A Coach's Reflections

February 10, 2019

SERIOUSLY. JUST DO IT ALREADY

Filed under: Reflections, Uncategorized — Tags: — Janine Daniels - A Coach's Reflections @ 12:48 pm

I was talking to a group of successful entrepreneurs this past weekend, and as I was listening to them talk about their secrets to success, I reflected how fortunate I am to have been both a business owner and had a corporate career. Without fail, one of the major barriers to transformative action that I’ve come across in both frustrated executives and potential business owners is the mindset that “I’m not ready yet. I just need to read one more book / do one my course/ get one more degree / have a couple years more under my belt”. You name it. I’ve heard it.

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And time and time again, those that have leapt into a new role or a new venture have reached the stage where they think “Enough. I’ve got this”. For some it was around knowing enough, for others it was around having sufficient experience. The really interesting part of their conversation though was not the incremental difference that another course, another book or another program would make, but what they really needed was to shift from learning to sharing.

Easy to say huh? But not always so easy to do. It takes enormous courage to share knowledge, a view, content, or raise your profile in the public domain. You’re giving permission for someone to disagree, and need to be ok with that. See, sharing your wisdom is not about being right, it’s just about owning your stuff and knowing that some people are going to have a different view – a view that in all probability will lead to great debate and possibly, and even more robust development of your concept.

I wish I could wave a magic wand in front of every client who said “I’ll be ready to do x when I’ve learnt/mastered y”. As I wrote that last sentence, I started smiling. Because as usual, my clients are my best teachers. And they’re pretty much mirroring what’s going on in my head. I’ve spent the last few weeks creating some great content that I want to share widely. I love what I do so much. But because I work one on one with executives, I don’t always get the reach I’d like. So I’ m going to change that this year. But it means stepping into loads of unknowns and backing myself the way I coach others to do. Because we can all achieve the near impossible when we believe it. 

Which got me wondering. It’s February already (I know, how the hell did that happen?). What are you stepping into this year? I’d love to know and I’d love to support you. It’s time for all of us to shine.

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March 28, 2016

I’ve moved

Filed under: Uncategorized — Janine Daniels - A Coach's Reflections @ 8:44 am

If you’re receiving this message, it means you’ve subscribed to my blog, for which I am profoundly grateful. Hopefully something I wrote touched you.

If you’d like to continue reading my insights & reflections, please hop over to my blog’s new home which is now housed on my website : http://www.lead.com.co. You can subscribe to my blog via the home or blog pages.

January 30, 2016

I’m back

Filed under: Personal Reflections, Uncategorized — Tags: , — Janine Daniels - A Coach's Reflections @ 9:33 am

It’s been 2 years and 4 months since I wrote my last blog post*

I now live in a different city, on a different continent, in a different culture.

I work in a different organization. Boy is it different !! Like awesome different. I need to tell you all about it. My husband works at a different advertising agency. L-o-n-g story there … one day perhaps I’ll share his journey. And our boys go to a different school. Don’t even get me started on that story …

But I digress … back to my blog … It was my intention when I started writing to share stories, insights and experiences that inspired me.

By applying simple logic, can we assume I’ve been uninspired for almost 2 1/2 years. Am I such a miserable sod ? I don’t think so, in fact I’ve always thought of myself as positive. Not like in an artificially contrived ‘Facebook life’ kind of way (Thanks Lianne for the depth of understanding in that term) but like deep down in my soul.

I guess I’ve questioned that over the last few years. Yes, we’ve left a lot behind – and although there is so much ahead of us, I’ve been pretty pathetic at finding pure happiness in the now. Part of my PNI training involved studying the effect of emotions like guilt and regret (from the past) vs fear and anxiety (for the future) on our neurochemistry and physiology.

I know theoretically what affect not living in the now has on us. And guess what, I’ve fallen right into the trap of wishing … wishing things were different. Instead of finding joy in the now. It’s a sure fire way to be miserable.

So I went back to my iPhone. Gotta love technology. I write down random thoughts in ‘Notes’ (Yes, I know I’m weird). Here’s what I found. These notes are totally unedited. My last note as we were waiting to fly out of Singapore after living there for 3 ½ years, and my first note when we arrived in Sydney.

