The dishwasher challenge

dishwasher-clipart-dishwasher.jpgDamn! It happened again! It is a pattern that I have problems with breaking. Something apparently very simple… turn on the dishwasher before going to bed.

This morning I woke up because of our male cat making a lot of noise. He does this when he really wants to get outside. As it was almost time to get out anyway I decided to go downstairs and open the front door to leave him out. I then started the morning routine. It is in this routine of ranging all clean dishes, pots and pans that I am to find out if the dishwasher has been turned on or not.

Actually, when looking at it, I kind of have a brief moment of relief when I open the dishwasher and while doing so I hear the click of the soap dispenser cover clicking back in its open position. That sound is very reassuring and allows me to continue my routine with a just very tiny sigh of relief. Apparently I am kind of aware there is a possibility the dishwasher had not been running and I kind of anticipate the f**k moment when I grab the handle to open the dishwasher.

So, why does this happen, and why so often. On average once a week I do everything needed to have the dishwasher running except for one thing… close the lid until the click. Why do it wait? Why do I hesitate and not close it fully when I am done putting in all the things? What Am I waiting for?

Let me walk back to the situation of last evening to see if I can find out what is really going on. After dinner I started rinsing dishes and pans, filled the dishwasher and washed every other item that does not go in the dishwasher. The items I wash by hand like big pots and knives I leave drying on a dripping board. The routine was as any evening except for the fact there was a fresh loaf of bread that had to be cut in slices. As this is producing crumbs and a knife and cutting board to clean I knew I had to do this just before going to bed.

Bed time. I went to the kitchen collecting the last cups and items for the dishwasher, put them in the dishwasher, added the soap and turned it on. I did not fully close the lid and I started doing the cutting board and knife. This is the crucial point. For some reason I decided not to fully close the lid until it clicks causing the dishwasher to start. This is the very moment that I hesitate, almost unconsciously, to start the machine. Why? Because there might be another item I want to put in it before it starts running?

All the other episodes of me not closing the lid properly, meaning not doing the very last step to have the dishwasher start its program, are alike. There is a  slight change in the routine, something that causes the unconscious me to put this step on hold.

So, what to do about it? I have to become more aware of the steps I do in this routine, not on an automatic pilot, but aware of the actual situation. And I have to face the deeper layers to find out why I am hesitating in taking that last step. Looking at it in common sense tells me that there is no reason for not doing that last step. If I consciously had checked the situation I could have seen there were no items left to put in the dishwasher. But, especially when doing things in a routine, there is no reality check. I am doing my things on an automatic pilot. Why? Is it because I kind of consider the tasks as being boring or a nuisance?  Of course I will immediately deny that it is, but if I look at this self-honestly I see that there is a history here of not enjoying the fact I have to do some tasks in the evening, just before going to bed when I usually are more than ready to go to sleep.

So, something futile like the fact of not closing the lid of a dishwasher is actually an opportunity to investigate underlying patterns that eventually lead to better know myself and allow myself to break these patterns and better myself, to create a better version of myself. The process is not simple and requires me to be thorough and especially honest with myself. How futile or seemingly unimportant the point I am investigating might be, the first reaction is to come up with excuses and explanations on why this happens. I’ve done this regularly, for months, to myself and to my partner. Why? Because I feel bad when it happens. It causes me to express a loud F**K charged with frustration when I find out that AGAIN I FAILED. I self-judge myself as being whatever and immediately start to come up with reasons and excuses to explain myself why it happened again in an attempt to tell myself I am not a failure. In other words, I am attempting to compensate for the failure feeling by repairing it and thus causing a polarity.

The only way to solve this pattern effectively is to stop the reason why this pattern exists. This requires me to dig into deeper layers of myself to find out why I act in a specific way. What is the trigger and what is the memory connected to it. Not an easy task. To enable myself to effectively work through the steps that will eventually lead to breaking this pattern and many other related patterns, I use the tools and the buddy support of my DIP course.

In the following posts I will start digging and share how I am walking this process.

Moment of sadness

d5932-20170113This evening while standing in the kitchen and cooking my meal I felt sadness after I was confronted with a sink full of pots and pans while cooking my meal.

For a while now we cook different meals during the weekend in our family as we follow the blood type diet. My partner and kids have the same blood type, I have a different one and therefore follow a partially different diet. Cooking two dinners is quite challenging in one kitchen that is the size of an average European house kitchen. We often decide to wait for one other and sometimes we manage to eat dinner at the same time.

Tonight that was not the case. The sadness I experiences was preceded by frustration on small things. The first trigger for frustration was when I found that my partner hadn’t been able to read my handwriting on the grocery list and bought one piece where she was supposed to buy two. After deciding it was not a big deal I asked my partner to let me know when I could start cutting my vegetables and sat down to go through some YouTube videos.

