For the last six months I have been writing a book. Its been an adventure, and I’m almost done. Writing 5 pages daily has taken my attention away from posting online…
But I’ll be back!
For the last six months I have been writing a book. Its been an adventure, and I’m almost done. Writing 5 pages daily has taken my attention away from posting online…
But I’ll be back!
I remember my first post I ever wrote in LA. Lovely to look back, having an online diary does good things. I often don’t remember first impressions. And having it written down somewhere is very entertaining.
I realize now that I moved into the Venice that I enjoyed so much that ‘one day in LA’ two years ago. Life flows in strange ways.
I’m most grateful for having been able to set my feet in this happy town with its sunny days, it’s colorful houses and bleached haired surfers.
One thing that I have not yet started to appreciate about LA is traffic.
I don’t drive a car unless it is really necessary. Which is surprisingly enough not often, Venice has it all. I guess nobody here likes traffic. And it’s one of those necessary evils in LA: can’t live with, can’t live life at all without a car. LA is big.
I’m glad David drives, he is a great driver, and I’m happy he carries the burden. But even David is not immune to the stress it brings.
This is what happened:
A sunny Saturday. Half day spent in bed with cuddles, kisses and sunshine. Finally we move from the bedroom into some essential day planning. We decide first to go for carrots, ginger and apples to feed our daily juicing desire. And since Trader Joe’s is 40 minutes away (a big change from SF where it was a two minute walk), we decide go hiking after that.
When leaving trader Joe’s in West Village, a place that feels almost Mediterranean, we are happily stacked up with green and orange vitamins.
Slowly with a 2 mile an hour speed we crawl towards our hiking destination. Traffic. Luckily we know its only going to be twenty minutes until we will be moving again. We come to the end of our lane, and it is necessary to merge. However, the car behind us in the other lane, does not like that plan. It will make him arrive at his destination one car length slower.
When a space appears we stick in the nose of the car to move left, getting ourselves to get off the lane that now is soon to end. CRASH! The person behind us really didn’t want to give us any space. In such a way that he thinks its more rational to crash his nose into our side than to wait a few seconds to give us the space we were taking.
More surprisingly, he starts pushing us to the side, digging his nose deeper into our door. When we back off and try a second time since our lane will end, he decides to plunge his nose into us again, now with more force. BANG! He drives straight into our backdoor. This was clearly a hit out of anger. I am utterly confused. Is this really happening? In my mind my fear fed imagination starts spinning. He will hit us again! And then draw a gun! I mean, this is LA and I have seen enough movies to know what is next! A gunfight, shots, me screaming.
But it stays with those two clashes. Thank god.
The dream-catchers in our car now sway heavily back and forth (yes I married a man with dream-catchers hanging in his car). The paper-mache mask that decorates our dashboard looks less happy now, being clearly equally shocked as we are. The anger explosion behind us jumps out of his car. “ASSHOLE” we hear from behind. I am not sure I want David to get out. So I decide to join, hoping that some female presence might tame the typhoon of adrenaline.
This is the part I don’t understand: our car is nice but no way new or shiny. Yes I love it, it has gotten us everywhere. And it has been like a home. But his car is expensive. It is a nice KIA, silver, unscratched, probably quite new.
Perhaps the fact that the driver is not the owner explains something? The owner sits right next to him, frantically pushing buttons on his phone, calling the police. I wonder what he was thinking when his friend rammed his car into ours in his blaze of anger. But observing the car owner it is quite apparent he is convinced that our ship needs to go down.
There we are, standing still on the highway in the middle of LA, dodging the anger flames from these strangers. David, a modest boy from Minnesota and a shocked Dutch girl that is not sure what is going on. It feels surreal.
I feel more foreign than ever. Is this the LA way?
The police man is extremely nice, though I’m sure that our newly obtained friends will tell him terrible stories about us. I mean look at us… We can’t even fight back!
So that was a good Saturday afternoon. The time we reserved for a hike has been spent in a parking lot, trying to figure out insurance information, talking to the police and waiting for this mess to be over.
Luckily there was an amazing hawk circling the parking lot, we got a bit of nature in the hot desert of concrete.
The most interesting thing about this situation is that I got to observe myself in fear. The nerves in my body got tightened like guitar strings. I was on edge the rest of the day. Every new merge we made I frantically looked backwards, expecting more crazy clashes.
In the evening I went rollerblading over the boulevard by the sea.
On my way back a gentleman makes a joke, expressing that I am taking too much space on the bike lane. My still tightened strings in my body instantly respond to his accusation: ‘Where am I supposed to go then?’ I ask him with an agitated voice.
