Archive for the ‘Beautiful people’ Category
As a life coach, I have to keep a strong belief in the power of coaching even when those who come for coaching seem impossible to help at first. Recently, I had to question my belief when a new client came to me that made me doubt my ability to help her. After years of working with people and helping them see the amazing power of the mind, when Millie came, I had some doubts.
Millie was referred to me by a friend. He said to me, “Ronit, Millie needs to come and see you urgently”. So we scheduled a session and to my coaching deck came a gentle, beautiful 40-year-old woman with spots all over her face.
The more she told me about the problem, the more I doubted about my ability to help her. How on Earth can I help a woman with a 35-year-old skin problem? I am not a dermatologist. I panicked a bit and talked to myself, “Come on, Ronit, you’ve helped people who had taken antidepressants for 24 years, you’ve helped people who had used drugs, you’ve helped sick people. You can do this”. One side of me said, “You can do it”, while the other asked, “How?”
I had no answer.
Gail asked for a relationship coaching session, but said she would come by herself. “My husband won’t come”, she said. No matter what I asked her, her answer was related to the fact her husband was depressed and was unwilling to help himself. He had lost his job years before and that had sucked the life out of him. For 5 years, he had been sucking the life out of Gail and her two wonderful boys.
Having a depressed family member is not easy to handle. Most of the time, the depressed person cannot admit he or she needs help and rejects any help attempt. Those around them feel helpless and drained.
Gail was very creative in her attempts to help her husband. She went to the doctor and talked to him. She tried to make him go to the doctor, without success. She got him some vitamins and he refused to take them. She arranged holidays to make him happy, but he stayed depress.
Eventually, after 5 years of trying, Gail left home.
From time to time, 10-year-old Noff makes me so proud I just have to write about it. This girl inspires me so much I want other parents and kids to be inspired too. To me, these are the things that make the world a better place. This time, Noff showed how to be a good friend.
Noff’s school has a special unit for children with various disabilities. These kids spend much of their time in “normal” classrooms and go to the special unit for additional support, specific exercise and maybe a little bit to get out of classroom competition.
At the same time, the school includes these special students in every extracurricular activity – choirs, school plays, instrumentals bands and even dance troupes. We are amazed and moved to tears watching the little brave souls get up on stage with walking frames or in electric wheelchairs during concerts and performances and pour their heart out, their faces beaming with joy.
Some time ago, I picked Noff up from school and she said that one of the special education teachers had approached her and a few other girls for a secret mission. She said, “She wanted us to help one of the girls without telling anyone about it. She said the girl needed someone to help her get from the special unit to class and back and someone else to protect her in the playground from bullies”.
“Wow”, I said, “Are you proud she picked you?”
“Yeah!” she beamed at me, “And straight away, I asked her if it was Kelly [not her real name] and she looked surprised, but I know it’s hard for her to walk all the way to the special unit and back with all her stuff and I know some kids are picking on her”.
Today, my son Tsoof had his graduation ceremony and finished Year 12. Wow, it was fast! It did not only feel fast, but it was, because he only celebrated his 16th birthday last month.
In the past three weeks, he has had many awards night, celebrations, final concerts and farewell parties. During those events, Tsoof received many awards for excellence, for leadership, for showmanship, for his contribution to his school, his friends and his community and we felt honored and blessed for his talents, his kindness and his love for what he does.
You seen this in the movies: the parent of the star performing on stage is sits in the crowd, looks around and tells everyone that sits next to them in excitement, “This is my son” Well, this is how we felt at every event. Tsoof is so talented and so famous we introduce ourselves as “Tsoof’s mom/dad/sister” and we were very proud.
At the end-of-year Performing Arts evening, as the winner of the prestigious title “Performing Artist of the Year”, Tsoof opened the night and said, “Good evening. My name is Tsoof. I am a school captain, Vocal Harmony and Wind Symphony captain, a member of the Senior Percussion Ensemble (Mac-cussion), Show Choir and Big Band. Thank you for coming this evening”.
