I feel anxious and impatient about the house search

I am guiding highly talented people. They are highly sensitive and are in the process of fully embracing their sensitivity. It’s a shame most of them have a hard time acknowledging their talents. I am happy to help out guiding their emotional development. This week there was one lady in particular who experienced a major breakthrough during a coaching and rebirthing session.

Picture this: she is sitting on the couch and telling me they have to move again. It will be their third time in The Hague. She and her husband are expats. She didn’t smile, her facial expression was quite neutral. Since the previous weekend they started their house search together. After the weekend she continued the house search and set aside her own things: applying for jobs, an online course and being kind to herself as part of her path towards living from her talents. She didn’t look happy with her change of focus, but reassured me she was calm and positive towards finding a new home. I listened, took it in, but didn’t believe her.

When one is trapped in limiting beliefs and behaviour at some point you will feel trapped.

Instead of asking any further I invited her to lay down on the air mattress. Start breathing, start aligning with your body and soul. Start awakening your emotional body, because it will tell the truth.

When she was like 15 minutes in the conscious connected breathing she felt a huge pressure on her chest. It felt like an elephant stamping on her chest, she felt anxiety. She started sharing: I feel anxious and impatient about the house search. My husband is working full time and because of this I feel I need to do more, I feel like a 90% responsible whereas this could be a lot less if I would share more of my thoughts and feelings with my husband. It’s me, he is really nice and thoughtful and tells me to focus on my own things.

But I feel selfish if I would do so, focusing on my own things.

I stimulated her to pick up the conscious connected breathing. After 15 more minutes she felt lots of tension in her arms and hands. It hurt her. She asked if she could stop. Of course. And then, while feeling her body it sank in: that voice in her head, it’s not her own, it’s her mother’s voice telling her she is selfish. (and even more: that she needs a lot of attention, that she makes problems out of nothing, she is difficult)

From the moment she realised this, the tension slowly, but steadily left her arms and hands. She felt so relieved.

The coaching and rebirthing sessions I guide are both emotionally intense; it provided the space to process deep-rooted pain, and practical. This lady left the session with homework: involving her husband more in her world of thoughts and feelings regarding the house search, a good talk would do the work so she could focus and enjoy her own work again.

If you’re interested in an introduction session, click here for more information and to make an appointment. 

HSC: birthday party fun without hassle

Photo by Ouxu Cheng

My two kids are highly sensitive. I am highly sensitive, my husband is highly sensitive. As a highly sensitive family we keep on learning how to listen and react to each others needs to thrive in this world full of entertainment. Last weekend we went to a birthday party in Amsterdam. The preparation for the birthday started in the car, my youngest fell asleep immediately and my daughter was relaxing by holding onto her big bear friend. No music, no cartoons, no talking.

This birthday party was definitely highly sensitive proof.

  • The birthday lady was walking barefoot,
  • They served sugar free goodies such as banana egg pancakes with whipped cream, blue berries, strawberries and marmelade, coconut-date bonbon and a chocolate banana egg cake,
  • People withdrawing to other rooms to look up some quite time,
  • Moms breastfeeding,
  • No music.

We had loads of fun. I love socialising and meeting new people, but at the same time I like to blend in the crowd by talking to friends we hadn’t seen for a while. That feels much more comfortable than immediately making small talk with someone I don’t know.  Same goes for my daughter.

Amé stood close to me, observing the room and the people. The best thing about a party, according to my daughter, is eat the foods they serve. Though she didn’t dive in immediately, she needed some time to land. After having encouraged her to choose her pick, she took her plate to the balcony where the other kids were playing. Instead of connecting to the kids she focussed on her plate. Afterwards she wanted to go outside, because inside it was too warm for her. Arnold and I decided to split up, he went outside and I stayed in with Dían.

Dían also needed his time to get used to the house, the atmosphere and the people. He sticked with me or Arnold. After Amé got back from playing outside she started playing with a girl. They went from room to room and finally I found them sitting with a lady who drew images on their arms. I talked to her earlier and Amé, at that time still taking her time to get accustomed, apparently eavesdropped. To her big surprise she found out this lady is a professional illustrator. Amé took the opportunity to ask her to draw tattoos on her hand with the tattoo pens she had brought with her in her handbag. Afterwards Amé said:

I was perfectly prepared for this party by bringing my tattoo pens.

