The Universe on my side

Don Basilio offering coca leaves

After spending a couple of hours in the mountains and after burning the offering (during which I was left alone with the fire to pray and meditate) I felt very silent and peaceful (to my surprise). Don Basilio, guide and translator Luis and me had lunch together and afterwards Don Basilio told me to go to my hostel to sleep. Indeed I was very tired when I was back at my room. I took a nap. I didn’t really sleep. I snoozed. I got up a couple of hours later.

And I felt totally crap.

I felt defeated. I felt empty. I felt black and dark. I almost felt soulless. I didn’t know what to do and what was happening to me. I walked around like a zombie, doing the things I had to do. I went to bed early with a headache. I didn’t sleep too well. Obviously I hoped to feel better in the morning. But when I woke up I felt just as bad

Looking under the surface


The highlight of the day was when my guide in Chan Chan told be about the beliefs and superstitions that are still alive today. The entrance of the ruins consists a quadrant of small spaces: a ticket office, a room with information and some aerial pictures, a men’s room and a ladies room and a couple of souvenir shops. Turns out that one owner of a souvenir shop went to a shaman after having no clients for a month. The shaman told him that his competitor was using witchcraft and that he could break the spell for a certain amount of money. He thinks it is working but has to go back every month for an ‘update’ of his magic protection. The other shop owner is not so much into superstition. The guide told me they are not friends and always gossiping about each other. There is maybe 1,5 meters between their doors and they sell exactly the same merchandise to exactly the same customers. But since half a year they have a new, common enemy. A lady on the other side of the ‘complex’ (5 meters away) opened up a shop too, with souvenirs and cold drinks. Every morning she perfumes her part of the sidewalk, confirming the ideas of the older man that she is using witchcraft.

How to deal with a Psycho Bitch From Hell


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.

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.

Receiving a healing and doing some praying

Sacred fire

The third ayahuasca ceremony did not go as I hoped. Although the gates of the plant had opened themselves slightly in the second ceremony and I was quite hopeful not too much happened even though I took 3 cups. I was pondering if I should take a 4th cup or not. It is always a big decision because I that last cup can throw everything upside down. Actually, every cup is a gamble. It could be heaven and eternal wisdom, it could be hell and it could be apparently not much at all.

I decided not to take the 4th cup and to no be too disappointed. I just sat by the fire buzzing a bit. Then Kajuyali tapped on my shoulder.

You are not alone

Chief Iktomi Sha

In the afternoon there was a Sun Circle: a meeting for men. The women had their Moon Circle. I was not exactly looking forward to this meeting because I thought we would go into the ayahuasca experiences. The thing is: I can’t lie or pretend anymore. I physically can’t. So if I am asked to share my experience I will do that. I can only hope that I won’t be put on the spot. But the meeting took a different turn: it was about masculinity and relationships. Initially it didn’t sound too exciting: I am single and have not so much questions or doubts about my masculinity. But to my surprise I heard a couple of interesting stories: stories that resembled mine. Ok, they had happier endings but the struggle seemed to be very similar. Again: I felt not alone.

Down the elevator again

Beginning ceremony

What helped was that I chatted with one of the shamans and he told me that some people are more gifted in certain areas than others. He gave me the feeling that I was perfectly fine, even if the Universe doesn’t open up to me in ceremonies all the time. ‘The Creator all makes us uniquely different’ he said. Later that day he said in a talk that he blesses the spirit guides of people because he happens to be in touch with those guys and makes them (the spirit guides) feel good. It made me remember how many blessings I received this year from dozens of people from all religions and how many mind blowing experiences I already have under my belt. So I felt some simple inner peace. I shouldn’t really complain, should I?

Y’all stole my heart

Ernst, Sam & Gretchen

I feel that I want this post to be about Sam, Gretchen and Ernst again. Yesterday I felt shaky, sad and vulnerable. I was afraid of leaving. I have had to let go of beautiful people before on this trip but for some reason this time was harder for me. I felt afraid of abandoning them, to leave them behind in such a raw and vulnerable place. Also I grew attached to them and fell in love with them as family. I will really miss them.

To be part of a family during the process of grieving the loss of a little boy might sound difficult or undesirable to some. But I feel it was an honor. As I sit here in the train, my clothes feeling sticky from the heat, I feel gratitude, love and spaciousness.

Last night Gretchen, Ernst and I sat around the fire, spending our last hours together. At some moment during the night Ernst broke down crying, as happened to all of us several times per day. He said: “I feel so full with love for my son. I feel so much love that my heart is overflowing. Tears might come out of my eyes but I feel only love”

Meeting the Teacher

Sam the Teacher

This morning I did a session with Gretchen, the mom of Sam; the baby boy that left us so soon. And sometimes when I work with people something magical happens. This time was certainly one of the most magical experiences I have had this year, perhaps even in my life.

What happened that it seemed that we connected with Sam’s energy. And I say ‘seemed’ because it still sounds weird to me when I say these things out loud. How can I connect with the energy of a little boy that is not with us any more? But deep down I totally trust my experience. Even though my rational mind can’t understand it and wants to tell me it is impossible I have no doubt in my heart.

The little healer


I arrived on Sunday. Ernst and Gretchen had spent some time together on Maui and had come back that morning. The next day would be Ernst’s first day of going back to work. Everybody knew it would be a raw week. I came with an intention of just being available. I had no idea if I would be able to offer something. I didn’t want to be an intruder. It is kind of a big deal to take a guest in your house during the first days of ‘normal life’ after such a loss. At the same time I think we all had a sense of destiny: our paths crossed at this particular point in time and we are letting it happen. Maybe, just maybe there is something I can contribute around consciously choosing a healing path.