Friday, October 9, 2009

The last full day!

written by Paul Bos

It was the last full day of my holiday in the USA when I realized the actions I have been taking lately that are not serving me. And I have to thank Virginia for that!

Virginia is a kind, softhearted, friendly and open young woman that I met on Thursday morning at the coffee shop called Fuel. Iris introduced me to her.

Virginia started asking me questions about why I am here etc. and we started talking. I told her that I was here on a holiday and that I would go home to the Netherlands the next day. As I chitchatted with Virginia, I felt so uncomfortable that I never shared why I was here or anything interesting about myself.

Iris joined our table and jumped right into the conversation telling Virginia the real reason for my visit. At the end of 2008 while visiting me in the Netherlands, Iris decided to record a CD in 2009 and she asked me to play harmonica on it. So, I scheduled a holiday for October, 2009 where I could visit Iris and record music. That's why I was here right now.

On hearing this, Virginia seemed impressed and her eyes and mouth took on a surprised look. This did not register with me at that moment, I only realized it after looking back at the situation while writing this article!

Iris proceeded to tell Virginia about my desire to practice conversations with lovely ladies (I'm quite shy).  So I decided to ask Virginia some questions about her life.

An Invitation
Later, Virginia told me that she had to go and began packing her bag. I said goodbye and went to the counter to order something more to drink.  On her way out, Virginia passed me standing in line. She stopped and then invited me to come to a party that night.

How exciting!  I've wanted to meet new people and practice not being shy.  So, of course I told her, "I can't come; I still have to pack my suitcase tonight".

And Then The Questions Started
When Iris came back from her job, we walked around Great Barrington and on a given moment, I told her about the invitation from Virginia.

Iris immediately started to ask me all kinds of questions and make all kinds of statements.

"She invited you? Great! What did you say?"

"You have to pack your suitcase????"

"Why would packing keep you from going to a party?"

"That sounds like an excuse! It sounds more like you didn't you want to go, how come?"

I told her about my fear of forgetting things and wanting to check all kinds of stuff to make sure I didn't forget anything (even though it was 2:30 pm and I only had one suitcase to pack!)

I also told her that I would only be seeing these people for one night and so I didn't see a good reason to get to know them. Iris challenged me by saying that I might have missed meeting a wonderful harmonica player who can teach me through Skype!

Driving home Iris challenged me by saying that "I want to be worried". I really had to think about that because it sounded so illogical!

And More Questions
When we arrived home we told Mark (Teflon) about the event of today (me ditching the invitation) and he also started to ask me questions.

As we talked, it occurred to me that I had trapped myself in a way of being (worrying, hesitating, deciding things weren't worth the effort) that I didn't like and never did.  And still, I somehow felt comfortable with being that way. I told Mark how I hated this and how there had been a few times in my life when I had taken action immediately, without worry and hesitation, and how good it had felt.

When I said "No" to Virginia, I was being the worried, hesitating me. As Mark asked me questions, I saw that I use worry as a way of maintaining control. My worry stops me from doing things in the moment where I might not be in control or I might lose control.

Then we did this role-play where Iris was the worrying me and I was someone giving her advice. In my advice, I told her how she could go to the party and pack her suitcase. There was plenty of time left in the day.

I started to realize how differently I could look at the whole situation. I ended up calling Virginia to tell her that I wanted to join the party, but Virginia didn't answer her phone. So last night, Mark, Iris and I went out for dinner.

A New Paul
At dinner, Mark commented that I seemed to be completely relaxed and "lifelike".  He talked about how I was animated, using my hands to illustrate things while talking. He pointed out that I wasn't constantly pausing and looking at the ceiling or saying hmm... umm... err... when answering questions. He excitedly said, "Man, you've come alive!"

The whole evening, I was totally present and never distracted or worried.

I said to Mark that I wanted to create something that would help me remember to not be worried. We decided to create a short list of things that I could use to help me focus on who I want to be.

Here is the list I created.  From now on, I am going to:
  1. be open (to people and to opportunities; I don't want to miss anything)
  2. take initiative in relationships (without that I am a victim of what happens to me)
  3. be loving (this helps me to connect with people)
  4. be fearless (trusting that things will work out perfectly)
  5. take an attitude of "What the hell" (this one was contributed by Mark based on a point in our conversation where I was so concerned about forgetting my toothbrush that I wouldn't go to a party)

I want to invite all my friends to help me make my list a reality in my life.  Whenever you see me, ask me about how I'm doing with my list at that moment.  If you see me worrying, remind me of my list so I can go back to how wonderful and relaxed I feel today!


  1. WoW! Paul, this is REALLY, REALLY awesome. I am so beaming and inspired by your post. I love how open you are in describing your thoughts and worries and your list rocks! I want to be your friend. I live in Canada though so maybe we can keep in touch through facebook or we could even chat over Skype...oh and I have a friend who is a really great at playing harp. Thank you, happy travels!

  2. Hi Jeannene, thank you VERY much for your sparkling comment. I'm glad you got my message and yes .. i've sent you allready an invitation. Looking forward to more contact! - Love Paul


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