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Mastering Your Inner Game: An Interview with Ailish Keating

Life is Too Short to Stay Stuck or Hidden. 

Ailish Keating perhaps knows this better than anyone. About seven years ago, she developed a large lump in her breast that seemed to appear overnight.  She had been going through a very a stressful period at that time.  In addition to the stress, she was aware she had a lot of repressed emotions that likely also contributed to the appearance of the lump. Fortunately she possessed the self-awareness to realize what had caused it. Over the next few weeks she was able to reverse it by addressing her internal struggle, releasing the emotions using some healing methods she was familiar with as well as changing her diet and actions. Within a couple of weeks, the lump went from the size of a golf ball to the size of a small marble and continued to diminish. But that wasn’t the end of the lump.

About four years ago, she found herself in the middle of a similar set of conditions where she was under an enormous amount of stress, and the condition returned. This time, it did not matter what she did; nothing changed its direction. She was living in Maine and traveling back and forth to New York City for treatments when COVID arrived. Flights were soon canceled and she was unable to travel to appointments. Her condition worsened over the two months that followed. By the time she was able to be seen by a medical professional, her diagnosis was triple negative breast cancer with two to six months to live. It had metastasized and she was very weak. She then went on various chemotherapies which would work for about three weeks and then stop working. Eventually, after the third chemo was not working, the US doctors suggested that she return to Ireland as her condition was not improving. She returned to Ireland and due to COVID-inspired delays and required quarantines, there was an approximately two month delay between appointments from the period of July to September. Somehow, during this delay between treatments, she had started to improve. Ms. Keating was practicing holistic therapies on the side, and they were working. In case you were wondering, Ailish Keating is still alive.

Pretty inspiring, right?

I had the privilege of interviewing Ms. Keating, to find out where she is in her life now – a life that was declared over a few years ago. 

Ailish now dedicates her life to helping others master their “inner game” to achieve healthy relationships, wealth, and happiness. She wants to help people discover why they are here, their authentic self, and uncover and achieve their highest potential. She believes that once someone does the inner work required, not only do they have improved finances, but relationships and life in general also start to improve. She says it is all an inner game.

By the inner game, she means mastering emotions, thoughts, memories and thinking – one’s entire vibration. This impacts how one shows up in life and also what happens to you and how you respond to what happens. As you get more skilled, you can handle situations and people with greater ease. It is not that things don’t happen, it is that you have increased skill sets to handle life and you master your response, your choices, and your reactions.

This shift allows opportunities and invites success into your life. You become more naturally confident and more congruent with who you are. Then the world outside of you changes to match who you are on the inside – it is an inside job.            

“I don’t know you yet, but I know this: the world needs your gifts right now – you are here to transform lives and I am here to help you do that.”

Ailish Keating is a Rapid Transformational Therapy (RTT) Practitioner and a holistic coach who helps entrepreneurs and executives Master the Inner Game to achieve healthy relationships, wealth and happiness and so they don’t burn out. Ailish is trained in RTT, Hypnotherapy, Access Bars, Yoga and meditation.  She has developed a proprietary technique called Emotional Alchemy™, which allows her clients to process high levels of emotions and trauma, achieving powerful results in a short amount of time.

I asked Ailish to explain what Rapid Transformational Therapy (RTT) is, and how it works:

Rapid Transformational Therapy® (RTT®) is a complete solution-based treatment that combines the most beneficial principles of Hypnotherapy, Psychotherapy, NLP, and Neuroscience. In short, RTT can deliver extraordinary change from physical, emotional, and psychological pain by reframing our core beliefs, values, habits, and emotions deep in the subconscious. By rapidly rewiring the brain’s neural pathways, RTT® replaces our outdated belief systems and negative behavior patterns. New life-affirming beliefs are formed, and the transformational process begins. In as little as 1-3 sessions, some lifelong issues can be resolved.

A session is typically 1.5-2 hours, after some initial investigative work between the practitioner and client, the client is placed in hypnosis. This simply serves to allow the conscious mind, which is the gatekeeper, to step aside so that the subconscious mind can answer questions. The client’s subconscious mind will present events from the past that contributed to the current issue/problem. These past events are then cleared from mental and emotional triggers. The problematic beliefs and values, many of which they have carried with them since childhood, are rewired and reframed using suggestions and reframing.

