About Sandra Hoekstra

Posts by Sandra Hoekstra:

Pay it forward

Yesterday a dear friend of mine called, to let me know she thinks I’m a sweet and amazing person and that she totally understands me. She was so sweet, her love and kindness made me cry. She has a dear friend that also has Crohn’s so she knows what affect it can have on one’s life. She told me that one of the things her friend does when she’s not feeling too well, but does want to invite people, is to let them know she can’t make the entire dinner, but that she can make cocktails or dessert. When I heard that, it just seemed so insanely easy, why didn’t I think of that?
Later I realized the reason I’ve never done that, is because I feel that when I invite people over, I should take care of everything. I know it’s difficult for me to ask for help. Maybe it has something to do with how I was raised, the way I saw it, it was important not to owe anyone anything.

But is it really that bad to “owe” someone? And exactly when are you “even”, what if you can’t return the exact same favor? Is it really that important to “even the score” so you don’t owe someone?
Honestly, I don’t think so. As long as the other person does things out of free will and you don’t take advantage of them. And of course it’s great if you can return the favor, and if not, maybe you’ll pay it forward to someone else.

I think it’s impossible to not “owe” anyone anything in this life, so I better accept that. I need the kindness of other people and my challenge will be to graciously accept it. In return, I will be kind to others. Maybe I won’t be able to return the favor to the one who gave it to me, but I will pay it forward in my life.

It will make life a lot easier when I accept help from others instead of trying to do everything myself. I can hear Mr. M. sigh (really loud 🙂 ): finally, that’s what I’ve been telling her for years! My first goal, invite someone over soon and if I’m not up to cooking dinner, ask them to bring something. I can do it, it may be a challenge, but I can do it 🙂 .

Sometimes I think I’m the only one who thinks life’s a challenge even though I know I’m not. So I hope my words will encourage everyone who thinks it’s a bad thing to “owe” anyone. It’s ok to accept help, even if you know you won’t be able to return the favor. Just pay it forward with your own kindness, no matter how small. Even something as little as a smile can make someone else’s day.

X Sandra

 

 

Sleepless in Seattle 2

Welcome back for another episode of “sleepless in Seattle”.
For some reason my during the day so foggy mind starts to come alive at night. Out of the blue all kinds of thoughts and ideas pop up in my head. Great, I’m tired, but apparently my mind isn’t. Guess that was sleeping during the day and woke up when I turned off the light. Lucky me.
So here I am. Rambling around until my mind thinks it is done spitting out great thoughts and I can go to sleep.

Tonight I’m wondering about the mind. I most definitely believe that our minds are capable of so much more than a lot of people think. I remember the book “Mind over medicine” I read a year ago. And that takes me to a conversation I had with my dad about the “placebo effect”. Often people ridicule this, but I think it’s a great example of what our minds are capable of. Apparently there are times that, when your mind is convinced of something, it can actually influence your physique. Isn’t that awesome! And if it works, it works. Does it really matter that someone didn’t get real medicines?

That brings me back to my own mind. Still looking for the switch that will turn on the positive mode in my mind and convince me that I’m good the way I am (and that my Cohn’s is gone and that I have lots of energy 🙂 ).
Ok, seriously, sometimes I wonder why it is such a challenge to feel good about myself. How can I empower myself and really believe and feel I’m worthy. Worthy of self-love and of love from others. Not just because I want it for me, but even more because I want to be a worthy example for Lisa. I think I’m a good mom, I just think that feeling that kind of self-worth would make me an even better mother. Children learn by example, so the more I can show her, the more she will be empowered to be her own beautiful self.

And so I keep on working on myself until I have a steady feeling of self-worth. There may be some challenges along my path and I will make sure I get past that. Whenever I feel overwhelmed I think of the Elephant. How do you eat an elephant? Bit by bit. And that’s what I’m doing, bit by bit I’m getting there. Sometimes I just need a little reminder that it’s ok to take small steps. Every step is a step, no matter how small and that’s what counts. Not just for me, but for all of us. Sometimes it’s just so easy to forget.

