World Citizen: Cuba

Dear reader,

we just got back from Cuba. After submitting my PhD theory I needed a break, a proper one, somewhere far away where I’d pick myself up and recharge. My husband and I collectively voted for Cuba, as we wanted to see it in its original form before the consumerism and capitalism ruin it.

Cuba is an island which can be described in two words: ever changing. What we read on blogs and websites only a few months old, was no longer true when we arrived there. Our trip was not organised. We had only first two nights booked and the rest was spontaneous. As I was so busy, I did not bother looking at any travel guide or read anything about Cuba. I thought I’d do it on the plane, but there I was learning Spanish (successfully!), so speaking for myself, I had only a rough idea that I am going to visit a Caribbean island where it’ll be summer and dry season and which regime is socialism (but coming from a post-socialistic country I kinda knew what this meant).

Our arrival and travel went smoothly. We reached Havana by evening and had someone picking us up and taking us to our casa. The next day we were served breakfast. I was absolutely astonished by tropical fruit, but seeing the bread on our table I thought: “Na-a, I’m not going to eat that”. See the picture.


Day one of our breakfast. I only had papayas and bananas. By the end of our travel I ate everything.

I’m not going to eat artificial burger-like bread made of white flour and loads of sugar. Nor am I going to eat butter substitute. Cheese and eggs tasted like soap, my husband said, while me being a vegan, refused to even try it. And here comes the hard truth of socialism: one cannot buy anything. The shops literally had nothing but some huge tins of beans (sugar added of course), loads of tomato sauce, some rice and at least five kinds of rum. I couldn’t find any fruit, nor bread. I thought fine, I’ll live on our fruit bars brought from Europe. Havana was dirty and smelly. The houses were adorable perhaps 50 years ago, but today it was all falling apart. We had not yet discovered Havana Vieja, which is better and truly beautiful, but the rest looks like as if it is going to collapse within the next five years because nobody cares to rebuild or repair what is broken.

We headed off to Viñales, a national park on the west with tobacco and coffee plantation. Our first taxi collectivo ride. Stopped on the way and I thought “nice, stretch my legs a bit” and as I took some pictures, the driver started shouting at me and prohibited to take some more. We were at a place where black petrol was being sold. The average petrol price compares to prices in Europe, which is about 1eur/l but on a black market one can get one liter for 10 cents.


Cuban black petrol market. You’d recognise one immediately, wouldn’t you?

Vinales was beautiful. The mogotes all around the valley looked friendly and inviting. Cuba is very green, clean and the nature is untouched (which is what I like!). But the city and our tourist experience was insulting for a Slovenian. Slovenians are so spoiled, because we live in a country with such beautiful nature, environment and such high living standard that it is literally impossible to impress us (for me only New Zealand exceeded my expectations, and I’ve seen quite some bits of this planet already). We took a horse ride to the natural park. Stopped by a farmer where I smoked my first cigar. Then off to a coffee plantation where one old man was explaining us the process of making coffee in three minutes and used the rest of his 20-minute tour selling us coffee, honey and rum. We were then taken to a “lago natural” which was an artificial water tank with muddy water. And the Mural de la Prehistoria was someone painting the rocks with modern colours. I understand that tourism is the main cuban industry but I do not understand the tourists who were actually impressed (or perhaps acting so). Anyhow, we thought the show was ridiculous and decided to leave Viñales asap so booked our Viazul bus to Trinidad where I was hoping to see my longing for beach. Unfortunately we both got very sick and spent the night interchangeably vomiting or sitting on the toilet. I got high fever and was freezing and trembling on my side of bed. After such an ordeal, we had to do the “check in” for the bus at 6.10 am. The bus was supposed to leave at 6.45 but left at 7.30. First we had to walk up a small hill for our check in for about 20 mins and then again down where our bus was waiting. It would make it too complicated to pick us up I suppose and the station was only used to drop people off. I swallowed a painkiller and slept throughout the whole ride which took a bit more than 9 hours.


I can’t tell you what a dear friend that street dog was!

Arriving at Trinidad sometime pm, we went looking for a casa recommended by some people we met in Viñales. Unfortunately it was full, but the lady was kind and recommended us another one. Which was for the same amount of money (25 cuc/room) a box with no water in the shower, synthetic linens and squeaking bed, straight next to a huge refrigerator so we were exposed to a constant light and noise. We didn’t mind and went straight to bed at 6pm and slept until the next morning. I thought to myself

“Shit, what a spoiled cookie you are, girl. You better adjust your standards or you are likely to have the worst holiday of your life!”

