July 21, 2016

Revolution Island

There was a time, when I dreamed of a world where everything was candy and play. I must have been young, very young. I fantasized about that world on a regular basis. My biggest real life concerns were the small amount of candy that I could obtain and avoiding the bullies. So I hid in my fantasy world and slowly added everything I loved to it. It was sunny, but chocolate would not melt there. People were happy and gentle and could actually fly (The knack [of flying] lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss. (Douglas, A. (1978). The Hitchhikers guide to the galaxy)). Space travel was available to anyone, without serious risks, of course.

That “fantasy” world is something I always kept in my heart. As I grew to the person I am now, not only the “real” world and the real world concerns changed, also my fantasy world changed. There is a funny thing to growing in age, into a world of obligations and the feel of lack of choice at some points. At least, for me. I never actually stopped dreaming. I never actually said goodbye to my fantasy world and my dreams of space travel and flying. Somewhere in my heart, I still believe that one day I will explore the universe and encounter worlds and species far beyond any imagination. Somewhere I believe that there are parallel universes and one day I will travel between those universes – without causing any cracks or harm of course. But.. I am drifting off. That is not what I wanted to write about. Well.. partly…

When I look around me these days. My heart gets filled with concerns and my soul hurts. The bullies of my childhood have become world leaders, though I prefer to give them the name of world managers, they are no leaders to me. The lack of candy has become a lack of peace, love, respect and (bio)diversity. I see huge risks occurring without seeing an out. Without seeing realistic mitigation measures (see, grown-up speech) that I can actually set in motion and more and more I feel the need to hide away in my fantasy world to not see the horror and terror of every day earthly life, even if it was for just one day.

There are days when my fantasy world feels a spark. It feels the possibility of actually starting to exist in what we call real life. And it is beautiful. It happens every now and then, that a friend of mine says or writes something about starting a new world, on an island mostly, where there is respect, love, peace, (bio)diversity and thus no war, no terror, no oppression. My fantasy world sees that, or hears that, and starts to grow. What if…

Of course there are many studies and experiments about how people live together and interact with each other. There is even a Dutch television program called Utopia, about people starting their own little world. Mostly the results aren’t pretty. But I refuse to let go of my hopes and dreams. Those studies are a real life things and they do not belong in my fantasy world. Not that science has no place there, it does. But I refuse to give up on my hopes and dreams based on real life science in this case. So, how to set up this world where everybody is welcome, but we do not need police, military or government? How to set up a world where there is plenty of space for love and peace and people and animals and diversity?

Seeing more and more people wanting this, searching for a place to run away to and hide, or maybe to run away to and from there start the new revolution, I am more and more thinking: Why not? Why not start an investigation on how to actually get this done. On how to buy an island, set up a crowdfunder and invite people who can add to this idea and are willing to put the energy into it. And then I thought, well, if I am going to investigate this, what better place to start than a Facebook group. A group of people who are willing to investigate with me and who are seriously interested in starting this revolution. So. Here it is. (Click) You can join if you want to. Just let us know what you can add, what you want to share on Island Revolution. The island where we will find respect, peace, and where we will (re)create biodiversity as well as possible. Even if it never grows beyond existing only in our imagination, let’s do this. Are you in?

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February 23, 2016

The Better World

Yesterday a (guest) blog was published on Thebetterworld.org. The better world is an inspirational blog about the daily improvements we can all make to turn this earth into a better place. I want to invite you to head over to this blog and read it. More important, I want to invite you to join the challenge that is mentioned in the blog: 10 days for a better world! Are you ready?

Read the full blog here.

Some short bits and pieces extracted from the blog:

” … she liked me for who I was and therefore, was a good friend! A while ago, we ‘found’ each other again on Facebook and since then, I’ve seen her do so much awesome ‘better world’-stuff… ”

“In her letter, she first describes being hesistant about writing about ‘doing good stuff’, a feeling I recognize. Every blog post is a struggle ….”

” I hereby want to restart this little challenge. And yes, it is just a little challenge. It is just 10 days of small social actions. The 10 days is just a number of course. If you want to make that – like I try – into a life long habit, that is perfectly fine. I actually would appreciate that effort a lot!”

Again, read the full blog here: What they do: Ruth.

While you are clicking anyway, go ahead and like The Better World on Facebook.

thebetterworld

February 17, 2016

Dat ik hier was

De tijd
gegeven
dat ik hier was
dat ik hier ben
blijf

Want
verweven
met het zijn
en het zullen
en het worden
en het had gekund

De tijd gekregen
dat ik hier zag
dat ik hier zie
dat ik luister
En ik hoor

De tijd
genomen
en toch
Te kort

Dat ik
verblijf
nooit ben
geweest
En toch

February 10, 2016

Close your eyes…

Last week it was. I was heading towards my training. While I was fighting my personal demons, I looked out of the window of the bus. A confused man was trying to get some attention from an elderly woman who was waiting for her bus. It was clear he just needed some attention. The loneliness radiated from his posture. He was tired and desperate. Trust me. In general, a (hu)man who asks for help, in these conditions, really needs it! It takes a lot of courage and desperation to accept that you can’t do it alone.

