Learning about the science of speaking

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Being real leaves no space for negotiation. It is about being unconditional. When you have a glass of clear, pure water and you add a tiny drop of ink the water is not pure anymore and if you keep consistently adding ink it becomes undrinkable and soonly unrecognizable as water. The essence is lost. I have no desire to consciously contaminate my water by not speaking my truth. It is hard enough for me to keep it pure when faced with the every day challenges of life.

Then I met Jon who has trained in the art of public speaking. He deliberately uses his voice and body language to capture the attention of the audience. At the same time he genuinely tries to get an authentic message across. Does it feels always authentic? Not to me, it feels more like a performance. But is that wrong? And what if proper technique makes that more people hear him?

A Jedi Master Always Shows Up

I call Darryl a Jedi Master in disguise because he says all these spiritual things, probably without knowing how ‘zen’ it is what he says. “Don’t think! Feel!” “Feel what punch you want to throw” “Only throw the punch when you feel it” He points at the stomach area when he says that, suggesting that the wisdom does not come from the mind but from the heart or the gut. Many spiritual teachers would agree. Apart from that he is humble, wholehearted, and generous with his teachings and compassionate enough to hurt you if that will help you understand. His wisdom is available 6 days per week for less than 10 bucks per private class. I had only 2 classes and I admire that guy already. I assume he is a father figure for many punks, young and old.

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The Street Fighter And The Boxer

Boxer with a heart

New York is an addictive place, I felt that in the very first minutes I put my feet on the pavement. When I got off the subway in Canal Street and walked into the neighborhood of my friend Jessica I felt something creeping up my spine for the first time during my journey. It was a feeling of ‘yes’ and of excitement. It felt like entering the house of someone you feel attracted to and you know you will make love that night for the first time: a tingling in the stomach and a pleasant desire to perform and impress. It felt quite magical to me. I don’t find it hard to imagine how people will start making sacrifices to be part of that magic You have to work hard and make a lot of money to be able to afford living here.

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.

The truth will set us free

Flowers in Carmel

As I just typed the title above this post I remember that I have written something about ‘the truth’ a little while ago. It is funny because I can’t remember what I wrote and am kind of tempted to look what I said. But I am also curious what will come out of me this time if I allow myself to be spontaneous. Immediately I feel 2 fears coming up: the fear to repeat myself and the fear to contradict myself. If I repeat myself I am boring and if I contradict myself I am unreliable. That is what I fear you will think of me. And to make it worse: I think you will read this and after having a negative experience you will go out and talk about it to other people. “Have you read what Atalwin said today? Jeez, isn’t that guy totally boring? No wonder he has no girlfriend”.

The burrito and the Universe


Last Monday I had my first date ever in the United Stated and pretty much the first date of this whole trip. One of the things we did was having a burrito. So it was not just my first date but also my first burrito. I thought it was the most amazing snack ever. I definitely beats shoarma as a midnight snack. It’s a some sort of monster rap with beans, chicken, sour cream, guacamole and more Mexican shit in it. It was almost a pity that I wasn’t drunk. I am pretty sure that burrito’s taste even better when shitfaced.

Today I decided to go on a new burrito mission

More handsome in real life

Atalwin is more handsome in real life ;)

I was wandering around through my hotel a bit. I knew I wanted to write something but didn’t really know where to start. Then I saw the cute girl from reception that I chatted with this morning. I had told her a little bit about my work and showed my website. When she looked at my picture she told me I looked different. Now I don’t know what you think but I think ‘different’ is not a very positive word. When you just had an expensive haircut you don’t want somebody to say: “your hair looks.. eh.. different”

I assumed that the photo on my website was showing a better version of me and that my appearance in ‘real life’ was disappointing to her. Maybe it was because I was wearing a sun faded tank top this morning and a blue-checkered shirt on my website. Maybe I looked more mature and wise when I was wearing my blue-checkered shirt. Maybe I looked like a scruffy, middle of the road backpacker this morning.

Create better men

Raven and Joy

I realize that for the first time since I left Amsterdam I find myself in a cultural and racial melting pot. And I also realize that I missed that. I have seen exactly 3 aboriginals when I was in Australia and for the rest it was pretty much white people. In Asia there were hardly any black people, let alone the Middle East (no women, no black people and no gay people (officially)). India is very crowded and it is safe to say that the Indians are in the majority (although they come in shapes and sizes). I feel comfortable with the wide variety of weird people here. As I am watching the exotic characters that are passing by I feel like being in a zoo, and I mean that in a nice way. I like diversity more than conformity.