dinsdag 29 maart 2011

Melkende moeder

Terras. Zon. De wat nors kijkende ober heeft de parasol voor ons ingeklapt en we genieten, uit de wind. Uit mijn shopper zet ik mijn moedermelkpomp op tafel. Op batterijen. En schroef de trechter aan het flesje. Slangetje in de trechter, klaar om te pompen.

Toch wel met enige gêne vis ik mijn linkerborst uit mijn t-shirt en BH. Ik zet de trechtervormige kolf er gauw op. Dat voelt nog een beetje aangekleed. T-shirt en mijn hoodie schuif ik zoveel mogelijk over de trechter. En druk op het “power” knopje. Het “omhoog” knopje bij “vacuum” krijgt ook drie drukjes, want dat is de goede zuigkracht.
Ik kijk om me heen. Het lijkt niet of iemand op het rustige, haast verlaten terras, het in de gaten heeft. Mijn vriendin heeft gezegd dat ze het niet erg vindt. Ik tuur in de drie kantoortorens die voor ons staan. In een van de drie is een vergadering bezig. Geanimeerd, zo te zien; het lijkt niet of iemand naar buiten kijkt. Gelukkig.
“Mensen schijnen zich te ergeren aan vrouwen die in het openbaar borstvoeding geven. Of kolven,” zeg ik tegen mijn vriendin. Zou nú iemand zich ergeren? En komt de bediening nu vaker kijken, of beeld ik me dat in? Het gevraagde glaasje kraanwater wordt in elk geval probleemloos en snel gebracht. Willen ze ons weg hebben? Kan ik niet nalaten me af te vragen. Halsstarrig weiger ik me op te laten jagen. Toch vraag ik me af of ik ongewenst ben met dit gedrag. Of zouden degenen die zich ergeren, vooral de vrouwen zèlf zijn? Die zich gêneren? Of vrezen dat mensen zich aan hun storen?
De opbrengst was ongehinderd hoog: 154cc. Maar ja… mag het?
Lactatievol liefs,
Bertha 154.

donderdag 24 maart 2011


squirrel (third-person singular simple present squirrels, present participle squirreling, simple past and past participle squirreled)
with "away": To hoard in a hidden place, by analogy to squirrels' habit of hoarding nuts.
with "around": To move or search erratically, especially as if hurried or confused.
My mother warned me not to squirrel around in my dad's workshop.

This only works with acorns! And other organics. Not with money, which does not really grow. That much.

So, the squirrel didn't realize he was planting a tree. It won't make new acorns for a couple of years though. Generations, really. His greatgrandchildren may profit. But only in autumn.

Also, in debating: "a squirrel can also refer to an affirmative so obscure that there is no known negative against it. These cases are rare and will typically win the round for the affirmative team". (Wikipedia)

Squirrel more, I say. In the obscure way. Or plant a tree. Just don't expect fruits until you have (grand)children.

maandag 21 maart 2011

So, you really want to change? Go micro!

Yo..., I'll tell you what I want, what I really really want!
So tell me what you want, what you really really want?
I'll tell you what I want, what I really really want!
So tell me what you want, what you really really want?
I wanna, uh- I wanna, uh- I wanna, uh- I wanna, uh- I wanna really
really really wanna zigazig haaaah.
1996 "Wannabe," Spice Girls

Arend Ardon, partner at Holland Consulting Group, devoted his thesis and book to how managers are the main roadblocks to organisational change. Even when they want to enable it. Because of their unconscious, automated behaviour. Or so I read this morning (article in Dutch). Ardon reminded me of the Spice Girls' talk, and how hard it can be to accomplish what you really want. Talking about that is one important thing, like I stated at my 3' TedTalk at TedxAms . But talking is just part of any successformula for change .

Having worked both as a manager and as an employee, I can completely confirm how hard it is to be part of a change, as opposed to part of the roadblock. But I can do better. I'd like to propose a strategy for actually enabling change. I proudly present micro change - analogue to the concept of a micro loan as introduced by our wonderful Princess Maxima, and the micro blog Twitter has been since 5 years (hurray! birthday today :) ).

Micro change is working for me as a private person, effectively improving quality of all aspects of my life and that of those around me as we speak. And having fun in the process. It might just work for you, wheather you are a manager or a proper human (ha ha). Of course, there will be many, many roads to this particular Rome. Or should I say, Walhalla of organisational change consultants? Either way; please invent your own tactic, if you prefer. This one is based on the writer's golden rule: "show, don't tell" (thank you Mireille).

