As an intuitive life coach, Jojanneke Koedam helps people who are wrestling with the shadow side of themselves and of life. She puts them on a path towards finding a new balance. How does she do it? And can light exist without ‘darkness’?
Jojanneke previously worked as a communications consultant. She explains, “I’ve had various jobs, lots of writing work like newsletters, websites and press releases. I really enjoy writing, but nonetheless I ended up with burnout. At that stage, I started looking seriously within myself to find out what I really wanted to do. I realised that my real passion was to genuinely make a difference to people’s lives. Because I’m good at listening and giving something back, coaching was an obvious choice.”
Did you study for that?
“I studied Intuitive life coaching with IMC Mensontwikkeling. The basic principle is to restore the balance between head and heart. Here, in the West, we very much live in our heads; we rationalise and analyse things to death! But feelings often lag behind thinking, meaning that many people end up going around in circles in their minds. Restoring the balance is the foundation for change. That’s what I work on with my clients. I use my own feelings and intuition in my work as well as theirs.”
What’s your working method?
“I help my clients look at themselves through different eyes. People often know what they’re doing, but not why. For example, my clients ask themselves: ‘Why don’t I let people get close to me?’ or, ’Why am I not able to stand up for myself?’ I help them gain insight and at the same time be gentler with themselves.
“Self-compassion is a vital concept for me. Over time, I’ve observed that people often have a negative self-image; they’re really hard on themselves and are self-critical with regard to things in their lives that aren’t going well. I think that a gentler, more positive self-image is key to almost everything: from knowing what you want (and what you don’t want) and acting accordingly, to building good relationships and empowering yourself to achieve fulfilment. I try to help people with this so that they blossom and can shine once again. And that’s so wonderful!”
Do your clients belong to a particular age group?
“Mine range from around 20 to 55, but I am seeing more people who are about 30. They come to me relatively often with symptoms of burnout. As I’ve experienced that myself, I’m able to empathise, give advice and support and ask the question, ‘Why did you end up burning yourself out?’”
Do you have people with depression as clients?
“Naturally, people who are going through tough times get in touch with me. But if someone has symptoms that might point to depression, I’ll always refer them to their own GP. As a life coach, I’m not qualified to help them with that.”
I suppose that many of your clients are going through more or less dark periods in their lives. Can there be light without darkness?
“In nature, light and dark are inextricably linked, like Yin and Yang. Day and night, light and dark seasons, the cycle of life and death. Humans are part of nature too, so it goes without saying that we also contain light and darkness.
“In spiritual terms, I’d put it like this: what we have embraced in ourselves, what we want to look at and want others to see, that’s in the light. The parts of ourselves we want to get away from, the things we don’t like or find difficult to accept, those are our shadow sides.
“But things that are in the shadows don’t have to be dark. For example, someone’s inner strength might be in the shadows because the person has not yet learned that this attribute is fine. Having a negative view of your personal qualities is often related to the idea that something ‘shouldn’t be like that’; people want to be what they think is required of them. For many people, breaking through that thinking is a step in the right direction, a step towards the light.
“If you watch the daily news, the whole world seems like a dark place. I’m pretty much an idealist: if everyone worked on their shadow sides, the world would definitely be better. But when you think about it, there are so many people who spread light every day. Like someone who smiles at you for a moment… those little rays of light. That’s something I believe in. Fundamentally, we all have good intentions and we crave the light.”
Join us in search of the light!
Be the Light: Candlelight Concert
Friday 20 december 2019