Often, these have been so deeply buried in their subconscious that they are unaware of them; by giving the client the potential to alter the way they think and put an end to self-sabotaging tendencies, the client can positively approach life and move forward. This technique allows a client to release the memory of the event responsible for the traumatic response. It can be used for a variety of issues such as stopping smoking, overcoming anxiety, improving memory and concentration, and clearing traumatic events from the past.

For example, one of her clients, at fifty-one years of age, had a fear of deep water and would panic if she was in water above her waist. She wanted to set a better example for her teenage son as she had found, during every family vacation, she would not go in the water and swim with her husband or child, which had a negative impact on what should have been a happy occasion. She wanted to swim in the deep end of the pool, she wanted to enjoy her time with her family, but something consistently held her back. During her RTT session, it surfaced that she had witnessed her sister almost drowning when she was a child. When that happened, she had promised herself that she would not be put in that position again. A week after the session she was back, swimming in the ocean, and shortly after that, swimming in the deep end of the pool. Swimming is now enjoyable for her and her family; the fear of deep water is completely gone.

In Ailish’s sessions she also uses a proprietary technique called Emotional Alchemy™. I asked her what this is:

Much like memories, emotions that have not been expressed are stored in the body; these stuck emotions then impede our ability to be fully present and can also be easily triggered.  As a protective mechanism, these emotions stack one on top of another.  In a session with my clients, I guide them through the process of feeling and releasing each emotion without judgment, and also to achieve a place of full acceptance of each emotion that surfaces. This acceptance then allows the client to go deep inside and clear and release emotional wounds that have been kept in place from a young age.  

My process of Emotional Alchemy allows the client to process what can be a backlog of emotions in a single session. What is important to understand is that emotions are chemicals in the body and these chemicals impact our vibration. So if you are attempting to achieve a positive outcome but you have a lot of negative emotions – fear, anger, resentment, etc. stored in the body, these emotions that are stored will impede you from achieving a different outcome, regardless of mindset or actions. Once these emotions are released, someone is standing on neutral ground and it is a very powerful place to create from.

I asked her what she finds is the most common fear her patients face?

Shame is often an underlying emotion that shows up, and fear around that. Fear also shows up indirectly through anxiety. While fear is an emotional reaction to a specific, real danger, anxiety is an excessive and unfocused fear that may be triggered by a variety of stimuli. Anxiety caused by stress may persist long after the trigger is removed or arise with no trigger at all.

Have you seen people’s fears change over the years of doing this kind of work, and if so, how?

A lot of fear can be overcome once you start doing the work. So the focus is on getting started. Once someone has overcome the resistance around starting whatever it is, then the focus switches to something else. Most fear and anxiety is associated with an earlier event, once we can clear and reprogram the earlier event that issue is resolved and the client can either move on or something else will show up to work on.

Through the work that I do, it is relatively simple to eliminate fears and anxieties. After they are eliminated, there needs to be positive actions to seal in a new experience. The ego likes the status quo. New actions and situations trigger the ego’s need to feel safe.  Once the ego/personality can learn that it is safe to do a new action and that this new thing won’t ‘get you killed,’ then the ego can be trained to respond positively in these scenarios with some positive experiences.

A lot of things that people consider fear are really just the discomfort around doing something new. These sensations in the body were probably first experienced when the client was a child, so it is very natural to want to move away from them. As an adult, once you can start to identify the sensations and triggers and look at them with an ‘adult’ mind, you can really help yourself move beyond them.

Her number one tip for dealing with anxiety or fear: 

Visualizing a positive outcome before you leave the house. For example, if you are going for a new job interview – before you leave the house, visualize yourself arriving back home after the interview looking happy and calling up a friend to tell them how well it went. Somehow in that process, and I tell all my clients to use it, the outcome of the interviews is usually very favorable.  Keeping an eye on the rate of breath is very helpful also, slightly longer exhales than inhales can assist in keeping the mind calm.

