Sweet darkness

31 10 2007

When your eyes are tired
the world is tired also.

When your vision has gone
no part of the world can find you.

Time to go into the dark
where the night has eyes
to recognize its own.

There you can be sure
you are not beyond love…

The dark will be your womb
The night will give you a horizon
further than you can see.
You must learn one thing:
the world was made to be free in.
Give up all the other worlds
except the one to which you belong.

Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet
confinement of your aloneness
to learn

anything or anyone
that does not bring you alive

is too small for you.

David Whyte

Easy does it

30 10 2007

How do I do what matters most to me, without letting slide all these not so important things that need to be done? I’m not talking about those chores I do on a daily or weekly basis, they get done. Rather, how do I make time to finish the curtain that I am (or better said ‘was’) making for our kitchen window. Custom make that vinyl tablecloth so my girl can try and eat her own yoghurt? Adjust the leg length of my jeans? Sew the button on a shirt? I see it needs to be done, but I don’t seem to get around to doing it.
All of a sudden, I realize it might have nothing to do with having or making time. It’s about the sewing. What I want usually doesn’t exist or is so expensive I decide to make it myself. But as well as I can sew, I really don’t like it. Now what to do? There are three solutions. One, just buy what is available. Two, pay someone else to make it for me (risking it is not up to my standard). Or three, learn to have fun sewing. For the present projects, I will exercise willpower and try to change my perception. If that doesn’t work however; next time, I’ll consider having it done. And as a last resort, I can always go to the store as normal people would do. 
As obvious as this may seem to you, it’s huge to me. You really have no idea.

Will the real me please stand up?

29 10 2007

Do I let people see the real me? (Is this a trick question?) A part of me wants to scream ‘Of course you see the real me!’. As hard as I try to live life without masks, deep inside some part of me always pretends her way through life, pretends to be smarter, wiser, more disciplined than I actually am. That’s not the real me though. I’m the one messing up all the time. I’m the one struggling. I’m the one who can’t seem to find the time to meditate, who doesn’t always eat right or find the time to exercise.  The real me is ok with that, doesn’t mind showing my imperfections to the world. I’m human, I’m born to make mistakes. That doesn’t mean I let these mistakes define me. I always wants to do better, to learn from my mistakes. The real me knows I can be all I want to be, but sometimes it helps to fake it ‘til I make it.


28 10 2007


It’s almost November. I know. The weather is gray, the wind is cold, leaves are falling. Nature’s energy is waning. Except for this clematis in full bloom. Time stood still as I took a moment to immerse myself in it’s timeless beauty.  

Personal investment

27 10 2007

A new philosophy, a new way of life, is not given for nothing. It has to be paid dearly for and only acquired with much patience and great effort.

Fyodor Dostoevsky

Ask, and it will be given

26 10 2007

Who am I meant to be? This question I have asked myself for years. I was sincere in my quest, but had not yet evolved to the point where I could recognize the answer. Now for the first time in my life, I believe I can. It was there all along, but I was not ready to find it. I did not know my own potential, nor did I have the security to take on the challenge ahead of me. Now I do.
Now is my time. I have no clue how to bring my dream to life, but I know I will. I don’t know what it will take, but I know I am willing to make this happen. I don’t know what life has in store for me, but I know it will be revealed to me as long as I keep asking the right questions.

Seek, and you will find

25 10 2007

Have you ever experienced all the pieces falling into place? To me, it’s what I live for. Feeling my perception shift. Knowing I’m about to take a quantum leap. Knowing the world will be different when I get to the next level. There is a sense of anticipation. I do not know what to expect, but I know my life will change in ways I cannot  begin to imagine. I’ve learned it will be a change for the better.
It always starts with feelings of restlessness, like I’m out of sync with me. Things are changing and I cannot yet pinpoint how. I start noticing things I never noticed before, sensing connections I do not yet understand and finally it all comes together.
This is my lifelong quest: hunting for answers I do not yet understand to obtain a goal I cannot yet imagine. It’s about finding my holy grail. I have to prove myself worthy of finding it. I have to grow physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually before it will be revealed to me. More than anything I believe that when I seek, I will find.


24 10 2007

And an astronomer said, “Master, what of Time?”
And he answered:
You would measure time the measureless and the immeasurable.
You would adjust your conduct and even direct the course of your spirit according to hours and seasons.
Of time you would make a stream upon whose bank you would sit and watch its flowing.

