Midnight in Mumbai

Midnight in Mumbai

My friend contacted me yesterday to let me know he is getting married. I am very happy for him and very proud of his step. I am also sad because physically I will be very far away from him and his bride on the day of the wedding. And it saddens me that is not my turn. I feel like I have been put back to the end of the line again.

I cannot say that I am in a very dark place right now. There is a constant sadness about the loss of my relationship but it is beautiful too. Because when I am not confused by my concerns about finding the balance between giving her space and attention and am not trying to simultaneously cater to the needs of my journey and her path I am free to just love. I don’t have to worry if it is too much or too little because it is mine. This feels free. Sometimes it is a blissful love, sometimes it is a sad love, often I wish I could share my experiences with her and often I feel that I am on a good path. I don’t feel I should be somewhere else.

A sad day with silver lining

Salah and Atalwin doing something traditional

He shared another beautiful thing, insightful for me. He told me how important he feels a woman is. In Islamic tradition the genders are very separated. So as a man your wife is the only source of feminine energy and vice versa. I realized the same thing during the workshop. After a sharing exercise that gives people a strong experience of connection another participant asked me in disbelief “are we equal?” and I asked him “what does your heart tell you?” He checked in with himself and said, “yes, we are equal” It was an extremely powerful moment because the answer came out of the mouth of a devote Muslim whose tradition learned him that women are inferior. In that moment I myself saw how extremely important equality is for me. I don’t like my woman to be equal; I need her to be equal to balance me. Today my iraqi friend agreed with me.

Meeting some Iraqi tradition

Noble Leaders of Iraq

Somewhere in the beginning of the course I had expressed my sadness about the loss of my relationship. Two days later I am in the car with Dr. Chudr and Dr. Salah. Dr. Chudr is driving us to a restaurant where we will have lunch. At some point he asks me: “Can I ask you a personal question?. I say: “Yes”. Then he says: “What is a girlfriend?” Now I have been asked often in my life if I had a girlfriend or what is the name of my girlfriend. But this was a question I had never answered before. I made me realize that we had very different paradigms wherein we lived our lives.

Maybe I am a good guy

Seconds after car bomb explosion on Tahir Square

In the morning we start with meditation. Every morning when I open up I feel a wave of deep sadness going through my system. It is the moment where I remember that there is nobody waiting for me anymore and I feel utterly alone around the Arabic voices. But now, as I type this, I realize that when you are thrown in front of a group that doesn’t speak your language without one second of preparation while you are heartbroken, during a war and right after a car bomb exploded near you and you still do a good job helping people open their hearts, you can’t be that bad. Maybe it is time to get rid of my beliefs around feeling inadequate and incompetent.



What do I want to write about? What is present for me?

I just came from my meditation cushion. Outside the wind is howling over Bagdad, making the sky white. Inside I feel numb, defeated, forgiving and consoling. I went through a complete cycle this morning: woke up, felt ok, got out of bed, became a zombie, zombied to breakfast, went back to my room, cried, showered, wanted to cry more but worked out in my room instead, had many thoughts, let them go, meditated, opened up, felt endless love and compassion, felt trust and had a question. Aha, that is my topic of today.

(Un)realistic desires

Family Shoes

My desire is unrealistic. I want her to watch over me and to feel love and admiration for all the things I do. Although we are separated are love grows and grows. I shed as many skins as I can even if that means that I have romances and experiments on the road. Meanwhile she works on herself and attains enlightenment during a yoga class on a beautiful summer morning. She jumps in a plane and when she falls in my arms in the arrival hall we really feel that our souls are melting together. We look each other in the eyes and realize simultaneously: “the obstacles are gone”. We realize that there were no obstacles in the first place, all the obstacles were illusions created by the mind. But we needed to go this long and difficult path to realize that. Now we know. Now let’s make babies and transform our love into new live.


Crushed Grapes by Marianne Perdomo

It is so hard for me to comprehend that her feelings changed so quickly and so radical. And it is so painful to accept that she came to the conclusion that the best, most healing thing for her to do is to cut all ties with me. It breaks my heart.

It is my worst nightmare: that somebody I love wakes up and sees that loving me is a mistake and that appropriate action needs to be taken. That she sees that it is in her best interest to get the hell out of there.

This is how we roll. Yallah!

I feel sad. Tomorrow I am leaving and today I am meeting with people to say goodbye to them. It touches me more than I expected. I have tears in my eyes as I type. I really wish them well. I wish I could have done more. But I have a feeling I will stay in touch with a few of them and that I will come back in the future.

Tomorrow I will fly to Cairo where I might stay at the place of friends of friends or I might have to find a place through couchsurfing.com or stay at a hostel. But I am aiming for cool people who want to hang out with me for a couple of days. Then I will fly to Baghdad and stay there for 3 weeks. The plan is to work intensely for 5 to 10 days with a group of around 20 young Iraqi’s, to help them find inner strength and peace and to create strong bonds founded on honesty, respect, honor and integrity. I hope to contribute to the creation of honorable and integer leaders. The planet needs Noble Warriors everywhere but certainly in Iraq.

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Deep down we are all Warriors

Workshop Beirut III

So what have I learned? I have learned that human beings are very much the same. It doesn’t matter if they are Dutch, Greek, Israeli or Lebanese. It doesn’t matter if they are wealthy or less wealthy. We all experience loneliness, separation, suffering, doubt and sadness. And we all have the potential to embrace ourselves.

Another lesson is that it seems that the weight of every day life is heavier in a small community with quite a few social restrictions. That sounds like an open door when I write it down but it felt humbling when really being present with it. I saw quite a few caged people here, locked up in palaces, literally and metaphorically.

As I come almost to the end of this post I realize that I hope that people don’t see me or my journey as somebody or something exceptional but as something within their reach too. We can all identify our fears and then do the work to overcome them. Deep down we are all warriors. The only thing we need to do is start acting accordingly.

The eyes of goodness

Beirut sunset

This morning I felt somewhat nervous and depressed. I get that feeling when I don’t feel useful and limited. Here I feel physically limited by the city. I miss exercise and tried running a couple of days ago but the exhaust fumes of the traffic make it uncomfortable to breath (just walking outside feels already unhealthy). Second is that I don’t get the amount of work done because of limited access to the Internet. I am starting to feel guilty and to feel I am losing control over my project: things are not going as I hoped and expected. I was very easy to make appointments but they were cancelled and postponed just as easily.

I would like to make a contribution but I don’t want to intrude. People are working here. I feel frustrated, I feel sad. And I’m getting angry because this post is taking it’s own direction. I don’t want a sad post.

What can I do? I can accept, surrender and start all over again. I can stop taking myself so fucking serious. I can overcome my embarrassment to offer something and I can take no for an answer. I can be flexible. I can be less ambitious and more sensitive to what is needed.