 

Ironically, we started a jar in January to celebrate 2016. Originally it was called the ‘achievement jar’. Then it morphed into a ‘gratitude jar’.

The Jar

It’s going to be very full on the 31 December 2016.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

* can you tell I went to a Catholic school ?

March 10, 2013

BACK TO BASICS

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — Janine Daniels - A Coach's Reflections @ 1:45 pm

Having just returned from a 12 day trip to Bali, where I assisted as a Team Leader on the Meta-Coach Mastery Training, I find I have renewed appreciation for the basics.

As in any profession, coaches define their skills (their ‘how to’) in concrete terms. We need to know what to do, why, when, where, with whom and how. It’s not a random conversation – but a fierce one that is structured to really get to the heart of the matter. And so, like in any profession, continuing education is vital to maintaining our edge and skill level.

And I have just had a skill fest. Not only was there a requirement to model the skills, competencies and attitude of a coach, but as a team leader, I had the opportunity to step up and lead a strong group of leaders in their field. People who are used to leading, not following. And then I got to benchmark their skills, looking at the structure of their coaching sessions, stretching their skill level and supporting them as best I could. And in return, they taught me.

In so many different ways, every person I interacted with taught me about disclosure and reminded me how vital emotional connection is.

For a few months, I have been aware of a discontent deep with in me. Not for anything material – but for the return of my essence. I have taken myself and what I do so seriously that it’s given me a hard edge.  So whilst my intention to contribute as much as I am able has been good, it has resulted in a dis-ease at my core.

I realised this week that I could sum up in one word how I’ve been feeling. And that word would be ‘impatient’. It stops me from living in the present as I continually focus on ‘what else’ I need to or want to do.  It sets my body on edge and stops me from connecting lovingly and joyfully with my world and the people in it.

I remarked last night to Michael Hall (co-founder of the Meta-Coach Training system, and trainer of the program in Bali), that the Indonesian people leave me humbled at their ability to connect and live life wholeheartedly. Time after time this week, I observed people jumping into each other’s photographs, dancing without inhibition, hugging each other with full embraces, and laughing from their toes. I felt so welcomed into a community of people that I’d never met before and received gifts of love from so many special people, that I leave this beautiful island filled with a sense of peace and love. I leave with special memories as to how precious our hearts are, and the value that truly suspending time and connecting with another human being brings.

And yes, I also leave with coaching skills that have deepened and sharpened – and I’m ready for some serious action.

September 28, 2012

INTEGRITY. UNDERSTANDING YOUR HEAD TO LEAD FROM YOUR HEART.

A few days ago I was telling some friends that research is currently being conducted on the neuroscience of integrity. Which initiated a discussion around whether integrity can be ‘acquired’. The prevailing view was that someone is either ‘integrous’ (not a real word, I know), or they’re not.

That’s a bit black and white for me. It’s like saying someone is either born a leader. Or they’re not.

Working in the field of human development, that view would negate my very raison d’etre.

So it got me thinking …. And what I thought about was what I do and how I do it.

Most people enlist a coach because they want to change something. Or someone has suggested they change something. And that something is generally speaking, a behaviour – to listen better / be more assertive / treat people with respect / be more collaborative / be more trusting / be more authentic … it could be any number of behavioural skills.

So that’s what I do.

https://janinedanielsblog.wordpress.com

HOW BEHAVIOURAL CHANGE HAPPENS

How I do it is best described by enlisting the little man in the accompanying visual.

The change people want to see can generally be measured by a change in behaviour – because it’s the only part of the system that is external. But what I don’t do is work on the behaviour. You read that right.  The reason for this is that behaviour is simply the last visible sign in a series of thoughts and attitudes. Behaviour (what we say and what we do) is preceded by the way we think (and what we feel). And changing behaviour without changing thinking is only going to generate short-term change. So it would seem to make sense to work at the level of thought.

But it’s not enough. You see, what is needed is to go up even higher – to where we form our values, beliefs, attitudes, our cultural norms – our frames of meaning.  Because they determine our thinking. So if you wanted to exhibit integrity … to be more authentic, your behaviour would have to be congruent with your frames of meaning.

As a first step, you would need to unpack your head in order to examine your beliefs and values –to determine if they’re really yours. Secondly, to choose whether they’re really right for you. And if they’re not, to decide what your optimal beliefs are. This is the process of truly understanding yourself, of building self-awareness.