The woman went through different stages. First she tried to ignore the situation. Then she tried harder to ignore the situation. Then there was a brief contact between them which indicated she tried to get rid of the situation and then she ignored the situation. When none of this helped, she stood up and walked away.

The effort made by this woman, to ignore the situation and eventually to remove herself from the situation hit me like a lantern post can hit your head when you are looking the other way. It ripped something in my heart and I could not think of anything else then to get off the bus as soon as possible. I went to sit at that same spot the old lady had been sitting. I just sat there and looked up to the man. “Are you okay?” –“Not at all”.

Our conversation did not take long. I convinced him to sit next to me and just listened to him for a bit. He dozed off several times and though I was sincerely concerned about his health, all I could do for him at that moment, was just sit there with him, waiting for his bus. He argued how people never stop to disappoint and never care. I understood this statement and I felt ashamed. This is what humanity comes down to all too often. His bus arrived and he said a brief goodbye. I offered him something to munch on and he left. As he entered the bus he turned around and waved. There was a hint of a grateful smile on his face and he radiated just that little spark of energy that hopefully would get him to his next destination. I hope he is okay. I hope he will be okay.

It took me 10 minutes. 10 minutes! It did not cost me anything. I was not in danger. I do not feel superior now. I do not share this story with you to get compliments on how fantastic I am and how well I spent these 10 minutes. I do not feel better than that woman who walked away. I understand the wish to close our eyes. The world can be cruel and this cruelty hurts. It is easier to walk away. All I am, is disappointed and outraged. Outraged about the disability of so many people to (wo)man up and stand our ground. It just takes 10 minutes, or less, to give someone the feeling that he or she matters. That he or she is a human, just as valuable as the rest of us. It takes a friendly hello. It takes a cup of coffee or a handshake.

It takes being silent and just sitting with someone.

December 16, 2015

The silent assassin

Those moments in life you start evaluating the big picture and you just can’t think. You wish you could say you feel good and bad about certain things, but all you feel is a weary kind of melancholy. You wish you could feel sorry or angry or excited about things. Feelings you know you would feel if you were able to feel anything else at all.

The lonely sadness takes over and your life just doesn’t seem worth it. You start making a list of pros and cons of living and the list of cons just keeps growing bigger and bigger. That list feels true, while the short list of pros consists of rationalized things you have taught yourself to value in times like this. You really try. You give it all you have left, to survive. You know you want to live.

This too shall end and at that moment you will be proud that you once again beat it. That too is something you taught yourself. There will be no one there to pat you on the back. There will be no one there to tell you you did good. No one will celebrate this victory with you, because no one knows how hard this struggle is. Because you tell no one about this struggle. No one knows what it is not getting any easier over time. This is not the kind of thing that you get used to. This is the kind of thing that hurts more, every time it hits you in the face: It is still there and it will remind you of your pain and fears. It will. Year after year.

When you survive, it will give you some time to recover. It lingers in the back of your mind and at some points during your life you even forget it is there. You start hoping that this time you beat it forever. And then it hits. That moment you start hoping, it hits. The timing is impeccable and the damage it can do has a maximum impact. You were foolish and naive, but that really is the only way you know to survive. You need your hope to be strong enough once again.

You reside in your head and you regroup your troops, your coping mechanisms. One by one you use them. If it doesn’t work, you move on to the next, and the next, and the next… reminding yourself that you do want that chance at one more happy moment. Sometimes the battle is short, but most of the time it takes weeks, sometimes months.

You have so many blank spots in your memory, that were occupied by the fight, instead of by actually living, that it is hard to find actual memories of those happy moments, of you actually living life. The flat line your life becomes during those battles starts to feel comfortable. You can just act out your routines, go to your work, go to your friends… all the feelings are gone and you do not really notice what is going on around you.

You wish there was a place where you could hide from it all, but the only solution you know is to fight or end it all because no matter how far you run, it finds you. Even the safe spot in your mind slowly gets infected if you go there too often in the heat of the battle. You can create new safe spots. There is no end to this story. You can repeat all the steps.

And then, all of a sudden, there is this spark. A sign of beauty that fills your heart. You survived. Once again. You do not know how many times you will be able to pull this off, but this time you did. And you celebrate. Alone. But you celebrate. And no matter who you are.

 

***No matter what your battle is. I am proud you survived. I am proud you did not give up. You are not alone in this. Share your story with the ones you trust. If you do not have ones you trust, share it with the ones you do not know. Together we are strong.***