Are things really getting worse?

Migrant crisis, coorporate greed, organised violence, extinction of species, global warming, disease and poverty and Kim Kardashians struggle with obesity. Things just seem to get worse all the time. Are they?

I am reading a book that described the world in the 13th century. The Christians were fighting the Muslims, the Mongol hordes were coming from the east, spreading fear. Thousands were fleeing (migrating), disease and famin were widely spread. The Mamluks eventually beat the Mongols, and so on. Todays winner will be tomorrows loser and yesterdays loser will be todays winner.

I believe it is our survival instinct and Gods forgiving nature that keeps us at the top of the foodchain. Our capacity to adept to new situations. And situations change constantly in this amazing universe. Im not saying we should let every change happen without fight, Im saying we should not fear the change, as change is inevitable and as much part of life as breathing. In my day to day life I go through fases, I go through wars with my mind and body, I battle with my soul. I go through fear, loss, worry, but also through love, joy, confidence; full blown happiness. No different than the rest of us, no different then our world.

Today I choose to live by spiritual principles of love, tolerance, honesty, purity. There is nothing new under the sun. People have feared eachother since the beginning. We can only aim to break that cycle. Get to know eachother. What drives the Isreali soldier to beat an unarmed man? What drives the French born Algerian young man to join IS? What drives the fleeing migrant to rape? Why do banks and coorporations have so much power? Get to know your world, fearlessly.

Just for today: dont hit anyone, dont join an army, dont rape and dont pollute your planet. You have already made a difference.

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living is growing, adapting

Everything that lives, grows; in one way or another.
I remember that as a kid I had terrible growth spurts, the pain would keep me awake at night.
Nowadays its no different, the pain is not so much physical anymore, but still an indication that growth is happening.
Ofcourse I never liked the growing pains, but Im happy to be tall now. The same goes for the emotional pain we go through as adults; nobody likes this, but we like the result of growth.
“Living is suffering” a spiritual leader said. Living is learning to deal with suffering. The way we can prepare ourselves physically for emergencies, we can also train emotionally for sudden misfortune. Some of our more popular organised religions impose a seperation of mind, spirit and body.
The spirit was to be prepared for the hereafter, the mind is dangerous and the body is portrait as something worldly and sinful. Then our industrial revolution age conceived school system devided us is academic or physical workers, to go to either office or workfloor.
This separation of mind, body and soul goes directly against our nature and, to my opinion it is the cause of much of the mental, behavioral, spiritual and physical suffering we deal with today.
Natural patterns of movement(playing, jumping, running, climbing, crawling, throwing, walking, carrying, balancing), stimulate brain activity and give a sense of accomplishment. It is this type of exercise that stimulates “solution thinking”, a much needed skill in our ever changing and sometimes demanding world. The academic facts you learn today are often outdated or even proven injust next week. It is not the fittest that will survive, but the one that is most adaptable to change.
Educate yourself, academically, physically and spiritually to better enjoy the good times and better deal with suffering.
Be a complete human. Feel, move and think.

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Doing the next right thing

As a kid I was/am intrigued by the story of Jonah and the whale.
Jonah had a godgiven task and tried to flee from his responsibility. With the help of a sea mammal, the almighty redirected Jonah to complete his task. To fulfill his purpose.
As an adult I still identify with Jonah. It usually takes a near death experience for me to change course and take responsibility. To fulfill my purpose.
Unlike Jonah, I dont see my purpose in a single great task. I believe it unfolds day by day. I believe if I practice to be honest, open minded and willing, I will lead a purposeful life. The feeling of fulfilling a purpose goes way deeper than happiness.
I believe it is this feeling that leads young men and women to unite in armies. We need a purpose.
Following the mainstream, it is not easy to find; with our advertisements and money driven motives.
What is still holy in our society? Who are our hero’s?
Most of us are full of fear (future, finances, disease, safety) , most of us are fysically weakened and injured (stress, back, knee, diabetes, obesity, migraines, cancer, fatigue), domesticated, dependant. Who do you know that would still survive in our natural, sustainable, environment?
We need to become human again, together. Not black-white, christian-muslim, african-european. We are part of this world together, fysically, mentally, spiritually. Together.
We don’t own this world.
Like Jonah, as a species, we will be redirected.
Thank God

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The answer within

“we are here to be challenged” I read once. I believe this is true.
A month ago, I felt at peace and at ease. I had hope, trust, felt spiritually balanced, was surrounded by inspiring people. I felt safe. I felt the purpose.
Then my world got shaken up. Change, emotions, obsessions, insecurity, jealousy, lust, anger, happiness,pain, energy, became part of my day. I never learned how to deal with these things and the longer I am sober the more I realise how sensitive I am. Most of my life I would manipulate these feelings and mold them into something I could accept. I still do. I have become a master in it. I use drugs, alcohol, internet, sex, attention, sports, music, work or even denial, not to feel.
I guess this behavior is all based on fear, fear of emotional pain, fear of emptiness. I am losing that, now that I am growing up.
All these things are soothing, they numb the pain and sometimes its great fun as well. But it doesnt heal. A painkiller numbs the pain but doesnt solve the problem. And this is what happens to me, by temporarily numbing the symptoms I keep running into the same issues over and over. Without progress.
I am learning now that, in order to move on, I need to change my patterns. In order to grow I need to look within. Not to be free of trouble, fuck no! Who would want that?! But to be better able to deal with it. To be free!
No matter how much money, drugs or sex you have, eventually you will get bored and you will see the emptiness and loneliness.
Happiness, freedom, joy, it is within each of us. We just need to unlock it. Fearless.