Then when you understand who you are, and you know what you really believe in, it becomes easier to think about things and take a stand. So often it is hard to act with integrity because we espouse values that are not really our own. And because we do things that we have been instructed to do – without really believing in the course of action.

On reflection, whilst integrity may be classified as a combination of cognitive and perceptual skills, and  by definition can thus be learned, I think more importantly, it is a consequence of having what the Dalai Lama calls ‘a solid sense of self’. As coaches, what we do is facilitate the discovery of that knowledge of self. What we ask of our clients is that they have the courage to go there and unpack their heads, examine what’s inside, decide whether it’s really meaningful – and if it’s not, change it. Or face the risk of behaving in accordance with someone else’s beliefs.

June 27, 2012

STARTERS – OR THE MAIN COURSE ?

Filed under: Reflections — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , — Janine Daniels - A Coach's Reflections @ 7:51 pm

Choosing from the Menu of Life

A long, long time ago in a previous life I was a doormat. I know it’s hard to believe. But I was raised to be polite, respectful and helpful and put the needs of others before mine. Somehow I muddled up those messages and mistook them for a need to say ‘yes’; to please and comply.

Things have changed somewhat over the last 25 years or so. First I got comfortable with the fact that it was ok to look after my needs, I started standing up for myself, and then I got comfortable to say ‘no’. Like, very comfortable.

For those of you who know me well and read my blog, you’ll know that I found it tough leaving an established coaching practice in South Africa & starting up all over again in Singapore. Ok, tough is a euphemism. But of course, I have been coached to within an inch of my life. So I really know what drives me. I’m incredibly conscious of my beliefs, values, goals and strategies. And I do my best to make sure my personal and professional behaviour reflect that. In fact I’m so conscious of who I am and what I want that over the past few months, I found myself desperately wanting to say ‘yes’ – just for a change.

Hence I’ve turned down 3 job offers this year. One of which would be my dream job if I ever wanted to move back into permanent corporate employment. Excuse me whilst I shudder  ….  Which is why I said no. The other two ? Well let’s just say that the growth/value/freedom/innovation /remuneration equation didn’t quite balance the way I would have liked it to. There were bits missing. And I just don’t do missing bits anymore.

Just like I don’t coach someone with whom I don’t have rapport. Just like I have also turned down work this year that was cleverly disguised as coaching, but in reality was probably counselling dressed in a beautiful Armani suit.

So, I really, really wanted to say ‘yes’ for a change. I wanted more business. I wanted the right business.  I also really wanted to say ‘yes’ to a few organizations in particular. It happened one Friday afternoon a couple of weeks ago – I got to say ‘yes’ five times in one afternoon.

Looking back, what did I learn ? Sure, it reinforced the principle that sometimes you have to say no to say yes.

But … there was something else …

I know that when something is completely aligned to my values and goals, it’s easy for me to say yes. It just slips out. No analytical thought, discussion or consideration is necessary. I just know !

Here’s something else I know – I’m going to have to keep saying ‘no’ to say ‘yes’, because I love saying yes. It’s no longer even a shadow from my past. It is the result of having done so much self-awareness work, and so much professional work that acting out of integrity and courageous authenticity is the only way I can make decisions.

So, if you find yourself vacillating , going round and round with decisions, not knowing if you really want something, my advice would be to return to your core. Figure out who you are, what is meaningful for you and what you really, really want. Then start practicing how to say ‘no’ to the iffy things life offers you – so that one day you can say ‘yes’ to the items on the menu of life that really matter to you.

June 14, 2012

HOWZIT !

Filed under: Articles — Tags: , , , — Janine Daniels - A Coach's Reflections @ 4:48 pm

Sometimes inspiration for this blog comes from the most unlikely of places. Last Friday night my husband and I were talking about the joy of understanding colloquial language. I had just finished a coaching session via Skype to a Client in South Africa, and the Client mentioned that if he didn’t do the self-awareness work that was staring him in the face, that the ‘tokoloshe’ would still be ‘under the bed’. OMG, how to explain that to non South-Africans … basically it means that the fear / danger would still be present. My insight when recounting the story was that if I had not understood the colloquialism, it would have taken quite a bit of explanation on my Client’s part to explain the concept. And our rapport and shared experience would have been lost. I would have been ‘different’ to him, having ‘not got’ what he was saying.

