Lifecoaching: as a child I believed in magic

play capoeira

For like 28 years I thought I only had one massive problem in my life: stuttering. I tried a try-out session with Life Coach Chungmei. It was interesting, she asked questions, I spoke, I did an exercise… And from out of nowhere, I started to cry! I was crying, and surprised and shocked that I was crying. This was really weird for me.

Luckily for me I kept myself busy with creating a burn – out. One year later I succeeded. My second coaching setting was a fact. I set down and she mirrored my non-verbal communication extremely sharp. Subconsciously I acted to be ready for any thing: arms wide, an ‘I am in control look’ in my eyes, and ask something like: so coach ask me a smart question?! Well, instead she told me: Well, you don’t seem ready to open up. After which she imitated my posture and look in my eyes. Do you want to be coached? Right away I felt that she didn’t fall for my act. I felt that one: my head down, arms normal, and after digesting a little bit of my fakeness, I said: yes I am ready.

Burn-out & learning to feel
What I did to burn my self out was only living in my head, not even feeling my own heart beat. During my third ‘succesful’ study, I burned out. I didn’t understand, and even less did I feel why. Chungmei guided me through this process. Some topics, in random order, we have worked on were:

  1. Why am I a perfectionist?
  2. Why do I train extremely hard?
  3. Why am I always busy?
  4. Why do I stutter?
  5. How come I don’t feel my body?
  6. What caused the burn out ?
  7. Why do I stop breathing when I think longer than 1 minute?

Answers were: I felt I was not good enough, so everything needed to be perfect. I felt a lot of surpressed emotions and had surpressed emotions myself which caused intense stress. My coping mechanism was using my head, and satisfying others and my main man Mr. Society.

This I understood after being lead through different exercises and questions no one ever asked me. With one single question she could make me feel my sadness of being so stressed. Or scared, or….unhappy. Because that’s the overal feeling: I was not happy, and was basically killing myself with thinking, studying and working. Without the burn – out to stop me, I was dead by now.

It may sound a bit extreme, but seriously she saved my life. Thank you for that. Thank you for letting go of everything that didn’t belong to me. For the first time in my life, I feel who I am, what I want to do. I became a better husband, a better person, a better father after being coached intensively by you. With better I mean more me, because that’s all there is right? I believe the best I can be is the closest to who I really am.

Now, that I write this I think of words that could describe the thankfulness that I feel in my heart. Being coached by you and feeling myself was my biggest gift after being born. It was a great pleasure being coached by someone so naturally connected with the Universe. Someone who coached so intuitively, so in the moment.

As a child I believed in magic, felt happiness in playing. Somewhere in high school I started to believe in the world of thoughts, studies, work and society. I am 32 now, and life is magic again.

By Arnold Baldé

Advertisements

Life Coaching: letting go of tears and fears

incredible

Let’s start of this blog with a deep sigh. I feel blessed to be able to bring light to people’s lives. That’s one thing for sure. And now it’s time to write about it. I haven’t done so for a long time, because I was pretty occupied with family life, main life events and work. As of this summer we live in a really nice neighborhood in The Hague. We enjoy being surrounded by lots of green, all facilities and our daughter’s school close to our house. After almost elf years of working as a coach in living rooms (one-on-one coaching) and on locations in several cities in the Netherlands (workshops & training) I may proudly announce my first separate working and coaching space at home. Let me share with you some of the life stories that has come my way.

When a thirtysomething year old guy told me that he felt ashamed to share certain thoughts and feelings while he was seeing a psychologist I was struck. I exclaimed that it is necessary for his development to start sharing all of his thoughts and feelings. What one gets out of psychological guidance is the amount of ‘you’ one puts in. You need to be willing to work with what you have. It’s not the psychologist, therapist or other type of mental guidance who will pull out all of your pain and fears. But on another note, it could be helpful to talk to someone who does get you talking about all the things that you are ashamed of. During this session I felt I needed to share some of my experiences guiding highly sensitive man. Sensitive man could go through a phase of doubting their sexuality. Bingo. He had struggled with this topic as well.