‘On the pavement,’ he responds.
‘It is full of holes!’ I snap back at him. And I turn my back towards him, hiding the flames in my eyes, almost giving him the worst of all: the finger. Luckily I’m able to restrain myself.
He starts laughing. Confused I look back. He says he was joking. It was an attempt to start a conversation with a girl on rollerblades. I feel terrible. When did I become so flammable? Is this what it takes to merge into LA?? I hope I can keep my guitar strings nice and relaxed so that I can play good tunes instead of the angry ones.
I look around and see an entirely new place. It looks nothing like any of my other hometowns that I have temporarily inhabited.
Here I see small colorful cute cottages with little lights on the porches. I see larger luxury apartments with roof top swimming-pools and office spaces in their basements. I see a crowded boulevard that even in the middle of the night has activity.
I hear seagulls hovering over my head. I smell ocean. And I see a long strip of light sanded beach. Next to the boulevard I see several street musicians, dozing homeless people, dogs without leashes and dozens of clumsy bikers that are trying not run into each other. I witness an occasional accident (the occasional biker hitting the occasional long-boarder), a yogi in down dog pose, I child with a little bucket and a street cleaner taking the treasures of the homeless. I feel alive, awake and content. I landed in Venice Beach Los Angeles.
It feels like I just woke up out of a dream that consisted of flares and flashes of meagerly tied together experiences that have a lucid feeling to them.
A year ago I said yes to Tantra. A subconscious decision that has made me move me all over the USA in only several months. Unexpected teachings have swept me of my feat and the mystery of Tantra has gotten deeper. The more I learn the more I realize this journey is not over.
To get some sort of stability I have decided to plant my feet in one location. Or should I say OUR feet? Because I now wear a ring. A ring that I share with an incredible soul that decided the path of Tantra was also his. And we conquer it together in love and desire. For life.
A marriage happened in the dust. The desert of Nevada was the stage of our love. We gathered a group of Barbarellic splendor a.k.a. dear friends to celebrate our life long union.
I can honestly say that my months of undirected flow have taken a turn into true love and physical bliss.
And the lucid dream of tantric training, art explosions, hard confrontations with temporary realities continues. Together we battle the daemons that sporadically try to push us from heavenly clouds.
We know that gates of heaven are always fully opened. And we dip in and out, playing with both the sides of the coin, the double sided sword. We are all light and dark and living it is awakening our flame of consciousness. Once lit everything seems less dark.
Venice Beach is currently my heaven.
“Never forget that consciousness breathes…”
“Sometimes awakening is more like a glacier melting, slowly and inexorably. But often the consciousness goes through painful episodes. And the briefer they are, the more intense. When the whole suit of armor gives way to awakening in the adult, the state is both identical to the newborn’s and different in the sense that it is heightened by the beauty of the journey, and it is not generally followed by regression. And adult heart that is awakened is a heart that hasn’t breathed for a long time, that has retained an enormous capacity for genuine love. We are all like bombs ready to explode with love. Even the most violent, most terrifying men and women, the ones most rejected by society because of their crimes. Agreeing to touch each the other is agreeing to make the bomb explode. It is the only solution to violence. Touch.”
~ Daniel Odier, Tantric Quest ~
Life begins with one breath. That first breath allows us to embark on on the greatest journey we have ever lived. We start our lives, inhaling and we are not even aware of the incredibility that is to come.
With that first breath we inhale the pleasure, joy, hope, gratefulness, sorrow, frustration and the loss and pain all at once. The journey has begun.
Sometimes it feels like my entire life is one big breathing cycle. One moment I’m inhaling all the good and the luxury of life, the next moment Im exhaling anger and agony. It never seems to stop. The moment I think I have overcome the cycle and am in pure ecstasy, something kicks me back into breathing.
What makes it easier is awareness.
Awareness of the fact that we are breathing, That life lets us inhale and exhale, the good and the bad. And that it never really ends. There is no point of ending, there is only the continuous cycle of the moment, grabbing the present and living the day. My breath reminds me that I am alive, and that it doesn’t matter what I do, as long as I keep breathing ill be fine.
Sometimes, I just stop writing. Sometimes creativity is blocked. And that is alright, it always comes back. Sooner than expected. Lately though, I have been a bit silent on my personal blog. Perhaps new thoughts are washing through me. And I need time to organize. Maybe there are blocks.
