there is nothing to do in life
than to swing, day after day,
face dissolved into the blue sky,
dancing curls, drunk with the wind,
belly moves forward
and sinks back
in the flowered dress.
short legs in rubber boots
thrown into the air:
no support
but delight.

Today, I am sharing a place of deep wounding and shame with you, which is, to my great surprise, changing into a place of power. Both, the wounding and the power, are profound, and they are totally interconnected. It feels a bit scary to share these words, and this is precisely why I do it.

In the past, I was reminded quite often that life is hard, that I am dwelling in “pink clouds” and that I should “face reality”. I was ashamed of not being sober enough, and I did my best to be “normal”, coping with the hardness of surviving. Yet, this hardness was just unbearable to me, and I broke again and again when trying to “manage it”. I felt wrong, and full of shame. I did not realize at that time that the people who told me to be “normal” were traumatized, and that their definitions of “real life” and their stress on the struggle for survival were seen from the perspective of trauma. Even less did I understand that I was traumatized myself.

It has taken me many years to breathe through the shame and sense the wisdom of the dissociating child that feels lost in a merciless world. Dissociation has its origin in a profound wounding – when being on earth was unbearable for me, I split from my body, and later sought refuge in the “spiritual” and “artistic”. Beyond shame, I see how precious the impulse is that let me withdraw from the unbearable. My body dismissed me so that my essence would not be destroyed, and let me return when the circumstances for healing and wholeness were given.

When I was a child, I learned that I live in a hard reality where I am separate from everything around me, where love does not exist, unless I deserve it by doing my damned best. And, when I was totally exhausted from doing my best, I discovered that I am still “not good enough” and have to strain every nerve to at least perhaps become a decent human being. The message was: shut up, work and forget about love. There was hardly any calming and nourishing intimacy with other bodies – an abyss of loneliness. The very wisdom of my cells told me to withdraw from this world I could not support to live in. A bodily wisdom so deep and pristine, that it could not be confused by my crucification in hardness and strain.

When I contemplate this now, I am fiercely grateful for my dissociation and the “pink clouds” of my imagination. They protected my intuition for what is true, my passionate desire for love and the explosive power of my despair. And this felt sense of the wisdom of dissociating, this agreement with my soul is what, when time had come, let me take myself from the cross. Let me take care for my wounds, let myself not function and just rest, taking seriously that in a crucified, traumatized state I am severely dysfunctional anyway, though I try so hard to cope with everything. This agreement with my life’s wisdom let rivers of tears flow, let rage do its job and eliminate toxins from my body and surroundings. Saying yes to the dynamics of my soul makes me let go of all tools, let despair circulate and detonate in “not knowing”. It lets me ferociously do nothing, just breathe, slowly letting the body relax. In this relaxation, I am taken by surprise by tenderness that moves through my body, always unexpectedly. It is so subtle and yet so kind and comforting that there are no words to describe it.

It is this indescribable tenderness I missed so much in the crucified state I grew up in. So much, that life didn’t seem worth living and that it let me withdraw. The lacking of this tenderness is the source of dissociation. Feeling its gentle touch now, my body melts, expands and becomes round. The spine is defrosted and begins to dance again, the pelvis is blossoming, and the grid of ice that permeated the body thaws into millions of dew drops which are kissed by the soft morning sun. My hearts bursts in awe, and my arms are lifted in a desire to praise. I sense that I can fly while standing on the earth and surrendering to the gentle pull of its gravity. There are no limits. Embodiment is being the whole earth moving in the endless blue space with the stars and planets. Not less. Anything less is wounding my natural being, my essence.

In this unfathomable tenderness, there is endless space between and in the depth of the atoms. It is this tenderness with her delicate perfume, with her gentle touch and her refreshing breath, that makes me feel that the earth is impregnated with Love. And, o yes, even the “pink clouds” are there! The gentle touch of tenderness at times feels like pink gold.

