Revolution of the Kind People

One Hundred Days Into The Unknown

100 days ago, I worked the last day at my job. I liked it there, but I felt that I was ready for a next step. What that would look like? I had no idea.

I felt that I needed time and freedom to explore my options. Until then, I’d tried to find something new while working two jobs and following a course. Something didn’t feel right. I was afraid that my lack of energy and attention would lead me to make a rushed decision. I really wanted a job where I would feel more comfortable and at easy. But how would I find it when I felt so overloaded?

It’s typical. I wished for something external, that I could already find internal. I developed the idea that only a new job could give me peace. But really, I needed to give myself a break.

That’s why I quit. It was really scary. How could I quit without a plan? Was it going to work out financially? For weeks, I still couldn’t relax because of all the anxiety. This wasn’t working as well. It helped me discover why it had always been so hard for me to relax. In my mind, I either had to keep going, or stress about the consequences of relaxing. Those are the only two realities of the survival mode.

Boldy stated, the basic belief of this survival mode is: Relaxing = dying. And don’t forget, when you’re really surviving, this is true! The younger you have learned to get into this mode, the harder it is to break through. But it’s possible. Within safe surroundings and with sufficient help.

On my last working day, I set a timer. “Days in the Unknown”. I wanted to consciously experience how long I could stay within this period of not knowing, of the in-between, until the next phase would approach me. And now, I reached one hundred days!

It was not without struggle. I lied awake, many nights, terrified. I cried many times. I tried to come up with many new plans, which all didn’t work out. Life was telling me: it will come, but first, trust and wait.

After one hundred days, it’s getting better. I’m discovering the beauty of the in-between. There is (surprisingly) a certain comfort in not knowing. On the one hand, it can be scary. But on the other hand, it’s also full of exciting potential. It helps me to focus on curiosity instead of anxiety. And trust that this isn’t happening to destroy me. It’s happening to heal me.

It also helps me to think about the story of Sleeping Beauty. She had to sleep for a hundred years. Some Jungian Analysts relate this period of deep sleep to unconscious transformation – after waking up, everything is different. It also helps me to realize that Sleep Beauty was innocent. It wasn’t her fault that the story happened. She didn’t do anything wrong. She wasn’t broken or bad at life. She carried within her a potential for transformation. Not only for her, but for the whole household. The story had to happen, for change was inevitable.

Now I wonder, what happened when she woke up?

A Six-Part Message About This Year

  1. On my birthday in October, I made a collage for my 27th year of life. It was a lovely activity. I’m so proud that I finally have enough patience and focus to make time for these things. Before, I was never able to finish the little art projects that I started. Finishing something is a “Yin” quality. While starting something is a “Yang” one. What does that say about me? My Yang side always wanted to move on. To the next thing! The idea-phase was the only interesting one. Now I’ve developed my Yin side further, I’m starting to see the value in staying and completing projects.
  2. Recently, I’ve learned that the main concept of my life is stories. This sounds so evident to me that it’s strange to even have to say it. However, I guess I never really did. Two days ago, when I couldn’t sleep, I visited a website I once made. I made it for people who were searching, finding themselves in-between worlds and needed support. The funny thing is that two years after I made it, I find myself being one of those people. The website comforted me. Especially this story about being fluid (read here). This person talked about wanting to be fluid and the viewpoint that systems don’t have a stable core. It’s super interesting, because throughout my search, I always wanted to find my “essence”, my true being. Well, I believe that the essence of my life is stories. However, there is also something really comfortable about the idea of life not having an essence. And me being allowed to flow fluidly from one phase to the next. I’ll think about this…
  3. I’ve moved in with my partner! This is a big celebration to me. Of all the changes in my life over the past few years, this might be the least scary one. Now, I find myself Hestia-ing in new kinds of ways. I’m referring to Jean Shinoda Bolen’s book Goddesses in Every Woman (Find it here). She uses the Greek Goddesses to describe different powerful archetypes within women’s lives. This is helpful, because the explanations of their characteristics, challenges and talents provide a unique way of looking at yourself and the processes in your life. She also wrote a version for men, by the way (Find here). According to Bolen, all archetypes are present within us but some are more at the forefront during different phases of our lives. It was a big relief for me to read about Hestia. She is the Goddess of Hearth, Home and Hospitality. This meant that I could start valuing my interests in the household, decoration, and creating a warm, homy vibe. I used to think that those were outdated female qualities that I, an emancipated woman, shouldn’t strive for anymore. Turns out that emancipation is more about valuing whatever you want. Who’d thought?
  4. Today, as I’m writing this, I’ve endured 77 days of having no future plan. 77 days! I have to be honest and admit that this is not completely true. I started counting when I worked my last day at one of my two jobs. One week ago, I also finished the other job. However, in the meantime, I already had some job-interviews going. I wasn’t going to end up without a plan! I never do. While I secretly kind of knew that this time, I was supposed to learn to live with uncertainty, I was still trying to use the same method as usual. Find something new before the old thing ends. Well, it didn’t work. I didn’t get the job. Now what? I don’t know.
  5. It’s funny that “practice what you preach” is SO true. For years now, I’ve been advocating for “leaving room for uncertainty”, “listening to the rhythm of nature”, “trusting the universe”, “creativity doesn’t want to be forced”, jadajada. I have to look into the mirror and say: “Tara, you’re still not practicing that.” Do you know that scene in Finding Nemo, when Dory and Marvin are hanging from the big tongue of a whale – inside of the whale, and Dory begs Marvin to trust her? They have to let go, she claims. Marvin’s like, “Looking at our situation, we’re obviously gonna die if we do that”. I watched that movie endlessly as a kid. Apparently, that story proved an important point in my life. They don’t die. And the cynic in me STILL says: they were just lucky. It’s a kids movie. Life does’t work that way. But… I didn’t really try it, did I? So how can I know?
  6. I noticed something peculiar over the past few weeks. It happens quite often that people approach me outside, asking for directions. Apparently, I look like someone who would help. That does make sense, because I always do. But I don’t consider myself the approaching type, so I wonder. Why do they ask me? It could be a coincidence. There are many tourists around where I live and I’m just a young woman walking relatively slow. But still. These encounters keep me thinking because some part of me actively wants to help them. Within my search for purpose and beloning, it has become a reoccurring phrase: I want to help people on their way. I might want to do that through stories. I might want to do that by creating warm and inviting environments. I might want to provide a sense of security within uncertain times. It feels like my Ikigai, because it gives me a sense of meaning without a specific reason. Take that, cynic in me!

