FilmTip: A Monster Calls

Someone I coach shared this movie with me. The movie helped her to acknowledge her wounded inner child. The pain was caused by witnessing her mother being psychologically ill. The mother she needed as a child wasn’t available.

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.

Love: writing letters

letters

As a child I wrote lots of letters. We were on the move. Leaving behind friends at the age of 8 and 14 made me write letters to keep in touch with friends. I used to keep all letters neatly in lots of shoeboxes. But life continued, we lost contact, we weren’t friends anymore. At this point I decided to throw away most of the letters. I kept the ones which touched my heart deeply.

A few weeks ago, at age 36, I picked up this almost long-forgotten letter writing. I’ve already written a few letters. I must admit I absolutely enjoy the act of hand-writing as opposed to typing on a laptop. I take more time to think about the things I would like to share. The stories are more to the point with here and there a wink of the eye whilst typing makes me share loads of details.

Moreover the act of hand-writing gives me the pleasure to choose paper and a envelop which could elevate the receivers mood. Seeing the possible colors and drawings and feeling what could match with the person I’m writing to definitely elevates mine!

In this age of immediate contact via different social media channels I would like to recommend hand-writing to you. I remember the joy of receiving a card or letter when I was young. I also remember the joy of knowing that someone I love would receive a part of my life. A third aspect would be the fleeting moments thinking about when my friend would write back. All these feelings are unchanged after all these years of not writing. I feel the same enjoyment of writing and all feelings related to being in touch with a beloved one.

Only the big difference nowadays is that I receive my “reply’s” via whatsapp and Facebook messenger. Haha, no going back to the good old days. The only person who understands me is my great grandmother who will turn 90 years this year. She hasn’t responded yet. I love waiting for our next moment of being in touch.

New Year’s reflections and resolutions

Happy New Year

Top 10 Year End Review Questions

  1. What did you do this year that you have never done before?
  2. What was the smartest decision you made this year?
  3. What one word best sums up and describes your experience last year?
  4. What are you most happy about completing?
  5. What was the biggest risk you took?
  6. What are you most grateful for this past year?
  7. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
  8. What do you wish you had done more of?
  9. What do you wish you had done less of?
  10. Knowing what you know now, if you could write a letter to yourself that would travel back in time so that you would receive exactly one year ago, what advice would you give yourself?

10 New Year’s Questions to Ask About Relationships

  1. Who were the three people who had the greatest impact on your life last year?
  2. Did anyone close to you give birth (literally or symbolically)?
  3. Did anyone close to you die (literally or symbolically)?
  4. What important relationship improved the most?
  5. What important relationship suffered the most?
  6. Whose behavior or what event merited celebration?
  7. Whose behavior or what event appalled you?
  8. How did you positively influence a child (or the next generation) this year?
  9. What well-known person, dead or alive, influenced you the most this year?
  10. Who made you laugh the most this year?

10 New Year’s Questions to Ask About Your Health

  1. Did you suffer illness or injury?
  2. What decision did you make to become healthier?
  3. What was your favorite exercise this year?
  4. What was your favorite meal?
  5. What restaurant did you eat at most often?
  6. What medications are you currently taking?
  7. Did you have any surgeries this year?
  8. How did you manage your stress this year?
  9. What was your biggest health achievement this year?
  10. What do you wish you would have done differently in regards to your health this year?

10 New Year’s Questions to Ask About Your Celebrations

  1. What did you really, really, really get excited about this year?
  2. How old did you turn on your birthday?
  3. How did you celebrate your birthday this year?
  4. Did anyone close to you have an important milestone birthday?
  5. How did you spend the holidays?
  6. What was the most memorable gift you received this year and who was it from?
  7. What was the most memorable gift you gave this year and who was it to?
  8. How will you be spending New Year’s?
  9. What vacations did you take or where did you visit last year?
  10. What was the biggest surprise of this year?

10 End-of-Year Questions to Ask about School or Work

  1. Where do you currently work or go to school?
  2. What is the title of your position?
  3. What is your typical day?
  4. When did you feel most inspired at work or school?
  5. What is one way you grew academically or professionally this year?
  6. What do you hope those you work with will remember most about you?
  7. What was your greatest challenge/lesson at work or school?
  8. How did you adapt at work or school?
  9. How have you grown as a person because of your work or school experience?
  10. What strengths did you tap into?

10 New Year’s Questions to Ask About Your Spirituality & Existence

  1. Because of this past year, what do you believe is your purpose?
  2. What is one word that describes your relationship with God (or what suits your belief system)  this year?
  3. Where did you find the most peace and calm this year?
  4. Where did you feel most connected to God (or what suits your belief system) this year?
  5. What is one miracle you witnessed this year?
  6. What was the most loving service you performed last year?
  7. What is your biggest piece of unfinished business?
  8. What is the greatest lesson you have learned this year?
  9. What was the best part of this year? What was the lesson learned?
  10. What was the worst part of this year? What was the lesson learned?