Her number one tip for dealing with depression:

It really depends on the person; however, good sleep, adequate sunlight and grounding should all be a part of everyone’s life. Grounding is the practice of walking barefoot on the natural ground – such as grass, sand, etc. or for example, lying in a park for 20-30 minutes at a time. The direct physical connection to the earth calms the mind. Grounding offers many health benefits, including improved sleep, reduced inflammation, improved tissue and cell repair, enhanced blood flow, increased heart rate variability, and improved electrical activity in the brain. In addition, walking barefoot on the ground releases endorphins and it is free and available to almost everyone. 

Good gut health is also essential for healthy serotonin levels. Once you have these things working for you (sleep, sunlight, grounding and diet), then you are naturally in a better place to deal with whatever mental and emotional issues are present and causing the depression.

I asked Ailish what her biggest challenge in life has been:

My biggest challenge in life has been trusting myself to find my path. A lot of what I have done in life has been different from many family members and friends and pretty much all of my college friends. Particularly, when I was younger, I found there was a lack of good role models and mentors in the field that I am currently in.

What brought you from Ireland to the US? Where are you based now and why did you choose that location over the other?

When I was younger growing up in the west of Ireland, New York always seemed like the capital of the US, even though obviously DC is. After college in Ireland, I had the opportunity to do my Masters through Cornell at IMHI/ESSEC and spent some time at Cornell in Ithaca, New York. After I graduated, I received my green card and I had contacts in the city, so it was easy for me to start in NY. I worked there for over eighteen years and then in Maine for an additional eight years thereafter.

I moved back to Ireland in 2020 as I was sick at the time. As a single parent, it was the correct choice for me.  It took me over a year to settle back into Ireland.  Now that I am here, I am growing my business and my life here. There are advantages to both locations, and I see them both as home. It is fabulous to be in Ireland and Europe for so many reasons also.

What are the biggest differences you see between life in the US and life in Ireland?

Possibility and Potential are the words that always come to mind for me with the US. It is such a big country and has so many different landscapes. People do not generally judge a person for whatever they choose to pursue, so for example, someone who is fifty-five could start out on a new career and no one would think that was unusual at all. The opinions of the people and everything there are generally very diverse. Sometimes the places lack the character of Irish towns and villages though.

Connection is the word that comes to me for Ireland, and connection and community traditionally have been very important in Ireland. However, there is a sense of sameness in Ireland and a somewhat lack of diversity in opinion more so than in culture. The political landscape in Ireland is very mono; there is very little diversity in political opinions. The landscape in Ireland is so beautiful and intimate and there are sacred places everywhere, wells, ring forts and ancient sites, so it is a place of wonderment also.

If Ailish Keating’s biggest fear in life has been of having an ineffective, non-impactful life, I would say she has nothing to fear.

You can connect with Ailish Keating at as well as on most of the regular social media platforms. Most of her work is directly one-on-one and custom tailored to each individual and the results they wish to achieve.  

This article was originally published on

Life Lessons From A Combat Marine: An Interview with Natalie Shand-Spellman

Staring blankly at the computer screen, I wondered for the umpteenth time how to explain that Jennifer Garner doesn’t really work at CIA Headquarters, that her character doesn’t actually exist, and whether there couldn’t possibly be a better use of my time as an intelligence officer than answering a flood of emails from individuals clearly lacking a true grasp of reality. At twenty-nine years old, I could have most certainly used Ms. Natalie Shand-Spellman’s purpose-cising technique.

Ms. Spellman is the author of the book Drop Stress Like a Hot Potato: Transformative Stress Workbook with Life Coaching for Busy Women.

Coach Nat, as she is known, describes the book as an illustrative, transformative, life-coaching, mental health, and stress management workbook. It is for individuals who feel broken, overwhelmed, lost, confused, grief-stricken, lonely, hopeless, and helpless. In the beautifully designed book with therapeutic colors, Coach Nat guides readers through a unique stress transformation and a mental re-framing journey that will improve their mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical well-being. Also, readers will learn the strategies to discover themselves, master their emotions, manage life, overcome negative thoughts, improve their mental health, and experience growth in all areas of their life. At the end of the book, readers will know how to live their best life in harmony and balance while performing at peak levels.