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the raw reality of excistence

Over the news, net and social media, we get the most horrible shit thrown at us. Violations of human right, morals, ethics, freedoms are all over. Gaza, Syria, Ukraine, USA, Iraq, Afganistan, to name a few. And thats only the shit we hear about.
Apparently, this is the safest era in the known history of the world. Imagine that…

How do our lives look?
I like to believe our lives are a smaller version of what goes on on this planet. We have our struggles,fights, sometimes very nasty shit going in. Be it physically or in our minds. But we also experience beauty, friendship, loyalty, love and much more good stuff. Its all there on a daily base.
When you look at our world, what do you see?
Back to our own lives. When you ask someone:”how are you”?, most people say “good”. Statistically this is not true. Far from most people are “good”. Many of struggle most of their lives; social/ financial pressure, jobs we hate, unhappy marriage, health issues, deaths of loved ones, etc.
Personally,I’ve been in some deep shit. When people would ask how I was, I’d put on the “happy mask” and say:”all good, thanks”. I didnt want my fellow humans to know I too, struggled. I felt better than that, or believed I didnt need help.
As if we have somekind of shame to admit we too have to deal with difficulties. Especially now in this age of social media, I/ we create this image of succes, awesomeness, fun, adventure. Very rarely do we share what is really going on in our daily excistence. The insecurities we deal with, fears, strange or obscene joys we may have. We all know they are there. We do share foto’s of wonderful nights out, with smiles and tequila shots, but I havent seen the selfie of a hungover-dehydrated face; yet.
I, personally, am more interested in the raw beauty of daily life than the heart shape in the foam on your capuccino. I want to know whats going on, how you deal with shit, so that I can learn and maybe even help.
I admire the courage shown by people after the war is over, the soldiers left, the memories still there, but they manage to move on, rebuild, learn to love again. Life always finds a way. Love always finds a way. Be open. Give and receive. Live

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finding direction

A conversation I had this week with a mother and her son, made me think. The kid is 18 and has no idea what he wants in life. The mom, of course, is worried and comes up with all kind of plans for him.
The kid is overweight, drinks cola from the morning, and is on ritalin.
This, to me, is a great example of modern life.
We expect people, kids, to have a plan. We need to know what we can expect, what we can use them for. I bet that this kid, like anyone else, wants to be happy. So he knows what he wants. He just doesnt know where he can fit in in society. Nothing wrong there. The working masses dont exactly radiate happiness.
Then he obviously showed some behaviour that society didnt find acceptable and we decided to drug him. Now Ritalin is a controversial drug. Me, as a former drug enthousiast, loved the stuff. I’ve stayed up many nights on that stuff, but taken as medicine in the right doses, it kills all enthousiasm. It numbs all senses. And that doesnt make it easier to decide what you want out of life.
How great would it be if doctors prescribed solutions instead of medications. Exercise, eat sensibly, meditate, sleep enough, read, travel, learn. Or even do not get a job, do not become a slave. Think about it. As an average person; you work your ass off away from friends and family, you have to keep motivating yourself to believe you love your job, you sacrifice your time for money so you can buy and do overpriced things we tell you that you need and eat. And then the annual opening of the cage. The trip to Thailand or somewhere similar, where you can do what you really want for a while.
I’d say, fok that! Buy your time back! Take it easy, spend time with friends and family. Spend time with yourself. Go live in Thailand, backpack through your own part of the world, dont fit in, be happy. Feel what it is like to be free. Find out what you really want and do it.
Would you still live the same lifestyle?

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Comparing myself to others….

“If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time”. (from the Desiderata, Max Ehrmann)

How true this is.

For the past months I wasnt feeling that well, I had that feeling of being incomplete again, “something is missing”.
Theoretically I was ok. I’m healthy, my kids are cool, I have jobs that I like, eat well, acceptable social contacts, I have a safe place to live. No worries there. I’m even improving in all those fields, so thats not it.
The big change in my emotional state came on a morning that I was jogging to work. As I started that run, I cursed people who keep saying they have no time for exercise. Eventhough I still think everyone can (and should) make time to improve their physical health with a minimum of will and creativity.
Why does it bother me what others choose to do with their time?
As I was jogging along I noticed how nice the weather was, how much I enjoy greeting people along the way, the fact that I can enjoy a run! I started to see how blessed I was. I am running towards my job, one that I enjoy doing (most of the time). And above all, it is my choice to do this. Of course I would like to have more money and that kinda shit. Even the richest man on earth would like to have more money. Thats a never satisfying chase. Me, I realised at that point, that for me, the key to my happiness is being happy with what I have, to be conscious of what I have, not of what I don’t have.
I tend to look at others and compare myself as if I’m in somekind of ongoing competition. Is he better looking than me? Could I sleep with her? Am I stronger than him? To the point that when I see a big guy, I wonder how I could beat him in a fight. This constant comparing and judging is a time and energy consuming machine of unhappiness.
Today I focus on what I enjoy doing. Today I am grateful for what I do have and I shall nurture it to the best of my abilities, however humble it may seem. I choose.

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