Endings and Beginnings

a burning candle and a journal for self reflectionAs we approach the end of the year, we would like to close off well.  This poetry dialogue encourages self-reflection and explores our feelings around endings and beginnings. In an ideal world, all endings and beginnings are good, but in the real world, we know life is complex. When we suppress our feelings they can go underground. They can affect us subconsciously and internalize stress into our bodies. They could result in inter-personal explosions that seem to come out of nowhere. However, feelings do not need to be buried. The end of the year is an opportunity for reconnecting with ourselves and others, for closure, so that we can start with a clean slate in 2023.

This is one of the sessions in our new offering “Pick ‘n Mix stress management”. More details here. We would like to put the power back into your hands and give you agency to tailor-make a stress management package that really works for you. Every Wednesday in October from 19:30 – 20:45 we will be facilitating a different topic online. You decide what you  need and when and whether you would like another session. You give yourself time to apply your learnings, implement change and control the amount of new information you are exposed to. Every month our offering will change slightly. Do check in regularly to see what’s been adjusted. We may also try out a different day of the week.

Email contact@tt-tt.co.za to book your place by 18:00 on 29 November.

Personal statistics

Personal  Statistics by Vera Marbach


Every number

has a face

is a person

in a family

tells a story.


Every number

stays a number




know that face

miss that person

love that family.


Then, every number

tells your story.


During the third wave of this pandemic, those impersonal statistics out there have become personal for many of us. As one loss is layered on top of another, with limited opportunity to express the grief, we are experiencing a different kind of stress – compound grief…

This is one of the sources of stress we plan to address in our Stress Management course for busy women in Magaliesburg on 11 September.



On Freedom Day it seems appropriate to look back on where we have come from, to celebrate the progress we have made, but also to reflect on why we as a country haven’t progressed further than we have…why we sometimes seem stuck. My husband, Thorsten, wrote this poem in 2019, and was willing to share it with a larger audience:

disconnec-t (poem) – with intro & link

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Parenting with grace

We want to get our relationships right, particularly our family relationships.  We put in our best efforts as parents.  But we may end up tired, discouraged, and feeling like failures.  Why?  A primary cause is when we set out to control & change others, applying subtle pressure, making rules (mostly unwritten) and attempting to modify their attitudes & responses.  The natural result is exhaustion, depression or a sense of wanting to bail out.

One step towards more healthy relationships is to allow grace to replace manipulation & legislation.  Join Vera Marbach as she describes the difference between grace-filled relationships and curse-filled relationships, where “curse” is an acronym for … – you’ll need to attend the online talk to find out.

There will be opportunity for discussion and interaction.

Cost: R50

Book your place with vera@tt-tt.co.za

Becoming the victim of a mother’s optimism

Most of the time, I would call myself an optimist. I can’t seem to help myself – I see potential in other people, including my children. I believe in their ability to bounce back when faced with challenges, to find those inner resources to get up and try again, even when it is tough.

But sometimes, I voice this belief too quickly. They do not feel heard and argue the case for their perceived “victimhood”. In my efforts to encourage them to rediscover their agency and act positively in their circumstances, I may inadvertently contribute to the opposite. They feel they are also victims of my deaf ears.

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Saving time

The words “saving time” roll off the tongue so easily, and yet it is such a loaded expression.

The word “saving” indicates value that we (personally or as a society) have assigned to something. We only save things that are precious to us – money, jewellery, treats, things of beauty, the best of something.

Usually the verb “save” is used with one of two pronouns. We save “for” or we save “from”.

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Our first Diversity Dialogue online!

A reason to celebrate – on Saturday 22 August we facilitated our first online Diversity Dialogue! We appreciate everyone who brought their time and energy into that space, especially those who felt some trepidation at doing something new technologically! Our topic was “Sensitizing the Church to Gender Based Violence”. We would like to share some highlights…

It was apparent during the dialogue, that there are many churches where the teaching seems to be more about rules and gender roles than about Jesus’ love for sinners. In many churches, women do not feel they are seen for who they are because they feel they have to fit into a small and rigid role and cannot be authentically themselves. There was a sense of mourning and lament for the loss of their potential skills and talents that could have contributed to life together but were not enjoyed by the community.

In both community life and Bible teaching, we need to develop an equal focus on the perpetrator and the victim. Bible teaching should be about the real people described in the Bible, with their faults and sins. The heroes of the faith should not be “sugar-coated”. In our practical lives, we can accept all broken people including those who are aggressive or alcoholics, and deal with their hurt. We can work with men who are in pain, allowing them space to heal before their pain leads to violence.

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Integrating all aspects of YOU

While I was doing my coaching course, we were advised to focus on finding and developing our own niche as coaches. My thought process kept bringing me back to the term “integration” – a concept that has often featured in my life, in a number of ways.

I was first introduced to “integration” when, as an Occupational Therapy student in the nineties, we learnt about how better results are achieved when the two sides of our bodies and brains work together. Much more so, than when we rely on only one side. Integration can be defined as the process of combining two or more things in an effective way so that they form a unified whole that is more than merely the sum of its parts. Disintegration then is the loss of effectiveness, cohesion, strength – a process of fragmenting or falling apart. We experience disintegration when we feel overwhelmed by external and internal stressors and challenges, when our parts are not working together smoothly.

When we experience stressful circumstances, we often struggle with strong emotions like anger, pain, anxiety and fear. It feels like they are taking over our lives, and often we try to avoid dealing with them for as long as possible. However, suppressing them often results in an uncontrolled pressure-cooker effect: the pot boils over or even explodes, often when it is most inconvenient.

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A clean slate

Today, if possible, start your lock-down home off on a “clean germ slate”. Clean the surfaces you often touch – doorknobs, handles, drawer knobs, window fasteners, light switches, taps, counters, fridge and oven doors, stove top controls, electrical equipment, phones, remote controls, hairbrushes, tooth brushes, water jugs, dustbin lids etc.

And as you do this, think about the people you are going to be sharing your space with for the next few weeks. What is necessary to wipe the relational slate clean? What do you need to forgive so that it does not infect your interactions?

Wash the clothes you wore during the last few days, clean your shoes, wash kitchen towels, hand towels, bath towels, bedding, clean the floors.

And again, think about the people you are living with. Where do you need to repent, and ask them for forgiveness? What relational work do you need to do to socially draw close to those now physically closest to you?

Wash your body and hair thoroughly.

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On 18 May in Auckland Park, the topic chosen was “Family”. The dominant theme was the continuing influence of inequality

on our relationships within families. The underlying power struggle between inequality due to race (with different

shades represented within a family) and inequality due to gender (with a strong patriarchal dominance) was evident,

with strong voices representing both.

Looking back on the dialogue together, the following observations were made:

  • The system is oppressive.
  • I have a greater understanding of my own pain.
  • Black women found it more difficult to represent anger and moved to expressing pain.
  • People tend to shift from pain to anger. Anger is vocalised pain. If not vocalised, pain is internalised.
  • Pain can assist us in finding a solution.

A big thank you to those who bravely sat in the uncomfortable voices of pain and anger and committed to growing for all of us!