The walk of life

walk of life

Almost 10 years ago I was introduced to Desteni. at the time I was quite happy with my life but I was not very at peace deep inside. I was looking for answers on many questions linked to living a satisfying life. This searching had been the driving force behind wanting to achieve specific goals in life. One of the main factors at the time was a general discontent about human society in general causing me and my partner to look for a way out of the daily stress of life in a small and overpopulated country. We started fantasizing about living in a remote place and as off-grid as possible. We actually realized part of this fantasy by moving to a sunny country in a house in the mountains. Where we originally planned to buy a house to renovate we ended renting places and running out of money. In six years time we learned to accept the reality of what we were living and finally decided to move back to the overpopulated country, back into the matrix, just for the matter of surviving in this society we so badly tried to escape.

Looking back I do not regret any decision I made as it has been an excellent opportunity to learn a lot about myself and how I interact with the world around me. The challenging situations where making money was becoming more and more difficult I’ve learned to be humble and self-honest. Where at first I had the tendency to hide the fact I was living on very little money, I started to share my situation with others in an open and factual way. To my surprise people were willing to help even more that I would expect.

The process I walked over these years allowed to understand better what was triggering specific feelings and emotions. This allowed me to better understand my fears, frustrations, angers and also happy feelings. On top of understanding I learned how to take care of repeating patterns by applying self-forgiveness, a method where I forgive myself that I accepted and allowed a specific identified feeling or emotion based on a specific trigger. Identifying triggers and cleaning up these connected patterns has allowed me to see and understand much better the essence of life. I learned to see that moving away from a situation I did not like was not the solution. I had first to understand who I was in a specific situation, understand what triggered my feelings and emotions and change myself to ensure my starting point is a self-honest point and not a memory or a desire based on a fantasy.

After all these years I made a lot of progress and become a better version of myself with the ability to be a stable point in a hectic society and act as a reference and resting point for people I interact with on a daily base. I have still a whole path to walk as there are many points I need to address and clear so I can stop patterns and free myself from the consequences and the enslavement caused by following these patterns.

My big actual challenge is to slow down. While living in a fast paced and stressful environment it is easy to allow myself to be carried along with this hectic rhythm and end every day with the impression I am a prisoner of the responsibilities and tasks I have to perform in order to earn the money I need to survive, to sustain my family, to keep everybody happy and keep up with with my DIP lessons. Sometimes everything feels as something I am forced to do and all I want is to rest as the pressure causes me to feel tired. I know the tiredness I feel is only partly real, most of it is created by the feeling of having to do things against my will. Quite tricky.

By identifying that the tiredness I feel is not real I already took the first step in the process of changing myself. Step two now, is to identify what causes this feeling of pressure. Not very easy as it is a multi-dimensional and multi-layered and complex set of memories, experiences, thoughts, feelings and emotions. The only way to unravel this is to pick a point and work through and clean it up. A process that can take years. The nice part is that every resolved point immediately shows results and helps you to go for the next point in more effective way. The path is not linear of course, it has ups and downs.

While I am slowly working through my step two points I am applying what I have learned to live so far by being a living example for others and by doing so I am contributing to a better world, even if it is on a very little scale. The stories on this blog are all related to how I am walking this process and I share them so anyone can read and maybe recognize a situation and see what I did to change myself so the next time I am facing the same type of situation I will be prepared.

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They’re back!

“What the F**K! It is like the discussion I had and the agreement that followed are just worth nothing!”

IMG_20180410_191545Past summer I had a chat with a neighbor living on the other side of my back yard about the waste containers he placed in the alley, against the outside of our fence. They had to be removed for two reasons, the alley was going to be repaved and the general rule for the alley is that no containers or other objects should be placed there to prevent obstructions and leave room for fire fighters.

The neighbor at first tried to convince me that he should be allowed to place his containers because of his garden being so small. My reply was that if the owners association was going to allow that for him, it should allow all households using the alley to place their containers. This would result in not just three containers but potentially 48 containers! So, even though he had his containers in the alley for many years, it now is over. The owners association is, after the works on the pavement, applying strictly this rule of keeping the alley free.

