Why to find role models

Nelson Mandela

Until now I made a point out of doing things differently. I was never convinced that rules and laws also applied to me, not even at a very young age. In elementary school, when the teacher addressed the class he should mention me separately because I would not feel obliged to do what ‘everybody else’ did or had to do.

When I graduated from university I was complimented on writing a thesis twice as long as the norm based on a extremely short literature list containing only 4 books. The dean considered it an example of what he called ‘my extraordinary thinking power’. But my truth was that I just wasn’t very interested in the thinking of others.

I spend a lot of time thinking and it has served me well. I like my brain. And I really used to like outsmarting others and feeling all chuffed about it. But looking back there was a pattern of liking feeling smart and avoiding feeling stupid.

Think and grow rich

Think and Grow Rich

When I was in L.A, I bought a Kindle, a device that allows me to read e-books. I left home with only 2 books for reasons of light traveling. From the perspective of inspiration I would have liked to bring 15 but that would have been ridiculous. But since I have my Kindle I have read quite a bit, although not as much as I want. I love the device though, I am now literally always carrying 25 books in my pocket.

The outcome of my journey should be a book. But pages can be filled in innumerable ways and I am not exactly the first or the only one with the idea to write. So I read a lot to get a taste for words, information and stories and to learn from successful examples in different genres. What speaks to people? Why? And what is my message? What exactly would I like to achieve? I am still not clear.

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.

The hospitality business

Letting go

I am on the plane from Bali to Bangkok. In Bangkok I will take a connecting flight to Sydney. In Sydney I will enter a whole new world again. I will be on the other side of the world, further away from home than I have ever been. Or not? No, when I arrive in Sydney The Netherlands will be on the other side of the world. And I have never been so far away from The Netherlands and can’t possibly get any further away than that. But will it mean that I am further away from home than ever? What is home?

I am not saying that I don’t feel like an Amsterdammer anymore. I feel Dutch and I miss my friends. I will come back when the time is right. It is just that I am seeing that feeling at home is not a geographical thing. When I am at home in my body and my heart I am at home anywhere. And when I experience some kind of deficit, as if there is something lacking, I am not really at home (not even in my own bed).

Gently but steady in the direction of truth

Neighbor Conor practising his guitar

Nevertheless, it is one of nature’s laws. It really works that way and I am grateful for it. In the past I have written posts when I was terribly sad and heart broken and I found it very difficult to publish them. Months later they were published on The Good Men Project (they had a special edition on heart-break and well, I had plenty of material to submit). An American guy responded how timely my post came into his life and he thanked me for the insights he got from it. It feels like such a relief that even at times when I feel most miserable I can be of service to another soul just by being honest about it. To me this is true alchemy: being able to turn lead (a desperate moment) into gold (my desperation turns into something human and valuable by the act of sharing). And right now, in a month that did not seem that spectacular to me I am receiving proof that the laws still hold up. My decision to be less tough on myself and to go visit my brother touched a chord in some of you.

Not much to say

Thai Fishermen leaving for sea

Today was perhaps the touristiest day of my whole trip. Together with yoga friend and fellow world traveler Giovanna from Brazil I toured over the island. After scootering around for a while we took a boat to what is said to be the most beautiful beach in Koh Phangan: Bottle Beach. You know what we did there? We took a nap. Now that is some serious laziness. I am much better at being touristy when I have company than when I am alone.

I am on my bed, hiding under the mosquito net. I feel clean from the shower and can still feel the sun in my skin. I feel satisfied, quiet and also somewhat alone. But it is an aloneness mixed with kindness and acceptance. It is what it is. I feel no need to change it.

Kindness is the key

Sunset august 2

An answer that came up today was that we have multiple realities. We have the dualistic reality of every day life and some of us have tasted from or have an intuition of the non-dual reality that appears as Oneness, silence, bliss, Divine or what ever you want to call it. My simple explanation is that the experiences of the first kind are much, much more common than experiences of the second kind. I have had enough experiences of the second kind to be completely convinced that this dimension is real and I dare to trust it. But I spend so much time in the everyday dimension that it becomes very real to me. It is the battle between the ego-state and Buddha Nature. My ego demands more attention than my Buddha Nature and is – of course – louder. I wish I could access the door to the Divine at will – if only for 10 minutes per day – as this would effortlessly shut up (and reassure) my perpetually threatened and frightened ego for the rest of the day. Actually, I wish this would be available to all of us. How easy would life become.

A long way from home

My motorbike taxi driver

I am on the fast ferry to Koh Samui. I am on a visa run. It is funny that people have created a word for the adventure you have to go through to have your visa extended. Because I passed on an invitation to go on an epic hike through Alaska I can spend more time in Asia and Australia. I have decided to go visit my brother. He lives in Bali.

To be honest I feel deeply sad, lost and lonely. I feel like a ghost, going through the obligatory motions. Perhaps for the first time I don’t feel free to write my truth because I am embarrassed that some things that are supposed to be dealt with are still unresolved or surfaced again. I fear that I made wrong investments this month and that I am throwing my money away. Maybe I want results too fast and am I too impatient. But I was really looking forward to a month of practice after working on Hong Kong and I feel like I made zero progress. I don’t feel free from ‘chords’ and I feel not one chakra spinning. I feel disappointed and empty-handed.

A free meditation on life

Writing in the morning

It is a quiet and somewhat overcast Friday morning. I am behind my laptop at Shangri La, the place with the best caffe latte on the beach of Shritanu. I am skipping yoga school because I want to have at least to posts online in a this week and the weekly update is sent out today (every Friday). My average is three posts per week and I have done only one. Yesterday was one of the first days that my internet connection was so slow and therefore frustrating that I gave up. Which was convenient because I downloaded the series “Game of Thrones” and need my daily fix of medieval slaughter, intrigue, conspiracy and honor more than spending time typing and reflecting.

A chewy first course of yoga

Sunset from my beach house

I am on the veranda of my little hut on the beach. It is dark but I can hear the sea. The tide is high, the water is 20 meters from here. It is quite warm – I am only wearing shorts – but there is a small breeze. My stomach is full from the red curry I just ate. It wasn’t as good as the curry I had yesterday but still ok.

My legs are tired and my calves are sore. This morning I was picked up by my new yoga friend at 06.00 in the morning to go for a run. In Hong Kong I bought Vibram Fivevingers and this was my chance to break them in