For just a bit, I decided to take a step back from the internet. In order to let it flow more after. And then I don’t write. Simply because I can’t. Instead, I let my life flow, undocumented. My travels of the last half a year, revealed a lot of realities to me. I had indigenous ceremonies in the desert, went to the Netherlands to visit family, burned with 60.000 people in the Nevada desert during Burning Man, had a beautiful love affair in San Francisco, traveled throughout Brasil, met John of God, got acquainted with Argentina and Uruguay and experienced magic/ exhilaration/ chaos/ instability/ judgement and stagnation all in this sort period of time.
And I found myself sitting in a roller-coaster without a safety belt, ready to be launched into space any second. Things went faster than normal. They went fast!
It made me live the moment, and write less. But I know, it will always come back. Just hang in there…
Via the Cloud9 IDE blog:
We are all leaders. You are, will be or have been a leader. This might be the leader of your family, your children, your development group, your sports team, your neighbor meetup group or your personal charity group you just started. Or maybe you are leading your own company, your city, your land or your own universe. You will always lead something, and if it is just you that you lead, than I would say: Great job!
How do we become good leaders?
This week, Marc Benioff gave us the right example at Dreamforce. He showed us that we can learn from current leaders that blow our minds away. And as Anthony Robbins says: ‘Always take the best of the best as your example, your mentor’. So Marc Benioff he gave us the opportunity to meet exquisite leaders (including himself) and hear them out. He invited for example Sir Richard Branson founder of Virgin Group, General Colin Powell, Jeff Immelt (CEO of General Electric), Dr. Larry Brilliant and Dr. Dean Ornish and motivational speaker Anthony Robbins.
I think Marc’s dream to change the world beyond software, created the dream behind the force of Dreamforce 2012. And why? Because Marc has made it possible for himself to do this. And he cares.
Salesforce invited Cloud9 IDE to be part of the conference. We were demonstrating our integration with the Salesforce development side. Something that still runs in beta but that you will hear more about soon!
While being at Dreamforce, I had the opportunity to leave my booth once in a while and check out the keynotes that had been announced. At the beginning of the week I thought about Dreamforce: yet another conference. After the Dreamforce week I think: Is it really so, that companies and not always governments, will lead us into a better world?
By following these talks, I was introduced into a world where values, friendship, social, love and even meditation are becoming an everyday reality. A world where companies stick out their necks in order to make change. Not only in their field of expertise. They want to make a global change. Where certain politicians sometimes fail because they depend on numbers, voters and elections, brilliant company leaders step in and approach world problems the same way as they approach business problems. And they do it not to make money. They do it because they care about their world.
Sir Richard Branson is one incredible example of a game-changer that not only cares about building new experiences and products for people, he cares about their state of being. And as he said: having someone successfully run a great company and him being a horrible mean person at the same time, that is quite rare. In general, you will see the opposite. And by looking around in Silicon Valley, I think I agree.
I was impressed when Richard Branson spoke about ‘The Elders’ ; an independent group of global leaders who work together for peace and human rights, initiated by himself. And they mingle in politics, because they believe countries themselves can not manage to bring the peace we need.
Many of the speakers at the Dreamforce conference showed they make changes for environmental (this has a very high priority for many, and it should, time is ticking) and humanitarian reasons.
For us who don’t know how to change, Marc Benioff asked the help of Anthony Robbins. I have just done a 4 day course with Tony Robbins. I’m a big fan. And it was great to see that thousands of my industry colleagues were equally excited during his 3 hour training. Robbins told us that we have to change our state and understand our blueprint if we want to be happy. And as he said: happy people don’t want to hurt, bomb or kill others. So we’d better start implementing his advice. Start small and later on you will change big things. We are social beings, and we influence each other.
The message I got from Dreamforce was that we are all leaders. And no matter how many people you will lead, a country or just yourself, you have to give the right example. Only then, will we create a better world. Technology is a gift, created by thousands and thousands of brilliant minds. And we use it for the better. We will use it for being social. And being social means: We care. And when we care, we change the world.
When you were born in the eighties, especially in the beginning of the eighties (like this person that is almost turning 30!), it is easy to lively remember a period without cellphones, computers or email.
I remember the time that it all began. A classmate in highschool was angry with me for not installing my Hotmail. She said I was lagging behind, and that she wanted to send me ‘e-mails’. But I saw her every day, so I didn’t know what she wanted to send me messages about. It made no sense to me.
Growing up in a village pretty much assures that as a kid you spend your summers outside in the woods, and your winters inside fiddling with clay, making paintings, listening to music or just watching the rain go down the windows hitting the windowsill. Just stare at things. I remember I could sit hours in front of the new stereo-system, looking at the bars of the equalizer going up and down. That was technology for me. And other days I would just sit on the sidewalk, thinking. I entertained myself.
