Into the Story
The #1 podcast to learn English with true stories
Episode 47: Dealing With Uncertainty, With Bonnie Earl.
Accent: North American (Canada)
If you’re here, it means you’re ready to take your English to the next level while you learn something else about life, with another episode of our podcast,”Into the Story.” Below, you’ll discover incredibly valuable learning materials that perfectly complement this episode.
Bonnie tells a story about receiving news about a terrorist attack in Nice, France, where her daughter and family were vacationing, highlighting the power of staying grounded and present in the face of uncertainty.
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[00:00:00] Bree: Hi there listeners. It’s your host Bree here. Today, we have a story that happened in Nice, France during a big celebration called Bastille Day. But on this particular night, The joyful atmosphere was destroyed by a tragic event. Uh, terrorist attack along the picturesque Promenade des Anglais forever change the lives of many people. A man drove a truck into a crowd of people celebrating, causing chaos and devastation. This episode provides an emotional account of this significant event from two distinct perspectives. Bonnie and her daughter. Imagine this. Bonnie, who is a mother and grandmother, is watching the news one evening when suddenly some shocking news grabs her attention.
[00:01:22] Bonnie: And then I hear breaking news story. Attack in Nice, France. It was absolute mayhem. And then it took a few seconds to register. Oh my God. My daughter, my son in law and my two precious grandchildren were vacationing in Nice, France.
[00:01:46] Bree: Bonnie has a tough decision to make because she has a client appointment in an hour. We’ve all been in situations where something big happens and it’s hard to stay focused. Maybe we feel really anxious or nervous or even excited about something. Stay tuned because this is a pretty incredible story. Plus at the end. Bonnie will guide us through an exercise to help us stay present no matter what happens in life.
[00:02:17] Did you know, that listening to stories is one of the most powerful ways to remember new vocabulary? Well, if you haven’t already then follow into the story right now to never miss a new episode. Just hit the follow button. It’s usually at the top of your app and thanks.
[00:02:44] Okay. Now it’s that time where we pick five words and expressions that you could learn from today’s story. And remember, the most important thing is to enjoy the story and understand it as a whole. But if you can learn one two or even all five of these words then great.
[00:03:10] The first one is scrolling. To scroll. So scrolling refers to the action of moving content up or down a digital screen, usually your phone using your finger or a mouse, if it’s on your computer. It’s what you do to see more information on social media, websites, you get what I mean. For example, I was scrolling through my social media to see pictures from my friend’s vacation. Or he scrolled down the webpage to read the entire article. To scroll.
[00:03:56] Next. I mayhem. Mayhem is spelled M A Y H E M. . Mayhem means a state of chaos or disorder or extreme confusion. And it often described situations where there’s lots of noise and movement and unpredictability. For example, after the football match or soccer match, if you’re in north America, There was mayhem in the stadium as fans celebrated their team’s victory. Or the sudden thunder storm caused mayhem at the picnic. Mayhem.
[00:04:47] And the third word that I think would be very interesting for you to learn today is to register something. So this has different meanings, but in today’s story, Bonnie uses it to mean realize something or understand something. So to register means to notice something it’s when you suddenly understand or realize information. Okay. Let’s look at a couple examples. It took me a moment to register that I had left my keys at home. Or she didn’t immediately register the importance of the message until her friend explained it to her later. To register.
[00:05:38] Next. To pace P A C E. So pacing refers to the act of walking back and forth often when you’re nervous it’s a way that people move when they’re feeling anxious and impatient. For example, he couldn’t sit still, so he paced around the room while waiting his turn to speak. Or she paced back and forth in her office trying to find a solution to the problem. To pace.
[00:06:19] And finally. To make your way somewhere. So to make your way somewhere means to travel or move in a specific direction or to a particular destination. It’s about getting from one place to another. For example, they made their way to the top of the mountain, and enjoyed the hike. Or at the end of the night, she made her way home. To make your way somewhere.
[00:06:53] Okay. That is all for the new words and expressions from this episode. If you would like to look at the transcript, extended vocabulary list, and a listening comprehension quiz, then you can visit our website. We will leave you a link in the show notes for this episode. Now comes the fun part. . Let’s get into the story.
