit that changes everything including your relationship with God. See here. 

See Mike’s Gratitude Journal

The Life Model puts it this way, "High levels of the emotional state of appreciation closely match the healthy balanced state of the brain and nervous system. Creating a strong feeling of appreciation in yourself or others relieves unpleasant states and stress" [Life Model Skill 4]

Mike's Story

My journey with gratitude and appreciation has changed me. In the pandemic we moved house because of water damage; my dad was in and out of hospital; my work was demanding; we were in lock-down (which means we rarely left the house) and many people around us were ill. Facing these pressures and others, I wanted to thrive and not be overwhelmed. What did I do? I turned to God through gratitude and prayer.

I had been spending time in appreciation, but it wasn’t regular enough. I had a mindfulness journal, but it didn’t allow for my Christian experience of God. God changed me from the inside-out as I spent time giving thanks, praying and journaling.

I went on a journey of seven steps to life-changing appreciation in the middle of the COVID-19 crisis. As I grew habits of appreciation (thinking about things and feeling thankful) and gratitude (noticing when I felt grateful). I became happier and more peaceful. This peace and joy enriched my relationships and improved the quality of my life. You can buy the journal I wrote as a result on the resources page

Be Happier and More Effective by Understanding Your Brain

Understand Your 4-Level Brain and Change Your Life

The relational part of your brain is a 4 level system located on the right had side of the brain. We are most aware of the top two levels of the brain. First our top “executive function” which acts like a ship’s captain – telling us who we are and directing our path. Next, our emotional regulator which reads the room, maintains connection with others and holds our emotions. Beneath these is our “missile defence system” which is always scanning for threats. This is our brain’s survival circuit whose job is to keep us alive. Below that is the level most studied in psychology: our attachment level where we attach to people we are close to.

When all four levels work together we are in our best state, able to flow and are fully engaged. When the bottom levels are disrupted and we lose the ability to manage our feelings and sensations then our lower nonrelational levels take over. We lose our best selves, work from a reduced self-awareness and lose the ability to stay relational with the people around us.

Key to the most relational leaders and lovers is an intuitive ability to see the status of these levels of the brain and regulate them when they are under stress. They do this naturally, but the good news is, the rest of us are able to catch-up using the relational circuits exercises and Joyskills insights. You can be a better leader and lover by learning about the brain and then putting your learning to use.

Even a neurologist was helped by this

A key insight is that problems at lower levels can only be helped by solutions at those levels. To use the metaphor of a ship: if the ship has a hole in the hull, the captain telling the ship to “keep sailing” will only work for a while. At some point you need to fix the hole. Understanding your brain helps you to understand “where the hole in your ship is” so what you need to do to stay afloat. However you want a model that helps your relationships rather than just gives you information.

Dr Jim Wilder was once teaching on this topic and he saw a neurologist quite stirred up in the audience. The doctor made a beeline for him and Jim braced himself for a negative review from the medically trained brain expert. Instead the neurologist said “finally someone has explained to me how the brain works.” He finally was able to make sense of the whole.

As you make sense of the whole, you see patterns of reaction in yourself and others and you will be able to adjust your behaviour to get the best out of them (rather than be mystified or annoyed by people). For example, you may see that someone is starting to get defensive (missile defence system) and so you adjust your behaviour to reduce the intensity of the interaction; or it helps us to understand why addicts do what they do (often medicating attachment pain).


Understanding your Brain;

Spotting relational circuits are on: CAKE.

Notice and Name Some of Your Emotions and Experience

You can't change your reponse to things you are not aware of

As we have trained people we have discovered that many cannot notice the ir emotions. This often means that they can;t conmtrol them either. By not niticing their emotions, they live controlled by them.

We help people to notice their levels of peace and the emotions  they are going through.

Topics People Find Helpful Include

Noticing and Naming Your Emotions

Notiicng How Peaceful You Are.

Mike's Story

I decided things had to change when I had a stand-up argument with a giant! He had pushed me over the edge and we both lost it.

It was then I realised I needed to do things differently.

When I talked it over I began to realise that I was unaware of my emotions which meant that when I felt painful emotions I would react rather than respond. It was as if I was allergic to the pain so I would live in reaction. As I began to notice and name my emotions and learn to recognise them I found that I could be more relational even when I was feeling pain.

Do you give off the vibe that you are “Happy to be Together” with people?

Joy is when you and I feel that, "Someone in my life (maybe a person or maybe God ) is happy to be with me."