Micro change - a strategy for aspiring change catalysts

1. Seek out situations where you know you'll abort to resistance behaviour. Look for small and safe cases first. For example, when you're having coffee or drinks with a distant acquaintance. Someone outside your work or neighbourhood circle, preferably. Waiting for a train or bus could provide an excellent opportunity as well. Try Twitter, use an alias if you like. Mention different topics until La Resistance hits the fan.
2. React to whatever triggered you as if your critic is right. I know, that sounds weird, doesn't it? Do try, though. Even if everything inside you is screaming how wrong he is and why. It's OK to be scared. Just check if the fear has any root in your life's safety - is your life itself in danger? If not, you are safe to proceed.
3. Savour how things unrolled privately - on the way home or when you go to sleep. Don't let the guineapig critic in on your little experiment. Try confiding in a good friend or your partner if you like. If you're successful. Or if something interesting happened.
4. Rinse and repeat. As you progress, book more successes and create more options for your behaviour, you can start experimenting "closer to home". In situations, with people that mean something. You can accelerate as quickly as you like, shifting from first to fifth gear. No matter if your engine goes dead. You can always restart. No one will notice your "failure" when you show your usual resistance behaviour. They are used to it.

This strategy may enable you to create and practise new behaviour. Effortlessly overtaking your usual reactions. It is irrelevant if you even know exactly what your usual reactions are. The only thing you need is that gut feeling that says "NO! I don't want your behaviour" as a starting point for the exercise. From this point onward, it's: "next!".

Good luck! Please let me know how that went? If you decide to give it a micro go?

PS: a big, hearty thank you goes out to these sources of inspiration:
- www.MireilleGeus.nl. In 2006, Mireille got me back in the writing saddle. Also, she pointed me to the following huge comfort and inspirator:
- Keith Johnstone "Impro", 1979 www.keithjohnstone.com (I read it in '07)
- William Hall, www.williamhall.net (trained with him in Arnhem '09), @william_hall
- Coert Visser's www.thesolutionsfocus.com, @DoingWhatWorks (followed his blog '09)
- @jack @florian: hurray! 5 yrs Twitter. Thanks to you and all early adapters for enabling and inventing the microdialogue :)

woensdag 16 maart 2011

Parenthack #34: Weaning

When to start?
We started at 8 months with Florian, with Nina I found out my mother in law fed her sugary cookies during Xmas! We hadn't started weaning yet, she was 5 months! Thanks for the kickstart, "mom" : ). So we started in january.

Cook without salt
I started cooking without salt, mashing up some for her and salting for us on the plate. Using herbs instead of salt helps. This was OK but still, a bit laborious. Annoying, really, because I decided to let her eat with us. Dinnertime as a social family moment and all, I like that.

Freeze in portions
The real kickass parenthack came, when it occured to me I could mash&freeze our leftover potatoes, rice and veggies in portions. I used cute heartshaped silicon icemaker forms that I got cheap at IKEA at first because she may eat so little. I can defrost as little as I think she needs. Take out more as she gobbles it up. And, no guilt trip for opening up a whole jar - what to do with the leftovers if she turns out not to be hungry this time? Now that she's eating more, I've started using silicon muffin tins as well. These I found at the Action store, but they're for sale at Euroland I think as well. Which are great because I can defrost the right amount of say, soup, for myself too. I put the tins on a large plate in the freezer, on top of a drawer so nothing gets stuck in the food while freezing. The next day, I'll take out the frozen portions, pouring hot water on the back to help ease them out. Store in a plastic (zip loc) bag or get eco friendly and hip reusable plastic bags such as these!

Use soup
I have written before about how much I love making soup on a cold winterday. It turns out, she loves it too!! I have to admit, I do use salt/soup starter. This is not for the no-salt-in-the-first-year purists. I figure, since she's still on my milk, her kidneys are pretty OK. Formula strains the kidneys more. Hers can take some salt. The advantage is too, she'll get some water inside her. She's not drinking that out of a bottle, of course.

Drink: 50cc with every meal
Or so the children's nurse tells me. But how? She does love to drink out of a cup. But spills everyting, sticks her fingers in: it's messy if I give the cup to her. Once she can sit up, we can start practising drinking from a cup in the bathtub (parenthack #66). For now, I found out she can drink fine when I hold her on my lap and hold the cup myself(#35). Makes for excellent bonding time, too!

