It´s all about energy.
I met Dutch expat Kim Ho in Vilcabamba, Ecuador, where he built up a new life with his wife Fleur and his 4 kids about 5 years ago, now residing in a beautiful house in a small valley, next to a river.
What is the most important thing in your life, for what do you get up in the morning?
The most important thing for me is my family. To be here in these surroundings, it´s so important for me to really feel the energy of the nature, which is so abundant here, in order to have this great energy that I can give to my family. My family – it´s my passion, it´s my love, it´s what makes my world tick. I´m really grateful to be in this family, it allows me to be a father, be a partner and also to explore myself on many levels so that I can be the best version of myself in these different roles. What I teach and what I preach… this is aligned with why I live and how I live and what I want to bring out into this world. So that´s also the meaningful part of it.
Every day I get that chance and I am grateful for that. There are some days, you know, when it´s more difficult but I embrace the challenge. It has something to tell me.
What is the best part of being a dad?
To every day experience love and wonder and the present moment. To witness beauty with the children around me, with Fleur. It´s a practice to be present, and I think that´s the greatest gift they give me. It´s so easy to have other trains of thoughts about the future or maybe about the past – but when the children are here and they invite me to play – it´s NOW.
I catch myself oftentimes saying „later“ but for them there is no „later“, they don´t understand it, they are so in the moment. So this is really the greatest gift they are giving me – to be in the here and now. It´s an excuse, you know. It is so easy to say „no, tomorrow“ or „I don´t have time right now“ – why don´t you say „ I don´t want it now“? It´s more honest. It´s so embedded in Western culture. But… the present moment, it´s very precious to me.
And what is the hardest part of being a dad?
I think the hardest part would be – obviously – creating time for myself. I used to have thoughts of „I need time and space to do my things, to create things and to work“ and the reality is that the children are here, the family is here and I am a responsable dad, so I show up fully. That means that during the day there is sort of no time for myself. BUT if I embrace the moment and have joy and wonder then there IS this time actually for myself.
Then I have this good energy and I can bring it into the evening. And in the evening there is always time like 1 hour or 2 hours that I can do something for myself, spend some time together with Fleur, have a tea or something. So the time that we are here I have started to embrace this rhythm. First the challenge was „I don´t have time“ but now I see time everywhere, so I started to look at time differently.
Which person had the biggest influence in your life?
Well, Fleur. Fleur really changed my life. We met each other at the right time, I believe. I met her through mutual friends. It wasn´t like love at first sight, but it grew. She is important to me in many ways. She invited me to really embrace life, to feel safe to express my inner world, my emotions, my feelings, my thoughts. She also invited me to receive children. The way how she is being a mother, it is incredible to witness.
The home births.. you know, I felt confident, she felt confident… it is such a powerful experience, to do it all by ourselves and to experience this power. That is also a gift that I received from her because she is so grounded and powerful, she has this inner strength. The spirituality in our relationship… yeah I think these are really the key parts, the foundations, what I learned from her.
As I understand it your parents migrated from Hongkong to the Netherlands before your were born. What is the best advice your parents ever gave you?
From my parents? Oh that´s a good question, I really have to think about that. The remarkable thing is: the life I live right now – it is the complete opposite of how I lived my life as a child with my parents. There was no space, there was no knowledge about expressing your emotions, feelings or thoughts. For instance when we had dinner or lunch there was no conversation. I and my two sisters had to figure out everything for ourselves because our parents were not, you know, equipped to do that.
My mother was making me food, my father was working at a Chinese restaurant, these were their roles. So if I look at the most important lesson they gave me… yeah, that´s a good one, no one asked me that before… hm, you know, safety. I felt very safe in my family although it was not spoken in words or shown in a certain behavior.
I really felt safe in the way that they gave me space to explore things, next to my homework which was important for them. I could do a lot of sports. When we went on holidays we could go anywhere we wanted. Every time I got home I felt safe, my mother was there, she prepared food for me. And I think that safety is something that I also want to bring into my family.
And how would you define HOME today?
Home for me is being home in myself. So if my inner home is loving, joyful and grateful – then I am home. If you look at this home I think that´s a reflection of me, partly, and also a reflection of Fleur and all the children. So this is like a manifestation of it. Here in this physical house I really feel comfortable, I feel welcome. And also I feel that this home here and inside of me is so big that it is one of the reasons why we wanted to open this land up and invite guests, to give people the opportunity to explore this incredible place.
You mentioned „inviting people to explore“… This is also what you do on a professional level if I understand you right. You are a leadership consultant and public speaker. I would like to know what´s the main message that you try to convey? Is it the same as on a personal level?
Yeah, it´s a blend, it´s the same actually. Sometimes when I talk to people for business reasons I tend to use other words that they can understand, but basically it´s the same energy, it´s all about energy. My message is that everyone can create and live a life full of meaning and full of purpose. That´s my key message.
What I mean by that is instead of looking all the time for external stimuli like consumption or maybe using some substances in high doses to give yourself a good feeling… instead of this I believe you can really have a meaningful and purposeful life if you have – for instance now – if you have this kind of conversation or if you can be grateful in the moment, if you can do something for someone else. And I think that richness that comes from this experience can really lift someone up.
Quite a deep conversation, isn´t it? At least I was quite impressed and grateful for this talk. What is the thought that struck you the most? Let us know in the comments!