hi. i'm claire...
I am a Certified Master Practitioner of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) and
Certified Life Coach from an ICF accredited international program.
But my real experience came as a result of the last 20 years of my life......
When my second son was born (only 20 months after my first), my life went from completely normal to overwhelming and full of chaos. My first son was not only "What to Expect When You're Expecting", but he even hit all of his milestones early... WAY early. That made it all the more confusing when my second son was born. My second son's name is Kannan (pronounced like "cannon" ball -- and boy was he!). As soon as he was born he suffered from severe colic and acid reflux. He drooled excessively and NEVER slept. My husband and I had to take shifts at night. He couldn't keep any milk or formula down, always seemed like he was in pain, and it was impossible to calm and comfort him. To say he had colic is an understatement. And because he couldn't keep any milk or formula down, we thought that was why he wasn't hitting any milestones. The pediatrician diagnosed him with "failure to thrive". As a mom, my gut was telling me something else was going on. I took him to specialist after specialist, but each one would send us home with no answers. Sometimes they would even make me feel like I was overreacting. I was told "give it a year and he'll probably catch up". Finally, an allergist suspected a rare syndrome (she recognized it because of her own daughter) and referred us to a geneticist for testing. I can still remember standing in my bedroom the day I got the phone call with the results as if it was yesterday. My son was 18 months old at the time. The results were positive. It felt shocking and surreal.
It is overwhelming and devastating to learn you have a child that will never have a normal life. It's a feeling of loss. A feeling of being on a path completely alone. Especially with a very rare syndrome like that of my son's. It's a feeling of not knowing where to turn, or who to turn to.
In an instant, life for me and my son became far from normal and felt very incomplete and uncertain. But over time, I learned that this life of imperfections has been a gift and I can help parents realize it is possible to find peace and clarity and embrace this new normal. There will be doctor's visits, therapy visits, school meetings/IEPs, assisting with schoolwork and daily living, there will be social isolation, and pure exhaustion for us as parents. It is so easy for parents to lose themselves in the process, so I can tell you that self care is critical for parents and caregivers. It does get better when you change your mindset. I can help you get there.
My logo is an ensō circle. The open circle is a concept that reflects closely the teaching of the Japanese Zen Buddhism - and it represents and suggests cutting the desire for perfection and allowing the universe to be as it is. The Japanese practice of drawing the ensō requires that you allow your body to create freely the urge to modify your actions. According to Buddhist tradition, one should draw the ensō in a single, swift stroke, and it is not possible to go back and change the drawing. The ensō circle is the perfect representation of people with disabilities and a lesson to us all that we must stop trying to make our circles complete and perfect. People work perfectly as they are.
what (in the heck) is nlp ?
Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) is a way of changing someone's thoughts and behaviors to help achieve desired outcomes. It's an approach that involves thoughts, language, and patterns of behavior in order to bring about new awareness, breakthroughs, and insights. NLP practitioners work with people to understand their thinking, behavior patterns, emotional state, and aspirations -- and they use communication tools as a means for achieving goals, positive change, and personal happiness.
A person's neuro-linguistic map is the verbal and non-verbal language in the mind that comes from thoughts, communication, behavior, and beliefs based on past experiences and how each person and those close to them have interpreted and defined them. This mental programming is what creates the meaning, ideas, expectations, etc. that you have about yourself and the world around you. By examining a person's map, I can use NLP communication tools along with traditional life coaching methods to enable transformation in how you respond to stressful situations, and how to more effectively handle obstacles. These tools will also give you the ability to change your internal mental and emotional state by learning how to change your response to external situations.
Neuro-linguistic programming uses many tools that can purposefully change mindsets so that your experiences become what you want them to be. There are tools that can improve achieving goals, better decision making, relationships, bad habits/behaviors, alleviate fears/phobias, and for changing meaning and perspective in adversity.
I rely a lot on "Reframing" with many of my clients needing to find the positive context when caring for a child (or adult) with disabilities. Many quotes, proverbs, phrases, and poems are simple examples of Reframing. I've included a few on this page that I find powerful...
WELCOME TO HOLLAND
Emily Perl Kingsley
I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability - to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It's like this......
When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.
After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland." "Holland?!?" you say. "What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."
But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay. The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.
So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.
It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around.... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills....and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.
But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy... and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned."
And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away... because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.
But... if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ... about Holland.
c1987 by Emily Perl Kingsley. All rights reserved.