Coach Nat knows something about performing at peak levels – she served in the United States Marine Corps. I asked her to tell me a story about her time in the Marines and a specific experience that shaped her personally. She went on to describe her experience in Marine Corps boot camp:

When I first got to boot camp, I was the weakest because I had difficulty assimilating to the grueling boot camp training. I struggled with the required skill training to advance in the boot camp program, and I also moved at a slower pace than my peers. My leaders wanted to teach me a lesson, so they masterminded a plan to put me in charge of the entire platoon. They assigned me this leadership position during the Crucible, which was the most intense and final test before earning the United States Marine title. It was hard work, and I had to pivot from the weakest link to one of strength. I had to quickly learn how to motivate my peers when it was tough and challenging. I dug deeper into my mental fortitude and discovered my dormant strengths. I tapped into those strengths and quickly learned to turn my other weaknesses into power. That experience taught me that I was stronger physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually than I had previously thought.

She went on to lead a small military troop in Iraq.

Natalie’s current work and her new book were shaped by this military experience. She talks about dealing with lost identity, brokenness, emotional turmoil, and ill health due to stress. I asked her to tell me more about the “lost identity”:

I dealt with a quarter-life crisis after returning home from Iraq. I once led a small military troop and had a promising military career. I had a vital mission to protect the freedom of the United States and was purpose-oriented with great patriotism to serve my country. I had excellent camaraderie amongst other Marines because we all shared the same core beliefs and values. We were sacrificial and willing to put our lives on the line for our country. On returning home, that military state of believing, being, and living was non-existent since others around me did not share my military core values and beliefs. I also felt like a fish out of water because my civilian friends and family could not truly relate to or understand my struggles. My family, as well as society, expected me to assimilate back into a culture I had left behind years prior.

Furthermore, it was more complicated because I was dealing with PTSD unbeknownst to me, and my environment significantly triggered me. I suffered in silence because no one around me understood my struggles. While I functioned superficially, I felt lost because I was no longer a leader with a purpose and a mission but rather a young woman who was once again struggling to find herself in a world where she felt misunderstood.

With today’s youth so seemingly lost, I asked Natalie about why she joined the military in her youth, and if she would recommend it to today’s youth:

The United States Army initially recruited me. I was guaranteed a two-year contract and a $50,000 sign-on bonus. Weeks later, I met the Marine Corps recruiter on my college campus who looked sharp and dignified in his official military uniform, unlike the Army recruiter. The Marine recruiter was highly skilled and sold me the Marine Corps dream with no bonus; it was also a four-year contract, not two years. The Marine Corps dream package promised intangible leadership traits like honor, courage, and commitment. Those were the skills I needed, so I forwent the bonus from the Army for the title of US Marine. I wanted strength and courage to be the best.

I believe today’s youth can benefit from some essential life skills and intangible leadership traits that the military offers. Those traits include discipline, integrity, honor, courage, commitment, perseverance, passion, and mental fortitude, which are high-performing skills for great success. Additionally, when you serve in the military, you tend to mature quicker and be more equipped to handle life’s challenges.

Military service can benefit anyone who chooses that path to success and patriotism, but if you’re not ready to join the military, Coach Nat has created something called Boot Camp for Life. Boot Camp for Life is a proprietary approach to life coaching that she developed to incorporate her military, clinical, and life coaching skills to provide a unique, transformational, intense, and result-driven experience for clients in her coaching program. This program aims to create a shortcut for individuals who want those life skills, traits, maturity, and high-level tools to handle life optimally without enduring the grueling training of the military. This way, there is hope that one can achieve purpose and mission-driven results in their life in a shorter period rather than spending years in military service.

Natalie Shand-Spellman is a great example of the crucial skill she credits the military with having given her- perseverance.

You can find more about Coach Nat at

This article was originally published on OpsLens.

My New Year’s Gift To You

What is manifestation?

If you look it up, here is the definition:


noun: manifestation; plural noun: manifestations

  1. an event, action, or object that clearly shows or embodies something, especially a theory or an abstract idea.

