Chosing for yourself which habits are healthy

“Hello hello!” I chime as I step into the bakery one fine spring lunchtime. I have been working from home all morning and feel like I deserve a treat to reward myself for reaching targets and being productive.

“Hi,” Bakerman smiles at me. “How are you?”

“Feeling happy,” I smile back at him as I sit down at a little round table near the window. “Wanted to say hi.”

“Why what’s wrong?” Bakerman teases me as he heads over to my table with two cups of tea.

“Have enrolled Winston in big school,” I beam proudly. “Hahahaaa. Nothing wrong. Bad man.”

I wink at him naughtily as I take a sip of the fresh hot brew. “Need to finalize my offers. I have 4 big hot leads to follow up. The one I told you about, I will send tonight with Mechelen as a reference. Exciting. Would be good if I land them all. Or is that greedy?”

I gaze over to the counter and become all big-eyed. “I’ll have chocolate cake today.”

“No give it your best shot,” Bakerman answers as he gets up slowly from our little table. He heads over to his counter to cut me a nice serving of the deliciously looking chocolate cake.

“Mmmm? Why no?” I question him, my eyes on the cake and my mouth watering. “Spring is in the air.”

“It’s not greedy,” Bakerman clarifies as he places the chocolate cake before me presented on a dainty little dish I’m sure Debbie has made in her pottery classes.

“I love spring,” I repeat again gazing out the window dreamily. I’m good at pretending I’m not dying to dig into that cake immediately. I have self-restraint, I do. “Good then I can go and have more cake. I am addicted to chocolate cake. Smoke free for more than 4 weeks now.”

“Yes me too,” Bakerman watches me with a twinkle in his eye. I forget all about good manners and eating lady like. Chocolate cake isn’t made to be eaten daintily. “I love rebirth and lots of growth.”

“Rebirth?” I question him with my mouth full of cake. “It must be interesting being you. I wonder how your thoughts tick.”

“Wow! Congratulations,” Bakerman applauds. “You only need to overcome the psychological side effects only.”

“I still love smoke and cigarettes,” I continue gazing out of the window dreamily. My eyes glaze over. “Only they tasted horrible in the end. Smells awful, stink! And my body doesn’t like it. But I love to smoke. Havent smoked in 4 weeks. How about you? Are you smoking now?” I pause to look at him and to take another sip of tea. “I’m going to get fat. Soooo? Are you smoking?”

“Yes sadly I am,” Bakerman admits shaking his head. “But very little. I hate it. I gave up giving up.”

“I know, it really is horrible. Yet really delicious,” I sympathize. “I think it’s the smoke that twirls all around you. The deep inhaling. And the fire. Caveman like.”

“I guess so,” Bakerman shrugs his shoulders and looks out of the window for anything worthwhile capturing my attention as it seems. He soon concludes it’s just one of my avoidance tactics though.

“Oh yessss,” I smack my lips enthusiastically. “It would be great if I could limit myself to three a day. But sadly I smoke like a maniac. All or nothing.”

“Better nothing,” Bakerman holds my gaze intently.

“My BNP contract is up for renewal end of June,” I offer a little worried as I finish off my cake. “I would like to ask for a raise. How’s the best way to ensure I get it?”

“Be honest,” Bakerman’s answers are always short. “Show added value.”

“Haha,” I laugh tossing my head back. “That’s a poopy answer. I want a magic solution.”

Even the most logical persons amongst us seek to create some kind of magic to help with setting intention and manifestation. First thing in the morning is an ideal time to set intentions. Writing down your goals and desires can make your intentions all the more powerful. My advice to you is to release anything blocking you to achieve your dreams. And use your passion to plant seeds for new opportunities. My passion is storytelling. It helps me to use my writing to support growth in my daily life. What about you? Maybe your passion is singing, or painting. Wherever your passion lies, use it to support change and transformation.

* Disclaimer : Any resemblance between the fictional characters in this story and any persons, living or dead, is a miracle by chance more than by choice.