With this all explained and discussed I was convinced we had an agreement and for many months the alley was as it was supposed to be, no containers or other objects. Until a few weeks ago. At first I could not believe my eyes. I do not use the alley very often as our garden has a front access too. My mind started racing and coming up with tons of inner discussions about how this could be the case. Is the man nuts, stubborn, or just arrogant? He has no right to do this in an alley he only has the right to cross as it is owned by my owners association and he’s not part of it! How does he dare to do so and what why does he think he has the exception to the rule. What makes him more special than all the other households using the alley? He is a teacher and all teachers are arrogant! I am going to tell him to take his containers away immediately. No, even better. I am going to put his containers in his front garden since he claims his back garden is too little for them.

“Wow! Slow down!” I had to tell myself. I was pissed. But why was I pissed? Why should I care about these containers that were there for years without me even noticing them? Exactly! My ego was hurt. I believed I convinced the man and had enough overweight to make clear to this person there was no exception to be made for him. Putting back these containers was as if he said to me personally: “I do not care for what you’ve told me, I am not taking you seriously and do whatever I like”. I interpreted this as a personal attack. Well, it is not personal… I can think that I am that important that my neighbor makes it personal and does this to tease me. But that is not the case. He already told me why he placed his containers in the alley in the first place, and now the summer season is approaching, he does not want them in his tiny garden. Bummer for my ego, but also a relief. If I do not take this as a personal attack it is also much easier to come up with practical actions to change this situation.

So, I am not going to move his containers to his front garden as a kind of vendetta, I will make sure he gets a letter from the owners association reminding him that no containers should be placed in the alley. Nothing personal, just the association asking to comply to the rules.

To reach this practical point I had to go through reactions and emotions. This delayed my actions and consumed energy and time I could have used to do much more practical things or even relaxing. What I learned here by observing my reactions and trigger points is that I need to forgive any ego triggered reaction in a comparable situation. This will assist me in processing my reactions and make sure I am properly identifying all possible dimensions that play a role in this kind of situations, up to patterns created in the past. I then will formulate and apply self correction on the identified points so I can stop repeating these patterns ultimately leading to changing myself in such a way that I will not react as I usually do but assess the situation and take immediate and practical actions.

Learn how to master the skills of self perfection and visit Desteni I Process.

Summer time!?

Begin_CEST_TransparentIt is that time of the year again! Here they officially call it “zomertijd”, summer time. Is that just to make it sound better? Anyway, we have to change our time to save daylight. Save daylight? All I see is the clocks I need to adjust and the hour of sleep between 2:00 and 3:00 AM that just disappears into thin air! When traveling the change in time has never been a big deal for me. Even the red eyes flight from west to east while skipping many hours of the night is something I recover from in just one day.

But this is different. Different because I actually disagree with it existing at all. I am a quiet person, but this time shift twice a year makes me rebellious. The fact there are only a bunch of contradictory reasons on why we should keep on doing this is mind blowing, for me at least. There is some hope though. The European parliament voted to re-evaluate DST recently. There are several arguments in favor or against keeping DST, but I feel that even if there is some sound research going to be done on the effects of DST, there will be a lot of influence by lobbyists that are protecting anything that is making profit on this phenomena.

But the world is changing and people are increasingly becoming more critical of things that are imposed onto them as more and more it becomes clear that the interests served are often profit related and are not considering social factors or people’s wellbeing. I also believe that there is ignorance too combined with the resistance to simply change patterns just because we have been doing it for ever.

Anyway, although yesterday, the first day after the clock moved ahead one hour, I felt OK, today I was tired and felt our of sync with my working hours, lunch time and the fact the sun was shining high in the sky while biking home. Not to mention that this morning I had to turn on the lights on my bike. I was so happy that days became longer and finally the morning routine could be done in daylight… until today, where we are set back one hour! Yes, there is more light in the evening, but that does not change my routine nor my sores.

Like twice a year I will get over it but still, this 1 hour of difference feels much harder to get used to than the 5 to 8 hours after an intercontinental flight. Just because I am in my day to day routines and something is disrupting this by brutally subtracting or adding one hour.  And yes, I am kind of pissed about it because to me it does not make sense and that is frustrating. I’ll take a deep breath, forgive myself for having allowed myself to get frustrated in the first place and by writing this blog post I am contributing to the discussion and awareness on the topic, causing some extra ripples.

Keep your d’mned flyer!

