All people I coach are interesting, but this lady in particular has a special connection with her cat. Two years ago she decided to take in a cat from an animal shelter. One cat came walking up to her. She immediately knew she would offer this cat a new home. The cat was severely traumatised. She doesn’t want to hug or be caressed. Like her new boss, housemate. After a year and a half the lady arranged a visit of a cat whisperer. The cat whisperer told her that the cat was carrying around lots of anger and sadness. Since than, her cat turned into a mirror for her. Her cat supports her in feeling her own anger and sadness. All relationships are alike, we trigger each other to feel, to feel especially what may never have been surfaced.
A dear friend of mine came over to see me in The Hague. I wasn’t expecting her to tell us that she would move to London next year. Her husband got offered a job and they are in the midst of settling an arrangement to move their family including two little kids to London for three years. This has been their dream for many years and they didn’t think a chance like this would come by any time soon. Truth need to be told that she had kept this a secret for me for some months, because they wanted to be sure before sharing this huge news with friends. I was left in shock.
Why? And why so soon? The first emotion that popped up was that I would miss her. That all would be different, even though we have already struggled with meeting up while both living in the Netherlands. Straight after she had told me I opened up to what I was feeling, tears came rolling down my face. She embraced me and I just let it go. To be honest, I am proud to share that I was able to open to all my emotions and thoughts. When I look back at the times I have done this I am sure this started happening from this year onwards. It feels like I have been through a miraculous shift when it comes down to showing my tears to family and friends. I feel comfortable and safe in doing so.
From the moment she lives in London I imagine we would become more efficient in scheduling our get-to-gathers. Perhaps we will start using facetime or videoskype. Many people I know use these means of communication to stay in touch. Like having breakfast on a Sunday morning in ones kitchen while seeing and talking to family in Switserland. Actually I don’t want to think about this future scenery anymore, because I prefer having my friends living around the corner. Even though I would like to have more contact with my friends abroad I tend to keep in touch for a couple of times a year and be so, so very happy when I actually see them.
Of course I haven’t cried all the while she was visiting. Tears and laughter in my life are like two hands holding each other in good and bad times. I took her to the Hague city centre to discover a healthy juice and lunch café named Fine Fresh Food. Their vegan brownie and the savoury juice I tried was splendid. Furthermore we discussed our work and initiatives we are exploring in the field of psychology and lifecoaching.
Oh, I forget to mention one little detail, a few days before she came I literally thought to myself ‘Would I like to live abroad for a couple of years?’. I was surprised by this thought, because it came out of nowhere. On top of this at the beginning of this week our daughter told us she wants to go to England to speak English. Most likely we had a hunch of this message coming our way. I told my quite down-to-earth friend about our presentiments. She laughed and took it lightly. Life is about sharing right? There is no distance in time and space.
Today I received a lovely surprise while I was picking up my daughter from primary school. She’s in her first year and has made lots of friends. One girl walked up to me, looked at me with big expecting eyes and her arms were moving from one side to another in a really enthusiastic manner. What she non-verbally communicated to me was what her mom asked me in a verbal way. If my daughter was allowed to go with them by car for a play date. Later this afternoon her husband could drop her off at our home. This time I wasn’t able to speak.
Different thoughts were running through my mind. While I was still not speaking the lady nicely gave me back all the thoughts I was thinking. She knew exactly what I was thinking. Yes, I wanted to check if my daughter still had the energy to go on a play date. And I felt uncomfortable to send her off to people I hadn’t made acquaintance with yet. Moreover, I knew my daughter wouldn’t feel comfortable being brought home by a man she didn’t know. The lady was so nice. Any way around would be fine. She came across like a warm hearted person so I took some time to decide, but finally decided to invite them at our place for lunch.
Even though my daughter looked tired, which made me doubt to go on this play date in the first place, they had lots of fun together. I am happy there was no screaming or fighting. We, the adults, have gotten to know each other in the meantime. My man was cooking up a lunch for us and surprisingly and may I say “coincidentally” this lady doesn’t eat meat, fish or poultry and neither consumes produce of animals. This was exactly the diet my husband changed to two days ago. When she was five years old she decided not to eat meat anymore, because she felt bad for the animals.
Lunch was super. We had a salad of stir-fried brussels sprouts, mushrooms, grated carrot, sundried tomatoes and avocado along with brown rice. As a treat we served dates. Food wise we had a great click. We shared our experiences with food and at some point the conversation changed to high sensitivity. She mentioned that her family is very sensitive to many foods and in a very careful way she shared with us that she thinks we are very sensitive too. I laughed out loud and added to this that, as a coach, I am specialized in coaching highly sensitive people. It turned out we were talking to a mom who educated herself on this topic, because of her highly sensitive children. She has two daughters, the eldest is six years old and the girl who was playing at our place is four years old. Her husband and herself are highly sensitive too.