Go big or do nothing at all

I pop in to see Bakerman after work to cheer him up and to check on how sick he really is. Het is not going well at all, temperature running high and a vague expression on his face. His body and his entire being is clearing his energy field of all the negativity that has accumulated. What I am about to hear is going to call the beginning of a brand-new era in our lives.

“Oh hi,” I greet him as I bustle into his bakery atelier. “My conf call turned out to be postponed. And I’m a bit late.”

“Better than never,” Bakerman smiles meekly, happy to see me.

“So my mother, positive evolution?” I ask him cutting straight to the chase.

“I am going to have a slice of cake and a big cup of tea now,” Bakerman skuttles around his workplace slowly gathering deliciously smelling items. “Do you want some?”

“Yesss please. Chocolate cake?” I am looking around at all the tempting things he has concocted. “Wim is going to start a blog too now. Fun huh.”

“I don’t know,” Bakerman has his back to me as he is shaking and trying carefully to prepare two big mugs of fresh tea. “My job is to help you look at alternatives instead of a single point of view that may or may not be correct.”

“Mmmm lost me,” I sigh as I take a big bite of the chocolate creamy cake he just placed in front of me. “Great cake though.”

“What was the whole reading for your mom?” Bakerman turns to face me now holding out a hot steamy mug of tea. I accept his offer quickly afraid he might spill half of the hot brew in his clumsy sickness.

“She’s financially well off but can’t see it,” I start recounting what the story of my wild unknown tarot cards. “She reaps what she sows with me and my brother. Too much in control. A big change is coming, sudden. And she’ll be upset. But it’s a blessing in disguise. In two years she will meet a new love interest. I told her to do AirBnB for extra income. Or English conversation. Or cake workshops. How to make a blue cake for instance. Hope renewed. Connect to the force within.”

“Was she not an accountant or something?” Bakerman asks as he slowly stirs his tea with a small dainty spoon.

“No she was an administrative assistant at the army,” I tell him. That translates into less than a secretary. “She liked to pretend she was very important.”

“Oh,” Bakerman shrugs as he takes a first sip of his tea.

“And she liked to copy the military,” I could go on forever on details regarding my mother. “She said she never saved for her pension. Can anybody really be so reckless?”

“Yes sure,” Bakerman nods at me unblinkingly.

“She says she only has one income,” I go over the inconsistencies with my best friend. “Does this mean my brother doesn’t contribute to paying the costs of living at home?”

“Of course not,” Bakerman laughs. “Your mother should have put him in a special nursing home years ago.”

“Haha,” I enjoy a good laugh. “Yes she should. I think he only works part time. Lazy sod.”

“The best way to treat your brother is to get him help in finding a job and keeping it then throw him out,” Bakerman eyes me coolly from his puffy red face.

“My mother will never throw him out,” I shake my head looking down at the tea mug resting in my lap. “I told her she should get him to move on. But always excuses.”

“She knows he can’t survive on his own,” Bakerman mocks.

“Yup,” I sigh.

“Make sure you teach your kids the value in achievement,” Bakerman warns me.

“I do all the time,” I smile back at him. “And they do chores.”

“Discipline is very good for kids,” Bakerman confirms.

“Yes I dont want morons like my brother,” I pull a funny face as I think of that genetic failure.

“Does he know he is the village idiot in Turnpoint Mountains?” Bakerman hears all the gossip in town as people come and go in his bakery. “There is another one very similar in Emelo Woods too. Guy is 40 and never worked a day in his life. Lived at home from birth.”

“I don’t think so,” I go on thinking deeply. My mother would have said something if it were the case. “Some call him ‘bambi’. My mother thinks that’s endearing somehow.”

“You should tell him,” Bakerman urges me. his fever clearly rising inside of him. “The whole village knows about him and laughs at him.”

“The village thinks he’s a little old man,” I tell him about the rumours I have heard. “They think he’s my mom’s boyfriend. Nobody believes me when I tell them he’s my brother. They laugh when I say he’s my younger brother. Incredible.”

