Downsize This: a Failure and a Temptation to Complicate (Notes About a Simple Life, Part 3)

Dear reader,

In the last post promised you the next post in simplifying our lives will be about the garden. Well, to be honest, life happened in between and since nobody is perfect, I failed following the Simple Life agenda for a day or three or a week.

Last week I was super busy preparing for the second part of the very first Slovenian Solution Focused Professional Training (link to the event in SLO language). Following the Simple Life Notes, I thought I would get the most ideas engaging in meaningful activities like gardening, walking in the nature or reading, but instead I was sitting in front of my laptop and about half of that time was mere nonsense. Though I do realize this is as well a part of creative process, I wasn’t particularly proud of myself. What was worse, I began to browse some stupid webpages with clothes and outfits and even ordered some things, though a new pair of jeans is the last thing I need.

I felt pretty bad. Though the training was awesome and I really enjoyed it (the participants as well, so they say), I knew deep down I’m not following the Simple Life Notes anymore and that bothered me.

Luckily yesterday we had some very nice friends coming over and I was happy for a while. But today again, not many productive or meaningful activities from my side. Again I noticed myself browsing and looking at some skirts I don’t need and blouses I won’t wear. So wtf? I decided to take a nap.

But couldn’t sleep. I wasn’t tired physically. My mental capacities were tired, because the training programme was hard intellectual work and also a huge responsibility, because I really wanted to make the most use of our training for our participants. Since this is the first training in Slovenia, I couldn’t draw upon existing experience, because there weren’t any. So naturally I was tired and empty afterwards.

What now? Should I continue blaming myself for breaking the Notes I wrote? Should I just drop the whole experiment and return back to the old habits? Should I not tell you about it and come back to you with some other posts about how fabulous our training was?

I listened to my inner dialogue for a moment. It was a nasty and rough monologue and my head was nearly exploding. So I got up. approached my piano and sat down. I heard a melody in my head, which cleared my mind and let my thoughts go away one by one slowly and gently. Started playing. It felt good, though I made several mistakes. Played some more. Pieces like Beethoven and Chopin. And then the sun came out from cloudy sky. And I smiled, because it was all good. I didn’t fail at anything. I’m not competing with anyone. I’m not trying to prove anything. Or accomplish anything. I just want to explore and play with simplicity. It’s work in progress. When you are ready, life gives you a lesson. When you are not ready, you won’t recognize it. The best lessons aren’t meant to be pleasant. And learning happens in many ways. Guess I was ready for my lesson.

My piano is a great way for me to clear my head and let me be in contact with my senses through balancing heart and mind. It has been like that since I was 4 years old and wanted to have a piano. Now I have one, a baby grand. And it helps me discover that I do deserve to talk to me in a gentle and supportive way, even though I “failed” my agenda for a couple of days. My failure was only contemporary, compared to the rest of the time when I was doing great. So why would I want to treat myself poorly for learning?

No need to complicate things. Even when you fail. A temptation is big, yes it is. And yet, it’s your choice, that only you can make.

Wish you gentle monologues, even during times when you are not proud of yourself. You are learning. That’s actually something to congratulate yourself!

Biba

My baby grand

My friend who never judges. Even when I make mistakes.

People don’t want to be taught, people want to be inspired!

Dear reader,

our first chapter of Slovenian Professional Solution Focused Training is behind us. Two amazing days full of joy, newly discovered passion and constructing new knowledge together.

In solution focused conversations, one of the important skills is to stay on the surface and not try to read between the lines. Because there might be nothing there actually. This is harder to do than to say, but hey, talking about solution focus is very different to doing solution focus.

People are tempted to give advice and teach others how they are supposed to live their lives. We like to offer our suggestions and share our wisdom. And what we like even more is to pressupose what’s happening in another person’s mind. And then analyze, discuss and conclude on their behalf. And be content with our so called “expertise” a tap on the shoulder and thinking “well done”, I did such a great job and helped that person immensely.

Did you?

