Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Glass Dome Mentality

Beware of the glass dome mentality. What is it? It’s the gradual and unnoticeable closing yourself off to the world. The metaphorical glass dome seals you, both protecting you and keeping you from being impacted by all that surrounds you, enabling you to smoothly slip by, skimming the surface of things while avoiding relationally going deep in any aspect of life.

If you write, this temptation can become strong. Hunker down, fanny in chair, eyes on the screen and type, type, type. There’s a time for this. There’s also a time for getting out there. I happen to believe enriched writing comes from enriched living. Does this mean you need to experience everything your MC does? Absolutely not. But, engaging in relationships, striking up fascinating conversations and risking love certainly can’t hurt in your attempt to understand your MC.

You don’t need to be a writer to know what it’s like to live life as an observer. Everyone experiences seasons of this and while your season may serve as a plentiful time to collect and write material, I don’t believe we’re to live our whole lives as observers.

Here are the pitfalls of slipping into Glass Dome Mentality:

Hibernating—Closing Yourself Off
People need you. Whether you realize it or not, you influence people. Your words, your actions…they can make a difference. When you’re living with a glass dome over you, you see this, but you aren’t pouring into anything. You’re checked out and in turn, you might be missing valuable and meaningful moments of connection.

Forgetting How to Interact
Vigilantly soaking in the myriad ways people bond with one another and hurt one another makes for good stuff when it comes to writing. But, if you’ve been out of the mix for too long, it’s easy to forget the most constructive ways to problem solve and how to normally tell a joke. Trying to delve back into a social scene can be awkward and harder work than it should be if you’ve been “gone for too long.” You never want to shut yourself off so much that you forget you’re human and you’ve been created for relationship.

Isolation—Feeling you’re the Only One
I could write pages and pages on this one. When left to yourself for too long you’re apt to begin believing the lies. Fellowship does wonders as a reminder that you are not alone.

Lack of giving—Selfishness
You become so invested in your goals, your dreams, your depression, and your [fill in the blank] that you’ve neglected to inquire about anyone else. Sad place to be if you ask me.

If you’re a writer, it’s possible you’ve encountered glass dome mentality under the guise of collecting material and working on a project. Like I wrote, there’ll be seasons for this. But we aren’t meant to get stuck in those seasons. Inject yourself into life and live it. Risk relationships. Risk living.

Ironically, I think these words from Henry David Thoreau (a man who checked into the woods for awhile) are fitting for this post:

I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life.

Have you witnessed or experienced other examples of what occurs with glass dome mentality?

*photos by flickr


  1. I felt this way often in my early news-reporting days. Even while collecting information, I often felt removed from the pain of those who were experiencing it. I did some of this on purpose to keep an appropriate sense of objectivity, and to protect my heart from being hurt. ... But then I reached a point where I decided it was OK to enter into the pain of another. I cried a lot and laughed a lot with others after that point.

    These human beings became real PEOPLE to me ... not just new sources. And I don't regret it one bit.

  2. Your posts are always so insightful. I definitely feel as though I've experienced some of these--at least in part--and some of them recently. Sometimes I think I've done so much in my life and others I realize how much life there still is to live and I wonder why I'm not out there living it. Makes me think finding balance in my life is one of the most challenging things I've tried to do.

  3. I've definitely experienced this!
    It can be so tempting to focus all our energy on our own desires and issues that we block out everything else.
    Luckily, my family doesn't let that happen. They pry my fingers off the keyboard and drag me out of the house often enough to keep me living and focused on the real world :)

  4. It is so hard to be caught up in multiple worlds, but you are SO RIGHT! We really need to check out of the imaginary and re-enter the land of the living. Not only is it good for us, but it makes our stories better. Thanks so much for the reminder, Wendy!

  5. this is a thought provoking post... thank you so much for sharing your insights! I am always blessed by my visits here!

