When Your Big Plans Don’t Work Out

Dear reader,

I visited Ljubljana today for a change. Had to go to the doctors for some check-up, pick up some books, buy some things, meet some people and do many other small things. I also briefly visited my faculty where I studied and where my husband works.

This faculty used to be like my home. It gave me opportunities to discover what I truly wanted to do in my life, was an umbrella of many student associations, a place where I met some very nice people. I gave it my soul, my skills, lots of my free time and my passion. It was a place I felt truly loyal to. I think I contributed a whole lot and for quite some time I viewed this institution as an integral part of my life. It was also a part of my big plan – to work there in a position for which I seemed a good fit, so that I could be in contact with students who loved me and also close to my husband. It seemed a perfect plan and a perfect life.

As I returned back home from the UK in late 2014, skilled, packed with knowledge and ready to pass it on, I was certain that my offers would be welcomed. I was wrong. I got a slap in my face, my offers were received with icy cold attitude I couldn’t have imagined in my worst nightmare. In a meeting with the dean and a couple of other people I literally had to defend myself, while my intentions were nothing but good. Some people that I considered friends turned their back upon me. I could not believe it. As the dean’s committee couldn’t reject my offer completely, they tried to turn me down by collecting some professional expert opinion. It took several months and I was on my toes all the time. Even acquired myself an expert opinion from international community (thank you EBTA!!!) but the bottom line, to make a long story short was, that the dean decided my proposal didn’t get a pass by positive expert opinion, which I later on discovered was not true. Anyhow, my “big plan” collapsed.

What to do when that happens? What to do when you spend so much of your time and place all your hopes, working on one specific goal and then you lose it all? Of course you’ll need some time to accept the fact that it won’t work out the way you imagined it. Of course if you can, you’ll probably look out for ways how you could fix what could be fixed. In my case the notice from the faculty I loved, was final, delivered to me in a cold and rude tone. So I left.

Only a few months later, this rejection turned out to be one of the best things that happened to me. I opened my own company. Started doing things on my own, outside the system, its people and procedures. It paid off. In only three years I’ve grown to be one of the international lead trainers under Erasmus+ in certain topics. I am the Queen of Solution Focused Approach in Slovenia with international reputation of teaching and practise. I get to work with whom I want under my own conditions. I can work across sectors and in different countries. In other words: I am as free as a bird and people pay me to do what I love. My work also matters: I make a difference, because people and organisations do better when I do my job well. Which makes me more than happy.

Today at the faculty, I ran across a cleaning lady who used to see me every day while I was still at the faculty. She barely recognised me. As we had a friendly relationship back then, I knew she was telling the truth when she said I look so much better and younger now than I did couple of years ago. And when I looked myself in a mirror in the bathroom I realised she was absolutely right.

Leaving this faculty was one of the best things I have ever done.

Not to get me wrong, there are still things I like about that institution and by no means want to underestimate its culture. But now I know who my friends were and who was a wolf in sheep’s skin. I also know now that I left being a winner and am so so so very grateful for whoever stabbed me in my back three or four years ago. They have done me such a big favour.

Your turn: Now think about it for yourself: have you ever had an experience when your big plan crashed? Where are you now? What would you have missed, had your plan worked out? What has your “failure” taught you – what was its gift?

The bottom line: When life gives you lemons, surely, make a lemonade. You’ve heard this one before. But I don’t believe life ever gives you lemons. It has something WAY better planned for you. All you have to do is trust it and act accordingly. In other words: manifest to recognise opportunities or create them and trust it will happen in the way that is absolutely right for you. 

Wanna learn how to manifest? I’ve done it all my life, not knowingly. Now I know how to do it so that I can create opportunities for myself. And I’d be very happy to pass this wisdom on to you. Visit this page on Facebook and express your interest.



Walking down the streets of Ljubljana – sunny on the outside and on the inside


Untrain yourself and start becoming friends with your body

Dear reader,

previous blog post “Were You Trained to Hate Your Body?” has prompted this. In my line of work, I have never met a woman or a man who would not have at least one issue, struggle or cause for embarrassment about the way how their body looked, behaved or their habits around it. And yet I believe, with some time and motivation, we can un-train ourselves and find a way forward to becoming at peace or even friends with our bodies. So I have created this online training programme for all of us who would like to break this cycle of self-hate and turn it into something worthwhile.

Your past does not have to mess up with your future. Your past failures can be made into your future successes.

This online training will consist of five separate online videos, which you will receive every week to your mailboxes. The videos will tackle different aspects of our being and performance and will also offer you exercises which you can do alone or together with someone you trust.

