Day 32

Writing. Lovely long phone call with Ann Eade. Task. Lift Chi Up. Played with Sherlock. Altering clothes (not especially successful).

Just before five, I got a text from Estelle, the mother of one of Katie’s school friends, thanking me for the invitation to the party, asking if the party is to show off the new tree house and checking that the children are really meant to stay all day. This was a little bit alarming, as we don’t have a tree house, and I didn’t know anything about a party. A little detective work revealed that, while I was at Resilience over the weekend, Katie kept herself busy making “cards” for all her friends. Unfortunately it now turns out that the cards were actually invitations and she has apparently invited an as yet unknown, but possibly large, number of 7 year olds to an all day party at our house on the 27th of July.

A 6pm I took Katie to an open day at her school, set up to allow parents to look at the children’s work. On the way home, I broached the subject of the party, trying to get a better idea of the scale of what she has committed us to. She reeled off about 8 names of people she has invited but then said that there might be others so she really needs to write them down. I asked her what her plans were and the response was something like this: “everybody will have 6 turns on the trampoline, then we’ll have tea, and then we’ll play with the dog”. The dog in question being poor Sherlock, the half-trained puppy who can’t be entirely relied upon not to playfully bite small, shrieking, fast moving persons. I asked what she thought she was going to give her guests for tea if she didn’t tell me about the party. “Oh anything. Sausage rolls, that type of thing.”.

I’m not entirely sure what to do about this – it would be kind of embarrassing to withdraw the invitations and there would be the worrying possibility of a couple of people not getting the cancellation and showing up anyway. On the other hand, I don’t really want to get back from Crete on the Friday and host a score of kids on the Sunday. Most of all, I don’t want to subject poor Sherlock to massed 7 year olds. My first thought is to dilute the problem by reissuing the invitations to include mummies – something like trampolining for the kids and a glass of Pimms for the mummies. That way at least the mummies can be responsible for their own kids’ safety re the trampoline / inflatable pool / dog.

One slightly humorous postscript was that we bumped into Estelle and Clara on the way home and Estelle seemed to find the whole situation totally hilarious. Right up until the point where Clara announced “That’s so cool Katie. I am definitely going to organise a party at OUR house without telling Mummy.” Estelle wasn’t laughing quite so hard after that.

Yesterday at day 2 of Resilience, Richard told the story about the depressed client who arrived declaring that all the various therapies he had tried were rubbish and didn’t work, whereupon Richard matched him by saying “NLP doesn’t work. You work.”. Which got me thinking about what a useful frame this is AND how it also leads to an unfortunate scarcity of undying gratitude! It is different in a training situation where one is swapping processes with another trainee – having just done the practitioner role, one knows both that what the other person is doing involves work, and also that the process is responsible for the subsequent change. I will always have a special fondness for Julia Kurusheva on the grounds that, when we were doing master prac together, in the process of learning the allergy cure, she managed to sort out my body’s previously unhelpful reactions to caffeine and insect bites – and I sincerely hope that there are people I trained alongside who have similar memories of me! Outside of training however, it’s more difficult. The more elegant and seamless / seem-less an intervention is, the less likely the client is to think you did anything useful. A few years ago one of my staff, a pretty, intelligent, English girl, married an obnoxious Australian. A few months later, she said she would be leaving, as her new husband had decided that they should go and live in Adelaide in order to be near his family. As the weeks passed she began to look increasingly miserable and I did wonder if I might bear some of the blame for this, on account of having (in the name of staff retention!) emailed her an MP3 of the old Redgum song which starts off: “Well it’s one more boring Thursday night in Adelaide / and it looks like everybody must have died”. But a week or so before she was due to leave us, she came to me in a bit of a state and explained that she was terrified of flying and had heard that I could do something called the phobia cure. Now, I don’t love the phobia cure. One of the reasons I have never seen paying clients is that I strongly suspected that, whatever the presenting issue, I would be inclined to twist it around until it turned into something which could be sorted by parts integration, chaining anchors, or the allergy process – because clearly these are amazing, magical, life-enhancing processes, whereas the visual swish, for example, is just an irritating palaver which makes one’s head ache. But when the client asks for the ‘phobia cure’ by name, there really isn’t anywhere else to go. So we found an empty meeting room, I ran her through the phobia cure, and she thanked me politely and returned to her desk. Now, I was her boss’s boss and she needed a reference, so this was only ever going to end with her thanking me politely! A few weeks later we heard that she had duly pitched up in Adelaide (and was indeed finding it very dull) so I knew that, either the phobia cure had worked, or the caveman had thrown her over his shoulder and carried her onto the plane, sedated or struggling, or maybe both. About 18 months later she came to visit, to show off her new baby. While the rest of the team cooed over the baby, I asked her how the flight over from Australia had been. It was great, she said, the plane was half empty, I got the whole row of bassinet seats to myself, and the baby slept the whole way. Now at this stage, I thought a “Thank you Jessamine, that phobia cure thing you did, that really changed my life” wouldn’t have gone amiss, but no. So I said, “Wow, that’s amazing, because you used to have a bit of problem with flying.”. She looked a bit confused, and then said “Oh, yeah, I’d forgotten about that.”.

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