We arrived quite early at the party, one hour and a half, after it had started. Slowly, new guests were arriving and the noice of people talking to each other got louder and louder. When I started breastfeeding on the balcony it was still doable. New guests joined us on the balcony, Dían was ready drinking, he sat on my lap and made screeching noises. He wasn’t happy at all. I understood and we went to a spare room. He immediately revived. He started smiling and moving around the room. He is fifteen months and I am so happy with our communication.

From the moment he crawled out of the spare room I knew he was ready for more action. I have seen him playing with a friend of ours who was playing with him and interacting with the cat under the table. Meanwhile we were socialising in the open kitchen. I still had an eye on him, that’s my mommy-mind, but I was super proud of him being at ease. Later I caught him playing alone, but not for long, a new friend came along. This twenty-something young male was autistic and loved to connect with Dían.

We had a wonderful time.

Both kids dealt differently with their birthday experience. Driving back home they both stayed awake. Around eight Dían fell asleep without any hassle, but it took Amé more time to fall asleep. The next day Amé slept in and Dían took his nap earlier than normal and slept for like an hour and a half. This is how they recovered. And of course we provided them the time to recover. We had no other appointments than being in and around the house organising and cleaning.

In retrospect, I am very happy and satisfied we took this last-minute decision to stay in The Hague in stead of going up North visiting family. This way we definitely have enjoyed the birthday party in full in stead of being super tired by travelling from one place to another.

 

When life gives you lemons…

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

I love this phrase. This phrase contains sadness and happiness. It directs the reader to make something fun out of something sad. In some strange way this phrase led me to some of the rebirthing sessions I’ve guided this week via video skype.

While this lady over fifty was crying her heart out over not even feeling she has a choice in different situations, she suddenly burst into laughter. Laughter changed into crying again. I was looking at my screen, a bit in doubt, because I wondered if she was laughing or crying. She cleared my doubt by sharing she was laughing. I commented that laughter heals, she totally agreed. I forgot to ask why she started laughing in the first place.

Another lady in her thirties started and finished the session off with laughter. In between she cried her heart and eyes out. She was able to direct her anger towards her parents in stead of down talking herself over and over again. She let out this destructive energy by stamping her feet, throwing her arms around, screaming the hell out of her and jumping up and down.

And this mixture of laughing and crying showed me these ladies were making lemonade. It shows a huge strength when you’re able to laugh when you’re feeling completely miserable.

The lemons given to the highly sensitive people I guide are diverse:

  • Being brought up by parents who are not able to communicate about emotions,
  • Being fired away as a kid by an angry and dominant parent,
  • Too be sensitive is to be weird, dreamy, a crybaby, shy, fearful, anti-social in the eyes of others,
  • Because of childhood trauma’s still living out of fear, anger, sadness, shame and guilt as an adult,
  • Growing up in an environment in which natural born talents were not seen nor stimulated,
  • Living up to parent’s expectations in stead of discovering your own path in life.

It’s up to you to make lemonade out of these lemons. It’s not easy, but it is sure doable. And you will finally fully enjoy your home-made lemonade!

Choosing to emotionally develop takes you to different surprising tastes of lemonade:

  • Embracing your highly sensitive self; yes, you are spontaneous, yes you are quirky, yes you are dreamy, yes you are a “mind & heart”-reader, yes you are attentive to the needs of others, yes you are creative, yes you are … (fill in the blanks yourself),
  • Attracting jobs, relationship(s) and friends which and who resonate with your soul,
  • Feeling safe, loved and appreciated on a daily basis; from self-love comes greatness,
  • More physical and mental energy to do the things you like,
  • Able to choose easily for the situations in which you will thrive and easily turning down the proposals which will drain your energy level,
  • Living your own path and feeling natural self-confident about the steps you take.

If you’re interested in finding out what life coaching and rebirthing can bring you, I invite you to make an appointment for an introduction session, either in my coaching practice in The Hague or via video skype. Click here to read more about the introduction session. 

HSP: when perfectionism meets self-love

Photo by Hans Jongman

Do you know those people who want to do everything perfect? Who put lots of time and energy in investigating what stuff to buy or which holiday to book? Their minds are unstoppable, they go over different scenarios in little time. They have high standards and  if the product or service doesn’t live up to the standard you will definitely hear from them. Or they feel a strong need to change it themselves when they have the knowledge and skills to do so.