The second part of the training will be individual sessions. In these conversations we will be focusing on the outcomes specially tailored to you and your hopes. Each participant will have an opportunity for two individual sessions.


Anyone who can in some way relate to this blog post.


Whenever you feel ready to register and lasting for 5 weeks.


As much time as you want. The video sessions will be sent directly to your email address, after you register for this training. Then it is up to you how fast you go. There will be five slots, one per week. As for individual conversations, we will together look out for a time which suits us both and meet online, so you can enjoy our conversation from your own couch! The videos will be in English, as the training is designed for international audience. Individual sessions can be done in other languages of your preference (Slovenian or other Southern Slavic language, German or Spanish).


You can register through this online form. There is a symbolic participation fee of 50£, which includes all the videos, individual sessions and support through the training, so that really everybody can join. After registering you will receive an email with logistic and payment details.


Here for you to answer.

I created this training because I believe in its usefulness. And I believe in the importance of this topic. As it is not a part of Ribalon’s regular trainings, we’ll only take up to 10 people on a first come, first serve basis. 

I am so hopeful because you reacted. Together we can shape a better future, starting with ourselves.



La Dolce Vita. Why not?



The Power of Rejection – a special guest post

Dear reader,

today we have a special post – a guest post from Naomi. She has indeed written a masterpiece for you and this is her first blog.

I have never met Naomi face to face. Our paths crossed as our common friend John Wheeler introduced us one to another, saying we might be a valuable contact to each other. He was absolutely right. We met on Skype more than a year ago, neither of us knew what to expect from the conversation and a few minutes into our Skype we both knew this was a beginning of a relationship that is beyond professional one.

Professionally, Naomi is a Solution Focused Trainer and Practitioner with 20 years of experience in a variety of specialist areas including substance misuse, young people, offending, homelessness and employability. She is passionate about supporting people to notice their unique strengths and how to practically apply these to maximise success in their chosen objectives. She is motivated by equality, fairness and understanding the social organisation of different cultures, including approaches to life, laughter, survival and routine.

Personally, she is such a delight to be talking to, as she is so kind, curious, energetic and bursting in talent. I am honoured that she wrote a blog for you and am more than happy to be able to offer you an excellent read on a topic that we are all very familiar with – rejection. So sit back, relax and enjoy reading!

The Power of Rejection

If you think you are someone who has never been rejected you are either a sociopath, totally unself aware or living so safely you have never taken a risk on anyone or anything. This means you are limiting the amount of joy you can experience in a significant number of spheres of your unexplored life. It is of course natural to want to avoid rejection. Rejection is uncomfortable, anxiety provoking and frequently leads to an excessive amount of self criticism, and in it’s most extreme form, self-hate. What happens when we are rejected by others, either in a work or relationship context, is all too often we then reject ourselves. When we reject ourselves, we are pretty much temporarily doomed: A release of the stress hormone cortisol usually occurs which either makes us inert and paralysed, or overflowing with negative energy heading one hundred miles an hour towards self destruction, commonly in the form of over eating, over drinking, over thinking or over angering.

So. There is all that. Or, there is another way. A way we can use rejection to be one of the greatest gifts the world has handed to us, because when interpreted and used wisely rejection can be powerful. Initially it’s sting is so painful we feel a complete loss of control. However when this initial sting passes, with a solution focused mind, rejection can provide incredible clarity about what is important, how to focus on what we can control and what we have got and who and what accepts us. It can bring into sharp view the people around us that are strong and grounded enough to vote for us even when others don’t or when we struggle to ourselves. It can provide valuable information about the fact that actually the person or situation we were in was unbalanced and therefore not right for us in some way. It can give clues to us about the need for a new perspective or to do something different. It forces acceptance because we are powerless to do anything else, and when you truly practice acceptance, calm follows, and then this strange sense of strength and resolve arrives and suddenly, in coping, an inner peace. Intuitively you find yourself starting to feel able to refocus on what really matters and let go of what doesn’t. You realise in fact that life post-rejection is actually happier and more fulfilling than life pre-rejection, because you no longer have anything to be scared of and everything to try.