Yet the timeless in you is aware of life’s timelessness,
And knows that yesterday is but today’s memory and tomorrow is today’s dream.
And that that which sings and contemplates in you is still dwelling within the bounds of that first moment which scattered the stars into space.
Who among you does not feel that his power to love is boundless?
And yet who does not feel that very love, though boundless, encompassed within the centre of his being, and moving not form love thought to love thought, nor from love deeds to other love deeds?
And is not time even as love is, undivided and paceless?
But if in you thought you must measure time into seasons, let each season encircle all the other seasons,
And let today embrace the past with remembrance and the future with longing.

Khalil Gibran  in The Prophet

What’s the point?

23 10 2007

Yesterday, I was listening to an interview. All I could think was, He’s missing the point. Then it hit me. He was actually making the opposite point, which to me was not a valid point. Our basic paradigm was completely different. My first impulse was to stop listening, but after some deliberation I decided I would keep listening. Not prove him wrong, but to learn from him.
My brain is scanning the world to find proof for my beliefs. As does anyone’s brain. There are as many realities as there are people. This doesn’t mean everyone is right, but it does mean each reality is just as valid as the next. 
I decided I did not want to dismiss what he was offering, solely because his brain is looking for different proof. By validating his reality, I was able to see the point he was making. I was able to learn from his wisdom. His view on life has not changed my core beliefs, but trying to understand his reality has broadened my horizon.

Connecting the dots

22 10 2007

Long ago, I learned that knowing something does not automatically mean I will act accordingly. What I have come to learn last week is what every preschooler already knows: my imagination can help me connect the dots……
I know eating sugar and saturated fats is bad for my arteries, so I try to eat as healthy as possible. Indulging myself with little amounts of the darkest chocolate. But in the face of temptation, I failed miserably. Last week, I got as a present a large tablet of high quality milk chocolate; very unhealthy, but very yummy. I ate it in two-and-a-half days. Afterward, I felt so guilty, my imagination took hold of me and played some scenes right out of a horror movie. I saw milk chocolate lining my arteries, clogging them up with each piece I ate. I was only days away from a chocolate induced heart-attack. All of a sudden, I had no need for anything that had either sugar or fat in it. Bread, water and some fruit was all I wanted. Next time, I’ll use my imagination before I start eating. I’ll imagine my arteries being be the prettiest any doctor has ever seen for someone my age; like the arteries of an 18-year old: flexible and smooth. Did you know the condition of your arteries determines what your skin looks like? Now you connect the dots…

Autumn delight

21 10 2007

macrolepiota procera

The delicate texture of this toadstool’s velvety skin, bursting with delight in the late autumn sun.

Give the world your best

20 10 2007

People are often unreasonable, illogical and self-centered; forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish ulterior motives; be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true friends; succeed anyway.
If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you; be honest and frank anyway.
What you may spend years building, someone could destroy overnight; build anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous; be happy anyway.
The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow; do good anyway.
Give the world your best anyway.
You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God; it was never between you and them anyway.

Mother Teresa

Peace of mind

19 10 2007

Recently, I went through the process of clearing from my head all the commitments I have made with myself and others.. This mental to-do list was taking up too much space and way too much processing time. In stead of tossing everything, I put it down in writing. In three separate lists: things I’m committed to at present, the next step I need to take to get these things done and things I might commit myself to someday. It is interesting to see how the mind actually quiets down when you get rid of all excess baggage. Apparently, the mind keeps repeating whatever commitment you have made to yourself, even the simplest of simple intentions as ‘check out that website’ or ‘sew button on pink shirt’ (which reminds me..), until it is done. Writing down al these to-do’s and checking your lists on a daily basis gives peace of mind, and even better it makes room for actual thinking. For that, I want to thank David Allen with all my head.

Home at last

18 10 2007

I have struggled with feelings of unworthiness from the age of seven. At the age of 27, I decided I was worthy simply because I’m alive. That was a huge step, but it has taken an additional eight years for my feelings to change accordingly.
Celebrating my 35th birthday, something extraordinary happened. Some of my friends didn’t show up. A few years ago, that would have been catastrophic to my self-image. It would have been proof that I wasn’t worthy. This year, I was surprised they weren’t there, that I had not heard from them. I missed their presence and  hoped they would still come. When they didn’t,  I sincerely hoped they had just forgot, that everything was ok with them and their loved ones.
When I realized what had actually happened, I felt a jolt of pure joy. All these years of hard inner-work had paid off. Of course, I had already noticed enormous shifts in my self-perception, but this felt like coming home. Home at last!

The Moment

17 10 2007

The moment when, after many years
of hard work and a long voyage
you stand in the centre of your room,
house, half-acre, square mile, island, country,
knowing at last how you got there,
and say, I own this,

is the same moment when the trees unloose
their soft arms from around you,
the birds take back their language,
the cliffs fissure and collapse,
the air moves back from you like a wave
and you can’t breathe.