I told you mine! What are yours?

A new parent is born: parenthack #00.00

This blog is in Dutch, but it is a mustread for any new parent.
Ask me if you need it translated!


dinsdag 15 maart 2011

Parenthack #1: baby drops stuff

And we get so annoyed at having to pick everything up... especially in the car, when we literally have to bend over backwards.

For your baby, this may be a sign she is tired. Read her, are there other signs? With our Nina, not making eye contact is a clear heads up. Is it time to put her to bed, maybe just for a little nap? Still at eight months Nina keeps me guessing about her naptimes, and I'd rather err on the bedside. Put her in. When she cries more than a minute or 5, I'll take her out.

Learning: action = reaction
At this age, it could be something she's learning. Hey, if I drop this, it's gone! Then, someone comes and picks it up! How interesting. Try it again. Remembering her learning stage helps me see the fun of it. It's a game! Wanna play?

Rubber bands
If you don't or can't play, because you're busy driving or cooking. Here's a super tip generated by loyal www.parenthacks.com readers: link rubber bands, attach them to the toy on one end, and the (car) seat on the other. Or use yarn. This way you can simply pull up the toy. Teaching your baby something new in the process. Nina is very interested in the rubber bands themselves, too. Can't wait to try it out on our next drive!

Off to pick my lovelies up from daycare! And share a half hour in the spring air : )

vrijdag 11 maart 2011

TAE pt II: a personal exploration of my fears

This "first try" at TAE has a surprising conclusion. I wrote this report together with this post, in Octobre 2010. I am still uncertain whether it is ready for publishing. But my webstats tell me the previous post had an interesting number of visitors (29), which is a lot compared to the surrounding posts (which have single digit views). That's what's convinced me to throw this on as well. So, here goes.

As a second justification: I have always wanted to write, and have always felt flow when writing. However, until recently, I did not know what I had to say. I did not trust there was anything remotely interesting for anyone there. Until recently. The birth of our second child, a wonderfully zen baby girl, gave me confidence. I decided some private conclusions from my burnout (roughly, 2004-08) just might be worth sharing with the world. I used Eugene Gendlin's Thinking at the Edge to illicit this "private expertise", flexing my hormone ridden brain in the process. So the post has two layers. There's the TAE process, and what I found applying it. What I found out about my fears. In this post I'll detail how that went. It's very rough and chaotic, possibly illegible, but I'd like to share it anyway.

❤ TAE - step 1-5. "Find a word for the knowledge you want to illicit". I come up with: What the world needs now is something like softening (verzachting). I proceed, not knowing if "the world" really means Dutch society, the world at large, my world, or just me? Either way, what's needed is people coming into contact more with how they feel, and standing up for what's important to them. Dropping shame and armors. Letting go instead of observing with judgement and searching for problems, spijkers op laag water (nails at low tide?). Choosing for a future, a realistic scenario, but letting go of obstacles, problems, issues. Seeing through them, finding alternative paths that do not involve them. Choosing a positive scenario and going for it. Taking a leap of faith. Also - especially - in relationships with others. Looking on with a soft, yet strong and clear eye (hard, onverbiddelijk, zonder scrupules en schuldgevoel, assertief, duidelijk). Choosing your own road, while respecting the road another takes. Making room for the other to take their road, but claiming your own room as well. Trusting there's enough room for each and every one of us to pick the exact path we want, and more room to spare if we do. Choosing your own way of cooperating, living together, being together. Dropping, shedding what's unneccessary (guilt) if you can. Checking guilt with the one you feel guilty towards, if that's what you need to let go. Choosing to create from hope instead of holding on, defending from fear. Making room to create by letting go. Hope instead of fear. These are key phrases.

Now, preparing this post, I reflect on what I wrote in October last year. What's interesting about the word "softening", is that is has a special meaning for me. My last name, Doucet, is French. It could be translated, with a little imagination, to mean "softener", or "someone soft". In my family (maybe this goes for all families) there is a tendency to value the intellect, and to behave distant, cold and judgemental. On the other hand, all members of my family have a very sensitive, warm side as well. But the warmness doesn't seem to find its way out because of the intellectual, cold shell that's been built to last for decades.