From my experience, I hate it when people try to give me an advice I didn’t ask for (and they do it daily). I get goose bumps when people begin to explain to me what’s happening with me and why I’m feeling or thinking in a certain way. I get allergic when somebody discusses another one’s behaviour with a third person and nodding their heads as if they were true experts. Just because I don’t say anything doesn’t mean I want you to say something instead of me on my behalf. My husband told me he used to be with somebody who always interpreted for him what he was thinking, why he was or wasn’t doing something and how he should change. So what he did or what he didn’t do, why and how this was wrong. He said it was a nightmare (who wouldn’t?). However occasionally I notice I’m no better though 🙂

Staying on the surface means that you let the other person be the expert of their lives. It was never meant to be your position. We talk way too much and we think others ask for our opinion. In most cases they don’t really. There are so many people who talk about themselves all the time and think others appreciate it. They are most probably bored or annoyed. The world isn’t spinning around you and it’s not about you all the time, when you’re talking to another person.

My experience is that people don’t like to be taught. One of the worst things you could say to another person is: “I told you so” or “I knew this was gonna happen” (now let me fix you …). It’s such a pity to close the space by forcing and pushing people with your opinion and values. A pity because you don’t let the other’s resources come to the surface. So you don’t learn anything new, but merely repeat what you already know. And this is not how new knowledge is created.

These blogs I write are far away from lessons. I hope my readers perceive it more as invitations to think about their own behaviour and practice. I can only offer what I’ve learned. But I can’t teach others, because I don’t know how to teach them and also don’t want to teach them. They know how they like to be addressed, so it’s more of a self service and not a compulsory menu.

People don’t like to be taught. But we do like to get inspired by stories, by invitations to co-create, to connect, to listen to each other. To let others come to our personal space and to step into theirs. To be genuinely interested in what the other person has to say and to build on their previous wisdom. This is how ideas are born, this is how meaningful conversations happen. It takes two to have a conversation in pairs. Two listeners and two talkers. Two way conversation can’t be done if there’s only one talking and taking. Especially if he or she dares to speak in another person’s name. This is disrespectful and rude. No wonder people don’t behave the way you want them to. You’re not the one to tell them what to do. And you’re not the one to translate and interpret their thoughts. Because they know better. In fact, they are the only ones who know anything.

Told you Solution Focus was easy to learn and hard to do 🙂

Happy conversations!

Biba

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First generation of Slovenian Solution Focused People!

It’s Never Too Late to have a Happy Childhood

Dear reader,

often clients and others ask me whether they will ever be able to recover from what’s happened to them in the past. Some of them have experienced severe abuse, some of them have been hurt by their parents or siblings, others have been exposed to bullying or harassment. It so often happens that when we become older, we gradually resemble our parents, whether we like it or not. We might even catch ourselves demonstrating the same behaviour that we so much hated when our mother did it, yet now we’re performing the same reaction. We are spinning in patterns we adopted long before we were aware of our own being and though at times it looks good, we fail to change or escape them.

Can it be done? Can the past stop messing up with our future? Can we take over and live our life without being stigmatized by our past and can we finally start to breathe? Or is it hopeless, because it’s in our DNA or inacessible, because we were too young to remember or it’s simply too late?

Ben Furman, a well known Solution Focused therapist wrote a book titled “It’s never too late to have a happy childhood”. It’s never too late to define yourself brand new. You are not trapped in old patterns, relationships, habits for good, always and forever ever. This doesn’t have to be. You are able to construct yourself in a different way, so that your past stops messing up with your future. In order to achieve this, it is not so important to have the right answers. It is much more important to be asking yourself the right questions. Remember: the same thinking that got you into the situation you want to escape from, is very unlikely to get you out of there. So you need new questions that will bring you to new, useful answers. And that’s mostly what we do in our coaching or therapy sessions.

If you want to learn how to ask useful questions, stay tuned. A very first Slovenian Solution Focused Training is well on its way and on this training you can learn how to ask useful questions and which questions are important to draw a different path for you or for those around you.

Good luck defininig yourself brand new!

Biba

tunis cat

It’s never too late to play and to experience joy.

 

A. Biba Rebolj

When dealing with your own issues, use your head. When dealing with other people’s issues, use your heart.

This is my personal motto.