It is interesting that everything I was ashamed of as “woolly”, everything I thought I have to get rid of in order to become “normal”, reveals itself as totally real and powerful, when embodied. Including the fairy tales, the music, the poems I loved as a child. In the movement of the blood, the dance of the organs and deep in the marrow of my bones, tender whispering tells me that this felt life is Goddess. She changes her form constantly – She is a rose, a drink, a song, a sigh, a tear. Reality is not the fixed thing I was told she was. Reality is so real because she changes her form in every moment. Sometimes she is hard, it’s true, but more often not, and that makes all the difference. Life is saturated with tenderness, and when I feel this, I know without a doubt that Love is real, and that it is immeasurably mighty.

o see the sparkling rejoice
in the sharp sword:
the moment is not plastered,
no instant city rised,
light dances me
without a path to follow,
and lets the secrets of the eons
float through my singing body.

Again and again, I am deeply touched by the fate of women who raise their voice to speak their truth and are been silenced violently. Most of us know how it feels to be ashamed and ridiculed, many are violated sexually, sometimes women are killed for speaking up. Just this week, I read about the cruel murder of Dilma Ferreira Silva, coordinator of the movement against dams in Brazil. She first had to watch her husband and her friend being killed, and then the murderers cut her throat. When I read about this, it felt like this woman was not only murdered physically, but this is an attempt to eradicate her courageous feminine presence even after her death. The violence in this news is so indescribable that something in me splits off in order not to feel. It feels as if my own throat was cut, my voice silenced. Letting me withdraw in anguish, freeze.

I offered my emotional reaction to this news to the Goddess moving me with every breath. The response was immediate: My body felt flooded by Her warmth and tenderness. Fearful contractions were touched gently. I laid my head against Her breasts and let the tears flow.

Her Voice and Touch

She whispered into my ear: Whatever happens to you, daughter, whatever happens to any of you, you can always be caressed back into life. In Her presence I felt deeply that healing is fully possible. Healing happens whenever I let go of any shame about my emotional responses and also of any agenda or pressure of time. Healing takes as long as it takes, sometimes it happens instantaneously, sometimes it takes decennia’s. Yes, She said, no need to hesitate, daughter, and no need to haste towards me. I’m here, always. With Her mighty, vibrant presence she let me feel when I let the healing She offered be interrupted by patriarchal mental patterns of linear time, goal-orientation and doubting or analyzing what presents itself. The Goddess reminds me I don’t need to know anything. Just allow to be held by her.

A Vision in the Desert

And then I saw: I saw an endless procession of women walking through a desert silently. They looked exhausted, their eyes were empty and their heads bent to the ground. Many of them carried traces of violence. Their appearance was deprived of color. But they kept walking, and constantly there were new women showing up on the horizon. As the women kept walking together, their hearts began to be breathed again. What at first seemed to be a mirage fabricated by the heat in the desert, became visible and tangible as a pulsation moving through all of the hearts, and I watched them slowly being restored into their radiance. Once the hearts were moving, a collective contraction let go into the ground. And in this movement their wombs were restored, flowering in their dancing bellies. Now a wave of joy moved through the women, and as their hearts widened the tension in their faces melted and their eyes began to sparkle. They began to talk and sing with unstruck voices, and their spines were recalibrated, dancing with freedom and precision between the heaven and the earth. Their hair was flowing again, and they were walking fiercely upright.

Fertility restored

As this all happened, I saw green grass sprout in the desert. Then flowers opened. Trees began to grow, there were birds, bees and butterflies. The return of the fertility of the earth happened in amazing synchronicity with the return of life and wholeness in the women’s bodies. The parade ended at long tables with beautiful food on a lush meadow, and participating in this feast there also were many men and children.

Rising together

Dear sisters, I feel all of this is happening in each of us and together. When emotional trauma is moving out of the body in a moment of grace and wholeness restores itself, the heart is fully alive and there is absolute trust in what is happening. In such a moment  I feel with certainty that this healing is not only happening to me, but to all of those before me, those to come and to the earth. And I am so full of it that I couldn’t possibly silence myself in that moment. Everything that wants to be felt is felt, what wants to be said is said.

I am so grateful to know that there are many of you, sisters, some closer, some further away. While we see uttermost violence and destruction around us, we are returning. We are letting the Goddess restore our bodies, our hearts. And I bow to you for any moment of healing of your soul that sustains me in my true being, too.

