Take time to do what makes your soul happy

soul

Too often we run around doing things for others or we keep ourselves occupied with work, hobbies and social activities. At the end of the day or a whole week we feel exhausted. When did we take time to feed our soul? Especially highly sensitive people need their down time; time to inhale energy and exhale relaxation. One of the things you can do to feed your soul is to write down or go through your gratitude list. Here’s mine:

  1. I am grateful for having finished the 30 Day Vegan Challenge
  2. for opening up to the Vegan world and having decided to eat 80% vegan and the rest of the time everything I like to eat
  3. for walking around in a healthy and fit body
  4. for every emotion I feel
  5. for choosing for my well-being instead of feeling guilty about choosing for myself in relationship with my mom
  6. for my interest in people
  7. for my drive to heal people from their wounds
  8. for my capacity to guide people so they feel strong from the inside
  9. for my intuitivity
  10. for my writing skills
  11. for my grey hairs and especially for smiling when a friend mentioned my grey hairs
  12. for my ability to present other world views to people who need a change of perspective
  13. for feeling strong by what I eat
  14. for connecting with people in different ways: social media, on the streets, public transport
  15. for loving life dearly
  16. for talking with Amé about death
  17. for laughing out loud
  18. for enjoying books
  19. for loving to dance
  20. for sharing food with friends
  21. for organizing family gatherings
  22. for seeing things differently
  23. for feeling calm from within
  24. for shining like I do
  25. for my deep urge to change the world for the better
  26. for my desire to share and spread the word on high sensitivity
  27. for the people around me who see what I can bring
  28. for seeing and feeling what I can bring about
  29. for having been the mom that I am towards Amé
  30. for my insights
  31. for my teaching skills when it comes to children, they are so much fun, everyone wants to be seen
  32. for sharing the truth
  33. To conclude: this gratitude list is about how grateful I am to be me

Life Coaching: how my family have treated me

cranes

‘The reasons why I moved to Holland was primarily to get away from work, family, ex boyfriend, he could have my friends (again lost friends having to commute, dealing with women I had conflict with in work and could not work with anymore and in a way to follow my father’s footsteps in being an expat and seeing the world, living a new life, experiencing new things. Also thought I would do my MBA in Rotterdam, now that has changed – My opinion of my father and how my family have treated me – maybe that’s what we should talk about – My father and my family and me.’

Lifecoaching: as a child I believed in magic

play capoeira

For like 28 years I thought I only had one massive problem in my life: stuttering. I tried a try-out session with Life Coach Chungmei. It was interesting, she asked questions, I spoke, I did an exercise… And from out of nowhere, I started to cry! I was crying, and surprised and shocked that I was crying. This was really weird for me.

Luckily for me I kept myself busy with creating a burn – out. One year later I succeeded. My second coaching setting was a fact. I set down and she mirrored my non-verbal communication extremely sharp. Subconsciously I acted to be ready for any thing: arms wide, an ‘I am in control look’ in my eyes, and ask something like: so coach ask me a smart question?! Well, instead she told me: Well, you don’t seem ready to open up. After which she imitated my posture and look in my eyes. Do you want to be coached? Right away I felt that she didn’t fall for my act. I felt that one: my head down, arms normal, and after digesting a little bit of my fakeness, I said: yes I am ready.

Burn-out & learning to feel
What I did to burn my self out was only living in my head, not even feeling my own heart beat. During my third ‘succesful’ study, I burned out. I didn’t understand, and even less did I feel why. Chungmei guided me through this process. Some topics, in random order, we have worked on were:

  1. Why am I a perfectionist?
  2. Why do I train extremely hard?
  3. Why am I always busy?
  4. Why do I stutter?
  5. How come I don’t feel my body?
  6. What caused the burn out ?
  7. Why do I stop breathing when I think longer than 1 minute?

Answers were: I felt I was not good enough, so everything needed to be perfect. I felt a lot of surpressed emotions and had surpressed emotions myself which caused intense stress. My coping mechanism was using my head, and satisfying others and my main man Mr. Society.

This I understood after being lead through different exercises and questions no one ever asked me. With one single question she could make me feel my sadness of being so stressed. Or scared, or….unhappy. Because that’s the overal feeling: I was not happy, and was basically killing myself with thinking, studying and working. Without the burn – out to stop me, I was dead by now.