Life is not constantly easy. Relationships are never plain sailing. Yet through the bumps and bruises it is possible to experience an inner energy and deep sense of joy that someone - maybe a person or maybe God - is happy to be with you. That is what we call joy. As Michel Hendricks puts it, Joy is not happiness. Joy is “happy to be together-ness.” The first Life Model Skill is Share Joy.

This joy is an experience – its an inner warmth and energy, it is a fuel – our brains run best when fuelled by joy. Sharing Joy is also a skill: when our words, facial expressions and voice tones help people sense that “We’re glad to be together.”

Its an interesting question to ask someone “Do I give off the vibe that I am happy to be together with you?” 

Its an interesting question to ask someone “Do I give off the vibe that I am happy to be together with you?” I wonder what people around you would say? 

At Work?.

In Love?

In Life?

What vibe do you give off?

Work, love, life go better when the vibe you give off is that you are happy to be together with those you are with.

Did anyone tell you that God is pleased to be with you?

When I pray with people and they experience God. He is consistently glad to be with them and this encourages and strengthens them. As the Bible puts it “the joy of the Lord is my strength.”

This is more than a woo woo feeling. It is a deep relational connection with God.

Our brains are fundamentally relational and run on the fuel of joy. When we build joy with others we become more like our true selves, more like how God designed us.

What does this mean for you?

Joy is like oil in the car. It makes it run better and without it the car breaks down.

So what do I really mean?

Imagine this… I walk into a room full of people, look around, and all of a sudden I see someone who I really like and they like me too....they turn around, our eyes meet , and I feel this leaping inside me! They are so happy to see me and we run towards each other and have such a joyful hug!

That is Being Happy to be Together.

That is the fuel your brain runs on.

That is what people crave deep down.

That is what people look for in substances, events and people.

That is what we help you grow.

Without joy we get overwhelmed, lead badly, minister poorly and our relationships fail. We usually teach on joy within all our courses.

Topics Include

Brain Fuel: Being Happy to be Together

The Wiring of Your Brain

How to Grow Joy.

The Crazy Cycle

Checking Your Vibe

Can you Soothe Yourself and get to a place of Inner Quiet?

Learning how to find peace and calm down is key

The ability to quiet yourself and get to a place of inner quiet after both joyful and upsetting emotions is the strongest predictor of life-long mental health. This skill which can be learned is the second Life Model skill.

Many of us can't do it. We can't find peace.

We really understand that.

Ruth had trauma in her early years which meant that she had to turn to Mike to absorb his calm. She had pain at the attachment level of the brain and needed him to be glad to be with her (Skill 1) and synchronize with her to calm down and find peace

When Ruth got to peace, her brain and body were then free to function in their optimum way. Inner calm helped her cope with life, improved everything she does, and reduced the stress on your body.

Being both joyful and calm is wonderful!

We put what we learned about calming into our course, 

How to Calm Down and Find Peace to help other people like us.

We find that Heart Sync Prayer combined with the skills helps with finding calm.,

"Wow. I feel so much better"

We have both had to learn to calm down and find peace as we both recovered from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. Each of us has learned some calming skills. 

A few months ago, a bishop described Mike in a webinar as "the person with the deepest understanding of how to calm and come to peace that I have ever known." 

Topics Include:

Using your body to calm,

Connecting with other people,

Breathing. Take a look at our course. It works!

Notice and Name Attachment Styles

I had Major Breakthrough in this Area through God's Intervention

How well we synchronize our attachments (Skill 3) early in life leaves the most enduring pattern in our personality. These patterns change the way we experience reality.

Understanding attachment needs and styles (Skill 17) can transform your parenting, grand-parenting, marriage and other relationships.

You need to know whether relationships are secure or insecure (whether people are living primarily live from love or fear) and whether people tend to move closer or distance in our relationships. When you understand this and other people’s patterns then it helps you express your needs, understand other people and navigate conflict better.

I was speaking internationally recently and Dr Jim Wilder said to me “you obviously realise that the people in the room will all have a disorganised attachment with you.” Well unless he had told me that I would not have understood on the one hand the reticence that people in that culture had in conversing with an “International Speaker,” while on the other hand they actually desired to connect with me.

These patterns go very deep and learning about attachment styles is transformational.

We teach people the styles, suggest they do a free online assessment and then talk through the results. HeartSync Prayer may follow as people look for inner healing. I personally had major breakthrough through God’s intervention in this area.