The report continues. ❤ TAE step 6-9, instance: instead of fearing my partner will be angry with me when he gets home from work because I haven't found a job yet or because I am not looking actively enough, I should trust and believe he has faith. I should trust he has faith in my success and in me doing the right things to achieve it. I find I get a lot of anxiety from fearing what my partner really thinks of me.

Aspects: I have not been able to feel successful at any job (or at life in general, for that matter). I haven't been able to fit in in any workplace. I do not feel I belong and I haven't been able to stay on anywhere for long. I always feel like an outsider. Yet I make myself completely dependent on what I fear someone else thinks of me. This could be my boss, a colleague or client. I do not belong, yet the other person completely determines my happiness, controls me entirely. I do not belong and am completele part of/dependent on the other (employer, partner, friend).

Key phrase: choosing to create from hope instead of holding on to/defending from fear.

Substitute words in the key phrase: choosing for A instead of holding on to/defending from B.

A: hope: wish or expectation that something I really want will happen.
Better: confidence in a good outcome, even if it is not known in detail, or if it is different than I'd expected. Faith in my own ability to find a way and accept different process and outcome. Have faith in relationships and other people's ability and will to find, make, create success.

What's off in the definition of hope? Something I "really want". Better alternative: something positive. Something you're content with. Something will happen and you will want it. You will be at peace and what will happen will be good. You have peace and confidence.

What's off in the word "create"? It suggests something too big. Better would be: moving with, comoving, swaying, living, jumping in the maelstrom and trusting that whatever happens is or will be good. A small thing that sets off a chain reaction may be all it takes.

Better would be: taking risks. Defy fear of arousing someone's shame, rejection or anger. Do things from my own peace and confidence and positive intention, sensitive to others, open, unprejudiced by aforementioned fear of negative emotional reaction from other(s). Daring to stay close to myself without the fear of shame, rejection or anger from someone else.

Fear: scary, anxious feeling. This is something else. Oh no, it is not. Encountering, looking for, engaging in situations that defuse, reprogram unnecessary, obsolete, disfunctional fearful expectations built from past experience.

Knowing with certainty: fear serves only to avoid life-threatening situations. No more, no less.

The report closes with an afterthought. When reading it over a couple of days later, I felt it feels hard, too complicated, too difficult. It seemed a paradox to want to express bodily intelligence in language. Bodily intelligence is a means for direct, situationally prompted action. It seems unnecessarily complex to take the cerebral detour language is. I discussed this with my brother, about a month after my attempt at TAE. His reaction may seem obvious to you, but to me it was surprising - of course, you don't know my brother. "Communication," he said,"is what makes that hard work to find words for that bodily intelligence worthwile. You or I can have an excellently developed individual bodily intelligence system, doing all the right things at the right time. But in order to work as a team, to develop some sort of collective intelligence, we need to verbalize our individual intelligence".

With this surprising conclusion he closes a circle of work on team empowerment I have been doing in 2009. Now, posting this blog in march 2011, it seems important and worthwile. To me, anyways. Please let me know what you think!

Empowering our bodily intelligence: Eugene Gendlin

Thinking At the Edge is a method to illicit implicit knowledge. Things we know that are sitting, at the edge of our consciousness, waiting to be unveiled. Waiting to come out, perhaps. TAE has been developed by Eugene Gendlin, one of the founding fathers of focussing, an element in the NLP toolbox so crucial, that it has almost lost its own identity. It has been gobbled up by NLP, mindfulness and the like, you could say.

TAE has been sitting in the back of my brain for years as something interesting worth exploring one day. So last octobre, when my maternity leave was over and I was getting ready for work again, wanting to flex my brain, I did. There's a set of videos online where Gendlin explains how it works.

* empowering bodily intelligence
* finding fresh language
* discovering/verbalizing implicit knowledge
* a way of illiciting expert knowledge
*(my brainwave:) biweekly interview experts = friends and family => everyone has some kind of expertise on something => illiciting this

Threats: very rigid and demanding method. When is good good enough? High perfectionism threshold. You have to know Gendlin’s focussing / felt sense before you can start, which has the same hint of perfectionism. Or maybe that’s just me.

I guess a good way to decide on which parts of TAE to use (when), is to keep checking your energy and emotional response to the process itself. This works for me, anyway. Does it feel too hard? It probably is. Feel free to venture in directions that seem easy, where energy flows. The hard parts are there to be acknowledged but not to bulldozer through, necessarily.

