Influencer Peter Damiana: determined and curious
Interview November 2021
Tai Chi instructor
and life coach
Could you share with us some information about your family life?
I was born in Curaçao in 1964 to a father that is from Curaçao and a mother that is from Sint Lucia, so I carry both nationalities in my upbringing. I am married now for 34 years, have three children and one grandchild. And also have one sister. My father has been very important to who I am right now because of his strong character. He always imprinted on me, to study hard so that I could go through the challenges of life. My mother also always told me that through my studies, I would not have to depend on other people in my life.
Could you share something about your educational background and your experience?
After secondary school, I went to work at the MCB and at night I followed the BSc Medical Laboratory Personnel Course. I did this from 1983 to 1985. In 1985, SHELL closed its doors and my father was laid off, so he decided to bring us all to St. Lucia where I met my wife and got a job as a primary school teacher. After 3 years, I changed and went into banking. I also did this for three years at the Bank of Nova Scotia. I decided to leave and get back into teaching, this time in a senior secondary school giving maths and science. At the end of the school year, I decided to return to Curaçao, where I returned to banking and stayed there for 9 years until ABN-Amro decided to release a few workers. This is when I went to Holland to follow my true calling being the medical field. I started as an Assistant Cardiovascular Technician. In 2001, I registered to do the Medical Imaging and Radio Therapy program at the now Inholland University for Applied Sciences, which included working at the Westeinde Ziekenhuis Haaglanden, the Hague. In 2003 I returned to Curaçao. As I migrated back to Curaçao I started working at institute Renate and afterward at Taams and finally till today at Heart and Lung Quality Center. I have gone through all the different changes that have taken place off and on. I am a reanimation instructor working as a volunteer at the Curaçao Heart Foundation (“Hart Stichting”) and I have been doing this for almost 20 years.
We know you to be a Tai Chi teacher. Can you tell us more about how this all started?
My cousin invited a Tai Chi Master to come and visit Curaçao. I attended the introductory class and got very interested. I have practiced judo when I was younger and I felt attracted to it. I loved it and I started and continued the Tai Chi group of those who have attended the classes of the master Tai Chi. But then I had to leave for Holland for three years and the group fell apart. Back from Holland, I looked all those who practice Tai Chi with me up again and we formed a small group. Every two years Master Tai Chi would visit Curaçao as part of the upgrading of my skills and also followed classes online and earned some certifications and started offering Tai Chi to all sorts of people from all walks of life.
What is the benefit to be gained from practicing Tai Chi?
I give you peace of kind and focus and that is what attracted me.
What do you as the owner of the Alternative health and fitness services, offer more on top of Tai Chi?
I offer personal training, I advise on what to eat and I am also a life coach. This is a philosophy that I was raised with and I now want to offer it to people who need it. I also give massages and acupoint massage.
Acupoint massage is a Chi massage where some points of the body are stimulated with the fingers and my hands so to let the energy flow more freely. For example, people might have some painful discomfort in a part of their bodies and after my treatment, the pain would be released as energy can flow more freely around that area of the body.
“I promote a holistic lifestyle as I experience that this has a calming effect on me and it releases stress…”
Do you offer other services on top of Tai Chi and just an exercise practice or also as a philosophy of how one can have a more holistic lifestyle?
I promote a holistic lifestyle as I experience that this has a calming effect on me and it releases stress. When I practice Tai Chi my stress dissolves completely. It helps me to focus and although I can cheat at times, I do walk this talk and model this lifestyle to my clients and others.
What is your BIG WHY or driving motivation to be who you are right now?
I always wanted to be a doctor in the medical profession, but I didn’t get the opportunity, but I did reach halfway. I help people to cure and feel better. I believe that people should have a good and happy life. Everything I do is to make people feel happy and feel good about themselves.
What are your plans for the coming years and when do you consider that you have been successful in your personal and business/professional life, let us say 5 years from now?
To be updated in my training and to have even more knowledge of Tai Chi, Quigong & Chinese Medicine.
