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 In the glimpse of an eye I had withdrawn from the world and was moving in a grey cloud of duty, struggle and fear.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.

When we moved to our new home this summer, I took Maria inside. She had been standing outside for six decades, in an altar in the wall, common in traditional Brabant country houses. She had become eroded and gray. I put her on the mantelpiece above our wood stove, together with a bird’s nest one of my daughters had found.

When I am sitting by the fire, Maria keeps drawing my eyes towards her, she calls me to let her take place inside of me, inside of my body. Welcoming Maria inside lets the cultural concepts and forms melt in the fire of the heart. She has always been there, in all cultures, there is no need to search for her, no need to name her. She is the one who builds the nest, the one who warms the eggs, the one who feeds the baby birds and the one who, at a certain moment, pushes them out of the nest so they realize they can fly.

Maria is the one who moves my blood, the one who breathes me. She is the one who makes my body absorb nourishment, the one who lets the peaceful beat of the earth enter me and relax me when I’m overwhelmed. With her, I feel at ease, warm and fulfilled. She lets me take place in the nest of my body. And she teaches me to fly through the dark blue, starlit sky.

I wish you a nourishing Christmas time in Maria’s nest, with starlit flying dreams at night!

It is a lovely feeling to be touched by someone or something so powerfully that you “want them”: this man, this dress, this dog. It mostly becomes more problematic when you “have them”. They become an object in your collection. The world of objects is dense and weighty and suffers from a lack of oxygen. The flame of passion becomes suffocated very fast – as soon as the object of desire is incorporated into what you are calling “my world”. “My world” is a tough place: it takes a lot of effort to maintain it and there is even more fear to lose it.

Does freedom mean chosing objects?

It is quite funny that, often, we consider ourselves “free” when we think we can chose the objects of “my world” by ourselves. Just look at it, isn’t it a prison, this “world of mine”? It gives you the feeling to be stuck, it tends to be boring and heavy at the same time. Your sensations become less vivid, joy fades away, you feel somewhat alienated. Of course, a growing desire arises for more passion in your life. And mostly, you then run after a new object in order to feel passion again, a new lover or project. Know this? Also been there so many times?

Passion is closer than you imagine

I find it fascinating how passion is much closer than we imagine. Just look at “my world” and observe how you create it. At the very moment you realize that “my world” exists only in your mind, that it is your own fantasy, the heavy burden of having to manage a world falls from you. Space arises and fills your lungs with fresh air, and its breeze touches your heart so intimately, with a sweet shivering, that you sigh. It feels like you are falling in love. A wave of panic takes you: what is happening? I am losing myself! Yes. You are losing your world, and yourself as the central object of your world.

The captivating perfume of reality

Mostly this panic doesn’t win totally, there’s just too much dazzling beauty and wonder around. The perfume of reality changes something in your cellular structure, you feel a bit dizzy, your body vibrates… the captivating perfume of your new lover, genuineness, makes you lose orientation and you let go. You become the adoration of this perfume, of this light on the skin, of this movement, of this voice, you’re part of the adoration, you can’t split yourself from what you adore.

The freedom of passion can’t be stopped

Perhaps you are back in “my world” a few seconds later and your new lover is gone. Panic again, but no problem. The flame in your heart has been ignited. Nobody can stop it. It is a free, an anarchic flame, it doesn’t follow a system and it can’t be hindered by a system. Joyfully, it blazes in any gap in “my world” and sets your objects on fire. You begin to lose one object after another. With every object falling to ashes, freedom takes it over. The freedom of passion to take you wherever it wants. Your freedom to let passion follow its own ways. Freedom to fall in love with the world that happens to appear at this very moment.

I am turning up the lawn, preparing my vegetable garden for next year. After a while, my hands and shoulders begin to ache. I am not used to this kind of work. I feel the heaviness, the density of the earth. This heaviness triggers resistance in me: I can’t do it. I can’t create a garden.

The earth has no resistance

Time to pause. I gaze at the piece of lawn I have just cut off horizontally with my spade, roots and all, and thrown it into a hole in the earth. The grass does not resist being thrown into the dark. It’s lying there peacefully, ready to be covered with a thick layer of soil. Ready to become soil itself. The earth is dense, but it has no story about its density. It lets itself be moved without a struggle, surrendering to cosmic and human creation.

In the dark of the earth, there are no stories

It’s me telling stories when confronted with earth’s density. Stories about my own inability “to do it”: I’m too weak, life is too heavy, it’s overwhelming. I’m always afraid of running out of energy, yet busy with small and big projects. Learning, achieving, transforming.

But when I really tune into the density, the darkness of the earth, there are no stories. There is no beginning and no end, no “why” and “in order to”. There is not even “transformation”. In the darkness of the soil, there are no beliefs, no projects I could cling to.

Becoming the garden

I realize that any moment in my life when I feel at a loss, when something feels “too heavy”, is an invitation to become soil. When something is too heavy to do, it’s a sign that I want to do too much. My ideas, in this case my ideas about the garden, then are not in line with reality. When I let go of my ideas, I am ready to be moved by creation instead of wanting to shape it myself. Now I become the garden. Returning my ideas back to the earth, I face the unknown, the darkness of the earth in myself. Becoming soil, I give life the chance to create something new and fresh.

Time to rot

In the spring, a new plant will grow out of the soil. A plant that can feed, a plant that can enchant with its beauty. The seeds are already there, waiting to sprout when the winter has ended. They need fertile soil to grow in. This soil comes to being by the plants of this year rotting, becoming soil again. What a chance to let go and rot in the earth with the grass. To become one with the earth, become soil myself. Not to resist heaviness anymore, which takes so much energy. Just let myself fall.

It begins as a vague happiness, feeling somewhat more alive. After a second, I realize that I am seeing shadows, now, and that I didn’t see them before. The shadow of the lamp, of the glass. These shadows lead my awareness to seeing the light. First the light next to the shadows. And gradually, letting myself been moved by amazement, the light all around me. Everything becomes shiny, even if the sky is overcast: the table, the curtain, the leaves of the trees outside, the grass.

Suddenly, there is this relief

I had been sitting in front of my computer, not knowing what to write, staring out of the window, drinking some water. And then, something had stopped me in a split second, had kept me from managing my life. It just happened, suddenly there was this relief.

The world is singing

I do have a desire for letting go. A sense that life is too tight, too sad, not true, when I want to “lead it”. Often, this very desire makes me push even harder, struggling for freedom and becoming totally entangled. Now, the unknown touches me unexpectedly, invades me in a tiny gap between my attempts to break through the wall. The play of light and shadow I see around me is being enhanced by vibration, by aliveness in my body. Suddenly the world is singing. There’s an overall sense of joy, of creativity. An intensity without pushing and pulling. For a moment I am this intensity, this joy of creation, there is no “me” and “mine”. And then I’m back in front of the wall of my computer.

Can you really see the shadow?

There I am sitting on my chair, marveling. It all begun with seeing the shadows. Now, back in the shadow world, I feel stuck. Yet, observing the shadows had just been the opening to sensing the light. When I move in my own shadow zone, when I feel trapped, I struggle. This keeps me from really seeing the shadow. If I can see the shadow, there must be light somewhere, otherwise there would be no view.

Be still, I say, and look at the shadow. This does not guarantee the spreading of the light, but already by observing the shadow I feel a bit less tense. And then, light trickles through my cells and moves me gently from inside. The shadow and the light are playing. Without defeating the shadow, without struggling, space arises in me. I am precisely the sculpture life wants to create in this very moment. I couldn’t even exist without the shadow: there would be no play, no creativity, no life. What a freedom.