Another more common way to describe it, in today’s world is: The word ‘manifestation’ means to create something or turn something from an idea into a reality. In psychology, manifestation generally means using our thoughts, feelings, and beliefs to bring something to our physical reality.

What if you could do something for just 15 minutes each day that would help you manifest what you wanted in your life?

Back in October of 2022, I stumbled upon something that, admittedly, I was very skeptical of at first. But I tried it, and it actually WORKS. It’s called the God Frequency.

The God Frequency is a 15 minute soundtrack that changes your thinking patterns. It uses a specific sound wave therapy method called binaural beats to retune the brain’s thinking pattern. Binaural beats have been linked to increased concentration and alertness, as well as problem solving and improved memory.

Sounds a bit kooky, right? But, if it could possibly help you it’s worth a try, isn’t it?

Here’s what happened to me within the first 4 weeks of listening to the God Frequency each day:

One of my writing clients began offering more writing jobs.

A brand new customer bought out my ENTIRE Etsy shop.

I was published in a prominent international magazine, which then brought on a referral agent agreement with a great company.

I received money from a long-forgotten class action suit.

I found some cash in the bottom of an old purse.

I received some random small amounts of money from different companies that I have purchased items from in the past, and a large discount on a product I wanted to buy for my kids.

Some online surveys came to me from out of the blue and paid me for about 5 minutes of my time.

I received ANOTHER amount of money from a long-ago class action suit.

I received not only one of my expensive makeup products – but SIX of them as a gift.

And the surprise “manifestations” just keep coming the longer I’ve been listening to it.

Everyone can use some good luck. My hope is that you try this – what do you have to lose?

Give it a try. Consider it my New Year’s gift to you.

Powerful Mind Powerful Soul: An Interview with Sheila Vaske

There it is, in the pit of my stomach.  A creeping feeling, perhaps best described as a feeling of dread, has crept over me each day from as early as I can remember.  As an adult it made the simple process of getting out the door every day to go to work an uneasy experience.  I fought through the feeling day by day and forced myself to do what I had to do to make a living.  Contradicting this feeling, I’ve always had an ability to accomplish goals that most would not have the courage to execute.  At twenty-five I moved myself, alone, across the country and established my own home and career, purely out of determination.  I’ve traveled all over the globe for months at a time, alone, sometimes staying in foreign countries where I did not speak a bit of the language.  I never stayed in a position or situation I didn’t like; I always had some innate courage that has pushed me to live what has turned out to be a very full life.  Yet this feeling of dread has been my constant companion and has even grown progressively worse since 2020.

I’ve become curious to see if other people have this feeling.  If they are familiar with the feeling, how do they combat it?  In my quest to find solutions I recently had the opportunity to interview Sheila Vaske, author of Powerful Mind Powerful Soul.  Ms. Vaske was, among other things, the creator of her own jewelry line, V’Enza.  She describes her jewelry business as being like one of her children.  She was truly guided spiritually to create the line; every piece was birthed by her, and she gave it everything she had.  Her mission and purpose of the business was to inspire and heal as many people as she could through her creations.  Unfortunately, due to many unfavorable circumstances, Ms. Vaske was forced to let the business go.  As the jewelry line was just at the point of scaling into a national brand, the COVID shut downs began.  All of the national contracts that were about to come to fruition came to a halt and Ms. Vaske lost everything.  She describes this time as one of the first in her life that she grieved.  She felt so much pain and became very angry.  She was angry about what she had lost and even angrier about what had happened to the world.  She recognized that an ugly divide had arisen and created hatred.  It took a huge toll on her physical and mental health. 

Ms. Vaske was no stranger to health problems.  At age eleven, she was diagnosed with scleroderma and told she had five years to live.  Coincidentally enough, my grandmother died of scleroderma.  If you’re not familiar with this very rare disease, the way it has been described to me is that your body turns into scar tissue from the inside out.  It is very painful, making even the slightest touch excruciating.  As an infant, I met my grandmother as she was dying in her early fifties.  It is extremely rare for a child to have this disease, and Ms. Vaske lost about eighty percent of function in her right hand and arm.  She describes the look of her arm as being as if it had been burned in a fire.  As expected, this brought on a lot of insecurities as an adolescent. 