[00:07:21] Bonnie: So it’s a day and night t hat I’ll never forget. It’s July 14th, 2016. I’m sitting, watching the evening news, which I seldom do. Scrolling through my phone at the same time, kind of half paying attention to the news, half paying attention to my scrolling. And then I hear breaking news story: attack in Nice, France. I literally put my phone down. I leaned forward. I actually moved right up and had my face at the screen of the TV. And what I, what I witnessed was just absolute mayhem. People rushing. There were scenes of children jumping off ledges of what looked like a walk embankment. It was absolute mayhem. And then it took a few seconds to register. Oh my God. My daughter, my son in law and my two precious grandchildren were vacationing in Nice, France. Part of their trip was to be a part of these Bastille Day celebrations.
[00:08:44] Bree: As Bonnie continues watching the news. Her fear and anxiety, turn into worry. Her daughter and family are supposed to be there at that exact place.
[00:08:58] Bonnie: And so my face is to the TV and I’m watching.
[00:09:02] And then. It’s oh my God. I call my daughter. And I call my daughter and there’s there. There’s no answer. And then, and then I’m still continuing to watch these images. I call my, my son-in-law and no answer, and I I’ve got my face to the TV and they’re reporting that they already know that there are fatalities that there are people already who are dead and many of them are children. I called the hotel. No answer.
[00:09:46] I did not know whether my family of four was alive or dead The news was at six o’clock. It’s now six 30 and I have a seven o’clock appointment with a client. And it’s what do I do? Can I, can I stay present to my client?
[00:10:12] Bree: Bonnie is a coach. She coaches people how to stay present in their lives. And find power in that presence. She doesn’t know what’s happening with her family and in 30 minutes. She has a client. She has to decide: can she meet her client and put her worries about her family aside. Is she able to be totally present and not worry about something that’s completely out of her control at this moment.
[00:10:49] Bonnie: Teaching women how to stay grounded and present, no matter what, even when the stakes are high, that’s what I asked what I teach my, my clients. And so it was, here’s an opportunity for you to walk the talk. Can you stay present? And when I checked inside. The answer was a resounding yes. There is not a thing I can do right now concerning my daughter. I can hold space for my client. . And I remember vividly.
[00:11:28] Turn the TV off. The screen goes blank. And then. It was closing my eyes, going inward, bringing my focus down into my belly. And it is: what do I have control over right in this moment? What am I choosing to do? In this moment. And then that’s when I decided that I could welcome my client. and not think about Nice, France or my family for that hour and a half. And then once my client left.
[00:12:15] It was again, trying to contact them.
[00:12:17] No answer. I pace. I pray.
[00:12:23] Bree: It’s been nearly six hours now. And Bonnie is pacing, walking back and forth, worrying. And finally.
[00:12:36] Bonnie: And then. A little after midnight, . I receive a message from my daughter. Three words. Mom. We’re okay.
[00:12:53] And then she went on to tell me that they were having a beautiful day. It was a beautiful, bright, sunny day. It was a very festive occasion. People were happy and enjoying the day. It was getting close to the time when the fireworks that were to be fireworks in the evening. And they had taken a picture of the four of them and it was dark. and there, they had these beautiful smiles on their face and they were ready, the kids were ready to see the fireworks.
[00:13:26] Bree: Bonnie’s daughter told her that they had had a great day at first. But just before the fireworks were about to start, she had a feeling. that something was wrong.
[00:13:41] Bonnie: And then that’s when my daughter had this sense, this feeling that they should move. And her husband said. Why? We’ve come all this way. And she said, no, we, we need to move. Even though it was moving from this prime location that they had. She just had the sense that they needed to move. They walked about a block and a half.
[00:14:08] they turned onto a side street and then bam.
[00:14:12] They heard the crash. They heard glass breaking and shoulder to shoulder stampede of people. My granddaughter, who was six at the time was, was knocked to her knees. Her daddy swooped her up and threw her under a bistro table. My grandson eight at the time, my daughter pushed him under the same table.
[00:14:31] And the four of them crouched against the wall. While, people rushed by.
[00:14:36] Bree: Bonnie’s daughter and her family were able to hide under a table at a restaurant and they stayed safe.