And here in lies a beautiful irony … I have avoided blogging for over two years because of an absolute terror of being rejected. Every time I became drawn towards posting thoughts, feelings and perceptions online, I rapidly recalled back again, making statements in my mind like ‘don’t be silly, you’re not intelligent enough to blog, what if people don’t like it, you could ruin your reputation’, and even saying these sentences out loud is making me feel nervous, yet I am going to keep writing and in about half an hour I am going to press send. Why? Because someone whom I respect invited me to do this, Biba, who in her invitation showed her faith in me, which in itself stimulated this burst of certainty that I have in fact got relevant perspectives to share and made me realise I don’t need everyone to approve, I just need some people to approve and most importantly,

I, must approve.

So in writing this I challenge all of us to put the principles above into practice. My best hope in articulating these ideas is that they serve as a reminder to us all about perceived rejection, when we feel raw and exposed and frightened, to ask ourselves ‘How can I use what has happened to propel me forwards to a more desired future?’, ‘What and who is accepting me that shows me where my energy should be channelled?’, ‘What can I achieve if I try not to let this idea of rejection take over and instead use it as a catalyst for positive change?’. ‘If I am as wise as I possibly can be, what might I do tomorrow that would show me I was taking a wise step?’

And the wisdom that comes from interpreting rejection usefully is also becoming aware of our limits so that we can make informed decisions about when to take the risks that might lead to perceived rejection and when to stand back. Beware of the frequent ‘rejectors’ of this world, people quick to criticise others, they are projecting their own unhappy and unsettled mind. Your ultimate power is not to mind what they say and instead seek their strengths. Zoom in on values, gratitude, enjoyment of what is, concepts that no external reaction can touch.

The reason being that when our unique appraisal of ourselves and others is positive and when we deeply, truly attune our minds to become compassionate, our ability to perform highly, significantly increases. Finally I must add that simultaneously seeing and feeling the discomfort of rejection aswell as using it to increase your personal power, is also essential. It inspires us to work harder, be more determined, our own definition of better. But only when we invite it in through courageous acts, taking risks, and regardless of outcomes, forcing ourselves to notice the opportunities not the limitations.



Do not mark yourself safe

Dear reader,

the world is going crazy. We woke up to shocking news about another terrorist attack in London, six people dead and more than 40 injured. This has been the third attach in the past few months, and I was very close when the first one happened on Westminster bridge.

Such events remind us of our mortality and of our very limited time here. They also remind us that nothing should be taken for granted, be it love from your significant other, freedom or safety.

I was just opening my Facebook account today to see how many of my friends marked themselves safe. As I found out they increasingly marked themselves, I was more than happy and relieved. There were also a few messages in my inbox inquiring about my own safety, as people know I live in London quite a proportion of my time. I am on my way there right now, this very moment. And one of my relatives was sobbing on the phone, begging me not to go this time. She was petrified something would happen to me. She was afraid these attacks will come after her as well sometimes in the future.

This made me think. I am not marking myself safe today. Because guess what: there is no such thing as being safe. I could well stay at home. I could well stay in my house. Or perhaps in bed. Sleeping, not wanting to wake up. I could buy myself insurance policies. Double secure all my passwords and accounts. Write a testament. I could stop writing blogs because I might regret it sometimes in the future.

I might not eat another cake, book another holiday, walk woods in solitude, pet a wild dog or touch an unfamiliar beautiful plant. It might be poisonous. I might not go to another open air event, because people are carrying all sorts of disease and it might be contagious. I might never fall in love again, because I might be disappointed. And I might never accept a new job offer, because I might not be good at it or might not like it.

I might try to keep myself safe. Not push it. Not go places. Not expose myself to risky situations.

That way I might safely arrive to death.

None of us knows how long we are going to live or how we are going to die. And this is a huge blessing, not to know. Some of us were lucky to be born in certain parts of this world. Some of us were lucky to be born to functional families. Have good health. Talents. Opportunities. Human rights. But all of that is no more than sheer luck or coincidence. Many people on this planet do not have such luck. And if you do, you can do something for those who don’t.

So you’ve got your cards at birth. Now it’s your turn to play the game. Cards do matter of course. But what also matters, is your playing strategy. And this is in your hands alone. You can keep your cards to yourself, look after them not to get dirty, tear, disappear, etc. You can swap some with others and get something better in return. Or worse. It’s a gamble. You can also play and risk losing it all or winning. You can’t know the result in advance. You can’t control the game. But you can control your choices and moves.

I think we are taking life way too seriously. With all the respect to all the human suffering, I by no means want to hurt or diminish anyone. I would simply like to say that suffering, pain and loss are parts of life. And so are courage, will, love and solidarity. We sometimes put way too much emphasis on certain aspects of life and forget about others. And we take it way too serious.