The way Gendlin puts it: “In every step you check the creation against the felt sense
“ahh” (relief) - it’s moving forward (words make it flow); or “urgh” (cramp) - it’s holding back.”

He concludes with an interesting and possibly reassuring observation: “how does language exist in human bodies in the first place ? It is inherent in human living”.

TAE step 1 - 5: method to produce a lot of strands out of one ‘thing’
❤ Call up your felt sense relating to the thing, i.e. find a word that seems to represent it.
❤ Try to access any modality that works for you: smell, sound, image, bodily feeling, location in the body, person(s) related to the thing. Write down all of these, even if (especially if) they are not quite what the thing is or should be. Words that are the opposite of the thing can work, too. Use a mind map if you like. Record your voice if you prefer to work eyes closed.
❤ Ask “what would you like that word to mean”? for the collection of strands, for each word, for each attempt that doesn’t quite seem to catch it.
❤ Out comes a chaotic cloud, a series of sentences. Can you boil it down to one sentence? Step back and appreciate the colourful, poetic sentence, with fresh words.

Many are happy and satisfied with outcomes of step 1 - 5. TAE was designed to create a theory including logic, however. If you like, try the next steps (in the same session or later on).

TAE step 6 - 9: making a theory, an articulated group of terms that interlock
❤ Find an example to explore. Just one will do.
❤ Look closely at all the aspects, facets and instances of the example. The example may very well unfold into a set of examples (this is how my mind works, anyway).
❤ There is intricacy in every real thing that happens. Lift out concrete stances.
❤ Use the STARR method if you like, specifying situation, task, action, result, reflection questions to further illicit each example.

TAE step 10 - 15: make logic
Afterwards, logic rules look like the beginning, the origin.
But the terms and connections come from some kind of experience.
TAE describes a process to make the logic.

woensdag 9 maart 2011

IM: kledingruilparty

Op 24 feb 2011 tweette @SwopnFit: "Tijdens Women inc. festival in Pakhuis de Zwijger is er ook een Ecofabs Fashion Party, leuk! http://www.womeninc.nl/page/25702 #kledingruil".

Ik had in januari al getweet wie er mee wilde doen aan een kledingruil. Want mn zolderkleding gesorteerd, nu de meeste zwangerschapskilo's er weer af zijn. Toen reageerde niemand... maar ik had drie setjes leuke kleren klaargehangen voor de volgende ruilparty. Dus ik schreef me in voor Women's Inc, die 24ste februari.

Afgelopen zondag 6 maart was het zover! De hele week had ik al vol verwachting uitgekeken naar het moment dat ik in rekken vol prachtige vintage proletarisch zou kunnen winkelen. Met een kledingtas vol mooie kleding (die ik om diverse karma redenen niet meer zou dragen of niet verwacht er ooit nog in te passen) over mijn stuur in het zonnetje op de fiets naar Pakhuis Willem de Zwijger. Man en kinderen thuis latend, heerlijk gevoel. Keurig om 16.30 de kleding ingeleverd: op het terras wachten. Ik keek om me heen waar de fashionista's van Amsterdam waren...

Misschien was dat een hint voor het bijstellen van mn verwachtingen over de kleding. Na anderhalf uur - de kleding moest na het inleveren netjes op hangers gedaan en de organisatie had haar best gedaan op een interessante intro die een half uur duurde was het zover. Maar de rekken herbergden troep, troep en nog eens troep (met uitzondering van mijn leuke setjes natuurlijk ;) ). Rekken vol miskopen en winkeldochters. Met veel zoeken heb ik twee redelijke dingen kunnen scoren (een groen rokje en een groen vestje). Niet de vintage jurk waarop ik had gehoopt...

Eerder hoorde ik al fluisteren, dat de "vintage" straks op is. Volgens mij is straks nu! Of alles gaat via nu Marktplaats? Dat heb ik niet onderzocht.

Mijn leermoment: beter oppassen voor miskopen en winkeldochters bij het winkelen - kieskeuriger winkelen dus! Misschien toch minder kopen en dan duurder (auw, doet nu al pijn aan mn portemonnaie)? Voor de echte merken gaan? Of eerst op Marktplaats kijken? Een Marktplaats kleding Tweetup? Nodig me uit als je enorm zin krijgt dit te organiseren, tnx : )

Hoe het nu moet met mijn overtollige kleding? De kringloopwinkel, als vrienden niet willen? De ruilparty is wat mij betreft definitief overleden. Rest in peace : )