Woken up the next day feeling much better. Trinidad was adorable. Went off looking for another casa, as this one was clearly too expensive for the un-comfort it offered, we explored the streets of Trinidad. Then found our place which has been our home for the next 9 days. Our casa of Jachima and Ariel close to Park Cespedes was gorgeous. Having had so much misfortune so far, we decided to give up traveling around and just settle in for a while. And this is when real holidays started.

Not without challenges though. As soon as we got better, we gained our appetite back. Especially mine is quite huge, I eat huge amounts of food but am very picky in what I eat. Since Trinidad shops were even more modest than the Havana ones, I had to adjust. By the end of our stay I’ve probably eaten about 100 buns of that “awful bread that I am not going to eat” and about 50 eggs. Both without any taste, but I stopped complaining, because there was nothing else to eat except some baby food with condensed milk (forget about fresh milk in Cuba, though last day of our trip I saw a soy milk carton which was a huge surprise, but massively expensive).

It is amazing how flexible we are, humans. Being in a country which has very different culture and habits to your own forces you to adjust and think faster. I was very pleased with myself to discover that I’ve been super spoiled. You would not believe the joy I felt when finding a man on the street selling tomatoes. Even managed to get some Swiss chard and it made me the happiest person.


Behind me is a Skoda. Probably made in 1950’s!

Now about the sea and the beaches. It was so worth it. Playa Ancon was my heaven on Earth. Crystal clear turquoise warm sea with the temperature around 26-27 or even more, not a single rubbish on the floor, a beach where you could easily find a spot to be completely alone or among others, but not plenty. We went there almost every day. I got a nice suntan and a close encounter with a ray fish which was very nice as none of us was scared, so we spent quite some time together in slightly deeper water, curious about each other.


No filter. The water really was that colour.

Every time you travel, travel changes you. I think there is a proverb saying that every travelling is travelling to yourself. And I agree. I discovered Europe through Cuba, a different perspective. It made me so sad thinking about our excessive consumerism and loads of plastic we produce every hour. Amounts of food, clothes and other things we are throwing away. When we left, our car (my lovely Peugeot 206) broke down and we were thinking of getting a new one. Such a car in Cuba would cost around 8,000 cuc and was considered highly valuable and fashionable! I left with my famous suitcase full of clothes I was gonna throw away in Europe, but in Cuba they all of a sudden seemed fine to me and I almost changed my mind by thinking of bringing it back home again (which I then did not – I came back with only what I had on, no extra luggage :).

Then about people. Cubans are very special. The conditions they live in are rough. The money they earn is scarce, the government salaries are ridiculous so no wonder nobody wants to work. But they are smiling all the time. They stick together. Families are one of the most important networks. They help each other. They are not craving for material things – when we wanted to sell our iPad (because we thought they might be interested and for us was getting rather old) they carelessly raised their eyebrows saying we do like it, but we do not need it. It made me thing how many things I own or am craving for, but actually do not need.

In Cuba I survived with minimum, even less than in India. And I did not feel much deprivation (only food-wise, but again, I am very picky when it comes to that, but thought that okay, this is not forever, so I’ll survive). So being back home now into 30cm of snow and 0 degrees makes me want to take some lessons from Cuba into my western lifestyle. Some you can view below in a short video.

And some other “resolutions” or discoveries are connected to realisation that most people on this planet survive with less than 5 Euro/day. Because they have to. Why don’t I try to survive with the same, but not because I have to, but because I can? So here it goes:

  • I do not have to consume all kinds of superfoods coming from far away. We have superfood in Slovenia, but it is not marketed as much and totally inexpensive.
  • I do not have to eat avocado etc. here, where it does not grow. I simply do not want to contribute to the pollution its production and transportation takes.
  • I do not have to own 369276 different outfits for every other occasion. A few classic pieces would do.
  • I do not have to throw something away just because it is broken or torn. Perhaps I could remember how to sew again. And so what if that coffee cup is broken. If it still holds water, it can still be my favourite.
  • Zero waste. Dear reader, we are going to suffocate if we don’t act now. I’ll do my best to try and go zero waste. Went shopping today. It is very challenging, but I’ll keep going!
  • No plastic. Very challenging again! But I’ve given up on shampoo and shower gels, I will eventually give up on toothpaste and other beauty products and will learn how to make my own.
  • Ancient wisdom. In Slovenia, we have so many herbs and spices, not to mention flowers. My grandmother knew what to pick when. I have no clue. Perhaps time to start asking her for some advice and learn the art of tea and other homemade remedies.

