`Be a student daily, never a master.
You must keep moving forward & never stop learning´
- Misty Hildreth -
Hello, thank you for finding me and being curious!
I would like to share with you parts of my life journey, hoping it gives you a bit of a feeling of why I´m here and doing what i´m doing.
Growing up in the Netherlands on an agricultural and tulip flower farm, I (Elisabeth 1977) received my bachelor in Communication (Windesheim University, Zwolle) and after that worked in an advertising agency for two years. It didn’t take long for me to feel that the ‘Monday to Friday’, ‘9 to 5’, commercial orientated work field was not my place. I signed up for the ‘adventurous’ job as a flight attendant for KLM, Royal Dutch Airlines at 23 years old. Not knowing that my ‘1 year in between’ idea of a job adventure, would turn out to be a 13-year journey all over the world and within myself.
The numerous encounters with passengers and always changing crews, and facing the many cultural and communication differences on board and on route, have given me many opportunities to practice my patience, flexibility, empathy and communication skills. The many travels from beautiful bounty islands, to deprived slums and families living on dumpsters, has widened and shaped my world view.
The irregular ‘free’ lifestyle of my job gave me many opportunities to grow, learn and align with the field of my true interests. From working for our airline crew NGO Wings of Support (www.wingsofsupport.org), to following numerous courses and training's in reiki, yoga, thai-massage, sport massage, natural therapies, languages, retreats, meditation and mindfulness.
My first meditation experience was in my mid twenties, which immediately connected deeply with me. A few years later I attended my first 10 day silent retreat. Although the years after it was an irregular practice in my life, a seed had been planted. It wasn’t until 2011, when this seed began to flower when I signed up for the 8 week MBSR training, to help me deal differently with my pains from a herniated disc in my back.
I felt an immediate urge to train myself into sharing this accessible, science based knowledge and wisdom of how to learn to live with more awareness and be with (difficulties in) life. I picked up on the teachers program while recovering from my back surgery, soon after promoted to Purser/Inflight Manager with KLM, shifted to working part-time,(to be able to start sharing Mindfulness and the 8 week MBSR), and moved to a beautiful place in the South-West of Portugal.
My personal life changed after meeting my partner in Portugal and welcoming our beautiful daughter in March of 2015.
I decided to extend my parent leave with KLM to the maximum possible. It took me 3 years of absence to officially resign from my job with KLM. Looking back with enormous gratitude for those 13 years of flying, which have shaped my life and being to the present moment; Living a beautiful, simple & basic lifestyle in nature with my little family and consciously choosing to combine parenting, living and working in a balanced way.
The last 9 years in Portugal have been a mix of spending time on being a present parent, learning and growing through parenting, being a mother and a partner. But simultaniously exploring and finding ways to grow as a human being, as a women, and following my interest in supporting people in living with more awareness, in connection with themselves and their surrounding.
I have had the opportunity be inspired by and to learn from and with very inspiring teachers like Thich Nhat Hanh and Sister Chan Khong and through the vipassana tradition of Sayagyi U Bha Kin. The teachings of Jon Kabat Zinn, Tara Brach, Jack Kornfield, Mark Williams, Zindel Seagal and John Teasdale have been very important to me in my MBCT and MBSR trainings. I have shared the 8 week Mindfulness trainings and workshops in various locations on the south west Algarve coast, (Aljezur, Alfambras, Barão de São João, Vale da Telha, Portimão) while during summer season I am workiing with Yogaion retreats, facilitating and hosting Yoga, Surf and Womens retreats.
Widening my wings of mindfulness, doula care
Over the last few years I felt a growing interest to work with women who are going through the transformational phase of becoming mothers. This feeling not only originated out of my own birthing experience with a midwife and doula and my experience of growing into a mother, but at the same time through witnessing many women around me moving through the journey of pregnancy, birth and (early) parenting. The mindfulness seeds of awareness & presence during these phases can have enormous impact on our experience of this transformational time. I felt drawn to the work of a doula. A women who is present with a women (and family) through the phases of pregancy, birth and post partum. As a doula I hold space for this journey to unfold in it's own unique way within every women and family, offering emotional, physical, non judgemental, mindful support.
In the year 2020, for 39 weeks and 140 contact hours I emerged myself into a Doula training with Carla Silveira and others from Materlua on the Portugese continent. This training was so much more than expected, it has given me precious, deep and countless opportunities to go deep within myself, and at the same time dive into the world of pregnancy, birth and beyond. It has also brought me closer to the portugese culture, language, portugese women and their birthing culture. Being a ´foreign´ women, joining a portugese doula training had it´s challenges in itself and brought me at times over the edges of my comfort zone, resulting into growth and learning.
My trainer Carla Silveira shared with me the heartfelt words when offering my certification of completion `I believe you always have been a Doula, you were only here to be remembered of that´. The words of my trainer Rita Leite Purdente upon completing my training;´I recognize in you a profound wisdom and the ability to secure and ground/hold space in transformational processes´.
Widening my wings of mindfulness, grief & loss support
While widening my wings of mindfulness to the threshold of new life and birthing, simultanously I felt drawn to another threshold of life; loss, grief and death. During the years of offering my trainings, in my doula work, working in the retreats and in my personal life I have met, walked and talked with people who are deeply touched by loss, by death and grief.
To gain a deeper and more profound understanding of the emotional intensity, rawness and transformational character of loss and grief I have started to study that field as well. First with Amy Wright Glenn from the Institute for the Study of Birth, Breath and Death and recently with David Kessler, one of the world foremost experts on grief. He guided us through a deep, intensive, live online certification training which is transformational in itself. This training and the personal guidance, wisdom and knowledge of David Kessler have given me such a wider and deeper understanding of my own losses and grief in life. At the same time this study is continuing to give me a growing understanding and the skills to support people in moving through their own unique path of grief.
Mindful Coaching / Life Doula
At this moment in my life I am combining all these fields together, mindful awareness, new beginnings, loss and grief. I´m companioning people in their different walks of life. My guidance & coaching evolves around holding space for their experience, their journey, their life at this moment in time, as we are together learning to be present with what is, without wanting to immediately change, solve or fix things. We are moving to and coming from a place of connection & inner silence.
My support doesn´t involve any psychotherapy or counseling. It´s a personal and unique approach deeply rooted in mindfulness practices & the art of holding space, combined with the specialized skills, training, expertise and experience that I have gathered over my 44 years on this planet.
If you have come to read so far, thank you for your interest, this moment of connection through words.
I really hope that one day our lives cross and we get a change to connect in person.
Following is an overview of the teacher and professional trainings I have followed since Mindfulness started to be my profession. I am a Certified Mindfulness Trainer by See True Mindfulness Institute in the Netherlands since 2012
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