Marriage Breakthrough

If there were any topic that demonstrates the difference between “left brain” knowledge and “right brain” understanding in my life it is attachment theory. Attachment is one of the most researched topics in psychology. I first learnt about John Bowlby’s work in 1986 when I took a psychology course at university; in the 90s when I studied for a masters in counselling. However it took 20 years of marriage for me to realise that Ruth and my marital conflict could be summarised by what attachment theorists call an “anxious-avoidant dance”.

I saw in the theory an explanation of a repeating conflict that I was experiencing with Ruth.

As I saw my marriage in the theory the insight helped us to move forwards in our relationship.

What I read helped me to understand a regular pattern in our lives.

I realised that when Ruth got anxious she would emotionally step forwards to connect with me; I experienced this as too intense so I emotionally stepped back.

We lived this way for the first twenty years of our marriage. Ruth stepping forwards to meet her needs and me stepping back to meet my needs in a perpetual marital dance. Later when I read, Becker-Phelps book Insecure in Love I finally could see the world from my wife’s eyes. Our marriage dance was understandable and slowed down as I adapted to what Ruth needed. We learnt to dance more graciously together as we became aware of each other’s needs.

See What God Sees and Experience His Presence

Hope Comes as we Get God's Perspective 

Hope and direction come from seeing situations, ourselves and others the way they were meant to be instead of only seeing what went wrong. We look to connect with God's heart for situation. [Life Model Skill 13]. This means that there is more going on in a situation than meets the eye; we see people with the eyes of faith as to what they may become rather than where they have been; we work in community because we believe that God's guidance emerges in a community rather than one individual; we seek God to guide us by his peace which passes all understanding.

Overlapping with this is to experience God with you by practicing the presence of God. You can do that individually in prayer or journalling or with someone else. As you connect with God, this begins to bring healing.

We help people to do this through Immanuel Journalling (taught in our calm course); through gratitude practices that include connecting with God; through HeartSync Prayer (with Ruth) and through a wide range of practices we have developed over the last 30 years.

HeartSync helps you connect more with God and develops your own inner world. Jesus came to heal the broken-hearted and we find that in prayer this begins to happen.

Contact Ruth if you would like to know more.

Popular topics include

 Immanuel Journalling;

Stop Look Listen Write

Passing Peace not Upset.


An Introduction to HeartSync.

Your Story

I wonder what your story with God is?

Get in touch and tell us!

Happier Relationships Happier Life.

Love Makes the World Go Round

We are wired for a close connection with a parent. As babies we copied our parents' patterns of reaction and our brain was hard-wired with a mirror of our parents’ brains. If our parents were joyful and relational we have a good chance of being the same.

Learning to connect warmly with others is a skill. We don’t often think of it like that because we learned it (or didn’t) as a child. We absorbed it but were never taught it. So much so that we think it is a "part of our personality". The good news is that the latest research shows that this relational part of the brain is "plastic," you can change, you can help your relationships be happier and warmer.

Anyone who has studied psychology or attachment or noticed happy relationships will have seen that the happiest people flourish when they are with others and they also flourish when they are alone. What does this mean?

If we can, on the one hand be close and warm and then on the other be happy while apart, then we are likely to be happy.

Often we experience that as bad news, because we can't do that. I remember when someone compared me negatively to Nick Gumbel a very relational and successful vicar. I agreed with them but I thought that I could not change. I could not become happier and warmer. I later realised that he had learned a skill that I too could learn so my relationships could be happier and warmer.

We help you do that.

In our training we look at whether our closest relationships are happy and warm and help chilly relationships warm-up! We do so using a simple tool called “Relational Circuits” This tool helps you quickly assess if the relational part of your brain is switched on or off

We then teach you how to switch it on and

We teach you how to stay relational for longer while you are stressed.

To help you understand what is happening we also teach you a little about the brain.

If you like theory read below. If not then look at the benefits.

As a ministry we use many of the concepts from the Life Model. They found 19 key skills that we all need to thrive. Many people found learning about the skill of forming bonds for two as transformational.

The first skill we train in is written is slightly dusty language, “as children and adults we are designed to share a mutual state of mind with someone that brings us closer and also lets us move independently as well.” Form good bonds for two.

We help people discern whether their brain is doing this; we give them tools to switch the relational circuits in their brains on; and we help people stay relational under pressure.

Can you spot your Relational Circuits are Off?