A while later my partner said that she almost forgot to warn me being focussed on preparing her meal, but that I could start cutting my stuff. The “Mmmm” reaction I felt for a second was quickly suppressed and I started my cooking.

While cutting I realized that even if I would have wanted to put a pan on the stove there was no space available in that moment. I decided to go on cutting carrots, peeling and cutting onions and garlic.

A short while later I was able to put a pan on the stove and went for the fridge to get my sausages. On the grocery list I wrote 8 sausages, did I? I hoped so. The hope did not last long… Only two sausages to be found. I asked my partner who was sure to have read 2 and not 8. As I was not fully sure myself I retrieved the list from the trash bin and checked. I could read 8 but my daughter agreed with my partner that it was a weird 8 and that it could be read as 2. Difficult to argue on points as readability, will need to find a way to have ourselves check the list before one of us goes shopping. As I was making a dinner for 4 and only needed a portion for tonight the problem can be solved by adding the sausages later to the other portions.

The event however added to my trigger points for frustration and consequent sadness. The next step in my cooking was to rinse the beans in the sink. And there was the culminating trigger point. A sink full of pots and pans that I had to set aside before being able to continue. I now pointed out the situation to my partner explaining that is it not cool to have to clean up or move away stuff produced by another when cooking a meal. I also explained that I, when being the first to cook, always clean up as much as possible so my partner can do her things normally.

Interestingly this collection of experiences triggered a general sadness mood as I realized it were mostly experiences that could be grouped into a category of giving what you would like to receive and finding that, when I do so I silently hope to get back that exact same thing, up to a kind of longing for it in some cases. To be more specific, I would like to get some collaboration in the kitchen when it comes to cleaning up things during or immediately after cooking to make space for the next.

Looking back at these experiences after a while I can see clearly I am in a blame mode and I need to take this back to (my) self. Although my points are more than valid, there is no reason to go into a feeling of sadness as that is a self-pity situation that is aiming at making me the victim of these situations. Energy wise it might even feel kind of good to feel sorry for yourself, go into a sad mood and blame others for the fact you are pushed into such a mood.

The reality however is that I was allowing myself to get into that sad mood as I was allowing myself to become victim of the situation. So, if facing such situations in the future, I will discuss the situation in that specific moment or at any given moment the other party is able to give me some attention.

What I did was taking care of understanding how I got into this situation of blame and sadness and I also took a moment to discuss the situation with my partner, AFTER I made sure all energy and emotions were taken care of from my side. As a result my partner and I are coordinating our kitchen space needs even better and we also make sure to check the grocery list on readability. Just very practical and commonsensical.

What I learned from this is that if things are not going smoothly and as expected and as a reaction we feel sad and victimized, these feelings tell me something about myself that I need to take care of. Separate from that I can take care of the practical point by exposing the situation on a practical level to any involved and agree on solutions both parties benefit from.

Embarrassed

o-oops-sign-facebookAlthough it might be a coincidence, this morning I had an experience that could connect to the fact it is Blue Monday. As on every regular working day I went to catch a specific train, the 7:39 Intercity to Rotterdam. Due to work on the railway line less trains are running every hour and this Monday I could clearly see the consequences. The platform was crammed with people that usually distribute themselves over three different trains. I was kind of lucky I could still fit in the overcrowded train and had to stand in the pathway without having anywhere to hold myself except the ceiling.

While standing there I was wondering where an annoying beep was coming from. I was looking around and noticed more people were wondering what was producing the noise. As several other people I had my phone in my hand to report I had no seat in this train ride using the railway’s app. The beeping stopped but soon started again and slowly it came to me I could have been the source of the sound…

I started to feel uneasy while frantically looking for an app on my phone that is able to connect to a small device on my key ring. Exactly! The source of the beeping was a tiny Bluetooth device that I can use to track my keys. For some odd reason it had decided to beep as if it was prompted to do so by my phone. I managed to connect and make sure it stopped beeping. A few beeps later it kept quiet but I was still quite embarrassed. I decided to get out a stop earlier and walk 20 minutes to my destination to get over my embarrassment.

But why did I feel so embarrassed? Why heart was beating fast and I almost got lightheaded. Looking back I see it has been a situation where I allowed my mind to play a game with me boosted by the fact I was still recovering from being sick and not yet feeling completely fit. Not feeling well can be extra challenging when having to stay self aware and breath myself through a spinning series of thoughts in order to stop these and focus on the real actions to take in order to solve the problem.

Interesting to see that such a small situation as a device that beeps can lead to quite some stress in a situation where other factors play a role: A overcrowded train, standing uncomfortably without having good support, a stomach that was still not fully cooperating and this beeping device! I was surprised and kind of overwhelmed by the experience. It was a good example of how my mind was able to create an instant moment of anxiety expressed as embarrassment and cause a strong physical reaction. This made it even harder to properly react to the situation and take it just breath by breath, focusing on resolving the cause of the problem in the best way possible.

