About | Mindful Life Coaching & Counselling for People In Transition

Welcome. This is me...

Intelligent, Reliable, Heart (& a little stubborn). Grounded in Flux.

Connect with yourself (and me).

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This is my story...

collageWhen I was 19, all I knew was that I wanted to save the world.

As I set off on my idealistic work/life, abroad and at home in the Netherlands, I had cool jobs where I soared and expanded (think: being a part of a core team of social workers championing a new approach to welfare in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.)

I also had stages where I felt frustrated and stuck and phases of unemployment where I felt like the world's biggest failure (think: having no income for 14 months, a year after I was headhunted twice, in Cairo, Egypt).

 
 

And between all of that, I had periods where I felt adrift.

Periods where the old didn't feel good anymore, but a new horizon hadn't emerged yet. Where the question: "what do you want?" was a difficult one to answer.

At first, these shifts or periods of flux were painful - as the image I'd built of myself seemed to go up in smoke. In the middle, these shifts are healing, allowing me to slow down and focus on the only things I had energy for (think: volunteering with refugees in the Netherlands, or puttering around the house and meditating, in my new home in Germany).

 
 

In the end, these periods of flux always bring me unexpected positives  -

whether it's a career I didn't know was possible for myself, more self-awareness or a greater sense of peace. It's not easy getting there - and usually involves (internal) tension, struggle and trying to 'hold on' to the old way, before something new may unravel. Along the way, I've also grudgingly realized that dissapointment, vulnerability and sadness can't be avoided, if I want to live a true and open-hearted life. The one thing I've realized I can do to stop further pain from being created is to accept it all - and minimize the layers of judgement I add to a moment.

Through these various incarnations I've realized how deeply exhausting it is for me, and disempowering for others, to feel the need to constantly save, push for or control outcomes. While I still love to work closely with people seeking support (because it makes me feel good), I no longer try to fix or change others. These days, I've let go of that burden and woken up to the fundamental ability of everyone to be there for themselves. By that, I don't mean to imply that we should all go it alone and refuse outside help. What I do mean is that, instead of attempting to secure love, worth, security and safety on the outside -  I've found that my most lasting resources are within. I no longer need to know everything, feel in control or be happy, busy and successful all the time in order to feel alive, connected and whole. 

 

I now try to meet and trust life, exactly as it is. 

It might just not always happen in the way I expect it. 

"What has gone wrong becomes an opening to more of yourself and part of your gift to the world.
This is the beginning of wisdom."

 

   -   Krista Tippett

This is my insight...

I think we're right at the cusp of a more balanced, collaborative and conscious age (because the night is darkest before the dawn). And I think you waking up to all of your messy self, directly supports that process.

 

You don't need to be fixed, pushed or told what to do...

Life tends to unfold cyclically, including both amazing highs and painful lows, messy middles and periods of waiting. It might just not happen in the way we expect it. We all try to live life as well as we can and know how, wanting to avoid suffering. But usually, at some point or another, we'll hit a wall; feeling lost, overwhelmed, empty or like a failure. Trying so hard to keep going, but finding ourselves increasingly disconnected, instead.

I know you're maybe thinking you did something wrong to be here, to feel this way, maybe even to be the way you are. But let me tell you that under that thought and experience of yourself, lies an ever present field of dynamic creativity. We live in a world where tension and suffering, while uncomfortable, also happens to be the breeding ground for our biggest lessons. Be patient, kind and compassionate towards yourself, as you grapple with yourself in this messy middle between the way things were - and a new way that is being moulded in these fires.

 

...but slowing down, reflecting and connecting with yourself can help you. 

You have everything you need within you to meet & create change (and don't need me or any outside tool to realize 'your potential'). But knowing this rationally doesn't make your fears, stress, anxiety, loneliness, emptiness or sadness go away. When life becomes too overwhelming or stifling for whatever reason, the support of an outsider with no agenda can be a helpful resource to get back to yourself. 

Some therapists focus on your past. Some coaches focus on your future. I (whatever you call me) like to meet you as you are, right now - in all your messy thoughts, numb sensations, difficult emotions, wishes and inclinations. Think of them as parts of yourself wishing to be seen, before they can be dismissed again. I won't push you to set goals or do homework (unless you would like that from me), nor will I tell you what to do. I'm much more interested in supporting you, as your life continues to unfold, both when we work together and afterwards. 

 

 

Would you like to go further?

Click on any of the images below to see how to work with me.

 

This is my story continuing...

I also love to write: to use the power of words and stories to connect, create space and heal. Dive into the stories I share on my blog, or that have been published on other like-minded platforms below. Are you looking for someone to put your soul into words? I'm here for you, too.

 

 

 

How Disappointment Deepens us: 3 Practices for Moving Through Painful Moments with More Ease. - Soul Anatomy

Celebrate You. - Rebelle Society

Notes from the Messy Middle. - Elephant Journal

Sisterhood 2.0: Why traditional networking isn't working for women. - The Guardian

How to Effect World Change Without Quitting Your Day Job. - Career Contessa 

Our World is Broken. You Have a Piece to the Puzzle of Fixing It.Emerging Women

The Cult of Doing & Human FlourishingOn Being with Krista Tippett

Leiderschap? Doen waar je goed in bent voor een positief verschil - Lof Magazine (Leadership edition)

An Open Letter to Travis Kalanick, Uber CEO - Medium

Dare to Follow Your Heart In Your Career - LinkedIn

4 Ways We Need To Rethink Female Leadership -  LinkedIn

HeartWork in Frankfurt - Entrepreneurial Expat

21 Blunt Questions for a Life Coach. A Story of One HeartWork True Stories With Gill 

This is what shapes me:

  • I love to keep on discovering, both in and outside of a class-room. Some of my past learning endeavours are: my B.A. in Social Sciences (2006), my M.A. in Comparative Women's Studies (2007), my coursework at the Institute for Life Coach Training (2013-2014), my coursework in Voice Dialogue facilitation (2015), my participation in an international women's leadership development retreat (2016), my monthly therapy (2016-present) and my participation in a 10-day Vipassana meditation retreat (2017).
  • I have a hard time answering the question: "Where are you from?", seeing as I've lived in 6 countries, gone to school in 4 and worked in 3. Usually, though, I'll just say 'the west of the Netherlands.'
  • I'm one half of an intercultural marriage (Dutch-Sudanese) and live abroad (in Frankfurt, Germany).
  • Before I became a coach I was a social worker for migrant women in the Netherlands and a development worker in social entrepreneurship in Egypt. Both of these careers taught me a lot of valuable skills I still use (incl. graphic design, strategic communications and connecting with people no matter where they're from).
  • In high-school, I briefly considered studying theoretical physics. I ended up getting an M.A. in Gender Studies instead. I now see the link between the two, as well as with coaching: understanding how unseen forces affect us.
  • I'm into deep, heartfelt insights and transformations - on the outside (note the international moves and career switches above), but lately, more so on the inside.
  • I am both rational, grounded and systematic as well as intuitive, spiritual and creative. I like to think embodying both makes me a bridge between the two.

Connect with yourself (and me).

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