HSP: living a creative life, it’s worth the effort

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At the moment I am in the train on my way to Utrecht to give a training on HSP and communicating your bounderies. This gives me time to have a little tête-à-tête with you on this insta-couch and facebook page.

I am so freaking proud of my hubby Arnold. To me he is thé example of a highly sensitive man chasing his ultimate dream. And to some extent we are in this together living our creative life based on our talents. But there are differences. The main difference is that Arnold is most happy when he or someone else puts a camera in front of his face so he can share his take on life. I am most happy when I see people processing their deepest limiting/ destructive emotions.

I’ll take you on a quick tour through his creative journey.

💫 He started out life with three nutrition titles on his name: two bachelors and one master.

💫 He never started a job based on those titles. Instead he ran his capoeira organization for 10 years: a capoeira group and giving all kinds of capoeira workhops to children and adults.

💫 During start-up of his capoeira organization a burn-out took him down. (And still dealing with a continuous headache while pursuing his ultimate dream)

💫 If determination would be a title given out by higher education establishments he would be given this title. While running his capoeira organization he pursued his dream to tell jokes on stage as a comedian. These 4 years were characterized by achievements and setbacks, but in general every step took him closer to be at ease with the most happy, cheerful and light version of himself.

💫 *deep sigh* And now finally he is putting in practice what the comedy world taught him: to simply be himself doing the things in life which gives him the most pleasure and joy. Parallel to this very important aspect he gets paid doing so. Living a highly sensitive creative life is possible. It’s not easy, but it’s gratifying to the max!!

Head over to his Insta @arnoldbalde to see what he is up too.
Like & follow his facebook page to support this crazy and super sensitive goal-orientated creator: https://www.facebook.com/voedinggezondheidleven/

Thanks a lot!

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HSP: working towards your ultimate dream

How does it feel like when you are told by many people you have an enormous talent, but no matter how hard you try you can’t feel it yourself.

That’s harsh.

That’s aweful.

All effort feels meaningless.

That’s when a highly sensitive girl grows up with no space to show her tears, her sadness ánd her enthusiasm.

Writing this I have one particular beautiful and amazing highly sensitive woman in mind. She has a talent for speaking. When she starts telling her stories I am in absolute awe. She also gets me laughing out loud. Her stories are vivid and full of contrasts.

But there is another part to her story. She knows and feels that she can be full of enthusiasm and share this with everyone around her. But at the other side of the coin there is this extreme apathy and self-hate. She doesn’t feel like getting up nor move towards the things she wants to achieve in life.

While these opposite emotions are whirling inside of her.

She does know how to feed herself in a healthy way and continues to do so. 
She also refuses to take antidepressants because she wants to feel and process all the present emotions. 

These two daily actions show the self-love she isn’t feeling, these actions are directed by the mind. Her mind has superpowers. It’s strong. It’s how she has survived all the past years full of contradictory emotions.

During our coaching & rebirthing trajectory she is opening up and embracing the discomforting physical stress. The physical stress has been kept prisoned in her body and mind for so many years. It’s time to connect to the physical stress and release the pain through the physical body, tears and the sound of her soul. 

We are working towards her ultimate dream: being an inspirational speaker. And we’re getting closer, breath by breath.

Life is full of contrasts. When mouths are being shut, these mouths will find a way to express their true talent.

#hsp #highsensitivity #highlysensitiveperson #rebirthing #breaththerapy #lifecoaching #TheHague and beyond

HSP Coaching: get to know your inner life

Recently I spoke to a highly sensitive lady and she said: ‘Don’t tell me to do a daily meditation or mindfulness. This doesn’t work for me. I have tried so many different forms of personal development. Now I want to feel a change.’

What she first needed was to understand how she came to see herself as a highly sensitive introvert and how essential it was for her to go her own way instead of searching for her mother’s approval and understanding. (Almost on a daily basis)

As a kid she grew up with a little sister who turned into a troublemaker. (And not for no reason) She was the bigger sister and did all she could to be of no trouble at all to her mother. When they spoke they mostly spoke about their family situation. Her innerlife was intertwined with her mom’s innerlife. She grew up by keeping her mouth shut about how she felt. Instead she focussed on her schoolwork.

She could’t be more motivated because after the introduction session she started practising immediately. Instead of discussing her inner life with her mom she talked to her boyfriend and a good friend. She said: ‘It wasn’t as satisfying as talking to my mom, because she is the one who understands me best. But I know it’s good for me. I don’t want to depend on her opinion.’

She felt a change. She felt stronger from within, but also dealt with guilt. It was still kind of awkward, but she was still motivated.

And no, I won’t tell her to do meditation if that doesn’t work for her. What works for her was putting her new found insights about herself into practice.

If this sounds like a I-want-to-feel-better-about-myself-plan to you, just send me an e-mail to book your introduction session or follow-up session.

