In a week where people have been brutally murdered for exercising the principle of self-expression, it is hard to think of any other topic to talk about that does not seem trivial in comparison. The lives of innocents are taken every week but a million people on the streets of Paris tells us that this is somehow different.

Many experts, much cleverer than I, have already expressed their wisdom and right now I feel unqualified to add anything more into the mix. After all, what can I say that has not already been said, or could be said any better? Some time for reflection is needed.

I know that in a few weeks, maybe months, ‘Je suis Charlie’ will be a phrase that some people once wrote on a placard or posted on Facebook. But right now it is still in full focus. The situation is complex and I, like many others, want to make it simpler, to explain it in a neat one liner that can somehow make sense of it all. But there isn’t a one liner coming and the people who believe they have the answers are the ones I worry about most of all.

And that’s the point I want to share with you. Often in life we we are faced with people that want to talk about something important but our mind is in another place.  And we know how it feels because we too have experienced the hollowness of trying to speak to someone who’s not really listening. It feels so futile because we know we are not going to receive the kind of reply we need to hear.

In our work environments we become masters of disguise; disguising the important things in the back of our minds that we are thinking about while we go about our day.  Perhaps our thoughts are indeed about work but the rules forbid us to share them? Or maybe they’re about personal things that have no place between 09:00 and 18:00?  But hide them we do and hide them we must.

And then I wonder, what percentage of our time are we really ‘there’; focusing 100% on the topic in question, on the needs of the person asking for our advice?

Forgive me, this week I am not 100% ‘there’ but I can be distracted for an hour or two, if the need is great and the recipient is engaging. But then I return to my inner thoughts of helplessness in a world that is struggling to find compassion, understanding, common-sense and meaning.

Next week I will tell you my best joke, I will make you smile or inspire you to say ‘I know how you feel’ but not today, today I am somewhere else – sorry.

Have a good week,