Why does this help?

The curious thing about relationships is that when we are in them we often need some way of gaining perspective and escaping unhappy cycles of behaviour. The Relational Circuits teaching helps with this.

• We help people see when the relational parts of their brains are switched off. Many of us don’t notice when we are living without connecting warmly to those around us. We may even be living as though the people around us are our enemies.

• When we learn to see when we are “switched off” this gives us the opportunity to improve our relationships. After our training, someone said “I realise I have lived my life with my relational circuits off the whole time”. This insight enabled them to go deeper in their relationships with other people and the other skills we trained them in offered them ways to do that [Skill Training: Relational Circuits]

• When we learn to synchronise with people we see the relevance of the expression, “match for rapport, mismatch for change.” In workplaces we begin to see more options for management and leadership which improves the working environment and increases sales.

• One consultancy we know used this skill in their business consultancy and credit it with creating the largest business growth they had seen (they had just won the contract for coaching American generals at the time).

• One couple reported "this has changed our marriage." They had lost the ability to connect warmly and were co-existing in a very functional way with each other so much so that they each felt devalued and unsatisfied. As they learnt about the need to value each other and connect warmly, they found a way out of the pit their marriage was in [Topic: Crazy Cycle]

The benefits of being able to connect warmly but also separate happily include

• Connecting well with others brings warmth, joy, happiness, ability to work well, work well together in a team.

• Being able to separate and be independent means we move beyond childhood clinginess and enable ourselves and our partners to enjoy and make the most of time apart or different hobbies.

• The skill brings a deepening of connection as people learn to connect warmly and separate happily. Many people find that they connect with their loved ones far deeper just learning this one skill: Form Bonds for Two.

• The ability to match other people brings an increase in rapport, an improvement in working environment and an increase in productivity.

Topics that change people's lives include

• Relational Circuits: LADFAIL.

• Relational Circuits at Work: LADFAIL.

• Relational Circuits in Marriage: LADFAIL.

• The Crazy Cycle

• Moving out of Enemy Mode

• Love Bonds versus Fear Bonds.

• How to Synchronize with Others

• Understanding Your Brain.

• Learning to Match for Rapport and Mismatch for Change

Notice and Name the Parts of Your Personality.

Introducing HeartSync

When they are calm and joyful most people find that there is a compassionate core personality within them. However each of us also have many ‘parts’ or patterns of reacting that help us through life and protect us. Sometimes these parts or patterns can become extreme because of our experiences in the world and it can then be harder to access the calm core self. These parts can also make us behave in ways that cause conflict, distress or unhappiness in ourselves or those around us.

Christians can be shocked to find that though part of them loves God, they also have other parts that hate God. They have parts that love people and others that react to them. Maybe we shouldn’t be surprised that we have parts when we consider that God is in three parts but is one, the Bible cautions us not to be double-minded (to think from two parts), and Jesus came to heal the broken-hearted.

HeartSync is designed to bring heart-break to wholeness, connect the whole person to Jesus, and to synchronise the person with themselves. This allows the parts to let go of their extreme or destructive roles and enter into a harmonious collaboration led by Jesus Christ. This means that you can have a more joyful whole-hearted relationship with God and better patterns of reaction to people.

Topics Include What are the parts of your personality? Noticing and Naming Aspects of Ourselves; When Emotion Holds Trauma; Blockages to a Divine Encounter; HeartSync and Brain Science; Healed Hearts, Happier Lives & Closer to God with HeartSync.

Free videos include

Why use the HeartSync Model?

An Introduction for Leaders Introducing HeartSync for those receiving ministry

Contact Ruth for more information on receiving HeartSync ministry or for coaching in self-understanding.

HeartSync Stories

We are writing this today. Some stories will go here.....

Learn How to Get Back to "Being-Glad-to-be-Together"
Even when going through Big Emotions.  

Learning to Stay Relational While Feeling a Painful Emotion 

Although we live most of our lives in joy and peace, we need to learn how to stay in relationship and quiet our distress when things go wrong [Life Model Skill 11]. 

We focus first on six “hard wired” emotions that we need to be able to self-regulate if we want to be happy. 

Topics Include: The Big 6 Emotions; Returning to Relationship When Things Go Wrong; Attachment Pain; Shadow Comforts / BEEPS; Do You Amplify Pain or Amplify Joy?