When sh*t happens

So, what do you do when shit happens?
a. You tell everyone who asks you how you’re doing.
b. You tell family and friends.
c. You tell your husband.
d. You tell no one.

Ok, d answer, was too easy. After all, who wants to listen to shit talk? For the record, I’m actually talking about poop. I know, that’s gross, that’s why you don’t tell anyone. Until you can no longer deny your Crohn’s is flaring up. So you have to tell your husband, who immediately demands you go see the doctor. Lucky you, already had your yearly checkup scheduled. Doctor’s verdict: get a blood and stool sample, switch medication and temporarily add another one. All you can think is “thank goodness no colonoscopy!”; for now anyway.

A while ago I found this quote that really hit home with me: “When shit happens, make fertilizer out of it”. Relax, I’m no longer talking about actual shit. That being said, sometimes I think it might be easier when taken literally. Ok, back to the proverbial shit. I still do not find it so easy yet to make fertilizer. The worst part is, most of the time, my own crappy (to stay on theme) thoughts create shit that’s not even actually there.

Having a flare causes me to be very tired and I have even less energy than normally. There are so many things I would like to do and I’m just too tired. Sleeping away most of my days makes me feel I’m a slacker. I would very much like to go back to work or at least do a lot of projects at home. Barely doing anything (just keeping things up and running at home is challenging) makes me feel bad about myself. It makes me realize that I got a lot of my self-worth from my job, feeling like I had something to contribute to society, our household and was developing myself. On top of that, I feel like a lousy friend because I hardly speak/write to anyone, just takes up to much energy. I would like to invest much more time and energy in my friendships, because I cherish them and don’t want to lose them. Of course it helps if I let them know I’m not doing to well.

So when I feel crappy thoughts coming up, I try to make fertilizer. My Crohn’s is annoying, but I won’t die of it. I will trust that the people who really care about me will understand and continue to be my friend. My value in life does not depend on what kind of work I do, but how I treat the people around me and the love I bring into this world.

X Sandra

 

 

Sleepless in Seattle

It’s 1.11 am, the perfect time to write a blogpost which is way overdue, but not really 🙁 . After several attempts to go to sleep I finally gave in. Guess I ate to many brownies and now suffering from hyperactivity due to too much sugar 🙂 . My mind keeps working overtime, so many thoughts and ideas I’d like to work on. Unfortunately my mind doesn’t always seem to grasp the idea of a good night’s sleep. And since my energy level is not as high as I would like it to be, chances are I might be too tired during the day to do all the things that I’ve been thinking of tonight.

Can anyone please tell me how to get loads and loads of energy? I really could use it. I envy my next door neighbor, she has more energy than our entire family and that includes Diamond (our energetic 6 month old German shepherd puppy). Wow, imagine what I could do if I had that much energy.
How does one get that much energy? Sleeping well at night is probably helpful. Oh well, at least I’m finally writing a post again.

So, for everyone who’s curious about the things that are going on in my mind, here are few.
1. I would like to do some parttime work, however, still no clue what I would like to do and would be possible to do parttime.
2. I want to make big bean bag pillows, need to find nice fabric.
3. Want to reupholster several chairs, again, need to find nice fabric and see what would be the easiest way to do it.
4. Need to unpack several more boxes.
5. Need to find space for all the things that will come out of these boxes.
6. Want to decorate our house super nice on a budget (since we will have to remodel the entire house which will cost plenty).
7. Want to paint our bedside tables tomorrow (or actually today).
8. Find all the things I need to start upcycling the wonderful (but now very ugly brass) chandelier I bought on Craigslist (for the Dutch, that’s our Marktplaats).
9. Owh, also need to do some cleaning 🙁 .
10. Want to take the dog for a walk in the off leash area at Marymoor Park (hopefully it will be dry, yesterday it has been raining all day long).

And I could go on, but you get the idea. Now, I think it’s time for another attempt to try to find my Zen and fall asleep. Breath in… breath out…. Who knows, it just may work this time.