A few days ago, my former client made a comment she’s missing information about me on my webpage. Her words were: “There is so much about your organization, but so little about yourself. People are interested and would love to hear about you!” And when she heard I never sign my blog posts, she thought I was mad. Since she’s very good at her business, I trust her words and intuition. I’ll sign my posts from now on 🙂

I’m not the kind of person who likes talking about herself. I always feel I don’t have anything special to say about me. If I would be able to choose, I would stay in the shadow and would preferably observe what’s going on from the distance. If I could choose between talking or listening, I would go for the latter. Same stands when choosing between answering or asking.

However, life never goes according to our plans and someone or something had different plans for me and a different path in mind.

I was born in an average family in one working class town where alcoholism was more of a natural state than an exception. My father (an alcoholic) died of stroke when I was 5 and he was diagnosed with manic depression. My mother was suffering from anxiety. Though I perceive my childhood as a happy one, I ran away from home when I was 13 and headed off to the capitol city, where I wanted to follow my dreams thus become a ballet dancer. I was gifted and had demonstrated hard discipline, but was nothing truly exceptional. Teachers recommended I rather choose career in music because of my perfect pitch or go study languages, but I felt otherwise. Didn’t succeed as a dancer, so I headed towards university after more than a year of severe depression and eating disorder, because my world and my identity collapsed in as short period as just one day.

My undergraduate studies were in library and information science. I selected this course because I had doubts I would be able to finish anything more demanding, even though my scores were high enough to grant me a place in medicine or psychology. But my self esteem was lower than the height of a chihuahua dog and I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to do with my life. Soon after the first few lectures passed, it appeared to me that this study course would allow me plenty of time, which I  spared engaging in extracurricular activities, such as student council, student associations, etc., which soon got me to be an elected MP for my faculty. I didn’t like the MP’s position, though very prestigious, partly because I don’t aspire to be under flashlights and partly because I hate pretension. However through that function, I met some very nice people and my network grew. At about the same time I was appointed to take a leading role of a coordinator for student tutors and students with disabilities. It was a brand new role, so I established the entire support system from scratch. This was something that really suited me and I loved my work, for the first time after being a failed artist. Loved helping others who were facing difficult situations, especially because I myself have had an experience what it feels like being stigmatized, hurt, abandoned or very scared. I could also have little understanding of the weight of having a disability label, because I’ve self-recovered from a 5-year eating disorder which was proclaimed lethal and unhealable. I figured doctors and specialists were not always the best option. Nor was psychiatry, digging in the past, or discussing whose fault it was. They labelled me “hopeless”, but they were wrong. I resisted their “help”, because all they did, was looking down at me from their expert positions through diagnosis and nobody took the time to really listen. And none of them cared. I promised myself I would treat people differently. I managed to completely recover and put myself up again, without any professional help. But I didn’t look at this as an achievement, because nobody really cared. At least I thought so.

In 2010, university MP’s got the opportunity to be subjects for IQ testing at Mensa. It was a rainy afternoon and I just had a big lunch, so I thought I could afford to spend an hour or two playing with some funny tests to avoid falling asleep. My expectations towards the outcomes were rather low, because I was still holding a belief I’m below average. When the results came several weeks later, they delivered a huge surprise. It turned out I have such a strong mental capacity to fit within top 3-4% of the mankind population. It then occured to me that funny looks I got sometimes weren’t happening because people wouldn’t like me, but were there because people wouldn’t understand what I was saying or they couldn’t catch up with my thoughts of rapid speed and my ability to get to the bottom much earlier.

So suddenly I was proven more intelligent than most people. Such a rare ability comes with huge responsibility. It is not my achievement that I found myself in a privileged place like that, though I could feel superior to others. I viewed it simply in terms that I was extremely lucky to be born with such amazing brain function. So I should make some use of this and make a difference in the world. But how?