My dad grew up on a farm, and his stories were even more ‘back to basic’ than my own. He told me how the boys on the farm entertained themselves with taking apart the tractor, running through corn fields and walking the cows from one field to the next. I unfortunately never had the privilege to live on a farm, but my grandmother did so we got a small taste of it. And we lived between farms, assuring me that I could visit others peoples farm animals.
When finishing high-school, the computer pretty much infiltrated my life. I set up that email account my friend wanted me to, installed MSN messenger, downloaded movies and music with Napster and I was suddenly connected to websites that allowed me to buy cheap flight tickets and fly to far away places where I could find temporary jobs. Those jobs I found through their websites. It was all in place within 2 years. Internet came out of nowhere, and transformed my life.. It was easy, and with no limitations set by yourself, pretty much everything was possible.
I turned out to be over averagely good with computers, so I did media studies for a year. I lived inside the computer for an entire year, and that was comfortable to me. My exterior world was suddenly less important, I didn’t see it anymore. After quiting the media studies (I pretty much taught myself everything I needed to know and wanted to move on) I ended up at the university. But I was never disconnected from ‘online’. Travels made new friends, hence new reasons to be on messenger, and write emails. New friends meant more travels. New travels meant more people online. And your world fills up. After my studies, working for jobs that required me to be online 24/7 seemed like a good idea. Most of my time I was online anyways. And then phones became smarter and smarter. My job gave me one of those ‘intelligent’ phones so that I could have my own hybernate. I didn’t have to think really, I could just look anything up. And that felt comfortable. For years.
Quite a transition to go trough…in only a period of 12 years, everything became digital. And I grew up with it, was comfortable with it. I became digital too. And quite a transition if you look at the history of humanity. Only one generation ago people were mostly still growing their own food, or helping others get it. Now we go to the supermarket, and we are so busy with our smart-phones, that we don’t even wonder where all that wonderful food comes from. And there is so much of it (at least in the western world, where I grew up)!
But recently, things are changing. My focus is changing.
I have many things to ‘arrange’ on the computer. I need to write documents, do research, connect to people. But recently every time I need to sit down in the evening or weekend to do something behind a screen, something else will call my attention. Things that require my hands to be active.
My preparations for burning man were jeopardized by unexpected travel. So instead of buying clothes for it, I decided to make them myself. Because I did have time to go to the fabric store. And at home in the Netherlands, I spent two nights making clothes. And it was wonderful.
This evening, I had to fix something on the computer. But suddenly I saw all these things around me that needed to be taken care of! Fixing up all my old shoes seemed way more important. And after that, the eggplants called my attention and I decided to learn how to make fresh Baba Ganoush. All handwork. And every time I start doing something with my hands, I feel so peaceful.
My hands are itching, they want to make things, like I did as a little girl. It feels like I had a 10 year computer addiction that I’m suddenly waking up from. And I’m realizing my hands are not just good at typing buttons. My hands are capable of doing really intense work. And the rest of my body and mind loves it.
Where does this go?
What else can we make but websites and unimportant messages that become the to-do list of others?
I’m not the only one having this awakening moment. I have been speaking to many people who’s hands are itching, who’s minds want a break from the screens around them. Who’s systems are overloaded with digital crap.
We are waking up, becoming more aware. And I am horrified with many things I’m seeing. The massive garbage production (I’ve been fighting that for years, but lately its becoming painful) we are creating. The ridiculous way that we are presenting food at the moment. My awareness about food has completely shifted. I do not buy processed food anymore. This means I challenge myself to make everything from scratch. And by doing that, I suddenly start to wonder where all that wonderful organic food comes from that I buy. At farmers markets I talk to the farmers. And suddenly I realize that they supervise the process of growth of these products. And they put love into it. And its their job. And it sounds wonderful! Suddenly I start to wonder: what if I’m disconnected for a month from their supplies. Then what?
Then I wouldn’t know how to grow even a cucumber… Nor would I have the space to do it. Am I self sustainable? Yes I’m good with fixing stuff. But can I survive? And what would I do if I really had the freedom to do whatever I wanted. At burning man people got the freedom. And what do they do? They give each other gifts. And they play. And we all make it possible. Because we love what we are making.
My hands are itching. My mind is intrigued. Where are we heading towards? What are we going to do?
One thing is for sure, we are not going to continue in the life that we are living now. We are not sustainable. And that… will prove itself soon.
A MUST watch for the ones who still need to be persuaded…
Yep, this is what it looked like.