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Apparently I have a kind of antipathy against flyers. Whenever I come across people distributing flyers I immediately try to find a way to avoid getting one. I’ve tried multiple tricks. continue walking at a quick pace in a straight line while focusing a a non existing point far ahead, fully ignoring the people that try to enforce their flyer on me. I’ve also accepted the flyer against my will on many occasions in the past, just to avoid having to say no. What disturbed me was the consequences of this type of publicity. Most people will accept the flyer, may look at it and will drop it on the street. What a waste!

I do understand that the tactics behind this kind of publicity is to aim at one hit in 100 or maybe even 1000. I do not understand that we keep on using this old fashioned way until today’s day while we know it is environmentally seen a waste of paper and ink.

Today, a few days before the local elections here in the Netherlands, some political parties decided to post their flyer teams at the entrance of the railway stations. So, this morning I used my first “No, thank you.” when crossing a flyer that was offered to me with the question “Are you going to vote?”. Of course my mind was already spinning at full speed picturing myself having a discussion with the person offering me the flyer and allowing me to excuse myself for not wanting their information as I already made up my mind. Scenario I had to change immediately after the unexpected question about if I was going to vote. Things like “None of your business” flashed through my head.

But why am I so against flyers. The environmental point is true but also an excuse to hide the deeper motivations. If I look at how I handle information that is imposed on me in some way, I usually react by ignoring or repelling the information. I want to be in control and I am deciding when it is time to look for specific information. The fact I am reacting against this way of information distribution and trying to avoid it only confirms I am not able to handle it properly and may be afraid of being influenced by it.

Over the past few years I managed to change the way I react to information that is kind of enforced upon me. I will respond to the person by kindly not accepting the flyer. The same for vendors that come at my front door to sell services or goods I do not need. I will thank them for the offer but tell them I am not interested. I also will avoid going into discussion by just repeating that I am not interested. In most cases, even the best sellers will give up as there is nothing to win or lose.

I have to say that the temptation to go into a discussion is big. The problem is only that it will lead to nothing as the parties in the discussion have opposite points of view that will not change in the given moment. They will never accept that I am not a potential customer and I will never accept that I was wrong not being interested in what they are offering me. I chose to be clear and not waste their and my time. The chance that a reseller at my door is going to give me the best possible offer ever is close to nothing and there is very little chance the political party will convince me to vote for them just because they gave me their flyer.

To me, choosing who to vote for or what services or goods to buy is not a last minute, impulsive decision. It is something I want to dedicate at least a minimum of time where I do research on options and consequences of a possible choice. To me that is the most sustainable way to make my choices even if that means I will have to refuse flyers and offers.

We can’t stay here for ever…

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Every time I am watching a video or documentary about the discovery of other planets or more in general the outer space I am wondering what is driving us, as humans, to do so. I am wondering why scientists are frantically investing millions of hours and dollars to look for life.

Although the focus seems to shift from life that is very much the same as here on earth to searching for anything we could define as life I still feel the approach is a huge limitation on one side and absolutely understandable on the other. What else than our own image do we have as a reference for life.

Besides curiosity, what is really driving us humans to be so fanatic that we frantically keep looking for signs of life as we define it in the outer space around us? I am certain that the real motivation may vary from individual to individual and I could come up with a couple.

I’ll start with something I could defend as a plausible motivation to study the outer space around us; analyzing and understanding the elements or building blocks that compose everything we are made of and we are surrounded with. This can help us understand better the planet we live on by understanding its context.

I can also understand that some people seriously consider studying possibilities to colonize other planets. It is in our genes to colonize, so it would be strange if we would limit ourselves to the planet we live on, right? People that will mention adventure, discovering new planets and life forms as the main reason to explore space will still fall under this category as most probably the colonizers will leverage from these discoveries to push their colonization drive, genetic drives are difficult to control.

But what about the very planet we live on? We barely scratched the surface as we lack technologies (or focus and motivation) to go deeper. There are still processes on earth we do not fully understand, and yes, things we learn from outer space might help to understand out own planet better.

Today I heard the phrase that explains everything about the reasons we focus so much on exploring space: “We can’t stay here for ever…”. “Yes!”, I thought, this is what drives space agencies and their scientists. Lets focus on finding ways to travel to Mars while at the same time we are wasting our OWN planet. Yes, the planet we physically belong to and where we humans can live without too many adaptations.