[00:14:50] Bonnie: Eventually they, they got up, they made their way back to the hotel. They cleaned up scraped knees and elbows. But it wasn’t until the next day they realized how much danger they’d been in. And it wasn’t until the next day they realized that if my daughter had not listened to her inner voice. It would have been a very different story.
[00:15:24] Bree: Bonnie’s daughter realized how close they had come to something really terrible happening. And understood that it was important that she listened to that inner voice. That intuition. They had a flight to come home the following day.
[00:15:42] They had come from the airport to my home and when they came into my house, I
[00:15:49] Bonnie: can remember, uh, seeing my daughter and my. My family and giving them the biggest hug ever. it was tears. And.
[00:16:01] It gave me a whole new appreciation for the word gratitude to be grateful. Beyond words.
[00:16:09] My beautiful family of four came home. Hundreds. Hundreds did not. My daughter listened to her voice and I taught her that.
[00:16:25] Bree: And there you have it: A story of an extremely tragic terrorist attack . But also of intuition and learning how to state present. Especially when we can’t control life’s events, which we most often can’t, but we can control our response. Bonnie is not just a loving mom and Nana, but she’s also a coach who empowers women to listen to their inner wisdom, speak their truth, and live authentically. Now as a bonus, Bonnie will guide us through a breath exercise to help us stay grounded and present no matter what life throws our way.
[00:17:16] Bonnie: Yeah. So I’m, I’m often asked how, how do you, how do you stay present? Whether that is. That you’re really excited about something or whether you’re really worried about something.
[00:17:28] And the one thing. That I would say it’s about. Taking a moment. And you can do it with me right now, even it’s, unless you’re driving. I wouldn’t suggest that, but if you’re not driving, if you can just sit and if you can close your eyes. Taking a deep breath.
[00:17:52] And as you exhale, bring your focus down to about two inches below your navel. Martial artists call it the power center. And then just see and feel. A point of light in the center of your pelvic bowl.
[00:18:10] And feel your feet.
[00:18:13] As soon as you do that, a whole bunch of things happen automatically. You feel that you’re breathing your breath comes down into your belly.
[00:18:24] You notice that your body relaxes. You notice that your mind becomes still. And this is the quickest and easiest way to become grounded, centered, and present. And it takes a matter of a few seconds.
[00:18:44] Bree: So this breath exercise that you just heard is what Bonnie did when she needed to become present. When she was about to meet her client. And she heard the news of the terrorist attack. I often do something similar when I’m feeling a bit anxious. So I recommend that you try it. thank you, Bonnie, for sharing your incredible story and wisdom with us today. If you want to learn more about Bonnie and her very empowering work, you can visit her website www.bonnie-earl.com. And don’t forget to grab her ebook. I will leave you a link in the show notes of this episode. If you enjoyed the story and want to hear more inspiring stories, be sure to subscribe to, into the story on your favorite podcast platform. And also share it with a friend. If you like what we’re doing sharing this episode is an incredible way to support the show. Okay. That’s all for today’s episode. So until next time, keep listening, and stay present in your own beautiful story.
[00:20:03] Okay until next time, I hope that you have a good time. Or at least a good story to share.
Quote of the episode
“What do I have control over right in this moment? What am I choosing to do in this moment?”
– Bonnie Earl
Words & expressions of the episode
In order of appearence in the episode.
* Key vocabulary mentioned in the episode
Seldom: it means “not happening or being done often” or “on rare occasions.” If something occurs seldom or rarely, it means it doesn’t happen frequently.
She seldom eats fast food because she prefers healthier options.
He rarely misses his morning jog; he’s quite committed to staying active.
*(To be) scrolling:
Definition: Scrolling refers to the action of moving the content up or down on a digital screen using your finger or mouse. It’s what you do to see more information on websites, social media, or documents.
I was scrolling through my social media feed to see pictures from my friends’ vacations.
She scrolled down the webpage to read the entire article.
Breaking News Story:
Definition: A breaking news story is a sudden and important piece of news that has just happened. It’s information that’s fresh and being reported immediately.
The breaking news story on TV reported a major earthquake in a nearby city.
The breaking news story online was about a surprise announcement from the president.
Definition: Mayhem means a state of chaos, disorder, or extreme confusion. It often describes situations where there is a lot of noise, movement, and unpredictability.