  6. Glass-dome mentality...wow, I've been there before. But like you said - we should never get stuck in these seasons. Lately I've been living life a lot more. And praying God will help me find a balance between life and writing.... it's an interesting journey.

    Thanks for the insights, Wendy!

  7. Funny, Wendy. I'm usually surrounded by the five children I home school. I attend a large church filled with saints I love, who love me. I'm well connected to a multitude of friends via the blogsphere & Facebook.

    Most importantly, I experience rich times of fellowship with God through His Word and Spirit.

    But guess which one I struggle with most?

    Isolation—Feeling you’re the Only One

    Yes, I could write pages and pages about this lie as well.

  8. It's so hard with the busy-American culture mentality. So many of us are consumed with filling our lives with activities (even church ones) that we mistake that for real living. We go from one thing to the next to the next. But often it's in the simple, slow pace that we can really learn to observe and savor life. So even though I struggle to find the balance between writing and other responsibilities, I don't think it's about doing more of those other things, but maybe stopping or slowing down!

  9. Great post. It is so enticing to lock myself away from everything and everyone (except my beloved husband). But I knwo that my Lord Jesus, though He set me apart from the world asks me to be IN the world, to change it and change me.

  10. And it is so easy to get under the glass dome and so difficult to break out., Thank you for this post. Blessings Clella Camp

  11. Excellent advice as I found myself doing this the past year or so. Then I knew I needed to stop and live more--hence the ladies group I started and also getting out more. It helps--it gives perspective on life and makes you way more happy!

  12. Jennifer, I like how you pulled journalism into this topic. Made me think.

    Cindy, finding balance = the holy grail. I just want you to know I'm glad to have you in my life.

    MeganRebakah, somewhere I learned that God teaches us how to sacrifice in marriage and with our children and I agree completely. Whenever tempted to enter into my own tunnel vision, my kids or husband yank me out of that tunnel.

    Kristen, the words "the land of the living" struck me. Yes, that is where we need to be.

    Lauren, your words moved me and made my insides smile.

    Katie, I'm so glad about the lately. You have so much to give this world, Katie. I know all the little fifth graders that received your name in the mail must be thrilled!

    Anne, I think it wasn't until I reached age thirteen that something cracked in that lie and it's been breaking like a fault line ever since. Hard to believe it anymore. I love seeing your comments here. You are such a steady encouragement to me!

    Jody, savoring life...I think that's why I decided x-ney on the twitter-A today. I appreciated your thoughts and realize I might be missing out, but I'm okay with that. Thanks for stopping by here so often w/ how busy you are!

    HisFireFly, there's something about feeling safe when we are locked away by choice. But I agree with you, we need to be here now. Heaven later though...Woo Hoo!

    Blessings to you Clella, I enjoyed your comment about it being difficult to break out. Made me think do other people sometimes need to break us out? Do we let them?

    Terri, way to go--I'm all about women's groups. I think we have so much to offer one another.

    I'm glad to be on this journey with you. It gets tangly sometimes. I get sidetracked and confused. Today I almost signed up for Twitter and God's been impressing on me for weeks, "No."

    When you comment I'll make an effort to pray for you. I humbly ask the same. I pray God uses me in my weakness.

    Sending sweet thoughts out tonight, of gratitude and love.
    ~ Wendy

  13. This is an insightful post. You said it in one.

    Thank you.

    Mervat from http://thewritinginstinct.blogspot.com/

  14. By temperament, I'm inclined to closing myself off to others. Selfishness has a lot to do with it, too: I want to do what I want (which is something alone: reading, watching TV, writing, or surfing the Internet) when I want to without interruption. This is something I'm constantly having to work on. People may laugh, but I actually have to "make" myself have at least one social engagement a week. I have a good friend who's the opposite...we have a hard time understanding how the other one thinks!

  15. True, true. It's so easy to forget that our troubles seem small when we're around other people. Even a quick "hi, how are you" to another car-pooling mom can put a smile on my face for a few hours.



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