Finding back your ‘happy camper’ (1 true story & 3 great tips)

Happy Camper

My friend starts his shopping with grim determination. He starts at the beginning and goes into literally every clothing store in the whole street. He finds nothing but crap. In his mind he is complaining about this stupid pretentious shopping street and the whole concept of consumerism, capitalism and fashion. His mood is getting darker and darker. He didn’t manage to find one single item he liked.

When he is at the end of the street he receives a phone call. Someone at his office brings him some very good news. While sitting at my kitchen table he proceeds: “I turned around and went back exactly the same route in reverse order. Only now I would find the coolest things. On exactly the same racks in exactly the same shops that I had visited 20 minutes ago I would now find little gems, reasonably priced even. 45 Minutes later I had 4 shopping bags full of awesome stuff and I was the happiest camper in Amsterdam”.

Not change but transformation

Foto dario Lopez-MillsAP

The photo that accompanies this post is shot in Libya. It’s a picture of a gazelle, taken in a bombed part of Tripoli. When I started writing this post I thought the gazelle must be feeling afraid since she finds herself outside her comfort zone. Maybe the gazelle was feeling like me, uneasy with her new surroundings. But when I look closely the gazelle shows no fear, just alertness. She doesn’t seem to have a preference for the bushes or the destructed concrete.

The happiness that I experienced when my perspective on my new house shifted from ‘small apartment in a crappy neighbourhood’ to ‘exclusive pad in renovated monumental building with a long waiting list’ has nothing to do with true freedom. It is just a way of temporarily escaping feelings of inferiority. I find the freedom in the Libyan gazelle, who shows me what is important. She lives her life, abides in the present moment, is aware and alert, embraces her surroundings without judgment.

Letting go of being right

'Letting go' (by Marilynne Bull)

Letting go of being right does not mean embracing the idea that your current perspective is totally wrong! That’s just swapping one fixed idea for the other. You are already whole and complete, remember? Don’t be too occupied with being right but allow yourself to experience what is true for you in any given moment. Ask yourself: ‘What am I feeling right now?’. This truth is always in flux and always layered. That’s why in a post like Self Therapy I write down everything what I feel as it comes up. By writing down what I feel I acknowledge the feeling and thus make space for the next, going a bit deeper all the time. So when you feel blocked or stuck just dive into the experience instead of trying to figure out an explanation with your Thinking Mind or lay an opinion or judgement on how you are feeling. Every time you experience a knot it’s an invitation to take care off it, to give yourself love and attention. A knot does not manifest in order to tell you where to cut yourself but to point out the place where your love should go. There is nothing wrong with facing and embracing the place that hurts.

Surviving Christmas


As I type these first words I find myself in an airplane flying over Afghanistan. But I’m quite sure that even if I finish this post within a couple of hours it will not be published until we reach our B&B on Bali. Unless I find time and WiFi in Singapore during our stop over that is.

There is something disorienting about flying through timezones. After lunch has been served they turn off the lights at two o’clock in the afternoon and we are supposed to go to sleep. For some reason it works, and I truly have asked myself often if they put tranquilizers in the food. Now, two hours later, I have woken up and when I look outside I stare into pitch-blackness. We are flying through the middle of the night. It is 16:33.

Maybe flying is so disorienting because it messes with our expectations.

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.