For example, this newly wedded couple went to Ireland for their honeymoon. They booked their 5-star honeymoon through a travel agency. From the moment they passed the doorstep of the hotel an awkward feeling crept up this man’s back, the perfectionist. When he saw a glimpse of the bathroom he almost jumped out of his skin. He was outraged. The shower was very basic plastic and it looked unclean. The toilet tank was constantly running. He was very disappointed. His mind flooded with thoughts of making a fuss with the hotel manager, fixing the bathroom flaws himself, pulling his hair  out of his head and filing a complaint at the travel agency. He didn’t put any of this in action, because of their newly wedded state. He didn’t want to make matters worse.

But meanwhile he had to calm himself down. If it was for him he would never ever book a trip like this anymore through a travel agency. He would rather book all the separate parts of the trip himself. He needed to control things. The need to control is certainly one of the characteristics of a perfectionist. In his mind he is, in most situations, the one who will do the job better. Because of this and because he want to see a certain outcome he feels the need to control others as well. As for receiving criticism, a perfectionist will take this very hard or won’t be bothered at all, because he himself is his worst critic.

Perfectionist usually don’t take time to relax. They use up all their time to perfect outcomes. Behind this behaviour there are different emotional needs hidden. There is this need to be acknowledged for who he is, for acceptance, for receiving compliments and enthusiasm for his input. He has a strong emotional need to be applauded, because up until this point his ego is his motor. If he doesn’t fuel up his ego he will collapse, because his soul is weakened and sad.

There is always this fight between the ego and the soul. What would fear do? Fear wants to flee or want to continually work on better performance. What would love do? Love would be happy with the path and the outcome as long as you had fun doing it. Don’t we all want to feel self-confident in a natural way? Perfectionists are insecure, cause who they are and what they do are not enough.

In order to heal from perfectionism I am strongly convinced these people need many encounters with love, unconditional love. If you are a perfectionist and you are reading this, ask yourself this question ‘What do I get when perfectionism meets self-love?’ Below I present to you the answers.

  • Transformation of the critical voice into a loving voice
  • Be a fun person around others when things don’t go as planned or when other people mess up
  • Imperfection: being ok with failing
  • Less thinking, more trusting on gut-feeling
  • Less energy in research, more into creating
  • Being able to receive compliments and give compliments
  • Being satisfied with whatever you accomplish
  • Being able to ask for help & delegate

I have seen these outcomes while coaching highly sensitive men who regard themselves as perfectionists. It’s pretty confronting, but if you had enough of your critical mind and you are curious and motivated to work towards building a natural self-confidence, it will be worth your time and effort.

Are you interested in an introduction session? Click here for more information and to book an appointment. 

HSP: listen to audiobooks and 5 book tips

A couple of months ago I started listening to audiobooks. First I downloaded them from YouTube, now I listen to them via www.storytel.nl. This is a Dutch audiobook provider with a nice collection of Dutch and English books. My motivation to start listening to audiobooks was a practical one, I found it much easier to listen in stead of holding a book in my hands above a big pregnant belly. Along the way I experienced some benefits from listening to an audiobook and I would like to share this with my crowd of highly sensitive people.

  1. While listening I rested my eyes. After a days work using my eyes in an intensive way while guiding people or writing coaching reports, blogs and other stuff behind the laptop it feels relaxing to be able to enjoy a book without using my sight.
  2. I love language and accents. What I noticed while listening to the collection of Storytel, the books were told by a person who spoke in the accent of the country the story was situated in. Fantastic. This made the story and their characters   even more realistic. In some books I heard several accents because the story travelled to different places. So listening to an audiobook fed my language listening skills
  3. What I also liked about how the audiobook was read, was the way the voice interpreted different scenes. There was actually some acting in it which made it come across like a detailed movie from which the images were created by myself.
  4. To me listening to an audiobook just before sleeping in was a wonderful experience. You can listen to the audiobook in the dark while laying still. I have a feeling this makes it easier to fall asleep, because your body and sight are already resting. To be honest I can’t really compare it to reading in bed, because I wasn’t doing this previous to listening to an audiobook.

Five book tips

1. The Hundred-Foot Journey, Richard C. Morais

I loved this book. It was read by a man with an Indian accent and he could do other accents too. The story narrates about an Indian family who emigrates to England for two years after a shocking and sad family experience. After England the father of Hassan; the main character, decided to move to a small village named Lumiére. There they set up an Indian restaurant just across a French two star Michelin restaurant managed by madame Mallory. She isn’t happy with their arrival and from there on many funny and interesting cultural twists appear in the story. The story appealed to me because I have been raised in a Chinese family which revolved around food. Furthermore the cultural clashes also reminded me of my own experiences!