And so my husband proceeded to tell me a great story about his arrival in Singapore. For those of you who have not had the pleasure of meeting James, let me just say that he is not known for his introverted nature. The man is loud ! And as is his way, he greets people effusively with a big smile in the morning. But when he started work at Ogilvy Singapore, no-one greeted him back. He initially figured that people were a bit more conservative than his Saffa counterparts, until one day he said ‘good morning’ to someone – and was greeted with a big smile and a ‘good morning James’ in return. And then the penny dropped …. Our custom is to say ‘howzit’ when we greet someone, irrespective of the time of day. It means ‘hi, how are you, I hope you have / or have had a good day, what’s up?’. But if no-one understands your colloquialism, you’re not communicating.

And that is why multi-cultural awareness is so important. I’ve just read a report by Korn/Ferry stating that one way for leaders to broaden their skills base is to work overseas. Last year, The Journal of NeuroLeadership published research on how the culturally intelligent brain not only detects – but can bridge cultural differences. And with the world becoming smaller – and business challenges more complex, I think it is critical not only for leaders, but for all global citizens to understand how to operate effectively in a globalized world.

I see it on a daily basis in my practice, as I coach leaders who are French, British, American, Swiss, Australian – and how one of their primary challenges when coming to Asia is not only understanding the Asian context and environment, but that of the myriad nationalities who live and work in Singapore. My guess is that it would be no different in New York, London or Abuja.

I hear it in my children’s voices when they easily say hello in Mandarin, French, Zulu, English or Japanese. Even if they don’t know what to say after ‘hello’, they are immersed, without knowing it, in a polyglot of cultural differences – and my wish is that they assimilate an intuitive understanding of all of them. My wish is that it makes them better global citizens, and that the lesson of multi-cultural acceptance and understanding that was born in South Africa, continues and serves them in whatever journeys they take.

This exposure to difference – different culture, different values, different food, different languages – this difference make us all so much more. There IS strength in diversity, in flexibility and in being comfortable with the new.

And life of course is so serendipitous – today I saw the great pic that ends off this post on Feel Good Lifestyle’s facebook page. Not all of us can experience working and studying abroad; not all of us want that experience. But we can all travel. If not you – encourage your children to.

And if you ever meet me and I say ‘howzit’, know that I’m simply saying ‘hello & I care about you’ in another language.

April 24, 2012

WHY ALL THE FUSS ?

Filed under: Articles — Tags: , , , , — Janine Daniels - A Coach's Reflections @ 4:42 pm

You know how when you’re not in an industry it can be bemusing, sometimes even ridiculous how people go on about what they do and why it’s so important / fascinating / special ???

Well, why the fuss around Leadership ? What’s so special about Leaders ?

Surely they’ve got to the top, they get paid a fortune – do they really need any more attention ?

Well, actually – yes, they do. Because the more effective your leaders are, the more successful your organization is going to be.

So, I hear you say, I am an entrepreneur …. Yeah, well …the more effective your leadership skills, the more successful your business is going to be.  I am a manager – let’s say it again ….. the more effective your leadership skills are, the more successful your team is going to be. ¹

So, for me, this is a fuss worth getting.

If you’re really serious about being successful (however you define that is up to you), then look at your leadership skills. Skills like relating to others – your interpersonal skills. Do you get on with people ?  Do you develop them ? Just because you are a technical expert, doesn’t mean you are a people expert .

Are you self-aware ? Or are you oblivious to your strengths and your shortcomings ? Do you have a healthy understanding of the system in which you operate, the big picture and the causes – not just the symptoms of the challenges you face? Do you collaborate – or compete ?

Most importantly, are you Authentic ?

One of the leadership effectiveness skills most highly correlated with business performance is … not ambition, not control, not perfection … but Authenticity. ²

When you know who you are and you know what you stand for, you demonstrate integrity. You walk your talk, you can be trusted to do what you say. You’re willing to take a stand, have the tough conversation, not duck the issues. Why ? Because you know what matters to you. And a leader without an internal compass has no hope of setting a direction or vision for his or her team. And whether it be crystal clear, or smudgy and blurred, your results will be a direct reflection of your vision.