Since I liked my work as a disability coordinator and my students liked it too, I decided that after my graduation, I should do something and gain real expertise, because my undergraduate studies were a joke (with all the respect towards the library&information profession which I really admire and feel sympathetic towards, but it was not challenging enough for me). So I was admitted to doctoral degree in education, which was quite daring, because I switched profession and academic fields completely and this meant double or tripple work to catch up with others. I couldn’t afford to pay for the PhD of course, but somehow managed to get in the top 5% of the student population to obtain an EU scholarship that paid for my tuition as well as for my living expenses. It was smply meant to be. During my PhD I got an opportunity to go on a research study visit abroad. I chose United Kingdom and was supposed to stay there for half a year. Instead I stayed a year and a half and now call UK my second home. Solution Focused Brief Therapy found me while being there and it felt like coming home. It was love at first sight and I knew I found exactly what I’ve been waiting for and I was a good asset for it as well. This was exactly what I needed in order to be able to help others achieve their aspirations – it works, it is brief and it is in alignment with my personal values. The Solution Focused community soon recognized my efforts and my activities caught the eyes of many, so I won the award that enabled me intensive Solution Focused training in the USA in 2014. The year 2014 was a year of travelling and a year of intense studying. Have a look at blog index to read some notes about that, if interested.

So I came back from the UK and felt really energized. Couldn’t wait to pass this new knowledge to others and make a difference in their lives. I had it all – the tools, the expertise, motivation, passion … so I opened the Ribalon Institute as the first Solution Focused institution in Slovenia in February 2015. Since then, my work has gradually been gaining impact and recognition. People in my workshops and trainings often claim, these are the best workshops/trainings they’ve ever been to. And I feel for them, because that’s exactly how I felt when I first encountered Solution Focused Approach. In april 2015 I finished my training with BRIEF, which is the largest institution providing SF training in Europe and also one with the longest tradition. As a cherry on top, BRIEF sponsored my attendance at the European Brief Therapy Association annual conference in Vienna in September 2015. From there I got an invitation to host a masterclass at the next EU conference in Brugges in 2016. I’m currently the first certified Solution Focused practitioner in Slovenia. So (un)fortunately once again, I couldn’t stay in the shadows, quietly as an observer, as someone/something had other plans for me.

My life is a story and stories are better than theories, because people learn better by telling stories rather than talking theories. I met many people whose life stories were amazing and I’m really grateful, life has brought me so many lessons. My humble opinion about the whole story is, that I couldn’t possibly ask for anything more, but to be able to spend my life the way I like it the most – making a positive difference in other people’s lives, doing things I want to do and leaving this Earth a bit nicer place because of that. I still believe I’m nothing special. Hence if I managed to “recover straight up from the ashes”, why wouldn’t others also be able to do it as well. Why wouldn’t you be able to do it? Also, I’m now slowly accepting that life has ascribed me a different position and I’m getting used to obviously being a leader and not a follower. Also, I would like to create leaders, not followers. So it would be an honour for me to meet you and offer you a little bit of this joy and flow as well.

With love and from life,

Biba

moja Biba

I deserve this!

Dear reader,

it was about a year ago, on an intervision meeting with a coach colleague. I was just starting to think about going independent and opening my own company. As such, I was full of doubts, second thoughts, all sorts of fears, as are probably most people who are about to leave their comfort zone.

As we talked things through, he provoked me with all sorts of (very useful) questions. From the mission, vision, long and short term goals, possible paths, etc, etc. It’s in fact been really useful and without this coaching intervision I would probably not get anywhere near as close as I did in such a timely manner.

At the end of our conversation, as we both got exhausted (in a good way), he said: “Tell me why would you do such a thing.” I answered. He went: “No. Think.” I answered again, different answer. “No. Think again. Why would you want any of this?” and it took me a long time to give another answer. His reply again was: “No. Do you know why? It’s BECAUSE YOU DESERVE THIS!

So that gave the title for the Facebook page that followed short after.

I’m home alone today. As my schedule fills up so unpredictable and is super flexible, I get to choose how much I work, when and what. So I decided to stay at home and work on my thesis. My husband has work to do the whole day and will only come back late in the evening. As morning turned into the afternoon and it was about lunch time, I thought I’ll just grab a sandwich and continue working. But then I figured: hey, why would I cook only when there are two (or more) of us? Why not treating myself equally worth? So I cooked a lovely meal just for myself, simply because I deserve this. And it was a whole ritual (except that obviously I cooked too much, tough love, I’d say).

