Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Explore your Iceberg

Last night my husband and I attended a talk by "Emotionally Healthy Spirituality" author Peter Scazzero and his wife Geri. They are from Queens, NY and have church planted there since 1988 I believe. Anyway they shared about their path to emotionally healthy spirituality.

We read the book last year and really enjoyed it, it has some brutally honest pieces that are a bit scary, but really push you forward into exploring your iceberg so that you can be a more emotionally healthy person for you, for your loved ones, etc...

We re-did the "Explore your Iceberg" exercise last night and new things cropped to the top. We were to answer 4 questions by writing whatever comes to mind in 1 minute, seemed simple enough.
Q1: What is making you mad right now?
Q2: What is making you sad right now?
Q3: What is making you fearful or anxious right now?
Q4: What is making you happy right now?

So we write in solitude (in a room of 800 people) for 1 minute on each question. Then she asks us to turn to the person next to you and ask how the experience was for them. A little awkward as I suddenly felt like turning my paper over and tucking it into my purse. My husband had jotted down one word bullet points for each question, while I wrote paragraphs under each! That is just one example of how we communicate a little differently and it made us laugh!

Geri, Mrs Scazzero, went on to talk about the iceberg analogy which I'm sure most of you have heard of....

The tip of the iceberg is the top 10% of what is going on in/with the people around us in our perspective. What is going on in the other 90% is beneath the surface. What I picked up on last night that I don't recall reading in the book, was what she said next.

She talked about anger, hurt, and fear being the top layers, followed by depression, disappointment, and shame. I know its an uplifting thought :) What really hit home is that the layers of life, joy, hope, health, creativity, pleasure and love are "below" the top layer and are often suppressed becasue we do not acknowledge and process through the top layers!

Totally resonated with me. If I am angry or disappointed, I may put on a happy face and go on as if "everything is just fine" But when that one moment of stress hits, the iceberg, for me, can turn into a volcano, spilling and spewing. Can anyone relate?

I want to chip away at the tip of the iceberg by talking about my disappointment or frustration, so I can get to the good stuff! She goes on to say, if we have unaddressed top layers of hurt or fear,etc., it does not mean that we cannot experience pleasure, creativity, and love. It just means that we may not be fully experiencing these emotions.

For me it made sense and provides a visual analogy of what I work towards, simplifying my life!
If we are too busy and have too much activity, how are we going to stop and make time to answer those 4 questions to check in with yourself? I think the 4 questions are something I'd like to look back at on a more regular basis with myself, my husband, and kids.

Can you hear the theme song from Titanic in the distance? I can!


  1. Hi Andrea, thanks for such a great message in your post today. It is so true that we have to get to those layers. In the Mondo Beyondo class I am doing right now, there is something kind of similar being discussed. We are being challenged to clear up our clutter...whatever that means for each of us. This way we are making room for something more, something better.

    Oh, and I love that you and your husband went to this together. Very sweet to think about.


  2. Great post. Those 4 questions are really great. Something I'm going to have a little think about too.