Here is the collage ♡

Winter Thoughts

I cannot begin to describe how wonderful it feels to express my thoughts.

So much has been happening within me for the past almost 6 (!) years. Until now, I wasn’t strong enough to share about it. Transformation takes a lot of energy, and I’ve been bursting with information. Now, it’s finally time.

…to plant SEEDS. Just seeds are enough. This is one of my most significant lessons. Not everything has to happen today. There are many steps to take between it’s never happening and it must happen now. I learned this from nature.

When we follow the seasons, it becomes strange to have New Year’s resolutions. January is a time to stand still. To wait. To rest and digest. It’s not a time to start new things.

It is a time, however, in which seeds are buried, frozen, and preserved under the soil. It is a time full of potential. It is a time to practice waiting.

I’d like to learn more about the act of waiting. I’ve never been a very patient person. As soon as I envision an end goal, I want to be there. My brother once pointed out to me that living makes no sense if you’re just running from one goal to the next. It took me a while to truly understand.

Now, I see that waiting is beautiful. Just like the cold, the silence, and the patience of winter. I understand that it is essential for new things to begin. Also, my body welcomes the waiting and resting with open arms.

I have discovered another thing: I can be my own kind of guide. I’ve been inspired by many others. I also tried to be like them, share like them, guide like them. It didn’t work. I lost my ability to reach people. I learned that I guide others by opening up about myself. That’s my unique way, and I’m learning to love it.

To end with; I’ve taken a big step. To practice waiting and strengthen my guidance, I quit one of my two jobs. I don’t have a plan yet. I wanted to free up more time for resting and exploring. I want to open up space for something new to approach me. I want to nourish my seeds.

Where will this bring me? I don’t know. I don’t want to know yet. It’s scary! But I’m becoming more certain. Something good will come. First, let’s patiently wait. ❆

De kracht van het rommelen

Vandaag schrijf ik een keer in het Nederlands, dat voelt toch persoonlijker. Ik wilde al een tijdje schrijven over speelse creativiteit, maar ik wist niet zo goed hoe. Tot een vriendin van mij een mooie quote deelde:

Maybe the journey isn’t so much about becoming anything. Maybe it’s about un-becoming everything that isn’t really you, so you can be who you were meant to be in the first place.– Paulo Coelho.

Paul Coelho is een Braziliaanse schrijver van onder andere het boek De Alchemist. De roman staat bekend om zijn filosofische en inspirerende thema’s, waarbij lezers worden aangemoedigd om hun dromen na te streven en hun hart te volgen. Ondanks dat ik het nog niet gelezen heb, bracht de quote wel een soortgelijk sentiment bij mij teweeg.