2. The Rosie Project, Graeme Simsion

What I find most amusing about listening to audiobooks is that the story is narrated by someone who speaks with the accent of where the story is played out. The Rosie Project is read by a man with an Australian accent, because the main character lives and works in Melbourne. I have had some good laughs while listening to this story. It’s about the 39 year old Don Tillman who works as an associate professor in genetetics. He has Asperger.

The story is told by Don and when he speaks it rains facts, theories and detailed narrations. I was particularly fascinated by they way he behaves because I am more like Rosie, an emotional human being. I learned a lot about the human psyche when it comes to living a life with Asperger. Even though he rationalizes his whole life and behavioural actions he does have emotions. Through his contact with Rosie he discovers and learns more and more about human interaction and emotions. In a subtle way I saw him emotionally grow.

The story inspired me to go on and listen to the sequel: The Rosie Effect.

3. The Rosie Effect, Graeme Simsion

This book is as hilarious as the first book. Especially because of the immense contrast between a highly emotional ‘project’ which is Rosie being unplanned pregnant and Don Tillman’s rational and technical approach to it. Besides many loud laughters I found it helpful as well, because of the information shared on being pregnant.

4. Dear Fatty, Dawn French

This book is by Dawn French. She is a Welsh comedian, actress and writer. I was drawn to this book because of its expected humorous contents. In 2009 I took a course in provocative coaching. Since then I have been interested in exploring the world of humor more, but didn’t find the time. It was simply not a priority. End of last year it became clear that my husband wanted to be a stand-up comedian. It took him some months to realise he is better off as an allround comediant and actor. It’s because of our mutual interest in comedy that I chose to listen to this book. And indeed, it was hilarious, but also serious, honest and moving. Her story about being fat, positive sides of being big breasted, how an ex-boyfriend had treated her and her many letters to her father made it interesting to listen on. Afterwards I read about her on Wikipedia and discovered she divorced Lenny Henry in 2010 after 25 years of marriage. I believe this book proves that they have separated in an amical way. The book includes a detailed super love letter directed to Lenny.

5. Blissful Birth, Janey Lee Grace and Glenn Harrold

This audiobook was very helpful, because my baby could announce his arrival any time now. The first half an hour Janey talks about how to mentally and physically prepare yourself for giving birth. She also gives tips on how to manage contractions during labour. She finishes off with tips on how to recover from giving birth. As a mom of four children and having given birth in a natural way she has lots of experience to share. The book also contains two hypnotherapy sessions; one to prepare yourself for labouring and one to recover from giving birth. Both take half an hour. First time I listened to the session which prepares me for labouring I fell asleep while listening. Janey mentioned this wouldn’t be a problem, because my subconscious would integrate the information.

HSP: my sense of taste

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Next to life coaching one of my great passions is food. I adore the colors, textures and flavors of food. I also love all kinds of combinations of flavors, varying from sweet and sour to sweet and savory, spicy and pickled. I have a tendency to strong flavors, but definitely appreciate natural flavors of the different carrots roasted in the oven just like in the photo above.

Being a highly sensitive person my sense of taste is the one of all senses which gives me lots of joy. My cultural background, coming from a Chinese family, had a great influence on my tasting buds. I grew up with natural sugars from sugar cane, dates, a wide range of fruits and dried fruits. My knowledge of candy was very poor! Furthermore I grew up in the restaurant of my grandparents in Amsterdam. The suppliers delivered the best meat, fish, chicken, vegetables and fruits. Every day our dinner consisted of at least six dishes. So I may conclude that I have a well-developed palate. I must say we were spoilt! After a schools day my grandfather always came downstairs to ask what we felt like eating. This was around 3.30pm. Dinner was at 8pm after most of the restaurant guest had gone.

I do believe my upbringing has a lot to do with how I experience food. Strolling around markets with family who exactly know the difference between good and bad food helped me develop my eye and taste for good food. There is another detail which could be described as a highly sensitive trait, but I would rather think it’s because of my cultural background. It’s when I eat I am with my food, it’s like I become one with the food I am eating. I don’t talk, but dive into the smells, flavors and textures of the food. If you would like to converse you need to catch my attention first. During dinner my family spoke only of the food we ate or we were silence. As kids we didn’t converse with the adults around the table. That’s why I naturally don’t speak much during dinner.