I’ve also learned that my first reaction in this and probably any other situation is to blame something outside of me, anything else but myself. And that was also part of the embarrassment. I found out that if there was someone to blame for the beeping sound… it was me! So, stop the blame altogether, I had to face my own blame, and that is not nice. And there was no need for blame of any kind. The next time I will try to be more aware of what is happening in that specific moment and first check myself to make sure I am not the cause.

No U-turn allowed

no-U-turnThis blog is analyzing the origins of specific points of which I am walking the consequences right now in my day to day life. A U-turn to go back in time to correct or change my decisions is no option, so I will have to investigate specific moments in my past to be able to understand and correct myself here and now. Only so I will be able to stop ever returning patterns.

Today a new fact popped up that is adding to the list of consequences that have manifested since we as a family are back in society so to say. Already for a certain time I am seeing that since we moved to Italy, or maybe better, since we decided to move to Italy we started to plant a series of ‘things’ (I can’t figure out right now what should be a proper name) that grew over the years and which we are harvesting now, without having kept track of everything we have planted. I speak in we to indicate me and my partner as we are partners in crime in this, both having thought/created and accepted and allowed.

If I look back at the motivations we had for wanting to move to Italy I see now clearly it was a wish to escape. But to escape from what? Over the years, starting somewhere in my youth, I developed a view of the world that at first was very naive since I was raised in a family that had enough wealth to live a comfortable life. Later in life I experienced more and more how the real world was working. Where at first I was frustrated by the fact I was not able to grasp how things worked because they did not seem to work as I imagined, I slowly started to see that a lot of things were fucked up and started slowly but surely to distantiate myself from the ‘real’ world, at least I tried to do so. I was not willing to accept the world I was living in and started to make plans to escape the sick society in order to create my own micro world somewhere far away from everything.

If I look back at the period that preceded our ‘escape’ to a life on the edge of society I see a series of things that have not been managed properly. Most of these things are money related, and since life is money that shouldn’t be too surprising. There are several factors playing a role here. I will try to find a beginning here in my relation to money working backwards in time.

– Still paying the consequences of the loans I had to take a few years ago

– Issues with bank accounts that have not been properly closed down resulting in bank not willing to give us a mortgage for a new house

– No income due to work opportunities that dried up and forcing me to stop being self employed and to look for a new job

– Forced to get a loan to be able to pay my taxes

– Sold our house for less money than expected

– No money from the fine the first buyer of our house had to pay after he signed but could not pay for the house

– Extra expenses for lawyers and cleaning after a non successful sale and rent of our house

– Irregular income as self-employed consultant leading to a not so clear picture of what my financial situation was

– Lost job after not having a contract renewed due to lack of money within that company

Changed job because I was looking for new challenges (From HP to a small company)

– Changed job because I felt I was doing work below my capabilities (From Ikea to HP)

So, where did it go wrong? Maybe my motivations or starting points. Why did I decide to swap job? When I decided to leave Ikea I did not have a new job. I decided to dive into a multi level marketing business where I was supposed to sell water filters. It did take a few months and some money to understand that this was not something for me. I was not a sales person and I was not prepared to sell to my friends and family trying to convince them to get into the business too. It was in the period right after this that I met my partner. In the first months of our relationship I settled and managed to get a job at HP.

Looking back the only motivation to leave a secure job was the fact I wanted a more challenging job and did not see any opportunities. Looking deeper, and this is a pattern that will come back more often, I see that I was looking for inspiration in order to do my day to day job. In other words, based on the feeling that my job was no fun anymore and did not give me the challenges I was looking for I decided to look for something else. The fact I looked for another job is not the point here, it is the motivation that lead to the fact of leaving my job. I have not been honest with myself (and to others) about this point and the fact I left one job without having another one. Why did I lie to myself? What was so important to achieve that I decided to lie and be blind for the real facts? Was it the hope to get rich? Was it the urge to get out of a boring day to day routine? Was it the idea to be free and do whatever I liked?

At last I managed to get back to earth and stopped participating in this idea of making money with a promising story overlooking all kind of important points. And finally I popped back into my place in the matrix and started working for a new employer. Not surprisingly this whole pattern popped up again. It took a little bit more than the previous time since I was settling more and more in the matrix of life, I got married, had children and all this was ok with a day to day routine of gong to the office doing slave work, every day again the same thing.

Also here I started to feel the burden of this much too static working environment. As soon as I saw the opportunity to leave for a more challenging job I left. I choose for a small company that was still tied (read entangled) to the corporate I was working for before. The only thing I did not foresee was that the crisis already started in these years (2002) and that Corporate HP was already taking measures. This trend of reducing costs, canceling training programs (I was working as a trainer) led to the fact that a couple of years later I ran out of business (by that time I was self-employed). I could have seen that, but I was blinded by the pictures of living in a remote area in the countryside somewhere in Italy.