“It was suggested once that I should offer free treatment for him,” Bakerman is holding my gaze. I remember him offering to talk to my brother last year, but that was the other brother.

“Yes you should,” I push him a little. I’m starting to wonder how much of the fever is actually doing the talking.

“No,” Bakerman shakes his head resolutely. “Incest cases are not my thing.”

“How is he involved in incest?” I am shocked to my core. Is there a simple way to talk to a man delirious with fever? “You mean with my mother? Now it is weird how they live together. Go on vacation together.”

“Who knows the truth,” Bakerman shrugs. “Such is the rumour.”

“Sleep in same bed on vacation,” I go over the weird evidence accumulating under my unbelieving eyes. “It is the rumour, I know. But it can’t be true.”

“Why not? I had a case like this long ago,” Bakerman remembers sourly. “Father and son were fighting all the time. Fist fighting and father couldn’t figure it out. Son was fucking mother and became possessive. Mother preferred fucking son. Son is now living in a mental institution as he is screwed up from this. Both parents are dead now. He has been a basket case for years. Hated having to submit a report to the authorities.”

“Oh my that sounds bad,” I shake my head. I know I can’t cope with even hearing about such things. I’d rather live in my peaceful little world, without drama and terrible stories only my birth family could come up with. “I couldn’t cope with cases like that.”

“Yes,” Bakerman nods solemnly. “Who is your brothers father?”

“I can’t even read the newspaper without getting upset,” my head is spinning now and I’ve lost track of the plot. Are we talking about my brother in the UK and the abuse he put up with from Graham? Or my brother here in Belgium? “My stepdad? Fwa-fwaaah.”

“Yes I know,” Bakerman nods mysteriously.

“Frank is his real name,” I go on. “He looks the spitting image of him.”

“Is he in touch with your brother?” Bakerman asks inquisitively.

“Yes but not often now,” I tell him only what I have heard. “He’s drinking again. And very involved with his new Philippino wife and her lot. He never bothers with me and my kids. Sometimes my brothers but not often.”

“Sounds good,” Bakerman smiles.

“Does it?” I pull up my eyebrow at him.

“You don’t need the added aggravation,” Bakerman points out.

“I don’t,” I sigh.

“Your brother just needs to meet a bitch like his mother and he will be off,” Bakerman lets me know it will all be okay.

“Hasn’t happened yet,” I point out the obvious flaw in his statement. “Don’t think he ever will.”

“There must be loads of them in Belgium,” Bakerman has told me before that there are a million more fish in the sea.

“Mother won’t allow it,” I snort. “There are. But what, come home, be quiet for mom?”

“I understand my elder sister is also crazy,” Bakerman reveals part of his story. “She has a boyfriend who is 30 years her junior. He is a paid companion. A gigolo I guess. Fat and useless. Worked six months in his life so far. Yet she hangs onto him as though butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth. Maybe women go crazy when they hit menopause or 60. Maybe they think it will dry up. Even a dog that likes to lick is an option.”

“But he’s her son!” I am starting to feel defensive now. I hate horrible talk and even though I don’t like the lot of them, I won’t stand for nasty talk. “I don’t understand this. I want my children to live full lives. Adventures of their own. Not extensions of myself. Ugh my mom has cats. This is all very dirty, very scary and not healthy.”

“Ah but your autism is different from hers,” Bakerman continues in the same monotone voice. “She see things as possessions. If she can’t own you then you are the problem.”

“I am the problem,” I repeat for myself. “Oh dear, that’s psychopathic.”

“If you blog this please make up names and cities that protect your family,” Bakerman looks at me alarmed.

“Haha,” I laugh as I can’t for the life of me imagine to ever repeat what I have just heard. “Yes true. Like which names? Tweedledum is pretty good.”

“Sure it’s always the same pattern,” Bakerman nods. “Your mother needs to own everyone she is close to. The concept if love is very distant to her. Sex equals love.”

“And the Old-Woman-in-a-Shoe,” I burst out in hysterics now. This conversation has clearly gotten under my skin.

