The sins of the father

25 03 2015



I can tell you this, raising a pup is hard work. Apart from all the physical demands it brings, it activated some core beliefs that I held unconsciously, like “I do everything wrong” and “I only have one shot at everything I try”. Those two kind of highlight why I don’t like starting new projects and why I stop before giving myself the chance to succeed. For me, the most interesting though was “I am never ever going to make my dreams come true”, because while the other beliefs do explain a lot of context, they were easy to let go as I was not attached to them in any way The latter, however, really challenged me as I so much wanted it to be untrue. I so much wanted (and partly still want) to achieve professional and financial success. Yet with this belief anchored in the experience of it not being so and my ever-deepened need to make it so, I will never be able to make my dreams come true.
So, next to walking the pup, training her, cuddling her, and being licked all over, I started to work on releasing this belief – steeped in lack – of never ever going to make my dreams come true. I asked myself, could I accept that this is all there is, that it will always be this way? That hurt. And whereas I would have expected to feel this in my gut area, it was my throat that tightened. I felt like choking. And as I am writing this, I can still feel a strain on my vocal cords, as if I have a big lump in my throat. It felt and still feels like not being able to speak my truth, not expressing who I am.

Before I go any further, let me say this. I have said it before and I will say it again, I love my dad to bits and I appreciate his presence and how he has helped me to grow into who I am today more than I can ever express in words. And even though I no longer adhere my parent’s religious beliefs, I don’t hold any resentment towards it. Yes, it twisted me up big time, but any strong belief would have done that, because I was programmed to want love more than anything, even more than my own identity or my sanity. I simply was a very impressionable girl with a very authoritative and religious dad, and that created some very freaking awesome outcomes. Freaking awesome because it pushed me over the edge and landed me on a path of self-discovery and realization that I most likely would not have known otherwise. So even though it is the road less traveled, and I sometimes wished it were easier, I wouldn’t want it any other way. This is the perfect  path for me.

Back to my vocal cords. Back to not being able to fully express myself, to what is holding me back, to the pain I stored there by not expressing who I AM in order to be loved. Like most kids, I learned very early on in life that I was not able to speak my heart and mind in front of my parents. I imagine most parents get from mildly upset to sad or angry, like my mom would. My dad, on the other hand, would simply say that it wasn’t so. As a young kid, you don’t question your parents, they are your superheroes. Later, I would ask, ‘but dad, couldn’t it be this way?’, and the answer would invariably, authoritatively, be ‘no, it is this way.’ No doubt, whatsoever. I stopped asking. I remember being 26 or 27, sitting in the car with my dad, having a conversation, I can’t remember the topic, but I do vividly remember not agreeing with my dad and mustering up the courage to ask for the first time in a very, very long time, ‘but dad, couldn’t it be different?’. The answer was ‘no, it is this way.’ Mustering up more courage. ‘I believe it to be different,’ I said for the first time ever.  Both of us, dumbstruck. ‘Really?’, he eventually asked inquisitively. Even more courage. ‘Yes, I believe it to be this way.’ Silence. ‘Mmmm, you might be right,’ he then said. To say that I was shocked would be an understatement. It was like discovering the world had always been upside down. My dad didn’t need people to agree with him, he needed people to see through his act and challenge him. I had been sacrificing my voice for nothing. He still loved me, and if possible even more. Ever since that day, I regularly give him a piece of heart, allowing him to get out of his mind-made cage, if only for a moment. He never says it, but I can feel in his hugs that, on some level, it is appreciated.

It was a big step towards freedom. Subsequently, it took me about 15 years to get from becoming aware of my own lack of expression to being able to release the adopted beliefs that limit self-expression and the pain that they have accumulated over the years. The thing with adopted beliefs, especially when adopted early and held for a long time, is that they tend to generalize. Not only did I stop expressing myself and doubting every single idea I had, I also, unconsciously, started adopting other people’s beliefs over mine, especially my dad’s. The sins of the father will be visited upon the children. One of the meanings of sin is to miss the mark or to fail. Without being aware, I adopted my father’s limiting beliefs and allowed them to limit me. Living his beliefs I was missing my purpose, yet at the same time they instilled in me a deep desire to live the life I was meant to live, a life of reconnecting and healing, a life lived through and co-created with Source. Full circle, no sin, just grace. I believe Source is expressing itself through us, creating and recreating itself in every moment, just as we are. I intend to live that fully.


picture by Miguel Ugalde

Unconditional self-love

11 03 2015



Downstairs, in a crate, there’s a puppy, our puppy, Caatje ([ka:tj!] for phonetical buffs). We’ve had her for one and a half weeks now. She is a.d.o.r.a.b.l.e, and a handful. Boy! Even though I prepared well, I wasn’t prepared, at all. The thing I hadn’t expected was the mental load, the amount of space having a puppy takes up in my mind. Not to mention all the old fears that went rampant. Being confronted with this entirely new situation, where I do my best but most of the time have no clue what I should do, triggers fears I thought were gone but apparently left some residue.