And here I am touching another point. Italy! Ever since I finished school and moved from Italy, where I lived most of my youth, to the Netherlands I wanted to go back to Italy. The first year in my supposed country of origin had been a hell, at least that was the way I experienced it. I had a hard time in fitting in into the Dutch society. Not because people did not allow me, I was not allowing myself to fit in. I cherished the idea of being special, I was different, the ‘Italian’ and so giving myself a identity, something I apparently thought not to have.

I carried this identity with me for a long time, actually for the whole period I was living in the Netherlands, 22 years long. When I moved to Italy in 2006 with my family I had the idea I was back in my mother country. I son discovered a lot had changed in all these years. I also discovered that it was not the same life I had back then. I had to make my own money and that was quite difficult since plan A was to work as a trainer for HP in Italy, I only overlooked the fact that due to cost reduction HP canceled more and more trainings until almost nothing. Not willing to leave the Italian Dream and see that I chose the wrong horse to bet on I adapted and managed to get part time jobs. Together with other small projects I managed to earn a modest living, but not for long.

A factor that plays an important role in my motivation to go ‘back’ to Italy, besides the idea of leaving a rotten society to live on my own in a self (almost) supporting house with veggie garden, wood for the stove and so on, was the fact I could maintain my feeling special character. For 22 years I had been the Italian guy in the Netherlands, now I was the Dutch guy in Italy! That was feeding my specialty character with a lot of energy. I topped living this character when I was getting in more and more trouble and needed to change the situation I was living in since it was not acceptable anymore.

Having been confronted with the situation of having barely to no money to live I experienced a kind of resetting of myself. When we decided I had to go to the Netherlands to look for a job I kind of started as a new born child. This was the first time I actually did live in a country with no mask on of a special character. If ever I am recalling the old times in Italy is when talking to a colleague and old classmate of mine about the good old times (lol).

Having said this I can do a step further back. The being special character started somewhere of course. It might have started at the age of 5 when, while living in Italy as a very bond child among all other children with dark hair, I was seen as special. When strolling in the city with my mother and brother we had regularly people stopping to have a look at the blonde twins and had to touch that curious fair colored hair. My mother recalls that she had to wash our hair after each visit to the city.

Although the first years on the primary school seemed quite normal and being fully integrated into the community there were still a couple of ‘anomalies’. First the fact I am a twin and that my brother and I sat in the same class for the first three years until my parents decided it was better to split us (after having changed school from a small village school to a larger suburb school).

Later we moved as a family to another place and I and my brother were together again at the European School together with Dutch classmates on a school with lots of different nationalities. A nice feeding ground for feeling special. So, having looked back this way I see that during most of my life I have been living in my special character. Not to mention I have been always proud of the fact I never smoked of felt attracted to trends without seeing I was living a character myself with the real me hiding behind this mask.

The following self forgiveness sentences are focussing on the ‘being special’ character.

I forgive myself that I accepted and allowed myself to feel special because of having a different background compared to the people I was living/dealing with.

I forgive myself that I accepted and allowed myself not to see that all those years I allowed myself to hide behind a mask of feeling special instead of not trusting that my true self was good ‘enough’ to stand in my day to day life.

I forgive myself that I accepted and allowed myself to believe that I needed to be seen as special in order to achieve something in live/work.

I forgive myself that I accepted and allowed myself to feel proud when people recognized the fact I was special by acknowledging I was as an Italian with wooden shoes (typical Dutch) using the best of both cultures.

I forgive myself that I accepted and allowed myself to abuse the fact of not being a real Italian or Dutch person using this point as an excuse for (not) having to do specific things, thus not willing to take full responsibility for my role within society.

I commit myself to stop participating in the feeling special character as I see it is leading to deception and a false impression of comfort and safety within a non existing identity instead of just being myself in Self Honesty all the time, breath by breath.

The following self forgiveness sentences are about the fact I did not want to see the situation I maneuvered myself and my family in by moving to Italy.

I forgive myself that I accepted and allowed myself to have ignored all kind of signals while pursuing my dream without realizing that my goal was not real but just an idea in my mind.

I forgive myself that I accepted and allowed myself to not having taken full responsibility for the consequences of my choices related to my desire to go back to Italy and the desire to live on the edge of society.

I forgive myself that I accepted and allowed myself to have delayed the decision of making a change in my life until I really had to deal with the harsh consequences instead of having seen and accepted I needed to change the way I was making a living in order to avoid nasty consequences for myself and my family.

I commit myself to stop in participating in pursuing a dream and to take full responsibility for everything I do in every moment, breath after breath.

Today a new fact popped up that is adding to the list of consequences that have manifested since we as a family are back in society so to say. Already for a certain time I am seeing that since we moved to Italy, or maybe better, since we decided to move to Italy we started to plant a series of ‘things’ (I can’t figure out right now what should be a proper name) that grew over the years and which we are harvesting now, without having kept track of everything we have planted. I speak in we to indicate me and my partner as we are partners in crime in this, both having thought/created and accepted and allowed.