The turning point for Ms. Vaske was when her ninth grade health teacher spoke of the power of the mind.  He said, “Whatever you give attention to has power over you”.  Ms. Vaske, who had become a case study at Boston Children’s Hospital, made the decision then and there.  She stopped all medications.  She stopped going to the hospital and visiting doctors and simply made up her mind that she would no longer give the disease her attention.  She would not feel sorry for herself and she would not let it control her. 

At that point, her mind took control and changed the trajectory of her life.  She began doing everything she could to regain her health and that included function in her hand and arm.  Within months, she had regained function of both.  People began noticing her arm not because it looked strange, but because it looked amazing.  They would compliment, instead of cringe, at the appearance of her arm.  This miraculous recovery made her realize the power of our minds.

In today’s world, where so many are struggling with depression and anxiety, I asked Ms. Vaske what her top tip would be for getting through it.  Her answer did not surprise me. 

Take time out from social media and all media in general.  Turn off the television, video games and even movies.  Get off of your phone and take ten minutes each day to reflect on you.  Pretend you live in a bubble and create your own personal space.  Make that bubble beautiful.  Stop following the crowds and pave your own personal way.  What is good for one person may not be the answer for all.  Create your light and spread it everywhere you go. 

If you share my constant companion, this feeling of dread, realize you are not alone.  The goal is not only to manage this feeling, but to get rid of it.  Stop consuming the toxins that are coming at you from all angles and face yourself.  Our young people today are the most at risk.  As Ms. Vaske so rightly points out, many of them do not use senses any more.  Of the five senses, the youth of today perhaps use one or two.  They have lost touch with their intuition because everything is done, said, and felt for them.  They are the ones who truly need the older generations’ help.  Suicides, depression, and anxiety are the real pandemic.  We can be the teachers and achieve change by example.  Perhaps this is the remedy that can at least placate my constant companion.  Maybe it can be yours too.

This article was originally published on OpsLens.

Just Make it Up!

…Archie wasn’t sure he could endure the nun with the paddle on this one.

Pushing the thought out of his mind, Archie opened his laptop and made a decision. He would just make it up. That was it. He couldn’t see traveling to the hinterland of Pakistan/Afghanistan and actually risking his life.

He felt as if he had been liberated as he started typing his cable. He had learned long ago that keeping it brief was best, especially when lying.

Upon completion, he slapped his laptop closed and felt a sense of deep accomplishment – he would still have plenty of time to visit that French restaurant he had seen.

From the latest in the Mingling in the CIA series, Archie.

I’ve Been Published in Oceanographic Magazine!

I have recently had the honor of working with international publicist Kerrin Black and the people at RanMarine Technology to highlight their water-pollution-gobbling invention, the WasteShark.

One of my articles about the WasteShark has just been published in Oceanographic Magazine! Check it out==>

An Accidental Environmentalist

What do whale sharks, robots and plastic pollution have in common?

A new plastic gobbling invention is taking a ‘bite’ out of marine pollution and making a difference in the global fight to clean oceans and waterways. Inspired by nature and created to preserve nature, the WasteShark’s design and purpose was modeled after the slow-moving, filter-feeding whale shark, one of nature’s most efficient reapers of marine biomass.

The WasteShark is an invention of Richard Hardiman, CEO of RanMarine Technology, a drone technology company based in the Netherlands. As Mr. Hardiman puts it, he invented a machine. In doing so, as his young son quite profoundly said, he created a life for his family out of his head. Mr. Hardiman took an idea that popped out of thin air into his self-described noisy mind, stepped away from his extreme dedication to procrastination, and just did it. He took action; he executed on the idea. You see, many people have great ideas, but what separates a successful idea from a passing brilliant thought that never goes anywhere is the execution…. To read more, please click here.

My piece for Oceanographic Magazine

Thailand to Pakistan via… Denmark?

Archie sat wide-eyed and frozen, like the proverbial deer in the headlights. He barely had time to respond before another officer chimed in and spouted out so much detail about some terrorist network that Archie’s head was spinning.