Now I’m getting to the point of this post. Next year, in 2016 something wonderful is going to happen in our beautiful Slovenia. For the very first time, we’ll organize a Professional Solution Focused Training for those, who would like to learn how to use and practice Solution Focused Approach in their line of work. It is intended for coaches and/or therapists, along with all others, who work with people and would like to learn a different way of solving problems and managing conflicts.

The training will offer several different stages, from the very basics, introductory level, to more advanced levels, so you could join in whenever you feel you would benefit most. It will take place approximately from February until April or May 2016, each month a couple of days. It is an exclusive opportunity, as in the end, we’ll host a guest from Europe’s largest institution who provides Solution Focused Training and Slovenia has never had such an opportunity before.

So make sure, you are up to date with upcoming news with details dates, etc. Why? Because YOU DESERVE THIS! You deserve to learn skills and techniques that will bring you and your clients closer and quicker to your desired future. Solution Focused Approach has changed my life in ways I cannot describe. Now your time has come to make a difference in your life. Because you are worth it.

lunch!

And That Reminds Me of a Story

Dear reader,

learning begins at the end of your comfort zone. I’m sure you’ve heard this before. The best and most learning happens when you are feeling insecure, unfomfortable, maybe even scared, because things are hard.

Comfort zone isn’t always fun. In fact it is almost never fun. But it’s always worthwhile once you have time to reflect back on it.

My uncomfort zone has happened last week as I was chosen for a job shadowing as associate trainer for the international training for youth workers and leaders. From the pool of trainers two were chosen for this job and we were supposed to learn from two experienced trainers. So together there were four of us in the trainer’s team. I’ve done some (many) trainings before, but never within a team like this one and never to a group that I would stay with for one whole week, 24 hours per day.

I entered the training pretty confident. Little did I know that running training for a day or two is in no way related or similar to delivering training where you develop (together with) a group. This one was not just about passing on the contents and teaching others, but was as much about group dynamics, stages and development through different stages. This was very new for me and sometimes really hard. Though the expert trainers let us take parts and deliver some of the sessions alone or in pairs. And that turned out to be the best way to learn. This was not a rehearsal, there was no backup and the timing was scarce so we had to be quick in making important decisions and had to react promptly.

We managed. Not perfectly, and I’m sure we could do better. But we did the best job we could do. All of us. We tried our best. Our driving force was the group we trained. We wanted to give them everything we could and we really hoped that the group would meet the outcomes that is useful for them when they return to their organizations.

I learned. Again learned to be comfortable with uncomfort. This is a sign that I’m growing.

So one more news. Prior to this training we had our first meeting under the project “That reminds me of a story“. It was really well received and our plan is to run in continuonsly every month or two. If you’d like to join, click here to subscribe to the news about the dates. In the next meeting I’ll have many stories to tell from this amazing week of intense learning, new friendships, group work, team building and increased acceptance of diversity. Thank you so much Sneža and Sašo and Lea and thank you my dear group to be such a challenging environment that demands much, but also gives much in return. I’ll never forget this.

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A Word about Expectations, Regret and Disappointment

Dear reader and especially dear students at the Faculty of Arts,

I’ve got some sad news for you and this is the reason why I didn’t post any blog posts for a while. There will no longer be Brief Coaching project at your faculty. The faculty leadership decided not to support the project and make it available for you. To make a long story short about what happened: as I’ve opened Ribalon institute, I wanted to make the project more sustainable, transparent and professional. So I was adviced to hand in an official request suggesting that. This was in January 2015. In February I was called up for a meeting that I told you about. The dean decided to acquire professional opinion about the project from department of psychology and I was asked to wait and not to pursue any Solution Focused activities at the faculty until further notice. So I didn’t and this is the reason why nothing was going on at this faculty. The informed decisions and professional judgments from departments of psychology and education were first favourable towards the idea and found the project’s settings ok, but then something went wrong with the technicalities and faculty management failed to see the worth of the project and failed to place it within the faculty system. I was not engaged during that process so I’m not familiar with any details. The bottom line was that the faculty turned my request down and asked me to withdraw. So I did.