Gal, Eden, Noff and I sat the whole night proud as peacocks for being associated with him.
That was his last performance with all his ensembles, where he said goodbye to those who had contributed greatly to growing his talents, enthusiasm and passion for music – his music teachers. Three of them had been his musical mentors and had taught him for eight years, through both primary and high school.
I want to thank them too.
When I was about 15 years old, I learned the hard way that sometimes you want things and only when you get them, you realize they were not what you wanted. Addiction is like this too – you want something and shortly after you get what you want, you realize it was not what you wanted.
As a life coach, I talk a lot about wanting. I believe wanting is essential in life. It is the driving force of our existence. But today, I want to tell you about a session on my life coaching deck that reminded me again why the question “Why?” is as important as the question “What?” Chris, one of my wonderful clients, taught me a wonderful lesson about what happens when you do not know why.
All I knew about Chris was that he was a businessman in his early fifties, married, with no kids and a lack of motivation who was looking for a life coach. Nothing special. We all have those periods in our life when we just find it hard to get up in the morning.
This is what I told myself when I prepared for his session. The first time he came, when I opened the door, I saw from the corner of my eyes a classy Mercedes Benz parked outside. Well, the first thing I could think of was “Oh my god, what a beautiful car”. I have to say it made me more curious about the reason he came. I thought that car was the result of lots of motivation.
“Why are you here, Chris? What do you want?” I asked him.
He looked confused. “I really don’t know. I think something’s wrong with me”.
Being gay is not easy. Having gay kids is not easy either. I think one big difficulty of being gay involves your relationship with your parents. Sometimes being gay even means losing your parents and becoming an orphan.
I have to say I do not really know what my reaction to having gay kids will be as none of my kids are gay (as far as I know now, anyway), so I can only guess, but I think that such a discovery requires parents to take responsibility for their feelings and not to push it to their kids. When I say “responsibility over feelings”, I mean managing your own emotions and never forgetting that you love our kids. I think the risk of having a gay child is that sometimes it makes people forget their love.
Having a gay child is as big a test of parenting as having a disabled child is and while some parents pass the test, others fail. I learned about this from two wonderful gay clients of mine, Farid and Anthony.
I met them through another client. They were gorgeous guys who needed space from their very demanding families to pursue a career and succeed in life. When I met them, they had been together for several years and lived together for more than 2 years.
Kids’ mind is a puzzle. Working with kids for so many years (and with grownups who used to be kids), I am amazed by what demons they carry with them and how they use naive conclusions to navigate their life. The more I see clients, the more I am convinced there is never a way to predict how kids will interpret their young life and what they will make of it later in life. The kid’s mind puzzle becomes an adult’s mind puzzle that is even harder to solve. Trish’s story is a wonderful way to get some insight into how this happens.
Trish came to my life coaching deck with her partner. Ben, her partner and the father of their child, had said she needed help but he had no idea how to get it. Trish had not contacted me, had not completed the session preparations and had not even talked to me before coming, so this was an unusual session.
Trish was a beautiful young woman. Her hair was tied back and she looked tired, as if she had spent weeks crying. She was 27 years old and was preparing for her wedding. She had a one-year-old boy, a great job and … a demon.
“Hi, Trish. Thank you for coming. What brings you here?” I asked.
She looked at Ben and started crying. I gave her the tissue box and waited. She tried very hard to stop. Every time she started saying something, tears started again and she choked. Ben held her hand and whispered, “You can do it”. She looked at him and looked at me for a while before she finally started telling me her story.
After her son was born, memories of a childhood trauma had come to life. In-between sobs, she said, “At first, I thought it was a dream, but then I realized I see the same scene over and over again even when I’m awake”.
“Can you please tell me what you see?” I asked.
