Originally published in Dungarvan Observer in Ireland.

Have you ever asked yourself: How well do I relate to others? How well am I connected to others? How well do I relate to myself? How well am I connected to myself?

RELATIONSHIPS can go one of two ways. We can connect with one another in a co-operative way (which will uplift and strengthen both parties), or we can relate in a way where we compete against each other and operate from a sense of duty, a lot of the time left feeing threatened. The latter way will lead to destruction of the relationship between both parties.

Elizabeth Schnugh has chosen Ireland as her base from which to impart her knowledge on relationships of all kinds. She has been facilitating courses at the Clonea Strand Hotel, Dungavan, twice a year since 2009*. People have traveled from all parts of the world to Dungarvan to participate in these courses. I have attended all the courses thus far, some more than once. The opportunity is available for me to redo these courses more than once by way of assisting. I have found the courses to be excellent and most supportive in the way they are presented. I have seen huge changes in the behaviour of people who come to do these courses.

There are many subjects covered over the three full days of the course which commences on the Friday morning and ends on the Sunday evening. One subject that I gained huge clarity on, was working with my feelings and emotions and learning that they are not the same.

When I speak to people about emotions and feelings, most people would say that there is not much difference between the two, however there is a huge difference. Let me explain a little – feelings are irrational, they are the expressions of our own inner being which we could call our gut feeling, or our intuition, however unless we listen to our feelings and learn to trust them, we wll always be stuck in our minds, going round and round, never learning who we really are, or what life is all about.

In order to be able to work with and trust our feelings, we must also understand and learn how to work with our emotions. Our emotions when understood properly are wonderful gifts. When we use them to support us they will take us back to the feeling and in that way we begin to learn about ourselves and about life.

So take for example the emotion ANGER. ANGER is one of the primary emotions and if used properly can be a real treasure. However, we know that ANGER can be hugely destructive to ourselves and to those around us when we allow it to get out of control.

Emotions are based on desire. Anger is the desire to fight. When taken at face value, to fight would mean to go into battle, or conflict with another person, or with ourselves. If we go a little deeper, we will begin to recognise that anger IS the desire to fight, but WHAT we are fighting for is our self respect. What is really going on here?! What can I learn about myself in this situation?

Directing our anger at another person, at ourselves or suppressing it can be very destructive. As well as being destructive, most of the time we learn nothing new about ourselves or our behaviour as we will continue to re-act and to express ourselves in this manner, every time we get angry.

On Journey of Adjustment, Elizabeth Schnugh takes the participants through the process of recognising and working with their emotions in the most uplifting way. What I found the first thing to do when I get angry is, is to acknowledge the anger. It’s actually okay to be angry. However, in doing this, I must also be wide awake and alert as to what is going on within me and around me, thereafter I should detach from my anger so it doesn’t take over, as well as not getting caught up in it. It does not mean I should stop being angry. In detaching I may have to get out of the room. In my relationship, when somebody is willing to work with me on my anger, it is better that I discuss with them beforehand, if I am going to leave the room. I also found that it is perfectly okay to ask for support.

Sometimes all that needs to be said is ’I am feeling very angry right now, please give me a moment’ and then ’Can you please help me to find where my anger is coming from?’ When I don’t follow these steps, I usually end up in an argument!

The other primary emotions are fear, joy and melancholy. These are the main emotions and often our emotions can be made up of a combination of these.

Fear can also be very supportive in a relationship when understood, but very destructive when it becomes overwhelming or debilitating. On these courses, Elizabeth will take the participant through each step in handling and understanding fear.

Some of the other tools we receive on these courses are:

  • The differences between the male and female.
  • The role of each in all relationships, and learning the most supporive way for us males and females to co-operate intelligently with each other
    to enable us to uplift and to strengthen each other and our relationship.
  • Using conflict to get to the harmony we all long for.
  • How to work to get beyond our self image; when co-operating with each other.
  • Leaning how to co-operate intelligently together to uplift each other instead of blaming each otherr or competing against each other.
  • How wanting to be perfect all the time trips us up.
  • Understanding compromise.
  • The importance of being able to detach.
  • Understanding guilt and how we continuously use it against ourselves.
  • Unconditional love versus conditional love.
  • The art of and the practical tool for communicating, so we can share freely with each other what goes on in our daily life.

The next Journey of Adjustment course will take place at Clonea Strand Hotel on the 17th and 18th September, 2011. The number of participants is limited so early booking is advised.

Journey of Adjustment is the course that gives all of us the opportunity to acquire the basic tools to work with to make our relationship an uplifting experience. There are other courses to follow which will support us on our journey, depending on how far we want to enhance our relationship with ourselves, with people in our life and with life itself.

Elizabeth qualified as a Chartered Accountant at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, in 1976. She then embarked on a highly successful career in the corporate world, becoming Financial Director of Gilbey Distillers and Vintners in 1983 – a position she held for over ten years.

Through her experience of working with a wide cross section of people in her career, Elizabeth began to realise that her talents and fate did not lie in the corporate world, but in helping people to help themselves. Consequently in 1991, she started training as a teacher of the humanitarian disciplines and in 1995, Elizabeth resigned from. Gilbeys. Since the beginning of 1996 her commitment to teaching became full-time.


*Elizabeth now travels to the EU countries that host Retreats and Courses. At this time (2020) this is Bulgaria and Estonia.

Patrick Power
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