I am even tending to think that wanting to live elsewhere is extremely challenging, even if we manage to find other class M planets as in Star trek and a way to travel to these planets in a way that does not harm our bodies. For some this might sound like a horrible thing, but what if we humans just belong to earth and are supposed to stay there? If ever possible we should consider discovering the universe without being bound or if you want, restricted by a human body. I am not talking about virtual reality nor fantasy. It might be something we might only achieve beyond earth life.

So, my statement is that discovering the space around us makes sense but should not be driven by the quest of finding similar life as that is blinding us from doing real interesting discoveries. And as we are discovering, why not focus on the planet we live on, using our skills to find ways to stop abuse the resources of our only real home and make sure it can support us mankind for another while. If we keep going on this way we will cause our own extinction, maybe even before a few of us can make it to Mars?

Trash

pexels-photo-117146.jpegIt is really everywhere and it is mind bobbling for me as I try to understand why a large part of humanity just does not seem to care or mind.

I am talking about the millions of bottles, cans and plastic bags we, except me and a few others of course, are throwing everywhere except where it belongs, the trash can.

When I walk through my neighborhood and see an empty power drink can, I not only feel frustration about the fact I do not understand why people would just leave it there, but also wonder why anybody would drink something that is bad for your health. I even start connecting the two and see many more behaviors people show that not necessarily are beneficial for them on the long run.

At this point I am usually lost and go back to the trigger point: trash. OK, let’s see how we can solve this problem for humanity. But it is sooo big! It is a behavior that is apparently in most of us. Ah! So it is possibly programming, maybe epigenetics? The best is to use myself as a reference. Why do I keep an empty can with me (If I ever drink something from a can) until I find a way to properly dispose of it opposite to someone that empties the can, or not even and throws it away just there since it happened to be empty or unwanted?

What prevents me from doing the same? Awareness? Maybe. I am aware of what happens if I drop stuff around me on the street or, even worse, in nature. It will stay there until collected by someone else cleaning up my ‘shit’ or just decades until decomposed. So, my conscience is directing me. But why do I have this awareness and conscience and others do not? I can link my behavior back to my education. As a little kid, as far as I can remember, I had learned to collect my own trash and throw it in the waste bin. It is kind of automated.

The solution is education! Somewhere there is a generation of people that did not teach their kids to be aware of what they consume and the packaging they dispose of. It is also closely related to the way products are presented to the public. Everything is conveniently packaged for easy consumption and easy production of trash. Wait! We can blame the consumer, but what about the companies producing all these products? Can we blame them? Several attempts have been done but no success as long as we do not change the way profit is made and convenience is sold to the lazy consumer.

We are back at the consumer. As blame is not something that will solve anything we need to change consumer behavior. Education again! So schools might play a role. We are trying that too with little success. So? The best way is to educate young parents. If they manage to raise kids that naturally will choose what is best for themselves by respecting themselves and all what is around them, you will make good progress. This is an ideal situation as many parents (to be) are not in a favorable position to do this lacking the resources to provide for real healthy food (unpackaged, unprocessed and made from scratch) for their kids and themselves.

My conclusion is that there is no quick solution. The best I can do is to give the right example and collect when possible the trash so that it does not allow people the excuse that someone did the same before them (wrong example). I can also talk about this topic like sharing my thoughts in this blog so people start to identify the problem and eventually understand how they can help changing this behavioral pattern.

Hit by a car!

Roundabout

The other day I was walking on the sidewalk of a big roundabout that connects many roads. From where I enter the roundabout I have two pedestrian crossing with stripes and 4 streets leading to residential areas (the top of the image). The weather conditions were drizzling rain and winter morning darkness. Add to this list me wearing dark clothes, a sleepy driver that is driving a car with damp windows and you get the ideal situation to be hit by a car.

That morning I managed to cross the pedestrian crossings without troubles as the cars slowed down to give me way. At the third street a car hurried towards the roundabout and presumably looked to the left to see if any traffic was arriving and not paying attention to the walking person on the sidewalk trying to guess whether the car was going to stop or not. The car did not stop. It even turned right much more than I expected and actually was necessary and I had to jump away to prevent the car running over my toes. As a reaction to this awkward situation I slammed the back of the car as a kind of warning or a desperate attempt to have my presence noted.

Whether the driver noticed or not, he drove on, maybe fully unaware of what happened and not even noticing the noise of my had hitting the car. Who knows. Anyway, this experience caused my adrenaline levels to raise and my mind started spinning, spitting out all kind of scenarios of what could have happened if I had been run over by the car.