I must say I act this way around people I feel most comfortable with. When I am having a business lunch or dinner and the focus of the appointment is sharing information or getting to known each other I don’t take as much time for the food as I like too. Afterwards I regret the fact that I didn’t taste and enjoy my food fully, because I had to focus on the talking! Multi-tasking in relationship with my tasting buds is not one of my strongest skills.

By Chungmei Cheng of Orchid of Life ~ Life Coaching

Life Coaching: looking back on 2015

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In this blog I will answer some questions to reflect on my work and development as a life coach in 2015.

How have you lived and worked in alignment with your values and vision?

Keyword I had chosen for 2015 was simply to “be”. It sounds simple, but I believe for many people it’s life biggest personal challenge to just be who you are, including for myself. As a life coach this year has been a year full of amazing emotional growth for myself, my partner and all the people I have coached. In alignment of my vision I have started giving lectures on high sensitivity. I kicked the first one of in May in The Hague and received 22 participants.

My vision is that the world will be a gentler, nicer and more fun place to live in when more and more people come to appreciate their sensitivity in stead of surpressing or neglecting it. High sensitive people have many talents, but feel quite overruled by a dominant society with high expectations. With these lectures I have shared the challenges highly sensitive people face on the workfloor and in personal relationships. Only by sharing stories of the highly sensitive people I have coached I got feedbacked that people feel supported and understood. They even experienced the lecture as uplifting, yes, of course there are ways to feel empowered to do just that what you most desire in life.

I have been working as a life coach for 12 years and I have always worked in alignment of my values. People hire me to guide them with their emotional development and in the Netherlands it’s quite unusual to invest in hiring a life coach. First option would be a psychologist. This has much to do with the costs and how my guidance isn’t covered by insurance. However I have seen my coachingpractice growing, especially people who have had sessions with a psychologist or psychotherapist found my practice and have undergone many positive changes.

One of my core values as a coach and human being is to give my best, every second that the people are in my coachingpractice. I coach with genuine interest and empathy putting their matters of the heart on the front line. My open and genuine attitide feeds the coaching relationship in which the coachee is able to blossom and let go of limiting thoughts and emotions. I have noticed that I attract more people who turn to my guidance even before turning to a psychologist. I find this positive in many ways. One of them is that people take the lead in health care; they choose their type of guidance in stead of being controlled by society and insurance policy.

What were your most valuable learnings or take-aways? My most valuable learnings were the following:

When you process anger and sadness one is able to feel loving and compassionate again by forgiving the person who angered you, but also to forgive yourself for being too hard on yourself or for not having done the right thing. This doesn’t mean the wrecked relationship will be renewded again; it means that you won’t have to go through life with resentment towards this relationship. But it is also possible to put loving energy in the relationship to see it change for the better. It all depends on how you feel.

I’ve started to use rebirthing in my coaching practice. Through this breathing technique I’ve learned a lot about how body, mind and energy works. It’s a simple technique which leads to magnificent results. People are able to free themselves from negative emotions and physical pains. People will start to feel clear-minded, strong and flexible in the body and emotional more stable.

Another valuable learning was the power of sharing my vision and mission. It empowered me to think about the high sensitivity knowledge I’ve gained throughout the years. Many people who follow my work feel supported and empowered to accept themselves fully as high sensitive people.

Where did you show self-compassion, courage, and commitment (especially in the face of challenge)?

The most challenging work I’ve done which showed self-compassion, courage and commitment was to let myself be healed by rebirthing and to be of support and guidance for my husband who has been suffering a headache for six years. It takes a lot of patience and resilience to keep out heads up. On the other hand we don’t have a choice; it’s either doing nothing which won’t change anything or putting all of our energy in getting healthy.

How did you surprise yourself?

While I was pregnant I’ve worked all the way. I had much more energy compared to my first pregnancy. I’ve only felt off-beat the first three months, afterwards hormones regulated and I could eat whatever I wanted and felt lots of energy and motivation to work.

What impact (big or small) have you made through your work?

I’ve made people express their anger, sadness, hatred, disappointment, powerlessness and helplessness to process their trauma’s such as sexual abuse, dominanting relationships with parents, divorce, being surpressed my negative emotions of family and break-ups of love relationships. After having expressed these emotions they felt empowered again, they felt empty at first, but slowly it gave them the energy to take better care for themselves, acknowledge their talents and live the life they want.

For more information on my work, I invite you to visit my website Orchid of Life ~ Life Coaching.