I commit to letting go of more and more shame and doubt.  Whatever has happened to us before and is happening now, the Goddess is ready to caress us, always and as long as it takes to fully feel her loving presence. In her embrace, nothing can stop us to rise again and again.

Rest in peace, Dilma Ferreira Silva. I am ready to feel you rise again, sister.

What is most important in my life is to keep falling back into the heart, and to let the wholeness and holiness of life on earth restore itself. The last months I realized that one of the greatest hindrances in myself and around me, stopping the natural movement of the heart towards wholeness, is cynicism. Cynicism imprisons us in doubt and distrust, maintains the system and keeps us from allowing a life instead of making a living.

Here I share my letter to cynicism with you:

“Dear cynicism

We have now been together for four decennia’s. Your job has been to comment on my actions with scornful negativity in order to warn me that what I am doing might not be in favor of my survival. The effect of your voice was that everything kept falling out of my hands and I was left bereaved of belonging to the world, full of sadness and with a feeling of powerlessness.

Our distrust of my integrity, of any sign of passion and awe, swiped away the force, even the possibility of love with one stroke. You have always been with me, a shadow walking in front of me while I felt lacking and lonely. Yes, with your help I did try to fit into the society, into the system, in order to survive in this cold world. And while I tried, your distrust formed a bumper, a grey zone between “me” and “the world”, constantly stopping me and keeping me in my own frozen form.

You were telling me that I have to spend my time thinking of good strategies how to “make it” in this world, because only as “someone” with a position I would be able to survive. You told me that the “small things” happening in and around this body do not matter, that it is ridiculous to even give attention to what is close. It distracts from the “big lines”, you said. Your advice was totally confusing to my natural functioning, but you had already won when I hesitated. In the glimpse of an eye I had withdrawn from the world and was moving in a grey cloud of duty, struggle and fear. And from time to time I comforted myself with the luxury available in our society in order to keep it functioning – nice clothes, information packed in books and films, luxury food, wellness.

I see now how your mentality was not only constantly killing the light of love in myself, but that it’s the same mentality that kills life on our planet. I see you all around me in people struggling and doubting, not realizing the love in their own hearts, not believing that there is a less destructive way to live, and not giving themselves the space to experiment, to do things that perhaps will work and perhaps not.

Sure, dear cynicism, you may still speak, but with this letter I end our contract. I know that, even if you yourself would not belief this, your voice wanted to protect me in a dangerous, hostile world. I thank you for this. Even if you don’t trust your deepest motifs, I do. This is part of ending our contract.

I now understand that the arising of your hoarse, pressed voice is a good sign for me. Because when you speak loudly I can be sure that I am acting in a way that threatens your authority. You remember, last summer I was foraging wild herbs. I could buy the same herbs quite cheaply in the health store. You told me that what I am doing is absurd: Who am I to think that I have the luxury of so much time? I should better give my time to a job that lets me earn good money, so I could buy the herbs and not get into financial problems. But when I collected herbs, I felt bounty and gratefulness, and I was not afraid of possible financial problems in the future.

When you realized I’m immune to the economic argument, you came with the next blow: You don’t know anything about herbs. You’re just playing, how ridiculous. O yes. I have a strong conviction that I should be an expert in order to have the right to do something. This conviction kills curiosity, playing and spontaneous learning, and the sense of joy coming with it. It’s this very joy that let me laugh, then. The creative force of the cosmos is no expert, I said, it’s also just learning by doing.

When I collect herbs I feel their vibration in my hands, I smell them. I feel the wind, the sunshine, the earth under my feet, the atmosphere of the land. I hear the birds sing. When I dry the herbs, they infuse my home with their perfume. When I drink herbal tea I am becoming the land and the land is becoming me. I’m whole. IT is whole. I’m so sorry you can’t experience this.

When I feel the beauty and bounty of this earth, I simply want to express my devotion to this miracle. I feel that I belong and that there is enough of everything. I have no strategy. Nothing is too small, too trivial to receive love through my heart and hands. I feel the power flowing through me to let the most profane, the most tiny, be of infinite importance, the power of life itself. I feel that I am connected to the heartbeat of life, the heartbeat of the earth, and there’s nothing more precious and powerful than this. All the power I dreamed of in my strategic co-creation with you is nothing against this stream of love flowing through me.