Last week, I wrote about finding unconditional self-love. This week, I explored what that means to me and how I can have it in my life more than just occasionally. Because finding it doesn’t necessarily mean dwelling in it indefinitely. Finding it is the first step, being able to access it at will is the second and remaining there, well at the moment, that still sounds like fairyland. And that’s okay – being happy for no reason felt the same not so many years ago. This week, I took time to reconnect to myself every day, I wrote in my journal and I learned that I could access this space of unconditional self-love when I focused on it. Af first, I fell into my big-goal-setting trap, wanting to dedicate a substantial time every morning to this, but all it did was make me feel like I was falling short, not enough. And I wondered,

“Why is this idea of being enough as I am so hard to grasp? Or is it? What if I just allowed it to percolate? What if I allowed myself to just be enough, BE enough, to be in that space of enoughness, to sit in that space where I am loved unconditionally, to allow it to fill me up? What if that is enough? What if it will grow through the practice of it? What if all I have to do is give myself permission to be sucked in the experience of unconditional love, and let it take hold without me having to do anything? It is easy to be sucked in, because this enoughness, this needing-nothingness, this being-loved-for-my-beingness feels beyond anything I could ever describe, it feels so good! What if instead of making it a big daily thing, I allowed myself to BE enough in the moments when I feel I am not?  What if I gave myself what I am craving most whenever I feel emotional unrest? What if I allowed myself the peace I have been looking for so long, whenever I need it. What if I accept that I have found it and stop looking for it? What if I just practice feeling unconditional self-love whenever I feel out of kilter? What if that is all I have to do?”

Indeed, what if that is all I have to do? And what if this sweet puppy is exactly what I need to practice feeling unconditional self-love? I love how this little puppy, in all its frolicking dogginess, is constantly pulling me out of my comfort zone. I love how her presence alone gets me out of whack enough to go find that space where I am loved no matter how many mistakes I make. Who knew that having a puppy could do that? Who knew?



4 03 2015



I am very good at creating to-do lists and schedules. They usually are of the need-to-do-way-more-than-can-be-done and the lots-of-very-boring-tasks kind. I can honestly say that I am a master at that. Having told that, you probably won’t be surprised that I am very good too at setting completely unrealistic and no-fun goals, and then not one but ten at a time. I would always do things drastically, like as of next week, every day, I will get up at 5.30am, walk for at least an hour, exercise for half an hour, eat no sugar, work for x hrs, clean one room a day, do one laundry, keep every surface tidy, blah blah blah. And I would do it, keeping at it for about two weeks, before I collapsed from sheer exhaustion.
Last week, Monday morning, having brought my daughter to school, I made some coffee to start the day and was ready to make a to-do list, when a soft voice in my head whispered. You are allowed to do nothing, remember. I felt relief, and in that moment that same voice said, ‘what if you got your diary instead’. The last entry was a month ago. It was quite high-powered, and felt a zillion light years from where I am now. Don’t get me wrong, I love feeling up and at it, but again I walked into my own trap, the I-really-need-to-start-creating-results trap. I really can’t remember how often I got stuck in that one before, but we could call it a theme. The theme usually ends with my body throwing a tantrum and me feeling completely deflated.

So there I was, sitting at the dinner table with a cup of coffee, my diary and a pen. And after I stopped laughing at my own stupidity, I wrote
“What if, instead of all the big blah blah, I will commit to writing in my journal every morning, to honor an ‘hour’ of power, in which I realign. Nothing fancy, nothing out there, just this here. A time every day, no matter how busy I am, or believe I am, to reconnect to all that really matters to me. A time dedicated to the Source that dwells within me and my connection to it.
What if, every day, I just allowed myself to feel and see Source’s presence in my life, to feel peace and see beauty, to feel and see the perfection of everything, to come home, to feel loved unconditionally, to feel heard and seen, to be perfect as I am, to not need to be or do anything, simply because I AM Source and Source is me.”

What happened next was extraordinary. The idea felt like oxygen to my soul, my muscles relaxed and my tiredness dropped. And in that moment, I realized (again, only with more clarity to it) that there is nothing I want more than to connect to this Source of Life, that my deepest desire is to feel ‘the peace of the Lord’. And instantly, I felt the sweet embrace of unconditional acceptance. I felt such tender love, such deep care. I knew what it meant ‘to give your burden to the Lord.’ It is interesting to see that I revert to the language that I grew up with, even though I lost my religion a long time ago. I felt like a small child putting its hand into its parent’s hand, trusting that everything will be all right, trusting it will get wherever it needs to be. It was a powerful experience.
I am not promoting a belief in God or a higher power, but I would love for you to know that somewhere inside of us is a place where we are loved unconditionally. I don’t know what it is or where it is, for all I know it is just part of our imagination. I really don’t care where that feeling originates. What I do know is that it is real, that it is beyond anything I have ever experienced, and it is better than anything I could ever make up. What I do know too is that I am no different than you; if this is available to me, then it is available to you. And no, you don’t have to become a mystic to find it, or do special things to get access to it. It is a space with many doors. And your door will open the moment you are ready to accept yourself as you are. Ask yourself, “what matters most to me, what do I crave more than anything in the world”, and then give that to yourself. As the ad says, you are worth it.


picture by Andrey Gorshkov