“Yes something like that,” Bakerman is eyeing me with growing concern.

“Ugh disgusting,” I curl my nose. “Now I know where my weird behaviour comes from.”

“Yes,” Bakerman confirms.

“Or how I thought I had to do,” I go on seeing the light. “And it never felt right. So she is doing it with him. Yuk disgusting.”

“My next point. You can change it,” Bakerman always offers options.

“That will never stop,” I give up before I have even started. “I can? That’s the death card. How?”

“Yes you can change your behaviour only,” Bakerman explains the rules to me.

“Ah but I’m fine,” I say firmly. “How do I save my mother and my brother?”

“Fiona you must not put your filters in when reading tarot,” Bakerman scolds me. “You don’t know what’s in her future. You can’t.”

“What do you mean?” I ask him desperately.

“You can’t save them only they can,” Bakerman looks at me with sorry eyes. “You can help them achieve the desire to change.”

“So my blog will expose them and force them to change?” I ponder as anxiety creeps further up my spine.

“No it will just bring a new law suite,” Bakerman sighs looking into his empty tea mug.

“Public shaming does work,” I speak up. “Will it? Even if I talk about Tweedledum?”

“You need proof,” Bakerman puts his cup down and moves over in a conspiratorial fashion. “Have a few mini bugs placed in their house and record them for a month. Then you will have evidence.”

“Okay sounds fun,” I wink at him. “I’ll get their place bugged next time I’m in there. Or get the kids to do it. Or I know people who know people.”

“I am going shopping now,” Bakerman gets up slowly. “You could just ask her to clarify the rumour which she will deny but might think about.”

“Ok will do,” I say reluctantly as I can’t see myself ever having this conversation ever again.

“Ok have fun,” Bakerman waves after me as I make my way out of his atelier, back into the fresh spring air outside. I will always marvel at Bakerman’s ability to match his coaching strategies to each client for maximum success. His fever seems to have left together with the negativity he just spun out. I could almost visually see him releasing it all as he exhaled. I inhale the fresh spring air and take in the fresh energy of the sun, allowing it to light the way to a brand-new era.

* Disclaimer : Any resemblance between the fictional characters in this story and any persons, living or dead, is a miracle by chance more than by choice.

Update your fearless policy

The Bakerman found me in quite a worn out state when I answered my front door that morning. My hair was having a bad day and wouldn’t lie in place, no matter how much I brushed it. And my entire demeanour suggested I had been up all night doing something really exotic like burlesque or pole dancing. I wish…

“I’m going to have to stop reading the newspaper,” I explain as I notice him looking me over carefully. “Panic attacks again… and I thought I was over it.”

Newspapers have a tendency to exaggerate their content. To draw attention to the horrors happening in the world around us. They will nitpick any sensational item and then present it as if it’s the antechamber to Auschwitz right in our own backyard. It’s called reigning via terror. It’s immobilizing people into their fears, into docility. Follow the leader. Your government knows best.

You see we have been programmed since the age of the dinosaurs to look out for danger. Always be vigilant not to step on that snake, or to watch out for predators. Fred Flintstone had built in responses for such situations: fight or flee. We still have this programming in our DNA. What triggers it is marvelous to observe at times.

In any case, I have found that my personal freedom and peace of mind are enhanced by staying away from the newspapers. If anything big happens in the world, I’ll hear everyone else talking about it, and then I’ll have the opportunity to research that.

“Normality, little house on the prairie, peace of mind please,” I sigh as I gratefully. accept my packages of freshly baked bread and buns. Maybe it would be a nice idea to invite the Bakerman in one day for some tea and pastry. He seems like a nice man. Someone who can listen. Someone who knows how to ask the right questions.

Fear is counterproductive. I need to be continuously innovating my business and my skills. I need to feel inspired and energetic to evangalise the digital evolution. These things are important to me, and to my clients. I need to look beyond my own boundaries. Swap my meeting rooms and charts for bike rides and long walks along the blossom trails. That’s where I will find space to expand my creativity.