If I look back at the motivations we had for wanting to move to Italy I see now clearly it was a wish to escape. But to escape from what? Over the years, starting somewhere in my youth, I developed a view of the world that at first was very naive since I was raised in a family that had enough wealth to live a comfortable life. Later in life I experienced more and more how the real world was working. Where at first I was frustrated by the fact I was not able to grasp how things worked because they did not seem to work as I imagined, I slowly started to see that a lot of things were fucked up and started slowly but surely to distantiate myself from the ‘real’ world, at least I tried to do so. I was not willing to accept the world I was living in and started to make plans to escape the sick society in order to create my own micro world somewhere far away from everything.

If I look back at the period that preceded our ‘escape’ to a life on the edge of society I see a series of things that have not been managed properly. Most of these things are money related, and since life is money that shouldn’t be too surprising. There are several factors playing a role here. I will try to find a beginning here in my relation to money working backwards in time.

– Still paying the consequences of the loans I had to take a few years ago
– Issues with bank accounts that have not been properly closed down resulting in bank not willing to give us a mortgage for a new house
– No income due to work opportunities that dried up and forcing me to stop being self employed and to look for a new job
– Forced to get a loan to be able to pay my taxes
– Sold our house for less money than expected
– No money from the fine the first buyer of our house had to pay after he signed but could not pay for the house
– Extra expenses for lawyers and cleaning after a non successful sale and rent of our house
– Irregular income as self-employed consultant leading to a not so clear picture of what my financial situation was
– Lost job after not having a contract renewed due to lack of money within that company
– Changed job because I was looking for new challenges (From HP to a small company)
– Changed job because I felt I was doing work below my capabilities (From Ikea to HP)

So, where did it go wrong? Maybe my motivations or starting points. Why did I decide to swap job? When I decided to leave Ikea I did not have a new job. I decided to dive into a multi level marketing business where I was supposed to sell water filters. It did take a few months and some money to understand that this was not something for me. I was not a sales person and I was not prepared to sell to my friends and family trying to convince them to get into the business too. It was in the period right after this that I met my partner. In the first months of our relationship I settled and managed to get a job at HP.

Looking back the only motivation to leave a secure job was the fact I wanted a more challenging job and did not see any opportunities. Looking deeper, and this is a pattern that will come back more often, I see that I was looking for inspiration in order to do my day to day job. In other words, based on the feeling that my job was no fun anymore and did not give me the challenges I was looking for I decided to look for something else. The fact I looked for another job is not the point here, it is the motivation that lead to the fact of leaving my job. I have not been honest with myself (and to others) about this point and the fact I left one job without having another one. Why did I lie to myself? What was so important to achieve that I decided to lie and be blind for the real facts? Was it the hope to get rich? Was it the urge to get out of a boring day to day routine? Was it the idea to be free and do whatever I liked?

At last I managed to get back to earth and stopped participating in this idea of making money with a promising story overlooking all kind of important points. And finally I popped back into my place in the matrix and started working for a new employer. Not surprisingly this whole pattern popped up again. It took a little bit more than the previous time since I was settling more and more in the matrix of life, I got married, had children and all this was ok with a day to day routine of gong to the office doing slave work, every day again the same thing.

Also here I started to feel the burden of this much too static working environment. As soon as I saw the opportunity to leave for a more challenging job I left. I choose for a small company that was still tied (read entangled) to the corporate I was working for before. The only thing I did not foresee was that the crisis already started in these years (2002) and that Corporate HP was already taking measures. This trend of reducing costs, canceling training programs (I was working as a trainer) led to the fact that a couple of years later I ran out of business (by that time I was self-employed). I could have seen that, but I was blinded by the pictures of living in a remote area in the countryside somewhere in Italy.

And here I am touching another point. Italy! Ever since I finished school and moved from Italy, where I lived most of my youth, to the Netherlands I wanted to go back to Italy. The first year in my supposed country of origin had been a hell, at least that was the way I experienced it. I had a hard time in fitting in into the Dutch society. Not because people did not allow me, I was not allowing myself to fit in. I cherished the idea of being special, I was different, the ‘Italian’ and so giving myself a identity, something I apparently thought not to have.

I carried this identity with me for a long time, actually for the whole period I was living in the Netherlands, 22 years long. When I moved to Italy in 2006 with my family I had the idea I was back in my mother country. I son discovered a lot had changed in all these years. I also discovered that it was not the same life I had back then. I had to make my own money and that was quite difficult since plan A was to work as a trainer for HP in Italy, I only overlooked the fact that due to cost reduction HP canceled more and more trainings until almost nothing. Not willing to leave the Italian Dream and see that I chose the wrong horse to bet on I adapted and managed to get part time jobs. Together with other small projects I managed to earn a modest living, but not for long.

