Building Hope: Anne Scott-Markle gives people hope for better relationships
November 07, 2012
BY DAVE REESE
Anne Scott-Markle at her office at Imagine Health in Columbia Falls. Dave Reese photo
MONTANA HEALTH JOURNAL
Anne Scott-Markle settles into an armchair to talk about relationships.
At her office at Imagine Health in a second-story office in Columbia Falls, Scott-Markle is helping people revive, strengthen and renew personal relationships. “The heart and soul of my work is relationship and community,” says Scott-Markle. Scott-Markle is a licensed therapist who has worked in this field for over 25 years. She opened Imagine Health in downtown Columbia Falls in 2007. The Imagine Health complex brings together several healthcare related fields, from midwifery and massage therapy, to yoga and counseling in one healing environment.
The heart of Scott-Markle’s work, though, is in healing relationships, which, she says, are one of the keys to truly learning about ourselves. “We are hard-wired to be in relationship, and if that doesn’t happen successfully, we suffer,” she said. “There is a deep longing to be totally loved and seen by another person.”
She sees the patterns of couples or individuals who haven’t healed their past and moved into present time awareness of their relationships, including their relationships with themselves. Scott-Markle helps people learn there is a present awareness state you can go to, unwind and let go. “You’re either in a present moment awareness where you can observe your feelings, or you’re in a robotic pattern that has hijacked you ,” she said. “We just seem to never clean up those messes of past wounds and relationships.”
Scott-Markle is learning about herself in the process of helping others. A woman who describes herself as “deeply spiritual but not religious” is now accepting the word “God” into her clinical vernacular. Markle says the word God is becoming more common in therapy settings like hers. She, herself, rarely used to say the “God” word. But this reflects a growing sense of the world’s embrace of science and faith. “For generations we’ve learned how to live in our heads and not our hearts,” she said. “We’re coming to a higher evolved place, and it means we’ve had to marry our heads and our hearts, our souls and our bodies. Science and mysticism are now being combined, with a deeper understanding of both.”
However, that can be the eternal paradox of the human condition. Scott-Markle helps people delve into the question of how you can be divine and human at the same time.
Scott-Markle said couples that don’t have solid relationship skills create pain within their relationships, and they don’t know how to open their hearts to each other — which is where true growth occurs. “There is a value and a purpose in staying committed,” she said. “When we’re really present and open-hearted, we are opening ourselves to God.”
This vulnerability can be hard to accept and incorporate into one’s life since, as Scott-Markle says, “people are pain avoiders.”
“But you don’t get good steel without heat and pounding,” she said. “We don’t get to God without losing ourselves and finding a way back.”
She herself has been married to Robert Markle for 34 years. Within that relationship she has learned to practice the skills she teaches others. It seems her marriage has saved her work, and her work has saved her marriage, at times. But what really keeps Scott-Markle motivated in relationship work is something much larger than our own context; a concept that is hard to grasp, yet continually sought: world peace. She thinks the only way to reach that goal is to work toward peace within ourselves and in our close personal relationships. “It’s my contribution to world peace,” she said.
“It’s the only way I know to get there.” Scott-Markle speaks assuredly and confidently about being able to help people tap into the power of relationships. To her, the magic is within ourselves, and we have to learn to access that power. Still, people get trapped in their own stories and cycles of past failures. “We all long for freedom, to be who we really are. As long as we’re caught in the behavior pattern of thinking/feeling/behaving, we’re not free,” she said.
Relationships also have a way of exposing much of our unmet pain. “What’s the highest road from fight or flight?” she said. “Are we going to take that giant leap toward opening our heart and knowing our divine possibility?” She brings hope, perspective and ways to help people out of their emotional pain. “People light up when they learn that there is a way,” she said.
Markle GIVES perspective to peoples’ lives, at a time when they need to be shown how they’re participating in their daily dramas. “I’ve been able to see people beyond their patterns, and see them all as whole and complete lovely beings.”
Once people are shown there are ways to break old cycles and ways of resolving pain, they can become healthier. “People will find a way to love,” Scott-Markle said. “They’ll be moved by the tide toward God, like plants toward the sun. “I trust the design.”Scott-Markle remembers driving to Great Falls in a blizzard to see her father, who was in poor health. On the highway she came across a Native American family whose car was stuck in a snow drift. She gave them a lift. When they were in her car, she said they could tell she was grieving over her father. “They said they’d pray for him,” Scott-Markle said. “It seemed so simple. Yet they live their religion. To them it’s like making bread, you just do it.”
But for many people — and probably most couples — relationships are not as easy as baking bread. “This is the work we can do moment to moment,” she said. “It’s the most difficult thing we can do, but it’s pretty simple.”
Just by listening to her speak about relationships, it’s clear that Scott-Markle is doing her life’s work in the two-story building in downtown Columbia Falls. She has the energy and the insight to help people along some of life’s most difficult turns. And it’s clear she loves what she does at Imagine Health.
“I feel like I have one of the best jobs on the planet,” she said. “I am in deep relationship right down at the core of where we live, and there, peoples’ lives change. It’s such a great dance.” •