Without a doubt. The future is unlimited.

* Disclaimer : Any resemblance between the fictional characters in this story and any persons, living or dead, is a miracle by chance more than by choice.

Who bakes your bread?

The next morning I find myself waiting the Bakerman’s morning delivery with a poignant sense of anxiety. He never answered my Skype call the previous day, nor my text messages. I had turned it over and over in my mind wondering if I had gotten the time wrong, or mistyped the Skype address. I just couldn’t understand. Surely he must have been very excited about the link I had sent him with the full study resources to social media marketing. I know I myself had been riveted at discovering the free online study courses.

“Shall we schedule a new call?” I ask him with unease. I had detected a certain tone of uncertainty in my voice and I hate it when my posture gives me away. Especially in situations where I am feeling uncomfortable or inferior in any way.

Bakerman handed me my usual paper bags with warm bread and fresh buns, his usual complacent mysterious da Vinci smile around his lips. He just nodded at me in response to my question and headed off for his morning delivery tour.

Maybe he is too busy right now, I wondered. Maybe he’s not the self-study type of guy. Maybe he needs me to sit down with him and Mary and talk him through the whole social media landscape. Maybe he needs me to take it all into my own hands and do it for them. Maybe he decided he doesn’t want or need social media marketing at all and he doesn’t know how to tell me he’s not interested in this subject. Maybe…

I stop myself dead in my tracks right there. I can go on like this making assumptions and feeding on my own insecurities think up the worst imaginable scenarios. I would just have to sit with this feeling for a while, deal with it and give it a place. Then let go. If Bakerman really wants help with his social media, he will ask me again. If he doesn’t then he doesn’t. Simple.

Putting my hand on my chest, I feel my heart beat faster and I breathe deeply to bring a sense of clarity back to my thoughts and calmness throughout my body. It’s a fine art to be responsible for your own feelings, accepting them as they come and go as waves pounding on the shore. It’s all in the detail. Take a closer look at what triggers set off each wave of emotion. And marvel at the lavish craftsmanship of your own mind setting you up to fall into the trap of your insecurity.

Enjoying breakfast with my littles that morning, we banter on about which destinations will be part of our next traveling adventures. Dreams start early morning.

* Disclaimer : Any resemblance between the fictional characters in this story and any persons, living or dead, is a miracle by chance more than by choice.

Follow the guide

“Morning,” I smile at the Wizard. I am happy to see him because I have a question to ask him that has been playing on my mind for a couple of days now. “Something strange: I have had no more AirBnB requests in an entire month. And no more tarot requests in more than 2 weeks. Not since I mentioned it on my blog. Is it a stop from the universe?”

“Who knows?” the Wizard answers evasively avoiding all eye contact.

I laugh at his uncomfortable demeanour: “What else could it mean? Tis not the season?”

“February is a bad month always for these type of things,” the Wizard finally turns to face me with his big turquoise eyes.

“Ooh really?” I ask amazed. “Strange… So February is the month where everybody falls into a black hole.”

“Yes,” the Wizard nods. “Paying off debts from Christmas and New Year.”

“Aaaah yes,” I exclaim as that seems to make some sense. “Strange, I never do that. Get into debt for presents. Is that good or bad?”

“Good,” the Wizard nods decisively.

“Yeay!” I do a little jig with my arms. “Doing something right.”

I’ll admit it. I am super ambitious. I am continuously kicking ass both at work and with my own business. I have big dreams and desires for my career. I want to make lots of money, and I’m not the least bit ashamed of it. Better yet, I love hanging out with other awesome experts. Professionals who also have big work desires in their sights, supportive, positive, dynamic entrepreneurs who get it. People who take responsibility for their lives, success and happiness. I am one of those people.

It might surprise you that at the same time, I want to live from the heart. Few would argue with the idea that love is the most important thing in our universe. How many of you actually incorporate that idea into every thought and every action throughout your daily lives. This is something I tend to make a conscious effort for daily.