Warm regards,

Chungmei: orchidoflife@gmail.com

#hsp #highsensitivity #lifecoaching #rebirthing #breaththerapy #videoskype #skypecoaching #skype #facetime #TheHague and beyond

How we enjoy silence and taking it slow

I had the most exquisite Sunday afternoon I could wish for. I visited someone I recently got to know through my work. When I entered her apartment I entered a fairytale. I entered a different era, it was as if I travelled through time. In the middle of the living room I stood still and absorbed the feeling of magic she had created.

……

Hmmm, writing this blog drew me into a pause. I tried to describe what I saw, but I just don’t know where to start. I just leave it like this: it was like a fairytale, wanting to turn the page to read how the story continues, to want to be pulled into the magic, just like I wanted to discover every corner of her house, mirroring her soul.

She poured us tea and the following topics past in our conversation:

  • The pull of the fear of death on train tracks, an intercity train passing by and while standing on heights feeling the pull of gravity,
  • The electro-magnetic field of a smartphone; how you can feel it moving into your limbs and how it enters our eyes,
  • How the digital world is taking over everywhere we go and how it annoys us in respect to connecting with other human beings in public areas and stores,
  • How it is so much easier to learn when you hear the word, read the word and see the object,
  • How we as children don’t want to be restricted and yearned for the attention of our parents,
  • How we enjoy silence and taking it slow.

In the middle of the conversation she handed me this amazing book with beautiful drawings and spells in English: The lost Words by Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris. Spells to bring back the words that have been long forgotten in children’s minds. And she shared: ‘How often do we get a book in our hands and sit still with it, feel it? In this digital age in which you go from screen to screen.

I feel so much gratitude reliving this magical experience over and over again. I breathed deep.

Self-healing: I don’t want to be in pain anymore

So this morning I got up and gave myself a rebirthing session. I couldn’t do otherwise. This pain on my left shoulder has been there since end of Christmas holidays. At the beginning of this week I woke up and my body felt paralysed. I couldn’t move. Another pain which arose on my chest was hurting me. This pain was strongly connected to the pain on my left shoulder.

I thought of a yin yoga pose and put a cushion under my back. In this pose I started doing the conscious connected breathing. The pain on my chest moved downwards to my belly. It felt like cramps, but not from the inside out (from my stomach), but more like just under my skin. I’ve cried a couple of times. Afterwards I removed the cushion and took my time to let the pain melt down. I knew it wasn’t over, I knew I hadn’t achieved my goal. This was merely to get myself going again. Getting up, being able to work and parent.

On the same day I felt at ease with my body, but the next day I woke up with a clouded mind. I knew this was inflicted by the emotional pain which hid in my body. This pain would surface as physical pain as soon as I would have the time to help myself with a rebirthing session.

The days after the pain on my left shoulder had spread to the right side and I also felt it moving downwards over my back and to my left arm. For a couple of days now I thought about asking my friend who works as an osteopath to give me a treatment. It would definitely get the energy in my body moving. But thinking about the upcoming work week I didn’t see time to recover from the treatment. This and also the current amount of pain I was in motivated me to help myself as soon as possible.

I was about to last evening, but taking my youngest to bed I fell asleep. Probably I was super tired, because of having walked around with these pains.

After more than 12 hours of sleep I have been doing the conscious connected breathing for 40 minutes on the couch. During these 40 minutes I discovered a new position which stimulated the pain on my chest to move away from the chest. The position was derived from a yin yoga position I knew. I folded by chest towards my legs which were straightened with a tiny bend in my knees. My arms laid next to my hips and legs on the couch. So the pain on my chest started moving with every in- and out breath I took and space was created in and around the pain on my left shoulder.

While going through this pain I felt and thought the following:

  • It hurts, I don’t want to be in so much pain anymore
  • I have work to do, you ( the pain) will not keep me from my work
  • I wish I could have known my great grandfather who lived in China. The whole village went by his house to be relieved from physical pain caused by severe heat
  • I was (again!) cursing in the dialect I grew up with (Wenzhouhua). To me this means I was freeing myself from the sadness of my mother and grandmother

I will continue my self-healing work at some other point. Now Saturday begins and I have like 30 minutes left to continue with the preparation of my third FB Live on HSP & Love.

Would you like to read more on rebirthing? Click here…

Vipassana: Brainsurgery without anaesthetics

About four months ago I completed a 10-Day Vipassana course at the Dhamma Medini Meditation Centre, just north of Auckland in New Zealand.  I am not sure if and how much I should share with you about the course by writing this article. However, I read a lot of Vipassana reviews and stories myself and still had a completely different experience than I was expecting.  Haha, so it probably does not really matter what I write as you would probably interpret everything based on your own life experience anyway. Moreover, the beauty of the whole experience stood out for me and it really touched my heart. Therefore I could not just leave things unspoken and I hope that my story and information inspires you to go out there and see for yourself.