Last year, after May holidays, they have changed schools. The eldest was attending a Montessori school near their home, but somehow she wasn’t doing well in school. She didn’t feel like picking a game to play with and from the moment they arrived at the building she turned inwards. In short, she wasn’t happy. They have even consulted a child psychologist, but her daughter wouldn’t share her feelings. They were considering the fact that she might have been bullied, but they are not sure. Before changing schools, which was quite a life changing event for the family, they asked this psychologist if it would be wise to change schools even though they don’t know the cause behind their daughters behavior The psychologist responded that the child’s behavior is leading in every decision they make.
So before definitely changing to this school, which is by the way also a Montessori school, the children were able to attend school for one morning. Afterwards the eldest exclaimed that she wanted to attend this school. Even though the school is further away from their home, the mom is glad to have made this change for her children. She suffered sleepless nights, because her daughter wasn’t happy in school. Now the kids are happy, she is finally able to think ahead. One of the steps she will take is to look around for job opportunities.
There we were, sitting in a crowded room, waiting for ‘The Amazing Catfish’ to start. Being part of the International Film Festival in Rotterdam (IFFR) is amazing. The atmosphere was vibrant; people talking, smiling, the smell of food mixed with the loud sounds produced by a life dj in De Doelen. I totally forgot about the way they would go about this, so yes, I was a bit surprised when filmmaker Claudia Sainte-Luce walked up the stage. She was introduced by a presenter of the IFFR. Her presence was open, sweet and grateful. She took a photo of us, her audience.
This Mexican tale moved me to the bone. It relates about the protagonist Claudia who gets to know a family within vulnerable circumstances. Slowly but steadily she gets to know each family member and each of them in their own space opens up to her. We got to know Claudia more through her non-verbal communication rather than her verbal communication. This was because of her character, someone who doesn’t speak a lot, but also because of her roots, Mexican culture.
While observing al this non-verbal communication I linked it to a part of a training I recently provided. The training is called ‘Positive communication in relationships’. I shared examples of high-context and low-context communication styles within personal and professional relationships. How Mexicans communicate is definitely high-context with lots of non-verbal communication expressed in eye-contact, gestures and pauses.
This was again demonstrated while filmmaker Claudia was interviewed after the movie. She used a lot of words and story lines to answer questions from the audience. She showed her emotions. She moved us by her presence, because she was even willing to drink whiskey and dance for us if that was what it would take to start asking her more questions about the movie. I didn’t have any questions. The emotions triggered by her movie were still trembling inside of me. I was only able to listen for a bit more and than we left.
Scrap from the chapter “the perfect relationship”:
If you understand the concept of the wounded mind, you will understand the reason why romantic relationships are so difficult. The emotional body is sick. It has wounds; it has poison. If we are not aware that we are sick or that our partner is sick, we become selfish.
The wounds hurt, and we have to protect our wounds, even from the one we love. But if we have the awareness, we can have different agreements. When we are aware that our partner has emotional wounds, and we love our partner, we certainly don’t want to touch her wounds. We don’t want to push her to heal her wounds, and we don’t want her to push us to heal our wounds.
Take the risk and take the responsibility to make a new agreement with your partner -not an agreement that you read in a book, but an agreement that works for you. If it doesn’t work, change that agreement and create a new one. Use your imagination to explore new possiblities, to create new agreements based on respect and love.
Communication through respect and love is the whole key to keeping the love alive and never getting bored in your relationship. It’s about finding your voice and stating your needs. It’s about trusting yourself and trusting your partner. What you are going to share with your partner is not the garbage, but your love, your romance, your understanding. The goal is for the two of you to be happier and happier, and that calls for more and more love. If you treat your partner with love and respect, who is going to get the benefit? No one else but you.
From ‘The Mastery of Love’, written by Don Miguel Ruiz
My experience with coachees is that most people do have some kind of idea about what they want in life, but they don’t know how to get there.
1. Finetuning personal goals
During the first session we talk about these ideas on work, love relationship and other wishes regarding their personal development. Like I said, most people have some kind of idea about what they want in life, but when they find themselves talking to a coach they actually finetune what they want. For example: I want a job which will match my studies, knowledge and job experience. We can finetune this goal into: I want a job in which I can mainly work with people away from the desk. I am a real people person. We can then add this to the previous goal and we get a much clearer idea of where we should head to.
2. Identity coaching: who are you?
After having set out the personal goals of the coaching traject we really start talking about how you can get there. To get there you need yourself! What do I mean by this? You need to know what your skills are, what you are capable of doing, what your strong and weak points are and how you can put your skills out there to get what you want. Most of the time I come in (into your life) as a coach to broaden and deepen your view on yourself as a person and on life. There are different coaching ways to get out there what you’re good at.
3. Changing mood: get positive and focused
Further down the road: there is no need to talk any further about what you want in life if you’re mentally not ready to think about those stuff. So first of all, I will get you through your world of limiting beliefs. When thinking back on a session I believe the most important thing in which I succeeded during this session was changing the mood of the coachee. At start the coachee was really sad; eyes were hanging, radiation a bit greyish and tone-of-voice was empty. After around 15 minutes I started provoking. From that moment onwards the coachee’s mood became more and more positive; laughing, stronger non-verbal communication, more strength in tone-of-voice and even joking around.
And when you feel in the mood again we get back on the tracks you have chosen to be.