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No freedom without love

Dear all,

From the bottom of my heart I hope that this post finds you healthy, alive and well. What a world we are living in, what a beautiful world but also what a scary world. The last few years it seems like we have ‘grown’ towards an attitude of waiting for bad things to happen, waiting for metro fatalities, knife incidents, explosions triggered, nature to run rampant, …. I cannot help but wonder ‘What the eff is going on?’.

After the attacks in Paris and Beirut, so closely after each other in 2015, I held on to Martin Luther King Jr.’s ‘Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate can not drive out hate, only love can do that’. After the explosions at the Ariana Grande concert, I sang with her, Justin Bieber, Niall Horan and so many others showing that there is only ‘One love’. I truly believed it. I truly believe it. But with so much violence hitting my screens daily, it is sometimes hard to hold on to that belief.

On those days, when I doubt if love will win, when I doubt if humanity is going to make it out alive, when I fear that we are one attack away from entering a full-blown war, on those days just words and rationality will not help. On those days I need more. Something bigger than that, something different than that, something way more sensitive than that.

Today is such a day and words are failing. So instead I listen to this heartbreakingly beautiful song on repeat and sing my heart out until I believe again:

~There is no love without freedom & no freedom without love ~

With all my love,

Me

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Practice what you Preach: wearing it proudly on my sleeve

Dear all,

At the beginning of this month I wrote about turning toward our darkness (click here to read the post): a small, private essay on the importance of noticing the darkness in our own hearts and doing the hard thing, i.e. engage with it rather than push it far, far away. After writing this post I started thinking (which often happens as writing for me is a way to make sense of my own thoughts and feelings): this is all nice and beautiful, but how do we do it? How do we turn toward our darkness? How do I engage with it? Am I even engaging with my darkness or are these just beautiful words and thoughts with no reality to them, like thinking about peace without ever getting out of your house to work on peace? Confronting though valid questions.

After much thought and observation of my own behaviour, I realised to my relief that I actually seem to be dealing with my darkness from time to time, so besides deep thinking there is luckily also practice in my life! When I re-read that previous blog post it feels to me like I am calling myself to make big and bold decisions and actions; that I need to sit myself down and work through all of my stuff. Now I see that that is actually not what is needed and that it will probably not even work. Rather I feel that I am embracing my darkness and working through obstacles in an almost sneaky way. It sometimes feels like I am tricking myself into change, rather than making an active, conscious choice to do so.

This, and the other blog post, all sound super cryptic and mysterious, so I want to explain how turning toward my darkness works for me, as a way to explore how to put philosophy into practice, thoughts into deeds and words into action. First up, I now know: ‘I cannot do this alone’. I cannot turn toward my darkness on my own, because as long as it is a private affair, as long as I hide it from other people, not allowing them to see my struggles or know my fears, as long as I do that my darkness remains in the shadows.  In order to shed light on it, I need to allow other people to see my darkness. As we all know we can only see when there is light present and when things cannot be seen it means there is no light. It is a given in the natural world that whenever we bring something into the light it can be seen by others and so it is with our darkness too. I think that is something we should accept and be ready for when we start exploring our struggles. I believe it was Brené Brown, inspired perhaps by Robert Hilliker, who said ‘Keep your shadows in front of you where you can see them’, to which I would like to add ‘and where others can see them too’.

So that is what I have been doing. I have been sharing my struggles, those things I would rather hide away because of shame and fear, with others. One of those things I struggle with is love. There are lots of things concerning love that I struggle with, but I guess the one I find most shameful is the fact that I have never, ever, been in a relationship with anyone. Funnily enough the shame for me is not in having never been in a relationship with someone, but the shame is in the fact that I want to be. I feel like I should perhaps be enlightened and employ a laisser-faire philosophy: ‘If a relationship comes, that is great; if it does not, it is great as well’. However for me it is actually not fine if I would never be in a relationship with anyone; I would really like to experience that in my life. And that is what I have tried to deny for years.