If I am to die today, tomorrow or any time soon, be it in an accident or naturally, I only wish I would have one final thought:

That it has been a hell of a journey and I’ve had the best time while on it.

If it is my time to go, it is time to go. I have had an amazing life, I have loved a lot, felt all sorts of emotions, discovered places and explored cultures, experienced difficulties, stress, joy, bliss, anger, abandonment, hate, forgiveness, I have worked hard and played hard and most of all, I have never played it safe. That’s a life I’d like to have when looking back. If I am to share some of my stories with my grandchildren, I would be so blessed and grateful. If not, then not. I would share it with someone else – today it is with you. Hopefully meet you in the next blog post, or if not – thank you, wish you a life worth living and – may you be strong, wherever you are. Do not let fear control your choices. Unless you want to arrive to death – safely!


pic Lovedon

Some journey.

It took me 33 years to figure out what I already knew when I was 5 …

Dear reader,

a happy day – my bday today. And I just came back from New Zealand. I went there for the purpose of introducing our Coaching for Change initiative, thinking I might have something to offer and might inspire some people in NZ to dare try out new things and follow new paths.

I couldn’t have travelled any further, New Zealand is literally on the opposite site of Earth compared to where I live. It took me about 19,000 km one way to remember what I already know. And to meet someone I have long forgotten. At the moment, I am back in London and though I love this city and its people, something has changed. It took me so long (distance and time wise) to realise

I don’t belong here. I am unable and unwilling to follow this world’s rules.

So I have a successful and promising international career. A fabulous life, partner, friends, job, lifestyle. I consider myself a happy person generally. I like what I do, like the relationships I have, the habits we all follow more or less and rituals which make us a Western society.

And yet, it is a fake life. At least some of the time.

In New Zealand, somewhere down the South island, as we were hiking one national park, I met two lama-like animals behind a fence. Being an animal lover, I couldn’t resist not to talk to them and wanting to pet at least one. They seemed amused and interested, though a bit shy. And eventually, one of them decided to come closer. What happened next, turned my world upside down.

I stepped back.

I’ve done so because I remembered these animals are very likely to spit in your face, which can be painful, not to mention the disgust and embarrassment. So I removed myself to a distance where the lovely thing could not reach me. So this animal just stood there and observed me, a bit sad that I wouldn’t come closer and changed my mind.

As I turned my back and moved on, my soul was crying: “What has happened to me that made me such a careful, risk-free and distant person? When did I lose my passion and courage to do what I felt like doing, regardless of a possible risk? How did I become someone who “plays it safe”? Is this the new, adult me?” And most of all: “Does it feel right and do I like the person I’ve become?”

I had some serious thinking to do. As we were driving, I kept quiet for hours, trying to figure out what just happened and what to do with it. And all I saw, was a little girl standing next to this animal, petting it, smiling and having a good time. She then turned around and towards me. Her smile disappeared and she looked down, disappointed, guilty and sad.

It was a young, earlier version of myself. And she was disappointed with my current, adult version.

This is not who I want to be. I met someone I long knew and she was still there. Hidden, forgotten, but definitely still there. So I am back to London now. And this time I find it boring. Watching people carrying a Starbucks coffee in one hand, a shopping bag in another, looking at their phones and wearing headphones, being constantly in touch with everyone, updating them about what they are doing and what a fantastic life they are having, not noticing or daring to smile to a stranger passing by. I watched women window shopping, craving for items they cannot afford. Reading magazines to learn to fit in and be attractive, interesting, energised, funny, smart, effective, seductive, etc. I saw women buying the latest Gucci bag in an excellent outfit, with spotless makeup, thin figure, high heels and luxury car, who were nothing but bored, so they kept themselves busy buying another bag or pair of shoes, this time from another luxury designer. I observed men in smart casual shirts, secretly smoking behind a corner, working for a top employer in consultancy industry, making their customers “happy” by selling them things or services they do not believe in. And I heard a conversation on the phone about how much someone is craving for the upcoming holidays, where they would travel far away and go nuts, enjoying cocktails on the beach, getting high at music festivals and basically do everything to escape their everyday. Even if it’s just for two weeks. And I saw a family in a car with kids in the back seats, each absorbed in their iPads, not talking, not looking through the window, not existing. And as they came out, they went into a McDonalds instead to a playground.

Usually, I observe people because I am curious. Or I see something they are wearing/doing and I want to be like them. But now, all I wanted was to take my shoes off and return to the jungle. The city and its speed makes me want things I do not need, buy clothes I do not fit in, put makeup on that turns me to a woman media wants me to be in order to impress people I don’t even like.