It may sound a bit extreme, but seriously she saved my life. Thank you for that. Thank you for letting go of everything that didn’t belong to me. For the first time in my life, I feel who I am, what I want to do. I became a better husband, a better person, a better father after being coached intensively by you. With better I mean more me, because that’s all there is right? I believe the best I can be is the closest to who I really am.

Now, that I write this I think of words that could describe the thankfulness that I feel in my heart. Being coached by you and feeling myself was my biggest gift after being born. It was a great pleasure being coached by someone so naturally connected with the Universe. Someone who coached so intuitively, so in the moment.

As a child I believed in magic, felt happiness in playing. Somewhere in high school I started to believe in the world of thoughts, studies, work and society. I am 32 now, and life is magic again.

By Arnold Baldé

Summer’s day in Delft

flower

Some moments need to be captured. Here my friend and I are at Hills and Mills Pure Food in Delft. Before we sat down we checked the menu. We were curious after the iced tea and water. I tried the Green Goji Açai and my friend had the Rosemary lemonade. My drink was lightly colored red with some ice cubs. To be honest I wouldn’t order it again; I didn’t really taste the goji and it could have been sweeter. The Rosemary lemonade on the other hand was a joy to drink. We tasted all the ingredients separately; rosemary, lemon and sugar.

The photo was taken by my iphone 3gs. I love the balance between the sharpness and blurriness of the scenery, both in objects and color. I was quite surprised and at the same time impressed by the result. Reason why is that it’s getting harder and harder to take nice photo’s with my iphone camera. The object must be still and the light perfect otherwise it will turn out vague or blurry. But I’m stubborn. I want to keep on to this phone until it’s useless as a whole. Perhaps the photo came out this beautiful because I was unconsciously influenced by my friend who is an animal photographer. She is involved in different photo projects and when walking around she’s always thinking of filling the gaps; her creativity on a roll.

That’s why she asked me to step into these giant Dutch clogs. One of the themes she was working on was called ‘Summer Shoes’. Every time we meet I’m inspired by her view on the world; taking time for detail. We passed by a group of youngsters who were having a day out in Delft as a part of a Science week they attended. To keep them busy they had like 20 random assignments. One of these assignments was to take a photo with a Chinese. Hmmm…so they spotted me. They were sure about me being Chinese so they jumped into it with the question ‘May we take a photo with you?’ On this hot summer’s day they weren’t at all creative; photo was taken with all of them (6) standing while my friend intended to persuade them to position themselves in an eye catching way. An unanimous ‘no, not necessary’ was the answer.

We ended our afternoon with buying some essentials from the market; cheese, cherries and eggplant. It was a lovely day, chatting away about our work and all the randomness which crossed our path.

HSP: being a highly sensitive person in Africa

African woman

The rainy season is coming to an end on Bioko island, leaving space for the sunny, very hot and humid days of the dry season. I am a HSP. I am sensitive to light, sun, heat, sweat. I have got asthma as well as some food intolerance. I do not get along well with heavy spicy sauces or fermented vegetables or tubers (most of country’s traditional dishes that I know of). I am thinking about becoming a vegetarian. Trying to retrieve all-vegetarian African recipes could be an interesting hobby.

I like music, however I cannot stand the loud volume of the radio whenever I get in a local taxi. I love dancing , but I can get extremely shy in public. I feel terribly guilty if I ever find someone hitting a child for the child’s sake!. I feel pain and discomfort when I have to get my hair braided, my scalp is so sensitive. I once had to wrung a cock’s neck and let it bleed on the floor as a sacrifice. But I didn’t faint , did not have any nightmares nor did I feel guilty afterwards, because I was never left alone throughout the process (my mother’s ritual for becoming a widow). I am not a very good model of housewife for I get overwhelmed whenever I have to clean the house and cook or run some errands. This is me. And yes: I am African. I am a woman. Thus I am an African woman. Besides I currently live in Africa. Which makes me somewhat a rara avis?. I don’t think so. So little has been said about us…HS African women…but we do exist.