‘I am a single-pringle! ~ joyful voice‘, ‘If I meet someone I like, that would be great. If not, I would rather be alone’,  ‘No I am not looking for someone’. None of these sentences I have said over the years were a lie – I would rather be single, than be with someone I am not totally in love with; I do enjoy being able to do whatever the heck I want without having to take into account what my partners’ opinion is on the choice and I am not actively looking for a partner – but none of these sentences was ever true either. They do not express how much I would enjoy being able to share my love in the form of a relationship. They do not express how much I long to sometimes just watch a movie while cuddling with someone. And they certainly do not express the doubt I feel about the fact that I have never been in a relationship.

The fact that I can write this down here for you is a tribute to the fact that I have been talking about this with friends, that I have taken this shame out of the shadows and put it into the light. Suprisingly enough, rather than making me feel worse, being open, honest and vulnerable in what I long for has made me feel so much better. It is as if by talking about it, a door to change has been opened whereas I always feared talking about things would solidify them and shield them from change. Now I feel that because my feelings have a space to exist, there is also a space for them to disappear from. You see, something which existence you deny, cannot disappear. On the other hand: something which existence you accept and allow, can subsequently change.

So there you are, one of my shadows put into the light completely, for everyone to read. And let me tell you – it feels great! [admittedly a bit scary too, but hey that is life in general].

This is what I want to keep doing: search the dark corners of my mind and soul, bring them forward, shine a light on them and as P!nk would say ‘wear them proudly on my sleeve’.

To darkness and light,

Me

Ps: Let me know how you deal with your stuff, and let us help eachother to continually shine the light where it is needed most. We are all in this together.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Home

Dear all,

Today, as I was working on some festive door decorations for my housemates, I realised something so profound that it filled me with love and joy and peace. I realised: I am home.

Now this realisation might seem really simple and not at all life-changing, but for me it is. As I wrote in a previous post, here, after my family and me had to move away from the home I grew up in, I have never felt home again. Not truly at least. There had been times where I felt it again, though never as strongly as I used to. Rather it was an echo, a glimpse of the feeling that I used to have being home.

But now, here in a new place I just moved to just a couple of months ago, I find myself truly and completely feeling it again. I am home. It is not just the feeling of comfort. It is not just that I am around nice people. It is not just the place I spend time being safe and sheltered. It is truly and utterly home.

H*O*M*E

I am Home! Thank God.

With all my love,

Me

Turning toward the darkness

Dear all,

It’s been a while, I know. In all honesty, I really needed to get away from anything and everything. I retreated back into a cocoon of silence, paused and literally stopped doing anything; I quite everything that I could get away with because I ran into a wall. A wall that I have been building for years, but still could climb over every time I was in danger of tripping. But two months ago, I ran into a fully build and secure wall and fell back down hard. I was isolated by the brick prison I had built for myself over the years and there was no way out, no escaping it. So I laid on the floor and cried.

Today, I have not yet found my way out of my imprisonment, though I have found the courage and energy to get off the floor, stand up and look at the wall. For years I have felt its presence, but was happy to walk around it. Now is the first time that I fully look at the wall and staring at its foundation I can see the bricks it is made from:

*fear* *independence* *perfectionism* *judgement* *deceit* *anger* *loneliness*

any hardness in myself and for myself or for others has slowly materialised into this wall that is blocking my freedom. Every time I judged myself for not being perfect, blamed another for not fulfilling my needs; every time I felt I had to do everything all by myself, or deceived others by not showing how I truly felt; every time I was angry at the past and threw it in other people’s faces or was afraid to be imperfect; every time I asserted myself the others do not love me or tricked others into admitting that perhaps that was true; every time, I heated the clay, stirred in the sand, poured it into a mold and created another brick for this perverse piece of art.