I want to have a large enough group of people that are living a holistic lifestyle.
What are the challenges that you are dealing with? And how are you dealing with these different challenges you confront?
My daily work is a full-time job. At times this is challenging when emergencies occur late in the afternoon arrive, as this can cause me to arrive late at the training.
As Tai Chi was unknown, not a lot of people knew what it is, it has been hard to build up my groups as fast as I wanted to. I am getting help now from Ursula and I am thankful to Ursula Marchena as she started sending my name out, advertising Tai Chi via mouth to mouth advertisement. Now that we have Golden Village as our training venue and things started picking up. I spoke to someone recently that is going to help me with “branding” myself more.
Do you use your inner voice to evaluate when dilemmas show up? How does that work for you?
Well, most of the time I have to sit down and feel what I want to feel. Being alone when I get that feeling then I know I have to go somewhere to have “me-time” to listen and observe my inner voice. It happens often right now more often than before.
How are you trying also to keep up with your knowledge and skills levels?
I am frequently taking courses, following seminars online, and also picking up courses online on Tai Chi and Chinese Medicine.
What are your strengths?
I am friendly and determined. When I put my mind to go for something, I go for it. It isn’t easy to stop me when I have put my mind to do something. I am eager to learn new things.
Do you have hobbies or interests that you are also passionate about?
I like drawing, painting, playing the guitar and I love singing.
If you as Peter would meet a stranger on the bus (let say in New York or Bogota Columbia) and they would ask you to introduce yourself, what would you answer?
I am Peter Damiana, a personal trainer, Tai Chi instructor, and life coach.
How would you describe Peter in one word or one sentence?
I am a passionate human loving person.
Who are the persons that have inspired you the most in your career?
My father for his strength and determination. My Tai Chi Master Edson Vlijt taught me what I know right now.
What is a trait that is still a work in progress?
My communication skills mainly. I can improve in my abilities to interact with people, as I am a bit shy.
What was a defining moment in your life?
When I got my first child, my daughter.
Where do you want to be 10 years from now with your career?
Then I would be in my sixties. I would love to be a role model to many people, especially youngsters. I would love to be giving training and advice as much as I possibly can.
What would you want your Loved Ones, family, friends, and others to say about you let’s say 20 years from now?
Peter is sunshine for everyone.
What makes you stay optimistic about the future of Curaçao as we are in the middle of a worldwide pandemic, recession, and in the middle of growing environmental challenges because of the global warming consequences?
I see, as I was born here, that Curaçao has a lot of potentials, there are lots of things that can be done and there is a lot of talent. People just have to explore it, discover it, and work on it.
Do you believe that Curaçao is well underway to becoming a wellness island?
I have noticed a lot of people are becoming aware of their health and their lifestyle that they are responsible for themselves. I think it is underway, although there is still a lot of work to be done before we are a wellness island, we are underway.
“We should be more loving and more willing to push aside hate and anger…”
Is there anything else that you would like to add?
Right now in this period, everybody should be more loving and more willing to push aside hate and anger. We should live like a man should live together, as loving human beings. Once a man realizes this, the world would be a better place to live.
One of the 250 Influencers of Curaçao
Peter Damiana is a dedicated personal trainer, Tai Chi instructor, and life coach, and firm believer in the need to have a holistic lifestyle. With a mindset that is based on strength and determination, he is collaborating with other practitioners on the island, to help people cure and feel better, as according to Peter: “.. people should feel good about themselves and have a good and happy life..”.
As part of the growing community of practitioners at Golden Village, which includes Dr. Ursula Marchena MD, Peter helps people become aware of their health and their lifestyle. By doing what he does, he is supporting the development of the well-being of the people on the island and contributing to letting Curaçao become a wellness island.
Because of his work and his collaborative mindset as part of the Golden Village network of practitioners, we deeply love and respect Peter and we consider him one of the 250 influencers of the islands representing the Wellness sector. Look at the list of the Influencers we have interviewed or reported on, up to now.