But what if you just don’t know what to tell me? Than I could put myself on a repeat spreading the message ‘You need to be willing to work with what you have’, but it won’t bring the coachee nor me any further during the session. This young lady was sitting on the couch and told me with a big smile that everything was going well. She started her studies, moved to a student apartment and works in catering to maintain herself. Looking back on the previous session there could still be some emotions blocking her from living freely, but at this point she was smiling. After having asked a few questions about her life the pain came out: carrying a huge load of responsibility for her divorced parents and little sister. Because she cared for all emotions and thoughts of her loved ones she was left out in the whole process. She needed to give herself some loving attention and one way to do this was to start sharing more of her life with her loved ones.

Before people start lifecoaching with me they haven’t got a clue of how far they can come in terms of feeling secure, confident, happy and cheerful from within. Another life story which moved me deeply was the story of a woman in her late fifties who was still mourning her husband who passed away six yours ago. Up until this point of no return she had taken care of him for years and years after he had a severe accident. For almost fifteen years she hadn’t felt those little butterflies starting of in the belly and flying up to the head bringing feelings of ‘being in love’. This confused her to the max and brought her to a devastating phase of mourning again, of finally and definitely starting to let go of the man who showed her to love.

More and more stories are coming my way and I embrace them. All these stories turn me into a channel from which I intuitively coach; reflect, react, summarize, feedback, intervene with coaching techniques and share life stories with the intention to reframe thoughts and feelings which are limiting the person to live fully. Again, I feel blessed to work as a life coach helping people to embrace life from their core strength and desire to live.

You cannot heal a lifetime of pain overnight, be patient with yourself, it takes as long as it takes to rebuild yourself.

Coachee: I managed to say at least once “NO!!!”

no

Me, the utmost loser.

This time, I know for sure that my coach will call me nothing but a “LOSER”!! Why all that… I was so much sure in the last session that I am a loser in life. No partner, no job, no future prospects, no family, but in a perfect late age to settle. Feeling betrayed for four years of life – just because a problematic highly complicated boyfriend cheated on me. He pretended long enough to be serious about the relationship. Well, to see, how all your friends seem to be happy with long-term partners, getting children, following a career… and you seem to be the only one who is left, who cannot even manage to start a new phase in life, of founding a family, of simply finding the right guy for it – this is hard. So I basically felt like a lost person in this world.

But being called a “loser” by someone else, not myself…? That seems so strange!! Chungmei’s warning was of course not meant that seriously. I just happened to have been so busy during the week before the session that my homework, an internet research about intercultural training agencies, suffered totally. However, those who did not suffer were my friends… I had always time for them. Now, the problem with living in Berlin is, you can practically socialize 24 hours a day. There are so many interesting people and friends out on the street, and even if they are not, there are still your friends on Skype and Facebook, covering the whole planet from India to Montreal.

With this whole-day-socializing-Me, she was right to say “stop” directly into my face. Yes, I do a lot for my friends – but what do I do for myself, she asked. And my coach mentioned that I am too much ready to accept asymmetries in social relations in the sense of giving much more than others do, up to 200 % and even more. That made me feel like a tissue – cheap to get but of superb value!

Unfortunately, this combination of nice & helpful is truly dangerous because it can be exploited too easily. Therefore, she told me clearly that my next task would be – to take care of myself and practicing saying NO…. Means NO to friends when I don’t feel like going out; NO to people appreciating my services too much. How did I perform then? I managed to say at least once “NO!!!” to a friend who wanted to convince me to go out for dinner, in his area of course, which meant a lot of time to travel for me. But I didn’t manage to say “NO!!” to another friend whose nerve got stuck in his back, and barely being able to move, he called me for a helping hand. That’s why I again write my blog reflection in the last moment, deep in the night, like I write most of my applications. At least I am perfect in working up to the deadline!! My life seems so exciting. Like a soap opera, it contains new episodes full of surprising coincidences each week. Only, that besides this episodic stuff rather few things work out for me with a long-term prospect. Luckily, my coach brings up this painful subject again and again. So no chance to escape but just to work on it. Let’s see how my efforts of NOing will work out in the future…

