December 2014


A New Year's Message

This December has been somewhat bitter sweet for us here at Talking About. One of the sweet aspects of this month is that we are celebrating TEN years in business, which we reckon is a milestone for any small business. We owe that to you and would like to take this opportunity to thank each and everyone of you for whatever interactions you have had with us. You may have read our newsletter, visited our web site, come to one of our workshops, attended one of our webinars, been one of our coaching clients, been a sponsor for one of coaching clients or been one of our coaching students. Whatever interactions you have had with us we are very grateful to have shared part of the last ten years with you.

The bitter part can be seen in the temporary change in format of this month's e-zine with images and some links missing from our usual format. Our web sites came under a malware attack in mid-December and this attack has brought all of our web sites down. We were away on holidays at the time and this put somewhat of a dampener on our time away, exacerbated by being in Sydney at the time of the Martin Place siege. We are still working to get our web sites back, which is no easy task given their complexity (some 3000 files), but we are hoping they will be back online soon.

Another sweet part of this year is a great offer we are preparing for next year. One of our main drivers of the past ten years has been to share the ontological approach with as many people as possible. Next year, we would like to offer you the chance to explore the ontological approach in more depth and at the same time do some personal development for yourself. What we will be doing is providing an in-depth paper on the foundations of our ontological approach together with an assignment designed for you to explore how this framework makes sense in your own life experience. We will review your assignment and send back written comments to help you explore the ideas further. And all this will be at no expense to you! You can read more about this later in this newsletter.

Some other exciting news on the cards is Jacqui’s new book on what it’s like living with a mood disorder. The working title is Black Dogs, Roller Coasters and Pink Elephants. Jacqui cannot over-emphasise the value and re-assurance she has gained from having a chat with, interviewing, and reading about the first-hand, lived experiences of other people with mood disorders or other mental illness or the people who care for them.  Her own knowledge has grown far more effectively out of hearing and reading the first-hand, lived experiences of others.

If you’d like to receive a pre-publication excerpt, or be kept in the loop about publication and launch dates please email Jacqui at with the subject heading Keep Me In The Loop.

Finally a message from us to you for the New Year. John Lennon once said, "If everyone demanded peace instead of another television set, then there'd be peace."

May your 2015 be one full of peace and fulfillment.

Can We Be Objective?

"Show me a man who claims he is objective and I'll show you a man with illusions."

… Henry R. Luce (1898 - 1967) US Editor and Publisher

Ever heard someone say, "In reality..."? When someone does this, they are claiming a right to seeing the real world where others can't. They are saying "I really know how things are, so listen to me!". This is an example of someone claiming "objectivity" and access to the Truth about the world. The question is can people make this claim? Can we be objective?

Objectivity is defined as seeing things in a way that is not influenced by personal feelings, interpretations or prejudice. The idea is that it is unbiased view based on facts.

If we were to do this, we would have to put aside our personal feelings, interpretations and prejudices. So is this possible? In order to answer this question, we will have to have some idea of the human condition and how we relate to the world outside of ourselves.

The ontological approach stems from the idea that we only have our own inner experience as the basis on which we engage in life. This can be seen in our basic premise:

‘Life is internally experienced as an ongoing process in a sequence of indefinable moments; yet our life appears to us as a constant state of being and becoming.’

So what does this mean?

That “life is internally experienced” speaks to the idea that an individual human being cannot know anything outside of his or her experience. When we think about it, this appears to be self-evident. How could I have any other experience but my own? Even if I believe I am having someone else’s experience I still only have my own experience of sharing another’s experience, so I can never know with certainty whether that sharing is valid or not. A simple example can demonstrate this.

If we assume you and I are not colour blind, we can both look at an object and identify its colour. Let’s say, we both say it is blue. We might disagree about what shade of blue it is, but we both claim it is blue. Even though we have this agreement, the question still remains “is the blue you see the same as the blue I see?” Based on our similar physiology, we assume what is blue for you is the same for me and act accordingly, yet we cannot know this for sure. However, we can still agree it is blue and act consistently with that agreement. As human beings, we have to assume that others have experiences similar to ours if we are to live and engage with them.

This definition of the human condition infers that rather than seeing the world as it is, we live in a world of interpretations and this precludes the idea of a purely objective view of the world. After all our inner experience is full of personal feelings, interpretations and prejudices and cannot be any other way.

Rather than speak of objectivity we can speak about a deeply shared subjective view of the world that allows us to coordinate with other human beings. We can certainly use techniques such as the scientific method to develop better grounded shared explanations of how things are, but it is important to recognise that science doesn't reveal the Truth, just potentially better explanations of things.

So the next time you hear someone claiming to know what is real, I invite you to consider what else might be going on. More often than not a claim of the Truth is likely to be a claim to authority and a means of getting you to unquestionably fall in with the speaker's view of the world.

Learn Some Ontology For Free

As we said at the start of this e-zine, we are offering an opportunity to learn about the basics of the ontological approach and do an assignment that we will review in writing if you submit it to us.