No, they whisper. You own nothing.
You were a visitor, time after time
climbing the hill, planting the flag, proclaiming.
We never belonged to you.
You never found us.
It was always the other way round.

Margaret Atwood

Be inspi(red)

16 10 2007

Today, I turned 35. I feel a deep gratitude for each breath I take. I feel blessed beyond measure for reaching this age. I’m still here, still healthy. So many people cannot repeat these words after me. They have either been infected with HIV or have died of AIDS already. Entire generations wiped out. Babies and young children dying of AIDS alone, because they have no parents to take care of them. Hospitals filled with people who do not get the proper treatment, because there is no money. While we live our lives comfortably, pretending everything is OK, people are dying on our watch. Take a moment to realize your blessings and be inspi(red) to act. Embrace the world and give life!

Big rocks first

15 10 2007

‘Most people go through life rather organically, whereas you have a whole set of rules you apply,’ a friend mused, referring to Thursday’s post. That is true, I’m an all or nothing kind of person. For most people, this is hard to grasp, they think I’m too strict on myself. As for me, it is about giving the right kind of energy. For instance, I want to age healthily. To attain this goal I need a healthy lifestyle and part of that is exercise. I decide to go running every day. Of course, I could start with once a week, but that doesn’t work for me. I need it to be an automatism to get up at a certain time, put on my shoes and just start running, rain or shine. This way, I do what matters without putting in the effort. I don’t have to think about it, I just do it. Same with meditation, study and, writing this post. In the bowl that is my life, I try to put in the big rocks first, than the pebbles, than fill it up with sand. This way, everything will fit in, whereas the other way around…  you just do the experiment yourself and find out.

Mirror of my soul

14 10 2007


Walking through the woods, collecting horse-chestnuts for their beautifully dark and shiny skin, I was awed into silence  finding nature’s mirror in a shell .

True happiness

13 10 2007

‘Storybook happiness involves every form of pleasant thumb-twiddling;
true happiness involves the full use of one’s powers and talents.’

John W. Gardner

Life is a game

12 10 2007

Long ago, on a sunny summer’s day. On a green lawn, a young girl is hula hooping. Trying to keep the hoop around her waist as long as possible. As it goes down slowly, she’s keeping it going around the knees, even around the ankles. Laughter when it eventually drops. She picks it up and starts over again. She’s relaxed, confident that next time she’ll do better.  Nothing on her mind yet, just the sheer joy of playing. This girl, or boy if you prefer, may have been me or you. Somewhere along the way, I lost that playful feeling. Life became doomingly serious. It is not. Life is a game. I just forgot how to play, how to have fun while failing. I’ll be playing hula hoops for the rest of my life. Laughing when it drops, picking it up and starting over again.

Eeny, meeny, miny, moe

11 10 2007

I have committed myself to entering one post every day, in sickness and in health, till death do us part. Seven posts a week, four of which my own writing. What do I do then when my mind is blank, when I have nothing to write about? Do I search frantically for some subject no matter what or do I renegotiate my commitment and let go? I was busy doing one, almost resorting to the other, when I was reminded there is a lesson in everything, all I have to do is capture it in writing. One lesson, one post, done.


10 10 2007

Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.
Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow.

Langston Hughes 

on becoming an optimist

9 10 2007

We all have beliefs about life. Our perception is constantly scanning our environment gathering evidence to prove our beliefs are right. This is how pessimists and optimists can view a similar experience oppositely. Their outlook on life is completely different. A pessimist believes there is a negative side to everything. An optimist believes good things can come from bad experiences. A pessimist could too, if (s)he’s willing to find a positive side to everything.

My life, my choice

8 10 2007

I used to be a notorious people pleaser. I believed pleasing people was a quality.  Until, one day, I recognized that I had made some of my poorest choices simply to please others. It was my weakness. People pleasing was my addiction. It was not about the rush, it was about soothing the fear people would love me less. I craved their approval so much, I would do anything to get it. It had left me feeling numb. I did not feel alive. Then and there, I decided I would make a conscious effort to be honest about what I wanted in life. I understood it would not be easy, certainly not in the beginning. It meant confronting my fear and confronting people with my own choices. This was difficult, because I did not want to hurt their feelings. I slowly learned that as much as I am responsible for my own happiness, so are they for theirs. This is my life. In the end, only I am held accountable.

Purest of make-up

7 10 2007


In shady places, dew drops lie still for hours, displaying their beauty with ease.