What is Vipassana?

That is 10 days of meditation in the meditation hall or in your private room. Wake up bell is at 4 am and the last meditation session ends at 9 pm. Breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea are provided and there is some time to rest or have a walk on the property. However, exercise in any form is not allowed. The food is completely vegetarian as no (involvement in) killing of any being is allowed. Other rules to keep the mind free from impurities are to abstain from stealing, from telling lies, from all sexual activity and from all intoxicants.

To help with these rules men and women are separated and you spend the days maintaining noble silence. That means no physical, verbal or even eye-contact with fellow meditators and servers. The only human contact you have is with the teacher during question and answer periods twice a day.  Before starting the course you have to commit to fulfilling the complete 10 days. Sounds awesome right!? I mean, who does not want to commit to an isolated 10 day meditation prison.

And what is the idea behind all this? 

In the end the goal is to become a Buddha or in other words to become ‘awake’ or to reach ‘enlightenment’.  This Dhamma, the way to liberation, was first taught by Gautama the Buddha and eventually by Mr. Goenka who spread the teachings around the world. Although Buddhists based their religion on the teachings of Gautama, it doesn’t mean that you will have to become a Buddhist to practice this technique. Gautama never intended to create a following of people separate or “more developed” than the rest of humanity. The technique he taught is universal and thus transcends all religions, sects, races, sexuality and so on.

Vipassana literally means to see things as the really are.  The theory is very simple and scientific. It all starts and ends with anicca, the universal law of nature. This law states that all things are impermanent and constantly changing. Instead of just accepting this, we tend to hold on to pleasant things and run away from unpleasant things. Through this process we create our own suffering; we crave for things we do not have and feel averted towards things we do not want to have. This reaction pattern is so deeply rooted into our minds and to change it we have to work deep within ourselves. Therefore Vipassana works at the experiential level, the level of body sensations.

The course is split into two parts. During the first 3 days of the course you work with Anapana meditation. Anapana is simply directing your attention towards the natural rhythm of your breath and the accompanying sensations. This practice has a couple of benefits and lessons for us. Since the breath is controlled by voluntary and as well as involuntary processes it functions as bridge between consciousness and unconsciousness.

Becoming conscious of an unconscious process helps you to become more aware of what is actually going on for you and your body in the present moment. You become aware of more and more subtle body sensations and of the mind-body connection.

That is, by observing the natural rhythm of the breath you realize how it is affected by impurities of the mind such as lust, fear, anger, envy or greed. Also, by trying to focus the attention on the breath you start realizing the tendency of the mind to pull you into the past or future. In short, Anapana trains the mind to be calmer and more focussed on the present reality so you can adequately practice Vipassana.

Vipassana is the real deal and it starts on the 4th day of the course. Vipassana can be seen as a very thorough and analytical study of the body. With a calm and concentrated mind you start scanning the body from top to toe and from toe to top. While scanning, the goal is to remain equanimeous. That is, observing what is without generating feelings of craving and aversion. If one manages to remain completely equanimeous while observing body sensations, no more feelings of craving of aversion are being generated.

In other words, no more conditioned responses (called saṅkhāras) are being created or reinforced. Moreover, remaining equanimeous actually provides the opportunity for old saṅkhāras dissolve. These are felt in the body as gross sensations, for example as painful, numb or throbbing sensations. Conclusively, Vipassana meditation is about developing your equanimity to dissolve all (even past-life) conditioned responses and eventually live a life free of suffering. By relieving one’s suffering, one notices that deep feelings of gratitude, love and compassion towards all of life arise naturally.

My experience.

Overall, the 10-day course was one of the most beautiful, insightful and healing things I have done in my life so far. It was also a challenge and there were times that I felt quite horrible and really dreaded the coming meditation sessions. However, in my journey, I have realised that healing and personal growth is never completely comfortable. Taking steps towards a more fulfilled, joyful and peaceful life is often quite scary and/or painful. In the Vipassana course, it was especially the physical pain that stood out for me as it was unlike anything I had ever experienced before.  On the other side the course did leave me with a more calm, present and positive mind and I can honestly say that the pain was well worth the gain. Therefore I titled this article: Vipassana: Brainsurgery without anaesthetics.

My biggest insight/transformation was regarding my aversion to pain. When we started the Vipassana meditation, I experienced an intense pain in my lower back. In spite of the pain, I managed to sit through the first three determinations sessions. In these sessions you try to meditate for one hour straight without changing your posture. Although I barely moved, the pain did not dissolve and it actually got worse.

I started experiencing feelings of despair and failure: No matter how hard I try, this backpain of mine just won’t budge.

