HSP: my sense of taste


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


Keep calm and sparkle


With so many things happening on the personal front we were continuously challenged on the work front. The past four years haven’t been easy with a burnout husband. Even though he still has this enormous headache we’re slowly crawling our ways up to a ‘normal’ living. A normal living would of course be when he is 100% healthy, but since we can’t plan the date of him being fully recovered, we do our best in our own pace.

We have dreams, big dreams. Dreams in which all of you are included. We strive for a healthy and happy living; mentally, physically and spiritually. Tonight at dinner he told me about someone who inspires him. Someone who trains people to get to know their true voice. He was impressed by his training method and thought he could do something similar; freeing people from their blockages. In his case it would be by moving. His thinking and brainstorming about the topic brought him to his moving core: his free flow capoeira method. A method which can make people of all ages enjoy moving, like they enjoyed moving when they were a child. Teaching people how to enjoy moving and playing around is only one of his dreams.

The thoughts I shared with him were about the ebook I’m writing on anger: how to deal with anger when you’re a highly sensitive person. The writing went well, my mind was crystal clear and that was exactly what I needed to fill the gaps. Now I realize I didn’t share my thoughts on workshops. Thoughts come and go like that. This morning I received two more sign-ups for a workshop I organized on emotion management for highly sensitive people in Utrecht. I was so happy that I started daydreaming instantly about organizing a workshop with a friend of mine. A friend who works as a psychologist and with whom I studied neuro linguistic programming. I saw myself having fun with her while brainstorming about different workshop topics.

At the moment she is super busy so I need to tame my enthusiasm. And that’s good, it’s good to keep my focus. Focus helps to finalize our current projects. Let’s stay calm and sparkle on this road called love.

Step up Revolution ~ Gallery Art Dance

The above ‘Gallery Art Dance’ moved me to the bone. If you’re looking for inspiration, stop right here and take a few minutes to watch this dance performance. What moved me was the combination of the beauty of colour, the soft movements and the element of surprise. Somehow the beauty of it all struck me right in the heart; tears sprang out of my eyes. I felt thankful, alive and excited.

As children we grow up in wonder. We are surrounded by everything worth discovering. We get excited by the simplest things; lighting a candle, cutting paper with scissors and climbing up a chair to watch other children playing. Most children definitely laugh more than adults. They laugh because they truly enjoy what they’re doing. What happened along the way to adulthood?

A lot can happen. How big or small the trauma’s are, if it is still limitating your life it is worth to take a look at it. Most of us are afraid of the depth of the trauma, of all the emotions they might feel. From experience I know that the negative emotions will make place for loving emotions. Of course it’s not easy to dive into something painful, but how you will feel in the end is definitely worth the time, effort and energy.

Let’s learn to live more authentically. We do that by overcoming our fears and by confronting ourselves with hurt, anger and disappointment. One way to do this is to perceive more love around us. Shift your focus to beauty and let the love in. Experiencing more love helps us to feel the pain we need to let go.

Love is an energy that creates a feeling that changes and transforms the experience that we call life.

Yoga: a silent and inspiring place

As you may have already noticed: I started yoga last week. Although it’s only my second week of regular yoga practice I’m definitely reaping the benefits of it.

What I like about the classes I take at yogastudio Linggan is the studio I enter. From the moment I cross the threshold I’m surrounded by a happy and relaxing atmosphere. Linggan chose for a colour combination of fuchsia pink, black and white. This colour combination can be found on cushions, candles and flowers. They are located in city centre the Hague. Perhaps the atmosphere is better felt because of leaving the city center and entering an oasis of quietness.

Of course, experiencing the location as such, comes down to if one is able to open up for yoga as it is being teached. Some people still hear an occasional car or scooter driving by. Or people who clash their bags with ornaments against the window and feel disturbed by the noise. I hear the noise but I don’t feel disturbed. I’m very much concentrated on changing from one pose into another and keep breathing while doing this. By the way, breathing is what we do during the entire class.