I was imagining how the car would have hit me and how I grabbed the door handle and started shouting and screaming in an attempt to have the driver stop the car. While doing so I felt the adrenaline rush reaching a boiling point. I continued working out the scenarios with me calling for an ambulance and being brought to a hospital, me being pissed off by the fact the driver was not traceable while I was the victim and limited by my injuries.

Then I realized what I had been doing and took a couple of deep breaths, stopped my thoughts, identified what happened in my mind and what had been the trigger and started doing self-forgiveness on the fact that I allowed myself to have fed my emotions with thoughts instead of real facts. I identified that the main thought or maybe frustrations or fear was the scenario to be injured by someone that potentially would not even have noticed what he caused, or worse, purposely drove off and denying responsibility. The thought this might have happened made me angry.

In other words, just the thought of an event that never took place, created by my own imagination made me angry. Quite scary. I am able to get angry just because I am imagining something might happen I am scared about without it actually happening in reality. Mind blowing! But it happens all the time!

This was not the first time I experienced a situation like this one and not the first time I allowed myself to create imaginary situations to feed my emotions like anger and see myself pushed into the role of a victim, ready to blame the others that I saw as the cause of all my troubles. But after this time, where I decided to observe closely my reactions, I decided to apply a change.

So, when the very next day a car was stopping just in time at the pedestrian crossing, I was already jumping away as I expected the car to go on, I took a deep breath and just evaluated the situation: I had been careful and defensive, nothing happened and the situation had not been really dangerous. I wrapped up the situation like this and continued walking while listening to a Eqafe recording.

Don’t stop you fool!

DIGITAL CAMERAThere is a thing that is frustrating me for quite a while. Frustrating up to the point that my heart beat rate goes up quite a lot. Yes! Pure anger!

A little bit of context: drivers often tend to stop for bikes while the car has priority. This leads to confusion as bikes get used to get priority when they haven’t and cars stop on places where they are holding up traffic flow unnecessarily. As at this type of crossing where the bike lane is parallel to the sidewalk, it often happens cars need to stop for the pedestrians since they have precedence while bikes have to give precedence to cars. This causes weird situations where as a biker you stop for the cars while the cars might stop for pedestrians.

What do you do as a biker if the car stops (for the pedestrian)? You go, of course. But not if you are well educated as I am. I will stop when a car is nearing the crossing so it can continue its way. So far so good. But what if the car decided to stop and give me as a biker precedence even if I do not have it? I will get irritated and wave the car to go on, or worse, shout at the driver to go on because stopping there is holding up the traffic leaving the roundabout, just to find out the car did not stop for me, but for pedestrians trying to cross the road.

Ouch! That is embarrassing! But not for all the other situations where the drivers did stop for letting me as a biker cross even when I do not have precedence. I know I have a point here and drivers, bikers and pedestrians should just stick to the rules, that would be the safest option for all. But why, why are there engineers inventing this type of crossings? It would have bee far easier to just give precedence to both bikes and pedestrians.

But that is not so much the point I want to discuss. It is about me reacting to this situation in anger and frustration, so much that I did not see the real situation anymore and got into a very embarrassing situation. And yes, it did not happen once, it happened twice…

Time to look at my reactions of anger and frustration without the justification of the actual fact that cars should stick to the rules. So, I analysed how in time I allowed frustration to build up in myself by feeding it with these events where I was given precedence and actually thriving on it, almost looking forward without noticing it, to the next episode, so I had again a justification to get more frustrated and angry.

The mechanism I discovered is that I willingly was looking for situations that would provoke me just to feed my hungry anger with negative energy. That was a scary discovery. I was allowing myself to do something that was destructive. Using self-forgiveness as I learned to apply in the DIP course I have been able to stop this pattern. I can now approach this type of crossings being confident I will not get frustrated or angry. I will use my common sense and cross if a car stops making sure the crossing is clear as quickly as possible.

From this experience I’ve learned two things, that I have the tendency to allow myself to search for situations that will feed my frustration in order to justify being angry as I usually do not allow myself to show anger and do something about it. And I’ve learned that being a little more flexible in sticking to the rules might benefit everybody, as long as I am using common sense and make sure there is a benefit for all.