A factor that plays an important role in my motivation to go ‘back’ to Italy, besides the idea of leaving a rotten society to live on my own in a self (almost) supporting house with veggie garden, wood for the stove and so on, was the fact I could maintain my feeling special character. For 22 years I had been the Italian guy in the Netherlands, now I was the Dutch guy in Italy! That was feeding my specialty character with a lot of energy. I topped living this character when I was getting in more and more trouble and needed to change the situation I was living in since it was not acceptable anymore.

Having been confronted with the situation of having barely to no money to live I experienced a kind of resetting of myself. When we decided I had to go to the Netherlands to look for a job I kind of started as a new born child. This was the first time I actually did live in a country with no mask on of a special character. If ever I am recalling the old times in Italy is when talking to a colleague and old classmate of mine about the good old times (lol).

Having said this I can do a step further back. The being special character started somewhere of course. It might have started at the age of 5 when, while living in Italy as a very bond child among all other children with dark hair, I was seen as special. When strolling in the city with my mother and brother we had regularly people stopping to have a look at the blonde twins and had to touch that curious fair colored hair. My mother recalls that she had to wash our hair after each visit to the city.

Although the first years on the primary school seemed quite normal and being fully integrated into the community there were still a couple of ‘anomalies’. First the fact I am a twin and that my brother and I sat in the same class for the first three years until my parents decided it was better to split us (after having changed school from a small village school to a larger suburb school).

Later we moved as a family to another place and I and my brother were together again at the European School together with Dutch classmates on a school with lots of different nationalities. A nice feeding ground for feeling special. So, having looked back this way I see that during most of my life I have been living in my special character. Not to mention I have been always proud of the fact I never smoked of felt attracted to trends without seeing I was living a character myself with the real me hiding behind this mask.

The following self forgiveness sentences are focussing on the ‘being special’ character.

I forgive myself that I accepted and allowed myself to feel special because of having a different background compared to the people I was living/dealing with.

I forgive myself that I accepted and allowed myself not to see that all those years I allowed myself to hide behind a mask of feeling special instead of not trusting that my true self was good ‘enough’ to stand in my day to day life.

I forgive myself that I accepted and allowed myself to believe that I needed to be seen as special in order to achieve something in live/work.

I forgive myself that I accepted and allowed myself to feel proud when people recognized the fact I was special by acknowledging I was as an Italian with wooden shoes (typical Dutch) using the best of both cultures.

I forgive myself that I accepted and allowed myself to abuse the fact of not being a real Italian or Dutch person using this point as an excuse for (not) having to do specific things, thus not willing to take full responsibility for my role within society.

I commit myself to stop participating in the feeling special character as I see it is leading to deception and a false impression of comfort and safety within a non existing identity instead of just being myself in Self Honesty all the time, breath by breath.

The following self forgiveness sentences are about the fact I did not want to see the situation I maneuvered myself and my family in by moving to Italy.

I forgive myself that I accepted and allowed myself to have ignored all kind of signals while pursuing my dream without realizing that my goal was not real but just an idea in my mind.

I forgive myself that I accepted and allowed myself to not having taken full responsibility for the consequences of my choices related to my desire to go back to Italy and the desire to live on the edge of society.

I forgive myself that I accepted and allowed myself to have delayed the decision of making a change in my life until I really had to deal with the harsh consequences instead of having seen and accepted I needed to change the way I was making a living in order to avoid nasty consequences for myself and my family.

I commit myself to stop in participating in pursuing a dream and to take full responsibility for everything I do in every moment, breath after breath.

Shocking discoveries

Yesterday was a very beautiful day and I decided to make a bicycle trip from my brothers house in Amsterdam to my parents in law in Zeewolde. And back of course. It was a considerable distance, 55 km one way! I started at 9:00 in the morning and an hour later I was already in the picturesque town of  Muiden. I had a nice breeze pushing me and making the ride very nice. The sun was shining and I even took my jacket off since it was becoming too hot. One hour later I had crossed the town of Almere Haven and from that point on I had to follow the dike until I reached my destination. Very nice, water on one side with the sunlight reflecting in it and endless fields on the other side and a nice push from the wind in my back.

On the other had I realized what this wind in my back meant for the trip back… A lot of kilometers against the wind. After three hours I had again a short break and started to feel my legs and butt. The last half hour was tougher than the three hours before and I knew why! Not only physical strain but also my mind telling me I was almost there! I did some sf on that of course.

I ate a nice and healthy lunch at my parents in law and prepared myself for the trip back to Amsterdam. Since I knew the wind could be a problem on the long run I considered to eventually shorten my ride a bit by aiming at Almere and taking the train for the last 30 km.

It was very fascinating to see how the mind is working in situations of physical strain. It can be tempting to go in the mind by starting to have thoughts about anything so you do not have to be conscious all the time here and now facing the reality in which your physical body is undergoing physical stress. So I checked this point constantly to make sure I was not going in the mind. I saw myself projected in the future and saying to myself that in a short while I will be at my destination, something of any help to the actual situation I was living: move the pedals of the bicycle in a seemingly endless movement.