Als Jungiaanse psychoanalyticus in opleiding ben ik veel bezig met persoonlijke ontwikkeling en daarbij het helen van (intergenerationele) wonden die in de kindertijd zijn ontstaan. Eén van de boeken die mijn leven diepgaand hebben veranderd is Het Drama van het Begaafde Kind, geschreven door de Oostenrijkse psychiater en kinderarts Alice Miller. Een centrale stelling in het boek is dat kinderen vaak de behoeften en verlangens van hun ouders boven hun eigen behoeften plaatsen, waardoor ze zichzelf verloochenen. Miller benadrukt het belang van het erkennen en verwerken van deze onderdrukte gevoelens als een cruciale stap naar emotionele heling en persoonlijke groei.

Zowel Coelho als Miller stellen dus eigenlijk dat we bij onze geboorte, of in ieder geval gevormd door onze eerste levensjaren, een essentie in ons dragen die ons echt “ons” maakt. Als deze essentie geen aandacht krijgt, missen we altijd “iets” en dat maakt ons onvervuld en vaak ongelukkig. Het idee van zo’n essentie raakt aan determinisme, een opvatting die stelt dat alle gebeurtenissen en verschijnselen in het universum worden veroorzaakt door oorzaken of voorafgaande gebeurtenissen, en dat er geen sprake is van toeval of vrije wil, toch is dat niet hoe ik het interpreteer. Volgens mij kan het leven vele kanten op bewegen en wordt ieders levenspad gevormd door een complexe samenkomst van toevalligheden, onbewuste invloeden en bewuste keuzes. Wel heb ik het idee dat ieders “essentie” – dat wat jou, jou maakt – een bepaalde kleur aan je levenspad geeft. Die kleur is, denk ik, waar Miller en Coelho het over hebben.

There are people who have benefited from therapy without being confronted with the past at all. – Alice Miller

Moeten we daar dan altijd naar terug? Moeten we bij iedereen gaan uitzoeken wie of wat zij niet van hun ouders hebben mogen zijn? Voor sommigen, ja. Voor anderen, nee. Het is mijn ervaring dat de blame-game uiteindeljk niet zoveel helpt. Ouders waren ook ooit kinderen gevormd door hun ouders. Ouders deden hun best en konden niet altijd herkennen of ruimte bieden voor wat het kind wilde worden. Daarnaast zijn er vele andere factoren die ons levenspad beïnvloeden, zoals onze omgeving, docenten, vrienden, maatschappelijke gebeurtenissen en onze eigen interpretatie. Waar het voor sommigen echt nodig is om de pijn van gemiste kansen en potentie te herkennen en doorvoelen, is het voor velen al heel waardevol om in het nu te kijken wat er anders kan. En dan vooral wat er weg kan.

Nu kom ik op het rommelen. Ik heb zelf lang geworsteld met mijn gebrek aan expertise op bepaalde vlakken en het feit dat ik niet altijd exceptioneel ben. Deze worsteling wijt ik deels aan mijn persoonlijk perfectionisme, dat hoort bij mijn “kleur”, maar ook aan de prestatiecultuur waarin ik ben opgegroeid en leef. Want ja, we leven in een cultuur waarin zelfs het helen van trauma’s, het kwetsbaar opstellen en de vervolgens verwachte zelf-ontwikkeling perfect moeten gaan. Werk je aan jezelf omdat je vorig jaar bent uitgevallen? Word life coach. Begin je aan yoga omdat je lichaam niet kan ontspannen? Word yoga instructeur. En dat alles het liefst in maximaal 6 maanden, voor een goede prijs en met vooruitzicht op een gunstig verdienmodel.

Goed, dat was natuurlijk generaliseren. Het is hartstikke positief dat veel mensen zich met persoonlijke ontwikkeling bezighouden en dat het vragen van psychologische hulp wordt genormaliseerd. Ik hoop alleen dat we ook kunnen normaliseren hoe chaotisch, verwarrend, ronduit lelijk en onlogisch ontwikkeling en verwerking kunnen zijn. Ik hoop dat we elkaar en vooral onszelf ruimte geven om te experimenteren, te vallen en weer op te staan en om, in tegenstelling tot wat er op onze cv’s staat, ergens niet goed in te zijn.

Om datgene los te kunnen laten waarvan we dachten dat het bij onze kleur hoorde, maar wat het eigenlijk alleen maar bruin maakt (tenzij bruin je kleur is, maar je begrijpt de metafoor), moet er ruimte ontstaan. Ruimte ontstaat niet onder de druk van uitzonderlijke prestaties, mooie instagram posts en goede cv’s. Ruimte ontstaat wel als we mogen proberen, frummelen, knutselen, rommelen! Zoals Coelho zegt, misschien hoeven we niets te worden. We hoeven niet meteen een onontdekt talent te zijn als we eens gaan kleien. Hoe voelt de klei eigenlijk? Is het leuk om er in te kneden, in te prikken, het op te rollen, plat te drukken en uit te smeren? Wat doet het rommelen zelf met ons?