So in whichever context you lead … as a manager, as a manager of managers, as an Executive, as a parent – start by leading yourself. Start by aligning who you are with what you do and say – and then humbly give gratitude for the success that comes your way.

(If you’d like to know more, and are curious as to how developed your Leadership skills and competencies are, as well as gain insight into your habits and behaviour patterns, drop me a line – I’ve got a phenomenal process to share with you)

¹ http://www.theleadershipcircle.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/12_OrgPerformance.pdf

² Figure 3. http://www.theleadershipcircle.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/13_TLC_profile.pdf

March 2, 2012

DREAM BIG. THINK SMART

Filed under: Articles — Tags: , , , , , , , — Janine Daniels - A Coach's Reflections @ 4:52 pm

I love synchronicity. And yesterday a few of my worlds collided when I received a mail from a client (and friend) around Seth Godin’s education manifesto. I love Seth Godin. I wish I had written Linchpin. I’ve recommended it to so many Clients. And now I’m going to recommend that you download and read his education manifesto @ www.stopstealingdreams.com

But first, read on and find out why I care so much ….

You see, education and coaching are pretty similar. They both involve potential. And they both involve dreams. Dreams that ignite passion, which result in skills and knowledge. Not dis-empowering, unrealistic pipe dreams, or belittling,  shameful, settling for second best dreams, but dreams that are based on possibility, opportunity, self reliance, self worth – bold dreams where the person has to push themselves to create a new reality.

3 years ago I was invited by my children’s then headmaster to give a talk on self-actualization for children. My presentation was based around the premise contained in one of Dr. Seuss’ less well known books, Diffendoofer Day. The story involves a school where the teachers make up their own rules and teach ‘stuff not taught at other schools’. One day the children have to take an impromptu, external test which could result in the closure of their beloved school if they fail.

As the story tells it :

Miss Bonkers rose “Don’t fret” she said 

‘You’ve learned the things you need

To pass that test and many more –

I’m certain you’ll succeed.

 

We’ve taught you that the earth is round

That red and white make pink,

And something else that matters more –

We’ve taught you how to think !!!

The feedback I got from this talk was interesting. In particular, one of the teachers likened it to a Psych lecture. I think she missed the point … the point was about instilling a love of learning and thinking in our children to create independent, aware, actualized, creative thinkers as opposed to obedient, rote, humanized machines.  How many schools and teachers are still missing the point ? Education is not about testing facts or pushing data, systems and processes down children’s throats – it’s about teaching higher order, creative thinking.

Why do we want to do that? So that our workforce becomes creative, engaged, innovative, solutions-focused and independent. So that we can create industries that never existed 10 years ago. So that we can self-actualize and fulfill our potential. So that we can help grow our economies. So that we can give back. So that we have the worth to dream boldy and the confidence to turn our dreams into a new reality.

Facts are facts – anyone can find facts in what is being called the ‘connection revolution’. Do we really need to spend our childhood memorizing them when we can access any fact in 0.1 seconds ? Facts are no longer a valuable currency. People like me and countless other business owners give away facts, information and literature for free. Why? Because facts on their own mean nothing. It is the interrelation, pattern detection, understanding, synthesis and innovative thinking that come from wrestling with the facts that is valuable

I am currently coaching an amazing young woman who is studying for a law degree. Yesterday she shared with me that knowing the facts was ‘not enough’. She admitted that being able to supply the required data would get her to pass – but in order to excel, to do really well, she realized that she has to interpret the facts, use them to find solutions to problems and create new thinking.

At the same time, I have been working with my children this week on the skill of essay writing. They are going to Vietnam on school camp in a couple of weeks and were required to write an essay on how Communism has shaped the identity of the Vietnamese (This, at 13 years of age – gotta love the IB programme !). And as I worked with them, I repeated one phrase over and over. “So what ?” I wanted to know what those facts meant, why they were relevant, and what new thinking they could result in. That’s called Learning.

So what does all this have to do with coaching – leadership coaching in particular ?

One of the key dimensions of leadership is being a visionary. It’s about going where no-one has gone before. Call it intelligent dreaming. It’s about seeing a new future and having the strength to take others there. Leadership is about many things, but without creativity, innovation and original thought, you’ll always be a follower. Waiting to be told what to do, rather than figuring out new things to do and new ways of doing them.

