My interview with Soulfoodbali: How I changed my life around

Recently I got interviewed by  Loekie, I met her because she followed my complete Mindfulness course about 6 months ago. After my course she decided to change her life around. She quit her job, followed her dream and she now lives in Bali. I couldn’t be more proud of her! She started a blog www.soulfoolbali.com where she writes about her life in Bali, her spiritual journey and also features other souls in Bali that inspire her. I’ll be talking all about the change in my life and how I ended up in Bali being a mindfulness coach. 

Please introduce yourself to us by telling something about yourself.
“Hi I’m Nadja, I moved to Bali more than two years ago and work as a mindfulness coach.  My background is very different, I grew up in the Netherlands and lived and studied in Rotterdam. I did an education in economy and business mainly. But five years ago I got a very severe depression. I was struggling a lot with my life and with who I was and with very destructive thoughts. I didn’t really know where to go in life. I guess I just was living the life that I thought my environment was expecting of me. The whole education, the career and later on buying a house and starting a family. Actually I was feeling really unhappy. Once I experienced the depression I tried to get out of it by seeking help and I went to psychologists but nothing really seemed to help me at that time.”

So, what was the reason nothing seemed to help?
“I was always looking for an answer outside of me, basically. After, like.. 1,5 year I found out about mindfulness, I did a private course in Rotterdam where I was living at that time. That changed my world, because for the first time I started looking what happened inside of myself instead of the outside influences. I realized I was my own worst enemy. And it were my own thought patterns that made me feel that bad  I started meditating, and slowly my life started to change and I decided to follow my dream and become a mindfulness coach and move to Bali and set up my own business.”

Pretty radical! How did this mindfulness lifestyle change your life in other ways than by moving to Bali?
“Basically in every way, haha. It changed my thought patterns and especially how I relate to my thoughts. It changed my perspective on life, the way I look at myself, the way I look at other people. I was very judgmental about others, but the mostly about myself. I was always driven by this inner critic, needing to be better, needing to be approved. But the problem was, it never was good enough. Because of mindfulness I could finally find peace. And some answers inside of me, and I know now that I’m good enough no matter how I look or what I achieve. And I stopped looking for validation outside of myself and that gave me the strength and the peace to follow my dreams and to help others.”

Sounds like a wonderful life change.. Where would you be – if you use your imagination – without those insights?
“Good question! I actually don’t know.. But I think without those insight I’d probably be stuck in my life that I was supposed to live. So I’d probably still be living in my home city, probably still be in a career that didn’t made me happy but did gave me certainties and the validation of others. I’d probably still be in a relationship I thought I was supposed to be in, but not feeling happy.. I’d probably be sucked in living a life people expected me to live, but that’s not the life that feels true to me.”

 So let’s talk about you’re lifework now. What are you offering?

THE WORKSHOP

Mindfulness Bali. For people who are visiting Bali for a short period of time, or for people who just want to try it out. It takes about three hours and I will teach you the most important tools to actually help yourself. I will teach you how to meditate and teach you some fundamental insights.

THE COMPLETE COURSE

Mindfulness Bali. 6 sessions in which we will work about mindfulness, NLP, ACT, life coaching. We will really get deeper into personal belief systems, changing the way you think and the way you relate to yourself and the world.

ONLINE COURSE

Currently I’m also working on a online course, at first it’ll be in Dutch. You can follow the course at home from behind your laptop and you will work by yourself but still in this community – I will create a Facebook community – and each week there will be time for questions and answers. There will be guided meditations and homework. So it’s like doing the entire course but at home.
 

What is your mission work-related?

“My mission is.. Basically, to bring people back to their true selves, so it’s not about fixing or improving someone. Its about coming back to who you really are and to know that it’s good as it is. Coming back to self love, accepting yourself and finding the courage and strength to find a way to live a life feels good and true to yourself.”

Mindfulness is sometimes associated with fluffiness.. Is that true according to you?
“Well, that very much depends on your teacher, you can make it as fluffy as you want I guess. But it doesn’t have to be. It’s just cognitive psychology, combined with Buddhist psychology and inside meditations. I also add Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP), life coaching and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) to that. All very legit techniques that have been proven to be effective.  My courses are very down to earth, very relatable and very accessible.”

So who would benefit from these courses you offer?
“Oh, that’s a very wide range of people. There’s a big target group that just wants to find more inner peace, more balance. People who want to live less in their heads and be more present.   People who want to deal with stress and cooperate better with life. There’s also a group of people that might feel lost, depressed or experiencing severe problems with themselves and relationships and so on. I think it’s beneficial to everyone to be honest.”

What kind of reactions do you get after completing a course?
“It’s different per person. But for most people who finished the full course, often tell me they found out who they are on a larger scale. They know better how to relate to themselves. They learn how to judge less, how to listen to themselves, how to trust their intuition and they feel more confident. And myself, I often see a big change in the people that are following my courses. The most exciting thing is when people start the course being in a bad place, and feeling much better after a while. When they feel the courage and the strength to take action to change and find happiness again.”

What does a mindfulness lifestyle and Buddhism have in common?
“There’s a lot of Buddhism in mindfulness because it uses a lot of Buddhist psychology. Buddhism is actually not a religion, it’s a way of life and a way of thinking, there is an entire psychology behind it. It is about non judgement, not judging yourself, not judging others. A lot is about accepting, and breaking the cycle of Samsara, which is the cycle of suffering created in the mind by accepting what is happening in the present moment, letting go of the past and not attaching to the future outcomes, so really living in this present moment is something it has in common. Accepting that life is transient and everything comes and goes, the good and the bad, and by accepting that you will find a lot more peace… There are many more examples. The cool thing is that mindfulness actually teaches you how to do this instead of just saying this is the way to go to reduce your suffering and find some peace of mind.”

People who have very busy lives, are they able  to meditate? I can imagine that could be hard to combine.
“Well, they often say ‘The busier you are the more you should meditate. I believe that’s very true. It’s a matter of priorities. I do understand that it’s not realistic to meditate for three hours a day. Especially when you’re living a busy life. It’s also not necessary to be honest. You can adapt it according to your lifestyle and mediate like 15 minutes a day and that will be more than enough if you do this on a consistent base. 

Plus, the lessons and the exercises I give, you can integrate in your daily activities, so it won’t cost you any time. It’s just something you have to remind yourself you have to do. The mediation really gives you more space in your head, it also gives you more clarity and it will help you to work more efficient. You’ll get more stuff done without wasting a lot of time on stress. So, it’s basically the opposite.”

After what period of time, people will notice a fundamental change in how they are feeling?
“Well, that’s very hard to say. It’s depends on where someone starts their journey. Some people are very willing to learn, make a change. For those group of people I sometimes even see changes after just the first session. And other cases I see differences halfway the course, at the end of the course, and for other people it’s just the seeds that’s planted and things will just continue afterwards. So it basically depends on the individual and where someone stands in their journey.”

Do you have a life quote you really resonate with that you want to share with us?
“I always loved the three words of Lenny Kravitz ‘Let love rule’ because in the end it all comes down to love. And mainly to self love. Acting out of love instead of acting out of fear. That is the problem, because we feel so much fear about failing, feeling incomplete and so on. We live our lives in fear and that’s what our mind tells us all the time. When we live our lives out of fear, we live a life that’s not true to us. And that’s where people start to feel unhappy and live unhappy lives. When we take actions out of love, and especially out of self love, you do what feels right to you, although the fear comes up. So to be it all comes down to letting love rule.” 

 

Nadja

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