This photo reminded me that 3 years ago my very exciting, prestigious and profitable job at the Utrecht University came to a close. Unexpectedly it brought an end to a certain era in my life, one I grieved for a long time and one that sometimes still haunts me in moments of fear and confusion. These closed doors also launched me on a journey of self-discovery and deep, painful, yet exhilarating search. Most of the other times in my life when something ended, another thing almost immediately would roll in, not giving me much time to stay in the space of nothingness = openness and tremendous confusion. I have spent the last 3 years living and breathing that space. Juggling heavy doubts and uplifting trust, paralyzing fear and motivating excitement. All the while feeling deeply and profoundly that there was something that I was truly meant to do, something I was born to do, something that would fill me up and give my life a meaning I craved so much. Something that would not only serve my own soul, but that could allow me to be of service to others. This, after all, was the mission I came into this life to fulfill: to be of help and to assist in the process of awakening and healing. A mission I have always felt in my heart but one I was deeply ashamed of: who was I to play such an important role and how would I do it anyways…? As Marianne Williamson wrote "Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our Light, not our Darkness, that most frightens us."
So what role is that and how do I play my part? I talk with people. Always have, always will. I listen, I reflect, I share. I also counsel, guide, and facilitate. The funny thing is, it's what I've always done in all sorts of ways, small and big. It's what comes most naturally to me. It's what fills me with joy beyond measure. What energizes me and what heals me. When I was about 14, I heard a quote in a movie: "I believe if there's any kind of God it wouldn't be in any of us, not you or me but just this little space in between. If there's any kind of magic in this world it must be in the attempt of understanding someone sharing something." This is how the encounter of two beings became my spiritual manifesto. The edge between you and me, the fluid boundary, the dance that brings us together and joins into one: conversation. With words, gestures, emotions, sounds, images. The me becoming you, and you becoming me, the becoming of us in love, acceptance and compassion. That moment when you leave a conversation transformed with a renewed sense of hope and feeling empowered to take on the world. This is magic. This is change. This is how I create. And this is how I become more of myself.
Seeing yourself for who you are and finding acceptance for it. Reaching out for help when things get rough. Following the signs when they come your way. And listening carefully to those who truly love and care for you. And… being patient with yourself because the journey is as long as it must be. In the baby-age of 33 this is the wisdom I find in me and share with you here. I don't have it all figured out and that's not the goal, but I can allow myself to admit that I have figured out something. A part of me screams "arrogant!" but that's ok because it's also a part that keeps me in check if and when I do get overboard. But a kinder, softer part of me says "relax, you're doin just fine", and that's the part I learn to listen to more every day. And that is what I figured out: follow the love, follow the joy, follow what 's soft and follow what's kind.