I guess that should do. For all of you who are considering visiting Cuba, do it fast, because it is changing. The prices were similar to European, but for much lower quality or service. Capitalism is definitely going to kick in, especially if the embargo from the USA finishes sometime in the future. So if you are after a romantic Cuba, now is the time to discover it. I enjoyed my experience a lot – pleasant and unpleasant bits. The only question for me now is how am I gonna survive my next trip, which is going to Canada work-wise in a week – from +30 degrees into -10? But hey – what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger, right?

Much love to you,



Check the time. We waited for two hours to have our luggage checked in and then our plane was delayed by over an hour. Oh well, the European one as well 😀


Almost live broadcasting from sunny England

Dear reader,

Long time no hear. Since I moved to England, looks like I’ve been absorbed and swallowed into the British way of life and work. Kidding, only a bit, as I do not work 12 hours a day (yet). I find it immensely useful and encouraging when working with people who show dedication, passion, are helpful and looking for solutions and ways forward instead of looking for reasons to quit. Luckily here in London, there is such an atmosphere.

Currently, I’m seeing clients who responded to the Open Call and am working on the programme for the Second Professional Solution Focused Training in Slovenia in 2017. Since September, apart from being in London most of the time, Iz was also in Brugge, Bucharest and Malmo. My life is collected and summed up in a suitcase and a huge handbag that is only about one month old, yet already has some heavy marks from the airports, railways, coffee shops, pubs or double-deckers. In December we’ll start working on our second international project Coaching for Change 2 and I’m aiming high, possibly to make it a worldwide project. This is why I’ll be going to New Zealand in March 2017 to deliver a workshop about it at the AOTEAROA NZ conference.

It is nearly three years since I first heard about Solution Focused (SF) Approach. And the more I get to know it, the more I love doing it. Solution Focused Approach is simple to learn, yet not easy to perform. In Malmo meeting someone very distinguished and experienced SF practitioner said that it’s like chess – one learns the figures and moves pretty quickly, yet to become a chess master it takes hours of practice. The same is with learning SF – it can only be learned through practice. Reading and writing about it certainly helps and contributes to one’s understanding and knowledge, but in order to be able to have a solution focused therapy or coaching conversation it takes practice.

Why is it worth the efforts? Because it makes a difference. Because it is radically different from other approaches. Because it is associated with good outcomes. Because it transforms organizations and changes lives. And borrowing its tools and techniques gives people an opportunity to make a positive difference. In their environment, in the lives of others as well as their own. And this is big. For some even something worth living for.


How Solution Focused Approach Changed My Life

Dear reader,

just finished a Skype session with a rather long term client (seeing her over 2 years), who likes to check in once in a while to see whether she’s still “on track”. She is also interested to learn how to use Solution Focused Approach in her own line of work, but since she’s from another continent, she won’t be able to make it to our Slovenian Solution Focused Training. By the way – hurry, early bird registrations will close tomorrow, so make sure you’ve secured your place!

She stated that the main reason she wanted to learn SF (Solution Focused) was, because she had noticed how different my life became, since I encountered this approach. And she would like to make a similar difference in and for her life. I wouldn’t pay much attention to her words personally (of course professionally yes), if it weren’t that same morning, that a friend wrote to me on Facebook how much she appreciates my work and what an inspiration I am for others, especially younger ones, who are at the beginning of their professional career paths.

Maybe I can point out some benefits on how Solution Focused approach changed me, my life and those around me. I want nothing but the best for you, so maybe you might find this useful and can make Solution Focused approach work for you as well:

  • I’m not afraid. Action kills fear. If I’m unsure into something, I do it anyway. Before I was always scared what would happen if things go wrong. I had to make sure it was a “perfect moment”. Often that moment never came and I gave up before doing anything.
  • I travel. I’ve travelled round the Globe, but not as a tourist. I travel to learn, to explore, to expand, to increase tolerance and acceptance of diversity. See the post about a fierce journey for example.
  • I’m no longer setting goals. Goals don’t work. Instead I’m looking for signs. And since that changed, I managed to put together quite some pieces of work, like the Ribalon Institute, my first international scientific article and an EU project.
  • I’m not alone. I belong to a strong international network of professionals who help me grow. I’ve got the world’s best supervisors. Amazing partners, intervision coaches and worldwide friends. I’m not scared to ask for support. And I’m not reluctant to offer some if needed.
  • I’ve learned how to say NO. Managed to say goodbye to (fortunately very few) toxic people. I don’t tolerate disrespect and oppression. Also, I don’t tolerate gossip. Have much more important things to do.
  • I can change others. Until now, probably I’ve had like 500 workshops or trainings. Sometimes my contractors say I have to deal with a conflict/uncooperative/unmotivated group/individual. Never ever have I had a problem to inspire them.
  • My work matters. I see clients who say they’ve really messed up. I’ve worked with clients thinking about suicide, clients who were struggling with eating disorders, anxiety, depression, I’ve worked with parents who had “unbearable” teenagers. I worked with many many young people who were stuck and wanted to quit. Some might say I’m not qualified to solve their problems. They are right. I’m not quailfied – but the clients are! Also, I’m not solving their problems – they are!
  • I’m genuinely happy. It’s not a state of euphory that goes up and down. It’s a constant state of integrity, joy and passion to do what I like to do, what I’m good at and what matters to others. Plus, I am surrounded by people who take my energy and give it back.
  • I want to pay it forward. This was the main call that got us into organizing this very first SLOVEnian SF training. Because I want to offer an opportunity to others to have a possible life changing experience. Who knows – sometimes a word said at a right time, can change someone’s life forever. I hope I’m spreading good words.