So, instead of giving the mind the opportunity to fuck me I started observing the scenario I was crossing. I started to see there was a lot to see indeed, even when just looking a few meters ahead while pushing hard against the wind. While riding on small secondary roads across farmers land I saw onions and potatoes that apparently dropped from a trailer. But most of all I saw an endless amount of plastic bottles, cans, plastic bags and other waste. I saw the waste along the side of the highway and that I could understand since it is commonly known that really anything is thrown from a car’s window. At least this rubbish is cleaned regularly. But where did all this rubbish along this small road come from I asked myself? Since it was mostly bottles and cans I guessed it was left there by the people working on the fields. Apparently they forgot that nobody is going to clean this on a regular base.

All this was quite shocking to me. Until now I had the opinion that a country like Italy was filthy with litter and rubbish to be found anywhere in nature. I never considered a country like The Netherlands could have the same issue. It has been a little different. Not so much the amount of people just throwing stuff anywhere but less cleaning is taking place here. The typical Dutch model of a welfare state that takes care of everything is fading since it is most probably unsustainable. I had to get rid of this opinion about the difference between the two countries.

While observing the road and the landscape I progressed slowly to my destination that seen the circumstances being a strong wind and painful legs that tended to go into a cramp if I pushed a little more was set to Almere so I could do the last bit by train. I continued to be challenged by the mind that was projecting myself at my brother’s place taking a nice hot shower and having a nice warm meal. At the same time I found out it was getting colder. Even in the train later I had the next challenge. Although I was sitting and relaxing I kept seeing myself having a shower and a meal until I started wondering if I had put the keys back in my bag after I used them at my parents in law’s house. Without these keys I was locked outside and would have to return to pick them up. A quick check in my bag was enough to see this was another mind fuck.

I monitored carefully the state of my body and did not push myself over the limit. Even though I still had enough strength in my legs to do another 30 km I had to consider the cramps and unnecessary muscle strain I would have regretted the next day. The result is that one day later I have no muscle pain and no extra fatigue even though I made a trip of 80 km in total. And my butt? No saddle pain either.

Picking fruit in an Equal Money System

Click to read FT article

Ever asked yourself who picked the apple or the pear you buy in the shop? Ever asked yourself where it came from? To many of us it is normal to have a full choice of fruit in the shop so we are ‘free’ to choose and eventually feel good about it. When I started to consider and to research the other end of the fruit chain the pear I ate started to taste a little bitter.

Besides the seasonal fruit from the area there is a lot of fruit coming from everywhere. What about the fruit that is flown in from China for instance? Sounds crazy if you really consider the fact the fruit you buy is coming from the other side of the globe. In what we call ‘civilized countries’ part of the fruit in the shops is Made in China! This tells me that the price paid at the source has to be very low since the transportation and the wholesale part of the final price is quite big.

If you start surfing on the internet you’ll find an enormous variety of fruit picking job offers. Some as normal seasonal jobs, many disguised as nice holiday activities even as backpacking destinations in countries around the globe. They are advertised as nice jobs where you can make a lot of money. Reading a couple of forums gives a different picture and stresses on what fruit picking really is. This sentence comes from one of these forums: “Working in orchards is backbreaking menial labor. That is why most of the work in the fruit industry in the US (and increasingly Canada) is done by transient Latin Americans who are happy with any work.”

This brings me to the point of money. Fruit picking is a labour intensive activity that is mostly done by low wage working force that is happy with the little money they get so they can survive in our actual capitalistic world system. “Who cares” you could say, “everybody is happy, ‘they’ make some money where else they would starve and we can buy relatively cheap fruit in our shops.”

Let me question the point of ‘us’ in the rich part of the globe having the luxury to choose from all kinds of fruit coming from all over the planet to our shop. Is there a real need? Is it to give us a feeling we have a wider choice so we can feel happy? Could be. Are we still happy if we consider the fruit picker doing all the hard work for a wage that is just enough to survive? And what if we consider the trading system that is squeezing the farmers to sell for the lowest price and selling it again for the highest possible price to the retailers? And do not forget all the energy used for the transportation, often refrigerated, of millions of tons of fruit, from producer to consumer.

When I started to consider all these points the fruit I bought started to taste bitter. What is wrong with the apples from the nearby countryside? And what is wrong about not eating apples when it isn’t the right season? Like many other facts in our daily life this is a situation of abuse that, even though we are not agreeing with it, we support and accept by keeping on buying our exotic fruit. This suggests that if we start buying only local produce or fruit that has ben picked by people that have been properly paid for it, we can stop eventually this abusive fruit trade.

Applying this in practical life is not easy since the whole system we live in is working the same way as the fruit industry. The whole trade is based on maximizing profit and is not taking into account long term sustainability, decent compensation for farmers and who has to do the labor. If we stop consuming all goods that are ‘unethical’ we probably will starve or have at least troubles in getting enough food.