Many of you have forgotten how to recognize the true feeling of love. In fact, you can cultivate a connection to the universal source of love through a regular practice of going within. Returning to your heart compass. Let it set the destination and have your head guide the way.


* Disclaimer : Any resemblance between the fictional characters in this story and any persons, living or dead, is a miracle by chance more than by choice.

A journey of conscious reactions

“Good day,” I smile at the Wizard as I am speeding down the highway this Tuesday around noon. “How are you? Did you sort your electricity problem?”

I look over at the Wizard cat as he lands his pink cloud softly on the passenger seat next to me. I had been dying to discuss various things with him yesterday, but his foul mood had prevented me from telling him all the good stuff going on. The cat looks a lot happier so I decide to spill the beans: “I had a weird day yesterday, full of strange messages. Want to hear? I also have my video try-out in a minute. I’m nervous as hell.”

“Hi. Yes the electric is temporarily solved,” the Wizard evades to be too specific as what has actually been sorted. “Tell me about your messages. Nervousness is good. Keeps you sharp if you can relax.”

“First a message from the Old-Woman-who-lives-in-a-Shoe,” I tell him. I then fumble around in my handbag, pull out my phone and hand it to him displaying the message I had received. I keep my eyes on the road so cannot gauge him for an immediate reaction.

The Wizard stares at my screen for what seems like a long time. Before I know it, I have arrived at my destination and find myself maneuvering into a parking spot.

“Haven’t replied,” I call after the Wizard as I climb out of the car and off to my appointment.

Today I am going to my first meeting about creating online video trainings with other Belgian entrepreneurs. This is the moment I have been waiting for an entire year. It is the song and dance I have desired. I have visualised it, tasted it. Yet here I am on the brink of realizing my dreams in a different way than I had expected, granted, but still… This offer seemed to be made specially in response to my dreamline. To describe the feeling in one sentence: it’s like I am connecting to my dreams, my desires and the entire universe in slow motion.

“Nice message,” the Wizard picks up the thread when I get back into my car an hour later. “Read it in a positive light if you can by looking at her finances through her eyes. Put away the anger. No reply is needed so you can just let it go for now. She will let you know her calculation in good time. How was your shoot?”

“Scary and stiff at first, but a true diva after 4 takes,” I smile a little tired from spending so much energy in such a short time. “So I got a ‘yes’. We shoot the first video in March!”

“Well done,” the Wizard is looking me over very pleased for me, and a little pleased with himself for obtaining such positive results on his continuous coaching efforts.

“Second message, a peanut bringing in another peanut,” I am quick to pick up the thread again where I left off. “Third message, a peanut getting fatter. And fourth message is a bit poop. In December, before I realized how severe my situation was, I had applied for a Women in Analytics conference in Ohio. They just replied that they have selected me and will pay for my plane ticket. Which would be good news but it’s on March 14th and I have 3 kids, no sitter, no Star… so I can’t go I don’t think.”

“Meaning,” the Wizard is looking puzzled trying to make sense of all the news I have told him.

“Good news is that the videos should start around March 14th,” I look on the bright side always. “Win some lose some?”

“I guess,” the Wizard answers unconvinced.

“Ok… but things seem to be looking up right?” I ask him having picked up on his questioning undertone.

“Where is your au-pair?” the Wizard wants to know.

“She won’t be here till end of March or begin April,” I inform him of the red-tape administration we have to go through. “Take the baby with me to Ohio? No, none of this makes sense financially.”

“Suck up to the Old-Woman-who-lives-in-a-Shoe?” the Wizard offers.

“And final message… I reached out to another successful single travel mom,” I go on ignoring the Wizard’s last suggestion. “I got on her newsletter list of course and apparently she gives away a grant of 1.000 each month to a mom she has selected with a good cause or a great career idea or a product or a plan. Whatever. I want to win this. What would be my best foot forward?”