After the soccer match, there was mayhem in the stadium as fans celebrated their team’s victory.
The sudden thunderstorm caused mayhem at the outdoor picnic, with people scrambling for cover.
Definition: An embankment is a raised structure made of earth or other materials that is built to control water, like preventing flooding or supporting roads or railways. It’s like a man-made hill.
The embankment along the river protected the town from flooding during heavy rains.
The train tracks were elevated on an embankment to allow for smooth travel across uneven terrain.
*To register (to realize):
Definition: To register means to become aware of or notice something. It’s when you suddenly understand or realize information.
It took a moment for me to register that I had left my keys at home.
She didn’t immediately register the importance of the message until her friend explained it to her.
The stakes are high / high stakes:
Definition: When we say “the stakes are high” or refer to a situation as “high stakes,” we mean that there is a lot to win or lose, and the outcome is very important or serious.
In a poker game with high stakes, players bet large amounts of money, making the game intense and nerve-wracking.
Taking a test to get into a prestigious university is a high-stakes situation because your future education depends on the results.
To walk the talk:
Definition: “To walk the talk” means to do what you say you will do or to act in a way that matches your words and beliefs. It’s about being consistent in your actions and words.
If you promise to recycle and reduce waste, but you don’t actually recycle or make an effort to reduce waste, you’re not walking the talk.
A good leader should always walk the talk, meaning they should set a good example by following the same rules and values they expect from their team.
Resounding — “a resounding yes”:
Definition: “Resounding” means very clear, strong, and unmistakable. When we say “a resounding yes,” it means a strong and enthusiastic affirmation or agreement.
When the team asked if they should continue working on the project, they received a resounding yes from the manager, who was very supportive.
After the concert, the audience gave the performer a resounding applause, showing their appreciation for the outstanding performance.
*To hold space for someone:
Definition: Holding space for someone means being present and supportive while allowing them to express themselves without judgment. It’s about creating a safe emotional environment.
During the meeting, she held space for her colleague to share their concerns without interruption.
The therapist held space for the patient to talk about their emotions and experiences openly.
Definition: Pacing refers to the act of walking back and forth, often nervously or restlessly, usually in a small area. It’s a way people move when they’re feeling anxious or impatient.
He couldn’t sit still, so he paced around the room while waiting for his turn to speak.
She paced back and forth in her office, trying to come up with a solution to the problem.
A (city) block:
Definition: A city block is a rectangular area within a city or town that is bounded by streets or roads on all sides. It’s like a neighborhood unit.
The bookstore is located on the next city block from here, just around the corner.
The park stretches for several city blocks along the river, providing plenty of green space for everyone.
To be knocked down (knocked to her knees):
Definition: Being knocked down means to be forcefully pushed or thrown to the ground, often causing someone to fall on their hands and knees.
The strong wind knocked down several trees in the storm, blocking the road.
She was knocked to her knees by the impact of the car accident but fortunately wasn’t seriously injured.
Definition: To crouch down means to lower your body by bending your knees while keeping your feet on the ground. It’s a way to get closer to the ground or take cover.
The hiker had to crouch down behind the rocks to avoid being seen by the wild animals.
During the game of hide and seek, the children crouched down in the bushes to hide from the seeker.
To be swooped up:
Definition: To be swooped up means to be lifted quickly or suddenly, often with a protective or rapid motion, like being picked up off the ground.
The superhero swooped up the child and flew them to safety before the danger reached them.
She was feeling down, but her friends swooped her up with their support and kind words.
*To make your way somewhere:
Definition: To make your way somewhere means to travel or move in a specific direction or to a particular destination. It’s about journeying from one place to another.
They made their way to the top of the mountain, enjoying the scenic hike along the trail.
After the concert, they made their way to the nearby café for a late-night snack.
Listening Comprehension Exercise
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Bonnie Earl in a coaching session empowering women.
Bonnie Earl loves being a Mom and Nana. She also loves being the coach who is empowering women to listen to their inner knowing, speak their truth and live a full, authentic life. She believes it’s time for women to stand in our full power, to be our full selves.
To find out more about Bonnie, visit her website bonnie-earl.com and get her FREE eBook.