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22 May 2014

Ooops! Learning the value of Data Protection

It's been a busy time, as ever,  now with moving house (new study - yay) to be a little nearer to Lincoln.  Walls are being painted, floors laid, while tenders are going out, courses written, and Dr D Senior engrossed in an intensive contract.  Last Friday, what with all this and building and moving the pigeon lofts (do you know about these yet??),  we took joy in relaxing in front of the TV with a nice glass of red.

Then the pin came out of the hand grenade.

"Have you seen my briefcase?'"  Dr D idly said, as we chilled out.  A slight tremor rippled through my veins. No, I hadn't.

"Okay. Must have left it at the new house," he said, as the routine was for him to drop by there as he came home to present and soon to be redundant quarters. We topped up our vats and continued to chill.

So when I had a phone call the next day to say that no, he hadn't found it, and imagined that he might have left it in the gents or the restaurant in the building he was working in - a building with massive footfall I might add -  the grenade was unexpectedly live, and  the tremor in my veins resumed. So much so that when the phone call ended, I must confess to an increased heart rate and an expletive or two.

I was not in the least concerned about the monetary value of the contents of the briefcase, the laptop, various other gadgets, the briefcase itself. No. My first question to myself was:

Was there any sensitive data in there not yet encrypted?

This would not have been the case two years ago, before I had been trained by the excellent Mike Martin and Paul Adams, previously of Admar,  now of Griffin House Consultancy, in the principles and demands of the Data Protection Act.  Prior to that, I hadn't fully integrated how much we needed to know, imagining that DPA was for bigger companies.  This ridiculous misapprehension, despite being reasonably intelligent and priding myself on ethical practice.

Training in DPA was a delight.  Mike and Paul produce a cracking course, and being the gents that they are, have made it interactive, interesting and fun. And I learned a shedload, to protect my clients, and my business.

So on that fateful Saturday morning, I knew that I had been utilising my learning,  yet I just had that niggle - was Dr D Snr's vigilance up to scratch?  My mind ran overtime.  What if he hadn't yet complied between the morning note taking and the afternoon loss?  What if someone found the laptop and discovered access to some high powered confidential information?  What if we were sued?  What if we lost the possibility of future work?  What if we had unwittingly compromised a client?

I needn't have worried.  Further investigation revealed that no data had been unlawfully accessible, as himself had complied to what we had learned. Not only that, some kind person had in fact discovered said briefcase and handed it in to the security officer.  Phew.  Aren't people great.

Thank you then to Griffin House Consultancy.  Before undertaking the course, I think we might have been in hot water last Friday. As it was, we experienced merely a little ripple in the waters.

I would recommend ALL business owners to go on one of the courses.  I know that there is one in Mansfield in June, and you can find details through the following LINK   Then you can be confident that you have protected your clients and yourself. And, you'll have a bit of fun and gain good networking.

5 Apr 2014

There is no failure, only feedback.

Last Wednesday, I went for my final appointment with my eye surgeon at Lincoln County General, the end of a journey which began in October 2012. My check up was to put the seal on after three bouts of surgery, and to have a stitch removed from my iris. A stitch so tiny I could hardly see it, even when removed. A miracle of skill and science.
My surgeon, Mr Castillo, thanked me for the postcard I had sent him from Thailand. It had been, of course, my pleasure. I sent it from Ko Chang, one of a cluster of breathtakingly beautiful islands in the region. With the gift of full sight that my surgeon had given to me, I was able to do full justice to all that I noticed there visually. The innocence of a child’s joy, the responsiveness of those taking pleasure in that innocence: the sheer natural stunning beauty of the island, its silver seas, it lush green foliage, its bright sky and shimmering air;a busy pier, supporting a bustle of islanders and tourists, with its tapestry of clothes, aromatic and colourful foodstuffs, bespangled jewellery, toys, glistening bric a brac; fascinating facial interchanges between people,a myriad of expressions betraying the nuances of hope, hurt, disdain, appreciation, uncertainty, derision, pleasure, hilarity, love. 

