Different but same same

Sun set as seen from Byron's backyard

I am sitting at the table of Byron ‘Nappka’ Cabrera. He is resting upstairs, his wife is with their son to the veterinarian (the dog is sick). Tonight I will do an ayahuasca ceremony under the guidance of Byron. I am ambivalent about the ayahuasca but I am looking forward to do a ceremony with him.

3 years ago I visited Colombia for the first time with my buddy Bas. Somehow I got in touch with Byron, who was the assistant of the renowned shaman Kayujali. Kayajali was not in the country when we visited but Byron agreed to be our guide and take us to other shamans. Good thing was that his English was pretty good.

When we met he was quite shy, a very modest and humble young man. 3 years later he has matured. We both have. It is interesting to experience. 2 men on a spiritual path, practicing in different traditions, raised in different countries and cultures and with a very different nature but very much on the same page. I dare to say we completely agree on what we believe the essence is: to just be an honest guy.

The River of Life

Jardín Botánico de Manizales

Tomorrow I will take my first bus in a – I assume – long line of buses. I want to travel from Colombia to Argentina by bus. I am going through all the motions that I know so well. I feel fear of the unknown, I feel fear of failure, I fear the language barrier, I fear to be late, I fear to have my luggage stolen (part of failure), I fear to be bored and I fear to miss out on stuff because I didn’t plan anything. Also I am just afraid of leaving my Colombian apartment were life is safe, predictable and entertaining enough. I have grown attached to the guys that live here and the couch where I sleep.

Thoughts are things

Melissa y Miquel

In little less than a month from now a young friend and pupil of mine will land in Argentina. I like him and in some way he has contributed to this journey. He has great faith from the time he asked me to be his coach some 4 years ago and he has been promoting my work tirelessly at his school and in his family all this time. Because of his efforts I had 2 financial lucky breaks in the months before my departure. His father revealed himself as a benefactor and I got an unexpected gig at his college. And although I might have made it without the support of people backing me up it made a great impression on me. At the time my journey was hardly more than a thought there were many people who consciously chose not to help me. But a few were. And I will never forget that.

How to deal with a Psycho Bitch From Hell

Listening

I spent the whole year of 2012 traveling and giving workshops on warriorship, leadership, courage, integrity, mindfulness and personal growth. I lived (for 1 or 2 months) and worked in Israel, Beirut (Lebanon), Baghdad (Iraq), India, Hong Kong, Thailand, Australia, the US and, currently, in Colombia. Among many things I noticed on my journey was that in guy-talk all over the planet the psycho bitch from hell pops up, that I am treated differently because I am a tall, muscular, blue eyed and – most importantly – white man (all highly valued traits in male dominant cultures) and that women are treated poorly and unjust in most cultures that I have seen. I realized that I am blessed to be born on the Western European side of the world. I also realized that my female friends have easier lives then their Indian, Arab or Chinese counterparts, even if they are going through horrible divorces or devastating diseases (which has happened and is happening). The reason is – I think – that in the western world we at least have agreed on the fact that a woman is a human being and that she therefore has equal human rights.

Being real matters

Mariana

I have made it into a sport and a way of life to be continuously aware of my feelings and thoughts. I still don’t feel fully at ease with being me. One of the things I am aware of is how I alternate between feeling useful and useless every day. But I feel a lot more useful then before. Ha, yes! Now that I think of it: my experience of feeling useful is growing. Now that I think of it I can’t remember a time that I felt more useful then now. Generally speaking that is, I might have days in the past where I felt more useful then today.

This is amazing. It rarely happens that a post takes such an uplifting turn so soon.

Things I love and am grateful for

Good morning! I am going to write another list today because it makes me feel good and because it is my website (I admit I do feel a bit of guilt around making it easy on myself). Last night I was thinking about the things I love.

I am not really sure where it will take me but the idea is to write down any thought without thinking or editing, just blurting out what comes up, for 2-3 minutes or 5 if you are a slow typist like me.

Here we go:

I love people

I love movies (not all of them)

I love to be kind

I love true friendship (to experience and to observe)

I love good food

Dreams and intentions for 2013 (and beyond)

Happy New Year from Cali

The new year has started! We are still alive, the world hasn’t changed dramatically (unfortunately) and personally I don’t feel too different although the Maya Calendar ended and all the planets were lined up. Today I am on the road for about 355 days and for me the best news is that I am indeed still alive and kicking.

The last 2 years I did an exercise for myself that I will do again now. I will sit down and write all my dreams, intentions and desires that come up in 5 minutes. I make the list without thinking and editing. When I am done I will look at my last year’s list and see if I was ‘successful’ in 2012. This is a new part of the exercise. I look forward to it because last year I found out that what I wrote in January 2011 came true.

Living in the love of the common people

Melissa y Miquel

I am impressed to see such young people handle their lives in such mature, seemingly effortless ways without much complaining. Yes, Miquel tells me he finds it very hard that he can’t see his kids as much as he would like but by living in Cali he has better changed to secure their future. So he does the best he can do and makes the sacrifice that he needs to make. In the mean time he is pursuing his dream as a professional musician and was able to make the money for the instruments he needs. He counts his blessings. I am impressed.

Melissa and Miquel teach me so many things. To live in the moment but keep an eye on the future too. To accept live as it is presented to you and not hold a grudge. To be kind and loving and to pursue your personal dreams simultaneously. To share are your resources. To give the children lots of space but also trust that things will work out during the times they are out of sight. To be thankful and happy.

Wishing you a happy end of the era of ego, fear and greed!

From Caterpillar to butterfly

Imagine people all over the world literally waking up to a new paradigm. In the morning they open their eyes and they realize that the world is the same only they see it differently. Instead of threats they see beauty, instead of greed they feel a desire to share, instead of a need for validation they feel moved to serve others. And this would happen to people all over the planet, from shoe shiners in Delhi to entrepreneurs in Hong Kong, tribesmen in Ghane and housewives in Philadelphia. It would happen to Vladimir Putin, Robert Mugabe, Mitt Romney and the Pope. It would happen to skinheads, inmates, criminals and prostitutes. Media from all over the world would be busy reporting cases of spiritual transformation. Former enemies would enter in constructive dialogue and come up with compassionate and selfless solutions faster than television could cover.

Don’t take your ego personal and heal strangers accidentally

Atalwin in Colombia

My lesson of today is that cultivating an open heart is not only a source of wisdom, beneficial for our personal well being, our relationships and friendships and offers an amazing and exciting personal life journey. It also touches and heals others, strangers, passengers in our life, in ways we cannot imagine. It breaks down cultural barriers and creates connections that transcend age, class, religion and race. People are hardly interested in meeting another ego. But meeting another human being charms the hell out of most of us, especially if we can relate to him or her even though he or she comes from a part of the planet that is alien of perhaps even intimidating or frightening to us.