Though Solution Focused approach might not be responsible or triggering all of the above, I know that if I wouldn’t come accross it, my life would be a life from someone I used to be and am not anymore. People change. Be the change you want to see, Gandhi said. Wise man.



Your life. Your choice.

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,


moja Biba

You can change people: a Word about the Quiet December

Dear reader,

The end of the year is fast approaching. Don’t know whether you’re into celebrating, presents or any of that, anyhow it is a special time of the year. For me all the rush and presents excitement, the Christmas tree and lights is somehow secondary. It’s nice, but a bit too commercial for my taste. This year, we decided we’re excluding all gifts that come in material shape. We will give each other memories, so a gift should be something that a receiver will keep as a memory of a together-spent adventure (we’ll definitely save on gift paper :))

My December is usually a month of quiet, stillness, a month of reflection about the past ups and downs, lefts and rights, etc. This year has been a breaking point in my life. It has changed me and everyone around me, changed forever. The thing is, a situation, whatever it is, doesn’t simply happen to you – your reaction causes what you experience as happening. Therefore, you can change every situation, you can even change people. Your world can change instantly and you don’t have to do much to make that happen! And more good news – you alone can make it happen and have all the utilities and capabilities to do so. The very next minute you can begin to experience a brand new changed world.

Yesterday I’ve seen a new client, who is at the beginning of her independent career path. She chose to start her own firm and was a bit unsure about whether she could make it and the direction she should be headed towards. Usually, I don’t ask about the past, but here something, some strange curiosity drove me towards asking questions about her past work until the present moment. At the end of a session she said she didn’t know and hasn’t been realising she’s walked all that much already as she thought she was standing still and doing nothing. But now she actually realises how much she has accomplished already and if she’s come that far, she should be okay to proceed. And be successful in whatever path she chooses to go.

It’s almost a year since I left for my study visit to England that changed my life. This year, I’ve travelled and seen half a world literally, have learned so fast and so much about Solution Focused Brief Therapy and was able to make let’s say a 5 year path in only one with much published scientific work and contributions in international conferences. With pleasure and passion. And I wasn’t looking for opportunities, wasn’t looking for anything big. It just happened, naturally. I wasn’t waiting for my “big moment” to come, I created it by acting and reacting to what came across. And now looking back, I’m so happy I did, even though I was really scared, confused, had so many doubts and was afraid I wouldn’t make it. I’m really grateful I didn’t hide and made an excuse.

People around me changed. By noticing changes I’ve been going through, some people were curious and wanted to know more. Some were not. Some left my life, some stayed. Since working a lot and going through a process of intensive learning necessarily means sacrificing your time you used to spend on other things like having coffee, I started to pick my company really carefully. Because I value my time and I started to value my experiences too, so I don’t share it with people who don’t care about it. As a result, I managed to say goodbye to people that had negative impact on me and I’ve gained more respect from people, especially people that used to take me and my time for granted. As soon as I started to value myself more, they started to reflect that attitude back. I’m now attracting what I’m radiating. And it has always been like that, just I didn’t know and see it till now.

Don’t believe me? You can try it yourself. Such an experiment may be that you say no to someone if you don’t feel like doing something they want you to do. It’s very hard. Not to say that to them, but to say that to you. Very hard indeed. But with each attempt you’ll get better, I guarantee you that. Maybe as you see that it’s actually a relationship you have with yourself, that could make it a bit easier, because you’re probably not afraid of yourself so much as you are afraid of what the others might think of you. Well, whatever it is that they think of you, tells not so much about you, but a lot about them. That’s what I have written in the description of my Facebook profile picture and I’m sharing this one with you today. I’m giving myself to you, because I want to. Without makeup 🙂 So if you are being treated poorly, that is probably a sign of the other person’s bad attitude. Even if you please them, that attitude is not going to change. So why not doing yourself a favour by saying yes to YOU?

