Going to the balcony

By David Emerald

As you read this post, please pause for a moment and observe yourself. Where are you sitting or standing? Notice what you are doing (in addition to reading this). What is going on around you? How are you feeling (mad, glad, sad, excited, etc.)? How are you reacting to this unusual start to the essay – are you wanting to read on or close it down and move on?

If you paused and reflected on these questions, you just experienced what we call “going to the balcony.” As a Creator, developing the capacity to reflect on your experience and gain perspective by taking a “balcony view” allows you to more effectively choose your response to life events.

Look at the pictures below. In one, two men are sitting in the front row of a theater. Their view is restricted to only what they can see right in front of them. This is similar to what it feels like when we are enmeshed in drama-filled situations. We only see a limited perspective.  

In the other picture, a person is on a balcony looking over a wide-range of activity taking place below. He has a greater perspective and can observe the drama unfolding without being in the middle of the action.

When we find ourselves in some form of the Dreaded Drama Triangle (DDT)™ and that toxic brew of the Victim, Persecutor and Rescuer roles, one way to break the reactive cycle is to go to the balcony to gain perspective. From the balcony we have a better chance to observe a full range of possibilities and choose to step into TED* (*The Empowerment Dynamic)™ roles of Creator, Challenger or Coach.

Recently, as all relationships do at times, we experienced a breakdown and found ourselves locked in the DDT. After a while we realized what was going on and called a “time out!” David went into what we call our “quiet room” and allowed himself to breathe deeply, feel his feelings, and reflect on our interaction. Donna went for a long walk.

In our own way we both went to the balcony.

From the balcony we were able to gain a broader perspective, calm down and reconnect as Co- Creators. This allowed us to focus on what we wanted going forward and on what we could learn from the drama situation. Sitting quietly or going for a walk or going for a cup of coffee are all ways of going to the balcony to gain a broader perspective.

We encourage you to add the practice of going to the balcony as one way to help interrupt the DDT and reconnect with what you want to create. The next time you find yourself hooked by drama, call “time out” and go to the balcony. The perspective you gain will help you choose a more resourceful and resilient response.


Article contributed by David Emerald, author of The Power of TED*

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