Swing is a state of arrival

6 10 2007

Rowers have a word for this frictionless state: swing … Recall the pure joy of riding on a backyard swing: an easy cycle of motion, the momentum coming from the swing itself. The swing carries us; we do not force it. We pump our legs to drive our arc higher, but gravity does most of the work. We are not so much swinging as being swung. The boat swings you. The shell wants to move fast: Speed sings in its lines and nature. Our job is simply to work with the shell, to stop holding it back with our thrashing struggles to go faster. Trying too hard sabotages boat speed. Trying becomes striving and striving undoes itself. Social climbers strive to be aristocrats but their efforts prove them no such thing. Aristocrats do not strive; they have already arrived. Swing is a state of arrival.

Craig Lambert in Mind over water

I keep walking ’till the sun comes up

5 10 2007

Several years ago, I wrote a mission statement for my life. When I look at it now, it is clear I didn’t understand exactly how to write it; how powerful language is. But most of all I didn’t ask myself how I could make it true. I didn’t make a plan to make it work. I didn’t understand a mission statement is a sort of living will, it not only ensures that I am aware of what I want in life, it provides a plan to act on. These last weeks, I’ve been thinking about creating version 2.0., but I didn’t know exactly how to handle it. This week, while reading David Allen’s Getting Things Done, I learned exactly how to make it happen. All I needed were the right questions to ask myself and some knowledge on how I process information. Read the rest of this entry »

I’ll be all I can be

4 10 2007

A man who lost both his legs in an near-death accident, climbed the Kilimanjaro. A woman who was overweight for her entire life, lost over 300 pounds. A boy who was born without legs, ran the marathon. These people can break our limited perceptions of what is possible. Their accomplishments awed me, but I didn’t understand, and therefore dismissed these  stories to the realm of the amazing. It never occurred to me they were showing me I could do great things too.
All my life I’ve limited myself by thinking ‘I can’t do that’ or  ‘I would never be able to do that.’ Yesterday, I shifted gears. I changed my obsolete mantras for a brand new one: I can do this, I just have to figure out how.’ However impossible it might seem at the moment, I’ll be all I can be. I don’t know how I’ll get there, but I will. I believe that when I’ll keep the end in mind, keep believing in myself and just keep going, I, too, will accomplish great things.  

A Psalm of Life

3 10 2007

 Tell me not in mournful numbers,
Life is but an empty dream!
For the soul is dead that slumbers,
And things are not what they seem.

Life is real! Life is earnest!
And the grave is not its goal;
Dust thou are, to dust thou returnest,
Was not spoken of the soul.

Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
Is our destined end or way;
But to act, that each tomorrow
Find us farther than today.

Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
And our hearts, though stout and brave,
Still, like muffled drums, are beating
Funeral marches to the grave.

In the world’s broad field of battle,
In the bivouac of Life,
Be not like dumb, driven cattle!
Be a hero in the strife!

Trust no Future, howe’er pleasant!
Let the dead Past bury its dead!
Act, – act in the living Present!
Heart within, and God o’erhead!

Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sand of time;

Footprints, that perhaps another,
Sailing o’er life’s solenm main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
Seeing, shall take heart again.

Let us then be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labor and to wait.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Spirit like water

2 10 2007

From crying profusely when a cake collapsed to being apathetic when my boyfriend was five minutes late. From cleaning my house, basement to attic, when my mother-in-law would come to not calling the dentist when I needed to. Most of the time I did not react appropriately to what was happening in my life. Over the years, things have gotten better, but my reactions are still off. I have high hopes for the future, though.
Alone by getting aware of this imbalance, I attained more balance already. It feels so good, I want more. I want to reach a state called mizu no kokoro. I want to have ‘a spirit like water’, be a perfectly still pond, mirroring the amount of energy that comes to me. If someone throws a pebble, I want to ripple accordingly and then return to calm. I want to go with the flow, be a current, following the path of least resistance. If I meet a rock, be it big or small, I want to simply follow its shape and keep flowing toward the sea. Which reminds me: I really do need to call that dentist.

How I got my act together

1 10 2007

Understanding I’m responsible for my life and claiming that responsibility has been a cathartic experience for me. I remember being very reluctant at first, as it meant I was responsible for the mess in my life. I had been an expert in blaming it on outside circumstances. Every job interview that did not lead to a job was because they wouldn’t look beyond my resume and because there were always people with more experience. It took some time for me to be able to admit I had created that mess. It had not been my intention. I had not been aware of what I had been doing.  But I had created it nonetheless. It took courage to admit that I had not gotten the job, because I had believed upfront I would not get the job anyway and therefore had not been able to convince them that I would be a great asset to their company. It took strength not to grieve over all those lost years and blame it on my past, but to forgive myself and move forward on this new road. I have learned that being fully responsible for my life not only gives a sense of control, but most importantly it expands my life by creating opportunities that weren’t there before.