So today I’m smiling. I don’t need any of this. Actually, I don’t want any of this. When I see an animal I’d want to talk to it and pet it. If I want to eat a cake, I will do it. Have a second piece if it’s good. I want to sing in a shower, even though I am a terrible singer. I’d want to laugh out loud if someone tells a good joke, even if I might embarrass some of the people around. I want to ride a bike decorated in flowers and I want to have a picnic in the park where it says “don’t walk on a meadow”. I won’t buy beauty products, because I don’t care if I wake up looking horrible. I won’t wear high heels because it will make my legs look thinner. If I will wear it it will be because I would feel like wearing it. However it’s much more likely I will wear Doc Martens boots instead. I don’t want to go to parties in order to lose myself and relax from busy lifestyle. I want to wake up every day and know that I am alive and I will do things I want to do for the purpose of me wanting it, not anyone else.

Dearest New Zealand, thank you so much for this precious gift. I came to see you because I wanted to give you something, Instead, I left with enormous strength, power and will to dream, love and care in a totally different way. You reminded me what a real world looks like and which things are truly important. I will be seeing you again. I promise.



What you really need to make you feel alive can be much simpler than you imagine … and closer.

Slovenians Rock!

Dear reader,

when I was 13, I ran away from home. I was a huge rebellion and my family had it tough with me, especially my mom (love you mom!). I hated my town where I had spent my childhood and elementary school and I couldn’t wait to move to the big city. Eventually, even Ljubljana became too small. But in the meantime, I grew out of puberty, fortunately.

Now living across different countries in Europe and constantly on the road, I began to love my small city of childhood. I am proud to have grown up in a besieged working class town together with ex-Yugoslavian refugees from the 1990’s war. And yesterday I hosted two workshops there. It’s much fun coming back, not having the slightest accent and not knowing anyone, yet I felt like coming home.

Let me tell you a bit about this town and region. It isn’t rich. In Slovenia, pretty much everything outside Ljubljana is considered undeveloped. And Ljubljana on its own is not more than a big village. Not much’s going on. People lacking jobs, cultural life, social life activities (weekend getting drunk parties excluded of course), etc. There are fewer opportunities, especially for young people. And people feel this. They are not happy about it, but not much they can do. Or they don’t recognise the injustices in wealth and other goods distribution, and are falling in despair anyhow.

And in the middle of such an environment and mindset, there happen to be two organisations. That make a difference. Young people have joined their forces together and launched a co-working space. They are fostering entrepreneurship, active citizenship and engaging individuals into a sharing community.

I had a privilege to meet some of their members yesterday. I saw dedicated, kind and resourceful individuals who are trying to survive, to fight and to enjoy their lives. They were full of passion, energy, enthusiasm and ideas as we had discussion around Solution Focused questions. They were collaborative. Great listeners. Great people to talk to. Amazing creative spirits. With crazily stunning ongoing projects. I was so impressed and proud of their achievements as well as genuinely happy that they were not among those who are trying to find a way to either steal from common good or escape abroad. They were there. Standing strong. Having it difficult of course and constantly questioning how to survive. And they were managing, somehow, by doing something right.

I observed some of their conversations after the workshops. They were really kind to each other and honest. They asked me why I came to work with them all the way from London and not charging them to do that. Isn’t it obvious? Because it was most rewarding to be able to support a growing community that wants to make a difference in their local environments. I like working with engaging, kind people. Somehow, I  always have a privilege to meet such people.

This blog has about 3,000 international readers (you are awesome and you know it). If you ever have a chance to work with a Slovenian, you most likely won’t be disappointed. They might be a bit slow and cold at first, but once opened up, they will deliver results. And won’t praise themselves for it. They work, work, work hard, until they drop. And if in supporting environments, they generate awesome ideas, supported by strong arguments.

So honestly, Slovenians rock. I know I will spend my old days in this country. Because I love and believe in its people. Because it’s my home.



Unlocking people’s potential – priceless.

There are no rules in life. There are only roles in life

Dear reader,

my hands are shaking from excitement as I’m writing this. Finished a videoconference call with a client from Germany in the morning and she pulled the trigger for this post.

She was diagnosed with pathological shyness in the past, as she was unable develop or keep normal relationships. She lived with this diagnosis her entire teenage life and is currently in the final year of her undergraduate studies. She sought my help because she asked for a coaching conversation with someone unknown, unbiased, who is keen on student population, their concerns and problems and would help her find a way forward.