I remember being moved to send the card, as I sat in the dusk after a wonderful day exploring. I was moved to remember that twelve months ago I’d have been only able to see all that I saw through a light brown haze known as cataracts: three months before, after surgery went wrong and I lost the lens in my right eye, I could only see through very dark glasses and a contact lens: yet just three weeks prior to my visit to Thailand, after some self healing and yet  more corrective surgery, now I was privileged to drink in the beauty around me.

When mid surgeries,  in a deep uncertainty of prognosis and possibilities, and ruminating on the operation that did not go well, I confess to a mental blip, and a degree of natural curiousity.  Could anything have been done differently, I'd asked my surgeon, would better conditions in the operating theatre have prevented the unfortunate outcome? Mr Castillo had listened to me patiently, explained all that he could, made no empty promises, was truthful.

And after a time, when he discovered that he was able to make the corrective surgery, I believe that in his own frame, he was as delighted as me.

At the end of the process, the day before he gave me the all clear to fly, Mr Castillo told me the following.  
`You know, when we work in this area, we never know exactly what will happen.  And you have to learn something from everything and anything that happens, because we are dealing with people, not tins of beans.  I say to my students, a great surgeon is not about being perfect all of the time, because now and then the unexpected will occur.  The great surgeons are the ones who know how to deal with the unexpected, to be able to evaluate when things have not gone smoothly, to be patient and explore every possibility with attention, and then learn from that process. The great surgeons are not those who seek only perfection for their egos.  They are the ones who learn from the problems they encounter. And that, that is what I tell my students.’
At no point had this wonderful man considered my surgery a failure, simply a process that had not yet run smoothly. 
I loved him for that, and I hope to send him more postcards, more celebrations of the outcome of his deep understanding and philosophy, without which he might not have bothered to continue to improve and share his outstanding. 

2 Apr 2014

People Create Their Own Environments

Some notes from the day that I arrive in Thailand :)

I wake up on the plane, somewhere in the ether between time zones.  I hear two people, The Moaning Minnies, their voices carping to each other in the seats in front.
I can never get to sleep on planes, it’s just so uncomfortable, isn’t it?
I stretch, adjust my blanket, take a swig of water.  I notice the guy on my right, one seat between us, who is cozied up in a Parka, black neck rest in place, blankets up to his chin. Fast asleep, just as he was 4 hours before.
And then there’s the time lag.  That’s going to be a nightmare.
Hmm. Well, if that’s what you think, I imagine that’s how it will be.

I get up, go and make my ablutions, do some yoga stretches, settle back down.  I open my Kindle, don headphones and get back into my audiobook, the excellent What a Carve Up, a Jonathan Coe masterpiece of political satire.

Clearly, all parties alluded to here, although on the same plane, were in highly different environments.

A memory jumped from back to front of my consciousness, a memory from many years ago, when I was admitted to hospital to have a second bout of surgery connected to a cancerous tumour in my breast. 

23 Feb 2014

The Map is not theTerritory

So here I am, it’s Thursday morning, and I’m packed, ready to go to Thailand, Siam, as my partner insists on suggesting.
`As a matter of interest’, I ask him, `when did Siam become Thailand? Do you know who changed it, and why?’
He didn’t know: I said I’d look it up.  I booted up the laptop to go googling, only to become distracted by a message from my daughter, K, who is in Thailand already, and meeting me tomorrow from the plane.
`Mum’, she warns, `there is a convoy of famers on their way to the airport.’
I think she is going to tell me a joke.
`They don’t seem to be threatening anyone’, she goes on. `I’ll let you know when we’re neara.’
Aha. I realise that she is serious.  This is to do with the political unrest that is bubbling in Thailand because many of the country’s residents would like to overthrow the Prime Minister. Not a joke at all.  She goes on to tell me some of the mechanics of what might be happening, and then offers me huge reassurance.
`I have Reiki’ed your journey.  And mine.’
I smile. Then respond.
`Great. As it happens, I always travel in a purple light.  I will send some light pyramids your way as well.’
I read out the exchange to my husband, who looks at me funny.  Reiki and light pyramids don’t figure hugely in his map. He is more likely to be wondering whether I am completely losing it, as I close down the computer and jam my sandals into the bottom compartment of my new rucksack (K has my old one) and give a satisfied `yay’ as I find more straps to tighten up the whole caboodle.
I have no idea, of course, what is really in his head: I am not a mind reader.
`Be careful’, he says.  `Come home safely.’
Our intentions match.