Essential nourishment: Start feeding your soul with ‘Chef’

This movie is a must watch for everyone. The joy of cooking, eating and sharing food is contagious. It’s about a chef working in a restaurant going through a life crisis. This crisis takes him to owning a foodtruck selling sandwiches Cubanos and more latino streetfood. The conversations between the chef and his fellow cook and friend are hilarious. The soundtrack definitely supports in spreading the joy of cooking food while dancing. Watching the chef enhancing his father-son relationship by taking his son on their first foodtruck roadtrip is heartwarming. And I absolutely found it inspiring to see a 10-year old executing effective social media marketing for his fathers newly acquired foodtruck business. Watch this movie and get positively effected by the love of the game, the game of life.

How can you be happy and peaceful in modern times

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A Chinese proverb says an invisible red thread connects those destined to meet, despite the time, the place, despite the circumstances. The thread can be tightened or tangled, but never be broken. 

We are all the same. All of us want to be happy. When happiness is considered as a door to a room, peace is another door to the same room. Si it should be easy to become happy and peaceful. What is holding us back?

There are different methods to achieve happiness and peace. Respect for each other is important. Superiority ideas like ‘I am the best’, ‘my religion is the best’ or ‘my country is the best’ are barriers to happiness and peace. Respectful contacts with people with another background can help to reduce these barriers. The mix of people in these modern times gives more possibilities for such contacts.

In Tibet we have the word ‘gogsem’. That means the three ways of being: mind, body and talk. The mind is the boss. The mind is an extremely powerful tool to find the root for happiness and peace. The mind can find inner peace and happiness with your being as you are. Meditation, compassion and openness are ways to use the mind for finding peace. These ways can give you energy. Words can give a feeling of happiness. At the other hand words can make enemies. Be aware of that, when you are thinking ‘I am right and you are wrong.’ Think also about happiness of others. When you are acting with an open mind and a good heart, it will be easier to keep your relations good. That will radiate a feeling of being rich, more than when you are only focused on your own profit.

Worries make sick. Some problems we can control. When you can not control problems, let it go. Let fear go, then peace will come. Don’t grasp for happiness. Strive for stable happiness, as a second nature. When difficult situations come, it is important to know in advance how to keep peace. Be aware of anger and neutralize it before it is too late. When anger grows, it can make you blind. Anger and peace are like fire and water: they can not be together. When you think that anger is normal, you have to ask yourself the question whether suffering is normal. Suffering is the result of anger. When you are able to control anger, you are able to bring peace and as result you will reduce suffering. All of this you can do by ‘lojong’: a Tibet word for ‘training the mind’.

If you expect that you will be pushed to pass your own limits, say “no” with respect for the other. Say it in time, before you loose control over your anger. Be patient for the good moment to say it. Say “no” when the other is relaxed. Most of all: be clear. It is very important to be open about your limits in a way to make it simple for the other to understand your “no”. Look further than your own position and try to understand your relationship. It is the best to reach mutual understanding. Look for a good way to meet your limits and to strive to meet the demands of the other. Share understanding in a good atmosphere, with a cup of tea.

Face to face contact is important for good understanding. Telephone, e-mail and other ways of communication are good for ‘neutral’ messages. But when you really have to solve a problem, face to face communication is the best way to minimize the risk for uncontrolled anger. Look inside your mind before you solve a problem. You need to have inner peace before you can give it to others.

Take benefit from what you have heard so far. Use what you can use. Forget what you can not use. Make clear for yourself what works for you. Ask yourself where you can find happiness. When you know that, you have a goal to direct your activities on. Be honest to your heart and don’t follow other people blindly when they say that you can find happiness. In these modern times many people promise happiness when you follow their advises. Decide deep in your heart whether their promises may bring peace or restlessness

I received this text from the Wereldmuseum in Rotterdam on the 30th of March in 2007. 

Life explained

boat

A boat docked in a tiny Mexican village. An American tourist complimented the Mexican fisherman on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took him to catch them.

“Not very long,” answered the Mexican.

“But then, why didn’t you stay out longer and catch more?” asked the American.

The Mexican explained that his small catch was sufficient to meet his needs and those of his family.

The American asked, “But what do you do with the rest of your time?”

“I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, and take a siesta with my wife. In the evenings, I go into the village to see my friends, have a few drinks, play the guitar, and sing a few songs. I have a full life.”

The American interrupted, “I have an MBA from Harvard and I can help you! You should start by fishing longer every day. You can then sell the extra fish you catch. With the extra revenue, you can buy a bigger boat.”

“And after that?” asked the Mexican.

“With the extra money the larger boat will bring, you can buy a second one and a third one and so on until you have an entire fleet of trawlers. Instead of selling your fish to a middle man, you can then negotiate directly with the processing plants and maybe even open your own plant. You can then leave this little village and move to Mexico City, Los Angeles, or even New York City! From there you can direct your huge new enterprise.”

“How long would that take?” asked the Mexican.

“Twenty, perhaps twenty-five years,” replied the American.

“And after that?”

“Afterwards? Well my friend, that’s when it gets really interesting,” answered the American, laughing. “When your business gets really big, you can start buying and selling stocks and make millions!”

“Millions? Really? And after that?” asked the Mexican.

“After that you’ll be able to retire, live in a tiny village near the coast, sleep late, play with your children, catch a few fish, take a siesta with your wife and spend your evenings drinking and enjoying your friends.”