“Um, well Bisaam definitely wants to travel. He’s mentioned Denmark – is that something we can do? Pakistan might be a bit of a struggle for him. I mean, um, financially…” Archie trailed off.

The officers around the table exchanged looks. Henningway just bowed his head for a minute.

“Denmark?” one of the officers said, mouth hanging open in disbelief.

“But Pakistan is closer to Thailand than Denmark,” another officer stated the obvious.

“CTC has the funds. In fact we have excess funds that we have to use or they will be re-appropriated,” a portly guy who appeared to be the Group Chief chimed in, laughing. “You know, everyone wants to get in on the counter terrorism thing these days. It’s where the money’s at.”

From the latest in the Mingling in the CIA series, Archie.

Prostitutes in Phuket

Archie knew Barry, Oliver and Allen went way back, but Archie was new to the division. He put on his best kiss-up face and strode over to the group.

“Hey Arch! Did you meet any more ladyboys in Thailand?” Oliver bellowed.

Archie turned a bright shade of red. The group burst into laughter as Oliver and Allen launched into a description of Archie’s activities with prostitutes in Phuket. It was a literal blow-by-blow of events in which Archie could not even remember participating. Besides the lurking dread he felt upon the sudden realization that he had possibly slept with a Thai transvestite, he felt he could almost die of embarrassment.

How could they bring this up in front of the Chief?!

From the latest in the Mingling in the CIA series, Archie.

The Secret to Happiness- My Inner Thongsuk

I can still hear the click-click-click of her flip-flops as she swayed down the hallway. I can see her clear as day, in her white blouse and long wrap-around Thai skirt. Early every morning she would sweep, tirelessly and somehow gracefully, every inch of the house’s teak floor. She would do the laundry, some by hand in a bucket, suds flowing down the pavement beside her while she scrubbed. She rhythmically ironed all of the clothes. She would cook fantastic meals and she would wash the dishes by hand. She seemed content and always had a joking remark at the ready. She had warm eyes, a wide smile and a wicked sense of humor. She was Thongsuk, our maid in Thailand.

All of the foreign families had maids in Thailand, and likely many of the Thai families did too. But Thongsuk was exceptional. Only as an adult do I now realize that she personified the Buddhist ideal of accepting what is. As an elementary-school-aged-child I only knew she was authentic and warm — genuine and funny.

In the afternoons I would meander out to the backyard where I would find Thongsuk. With a sideways glance and a mischievous glint in her eye she would respond, “You have eye!” to my very American greeting, “What are you doing?” Perhaps feeling low due to being deemed “too skinny” during the school day, my latest schoolgirl crush not noticing me, or any other such youthful worries, she never failed to cheer me up and put things in perspective through her presence alone.

Some days I would retreat to her kitchen and sit with her while she worked. I would happily eat the crunchy little fish that she set in front of me with their heads still intact while she bustled about getting that night’s dinner prepared for us. I was fascinated by her little altar to Buddha in her modest maid’s quarters. I felt instantly at peace when I was with her. She was inspiring at a time when I did not know what it meant to be inspired. She was my friend — I loved her.

As an adult, I find myself frequently channeling my Inner Thongsuk. I myself can be extremely restless and distracted. I am always working on a new project and don’t feel content unless I am creating and moving on to the next thing. But I have realized that the secret to being happy is to accept what is. I find peace in having no, or low expectations. I practice being present in mundane chores. I actually enjoy washing dishes by hand and cooking large meals.

This is not to say that you shouldn’t have goals and work toward accomplishing them. Thongsuk had an outside life that I knew almost nothing about. I’m sure she had her own worries, goals and struggles. But in today’s productivity-obsessed, fake-positivity-spewing world, how many people do you know who are truly happy or content? My experience is that most people in the United States seem pretty darn miserable.

Expectation is the root of all heartache. Desire is the root of all suffering. The quotations abound. That’s correct, the secret to being happy is to anticipate nothing. If restlessness, unhappiness and misery is all you have to lose, why not give it a try? You just might find your Inner Thongsuk.

This article was originally published on and also on OpsLens.

Check out Europe’s leading mind coach – Karl Morris Mind Factor