I know immediately as I’ve said this that the idea is not a good one. So I decide to answer to the not-so-good-suggestion the Wizard made previously: “No way, the Old-Woman-who-lives-in-a-Shoe hates me. She has no time for the kids and Willem doesn’t know who she is. Besides on a Wednesday she takes care of Tweedledee’s little girl and his ex-girlfriend’s son… So she does have time and attention for kids who aren’t even hers. The Old-Woman-who-lives-in-a-Shoe is a bad idea. I mean, what about the fact that she wants to sue me again?”

“Ok,” the Wizard answers as he immediately realizes the response he has provoked.

“Interesting though. She has plenty of money but too stingy to spend it,” I go on. It’s useless, once I’m on this rant, I just go on and on and on. “Old Mother Goose told me she would leave money to all the grandkids in her will because she knew her two other kids would give to theirs but that the Old-Woman-who-lives-in-a-Shoe wouldn’t give a cent. And she was right. When Old Mother Goose passed away the other two gave to their kids. The Old-Woman-who-lives-in-a-Shoe didn’t. The others are lucky. The Old-Woman-who-lives-in-a-Shoe’s brother Jack takes his kids, grandkids and his wife’s daughter on a yearly vacation somewhere sunny. He rents a villa with swimming pool in Portugal and Mallorca and stuff. The Old-Woman-who-lives-in-a-Shoe almost dropped dead when she once and only once invited her three kids out for a meal. Oh well, that’s just money I guess.”

I inhale deeply as I remember the Wizard’s words earlier to see things more positively. So I inhale and leave my first response for what it is and go on to my second response, the one on which I will base my future actions: “Her message was positive, kind of. First time in years she hasn’t addressed me with ‘hallo Fiona’. I don’t know why she always started it in Dutch but there must have been an insult there somewhere though. Also first time she ended with ‘have a nice day’. She has never ever written that before.”

A few soft words of advise : Pay attention to what events trigger your emotions throughout the day. These are clues to issues that are better addressed from within yourself rather than blaming external circumstances for your emotional reactions.


* Disclaimer : Any resemblance between the fictional characters in this story and any persons, living or dead, is a miracle by chance more than by choice.

Understanding the distinct emphasis #coaching

It’s Monday morning and I have set myself up comfortably in my study ready to start a day of homeworking. My desk is tidy and humming with the sound of my computer starting up. I have a nice hot cup of tea cooling down on my desk, just like I would have a nice cup of fresh coffee from the Barista on my desk when I am working in the Brussels office. Successful homeworking is a question of creating the right habits.

“Good morning Doc Oz,” I smile as my Wizard cat drifts over to me on his pink cloud. “Did you have a nice weekend with baking, pottery and English conversation?”

“No,” the Wizard grunts. “How are you?”

“I performed Reiki on Wim,” I beam proudly at him. “First time. It was such a magical experience. For me at least. Lots of energy swirling, and different colours. Wim just liked feeling so close. The second day he said he saw a wheel with three spokes and it was turning round.”

My eyes are alight with twinkles as I recount my first steps in practicing Reiki on others. I let out a deep sigh of satisfaction, and look at him rather concerned: “Oh dear, why wasn’t it a nice weekend?”

“Your first experience was very good,” the Wizard encourages me in a sincere tone. “Most people don’t achieve that ever.”

“Really?” I let out in amazement. “In any case it was truly special. What do you think the wheel means?”

“We had no electricity. Or at least it was sporadic,” the Wizard’s eyes darken as he explains his bad mood. “The neighbour is using something that keeps tripping the power. So I am trying to sort out a kitchen and that is taking a long time. Lots of bla bla just like in Belgium.”

“Maybe a short circuit,” I think back remembering my own electricity problems over the previous winter. “Why don’t you go and talk to your neighbour? Sort it out. I would think it romantic with no electricity. Candles and cuddles.”

“Really,” the Wizard is now livid with sarcasm. “Now why didn’t I think of that?”

“You did of course,” I suss him calmly. “You are really in a bad mood, aren’t you?”

“Yes,” the Wizard blows off steam through his ears, which looks funny, as if part of his cloud is traveling up along his spine and then out of his ears like a steam train. “Irritated. Frustrated.”

