Life Coaching: looking back on 2015

wings

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. 

Rebirthing: break through limiting patterns by breathwork

breathe

Nowadays I am a big fan of rebirthing. This doesn’t mean that I am not using the coaching techniques anymore which I have been practising for more than ten years. I am referring to counselling, Neuro Linguistic Programming, Social Panorama and provocative coaching. These coaching techniques come in handy in combination with rebirthing. These techniques are especially helpful in my experience, because I use them to create a bridge towards a mind and body open for everything which might surface while doing the conscious connected breathing.

This week a thirthy something woman came in for her second session and she was dead-scared to be laying down on a yoga mat to do rebirthing. I had a feeling she was coping with several emotions towards the guidance, because of her e-mail. In her e-mail she only shared that she was reluctant to come to the session. Nevertheless she would come, because she wanted to break through her limiting thinking and behavioral patterns. Even though her motivation to undergo the emotional process was intrinsic I needed her trust.

In order to gain her trust I let her speak about her fears. Because she experiences several physical pains in neck, shoulder and hip area, she was afraid to be feeling lots of commotion in those areas. Apart from being dead-scared to be facing other heavy emotions. I reassured her that her body and mind would only allow her to feel and think exactly what she would be able to handle in her state of condition. That’s a part of the magic of the conscious connected breathing. The body smarter than one would think it is.

I started out with the technique called Social Panorama. While undergoing this exercise she was able to feel a set of limiting emotions regarding a beloved one. Emotions such as sadness and fear. A fear which is quite common and lots of people suffer from is the fear of rejection. This fear of rejection once created in contact with a beloved one can be a real threat to one’s mental and physical health. This is because the fear will lead it’s own life if not tackled before by expressing the underlying sadness and pain. The life it will lead can be mirrored to the person suffering from it in professional and personal relationships such as relationships with colleagues, family, friends and partners.

From the moment you realize that you have fallen into a negative circle of life occurrences and that you don’t want a repeat of this, than you are ready for life coaching. I am not saying it’s easy, but it all starts with the decision that you want it different, better and positive. In the end that’s what you deserve, that’s what we all deserve; to lead a happy, joyful and creative life in which we are able to share our happiness and talents.

If you’re interested in a life coaching session, first option would be an introduction session in my coaching practice in The Hague. Here you can read more about the introduction session…

HSP: she is more into animals than people

cat

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.

Stop participating in the problem

problem

Have you been a victim of people who are projecting their negative energy onto your life? Stop being the victim and step out of the problem others have created. It is both awful and true, but some people just don’t know how to handle their deep rooted fears, anger and sadness. The only reason for them to project these emotions onto others is because they don’t feel and see a way out. When it comes down to family relationships which are the hardest and most challenging of all relationships we often come to question ourselves: are we the ones to help them? Underneath all that blame and pointing fingers is love. For sure.

The only problem is that blaming sucks up all the positive energy you have. It tires one out to the bone. No energy left no more to speak. How is it possible to speak to someone who continues to blame, play the victim and ignore your needs? I’ve spoken to some courageous people who stood up with their loving energy: “I will HELP my sister”, “I will keep on supporting my little brother financially”, “I will only express loving words and actions towards my mom” or “I will stick by their side, because I see the good in them”. Some of these people were strong enough to play it this way. Others succumbed to the negativity which was played out on them.

The key in resolving conflicts is first of all knowing which part you play in the conflict. Do you even play a part? As how I described it in the above situations, sometimes we play the part of wanting to help the ones who are driven by fear, anger and sadness, but ask yourself up until when you are able to do this without losing your beloved self in the matter. Secondly, after having defined your role and how and if you would like to participate in the situation, know that you have the possibility to “stop participating in the problem”. Have the courage to step away from the situation. Love yourself.

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?

IFFR: The Amazing Catfish

catfish

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.