Wish you a lovely December. Spend it the way you like most. And thank you for being an important part of my reflection.


Dear friend/acquaintance/visitor. You may love me, hate me or neither. Whatever it is, it says a lot more about you than it does about me. Feel welcomed.

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.


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

A Road Less Traveled

Dear reader,

Hope you are doing well. I got back from summer holidays and even though not much has been going on in terms of sessions or similar, there’s news I’d like to share with you.

Today I was organizing some photo albums and realized, I have a very strange habit. I like to take photos of the ground.

I didn’t know it was that obvious, but there we go – each album has at least one photo of the floor and it was not taken by accident. I know it sounds strange, but I really like doing that as some people like to take selfies. I like the idea of a captured moment, where it is my turn to walk this road that so many have walked before. In so doing I wonder who they were, what they were thinking about, were they in a hurry or just taking the after lunch walk, did they carry a bag or pushed a baby carriage, was their step light, fast, or in pain, worried. And I feel really small, thinking this thoughts and at the same time so calm and grateful, because I’m aware of the moment and I know it’s my turn now.

As I was traveling and had the opportunity to explore foreign landscapes and cities, I learned a lot. Not just in the courses/conferences, but also in traveling itself. I liked every single place I’ve visited. At the same time I could complain about every place, but I chose to like it. One could write pages or even a whole novel about every place and its people, so much they had to share. If only I were to listen.

I remember a journey from Sheffield to London in March by train. The plan was to take the latest train in Sheffield and then stay at St. Pancras for the night and get a coach to the airport back home. That day was super intense, as I had a meeting with one agency in the morning and have participated as an observer in psychological assessments at the university. So the idea was that I take the latest train and not spend another night in a hostel. After all scheduled meeting were over, I met with a friend for a cup of coffee and cake and then went shopping. It started to rain and my bag’s zipper broke. Of course. It was cold and I was hungry. I prayed they would let the train open so I could find a good seat and get some sleep, as at the station this would be less possible. Also, meanwhile I found out that the London night traffic isn’t 24/7, so the coaches are not running until 3 o’clock. S***.

In the train as I found a cosy seat, not before long, a young man sat next to me. We began to chat. I was really tired and already prepared to sleep, but he seemed to be willing to talk. He was a nice guy, so my dilemma was what to do: the best and most reasonable thing to do would be just to ignore him and get some precious sleep, but on the other hand, it was a once in a lifetime situation and I might miss an opportunity to meet someone interesting. I went with the second option. And do not regret it, especially not today, where I have one more fb friend and a precious memory and am dry and eat a banana.

We arrived to St. Pancras. It was 11PM and it was cold. I thought no one would be at the station, luckily they have a couple of battered pianos, so I could make a fool of myself and amuse the mice. The station was crowded, because a Eurostar train to France came back. There seemed to be some accident in the tunnel. So there were about 500 people caught in the station. If someone had the right to complain, it was them! A Costa Coffee was opened and it was one of the few places not windy. So we all squeezed inside (and my broken bag, remember?). People were fed up, the smell was just awful and the coffee man was in a bad mood. Not helping. So we sat there. Then I smiled to a guy next to me (he was a huge man, very tall and looked strong). I asked him if I could squeeze in a bit and move closer, because he looked so strong and both of us together could keep the warmth longer. He was also one of the loudest complainers and was really surprised by this proposal, but eventually he agreed. Felt a bit awkward, but then we were okay. After a while a few others followed our example and the iced atmosphere was broken. It was just one single smile that made such a huge difference among the whole group. Or maybe I was just imagining it.

Pictures of the floor. I thought my journeys have come to an end with this summer, and again, I was wrong. The distance travelled to my next learning opportunity will be more than 10,000 km. I got the news last week over coffee somewhere in Dalmatia. It was one of those rare moments with Wi-Fi available and I almost fell of my chair as I read an email on my phone, saying I’ve been chosen as the recipient of an Award to support my attendance at American Solution Focused Brief Therapy Association (SFBTA) annual conference in the USA. The award is given to students, who show promise in Solution-Focused Brief Therapy and is aimed to provide some financial support for travel expenses. I couldn’t believe my eyes.  

Again, be careful what you wish for. It may come true. I did not see this coming. And yet it’s happened. This years award has been given to me.


“If we know exactly where we’re going, exactly how to get there, and exactly what we’ll see along the way, we won’t learn anything. ” ― M. Scott Peck, A Road Less Traveled