Healing, Life, Travel

Touch my heart so I know I am living

Sometimes, in the strangest places, we get to feel something unexpected. Life, love, connection, the Universe. Something takes us far and out, or deep within.

Sometimes this is all we are looking for. All the searching and traveling, maybe this is all we ever wanted from life. This feeling of being alive, feeling an inexplicable connection to another being, or rather, through another a connection to the entire universe.

A few days ago I was sitting in a bus, somewhere in the middle of the Philippines. The bus had stopped for a small break in a village, and while I was waiting for the bus to move again, my eyes heavy and tired, something caught my ears, and my heart. At the front of the bus stood a small blind boy singing. He had a red cassette player held tightly to his chest, and the more I tuned into his song over the background noise of the station, the more he captivated me. This boy was maybe ten years old, and whereas I usually don’t interact with the many begging children we see during our travels (I wish they would go to school, I’m not going to fund them singing & dancing in bus stations), there was something different about this one. --> Read more

Happiness, Life

Live your dream – and move on

Living you dream and following your heart are topics which are getting a lot of air time lately. Yes, I am an advocate of following your heart and dreams, but I don’t agree (anymore) with the way it is portrayed as the solution to all your problems. It is not (as I initially thought and previously also wrote about) the final page of a book, because nobody ever says in a soft voice ‘…and she lived happily ever after.

What does it even mean, to realize your dreams? Often this one particular point in life gets all the attention. The one jump towards the one dream. To live your dreams is, according to this way of thinking, a very short-lived sensation. At least, it would be for me. Because I don’t come with one dream only and I’m not done with one jump. --> Read more

Life

Why there is no end station

I recently had the pleasure of long conversations about everything deep and meaningful with a friend I’ve known for a while. We are both seekers and self-improvers, observers and always striving to have something touch our hearts and bring us joy.

While we have a different set of meanings to different areas of life, we both have areas of life that seem to have gained an unproportionally big role in happiness, elevating above the rest. For me this has been work, or rather, finding work that feels meaningful and fitting for me. This search has become such an important issue for me, the END STATION, that I loose my cool if (and when) I don’t seem to find it. I search and analyze why every choice I make ends up being ‘not IT’ and the pressure builds up. When do I arrive, when can I stop looking? --> Read more

Happiness

The elusiveness of happiness

Maybe starting a happiness jar is not such a bad idea” I thought.

I found an empty glass jar, and cut myself some paper notes. Happiness Jar is a jar / box where in you drop a small note at the end of each day stating what made you most happy that day. Then, at the end of the year (or when having a bad moment) you can read back your happy moments and feel your spirits uplift again.

Or, you can truly realize that happiness really is in the small things.

Pushing for happiness

In life we tend to push, pull, strive and try to achieve. We try to go forward and grow. Whatever we do, the goal is basically always the same: we want to be happy. We tend to think that the NEXT thing (feeling, object, job, relationship) will finally bring us happiness, so we invest all of our psychic energy into achieving that thing. This may take years, and once we finally arrive, we realize that the darn slippery happiness has eluded us again. --> Read more

Happiness, Healing

Not all grounds are equally fertile

Happiness is an inside job. We are responsible for our feelings, we are responsible for the way we interpret the events in our environment, how we choose to see ourselves, how we turn the perceived reality into a story in our minds.

But this way of thinking can sometimes be more harmful than constructive.

Whereas it is true, that we create our own reality and can influence the experiences we have, there are still some grounds that are more fertile for us than others.

Not all soil has the same effect on you --> Read more

Healing

All things heavy and light

Every time I have added space into my life, every time I have dared to let go, great things have followed. Amazing things, in fact. When I have let go of the crippling feeling of trying to fill any hole within me left by the past, I have stepped into a space of freedom and creativity. But the creativity and freedom never came easy. It was always a struggle to let go, to allow there to be emptiness and space around me, and trusting that life would indeed carry me further.

It was a struggle to let go of my marriage, but it needed to be let loose. Few years after that it was a struggle to start letting go of all the physical things I had gathered around me, and to create space into my life, literally. But once I started, it got easier and easier. The more space there was, the more space I craved for. The more freedom I felt. At the end I was sitting in the middle of my empty apartment, after ridding myself of all things heavy, and I felt so incredibly light. I moved to another country, and had so much space around me. Space in my tiny apartement, space in my calendar, space in my evenings to wonder around and get lost. It was fantastic, because anything could happen. --> Read more

Life

What would Dory do?

We went to see the movie Finding Dory yesterday, and I adore this little fish who does not make plans and just keeps swimming. And as a diver it’s fantastic to see the underwater life made into a cartoon, but that’s not the main point. The main point for me is Dory and she did not disappoint me this time either.

Because she really is on to something important.

What feels better right now?

At one point Dory was lost and confused, and she did not know what to do. She looked around and asked herself “what do I see?” She saw a lot of water on one side, and sea grass on the other. She decided that sea grass was better, so she swam there. In the sea grass she asked herself again, what do I see? There was a rock, and then there was sand. She liked sand, it was squishy, she liked squishy things, so she swam towards the sand. While she was swimming towards the sand, she saw a sea shell. “I love sea shells” she would tell herself, and she would start to follow the sea shells. Eventually leading her to where she wanted to be. --> Read more

Travel

The concept of paradise

It has been 2.5 years since I left Europe and started my island life in the Philippines. It has been 1.5 years since we last set foot in Europe. When we first left, it was paradise that we were heading towards. The white beaches, coconuts, azure sea and abundance of time and nature. Yesterday we landed on European soil again (for a month visit), and as the little image of the airplane kept approaching Europe on the interactive map on the screen in front of me, I felt happier and happier. I felt so blessed to be able to visit what now felt like paradise. --> Read more

Creativity

Who’s following you?

Lately I have been thinking a lot about helping others, and what really constitutes as help.

In her lovely book Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert states that the primary reason for anybody to write/create anything should not be ‘helping others.’ But it often seeps in, doesn’t it. We are bombarded with all kinds of blogging schools and Pinterest courses to get our message out there, to teach others, to be the source of knowledge, the expert others look up to, to find our niche, to drill down on the unique selling point and then gain followers. --> Read more

Life

I want to be without limits

It surprises me time and time again how much our own thoughts are actually limiting us. I know this, I know how our thoughts are creating the reality we live in, and yet I make up weird stories about myself all the time.

I tell myself: Girl, you are the kind of person who does this, you are the kind of gal who has done that. And then I let my self-made (and often very limiting) definition of myself set in, form a tight box around me until I get so uncomfortable that I cannot move anymore. Only when squeezed and pressed from all sides do I start to think that perhaps I should relocate. I start to look around for a bigger place, a bigger box or a shell, and realize that the walls around me are my own. Nobody is telling me what kind of person I am, or should be (well, actually a lot people are, directly and indirectly, but at the end of the day I decide to play along or not). --> Read more