Is it possible to switch to a more local based economy? In theory yes, the reason why we have seen the opposite happening is because the trading of goods made it more attractive for producers to specialize on a product instead of keeping a variety of products. Again, focussing on the highest possible profit. Why? Because we need money to ‘buy’ a decent life and if possible even more than just decent. We are raised as consumers and we ‘need’ to own a house, a car, all kind of equipment. Not because we need it to live a decent life but to feel good and eventually better that others that are not managing to reach the same levels of wealth.

Again we can look at the consequences of the wealth we see as a standard in our western democracy consumeristic society. If we look at the total equation of what the standards we live in are causing at the other end of the balance we see there is no balance at all. There is only abuse. In order to live our life’s the way we do now, other humans are suffering and struggle every day to survive.

We are running towards a global crash of the actual economic system. Bailout after bailout we see no changes, it only gets worse and we made enough debts to ensure the grandchildren of our grandchildren a heavy tax burden. Every day we keep on accepting and allowing our actual system we are worsening this situation of inequality and total lack of respect to life itself.

So, what is the solution? A system that starts from a point of equality for all. Only when life will be seen as a fundamental right for every living being on earth in total equality, so no difference between you and me, we can start to build a real sustainable system where money is not anymore a tool for power and available to the happy few but a fundamental right that stands for life. This system exists and is called the Equal Money System. Since it is the only system considering equality for all it is sustainable for ever and a way to end the hell we are now living in on earth.

Before a system like Equal Money can be implemented we need to change as humans. The only way to do so is to stop blaming others and take our own responsibilities for everything we do and say. This goes much further than you might think. It implies you take responsibility for the fruit you buy in the shop, considering the consequences of you buying it and therefore supporting an abusive system. It implies taking self responsibility for all you think, say and do. There is no other way to start a real change in this world than by changing yourself and being a living example to others.

If you are ready to take the step, visit the site of Desteni to find a lot of fascinating and revealing information about the world we are all part of. You can go a step further and start using the tools to develop yourself, supplied with the DIP courses. To see who already is in the process of change for an equal world you can visit the Destonians site and for your questions visit the Wiki.

Belief is deception

Last week I posted an article on my Italian blog. The article is a reaction on a slideshow that was sent to me by an acquaintance. I was one of he many receivers of this mail. After having viewed the slideshow I understood why it was forwarded to a whole bunch of people. Besides the fact the recipients could be found in the “To:” field of the mail instead of the “Bcc:” compromising the privacy of other people’s mail address, I wanted to analyze the message in the slideshow in common sense working out the real motivations and consequences.

The slideshow is about the benefits of fruit and about how fruit should be eaten. The point of view is very Italian and the storyline reminds me the average early morning television show where every day a different topic is chosen to be promoted. The first slide supposes you haven’t a clue about eating fruit stating: “To learn how to eat fruit is very important” and “Fruit is a very important nutrient” and goes on stating that it takes very little energy to digest and gives a high return to the body. The second slide states that glucose is the the only nutrient that is making you brains work properly and that the fructose can be transformed easily into glucose and that the high water content takes care of rinsing the body. The next slides tells the reader that the majority of people does not know how to eat fruit and that it is digested by the small intestine and should be eaten before anything else. If eaten later it might start fermenting. At a certain point there is a quote from a Cardiologist stating that fruit is the best food we can eat to protect the body against heart diseases and jumps to the Chinese and Japanese who use to drink hot drinks with their meals concluding you never should drink ice cold drinks since the cold is slowing down digestion. Hot drinks improve digestion and can even help us to loose some weight! Then there is a sudden end to the story with a last slide quoting a cardiologist (no name this time) who says: “If everybody receiving this message is sending it to 10 other people we can be sure to save at least 1 life” and closes with: “I did my part”. If I read this message again I read that you might save at least one life even if we send it to hundreds or even thousands of people… It is a statement with an “if” and a “might”, so it has no real value.

It is not the first time I receive a message like this one but I never took a moment to look at it thoroughly to study the message and to figure out the consequences and/or impact on others. To me this slideshow is a collection of quotes and statements that seems to be carefully chosen because of the trigger points they use. It is not clear where the slideshow originates from, the fascinating part is to see that the message on the last slide motivates the reader to take a chance and get a feeling of “I’ve done something good today, I’ve contributed in saving a life” without seeing it is most unlikely they will by sending around this message, not seeing all the other consequences of sending around emails to lots of people. The good feeling thus prevails over taking responsibility for an action.

By commenting on that mail and writing a blog about it I took my responsibility and deal with the reactions I had when reading the mail and the slideshow, providing a different point of view and showing how I deal with this kind of messages. I realize I can only be an example to others and have to be patient regarding to others opening themselves to a more conscious way of dealing with information.