With thanks for your endeavor and with great relief,
Martina”

A friend asked me, how do you live facing the possibility, even probability of planetary destruction? Her question resonates in me. If we truly want to see, our situation is desperate. There is a real threat that human life on earth will end.

When I dare to see the catastrophe unfolding on our planet, I realize there is no “how to” which could fix the situation. The massiveness and complexity of what is happening explode any possible strategy. I don’t mean that there is no action required. But I feel deeply that the only appropriate response to the the pain of the earth and its beings is Love. Love, other than fear, is not pointing to the future with apocalyptic images, but worships what is now. Now life still breathes, vibrates, grows, rots: the cat on my lap purrs, the tree I lean against vibrates, rotting leaves spread their warm perfume, the snowdrop pushes through the hard soil, the day rises out of the night. So beautiful, so amazing. I feel deep reverence when I see what offers itself now. The devotion that arises when I see life’s offering is a strong remedy from fear and despair.

Facing pain

When I love life’s offering, it hurts to throw away plastic waste. When I feel how I am contributing to the mass of plastic that kills life in the oceans, tears rise into my eyes. I AM the whale killed by plastic waste in its stomach. The brutality of producing and consuming so much plastic that the earth cannot digest is overwhelming. The absence of heart.

Yet when I stay awake I can see where this emotion becomes a story. It’s a story that reinforces thoughts of guilt and lack, letting me drift away from love. Following this story, I might be hard on myself that I didn’t succeed to find mozzarella that is not packed in plastic. Shouldn’t I better be a consequent vegan? Would I produce less plastic waste then? But does it help, when so many others use much more plastic than I do? With such a reaction, I add to the damaging situation humanity co-created – losing touch with the heart, getting lost in strategies of the mind. I try to make plans how to avoid any plastic, plans which can never be fulfilled completely, feeding a feeling of guilt and “not being enough”. I think I am guilty, others are guilty.

Fear and guilt

The desperation coming forth out of anxiety, guilt and lack awakens neediness in us. It leads to greed, to grasping and consuming more and more in order to be fulfilled and safe. A desire that never is satisfied, leaving us with a feeling of abandonment, separation, wanting even more.This vicious circle strengthens the kingdom of the mind that forgot its vital source and tries to control the world in its favor with strategies and programs. This very mindset lead to the excessive use of fossil resources that damages and destroys life on earth.

Not following this vicious circle doesn’t mean I don’t care. On the contrary, filtering out the stories of guilt lets the pain come in fully when I watch the potato field next to my garden being covered with poison. There’s a storm of rage and agony in my body, and then I breathe further, I turn around, I see a rose opening, and I feel joy and admiration. This rose is here NOW in all its beauty and innocence, it can’t help opening, poison or not. There is still love. Just keeping my eyes open and seeing, I can feel it. I care for the rose, I give it compost and water. I reduce plastic garbage. I reduce flight trips. I give expression to love in my actions. Just love, no story, nothing to justify or to explain. No guilt.

The voice of love

If I look at humanity with the eyes of love instead of guilt, I see that the greed that destroys the planet is the despair of an abandoned child. Does it help this child to punish and despise it? It just desires to be embraced, caressed, it wants to relax. When I let myself fall into the arms of love, when I feel nourished, sustained, whole, what then do I hear the voice of love whisper?

Forget about guilt, it says, your guilt, and also the guilt of others, and let yourself fall even more deeply into me, into the earth. Feel my nourishment, my bounty, my comfort. Let yourself be impregnated, be caressed as a baby in the womb of the mother you thought you never had. Guilt is what bestows the feeling on you that you are an abandoned being, motherless. Let yourself be fed by your mother, the earth, by your mother, the cosmos, and be a mother yourself, birthing life out of love. Rest in still-ness and let me speak and act through your heart. Don’t bargain, you don’t need to know what the outcome will be. I, Love, can only unfold if you let all the other so-called “options” go. There is only THIS, NOW. No answer, no “how to”. Just my voice.

Re-connection with the earth

This year has been realigning the cosmic creative force with the creative force in myself, in my heart, womb and mind. I have also been moving through periods of intense darkness, yet again and again golden light manifests in the earth and in my body. Light that does not only nurture and reconnect me, but restores an amazing, crazy love for the earth and its beings.