The risk to blossom

Is there anyone who doesn’t like goodie bags? Doesn’t everyone want to know what’s inside, or is it just me?
Last week I finished my NLP training and we all got a goodie bag in which everyone had put a little something that expressed their appreciation. And lucky me, I have also been assisting in the practitioner training that ended this past weekend. So, I got another goodie bag!

I’d like to share something that one of them wrote, because it’s so true for me. This person told me that this quote made her think of me.

And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.
Anaïs Nino

And that’s exactly how it felt for me when I decided to be really myself, in my own masters group, as well as in this practitioner group, as well as in the rest of my life. Staying tight in my bud had not done anything for me so far. If I ever wanted something to change, I had to take the risk to blossom. And doing that has been so freeing. I finally feel I’m on my way to become the person I’ve always been, but that never had the chance to blossom. I never gave myself a real chance because I was just so afraid of what might happen, of getting hurt.

Now I realize that allowing myself to be fully and completely me, is not just making myself vulnerable with the risk of getting hurt, but also the only way to real and complete happiness. Yes, I might get hurt and I’m a grown woman and more than capable to handle that. I lose much more when I try to hide myself in an attempt to protect myself from getting hurt, because it really isn’t more than an illusion anyway. I just hurt myself even more than anyone else possibly could. Opening up may have a possible risk that of getting hurt, but the love and happiness you get from it is way, way bigger.

I’m grateful for all the people I met in my own training and in the practitioner that created this environment in which I felt safe enough to take this risk. That they recognized me, encouraged me and let me know that in my own process I was helping them as well.

And last but not least, I want to thank my dear husband Matthijs for seeing me for who I really am from the very first moment we met and for encouraging and supporting me every step on my way to fully bloom.

 

BeYOUtiful

This weekend I finished my master practitioner NLP. Yes, I rock! I have been stretching out of my comfort zone a LOT during these days and it was so totally worth it. I knew the only way to get the most out of it was to be really open and honest. Well, that was a nice stretch (I am soooo flexible 🙂 ) and guess what, it paid off. And people let me know that they appreciated me opening up, that it was inspiring and encouraging to open up themselves. What an eye-opener. I could actually do something for others by just helping and being myself. And by opening up I gave them a chance to get to know me, which improved my relationship with them.

At the end of the last day, we got a goodie bag in which everyone had put a little something that expressed their appreciation. I got a lot of kind, loving and uplifting words. And as in the practitioner training, it made me realize once again how beautiful everyone is in their own unique way. All those beautiful people created an environment in which I felt safe enough to open up myself and share things that are challenging for me. And all of them responded with such kindness and let me know they appreciated me for who I am.

BeYOUtiful! I don’t know who came up with this, but I think it’s brilliant. It says it all. You are beautiful by just being your own beautiful self. When you can see your own beauty, you can see the beauty in others as well. How will the world look like when we are all able to see that beauty? I wish for everyone to discover their own beYOUtiful self.

 

 

Celebrate success

I’ve been pretty busy lately, so I’m a little bit behind with my poetry course. But that’s ok, I do it for fun so I can do it in my own pace.

Week 2 was about the form and sound of the poem. The assignment was to create to take a few words/short sentence and create a poem by rhyming certain sounds/letters from that sentence.

So, first I had to come up with the words I wanted to start with. At first I thought that was going to a little bit challenging, but all at once the phrase “celebrate success” came to mind. This phrase is very important to me, because I need this constant reminder that I have to celebrate every success, no matter how small it may seem to me. This weekend I realized I tend to look at the bigger picture and that causes me to lose sight of the small steps I need to take to get there.

I wrote down “celebrate success” and started associating and came up with these words: embrace, embarrass, exceed, exhale, succeed, excel, expectations, excuse, succumb.

Then I tried to make something out of this that and this is what I ended up with.

 

Celebrate success

exceed your expectations
no excuses
just embrace
your excellence

 

Without saying this is or isn’t poetry, I like what came out of this exercise. I had never done this before and it was really fun doing it.

And to everyone who can use this reminder: celebrate your successes and embrace your excellence!