Mike's Story

It took me time to learn to manage my eootions. I gradually began to noitce and name them and as I did so I found that the more intense emotions began to subside as I learnt to experience them and journey through them.

As I did that I learned to stey in connection with Ruth as I went through my meotions. This took years to do.

I then realised I had a deep pain from my childhood called attachment pain. God healed me of that in an instantaneous and remarkable way which opened my life up from that moment to be happier.

Notice and Name Maturity Levels

This Sounds Dry but it is Always Enlightening

We need to know our ideal maturity level so we know if our development is impaired.

Knowing our general (baseline) maturity level tells us what the next developmental tasks will be.

We help people with this by working with the Life Model maturity stages via a questionnaire and coaching [Life Model Skill 8]. This sounds dry but it is often transformational.

As we grow in our maturity, then there comes a time to review the nature of our relationships and see how we are operating. Our organization, church or family will be dominated by how we operate. Again we use worksheets to help people to evaluate their relationships.

Worksheets Include: Infant and Child Maturity; Adult and Elder Maturity; Moving Up Our Maturity: Evaluating My Relationships.

Many people ask for our handouts on this when they understand they have gaps.

We Never Realised Where Our Arguments Were Coming From.

Ruth writes, I remember when we discovered the components of healthy maturity levels in emotional development. We took a questionnaire and suddenly understood why our arguments spiralled downwards so easily.

We had a shock when Mike and I discovered how we were both functioning at times in infant maturity in the same thing! We didn’t know how to ask for what we needed so we got into arguments. We struggled to synchronize.

We began to change our habits and our relationship improved. Gradually we learned some basic skills, our brain-wiring altered and our relationship improved.

This was all down to doing a maturity questionnaire and talking it through with someone who knew what they were doing. 

Arrive at Basic Maturity...


... And Now Escape Relational Immaturity

We teach these skills when they come up on an ad hoc basis. They are all important, but we find that in most groups, life is dominated by the lack of the skills we have already listed.

Develop Some Basic Skills that Improve Relationships

Form Family Bonds: Bonds For Three

Family bonds allow us to feel joy when people we love have a good relationship with each other. We experience what they feel and understand how they see our relationships through our three-way bonds (Life Model Skill 5).

You cannot build a bond for three (Skill 5) unless you have learnt to build bonds for two (Skill 3).

Take A Breather: Timing When To Disengage

Sustained closeness and trust requires us to stop and rest before people become overwhelmed or when they are tired (Life Model Skill 9).

Quiet Interactively

Facial cues, particularly of fear, help us to know when we are pushing others too hard. Sometimes we need and want to maintain a high-energy state without "going over the top," like knowing when to stop tickling so it stays fun (Life Model Skill 15).

Recognize High And Low Energy Response: Sympathetic And Parasympathetic

Many characteristic responses to emotions and relationships are strongly shaped by our tendency toward high or low energy reactions. Recognizing who tends to respond with high energy adrenaline based emotions) and who would rather withdraw helps us match minds with others and bring a more helpful variety to our own response tendencies (Life Model Skill 16).

Getting Life into Focus

Putting it Together

This step is around integrating growing in your walk with God, improving your relationships and keep your busy life on track. This is something everyone struggles with.

Some of us get organized but miss the heart

Others get the heart but don’t make a difference in the world because they don’t get organized.

Christians want to follow Jesus, succeed professionally, and be happy in their relationships. However, many of us aren’t able to put these together. This is what this stage is all about.

The current output for this is that Mike coaches one person only in this but also developed a planner to make life easier for me and everyone I care about.

·        Develop a purposeful life

·        Grow in your walk with God

·        Cultivate emotional health and relational brain skills.

·        Achieve more while doing less.

Three Emphases

This stage has three emphases:

FIRST is direction, focus, and organization. What do you want and how do you try and get it? By focusing on what is most important to you each week, you can accomplish the things you regard as essential.

SECOND we help you grow in your walk with God. We help you pray and to notice God in your day and live life in an authentic relationship with him.

THIRD is the skills in the rest of the list. You can improve your relationships by making minor changes. Relational success is not the result of luck or personal history.

Three Planners

I produced three planners that can help. One is the Joyskills Planner which has a Joyskills prompt every day. Others don't have the teaching but do have a Bible verse. 

Beyond Invisible: Share your Inner World with Others

Tell nonverbal stories

The body is the canvas for the brain. Whether we realize it or not, our body expresses our thoughts, feelings, desires, and fears, often without us being aware of it. Improving our ability to express ourselves nonverbally enables us to better express ourselves (Life Model Skill 10). Used well our body language can bridge generations and cross cultures.