As we talked, it turned out she is thinking about moving out of her country and continuing her studies on the masters level somewhere abroad. She was struggling with her indecisiveness, her fear that she would be unable to cope with unknown people and situations, as well as feeling frightened what would happen in case she doesn’t succeed.  It was pretty much a story that takes place quite often with young people at that age. Then something beautiful happened and I’m copying a section from our conversation (with her approval). Let’s call her Anna and I leave it up to you to decide whether this girl is truly pathologically shy:

Anna: … you know, it’s like first you have to go to school. Then you have to go to university. You have to perform with top scores, otherwise you won’t feel like you’re worth anything. Be the top of your class. Lend notes to your colleagues. Go to parties you don’t like. Get a boyfriend. Have sex because it’s embarrassing if you don’t at the age of 20. Then think about your masters. Get into the top schools, because this is how you’ll get an offer in a company. I’m trapped, I don’t think I can manage all that. And I can’t tell anybody, these thoughts are not good thoughts to have. It’s embarrassing.

Biba: what would the situation you could manage look like?

Anna: I couldn’t. I never could manage. You know I was diagnosed with being antisocial. I can’t cope because of that.

Biba: and if you somehow could? Suppose you could imagine a situation where you could manage, how might that look like?

Anna (long pause): I don’t know if I get your question. It’s a fact I can’t manage.

Biba: and if you could, how would you know you are managing?

Anna: this would be a totally different situation then!

Biba: like?

Anna (again long pause): first of all I wouldn’t be where I am right now. I wouldn’t be the person I am.

Biba: what might you be?

Anna: I would be simply … enough being me, being as I am. I would do what I like to do. At the moment I don’t really think there’s much I actually like to do. I’ve even forgotten what is it that I really like!

Biba: and what do you like?

Anna: I like to read. I like to cook. I hate numbers [note: she was enrolled in a course that contained a lot of numbers]. I hate staying up late, just because my roomate does. I actually don’t even want to go to masters.

Biba: so you’re very clear about what you don’t want.

Anna: it’s quite a surprise really. I think I hate my entire life! This is not me! I’m not shy, I just don’t like to talk to people! I don’t want to be a good quiet girl anymore either!

Biba: so if you could define it brand new …?

Anna: I would love to, but I can’t … [long pause] I can’t do it because the picture that I like doesn’t fit with what I’m supposed to do right now. And it’s already too late. You know, I don’t mean to hurt anybody or cause anybody problems, nor my parents, teachers, nobody. I was always told to be a good girl and so I was. Trying to please everybody. And I thought they would like me for doing so. But it seems like I can never be enough, just being me. I will never be enough. So I have to do the masters to achieve something. Then get a decent job to earn enough money to be independent. That’s what I would like.

Biba: that’s what you would like, is this how your preferred situation might look like that you could manage?

Anna: no! That’s my current reality and it’s overwhelming! It’s like I’m choking here.

Biba: okay. So if we keep it where you are now, you get the masters, get the job that pays your bills, where do you hope this would lead to?

Anna: I don’t know. I might wake up one day and say my life was … meaningless. Even though I might achieve everything that is expected from me to achieve … Why do we do that, why do I do that, is this normal?

Biba: I think we all try to more or less fit within the rules of our society. What do you think?

Anna: Not sure. It seems like everybody I know is pretty happy with that. They like where they are and where they go. And I’m torn inside.

Biba: I meet many people that are unhappy with that.

Anna: You know what? I actually think there are no rules in life. We invented them just because everybody does it. It doesn’t mean that everybody SHOULD do it.

Biba: it doesn’t, no.

Anna: but I am afraid to do anything about it. I could probably still turn it around when I was younger. You know, before I enrolled to this stupid class. It’s too late for me now, I can’t reverse it.

Biba: imagine we would have your 15 year old and your 30 year old arguing about who is more right to be too late, what sort of arguments might they both use to convince you?

Anna: they would both have pretty strong arguments!

Biba: so what might be their strongest anti-arguments to convince you that it is the perfect time to start over?

Anna: well I could as well be 60. I could just kill myself then.

Biba: you could as well be 23 [she was currently 22].

Anna: I know. I don’t want to waste another year. I want something better, this time for me. But it scares me, you know, it really scares me, because if I do it, I won’t have any support. Nobody knows me like that, nobody is interested in what do I want. Nobody will like who I really am.

Biba: good, it is supposed to be scary! It means it is worth it.