What this means for you is that you will not be able to access any support services or join the activities that took place under Brief Coaching project any longer from within the faculty. I’m really sorry for that, especially for those who have greatly benefited from it. But that does not mean that you cannot attend through some other channel. Write to me and we’ll find a way.

What this whole thing means for me, since most of my work since 2007 has been at this very faculty and I felt loyal and really favourable towards the faculty which I used to call “my faculty”? It means a lesson. I could be disappointed or I could regret all the time and years spent there working voluntary. But I don’t. I’ve learned that my expectations might have been too high and that’s not the faculty’s problem – it is entirely my problem. And because it is my problem, this means I have the influence and can do something about it.

I view this as a sign that it’s time to move forward. The expert opinion from both departments showed that they found the project good and decent. The external expert opinion which I have obtained from EBTA (European Brief Therapy Association) also thought the project was carefully planned and well executed. So I have no doubts about any professional settings or my own competence. And I have some of the best supervisors that I learn from. And I have my own coaches.

Secondly, I’ve learned that I’ve developed and grown. I no longer settle for average and I respect myself enough that I’m able to close a chapter that fails to recognize my work and worth. It took me a long time to get there, but now I know that I’ve made it. And it makes me proud and courageous.

The same day I received the official answer from this faculty, I got a call from another one. Asking if I could prepare something broader than merely workshops. Like a training programme and some other things. It was a moment of one window closing and another, way brighter, opening. So I’m very much looking forward to new opportunities, because I know I don’t need to depend on anyone and I know that I like to connect and collaborate with everyone.

Even though a lot of my plans have been destroyed because of this sad news and I will probably have a period of unstable and a very insecure time, this clearly indicates that I need to do something differently. I’ve learned a lesson to set my expectations low, my confidence high, which consequently results in no disappointment and at last, I have no regrets about anything. Life gives you lemons, so have some lemonade as they say. I even found out that actually I like lemonade and it’s healthy too.

Hope to be in touch with you my fellow students and hope to see you sometimes again. Take care.

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My cat and my nephew building a better future together.

Never Stop Making Wishes …

Dear reader,

Gandhi was supposed to say something like

live as if you are to die tomorrow. Learn as if you are to live forever.

Today I’ll tell you a story about someone special, someone who I hope, I’ve inherited my brain from (and looks, hopefully?). My aunt. She’s one of the Ribalon’s main supporters and she has been in my life since I remember. Always encouraging me to reach one more star, take one step further and follow my dreams, no matter what others said.

She was totally eligible to say and do so. Here’s why.

She’s retired now and used to be a medical doctor of stomatology. She finished faculty od stomatology in Slovenia, then moved to a foreign country (Italy) and had to start over, as back then, her Slovenian degree didn’t count, even though she had all the knowledge she needed (today thanks to the Bologna system, this is no longer an issue, at least some Bologna benefits!).

So she started over. Entered a medical faculty in Italy (general medicine). Got divorced and re-married again to someone who valued her more. While still studying, she got pregnant and had my cousin. Taking care of a baby, learning foreign language, trying to make a living and adjusting to the new environment, forced her to dedicate the nights to her studies. Long nights with loads of coffee and cigarettes, she says.

After graduating, she tried to learn as much as she could in as many best places she could find. Eventually, this got her to open her own practice. That was only the beginning. She collected all her strengths as well as resources and arranged an internship with one of the best doctors in the United States. There she’s learned a new technique and was among the first, who introduced the dental implants to Italy. Apart from that, she regularly visited various conferences and trainings. I remember as I was 11 and we were skiing together, she would teach me how to ski (I was a hopeless pupil), then as we came home she cooked dinner for all of us (there were at least 5 hungry people) and as we were chatting or went to bed, she returned to her books. I still hold a picture of her holding a marker pen and working late into the night.

When I left the National theater, because I was sick, she picked me up by encouraging me to go to the university even though my first attempt was not successful. She called me as I won my Prešeren’s prize for my final thesis and congratulated the first. She was on skype as I was abroad.