“I understand,” I know the feeling. “Anything I can do?”

“No heating, no hot water, no money coming in and just being used to further others needs while mine just get put on hold,” the Wizard continues his unusual rant. “Fun fun fun.”

“Oh that does sound bad,” I hate it when the Wizard is in one of those moods and I wish I knew the magical words to make everything alright.

“Starting to think this is a mistake,” the Wizard’s voice is nearing to shouting.

“If you could choose one thing today which would help you, what would it be?” I am going to have to find a solution and quick. “What is a mistake?”

“A commitment,” the Wizard grunts again in answer to what would make him feel better.

“A commitment from who?” I coax him further.

“Coming here,” the Wizard answers to whichever question suits him best.

“You love Debbie,” I remind the Wizard of the finer things in life.

“Any of the players I am trying to deal with,” the Wizard goes on about his commitment.

“South America and Cuba are known for shitty infrastructure,” I tell him thinking back to my honeymoon there. “Well name a few and which commitment you would like them to make.”

“Yes indeed,” the Wizard sighs and he looks really pissed off. At least, if you can imagine a Wizard cat to look like that. “Are you suggesting I name a commitment I want out loud?”

“Yes give it a try,” and I give him a broad smile.

“Fiona how long have you known me?” the Wizard’s eyes are a scary colour of dark now.

“Six years,” I answer as I do my best to keep my tone happy and light.

“And for six years you might have had a tiny inkling of what I know perhaps?” the Wizard thunders at me, shooting little beams of lightening out of his eyes. “Or do you just assume I must be a complete idiot? Retarded at best?”

“I think you are brilliant,” I cheer at him determined not to let his foul mood drag me down to that level. “One of the most intelligent people I know of.”

“I hope you don’t do this to your clients,” the Wizard hisses at me. “But give them the benefit of the doubt and suggest things that are so obvious that even a small child can figure out.”

The Wizard has started to sulk now. And realizing he has made a grammatical mistake, he is quick to correct himself. “Not suggest.”

“Oooh,” I let out. The bad mood is now turning on me. Wrong place, wrong time.

“God my English is getting so bad,” the Wizard sighs.

“Thing is…” I wonder where on earth to start picking up the pieces. “When you give advice it is really simple stuff but structured in a way I hadn’t thought about it.”

“The idea is to make people think,” the Wizard reminds me of what he always says.

“You will never ask for advice let alone take it from somebody else,” I tell him reproachfully. “I don’t think many people have that ability really.”

“No honey I ask when the opportunity presents itself,” the Wizard is doing his best to be sweet again. “But simple is good but it needs to be in a way that helps me think. What you should suggest I’d find another way to communicate your needs.”

“Yes do that,” I smile at him. Why didn’t I think of that before? “You’re not nice when you get frustrated. Glad I’m not there.”

“In other words listen to what is being said and respond to what seems to be emphasized not the obvious,” the Wizard lectures me patiently. “You have just helped me more then you know. I thank you in all sincerity.”

“Oooh now that’s great advice but not easy,” I sit back and let it all sink in for a moment. “You have to hear the emphasis…” And I just laugh: “Think I’m kind of useless really.”

“Yes. So the obvious is put aside and your second response you give,” the Wizard tells me. And he’s right. Never act on your first response. Voice it, but don’t do it. Think again. The

Wizard continues to sooth his outburst from earlier on: “Not useless. You need practice. Just absorb my outburst and look underneath. Try a different approach or ask a question.”

Something else must have gotten his attention because his ears suddenly twitch and with a distracted look he blows me a kiss: “Ok I have to go.”

“Okay,” I blow kisses after him too. “See you.”

For many helping professionals who are coaching others there are often many questions. Learning to listen and to hear the hidden message being emphasized yet hidden in a waterfall of words, can often make the work seem vague and ambiguous.

The clue is in understanding that you are not limited. You have infinite possibilities.

* Disclaimer : Any resemblance between the fictional characters in this story and any persons, living or dead, is a miracle by chance more than by choice.