Booking “A-Head,” Cancellation-Watching, Headaches and Other Painful Stuff

If you have tried to make appointments with me (Paddy), you will see a busy online calendar. Most of the folk I visit with book several weeks or a couple of months in advance. And, they book 3-5 sequential appointments to make sure that they get the times they wish.

I recommend that couples, families and individuals work to obtain appointments every 2nd week for several months. Booking ahead is the only way this works. This takes planning. It is head-work. Since I only work Mondays and Thursdays, my limited schedule makes it difficult for some to get the time they wish. If you use your head, it should work out okay.

I know that not getting hoped-for appointments is frustrating. I have had a few headaches over this as well. I respect your time and the effort it takes to create these visits. And you do create the visits – I don’t.

Some kindly folk ask, “Why don’t you add a day or so?” I go on and on about my grandchildren and how they need me (etc.), or how old I am. So don’t ask. You will get a sermon.

Did you notice that I don’t have a lovely admin person answering your calls? But the good news is that my online booking pro never sleeps or takes lunch breaks and works on stat holidays. You can book any time you want. My booking system will never get mad at you. You can also cancel appointments without guilt (but give me 48 hours or time to replace the hour) and reschedule around your exercise class.

Here is some stuff you need to know to make working with me a bit easier, therefore, less headaches for both of us.

#1 Book online for the first appointment you can get, and then book a bunch later (say 3 or 4) when time works on my calendar and your schedule. By the way, it is a lot easier to cancel or reschedule than it is to book – you do this through the emails you receive from my booking machine.

#2 Book “a-head.” If you need crisis counselling (urgent care within days) you will need to contact a crisis care line or Family Services. I used to supervise at a crisis line in Coquitlam and was a therapist with Family Services in West and North Van, and they are great. But for me, plan ahead.

#3 Watch for cancellations at least once a day and especially on weekends when most people reschedule. Today is a Monday and I had 3 cancellations over the weekend and 2 were filled. So I had an extra hour that was visible on my calendar. Go ahead and grab it.

#4 If you cancel without giving me 48 hours notice, or if I cannot fill the time, 2 things will happen. You will get charged for the missed time (sorry), and somebody else misses their chance for the spot. This is where headaches happen. I ponder and ruminate and then send an invoice. Shoot! I hate to do this. But I do. Then you get pissed off and start dissing me. I hate that too.

Finally, my “book a-head” photo tells you that I am on holidays — you can tell by what I am reading including “Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire”.

Back to vacating. See you soon.

 

[You can respond to this blog or anything else you see on my web site by emailing life@theducklows.ca.]

“How’s Your Day?” and Other Great Questions

“How are you doing?” “What’s going on?” “Can I help you?” “Where are you going?” “How’re you feeling?” Questions are important. They make you think.

Two of my favourite parent-to-child questions are:
“What are you doing?” (this helps the child think about her behaviour); and
“What should you be doing?” (this helps the child think about what ought to be).

The first question requires the child to think and reflect. If asked with affection and gentle touch, the child will probably not defend or deny but ponder and remember. The second question invokes the conscience and requires a value or judgment call. This helps a child decide on what is right and true. Two key questions for growing up well or living well when you are older – one for the mind and one for the conscience.

Here are some questions that I ask my client-friends. If you have been visiting with me, you may be familiar with them.
 What are you doing that is working well?
 What are you doing that is taking you nowhere? (Or, “What are you doing to create your own hell?”)
 What assets do you and your colleagues bring to your shared task? (This is a good question for marriage and family as well. Just change the words a bit.)
 How are you most resourceful when life (or work) is threatening or stressful?
 How do you adapt to pain?
 What are you holding on to that you need to relinquish? (Good question for parents of teenagers or those grieving a loss.)
 What positive changes are you causing (e.g. to your work, your family) by being yourself?
 What are the best things about your relationships within your family or work?
 Describe a circumstance in your marriage, family or work in which you felt loved.

For lots more questions pertaining to marriage and pre-marriage look for Couple Intimacy Questionnaire under “Tools For Change.” And if you hope to grow from where you are to where you want to be, see the paper entitled “Contract for Change.” Great questions.

10 Focus Questions for Your Summer

Most of us aren’t really very focused. We do what comes next without much reflection. So, for those interested, here are a few questions that you might want to ponder while you prepare for your summer.

1. What do you figure to be your single greatest strength or talent?
2. In what new ways do you want to learn to rest?
3. What are three decisions that typically cause you the most stress?
4. If you were to “sabbath” (meaning “quit it!”) for 60 minutes every day, what would you do?
5. If you could only do three things in your lifetime, what would be the most important?
6. What do you think you should resign from, step down from or let go?
7. In what ways are learning to wonder and wander rather than work and worry?
8. What things on your to-do list can someone else do at least 70% as well?
9. What are the three things you could do in the next three months that would make a 50% difference in your life?
10. Imagine September and someone asks you, “What did you do on your summer vacation?”

“Good Grief” [A Guest Blog]

Our guest blog is from a client-friend who has endured intense loss over the last year. This is her testimony as she learns to trust and re-experience faith.

My thesaurus indicates that the word grief can be replaced with sorrow, heartache, and misery, to name an unhappy few. In the last year any one of these words could have been used to describe me. It all started with the death of my loveable but dysfunctional brother. In turn this contributed to the rupture of my marriage. For the first six months I was in a state of shock and disbelief. I cried just driving on to my yard. I couldn’t sleep. Despite having been in Christian ministry for years I started to doubt God’s existence. At the nadir point I found myself sitting on my living room floor sobbing and saying, “God I don’t even know if you are real but you are all I have.”

Foolishly, people sometimes think we need to have faith to have our prayers answered. I am happy to report that even when we are faithless, God is faithful. Slowly, gently, God is restoring my soul. He has used nature, the love of family and friends, His word, and occasionally an overwhelming sense of His presence. At times it has almost felt miraculous.

Despite my renewed hope I still have moments of intense sorrow. Just the other morning I awoke alone at 5:00 a.m. and instantly my body was racked with pain and I felt as though my grief would crush me. My mind was screaming out, “How can this be!”

Thankfully I have learned that the intense emotion does dissipate. Instead of resisting it, I acknowledge the loss and let my body release the suffering through tears. Once the emotion is spent my spirit reminds me, “I am not alone, God is real and He is enough.”

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