Meet Charissa Domingus, teacher, creator and mother – with a passion for capturing and creating beauty in the widest sense of the word.
Interview by Amy Schief
I was born 42 years ago in the Netherlands and still live there with my two magnificent children (8 and 12), both gifted too.
How did you find your way to InterGifted and how have you gotten involved so far?
Willem Kuipers suggested IG to me and I cannot thank him enough for that life-changing email. Only last December did I finally get to read his first book that I have had on my night stand for like 5 years, alongside books like Living with Intensity. I never really found complete answers to any of my questions and now I do!
Through InterGifted finally, after all these years of searching for peers, a wonderful new world has opened up for me, all for the tasting and experiencing and I am loving every second of it. Maybe I am not such an introvert after all…
I am diving into some interesting ideas at the moment and hope that tangible projects will result from that. InterGifted and the connection to its members get my fire going in a new way, a non-self-rescuing way, and I am happy to be on a quest I want to be on.
What are you working on now? What do you most enjoy about it?
Currently I teach at the faculty of Law in Nijmegen, The Netherlands, and have done so for the past 20 years. I specialize in Insolvency Law, which is a quite technical legal field which requires finding structures and solving problems and thus aligns with the way my mind is structured. I love teaching, passing on knowledge, inspiring others to dive deeper and to solve problems that do not fit in an existing structure, thus thinking out of the box as much as possible.
The deep discussions I always hoped to have with students or colleagues somehow never really came about though and I think I expected everyone at university to share my goals: trying to expand knowledge and by mutual research and effort getting the bar of meaningful application of law in general to a higher level. The one-on-one contact I have with students writing their final thesis with me and all the while actually mostly speaking about interpersonal and spiritual issues lights up my day.
What was your dream job growing up?
I didn’t have one when growing up as a kid, but since growing up never ends and I am still growing up, my dream job to my current state of mind would be to inspire people to live up to their potential and to help enhance growth in people that are brave enough to go there.
What do you feel passionate about?
Capturing and creating beauty in the widest sense of the word fills my heart with deep joy. I love to share with the world how I perceive all the breathtaking aspects of life, as seen through my eyes, either by photos, words or via other means of creation like designing handcrafted pieces. I envisage the spirited connection I had while creating, oozing out of my creations and lightening up the atmosphere around, thus literally giving love.
In connecting to nature and to animals, especially horses, I feel a unique deep bond that enables me to feel a kind of peaceful beauty that inspires me even more.
What is home to you?
Home to me is any place on earth where I can feel free to be me, no explanations necessary, just peacefully being me. I used to feel home in Greece for a long time, feeling the unexplainable urge to cry every time the plane touched Greek soil.
Do you have a mantra, manifesto or favorite quote to share with us?
I really like the simple quote: You cannot jump with both feet on the ground.
To me its meaning is manifold: having your feet on the ground literally will never get you any further than just where you are. But not holding on too much to whatever keeps you at any place in a much wider sense, will enable you to plunge into unknown depths, not holding on to any illusionary truths, just to your inner sense of faith and love.
I used to be a dreamer, imagining the world to be just as wonderful as I could possibly think of. I wonder if I ever really had both feet on the ground… Sometimes it is really hard for me to be ‘here’, where the struggle is so difficult sometimes. But at life-changing moments I just held on to the knowledge that only by being braver than your fear and just taking a deep breath and letting yourself fall, will you make it through.
How has giftedness shown up in your life? Have you always been aware of it?
As a kid it was clear I was pretty smart. At school I was easily bored, but it didn’t really bother me (I’d just fly off in my imaginary world) and even at university I never really participated in any challenging classes, except for Insolvency Law (no wonder that’s where my professional specialization came from). I never knew though that giftedness meant more than having a high IQ. I was/am multitalented and was able to follow up on some of those talents, such as Latin and ballroom dancing, instructing various forms of fitness and aerobics, riding horse-back, and various forms of handcrafting, which enabled me to reach a certain level of excellence in those fields. My sensual, emotional and spiritual/existential intelligence were not welcomed so warmly by my surroundings until I reached my mid-thirties. I kept them under the radar, but secretly quenched my thirst for knowledge in those fields.
What would you say is a positive and a negative aspect of your giftedness?
I regard my multipotentiality as a straining aspect of my giftedness. Having so many desires and needs on a daily basis in so many different fields, requires a lot of balancing out, not only within me, but also in my family and to my direct surroundings. It is sometimes downright frustrating to have to cancel plans. Being ill is terrible because my mind is often not ill enough to accept my body won’t work for now. My very sensitive system demands high maintenance and serious attention. I tend to overlook my physical needs when I am so full of all the plans I am working on. At the same time my multipotentiality fills me with deep joy, since it enables me to never have a dull moment.
My spiritual giftedness helps me to maintain a healthy mind when everything around me is falling to pieces. I sometimes curse my sensitivity and ability to feel such deep pain, but my resilience always allows for me to take life head on and with my head held up high.
How do you nurture your giftedness? How is it incorporated into your life?
Both my kids are gifted, and they help me nurture my own giftedness. In telling them all the things I never heard as a kid, I heal in those parts myself. They challenge me to always be open minded, to get out of any restricting ideas, and to really look at the individual needs of others that might differ from mine substantially. And in finding ways to combine our needs and search for dynamic ways in meeting those varying needs, I can stay very close to what giftedness can bring about in a positive way.
What are your three favorite books?
Favorite books are favorite during the specific phase of interest I am in, which might change like every 6 to 8 months. But without giving three titles to any phase I have gone through, my favorites (not related to giftedness) would be:
The Lord of the Rings trilogy by Tolkien (cheating a little, counting this as one)
Tao of Equus by Linda Kohanov
The Hidden Assassins by Robert Wilson
What are you reading now?
The body keeps the score by Bessel van de Kolk
Your Rainforest Mind by Paula Prober
The road less traveled by Scott Peck
What is your favorite word?
What is your least favorite word?
What sound or noise do you love?
My dog happily chewing on a bone: I feel her deep sense of joy through that sound. It makes my skull shiver.
What sound or noise do you most dislike?
Repetitive (loud) inharmonious sounds that make no sense to me, like car alarms not turned off or the high pitched sound of a drilling machine.
What profession other than your own would you like to try?
Neuroscience in the first ultradian rhythm-cycle of the day, professional photography of nature in the second, and being a horse trainer like Klaus Ferdinand Hempfling in the remaining time.
What superpower would you most like to have and why?
I couldn’t handle any more superpowers than the ones I already have… My son would answer that he’d love to have the Force. And I tell him he already does.
But on a serious note, with all the superpowers I have I would hope to one day make a serious contribution to this world, to mankind and to nature. If shining my light and love can permeate some boundaries that are still too thick now, I would die as a happy and fulfilled woman.
Charissa, your light is shining through at this very moment! It’s been such a pleasure to get to know more about you. Thank you for sharing more of yourself with us!
Stay tuned for our next IG Member Interview, and if you’d like to share more of yourself with us or there’s someone you’d like to know more about, you can send a message here…