 

Peace, love & yoga

Do you ever intend to really do something, but then make up like a million reasons to not do it right now? I do 🙁 . About two weeks ago I finally started doing yoga again, after a pause of, well, I think a year. I was planning on going, but I made up all sorts of reasons not to. When I finally did go, it was just so good, that I really didn’t understand why I had been postponing this for so long.

Peace, love and yoga, those words are on the wall of the yoga studio I attend. I like it, because (to me) it’s twofold. In my view, all the world needs is peace, love and yoga. The world would be such a better place if we had this everywhere around us.
On the other side, for me personally, I find peace and love within myself by doing yoga. Physically it relieves the pain in my neck and shoulders and my lower back, which is love and care for myself. Mentally, it brings me peace of mind. It’s kind of a mental massage, I just love it and moreover I really need this. I need this to strengthen myself against my own negative thoughts and to relax my mind. Even if I’m thinking about good stuff, it seems as if my mind is just working overtime and it’s just exhausting. The yoga gives my mind the quiet and rest that it needs.

Doing yoga makes me feel good, both physically and mentally, which gives me more energy. This made me realize how import it is to me that I do this at least once a week. And that means for the rest of my life.

What I like about yoga is that anyone can do it. No matter what level you’re at, you can always do yoga. And maybe it’s not for everyone, I don’t know. It may seem and feel weird when you try, but I definitely do think it’s worth a try! Maybe give it a thought, or not 🙂 .

 

Challenge words

Every week Lisa has a spelling test at school. She gets a list with 8 mandatory words and 2 challenge words. Those challenge words a little bit more difficult, but she has a choice whether or not to write them down during the test.

In my life there are a lot of challenge words. The past weekend my challenge word was: presentation. In my NLP training I needed to interview 3 people and together with several other people who choose the same topic (personal growth) we had to present to the rest of the group what we had learned. I knew this was coming and I had been dreading this moment from the beginning. I also had a choice. I could’ve chosen not to do the presentation and stay nice and safe in my comfort zone. But where would that get me? So, the only option was doing the presentation. The closer it came, the more I dreaded it.

It was challenging for our group to agree upon certain things and one person came up with a brilliant idea: a news show. A news show has different segments, so everyone could tell in their segment what they thought needed to be said. It worked perfectly (except some technical difficulties that challenged our flexibility 🙂 ).
Finally the moment had come. When I drove over there that morning, I was a bit nervous, but at the same time I felt very calm, I was going to nail this, no doubt about it. When we were up, I was still nervous, my hands were shaking a little bit, but the funniest thing happened… I actually enjoyed it! That was the weirdest thing. The moment I had been dreading for so long turned out to be really fun?! Something I would’ve missed out on had I chosen to stay in my comfort zone.

So, if you have some challenge words yourself coming up, take them on. Know that it’s perfectly ok to be nervous or maybe even dread it, but take a deep breath and get out of your comfort zone. No matter the outcome, you have been successful just by doing it. And who knows, it just might turn out to be fun.

 

Poetry, go with the flow

It’s been a while, but I intend to write on a more regular basis. Unfortunately I have a tendency to procrastinate 🙁 . Anyone know a good remedy against that? If you do, please let me know.

To get myself doing something I signed up for a MOOC. MOOC stands for Massive Open Online Courses. These are free online courses offered by universities around the world. The course I enrolled in is called: How writers write poetry. A couple of years ago I never would have thought I might ever get an interest in writing, let alone writing poetry. Isn’t life great 🙂 .
My course started this week. It was about journaling, to takes notes whenever, wherever and about whatever you can and writing 1,2,3 or 4 line poems.

For starters I bought myself yesterday a small notebook to take with me in my purse and make notes whenever I can. I already have one next to my bed. Somehow the best thoughts seem to pop up in my mind in the middle of the night, which can be pretty annoying by the way.

This weeks assignment was to write a 1,2,3 of 4 line poem, this is what I wrote.

Growing pains

It’s the middle of the night
soft steps, crying
her gentle touch
Mom, I have growing pains.