In 2018, I have been growing vegetables, fruit and flowers in my garden, communicating with the trees in the forest, collecting herbs and living with goats, chicken, cats and bees. I could have never imagined how being immersed in nature, living with plants and animals, would bless me with enormous joy and awe, with a feeling of wholeness and empowerment. With luminous knowledge of nothing in particular.

Breathing simplicity

Simplicity is revealing itself as an anarchic power to me. The simplicity of the breath – living in just this breath – greatly loosens the grasp of the system on me. Simplicity is explosive: It shatters my strategies and points of views, offering a more encompassing being.

As soon as life feels complex, difficult, I know I have dropped out of the heart, out of the breath. The simplicity of the breath creates an easeful life. Simplicity is no project, it is the movement of life itself. In the past years breathing simplicity has let me consume less, take in less information, socialize less. The simplicity of the living heartbeat cleanses my life, polishes it, makes space for what is really essential, including chaos.

Poetry

Breathing in my body and emotions blasts all the systems and mechanisms of the mind and lets the water of life flow again. This water of life is what I always was thirsting for so much. Through the water of life beauty is felt and expressed. The water of life alone can take us beyond the borders of our mind into love, into creation, into totality. For me, poetry is a wonderful way to give expression to this beauty. Few words – its very simplicity is its power and magic. No story, just the flavor of this moment. I am engaged with poetry for more than 30 years, and the last years poetic vision came back to me with great intensity.

the earth: my pelvis

with its mountains, lakes and forests

with the stars rejoicing and the moon

shining softly on the water,

and you walking through the valley.

your breath moves me from

the heart of what we call our planet,

we hold each other dear, so gently

in the warm house of – I dare say –  love,

trembling in the great winds with the walls.

you calm me, say, there is

enough wood for the fire

to keep burning night and day,

fire of being human, do I say, which is

so exposed in the gales of love.

Yesterday, a whole row of tall poplars near our house was cut. Watching this happen made me fall into a state of deep pain and powerlessness. Felling these amazing giants let me feel depleted of my own power to join in creating beauty and abundance. Do you know what helped me later that day? Cooking.

Holding the vegetables in my hand that grew in and out of the ground, I touch the love of the earth. Breaking the eggs our chicken lay every day, I feel the fertility, the wealth of life. I take a pot from the shelf, full of emptiness that is at the core of our being and ready to receive the fullness of life. Pouring in water, I realize this is the same water our ancestors have been using thousands of years ago. I regulate the flame that heats and transforms the food. Amazed how this is enough to feel deeply empowered again.

Cooking is not just a chore. It is not a degradation in the shadow of other, more meaningful work. Cooking is sustaining life itself. As physicist and thinker Vandana Shiva puts it, the reason we are still alive is that someone cooked food for us.

Be proud of cooking, love it. Cooking is a healing practice when you are caught in existential fears, when you feel down, unclear or disconnected. Cooking for yourself, for your family, for friends. Make cooking simple, nourishing even before you have eaten. Let it be friendly for yourself, adjusted to your energy and available time. Touch, smell, taste. Have a good meal!

Listen to Vandana Shiva’s touching, powerful talk here:

Vandana Shiva

We are at war with our own stupidity.

Geplaatst door PlayGround + op zaterdag 3 februari 2018

Waning, nearly dark moon on a “Blue Monday”: this can be an invitation to let yourself fall, to rest in the vastness of life. To rest in the void. Not to shoot into action permanently, but to stop from time to time, waiting when feeling an impulse to do something.

When you rest while feeling an urge to act, this can allow an explosion of space in your body, in your life. This space may include waves of sadness, of melancholy, when you let go of your agenda and the felt sense of the moment presents itself. In and beyond your emotions, the Great Mother receives you and feeds you when pausing.

Read the poem below for inspiration on a blue day:

 

 

Blue January

 

In the perfume of the moist green moss

I fall softly.

Hearing the wind in the dry grass

A smile comes unto my face.

When the bird takes wing out of the heath

Freedom remains.

When the moon wanes

My body becomes night blue.

The earth is dotted with countless stars,

Buds singing in silence.