I’ve noticed that the instructors from whom I’ve had class were very keen on breathing instructions. Because of this I’ve had some awesome classes. After class I felt cleansed from the inside out. (morning ashtanga vinyasa & evening hatha) There were also classes where I missed the breathing instructions as a continuous flow through the yoga poses. I believe it depends on the group of practitioners and the type of class. (afternoon gentle hatha & morning sivananda)

It’s a real challenge to keep doing the ujjayi breathing. This is a type of breathing while making a soft internal sonorous sound. This sound resonates from the throat to the heart on an inhalation, and from the heart to the throat on an exhalation. The ujjayi breathing warms up the body quickly and keeps the body warm.

When one gets familiar with the yoga poses and reaches a level of concentration and focus which are required to perform them than one starts experiencing the surroundings as it is meant to be. Than we enter a state of observation in stead of irritation. In this state of pure bliss we are connected with a higher consciousness. As I said before, this is only my second week, but I’m in!! In my silent and inspiring place, myself.

So are you practicing yoga? What does it bring you? If not, are you about to start yoga?

Can I determine my own life?

Who is in charge??!!

Can I determine my own life? Or am I just a kind of victim of the circumstances? Western liberal thoughts tell us that we are responsible for our fate and life ourselves. But what is in our hands and not? Sometimes it depends on our frame of mind how it reveals itself to us.

In our last session, after a break of some months, for the final time, my coach tried to set my frame of mind into a different direction than the usual one! So again I had a chance to create the mental map of life, visualizing the actors and situations…

Chungmei asked what would preoccupy me still now, after this long summer break. Well, people can last quite long in your memory, not ready to leave the space they occupy… My bosses… my former boyfriend… some other friends with whom I had some small problems over the summer…

Most of the hour I spent with eyes closed. Not like the other times when I saw into the eyes of Chungmei. This time, I had to focus – who was in which distance towards me positioned in which direction? And how did I wanna change this? Where did I imagine those people?!

I had done this practice before. It took some courage to go into it. But this time, I managed very confident, and very quickly. “It is my boss who is out of the circle!” I said, my former boyfriend banned too! Never ever I wanted to see or hear or feel them again. They were out of my imaginary circle!

But two other people were not out – my parents! I just thought of them so much, I wished they would be so close to me! I imagined them there, besides me, knowing that the only way to achieve this in reality would be to compromise so much. As they were just themselves. No one was about to council or coach them. They had their own rhythm, their own ideas of life. It is just left to me to
accept it.

This is the bridge from imagination to reality, from will to compromise. However much I love them, it won’t change the love they will feel towards me. And there is nothing left to accept it. It is a mixture of desperation and being ready to accept the things as they are. The best chance of any world! A new kind of realism. Which will work out perhaps in the long term!

1st day of SUMMER and last week before maternity leave


Summer arrived with the beautiful sunbeams shining on our balcony. Working from home has it’s benefits. One of them is to be able to lounge in a very comfortable chair. A chair in which you can sit/lay in three different positions. This is especially great because my babybelly is getting bigger and bigger. The only imaginable risk is that it is so comfortable that I could fall asleep. If it was not for my everlasting drive to be busy with coachingactivities I would fall asleep and then lounging wouldn’t be an option. Fortunately I can work and live through the day because of these sunny powerbreaks.

With this beautiful first summer day my last week before maternity leave started as well. My last week, hmmm? Nooo, that’s not possible! There are a few things I would like to finish. Since being pregnant and all I fail on concentration and focus. Does this irritate me? Well, to a certain extent, yes: it’s keeping me busy. I WANT to WORK and finish what I started, but nature calls a lot lately. When I have energy, I work. When I need rest, I take my rest. It’s like a constant communication with my body. Which is good. As a coach I would advise everyone (yes everyone, including the men!:-)) to get pregnant at least once in your life. The process will draw your attention to your body which definitely leads to a more healthy balance between mind and body.

And how come I can live with not finishing my project? Guess once!! Because there is a much BIGGER thing waiting for me/us! Our baby, our first child. How is that for a change? No projects, nor coachingsessions to deal with, but the biggest ‘project’ in life for which I don’t have any experience. Allright, does it count that I have changed diapers of my little brother? Don’t think so. From next week on I will take a deep dive into a neverending babyworld. Will go with the flow!