After the session I felt left behind with some serious tasks forcing me to take care just of my own life. I sensed again motivation inside myself. But before anything else, for a while I just sat and enjoyed the warm sunny day. I thought back of the many smiles I exchanged during the coaching session with my so much positive opposite. Chungmei always has one special sentence for me, and hopefully it might even anchor in my mind: “That what you do, Antje – you do it for yourself!!”

It is an excellent basement you helped me to anchor

anchor
Of the impossibility of building a house starting with the roof

Chungmei, no, I am not lazy! I am just afraid to write a summary about the past months… Because it is strenuous! Every time you asked to me to write a reflection I had to touch the thoughts of past pain so directly, without any filtering.

Since we met again after years, since you started to coach me, I have been in so many roles: a whole- day-socializing-me, a hopeless loser, the owner of a permanent ticket for the emotional rollercoaster, a tissue which is cheap to get but of superb value, a naysayer, a bullied child, a person demanding understanding of others and a dreamer to change reality.

But after all, after all your “treatment” – is really something different now? 

Well, people change their character, outfit and personality all the time. Even pain either slowly quits the mind or becomes a routine to feel. Now, in my case, I am still socializing a lot. But yes, I do take a lot of time for myself! I tell people online so often nowadays – sorry, I am busy, I can’t chat with you right now… And I focus on work instead. I don’t waste my energy anymore with useless people who just want to exploit me with their moodiness… Moreover, I don’t think I am such a big loser anymore. Just a small loser. And according to some people, a cute loser. No, don’t demand of me so soon to forget my former pretentious “life-partner” – his actions and those of his followers struck me so hard, it engraved itself so deeply into my mind, as it had changed my life so profoundly, and from the happy medium self-confident person I used to be I turned into someone still doubting about being able to work as a scientist after all.

Recently, I was in El Salvador to hold a talk in Spanish. Fully paid. During that week, my former professor in journalism offered me a PhD position back in Germany. A full scholarship! Am I not lucky? Didn’t I finally get what I wanted, after 4 years of struggling for it? After being bullied and being unexpectedly unemployed for so long? I finally would have the chance to combine practical journalism work with scientific investigation. But yes, I am not happy inside. I can’t make out the joy and the passion deep within me I used to have in moments like that years back. Because I still feel so bad about how those friends of my former boyfriend call me names behind my back STILL! Because this really still happens and they tell so cheap things about me, and the real bad thing is that people believe them!

What should I do then? Correct me, if I am wrong. I guess I should feel my core self more. The circle exercises you have done with me inspired me indeed. The imaginative exercises, even though I partially felt like needing a nap immediately afterwards because I felt so much exhausted from feeling too much.

This is what helped me most. And this is where many psychologists simply fail. I am tired of analyzing my self. Somehow it feels like it keeps me away from life, from feeling the vibrating pulse of my surroundings. You followed a different approach, the one of making my emotional world tangible. I like that, as it shows me that there can be more than just my circulating negative thinking patterns. It made me understand that I might have the chance to determine part of my life myself…! Still it takes time for me to trust into my capacity to change reality. Yes, it is all in my mind…

I liked very much the non-cognitive approach where you focused as well on my emotional side. Because I am not someone who can just manage his emotions by the thoughts. I understood only now that I am hyper-sensitive being which means that I perceive anything more intensely than the average person on this planet. Which is a gift for creativity but as well a curse as it comes to emotional turbulences so quickly by overstimulation. I know how hard it is for me to regulate those emotions, I know now that many people just don’t have the capacity to understand how intense my emotions can become. Therefore, I learned from you that I need to protect myself from it. And there is no discussion about it.