“It is very vague… I think it had something to do with my dad… I can see myself at the age of 6 or 7 playing with another girl… She was my neighbor and we played a lot together. I think someone did something to both of us… I can see my dad screaming and having a fight with her dad… I think my dad raped both of us”, she managed to say.
This is the second part of a series of posts about acceptance through the story of Mel, a fascinating client of mine. To know a bit about Mel and how this story started, read Monday’s post, Acceptance (1). For a description of Mel’s views on life that made her miserable, read Wednesday’s post, Acceptance (2).
Today, I would like to introduce a solution, a cure, a way out of this endless search for the right and only-sensible thing to do, to think or to be. If you are like Mel in some way, I hope this will help you find peace, just as she did. If you know others like Mel, I hope you will share this series of posts with them so they may find their own peace.
The first step toward change is awareness. The second step is acceptance
- Nathaniel Branden
Every time Mel left, I wrote my reflections on the session, as I always do after a session. In the Strategies section, I wrote, “Teach acceptance”. For me, acceptance was a peaceful place, where I acknowledge things around me without resistance (every time I think of the word “resistance”, I remember The Borg from Star Trek saying, “Resistance is futile”. Sometimes it is useless and ends only in sorrow).
Mel thought acceptance was a form of giving up. “Do you accept wars?” she asked me (she knew how to press my buttons).
I said, “I do. I acknowledge the fact that there are wars. It does not mean I am happy about them, but they are part of life”.
This is the second part of a series of posts about acceptance through the story of Mel, a fascinating client of mine. To know a bit about Mel and how this story started, read Monday’s post, Acceptance (1).
Mel thought there was such a thing as Ultimate Justice that all people must follow. She had a very strict concept of Right and Wrong. Fairness was always examined from her point of view and her point of view was the center of the universe. Mel never thought fairness was relative and influenced by culture or upbringing.
When I described to her how the Thai people charged tourists and locals differently at temples or for food, she could not understand how that could be fair. When I gave her an example of a clash between different people’s definition of fairness, she had a “system failure” in her mind.
I remember myself writing protest poems at the age of 14. My notion of fairness was very clear and naïve then. When I was 27, my youngest sister came back from a trip to India and showed me her journal, where she had written, “Is it fair to make your child blind so he can be a better beggar and bring home more money to feed the whole family?” I experience that same “system failure” about fairness at the age of 27, when I tried to answer that question. My immediate reply was, “No, of course it’s not fair!”
But as I thought about it some more, I realized it is not that simple and there is no single right way of doing things. I was already a mother and I was pregnant, which made this realization more difficult, but I understood one big lesson about acceptance: what is fair for one is not necessary fair for another. There is no ultimate fairness. Fairness is totally subjective and we cannot judge others for having a different definition of fairness to ours.
I chose to tell you about Mel because she was generally miserable. On the surface, she ticked all the boxes of a wonderful life – she was a college profession, she had the cutest kids and she loved them very much, she was married and loved her husband deeply and she was financially secure. Yet, nothing made her happy – thoughts were her allies, but she found people most unreasonable. She was unhappy with the way they behaved and kept saying they did not make any sense.
Although I am not convinced there is a formula for being happy, I think there is formula for being miserable. Mel had that formula and lived by it every day of her life. Through clients like Mel, I have seen how the mind can create this suffering. As a very smart, curious person, Mel had some beliefs, thoughts and ideas that made her miserable and caused her to think she did not understand the world and could not make sense of it. What Mel missed was the understanding of acceptance. She confused acceptance with having low standards, with compromising on mediocrity and with giving up.
Mel was an amazingly smart woman, but she could not understand why others did not understand what she did. She did not understand why people did things that hurt others. She did not know how to relate to people without knowing their motives. She did not understand emotional (she called them “illogical”) decisions. When I told her that I never make logical decisions, because I am kinesthetic, she looked at me shocked. “What else is there?” she asked.
For me, 6 things summed up Mel’s thoughts and ideas and contributed to her self-torture.