Even though I am still sitting here, locked in, frozen in time, I am being thrown back unto a thought that has been around in my head for some time: the most dangerous thing we could ever do is to turn away from the darkness inside of us. Because if we do not see that we have darkness in our hearts, if we turn our backs toward it, then the darkness can creep up on us, slowly pull us into its paralysing grip and then seize us when we least expect it. Then we turn into the human we swore we would never be, without even realising that it happened.

We see it on a big scale: e.g. when we look at war crimes, we are often compelled to think ‘we would never ever do something like that’, but can we truly say that? I don’t think so. Wars happen to people, people who once had a normal everyday life just like you and me. But stunned by fear, violence and a ‘we versus them’-mentality, their defence against their own darkness weakens and then, one day, the darkness overpowers them turning them into people doing horrible deeds.

We see it on a smaller scale: e.g. when we feel frustrated with other people but do not tell them about our experience because we find it easier to skip over it and not get entangled in heated discussions. Then, one day, we find ourselves experiencing the same old frustration with the same person again, but this day the frustration, on top of all those moments before, reaches a peak and we just explode: we start screaming, crying and blaming the other for everything that is wrong in our lives. The other in turn will start defending himself, because – Hey, this is uncalled for!-.

And it is uncalled for! Because nor the other, nor we ourselves had ever seen this coming. But while we were turning our faces toward the light, the darkness in us had multiplied and, without anybody watching him and keeping him under control, he could do whatever the hell he wanted until he could take over our direction.

I have turned my back on my own darkness for a loooooooong time, skipping over my obstacles instead of addressing them and now he has caught up with me. The only way out now is to turn around and do the thing I am most scared of doing: face my darkness and investigate it thoroughly. This is the only way. Only when I know what my weaknesses are and what behaviour, situations or people trigger my most dark thoughts, only then will I be able to recognise when I slip from light to darkness and only by recognising the process can I stop it.

For now the darkness might still be able to hold me back and restrict my freedom, but in my embrace of him and my searching his nature I soon will be free. But never again will I let it play without supervision: this out of control child of my being will not run rampant again. Like Brené Brown says: “Only when we are brave enough to explore our darkness, will we discover the infinite power of our light”.

With all my love, light and darkness,

Me

 

Run baby run

“And you laugh and you cry,

And you live and you die,

cause you don’t really know who you are

[…]

Run baby run

My hands release you baby

run baby run

as fast as you can” ~ Jason Upton

Some music can better express how you feel than any other Continue reading “Run baby run”

Mix it up

Hey all,

First of all welcome new followers! Really great to meet you here and to share ideas with you and hopefully also with you, as it would be great to hear yours! 🙂

So the last few weeks I have been “mixing it up” a little… Sounds ominous I know, but all it means is that I have been doing all sorts of things that fall outside of the normal, daily routine.

For example: I went abroad for a few days, doing a course (and felt super spoiled and rich doing so), loving every minute of it. Said hello to a stranger with a familiar face and now we’ll be meeting again soon. Posted a highly personal poem here, which Continue reading “Mix it up”

Moments continued

Dear all,

Moments. We all experience them every day, every time, all the time; we could even say that time is made up of an infinity of moments. Most of them pass by unnoticed, you meet them and within the blink of an eye you say goodbye again. Others are more significant and stay with you in your memories for years to come. And some are downright capable of changing you. Some moments are so, so significant that they almost literally cut time into pieces and leave a ‘before the moment’ and an ‘after the moment’.

Right now, I feel that I am in one of those moments. It happened out of the blue, nothing indicating anything big was about to happen. Then it happened. It was just 10 minutes in time, but felt like 10 years in experience. It was like a wake up call, like a slap in the face, like a change in perspective putting everything into place. And it felt great!

The moment itself has long passed, but its effect is still here and I suspect it will continue. It feels like I got a sneak peek into what is ahead of me and I am sooo curious as to see what will happen next.

What about all of you? Do you recognise something in this description? What was your moment of change? Your wake up call? Your before and after? Let me know!

With all my love,

Me