Yes, during the last months, I found a job, I found a really nice flat mate, additionally, a good friend is now staying with me for a month and we both understand well, I found so many nice new friends, and perhaps there is even someone to share my life with soon. But it will take time to feel the real enjoyment about it. It is an excellent basement you helped me to anchor – but I am still away from reaching the roof. Knowing what is behind me and supposing what is still ahead of me.

Coachee: I knew I had a problem with anger…

anger

Being bullied
Sometimes the experiences of childhood do have a quite lasting impact on your life. You don’t realize this as long as everything goes smoothly. But if things continuously go wrong, you suddenly become aware of it…

Never any of the sessions with Chungmei had tired me mentally like this single one hour. I felt like taking a nap immediately or at least stop my circulating thoughts by watching some nonsense serial like Gossip Girl. Well… how did we end up there? Chungmei usually is not a coach putting you down…

This time, we did something different, compared to the three sessions before. She sensed that something was wrong with me, something really really deep inside. Behind my desperately sounding wish of finding a guy to settle for good, behind my feelings of crying, my stubborn wish for revenge with regard to my former boyfriend in India who is going to marry soon… some common thing was underlying all that. Something with a taste of danger, ready to be released at any moment: ANGER. This emotion of anger resulted to be abnormally strong, as it had grown inside me for decades.

Right in those moments, I felt a pain in my chest. Additionally, I felt this so familiar suffocating pressure in my belly. What to do if you are caught in this emotional prison of your own body? I felt like crying. I always do when I feel likewise, as this is the way to release my emotions, and it is less strenuous to excrete sadness than anger. Only this time, my coach was the one who pushed me to do that! First step… locating your emotions. Oh my god, this compression of my belly, this pinching…no wonder I have a bad digestion in times of trouble!

I put the anger into my brain. I tried to imagine it. It took the shape of a huge solid rock just above me. I felt like standing close to a wall of the Grand Canyon although I had never gone there in real life… Nothing helped me to penetrate the rock. I climbed up a ladder and touched the brownish stone… just it didn’t open up to me like the rock cave opened in Ali Baba and the 40 thieves.

Second step… breathing… to relax the anger… to calm down… Opened my eyes. Felt tired. Really strenuous session… How I do hate emotional management because it eats up the whole energy of your body!! A meditation anger session – how can meditation be so fatiguing?

My coach was now strongly interested in finding out the root of my anger. Root of anger? Well…I knew I had a problem with anger, but I never went to its base… But to find my own base anew, I agreed to go very far back, to find the experiences and emotions which never were worked about. So much quickly we ended up in – childhood. I talked what I felt and saw that time… I talked about how other pupils always tried to annoy me in school for my good grades and because I didn’t present any resistance to their activities…I was bullied, oh my god. It seems like a sticking pain in my life…

This time, after this session, I needed a time out… so much hard work to undergo all those memories and physical pains. Next session we will work on that, my coach promised me. I know, again I might feel this pain and desperation, but I have to face it. Looking forward to it, Chungmei…

Drawing a line and taking care of myself

water

Emotional bomb
What happens if an emotional bomb bursts? How deep will the breaks in the wall be? How much dust will cover the ground? Which colour will it have? Emotional bombs burst and often don’t even leave a trace. However, the explosion makes people run for cover.

A cloudy colour of dust is still extending to the last corners of my mind. Some days before, I was shocked to hear from an old friend that my former boyfriend who planned with me to settle for good actually never really had this intention – to settle… Means he didn’t mind to cheat on me for almost three years. After hearing this, that all drama from him was just set up as a kind of performance to make me blame myself, my mind became numb and even cloudier. Only few people will be able to break through. Is Chungmei among them? I wish but still I have doubts. But well, let’s try session number 3…