Then, a sudden realization came to me: This is me, working hard and yielding nothing but disappointment and it is happening everywhere in my life; from striving to impress my dad so he would come back to be with me to trying anything and everything to cure my nasal polyps. However, all without result… A short mental conversation followed:

” So I guess I will just have to observe the pain, is that right?”
” Yeah man, just watch the pain, sit with it instead of through it.”
” Ah, I really do not want to.”
” Why?”
” Because it really hurts.”

Man, I cried my pants off. How obvious it became how I just never truly accepted my father not being there. How I never accepted my nasal polyp being there. I absolutely hated the pain. Absolutely hated how sad it made me feel. I had made the connection intellectually before but at that moment I was able to really sit with it. I was able to really watch the sadness for what it was, at the experiential level of body sensations. Since I was finally just observing, I gave the opportunity for the pain to dissolve. Now, I can’t say (yet) that I am completely free of suffering but I am fighting pain and hurt less thereby enabling myself to better observe, let go and move on. I even feel as if my nasal polyps are clearing up hooray. I shouldn’t get to excited though…Stay equanimeous.

This correspondence of patterns at the sensational, physical/health and social levels reminded me of a documentary called inner worlds and outer worlds (http://www.innerworldsmovie.com), where they explain that the smallest particle contains the complete pattern of the whole. For example, the same pattern might occur in the very cells and atoms of my body. And on the other side, I might actually be a dysfunctional cell of a massive organ that we call the Milkyway. To me this shows how important it is to make changes within as we actually influence everything around us. As a person who was always quite focussed on helping and wanting to change other people that was quite a relief. It created more responsibility for my own thoughts and feelings and gave me the freedom to work more on myself.

I was really impressed by the amount of progress one can make in 10 days and I improved in ways I never thought possible. In the beginning, I could barely concentrate on my breathing for a couple of seconds and it was quite interesting to see to what crazy, creative and often destructive pasts or futures my mind would take me. However, in the end I was able to concentrate on breathing and sensations for long stretches and forget everything around me. On the last day we watched a documentary and there was literally no background noise in my head and I was seeing and hearing like I’d never done before.

Furthermore, I was able to notice subtler and subtler sensations as we kept on practicing and eventually became so aware that I started to wonder if the sub- or unconscious mind actually exists. Maybe it is just a matter of “not being aware of the present”? Mr. Goenka says: “The mind is a strong wild beast, however, imagine if we could actually tame it and make it work alongside us.” I say we would be present to our needs and those of others and we could fulfil all our dreams without being distracted and with limitless creativity. Although my mind now is not as calm and present as it was on the last day of the course, it has definitely helped me become more present and to “catch and reset” myself when I am drifting of in vicious thought patterns.

On the tenth day we were allowed to speak to each other again. This was the best experience of the whole course as well as the most confronting. I noted that not being distracted by my own troubles and stories at that time really enabled me to connect with other people.  I felt so much love and gratitude for seeing how beautiful and unique everyone was. On the other side, it was really confronting to realize that I always thought I knew what was going on for everyone and especially of how negative they thought about me.

There were so many stories, opinions and expectations I had made up around my fellow meditators. Thankfully, they didn’t make any sense at all. Sometimes I would not even know that I’d already made up a story about a person until they started talking and I would suddenly be surprised that he was actually very kind or, for example, had a really high pitched voice. Knowing this now helps me to better connect with the actual person instead of with the person I think they are. Furthermore, I am starting to see that most people are actually way more supportive and accepting than I always believed they were.

Finally, the great thing of the course is that you can actually experience everything you just read for yourself. For me, that was awesome. Especially since I was often (sometimes still am) looking for answers outside of myself.  I spent hours on internet searching for my best diet, for what yoga and breathing techniques I should use for nasal congestion and what movies I would definitely like according to IMDB. All very useful information but very dangerous if you actually never ask yourself and your own body what works for you. In my opinion, modern life unfortunately works like that. From the day we are born we are told what to do and what to believe. Amazingly, the Buddha does not want you to believe but invites you to come and see.

Oke, what now?
If you are interested in doing a course I would refer you to the Vipassana website: https://www.dhamma.org/en-US/index. There are a lot of countries where the courses are being given. Note that you often have to book a couple of months in advance as the courses are quite popular. If you want more information feel free to ask any questions or watch the documentary: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WkxSyv5R1sg.

Furthermore, a friend of mine has some explanatory videos about Vipassana on his YouTube channel. (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC9o_6dH1fbdHvglkU5AqHaw). If you don’t want to do a course, that is also perfect. If you are worried about the physical pain please note this: Everything always happens within the limits of you and your body and friendly Mr. Goenka will be there every evening to treat your wounds: “Patiently and persistently, you are bound to be successful.”

Written by Ramon.