Some are just as equal as others

Bali street vendor

For some reason the trip turns out way more luxurious than I expected, partly because of Mike’s illness (that demanded hygiene, cleanliness and availability of Western medical needs), partly because of the standard of living of the people we hang out with. Everything is beautiful, five star level, stunning and great but it makes me feel very much like a consumer. The feeling that comes up is that I’m not experiencing the ‘real’ Bali (or Lebowan). What I realize is that this is very much the reality of 2011t: traditional ways of living have been replaced by a cult around tourism. Locals live from the scraps and left overs from what the toursists bring in. My role here is to consume the views, foods, clubs and scenery and to spend, buy and rent from businesses that are mostly Western owned but hire (many) local staff. I cannot expect the locals to treat me as their buddy because I have a preference for feeling more equal.

Just get out of the way

Woman meditating on Bali beach

We find our truth in our hearts. In the beginning it’s a bit hard to find because thoughts are distracting us. But if you sit upright and concentrate on your breathing for a couple of moments and just observe the breath flowing in and out you will probably find a sense of ok-ness, of acceptance, of relaxation. What you are experiencing is not the effect of a technique, there is nothing artificial about it. What you are experiencing is the real you, you are experiencing yourself as a source of acceptance and relaxation. You are the source! The mind clutter is the fabrication, and obeying the mind clutter is what makes you artificial. How about that for a paradigm shift? Do you now see why every wisdom tradition encourages some sort of meditation? Otherwise we stay stuck in the realm of thoughts and thinking. We need to go beyond.

The beauty of weakness


I’m intrigued by the words ‘”how to make impermanence your friend”. I am offered an opportunity ‘’to free myself from false notions of security’. That sounds good. It also means there is nothing to count on. I can’t count on my body, health or strenght (not even Mike, who now lies passed out beside me), I can’t count on relationships to last forever nor on my ‘’true love’ to wait for me. The only thing I can do is surrender to this very moment and appreciate what it has to offer me. Right now I’m learning what it feels like to be weak. It’s quite beautiful actually. It feels tender and vulnerable.

Bali nuisances for the ego


If you are hedonistic or even narcissistic, maybe a bit insecure or have some false feelings of superiority about this or that and you want to leave it that way, then I have some advice for you: don’t go traveling with somebody who is a professional personal trainer who takes his job very serious. Yes, even when on holidays. “But where does this advice come from?” you ask. Well, as a matter of fact I’m making this mistake as we speak. Ok, I learn a lot. But that is about the only upside there is. Let me give you few examples about the hardships I go through.

Own your stuff

Two swans

Let’s not beat around the bush: I think that relationships are very difficult and I don’t feel very successful at having or maintaining them. It has always been a struggle for me and still is. But I would like to design a workshop that gives some real tools and insights because I feel there is a great need for that. Ok, I need those tools and insights for myself and I need them right now, because my relationship is falling apart as we speak. But yesterday’s conversation gave me the opportunity to look at my own case from another perspective. And I would like to share what I have been learning although I don’t feel that I’ve got it completely yet. It’s still work in progress.

Peace Camp in Amsterdam

Peace Camp Zendo

At this moment, sitting behind my computer, I feel very limited as a writer. How do I find the words to sincerely describe the atmosphere in the room during our weekly Peace Camp sessions? I really don’t know.

Maybe it is better to start with describing what Peace Camp is. It is an hour of meditation followed by a workshop led by myself. The evening is hosted by Michael Henskens, co-founder of Bootcamp Nederland, personal trainer, avid martial artist and former high school buddy. Thus Peace Camp is where Basic Goodness and Bootcamp Nederland meet.

Why not leaping into the blogosphere naked?

Leap of faith

When I write this post this blog is not online yet. I feel that I’m postponing, hesitating to take the leap. Why am I afraid? It’s the fear of being naked in front an invisible audience, an audience composed of strangers and/ or people that know me very well. But also the fear of being naked in front of no audience at all. How embarrassing to scrape your courage together, take off all your clothes, walk on stage and reveal yourself.. to find out nobody came to watch.