The Key to My Heart

Dear reader,

no matter the weather, there will always be a place on Earth with plenty of sunshine. Or thunderstorms, depending on your preference or perspective. Whatever you think of things and events that are happening around you, you are right in version of your own truth.

Life is never easy. It is multifaceted, complex and unpredictable. Yet it doesn’t have to be unnecessarily complicated. I meet many people every day. They share their stories and wisdom. I am lucky to be blessed with a gift of being a wonderful and charismatic trainer/teacher and with the ability to make other people around me feel special. In that sense my work is a combination of what I am good at and passionate about. And sometimes I forget this and then my participants remind me of it. So today I’ll share some of their thoughts. It says a whole lot more about them than it does about me. So have a look at what kind of wonderful people I usually work with:

Biba is a very easy to follow and engage with teacher. I have learned a lot from her knowledge of the SF approach as well as her genuine passion. I think it would be useful for anyone (counsellor, parent, manager, etc.) to experience and practice at least once in their life like this. (Anna)

Working together will inspire, energise and change the way you work, live and think (Luke)

There is a lovely energy about you and an incredible inner strength. (Susana)

There is some mystery about how the process works, it seems. Perhaps that is a good thing as we humans are so hard wired to seek and enjoy mystery.  (Jane)

Thanks so much for this Biba and for the excellent sessions you ran here.  It was great to meet you and I have already tried putting some SF thinking into practice. (James)

I thoroughly enjoyed your energy! You are the real deal! (Chantal)

I like your relaxed, respectful and light-hearted way of being. Of course you will feel sometimes different, but there is always a joy around you. (Annemieke)

Those are not official testimonials, gathered for the purpose of promotion, far from it. They are little messages I got in the past three days alone. And I want to share them with you, because I want to emphasise that having a talent isn’t only a privilege. It is a responsibility and duty too – a duty to use it and give to community. Share your ideas. Share yourself. And then watch the magic happen when you get back to what you give tripled.

Yesterday my magic materialised as a very special key. I got my own pair of keys to BRIEF and I am now ready to start seeing my face to face clients (individuals or families) at BRIEF. Yesterday I saw a mother and her teenage son. So much love and care they have for each other and it was beautiful to watch it surface again. So come and join. Be a part of it. Use your talents. Welcome!

With much love and from life,

Biba

Keys

The Keys to My Heart

All I Want For Christmas …

Dear reader,

greetings from a snowy, cold and dark London. I haven’t been here since August and it is truly good to be back. I remember leaving it quite confused, with vague feelings and no plans, yet life never happens according to your plans so one might be surprised by how vague and gloomy predictions might turn into a quite bright and jolly future.

Anyways, every time I go to London and if I have time, I must visit some of my favourite places. And some of my favourite shops. Which include Victoria’s Secret. I really like nice lingerie and having a good bra is one of the things which are quite important to me. Not that I would have any preferred brand, but the truth to be told, I quite like VS ever since I first visited it years go in the US.

This time was no different, I had to sneak in the store and act as a completely spoiled western consumer (which feels quite good sometimes, no?). And then on my way home on the red bus, I had this small tiny moment of bliss.

I don’t need any of the VS’s fancy bras. In fact I don’t need anything.

All of my lovely, carefully designed shopping plans all of a sudden meant nothing. All of a sudden I was completely happy in my old, half torn jeans. All of my girly wishes vanished. And what remained was pure gratitude. Gratitude that I am alive. That I am safe. Warm. Relatively free to choose what I want to do. That I have a place to go. A thing to do. People to care for and care about. And that was pretty much it.

I realised I don’t need anything. I’ve already got much more than I need.

So this year I wish I had no wishes. Because it’s so f****** good 🙂 (sorry about the language!)

What do you want for Christmas?

Biba

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You really need very little. You might want a lot though. 

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!

Biba

pic Lovedon

Some journey.

London Calling! And an Open Call to experience SFBT conversations

Dear reader,

Tomorrow I’m partly moving back to London (UK) for one year. It’s actually huge news, as I’ll be attending a Diploma in Solution Focused Practice, hence becoming a Solution Focused Brief Therapist. I’m burning enthusiasm and energy! But I need your help.

You see, what practitioners say is not the same to what practitioners do. Talking about therapy or coaching is nowhere near to doing either of it. One cannot learn how to facilitate useful conversations from books alone. It takes a lot of practice.

So I’m moving to London for this particular reason. I reached a certain point in my life where I am proud of my work as a trainer and a coach and I trust my clients to have all the resorces necessary to make a change they want to see. So when the student is ready, the teacher will appear, they say. Ribalon’s second season is slowly closing, as is 2016. This year we launched the first Slovenian professional training in Solution Focused Practice and we splendidly coordinated and carried out our first European international project Coaching for Change. Both promising projects give me confidence that there’s a bright future for Ribalon and for Solution Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT) in Slovenia. Like at the very beginning, I still very much believe SFBT is radically different to any other approach to coaching and therapy. And I want people to experience it, make use of it and learn how to benefit from it. So it’s only natural to return back to practice and sharpen my skills so I carry out my mission the best I can, to do SFBT justice.

I will be surrounded by many people in London, who are eager to see me succeed, perform well and who will assist me in my professional development. Meaning, they will closely monitor my work with clients. And I cannot do any work without my clients. My clients are my best teachers and the only true stakeholders to assess whether our work has been useful. I can’t create opportunities alone. Nor can I make a positive difference to anybody, without clients.

This is a call and an invitation for you, who are following this blog and for those you know, who are looking for opportunity to make a difference in their own, or their significant others lives. I’m inviting you to join this journey as a client and to experience the magic of SFBT yourself and contribute to its spread.

Simply click on the link below (a document with more detailed information) and apply. I would be honoured, if you would forward this Call to anybody whom you wish the best and would like to see them discover or find what they are looking for.

OPEN CALL for participants to be engaged in SFBT conversations

Many thanks and – see you soon!

Biba

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It’s not a goodbye. It’s a new hello!

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