20 Feb 2014

Are there any limitations to the mind's capabilities??

Last month I was talking about explain pain. Since then I’ve limited my screen time while working on more mind and matter integration around having some eye surgery. I wonder what you make of this.

 Last November, I elected to have eye surgery on my right eye to remove a cataract which was obscuring my vision sufficiently to be an unwelcome limitation.  The surgery was complicated by my having a previous lens implant. In the event, the surgery did not go well as the sac in which the lens of the eye sits tore open – pars of the old lens went through the sac, and the surgeon was unable to implant a new lens. Upshot –no lens in my right eye at all, huge light sensitivity, eventual fitting of a contact lens, blotchy and erratic vision.  Prognosis – either live forever in this state, or have more surgery involving draining the whole eyeball – this did not sit well in my mind.

The major issue was the debris of the old lens having gone through the back of the sac.   It needed to dissolve, which was unlikely given its size.  So off I went on a four week trip to Portugal, considering how I could help.   I chose two things, one was to meditate every morning, in which I quite spontaneously found myself focusing on moving the debris to the front of the eye. My other was exercise and Pilates. I was slightly wary of Pilates on the one hand as one is advised after eye surgery not to bend forward.  However, my instinct said yes, this was fine, so off I went to classes, and practised daily.

 On my return to the UK, I went to see my surgeon.  How’s it been, he said.  Okay, I said, except there was a short period where when I stood up quickly, my eye went black. He looked into the eye, and exclaimed, excitedly. 

`That is amazing!’, was his comment, ` that is just amaxing.  We must take a photograph’. 

I was curious.

In a nutshell, the debris which was problematic had relocated, coming the other way through the tear in the sac, and was now in front of the iris.  Upshot?  My excited consultant suggested immediate surgery, to remove the debris  - now a straightforward procedure – and implant a new lens behind the iris.

 Wow!  I couldn’t believe it, and am now writing this from a train as I go to Heathrow to take a flight to Thailand for work and pleasure.  My recovery is extraordinary, and my surgeon dumbfounded – apparently this is incredibly rare, if unheard of.

I thought back to those meditations.  Could I, do you think, just could I have influenced the eye?

Since I believe that my mind and body are an integrated circuitry, and that we cannot not respond, my answer to this, is how could I have not?

For my trip to and in Thailand, I fancied that I might write each day, today onward, incorporating whatever is going on with the 21 NLP Presuppositions which form the structure of the excellent book NLP in 21 Days, by Harry Adler and Beryl Heather.  Meanwhile, I welcome your comments and/or experiences.

Jan J

8 Jan 2014

Can we be the author of our own medical states?

This week, we're doing quite a lot of planning for the next few months, and one of the things that we will be offering is a roadshow of free clinics to support people with health management, and particularly  to be able to influence their health conditions and experience.

The theme is thorny.  Basically, we are suggesting that to some degree at least, we can author and change our experience of health, illness and well being.  A number of beliefs  underpin our approach. That mind and body is a useful conceptual dichotomy, yet not fully real - we are one entity. That we can influence our thoughts and emotions by where and how we focus our attention.  That we can therefore influence the quality of our own experience. That we can make choices about how or whether we do this.

So, we aim to support people to be `at cause' of their own experience.  Yet we are not suggesting that their experiences are not real, or that they have purposely caused them, or that there are not other factors at play. Neither do we think that because we choose certain paths, choices are easy.

