Commitment To Yourself

Monday 22 December, 2014

I was restless when I arrived for the final visit of the year. I had expected to conclude my blog in October (this is the final entry), but the timing of our previous get-together had offered an acceptable extension into November, which then crept almost unnoticed into December. I had also lost a little of the clarity and enthusiasm which had accompanied me the last time I saw him. I wondered whether we would be able to create something as special as the previous four visits. And I wondered whether our plans to collaborate in the future were as solid as they have felt all year. He told me later that he’d had his doubts too.

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Still Working

Thursday 27 November, 2014

Karaj and I have been talking all year about the events and people from my training days. My latest visit to see him was no different. We talked about the group, the negativity, and the processes at work. We talked about people’s commitment and where their focus was. In our conversations there is always a desire to get to the truth of who we are. It broke through again on the final morning, when our last discussion before I left for the airport took a surprising turn.

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A Vision For My Future

Wednesday 8 October, 2014

This post is for me. They all are really, but as one period of my life reaches its natural conclusion, the intention behind this piece is to define my pathway for the next phase of my development. I have referenced the imminent end to this blog on numerous occasions, but now there are only 16 days before the final journal entry is published, and it is becoming clear why my time at the house came to an end. In the last entries my annoyance reaches its peak and, whilst there are sporadic windows of relief and reassurance that everything might be fine if I stayed, there is a creeping inevitability about my departure.

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Be Careful So Close To The Finish

Friday 19 September, 2014

Five weeks from today it will all be over. I have been working on this blog for almost four years and in just over a month it will be complete. As much as I’m tempted to get excited about it, and as much as there is also a part of me which just wants to reach the finish line, I need to remain focused and I need to be careful. Very careful. It’s a general rule I learnt early in my training, but it’s one which always has the capacity to catch me unawares, because it’s easy to think I am being careful enough. This post is a reminder to me – at a crucial time near the end of a prolonged and intense process – to be calm, focused, alert and safe.

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The Doubt Will Always Be There

Thursday 21 August, 2014

It is said of Richard Feynman, the great 20th century physicist, that when he lectured, his students understood the subject matter clearly, yet as soon as they left the lecture hall their understanding evapourated. I had a similar experience when I wrote and posted the previous entry, ‘Desperate To Belong’. During the writing of it, I had clarity about the injunction of not being allowed to dream and the reasons behind my struggle of wanting to conform but also go my own way. Yet as soon as I published the post, the sadness I had written of returned, followed inevitably by the familiar doubt that maybe I am making the wrong choice.

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Desperate To Belong

Tuesday 19 August, 2014

We talked into the early hours of the morning, and he explained to me how I am torn between my need to belong and my desire to go my own way. For years I have been frustrated by the world and my place in it, feeling that if only the world were more like me, then I wouldn’t have to struggle in isolation. In my moments of clarity I reprimand myself, saying it’s my problem, not the world’s, and that if I really had the courage of my own convictions I would stride on down my chosen path, without the need for the world to come with me and keep me company.

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Are You Still Breathing?

Friday 13 June, 2014

There were two occasions during the presentation, when the word breathe appeared on the screen. I had put it there for my own benefit, as a reminder for me to take a moment, breathe, and calm down. I tend to get excited about my work and any reminder to calm myself is always welcome. After the presentation, Karaj offered me his feedback. He suggested I use more of the breathe slides, adding that they should be the focus of my presentation and the focus of my life.

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Relax, Your Future’s On Its Way

Thursday 15 May, 2014

Inspired by two communications with former clients this week, this post follows on from the previous two and is the logical next step: Once you know you create your future, you can relax, it’s on its way. And if you relax, you will see it coming over the horizon. However, if you are too busy with your thoughts and concerns, it will pass you by. Whatever our desired future, the temptation is to force it into existence because we want it so much, or we want to know if it works out, or even just because we desperately want to get out of our current situation. We serve ourselves best, however, by relaxing.

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I Created My Environment

Monday 12 May, 2014

Following on from the previous post, Be Careful What You Wish For, this one uses the example of my training group to further the idea that we are capable of wishing situations into existence. We create the environments we desire, whatever the desire. Within the context of my story and the lives of the people who played their part during that time, the reason our respective paths converged was twofold:

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Be Careful What You Wish For

Thursday 8 May, 2014

Every birthday was a chance to make a wish, and throughout my childhood I only remember wishing for two things: a pair of roller skates when I was very young, and a proper leather football. Those wishes spanned close to a decade but it was only some years later that I realised both had come true. For the last 25 years I have been wishing for my health and well-being. As with the roller skates and the football, they too have come my way. This post assumes that wishes can come true and asks the inevitable question: if we get what we wish for, then maybe what we already have is something for which we have already wished.

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Write Your Own Feedback

Sunday 27 April, 2014

It was the third day of his visit and the end of another productive day of silences, conversations, reading, writing and reflection. I had given the TA presentation in Amsterdam that evening and, as part of the process, I had asked the participants for their written feedback. I explained to them that although it obviously helps me, it is more important for them to take a couple of minutes to reflect for themselves. The exercise will bring more clarity to their experience and reinforce their learning. At home afterwards, as I knelt by the open, floor-level window of my apartment and Karaj sat in the armchair, we reflected on how well it had all gone. Outside, the country was celebrating. It was the first King’s Night here in the Netherlands for 122 years.

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Make Your Own Tools

Saturday 26 April, 2014

I gave a talk at Amsterdam University’s Business School yesterday. Near the beginning I spoke of the importance of writing things down and the necessity of seeking feedback from others on our behaviour and blind spots. It was at this point that one of the participants asked if there are any tools I could give him to help him with his personal development. I was privileged to have my mentor, Karaj, with me who easily became involved in the two-hour interaction with the students and alumni. He talked of people’s obsession with having tools and that the shelves of bookshops are full of books which offer tools. What is actually needed is the experience of the journey and knowing that patience, discipline, awareness, feedback, observation and (written) reflection are the elements you will have to come back to time and time again.

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Nature Or Habit?

Wednesday 2 April, 2014

I was once asked how much of ourselves we can change. I responded that there are certain elements of personality which are not even worth trying to change. We are better served by accepting them, learning to love them and seeing the beauty in them. Our energy is more appropriately focused on the areas we can do something about. But how do we know which behaviour is hard-wired into our nature and which can be ascribed to the habits we have picked up along the way?

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Making Everything Conscious

Tuesday 11 February, 2014

Late last night we found the final piece of the jigsaw. It took us an hour to get there and was triggered by a line in the previous post, about which I was not satisfied. By the end of our conversation, that line had been changed and both Karaj and I had gained insight into who we are. We had moved knowledge of ourselves from our unconscious into our conscious awareness.

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