She was perfectly right. There are no rules in life. Sure, you are born, you go to school, you find a decent job when you are 25, you find a partner, have kids by 30, get a dog by 35, buy a house and a family car, go on vacation, pay for children’s schooling, go into menopause, possibly divorce, maybe get grandchildren, retire by 65 and hopefully, have someone to grow old with. Life has a certain natural cycle, we all get older and so far no one has survived yet. But the rules of when you should do what and how were invented because the majority does it that way, not because it should be done that way. You are supposed to eat breakfast. Exercise. Not take drugs. Learn how to drive. Sleep at night. Be faithful. Be on time. Make money. Consume a lot. Park on marked places. All these are the rules that were invented and some of them indeed make most of our lives easier to manage. It is easier if you sleep at night and if you try to follow the principles of a healthy diet. But you don’t HAVE TO do it, if you found something different that works for you. Especially if you found something that is more beneficial for you and others around you.

You don’t have to force yourself to wake up early in the morning if you are more of a night type. You don’t have to get married if you don’t believe in marriage. You don’t have to do the masters or go to university just because everybody does it. You don’t have to eat bananas because they are rich in potassium, if you hate it. You don’t have to run if you prefer swimming. Also don’t have to watch the news if it doesn’t interest you. You don’t have to participate in conversations that you find meaningless or boring.

There are no rules. There are only roles and even the roles change. If you are a parent, you are in a role of a caregiver. Once your children are adults, they might become caregivers and your role will change. If you are a spouse, you are in a role of giving and receiving love and affection. If you are 60, your body probably isn’t the same as it was when you were 20. That doesn’t mean it has to hurt or that you are unable to have regular walks if you like to.

Everything is fluid. Everything constantly changes. You don’t have to be obedient in life just because you were told you should be when you were little. It might help though in certain contexts, but there is no one out there, to whom you should kneel because they are superior. Nobody is better or worse than you are. Nobody is allowed to take the leading part of your life, as this is YOUR part and YOUR life, and it’s ending one minute at a time. So don’t take the part of a victim and don’t bend down. It is your responsibility to discover what you like, what fits you and find your passion to share and express yourself in this world.

Sure, not everybody will like you because of that and you might disappoint quite some number of people. But those who will like you for who you are and how you are, will support you. Someone I love deeply said once to me that he’s been stupid nearly all of his life. And he doesn’t mind being stupid with me as well. There is nearly 9 billion people on this planet. You will find people that share similar interests and who are happy to be your kind of stupid. Even if it’s just a few, these few can support you in your authentic happiness that comes from within your true self when you find your integrity to dare being you.

DARE to be who you are and who want to be! You have nothing to loose, you might only get rid of certain clutter you don’t need in life. There are no rules, only roles, and roles change. Constantly.


skype sf mindfulness

I’ve chosen my kind of people – Solution Focused community. Together we create miracles.

The dark side of holidays

Dear reader,

So many good wishes everywhere you look and everybody seems to have such marvellous time. Well, according to statistics, it is also the saddest part of the year – day is short, weather is cold, rainy, etc. (true, depends on where you are), many bacteria causes all sorts of unpleasant pain or cold. Also, for many people, this is the loneliest time of the year and watching merry movies with Christmas tree, happy family and presents only adds to sorrow.

A friend sent me fb message today, wishing me all the best. He also wrote that our friend in common jumped under car. Not by accident I suppose and it didn’t end well.

There are millions of reasons why someone decides to end his/her life. And it is particularly sad if that someone is young, with his whole life in front him. And it’s not going to let it happen.

On this sad day and time of the year, I’ll tell you about my role model. My Grandmother. She’s the one we’ve spent our Christmas with. She was kidnapped and forced to go to war when she was 17. She escaped from the concentration camp and migrated to my country. With a guy who later on became her husband. She didn’t know anyone, didn’t even know how to speak the language in a foreign country. She migrated in 1942 and had to sleep in the woods till 1945, because it was too risky if they would find her. In 1944 she got pregnant with her first child, but still she had no home. She had two more children after the first one. She saw her original family 25 years after the war ended.

Her husband left her after a while. She had to make it on her own. Worked as a cook, cleaning staff, all sorts of low paid jobs, because she had no education. She was about to study medicine, but then the war happened and her dreams were killed. Her three kids grew up and started their own families. I was her last grandchild and I’ve spent my whole childhood with her. I couldn’t have asked for a better one. Had a big dog who would accompany me all the time, she didn’t bother where I was or what I was doing, so at age of 5 I climbed all the hills in the neighbourhood and knew every tree and nobody controlled me or told me what to do or not, when and what to eat and what to wear. Just had to be home as soon as it got dark. Pure heaven.

