A new chapter

Taken on the boat to Koh Phangan

Tonight my life will look different again. I am on the plane from Hong Kong to Bangkok. Then another plane, a bus, a boat and a taxi and I will meet the girl I haven’t seen for a year. When we met for the first time there was no romantic interest, not officially anyway. Neither of us was available then. Things have changed.

I know her and I don’t know her. I have met her in real life but we never dated or kissed.

This is it

Queensday in Hong Kong

I feel quiet, I feel content, I feel human. My second tour of Hong Kong is coming to an end. I worked pretty hard, had a couple of amazing and a couple of humbling experiences, made a handful of brilliant interventions and made a couple of humiliating mistakes. I have felt a loser, a winner, a hero, a threat, a traitor, a friend, a lover, an asshole, a writer, a coach, a promoter, a businessman, a student and a master. I have felt victorious, misunderstood, ashamed, desired, loved, humiliated, angry, horny, hated, appreciated, wise, warm, lonely and deeply connected. My confidence in myself and others has grown, I have become more humble, my flexibility is growing, I have less fear of failure, I have more trust and I have less often a knot in my stomach.

A modest guy

Terracotta Warriors

Last weekend I was invited by my client to accompany them on their company trip to Xi’an. Xi’an is one of the four capitals of ancient China (different cities got to be the capital for a while) and it was fascinating to see a tiny bit of China. The scale of things is fast; you immediately notice that you are in a huge country. We went to see the tomb of one of the emperors. He was buried with 6000 terracotta warriors, every single one of them with a unique posture and facial expression. Mind blowing.

But now I am back in Hong Kong. Sometimes I feel I have so many powerful experiences in a week that I can’t keep up and feel stretched in all different directions.

Happy Rebirth Day To Me

Atalwin in Lebanon by Gabriel Gersch

On March 20th of 2004, exactly nine years ago, I had my experience of ego death or spiritual transformation during the writing of a letter on a Saturday morning.

Boy, did my life change that morning.

It is kind of weird. Although I like to entertain the thought that I should do something special on this day I often find out a day or two too late that I just missed it. And today I will lose a big chunk. In New York it is now 45 minutes after midnight but after the landing in 40 minutes it will be 12 hours later and well in the afternoon. That means I will be quite jetlagged and not really in a mood to visit a temple or do something else that is reflective and/or esoteric. I got that idea from dr David Serban Schreiber, late author of the book ‘Anti Cancer’. He had his awakening after being confronted with his mortality when he found his own brain tumor. He described how he celebrated that day every year by going to a church or a temple by himself and spent the day in silence. I liked that.

A few words of advice to a Psycho Bitch from Holland

50 Shades Of Grey quite popular in hostel in BA

The more I love myself with all my flaws and weaknesses, the more I am able to love the other. Judgment, arrogance and bravado are just ways to mask insecurity and inferiority. There are masking mechanisms in many shapes and sizes and they are at work in everybody all the time. So instead of waiting for the mechanisms to go away or to wait for somebody who is free from flaws it I feel it is better to see them in myself and understand them. Then I can see it is not personal. It makes things so much softer when I don’t take the patterns of others as an invention just to hurt me. People are not busy hurting others; they are busy protecting themselves. We only need protection because we feel wounded.

I like the idea of not taking the self (ourselves) so fucking seriously. So we make mistakes, so what? In the case of my reader, she told me she has a hard time with boundaries. Well, that sucks but it is not the end of the world.

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

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

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.

In love with money

Like a rapper

Something remarkable just happened. Well, remarkable might not be the right word. But I am intrigued. I just boarded onto the plane to Pasto. I arrived in Colombia last night after a flight from LA to New York and from NY to Bogota. I am in Colombia to participate in a shamanic retreat. Today the group is slowly getting acquainted to each other. One of my fellow participants seems to be a nice guy who does something similar to me. He flies all over the place, giving seminars and courses on leadership and stuff. He has written a book about how to apply Buddhist teachings in business that is currently a best seller in his home country. So you could say that he has accomplished a couple of things that I would like to accomplish in the near future.

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”