My name is Luisa. I have got one daughter, and I live in central Portugal together with my husband and our 6 dogs and 2 cats.
I love vegan food and am allergic to chickpeas (I know! No more hummus for me…). I am a passionate and idealistic person, with both feet planted firmly on the ground. I used to feel angry and insecure and blamed others for my unhappiness. Now, I look at myself and the world in a different way, and am more in touch with my thoughts and emotions. And yes, I am happy!
I used to teach English, I translate books, I am a certified holistic coach. I have done all kinds of different studies and trainings: English, Yoga, Ayurveda, dance, plant-based cooking and more. Some of my hobbies are reading, crochet, cooking and making jewellery, and I love to binge watch series on Netflix. My favourite: La Casa de Papel (Money Heist). The book currently on my nightstand is The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. I am a big fan of Stephen King.
Let’s go back in time for a bit…
I was born in Amsterdam on December 21, 1963, daughter of a Dutch mother and a Portuguese father. I spent my primary school years and the first year of my secondary school in Zaandam, a city about 25km north of Amsterdam. I have always loved to read, and I spent most of my free time reading books.
When I was 13, my mother and father got divorced. After my mother married again and had another daughter, my second sister, we moved to a small village in the south of the Netherlands where everything was different. I had to go to another school, where I had a hard time adjusting. I felt like an outsider.
From a very young age I thought of myself as stupid and ugly, which resulted in a long search for love and validation. So, for a large part of my life, all my decisions were guided by my romantic relationships.
When I was 32, my life seemed perfect on the outside: I was married and had a child, we owned our own home, and I had a job and an active social life. Then I started suffering from anxiety attacks. It was awful and scary… I didn’t understand what was happening to me or why! I was at a loss so I went looking for help. That was when I found out that I was far from happy. I didn’t know who I was and learned that I was living a life that I didn’t really want.
With the help of a psychologist, I managed to overcome this major life crisis. I became an English teacher and later went on to university. I met my now husband, became a Zumba instructor and yoga teacher. In 2012 we moved to Portugal, where we had bought a piece of land with a ruin. My husband built us a beautiful wooden home and we lived a quiet and secluded life.
On June 14, 2017, a fire started in the village where we lived. Everything that happened on that day and the following days, had a major impact on my life. You can read about the fire here.
Although our house, me and all our pets were unharmed and people around me even regarded me as a hero, I became depressed. I hated myself so much, that I couldn’t even look at myself in the mirror. The fire worked like a catalyst and brought other traumas that I thought I had long since overcome, to come back up.
In October of 2017, we moved to England for one year, for my husband’s work. One day I found myself sitting on the bed staring into space. I felt empty and dead inside and wondered if there was any sense in continuing with my life. I don’t know how long I sat there. At some point I forced myself to get up, walk downstairs and went looking for help on the internet.
For a month, I sent long stories to a psychologist in the USA, contacted a gym where I then started working as a Zumba and yoga teacher and started a course in plant-based cooking. The psychologist said I suffered from posttraumatic stress disorder and survivor’s guilt. She also said that she couldn’t do anything for me, because I was already doing all the things I needed to do to overcome my problems.
With the help of dance, yoga, meditation and mindfulness – living mindfully – I managed to climb out of that deep dark place. It was a hard, painful and difficult journey. Not just for me, but for the people who love me as well.
In the last two years I have followed a number of courses and trainings and have developed my business. Apart from various yoga classes and meditation, I now offer coaching sessions as well. I decided to become a coach, because I want to help people who have been or have been through similar circumstances, to heal themselves, to become who they want to be and live a meaningful and happy life.
I get a lot of joy out of helping other people to get more out of themselves and their lives. And through my coaching sessions, I keep learning every day.