My coach brought up an interesting reason for my recent difficulties: She said I like guys with problems… I didn’t need to think long to admit that she is right. Until now, I managed to attract all kind of complicated guys. I tried to imagine myself as a collecting pond for all the hopeless cases on this world. Guys spitting on me giving me a costly ride on an emotional roller coaster. Don’t take this!, I have to listen from my coach. Spit on those guys, get rid of those Indian guys, and learn to draw a line, dear!! A stream of confidence flooded my numbness when I heard all this… Dear, you are a beautiful woman with writing skills! Wow, rarely anyone had ever said this to me before… the stream of positive thoughts increased… just since recently foreign guys call me hot chick… German guys never expressed this, and with them, you don’t really feel as a woman…

Should I really follow Chungmei’s suggestion of perhaps writing for an international magazine about my broad intercultural observations? And use the frequent explosion of my emotions to sharpen my focus and build an own base? I will think about it. But first, something very simple I have to practice: Drawing a line and taking care of myself.

To realize this part of my homework, I soon got a chance. Cause there was Adi. Problematic Indian Adi. He claimed to be my friend since one month. I came to him whenever he said he needed me because he felt bad. I had a soft corner for him and felt that someone needed me. It was a good feeling. Once, I was ill. Adi came to share – actually my cold! What a nice gesture. Except that we had been nothing but friends and he really didn’t need to take the pain of making himself to get a resistant cough. But finally, he succeeded and got ill, too.

That very night after the coaching session, he told how horrible he would feel. And implied several times indirectly that non of his few Berlin friends would have time to take care of him. That’s why he expected now me to join him. But it was already late evening, and I really didn’t feel like joining him. I knew him and I didn’t want to have another sleepless night, still being ill myself. The words of Chungmei freshly anchored in my mind, I rejected his phone call at 1.18 am and dared to say “No, Adi, I need to do something for myself now.” Well, immediately afterwards, he broke the friendship, called me an egoist and a racist. Just because I didn’t want to come “to share his cold”. I was shocked by his sudden emotional overreaction. But it was better that way. Now I didn’t only feel free, I had found more time for myself and the feeling that I got some of the messages Chungmei had in mind for me…!

If you repeat an action it becomes true or manifest

love

When I met Chungmei again for my first session, we hadn’t seen for years. One wonderful day I added her on Facebook and we got in touch again. The timing was a total coincidence, but it was about the right moment. Between us, there was a distance of 1000 kilometers which we covered easily via Skype. When I started to talk to her I quickly got caught by her positive energy, and her very open attitude towards life and the experiences of people.

To me, that felt like a memory of a long gone time. The negative thoughts were never that strong in me as now, as many annoying things had happened in my life. I think everyone feels down at one time or the other. But what if you feel that much down that you slowly start to forget about the positives, and how it feels to feel positively… I feel completely out of control to successfully organize my future, be it in job, career or partnership. That is the situation in which Chungmei has offered her help to me.

I am curious to see what she would do. I know she has a different approach towards helping people. A very positive one. One of the things she mentions very quickly during the talk is the spiral of negative emotions. “If you repeat an action it becomes true or manifest”, she says. And yes, I am aware how often I came back to the same negative thoughts, not helping me to change even a bit of my situation but finally just ending up in complaining about the conditions I am in. My coach listens to me a lot and gives suggestions what to do. I am kind of empty inside, so there should be a huge amount of space to be filled up. What really annoys me is a good question as it can help me to focus on the real cause to get over.

Chungmei suggests that I should emphasize my positive qualities and skills. I even get a homework for doing this! So I am writing down what comes into my mind, all the qualities I can think of! Slowly the paper is filling… I note down my values… fairness, tolerance, harmony… and surely I will forget some of them, or I won’t realize that some values and features of me are a good quality which can be very helpful in my personal or professional life. If I see them clearly they might become even more true. However, I have the strong impression that other people don’t see or realize it. Perhaps Chungmei might give me some idea in what way I can make them clearer to other people. And how better to use them in my life for myself, focusing on it and making me overcome all the hindrances I am facing now…