Saturday, July 19, 2014

What's a Structural Tension Chart?

I use the Structural Tension Chart method daily!  Dr Andersen describes it in his books - if you don't have his materials, let me know and I can help you decide which one to get.

Robert Fritz, Dr A's colleague and mentor, introduced us to the technique of making and using a Structural Tension Chart to propel us forward towards goals with systematic ease.  Here's an example my friend, Susan, sent me of how she is using a Structural Tension Chart to help her focus on what matters most for a family picnic.

At the top, you'll find Susan's "Vision."  This is the reality she intends to create.  At the bottom you will find her "Current Reality" ... this is where she recorded what she was feeling in her darker moments of early stress and worry.  In the middle are the little "Baby Steps" that she will use to help her keep her eye on the prize - to help her stay focused on the Vision and the reality she intends to create!

Notice that the structure reads from bottom to top ... all the energy belongs at the top.  It's important to acknowledge the "Current Reality" at the bottom but put NO Energy here! All the energy goes into building and supporting the Vision!  The Baby Steps should all be doable, small, simple, easy actions that are all directed towards the creating the Vision.  We can add more as the day goes by.  By the way, this is just one example of how the Structural Tension Chart can be used.

Susan's Intention & Vision is to:
Radiate happiness, trust, and joyfulness
Infuse every interaction with kindness
Build wonderful memories
Have plenty of food and games

Baby Steps:
  • Choose comfortable clothing.
  • Arrive early and prepared
  • Be lovingly detached
  • Have an "escape route" planned
  • Clear my mind & heart of old resentments  
  • Avoid being drawn into criticism and gossip
  • Remember that it's ok that I am not perfect, look for the shining light in everyone 
  • Spend time sitting at the level of the little ones to be available, attentive & playful 
  • Keep a safe distance from chips, dips & desserts, alcohol and other poisons 
  • Plan a "re-entry" strategy or way to be of service that allows me to relax.
Current Reality:
I'm aware that I talk too much and listen too little ...
I know I hurt my cousin's feelings last time we met.
Feelings of inadequacy are in abundance
I'm feeling rushed, under-appreciated, irritated with myself
Missing my grandmother ... know that I'll never be able to fill her shoes

You can read more about Robert Fritz in his wonderful book, The Path of Least Resistance and learn more at his web site, 

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