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.

You were born to count the stars PART 1

A Touch of sLOVEnia broadcasting internationally.

A youth exchange in an organic farm, somewhere far away from factories and shopping malls. About 25 people from all over Europe. And my very first time as a trainer in a setting as such.

Dear reader,

all you really need is not a great pair of shoes. I just came back from the above event and as I’m going through the photos and am trying to organize memories. I feel the time is right to share with you what’s up.

This youth exchange was something beyond special. It was an opportunity to stop time, unplug wifi, forget the phone charger and throw makeup into a trash. As always, at the beginning when I have a group to lead and a message to deliver, I get a bit nervous. But not this negative nervousness, but more of an excited one. I was worried whether the group members would understand the message and whether they would have it difficult adapting and simplifying their way of life for the time being at this exchange. Besides solar showers and compost toilets, there was also very strict non alcohol and drug policy as well as vegetarian food.  Not everybody is able adapt to this, yet alone to understand what to do and how to spend the time instead of browsing and tweeting. Will the group of people who don’t know most of the others and are aged between 16-25 be able to manage?

This group managed and they managed the first day already. The energy we created was so inspiring and I think they (and hope) learned soooo much in such a short period of time. For example, take an exercise: you get a certain social role assigned and you have to place yourself up the scale according to what the facilitator asks. Questions like “can you vote, are you able to bring your friends over for dinner, are your children going to be safe in the future, can you afford to buy new clothes every 3 months”, etc. etc. Each member had a different role. And as we climbed up the scale, many were left behind and some were progressing forward. In the debriefing phase we discussed about this. And people who were way in front (privileged) noticed that none of them was there because of their own efforts. Maybe it was a rich daddy’s influence, maybe a political party they belonged to or maybe they were children of successful traders. But none of them was privileged because of their own work.

It touched us deeply. As we shared the emotions in the end, a girl who was among “well off” members said, she was disappointed. And she was right. Society isn’t just. And the position we are in, has most of the time nothing to do with our work or efforts. Equal opportunities suddenly gain importance and at the same time become a vague concept.

Anyhow, this was just to illustrate about the group’s maturity.

I’m sitting in front of this stupidd screen now. And am going through what has happened in the 3 days we’ve been together. The exchange isn’t over yet, just I had to leave because I have some other obligations to fulfill. So I think right now the group is having dinner and is hopefully checking their “gossip box”. I hope they will find something nice in there.

More to follow …


Mandala of trust, understanding, respect and love.

Sorry, I can’t deal with your situation?

remember im a person

Dear reader,

This post is a very important one, because it’s time to outline some limits and say it black and white. I’m not officially trained for any mental illnesses, I’m not a psychologist nor a psychiatrist and within SFBT I cannot address every situation. There are several limitations. Although SFBT is reported to work at least as effective as any other therapeutic approach (see Gingerich, W. J. & Peterson, L. T. (2013). Effectiveness of Solution-Focused Brief Therapy: A Systematic Qualitative Review of Controlled Outcome Studies. Research on Social Work Practice, [online version], pp. 1-18 and

Franklin, C., Trepper, T. S., Gingerich, W. J., & McCollum, E. E. (2012). Solution-focused brief therapy: A handbook of evidence-based practice. New York, NY, US: Oxford University Press.)

and may work well with severe difficulties such as drug/alcohol abuse, family violence, anxiousness, etc. (see Langer’s presentation at for details), there are limits. It may not work with severe mental illnesses such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. It is also not appropriate to go into SFBT where one’s life is endangered/at risk.

I’ve been working with students with disabilities at my faculty for over 8 years. I had students with mental difficulties as well and wasn’t “properly” trained nor prepared for that. Did that prevent me from meeting them? It could, but I didn’t think about that back then. Also, I was one of the few who was there for them, as we don’t have any support centre for students with disabilities at our faculty as mentioned in one of the previous posts. I only wanted to see the student as he/she is. Up until now I had no such case where I couldn’t “deal” with the situation. Because there was no such situation. People didn’t come to me for diagnosis, nor did they come for any kind of assessment or treatment. They came to me because they felt comfortable with me. Because I was their colleague and because (they told me) they didn’t want to be treated or healed. They just wanted to be understood and wanted to get help they asked for, not their doctors/psychiatrists.

You may think these were students with mild mental difficulties. I don’t know, honestly. The students told me they had a diagnosis of depression, anxiety, epilepsy, autism, etc. and had a proof for that as otherwise they would not be granted disability status at the faculty and wouldn’t find me. As I’m not trained in this area and have only very basic knowledge about these mental health conditions*, this info didn’t influence my approach, so it’s up to you to decide how “difficult” their cases were from that point of view. I only had students in front of me and a sensitive ear to focus on what they wanted. I once had a student, who’s had several sort of panic/epilepsy attacks (her doctors and psychiatrists didn’t know for sure what she “had”, so they treated her with all sorts of drugs) and she had these attacks in class. You can imagine the panic she’s caused the teachers and students as well. On the day we were sitting together she told me she had an attack just the day before. I quietly asked myself what I would do if she had one now and of course I would look for help, but still, this didn’t turn me away from her in terms of “I would rather avoid seeing you than let the chance of attack happen while we’re together because I can’t deal with you”. Important to say: our meetings were not about her condition or about me trying to get her better. They were about her studies, but her situation and distress came up, so this is how I know about all this. In fact, I know much more, because she told me things she said nobody would listen to. And she was thankful for my non-judgemental response. Still I hear from her every now and then and I dare to think she considers me friends.

It would be different however, if she told me information that could be harmful to herself or others. Then it would be my duty to talk to someone who is trained in this area. But in this case that didn’t happen.

So dear reader, there are limits when it comes to safety and risk. Sometimes you have to react as a human being and do the right thing (like call 911 or refer the client to someone who’s trained to deal with these situations. In my eight years of practice fortunately I didn’t have a situation where I would have to do something like that, but such situation may come and it is necessary to be alert. One situation I may overlook may cause real harm.

On the other hand, I agree with one of my colleagues who made a comment when we addressed issues of risk when discussing launching Brief Coaching for our students. She said she’s been treated for depression she didn’t have and she was uncomfortable with being a “patient” where all she needed was an understanding ear. She found that in someone who was far from being trained for this, but it worked for her. Luckily. So due to one situation in which I may overlook some important signs of risk, should I give up the rest, where the outcomes may be outstanding in positive terms? What do you think?

* During my time working as a disability coordinator, of course I had to participate on courses and familiarize myself with all sorts of disabilities in terms of basic do’s and don’ts so I would be able to recognize and act accordingly. But I didn’t spend years on training/studying it. So please don’t get me wrong and do bear in mind, that training is very important. Kind of sensibilization training so that you can get an idea what it means to have for example dyslexia and you don’t confuse it with being lazy (and similar common mistakes made when pre-judging and making too fast presumptions and conclusions).