So if you’re tired of being told what to do, how to do it, and following the same process to ‘do it right each time’, maybe it’s time you started thinking.

And read the manifesto. If not yours, it could change a child’s future.

October 26, 2011

RELOCATION 102

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — Janine Daniels - A Coach's Reflections @ 9:15 am

Whilst this blog is generally about insights and reflections gained from my coaching practice, I occasionally post something of a personal nature and share my lessons with you. In February of this year I wrote about how the process of relocation felt. And today, it felt like the right time for an update. If that was my Semester One report, then read on for Semester Two’s progress.

One of the things I love about living in Singapore is the multi-culturalism and absolute acceptance and celebration of different religions. So far this year, we have celebrated Chinese New Year, Easter, Buddha’s Birthday (Vesak), Hari Raya Puasa (the Muslim festival marking the end of Ramadan), and today is the Hindu Festival of Diwali (Deepavali). The festival gets its name from the lights that are lit during the Festival which symbolize the inner light that protects us from spiritual darkness. It is also a time where Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, bestows blessings and abundance on her faithful.

So with light all around us at the moment, I got to thinking and reflecting on the last 8 months. If you are a regular reader of my blog, you’ll be familiar with the term ‘meta-program’. When I am coaching, one of the first things I do is check the person’s motivation for change – because the function of a coach is to facilitate change. No desire for change = no coaching. And the desire or motivation to change is either away from what we don’t want, or towards what we do want.

And I think it’s fair to say that for the last 8 months my motivation has been one of ‘away from’. And this thinking pattern has kept me away from the light. It has been a time of trying to come to terms with all that is new – a new country, a new place to live, new cultures, new ways of doing business, new friends, a new school, new sports groups …

Some of the newness has been easy to embrace, but some aspects have been particularly difficult. It’s great making new friends and being welcomed into a social circle – it’s hard when those whom you love drift away because of geographical excuses. It’s exciting starting a new business, but so frustrating to realise that it’s about starting all over again. It’s amazing living in the land of efficiency, but sad to witness the effects of superficiality, transient relationships and conspicuous consumerism.

Whilst I could go on about how it feels to keep looking at what you don’t, I am instead going to share a core insight that has crept into my awareness over the last couple of days. And that is that the spiritual me has become a shadow of who it was. I seem to have lost touch with my depth, peace and calm. I’m finding it hard to meditate. My energy and health have been unsettled. I realise now how important solidity, stability, a sense of community and deep roots are to me. And that one day, somewhere, I will recreate the external stuff. The first step is to realise that focusing on the ‘but’, the ‘away from’, and the ‘difference’ has taken me away from my internal roots.

One of my closest friends who relocated to Australia keeps reminding me that the difference is the motivation, and that moving literally means that it cannot be the same. But it’s a bit like having a baby. I didn’t really understand it until I went through it.

So with that awareness now on paper, what I ask for today on this Festival of Lights is for the mental strength to cultivate a deep sense of inner peace, acceptance of what is – and the discipline to cultivate living in the present. And to look forward instead of back. I also ask for enormous patience to keep putting one small step in front at a time, not worrying about the outcome, but knowing that I am doing all I can to move forward. To celebrate each victory.

So what do I have to look forward to?

I have some great potential work projects and associations in the pipeline for next year. I am thinking of starting another division with LEAD (my coaching practice), called Leading Ladies – focussing on Leadership skills and empowerment for women. And to run a few public workshops for women who have wings they have not yet discovered.

In 10 days time, my husband and I will celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary in Pangkor Laut – a bucket list item for a long time. And in 6 weeks time, we will be winging our way home to celebrate the holidays with our beloved friends and family.

Travel to Vietnam and Cambodia with my amazing family are on the list for next year, as well as a little trip to Australia with a new friend (and to see an old friend).

I intend doing my PCC certification (an International Coach Federation accreditation), and bring Meta-Coach training to Singapore during 2012.

But mostly, I am looking forward to turning the corner and being at peace. Yes, there are lots of special people and communities that I miss. But it’s time to look forward – time to move towards what I want to create. I’m off to go light my flame again.

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