When we read our own body language we can understand ourselves more deeply and recognise responses that remain hidden to us otherwise.

Telling Synchronized Stories

When our minds work together as God designed, our stories come together. Synchronized Stories are engaging interactions where we share meaningful moments of our lives with the people around us.

These are stories that allow others into our hearts and minds as will include emotions and often body sensations as important elements (Life Model Skill 7).

Telling these stories involves eye-contact, appropriate length, appropriate emotional intensity so that the speaker and the listener remain synchronized. In t5he Life Model, the phrase Synchronized Story means “we combine words and feelings into a coherent narrative, and this partnership synchronizes our brain's verbal centers with the brain's nonverbal emotional control center. The brain of listeners who stay connected with our stories will respond as though they were experiencing the event with us. Skill 7 gives us the unique opportunity to spread brain skills and pass on bits of our character and identity so that others learn from our example and use this information to guide life and relationships.”

Synchronized stories can take many forms. In Life Model training we may get people to tell stories about the skills to help them integrate their learning.

These are not leadership stories (where we tell stories to bring groups or companies around a particular theme though we can train in that); neither are they aimed to be humorous stories (which are great and can change the mood but are not designed to be relationally positive).

Life Beyond Comfort: Skills that Enable Healthy Relationships.
Even When You are Uncomfortable.

Act Like Myself In The Big Six Feelings

Once we can return to joy from negative emotions, we can learn to remain our relational selves when we feel painful (or ecstatic) emotions. This means we are able to act like the same person we were when we had joy to be together.

Part of maintaining our relationships when we are upset is learning to act like the same person we were when we had joy to be together [Life Model Skill 12].

Topics Include: Acting Like Yourself in Conflict.

Stop The Flesh

False "Godsight" may seem true to us at the moment, but leads to blame, accusation, condemnation, gossip, resentment, legalism, self-justification and self-righteousness. Living life from our personal view of who people are and how things should be and choosing right and wrong for ourselves and others comes from the flesh. The point here is not whether objective reality exists or if truth and error exists. The point is that relationships flourish when we ask for God's heart in a situation rather than look for who is “right.” [Life Model Skill 14].

Exercises: Immanuel Journaling

Identifying Heart Values from Suffering

This skill provides meaning and perspective for the distress we feel. As Chris Coursey puts it, “We ask, ‘Why do I hurt like this?’ All of us are uniquely created with specific heart values; we all have issues that particularly bother us when the evil and sadness of our broken world rub against our heart values [Skill 6]. If we have a vocation we may feel a burden deeply. 

Looking at these lifelong issues when are heart is healed helps identify the core values for each person's unique identity.

Looking at these issues before our heart is healed may mean that we are simply acting out of our woundedness. We therefore tend to mention this skill but focus more on the topics below.

Gift Projection (the tendency to get angry with other people when they are not passionate about the things we are passionate about); Vocation and Passion; Woundedness or Vocation?

Life Model Skills 18 and Skill 19 depend on the earlier foundational skills. As our friends Chris Coursey and Amy Brown put it “so when we or others struggle with complex emotions or a "brain locked in pain," we can remember that simple quieting and a gentle, peaceful presence always helps to bring relief. Skills require practice and patience, so we don't rush the process.” We don’t train people in the following skills unless we have been supervising them or working one-on-one for a while.

Skill 19. Recover From Complex Emotions: Handle Combinations Of The Big Six Emotions

When any of the "Big Six" negative emotions combine and merge into what we know as a complex emotion, these feelings are harder to manage. These combination feelings can be very draining and difficult to quiet, because they use both branches of me nervous system, much like pushing the gas pedal and the brake at the same time in a car.

Once we can return to joy and act like ourselves with the six big negative feelings taken one at a time, we can begin to learn how to return to joy and act like ourselves when the six are combined it various combinations

SKILL 18: Intervening Where the Brain is Stuck

Life is processed by our brain through five levels, and distress is experienced differently at each one of these levels. In the Life Model there are five distinctive Levels of brain disharmony and pain. By recognizing the characteristic pain at each of the brain's five levels we can pinpoint the trouble and find a solution if someone gets stuck (Life Model Skill 18). When we know the signs, we will know the solutions.

Arrive at Relational Maturity

© Mike Jones 2022

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