Back to her. Her husband returned. He was very ill and an alcoholic. There was violence involved. He died soon after. It is now more than 40 years since his death. Her second child, at the age of 52 died from lung cancer. She buried her own daughter. It broke her. I could go on and list you all the difficulties she’s experienced. But let me tell you what’s so special about her.

She survived. All that and more. And yet, today, as she’s nearly 90, she has no regrets. She still keeps her own garden and breeds some animals. She gets up at 5am. No exceptions. Every day. She exercises regularly. Eats only what she grows. Eats little. She learns new things, with passion. She reads everything. From horoscope to the greenhouse effect. When we were implementing Bologna system to our higher education, she knew more about it than I did, and I was in the preparation group at my faculty.

She needs very little. Until recently, she had no trash can, because she didn’t produce any rubbish. Her pension is less than 400€ and yet she manages to give each of us 50€ for our birthdays. She keeps calendar of our birthdays and calls us regularly. She was the one who was most proud when I graduated and I gave her a copy of my thesis. The only original copy I had. She is pure giving. Owns almost nothing and yet, so she says, she is the richest person on Earth. Because she is content with what life had brought her. She desires nothing. Doesn’t complain. Doesn’t accuse, or preach, or command. But she does care. I’m so proud to be her granddaughter. Hopefully I’ve inherited at least some of these brave, modest and powerful genes.

So dear reader, there is always someone, who cares about you. There really is. There is always someone you care about. What difference would it make to tell them that? Or somehow show them? What difference would it make for you, telling or showing them you care? Life is so short. You may feel sorry. Not for what you did, but for what you didn’t do.


Our potato. My grandmother gave the seeds.

Crazy people go into therapy. Even more crazy people offer it.

Dear reader

Rumour has it people, interested in psychotherapy, psychology, etc. have big issues themselves and apply to study these sciences in order to resolve their own personal problems. Don’t know whether this is universal stereotype, it certainly is a common one in my country. I’ve also been labelled as »she’s into therapy because she needs one« from people who are jealous or have their own issues and feel threatened by my success. Not being bothered by these, I just sit back and let the karma do its thing.

However, digging a bit deeper, there is something in there. Many (or even most?) profound therapists and psychotherapists have gone through all sorts of personal tragedies themselves. Like for example Milton H. Erickson and Virginia Satir, who’ve been great inspiration for solution focused pioneers back in 1970’s and 1980’s. You might say that they developed their therapy approaches because they wanted to help themselves. But you know what? They were brave, very brave. They learned from their circumstances and more, they used it as a means to find a tool that would be accessible to others as well. They made a step forward, from their lowest point to a selfless sharing. Maybe that’s even why they became so influential and famous – because they spoke from experience. Their »I know what it’s like« actually meant they really knew. Who could better understand your situation than the one who’s experienced it him/herself, or at least was in a similar one at one point of his/her life? Also seeking help when needed is an act about great courage. People who don’t have the courage, make remarks. People who do, take actions.

As you probably know the proverb that goes something like “is not so much about who never fails, but it’s more about how many times they managed to get up”. Well that’s exactly that. I know I would only trust a person who speaks what he/she’s actually experienced and/or about what he/she truly understands. Would not add any value and validity, if his/her example was different than words. Or if it was just “a nice thing to say” or tons of beautiful speaches and advice I didn’t ask for. Maybe that’s a bit difficult to relate to, but I’m sure you have experienced a moment that you felt bonded to someone, simply because of her/his charisma, energy, warmth, that something about that person and you felt this person has something for you to take, and you have something you want to give back. Or pass it on. You felt comfortable together and even though you might not remember what the other did or said, you would evaluate your time spent together useful and pleasant. I dare to say that most of my clients come to me (or keep coming) because they feel related to me. To my basic being, not my qualification, not my education, expertise, whatever. We bond and that’s the first basic ground that predicts good work we could do together.

So maybe partly, the stereotype is true. As it is with most prejudice – they often contain at least some seed of the truth. But even though it may be true, the evil tongues fail to acknowledge that most great therapists, psychotherapists, psychologists, even coaches and trainers were those who had HAD personal experience of a very difficult situation AND were brave, modest, selfless enough to be able to share their experience and their learning from it with others in order to make it less difficult for some. At least that’s what they are hoping for. I know that’s what I’m hoping for.


A nightsky on my journey back home from American training and conference. See “a fierce journey” article for what the overall travel looked like.