Why are we offering this? There are a number of reasons. Primarily, we have a mission to share the ontological approach to life and coaching with as many people as possible in order that it can make a positive difference in their life. You can get some ideas of the ontological approach by reading this e-zine or other articles on the subject but it is a very different thing to think more deeply about your life in the context of the ontological framework.

So what are we offering?

We will provide you with:

  • An extensive paper setting out some of the foundational ideas of the ontological approach, together with a slide show and mind map setting out an overview of the contents;
  • An assignmnent in MS Word format that invites you to explore what these ideas mean in your world allowing you the opportunity to undertake a short personal development experience;
  • We will provide you with written comments in response to your thoughts and any questions that arise in doing the assignment. You will have 4 weeks to complete the assignment and get it back to us for review if you wish us to make comment. The paper, assignment and our written comments will be free to you;
  • If you wish to have a further conversation with us to explore your assignment in more depth then you can arrange a one hour or two hour Skype based pre-paid conversation with us at Aus$50 (+GST for Australian residents) per hour;
  • If after doing the assignment, you would like to explore doing our Coach Training program then this assignment will be seen as the equivalent of having completed Assignment 1 in the program

You are welcome to pass this offer on to other people that you know, however please be aware that we will only be providing assignments to four people each week as we have to also manage our own work in the context of this offer. As a result, there will be a waiting list established on a first in basis.

To be part of this offer or to find out more, please write to us at setting out when you would like to start doing the assignment, bearing in mind you will have four weeks to complete it. We will then let you know of we can fit in with your desired timeframe and make the necessary arrangements for your participation.

Play Create Elevate

Some thoughts from Jacqui Chaplin

"Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."

... A line from Ferris Bueller in the movie that bears his name

Finding Your Inner Ferris Bueller

If you haven’t seen the 80’s cult classic Ferris Bueller’s Day Off it might be time. Or you could just ask someone else about it so you get the idea behind my message. Although I suspect it will be clear one way or the other by the time you are done reading.

So often we work long hours, we let ourselves get busy, we get overwhelmed by family or social obligations and life gets unbearably monotonous and grinding. Finding your Inner Ferris Bueller is about becoming aware of what is happening and making a choice for it to be different. And yes, the only person who can work out the mess you are in is you. It is up to you to make some new decisions and new choices about how you will live your life.

Ferris takes his father's prized 1961 Ferrari 250 GT California Spyder convertible in to down town Chicago with some friends.  According to Wikipeadia they spend a charmed, carefree day in the city, including lunch at a fancy restaurant, a Chicago Cubs game at Wrigley Field , and visits to the Sears Tower, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Ferris crashes the annual German-American Von Steuben Day Parade, lip-synching to Wayne Newton's cover of "Danke Schoen" and the Beatles' "Twist and Shout" on the float as the very enthusiastic crowd joins him singing and dancing.

There’s a whole lot more that goes on in the film.  The underlying message is that taking some time out for yourself, without necessarily having to be a truant from school or work, has the potential to be anywhere from a bit fun to an epic adventure. Fun and adventure are great for keeping your mind healthy and keeping many of life’s stressors at bay. Releasing your own pressure valve before you pop a gasket will save you from unnecessary distress and allow for a quicker recovery from whatever you are experiencing.

Find your inner Ferris. It might even include watching Ferris Bueller’s Day Off! Enjoy a break. Give yourself permission.  It’s ok to play!

More on PCE next month!

Hey, did you know?

"But I Feel Good" Radio Show

Did you know that since November 2013, Jacqui has been hosting a weekly radio show called ‘But I Feel Good’ …talking about pink elephants and black dogs.

The show is dedicated to speaking openly and comfortably about the ‘black dog’ of mood disorders from a lived experience perspective and the ‘pink elephant’ strategies and practices that build emotional resilience and inner fortitude.

It covers a range of topics related to mind health and plays a great mix of music in between interviews with subject matter experts and related content.

The show goes live to air, streaming on so it can be heard AROUND THE WORLD every Monday from 1-3pm AET. Its official broadcast base is 94.9 MAIN FM which extends across the Mt Alexander Shire in Victoria on the wireless.

The Monthly Diversion

The World's Funniest Joke

For some reason just recently I found myself in a conversation with someone where the topic turned to the idea of what is the world's funniest joke. Indeed, how could you even seek to work that out and where would you start. Given, that I have been writing this e-zine for many years and have included many jokes over that time, I decided the time was right to find the world's funniest joke and share it with you. So here goes, from the halls of Dr. Google and LaughLab, the funniest joke ever is ...

Two hunters are out in the woods when one of them collapses.

He doesn't seem to be breathing and his eyes are glazed.

The other guy whips out his phone and calls the emergency services. He gasps, "My friend is dead! What can I do?"

The operator says "Calm down. I can help. First, let's make sure he's dead."

There is a silence, then a gun shot is heard. Back on the phone, the guy says "OK, now what?"

"If everyone demanded peace instead of another television set, then there'd be peace."

…John Lennon (1940-1980) English Singer and Songwriter

Join Us Online

Do you want to explore some of these ideas in more depth? Then, we invite you to join our LinkedIn Group and share any insights you may have. As others have done, we also initiate your own thoughts and conversations if they relate to the ontological approach. You can find us on LinkedIn by clicking here.

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