3 Jan 2014

NLP Course for February

Three days into a New Year sees me sitting at the large oak table in our Algarve retreat, and enjoying gathering some momentum in my work. Work blends easily into my life, particularly when I'm designing courses, getting ready to deliver, and so on.  For me, there is a high degree of integration  between the two - after all, we live every minute of work, and work is part of the purpose of my life, given what I do.  

Today it's a case of sending some e-mails and publicity regarding the next NLP course - Neuro Linguistic Programming  . It's a bit of a mouthful, isn't it, yet l it describes what it does on the tin - our neuro and physiological processes link to our language link to the behaviour that we produce, or programme. I love this notion because it means I have some choices - I can change how I programme myself - whoopee dooh!   I would say that over a number of years, I've increased my confidence, dropped unhealthy or incongruent habits, and fulfilled a lot of my potential in ways that twenty years ago I wouldn't have dared think possible. Moreover, it's a privilege for both Graham and I to work with others who learn how to manage and change the path of an illness, discard unwanted flashbacks, make the best presentations ever - whatever is important in their values. So it's fun preparation, on this occasion aided and abetted by the audio version of Sue Knight's excellent NLP at Work - I can recommend it highly, easy to listen to, an eloquent rendition of her ethical and experienced take on the application of NLP.

Sun's shining here now, and nearly time to go shopping - friends round for dinner tonight, a jigsaw to be worked on with my father.  Years since I did one, am amazed at how obsessive they can be. Hours of being in flow, the delight when an elusive piece of the puzzle is found.

1 Jan 2014

Weighty Matters for the New Year

Happy New Year,  1st January 2014 and the doors of possibility, as ever, open wide. Interesting isn't it how we mark out time with symbolic twists and turns on the hero's journey of life. Someone once said to me imagine how differently we might conceptualise ourselves if we didn't know when we were born - which is of course some people's truths. I thought yes, and imagine how it would be if we had no New Yyear, no ritualistic space to leave behind that which we don't want, to consider what we do.

As my birthday is New Years Eve, for me it's a double whammy - I turn a year in the markings of age, and wake up next day to a new Year.

My take on life has not changed overnight, I remain an entity of  integration between thought, mind, body, deed, desire, determination, and so on. A comment made at my dinner table last night did stay fresh with me, however. I'd been eating my supper and washing it down with the Moet when I commented that I was looking forward to dropping a little weight (obviously not while swallowing the food and the bubbly!) when my dear friend and daughter said to me `but you don't want to start yet, after all there's another week or so here (Portugal), start when you get home.'

Although I totally get this, I found myself pondering the messages we send ourselves and each other about issues of weight and fitness. In truth, I had a very busy year last year, culminating in a complicated aftermath of a surgical intervention, which meant that for the last three months, I stopped exercising regularly or planning my eating well. Truth be told, I can't wait to be feeling a little fitter, so the thought of having time and application to eat the foods that I know give me great energy, and to exercise regularly, is highly appealing.  Yet the habit of thinking that can easily prevail is that losing weight is a trudge, a bore, a deprivation.  I might add that my weight fluctuation is not massive - I'm not obese, and I'm far from skinny, more somewhere about average at a 5'9 size 14 slightly plus.  So for me, when I am managing my calorie input and output well, when I'm in a regular routine of exercise - which I love - and eating the foods that I ADORE - this is very much part of a treating myself, not depriving.

It's an important switch, isn't it, and it struck me how we are brainwashed about attitudes to good, bad, desirable, treat foods and habits. I know from my life and work that these attitudes are at the root of  a lot of habits which keep some people trapped in the vicious circle of weight mis management. So for what it's worth, we're pleased this week to be offering a free download of a book we wrote a year or two back with our colleague Jayne Hildreth, Who's Broken My Scales. You'll find it on
It's free until January 6th, so do help yourself.

Anyway, I did make the gym this morning, had a lovely chat with Monica the Pilates teacher, ate a great lunch and finished it with a cup of tea and a mince pie.  Bliss. 

So our first wishes for 2014 are that you are able to find the ways to create the year that you want within the possibilities that you have.  A very Happy New Year to you all - enjoy, and remember to be kind to yourself, because wherever you go, there you'll be.