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Downshifting a Bit

Updated: Jun 19

We have downshifted.

We made necessary trips for groceries and walk the dog daily (usually in our wellies, because it rains nearly every day), but Robin and I have gone into “huddle” mode and are attempting to move the needle forward on our various projects, which are many. For instance, I am currently enrolled in two (2!) online courses: one about typology and one about coaching.

I’ve been Interstrength certified with Linda Berens for a few decades now, and she has of late been developing a new “lens” of typology in collaboration with Chris Montoya that they are naming “Intentional Drivers.” This model describes the unconscious efforts we make in a particular direction with our quest to fulfill a particular agenda, which this model explicates. Some participants have already disclosed how it helped them to clarify, sort, and accurately apprehend their typology preferences.

Linda asserts it is a “cognitive” model (and she maps it to our cognitive process preferences), but I keep thinking it is “conative,” relating to our unconscious “will”; and furthermore, it seems teleological to me rather than causal in nature. I readily admit I was unconscious about my own “driver” before this model illuminated it! It succinctly explains my inherent allergy to cookie-cutter approaches.

My other current course is called ACE Coach Accelerator, which is an advanced coach training designed to help coaches dive into the client’s issue faster, and to finish strong—both attributes I would like to land more precisely during my coaching sessions.

Although today I’m not crying about my impact as a coach! Out of the blue I received an email from a client in Los Angeles whom I haven’t heard from in a couple of years. To be honest, I was worried this client might have succumbed to Covid due to the silence. But quite the contrary!

The email said:

Where to begin?! As I shamelessly brag about myself, please know that I’ve stopped seeing my success as evidence of my own greatness and much more a reflection of important people like yourself.

Yesterday I officially became Rabbi [name redacted]. I’ve accepted a job at one of the most prestigious synagogues in the US. During the reception after the ceremony, people told my family that they anticipate I will be one of the next big leaders in the Reform Jewish movement. Even if I’m not, I know in every cell of my body that I will do work that will be great in my own heart and soul.

When I first met you, I was in a relationship that made me insular and limited the kinds of contributions I could make to the world. You ignited a journey that has completely transformed me to be a true leader – one that others turn to from all walks of life.

Since you are an introverted intuitive, you can grasp the complexity of what this path has looked like. But never – NEVER would I have even begun to consider this an option without your guidance. I feel like the phrase “you transformed my life” doesn’t even begin to capture it. As a rabbi, I admit I feel like God came through you to activate something in me that needed you specifically. Then I went and taught my ISTP sister and my INTJ best friend about your system, and though they didn’t get the full on Vicky Jo experience, their lives have changed significantly because they dove into the system themselves.

Below is a picture of the ritual that made me become a rabbi. I hope that my provost’s Priestly Blessing extends to you. Thank you for saving my life from isolation, selfishness, and waste. Thank you for empowering my mind and my soul. I think of you regularly and I never will forget your impact on my life.

What can I say? You’re the bomb.

With humble gratitude, [name redacted]

These are the kinds of letters you print, frame, and hang on the wall to remind you why you do this life-changing work. Messages like this affirm that I chose the right path for helping other people identify and live their own life’s purpose, and I’ve had the good fortune of receiving three or four in this vein over the years. It is enormously gratifying and humbling at the same time.

But things are not all sunshine and roses.

During our downshift, Robin has been rearranging our sitting schedule for tragic reasons.

You may remember the adorable Catalan Sheepdog named Lorca we sat for last summer, and our amusing adventures around his “cone of shame” (see https://www.vjvphd.com/post/lessons-to-be-learned-from-a-cone-of-shame).

We later learned the reason Lorca couldn’t stop himself from licking his lower region was because he suffered from an infected anal gland. The owner took him to the vet upon her return and, after conducting some tests, the vet discovered he had colon cancer. Lorca was then put on an aggressive regimen of chemotherapy.

The owner was scheduled to make another trip to Thailand this year and begged us to return and care for him during that week because, as she implored us, “We want him to be with people who love him.” Of course we said yes and worked it into our schedule.

But this week she sadly canceled her trip and the sit, explaining, “He’s not doing well and we want to be with him for his last days.” Naturally we are broken-hearted about our beloved Lorca… and this is the hardest part of pet-sitting—when an animal you have loved and cared for is suffering and/or crossing the rainbow bridge. It’s not really conscious, but I suspect Robin and I are privately mourning this loss…

We feel blessed to be taking care of Moose at this time, who is spookily similar to Lorca in both appearance and demeanor.


We are pouring our love and attention into his care, which helps to displace our grief in a concrete way.

On a holiday note, we will be celebrating the U.S. Memorial Day come Monday. I bought a red-white-and-blue scarf to wear as a tribute to the day, and will be thinking a lot about my Dad…

However, given our location, we are curious to see how everything lets loose in the UK to celebrate Queen Elizabeth’s upcoming platinum jubilee. Even the grocery store is filled with bunting and celebratory décor.

I think Robin and I will have to attend a tea party or two in her honor.

By the way, do you remember that AusAPT session proposal I mentioned last time? Well, they accepted it! Three cheers for me! Fortunately, I have several months to develop my Powerpoint content in preparation for “The Trimorphic Ethoi of Psychological Types.” Stay tuned in order to learn more!

warmly, -Dr. Vicky Jo

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