Back to her. Imagine, you’ve spent so many years studying and after finishing one very difficult faculty, you find the motivation to start all over? Imagine you’ve managed to be the top of the best doctors in one of the biggest cities of Italy and yet still you never rest on your past successes? Imagine you live your life in continuous growth and improvement and somehow you never lose track even though you are all alone and everybody depends on you? That was her. She was the big leader, the strongest, the smartest and most persistent. With the downside that she was not allowed to fail, to feel down or to be fragile. We were. She was not, because if we would lose her, we would have no one to turn to. So she had to stand tall.

Now the best part. When she was 17, she had to leave the love of her life. Then life happened. After 40 years they accidentally found each other again. Today they are a very happy loving couple, full of life and joy. Up until today she had faith. Faith into knowledge. Faith into love. She is a lifelong seeker. A lifelong warrior. A lifelong believer that she can do better. And she always did the best. The second great person that I proudly call my relative. And selfishly I imagine that I might be somewhat, at least tiny bit lucky to share some of her passion to learn. And to never stop making wishes.

A Fierce Journey

Dear reader,

Has it ever happened to you, that suddenly everything you thought you knew was an illusion and what you thought is blue turned out to be red actually? Or in other words – have you ever experienced a feeling, where nothing makes sense anymore and doesn’t fit any of your frames, yet it is the most incredible experience? Well me too. That’s what my American journey looked like.

On one hand, I’ve learned even more about SFBT, had a supervision on a difficult case of mine, have met soul mates who share same ideals about it as I do and also was able to talk to world famous therapists and yet didn’t feel like an amateur. In solution focused environment that kind of thing wouldn’t happen anyway, as it is a very safe environment to learn, to be heard, to be seen, respected and to have a possibility to learn from the best. And they even show genuine interest in you and your work.

Now then. On the other hand, our training and conference was at a venue so much different to what I call a “known situation”. A totally different world, not only visually, but also culturally. For example some stereotypes: In a land where obesity represents a major problem, I’ve lost more than 2kgs. In a land where there are mainly hamburgers and fries, I had organic almond milk for breakfast. It took me 34 hours outbound to my final destination and more than 24 hours back. Including a delay, a missed plane, a rebooked one, a lost luggage and certainly many lost nerves. I busted into tears in the middle of the Heathrow airport in London, just because it was so damn big, that I freaked out. The next second I laughed for the very same reason. Anyway, to return to America: in a city with the elevation of more than 7,000 feet it is said not to pursue too much physical activity in the first few days and after my 34 hours of travel and flying, I walked from the airport to the hostel for more than 9 miles (had to stop in the outlets of course, and that was NOT in the same direction!). My shoes cancelled on me afterwards. Finally, after 6 hours of walking, I reached the hostel and announced my glorious journey and since then I was referred to as “the girl who walked from the airport”. After that I realized there was a bus for 2$/daily pass so that ended the walking odyssey.

How did I survive all of that? Not always, but mostly, I tried to focus and be present. Instead of complaining, I was thinking compliments. Instead of being self-centred I turned outwards. Instead of letting my emotion and body to take over in terms of being exhausted and stressed, I gently embraced that tired and nervous part of me and managed to calm it. It was one of the fiercest things I’ve ever done and yet a gentle one.

I wrote in my award proposal that if I am to win this award, this would mean that I could grow a bit more, I could spread my wings to other continents and make some contacts for future collaboration as well as could return back home with more knowledge and open-mindedness to share it with people around me.

That didn’t quite happen. Again, as written in my “About” section, the reality turned out so much better. I have gained confidence now as a therapist. Much more confidence, and I was doing ok before. I’ve deepened my skills. Mostly in terms that I’m okay with the “not knowing” and have gained trust into the client’s abilities. That they will tell me what I need to know. But most important, I’ve reached the limits of my comfort zone. And have crossed it. And I know that tomorrow I might be back on the old track of habits and comfort. Will definitely bring back these lost kilos :). But I realize now that everything I thought was black could be white and that I can go through more of this. Much more than I can imagine. Actually I’m looking forward to it.

Feels good to be back. Might get me some fries now, to justify the stereotype.

santafe

Do you think sky is the limit? What is limit?