I am not very good at maths, but considering that the African Continent has approximately a population of 1000 millions, a 20% of that would be around 200 million potential HSP. And thinking especially of those who live in urban areas… I am wondering how do they cope with the million stimuli surrounding us on a daily basis?. How do they relate to their spouses, children and relatives to limit boundaries?. How do they deal with stress?. And HS men…how do they manage to go through initiation ceremonies? How do they feel when they are obliged to take a girl they don’t really know or have never met as wife?. How can they stop the tears from falling when feeling sad, depressed or even just moved, shocked?.

The answer is the sense of community: the family, the village, the clan, the tribe. . In Africa you can be alone at times, but you are never lonely. There is always someone by your side watching you, ready to hold your hand if you are about to fall, to smile at you if you doubt, to push you a little if you are afraid to jump into the river…At least, that is how it used to be. Right now we are loosing our values and trying to fit in a changing world, not anymore one of the traditions but either a fully western individual oriented world. In fact we are in the middle of nowhere trying to just make it through.

Africa is much more than all those TV shocking images of wars, wild animals, droughts, starving children, AIDS, jumping massai, and Developed South Africa. It is much more than that. And from now on I will try to offer a very personal HSP view from my little piece of Africa on this fan page. It could be a fascinating journey. Would you like to ride?

Written by Anneta Gonçalves

Source: HSP Awareness International 

Coachee: I managed to say at least once “NO!!!”

no

Me, the utmost loser.

This time, I know for sure that my coach will call me nothing but a “LOSER”!! Why all that… I was so much sure in the last session that I am a loser in life. No partner, no job, no future prospects, no family, but in a perfect late age to settle. Feeling betrayed for four years of life – just because a problematic highly complicated boyfriend cheated on me. He pretended long enough to be serious about the relationship. Well, to see, how all your friends seem to be happy with long-term partners, getting children, following a career… and you seem to be the only one who is left, who cannot even manage to start a new phase in life, of founding a family, of simply finding the right guy for it – this is hard. So I basically felt like a lost person in this world.

But being called a “loser” by someone else, not myself…? That seems so strange!! Chungmei’s warning was of course not meant that seriously. I just happened to have been so busy during the week before the session that my homework, an internet research about intercultural training agencies, suffered totally. However, those who did not suffer were my friends… I had always time for them. Now, the problem with living in Berlin is, you can practically socialize 24 hours a day. There are so many interesting people and friends out on the street, and even if they are not, there are still your friends on Skype and Facebook, covering the whole planet from India to Montreal.

With this whole-day-socializing-Me, she was right to say “stop” directly into my face. Yes, I do a lot for my friends – but what do I do for myself, she asked. And my coach mentioned that I am too much ready to accept asymmetries in social relations in the sense of giving much more than others do, up to 200 % and even more. That made me feel like a tissue – cheap to get but of superb value!

Unfortunately, this combination of nice & helpful is truly dangerous because it can be exploited too easily. Therefore, she told me clearly that my next task would be – to take care of myself and practicing saying NO…. Means NO to friends when I don’t feel like going out; NO to people appreciating my services too much. How did I perform then? I managed to say at least once “NO!!!” to a friend who wanted to convince me to go out for dinner, in his area of course, which meant a lot of time to travel for me. But I didn’t manage to say “NO!!” to another friend whose nerve got stuck in his back, and barely being able to move, he called me for a helping hand. That’s why I again write my blog reflection in the last moment, deep in the night, like I write most of my applications. At least I am perfect in working up to the deadline!! My life seems so exciting. Like a soap opera, it contains new episodes full of surprising coincidences each week. Only, that besides this episodic stuff rather few things work out for me with a long-term prospect. Luckily, my coach brings up this painful subject again and again. So no chance to escape but just to work on it. Let’s see how my efforts of NOing will work out in the future…

After the session I felt left behind with some serious tasks forcing me to take care just of my own life. I sensed again motivation inside myself. But before anything else, for a while I just sat and enjoyed the warm sunny day. I thought back of the many smiles I exchanged during the coaching session with my so much positive opposite. Chungmei always has one special sentence for me, and hopefully it might even anchor in my mind: “That what you do, Antje – you do it for yourself!!”