Often the hands will solve a mystery that the intellect has struggled with in vain. – Carl Jung

Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961) was een Zwitserse psychiater en psychoanalyticus die bekend staat om zijn bijdragen aan de psychologie en zijn ontwikkeling van de analytische psychologie. Hij gebruikte graag spel en creativiteit in zijn therapie en dat doen wij psychotherapeuten nog altijd. We geloven dat ongedwongen creativiteit mensen in contact brengt met hun eigen kleur. Het is de ongedwongenheid die ons in staat stelt los te laten wat ons niet (meer) dient en een verhaal vertelt over wie we zijn.

Bovenaan deze blog staat een foto van mij terwijl ik aan het rommelen ben. Ik was met een goede vriendin naar het Archeon, waar we alle knutselwerkjes gingen maken die we daar vroeger ook maakten. We hadden dolle pret! Aan mijn gezicht is te zien dat ik echt plezier heb. Lekker rommelen is heerlijk.

Recovery: I was never that great

Say what now? Never that great? That doesn’t fit the love yourself vocabulary. You have to love yourself! 

Don’t worry, I do. I love me, my talents, and my mistakes. But honestly, I was never that great. 

I often told myself that I was always right. I wasn’t afraid to tell others as well. And sure, I do have a strong intuition and many pleasant features. This message isn’t about that! It’s about spiritual ego. 

Due to a lack of better resources, I was using the idealized view of my spiritually evolved Self as a way to avoid reflection. I was unbalanced. I paid much attention to my spiritual side, while my physical, embodied reality was suffering from neglect. 

The hardest part about this issue was recognizing and acknowledging my not-so-greatness. My undeveloped parts. My self-destructive side. It’s hard because I didn’t want to, you know, feel that my well-intended efforts sometimes didn’t succeed. 

Because they were well-intended. Always, I dare to say. Unfortunately, that’s not always enough. And that’s a part of life. 

I admire my well-intendedness and it balances my not-so-greatness. It helps to be soft and kind to myself within the realization process. It helps to stay my own best friend. 

This, for me, is a picture of recovery. After a long period of burning out and general malaise, I’m rebuilding. I was broken. I was hurt. I was out of control. But I was also strong, brave and worth trying. 

Recovery is a delicate state. Within it, there’s a moment where one can say: It’s time to move on. I can say: It’s time to move on. 

I love making fire. It brings out a childly (I don’t like the word childish) joy and happiness. It’s that inner child that, by making a connection to its adult body – is guiding the advent of resurrection and play.

Liminality is funny

Have you ever felt like you’re nowhere? Not here, not there. Not this, not that. Not before, not after. Life seems to be changing, but nothing’s clear yet. 

Lately, I have been fascinated – once again by – liminal spaces. According to google, liminal means: occupying a position at, or on both sides of, a boundary or threshold.

This space is, honestly, so mind blowing. There is something unreal about this place. Our minds can’t grasp it. Or, I should rephrase; our minds cannot define it. We can grasp it, because grasping itself seems to be, a liminal activity. 

If you look at a coastline; where does the ocean stop, and the shore start? We can “grasp” the concept of a coastline, but we cannot define its exact location. Or at least, I can’t. Some people make an attempt, I assume. Which is amazing! But I love the idea of liminal spaces as it is. It actually gives me a calming feeling; at some point, we’re allowed to stop defining.

And then, what happens then? Ooof. What happens within a liminal space? Do you remember that age when you weren’t old enough to be an adult, and not young enough to be seen as a child? Exactly; ✨confusion.✨

But confusion is good for our brains. It gives us perspective and makes us humble. We don’t always understand anything, and we can’t! I felt that these liminal periods can be extremely fertile. They can be scary as well. But as long as you have sufficient trust that it will all lead to something, letting go can be an amazing experience.

Easier said than done, eh? It can be an interesting exercise to try to find liminal spaces around you. They’re everywhere. And once you’ve recognized a few, you’ll get the hang of it. How do these moments make you feel? How do you respond to them? Can you be in them? All these realizations teach you something about how well you respond to vagueness and transitions. 

Me inside a liminal space

Spaces like this often gave me a creepy feeling and made me almost a bit desperate for certainty. It was mostly the nothingness about these places that scared the shit out of me. 

I’ve learned to view liminality as a force of potential instead of an empty void. I’ve learned to “not understand” as well. Now, I tend to laugh when I find another liminal space. My partner and I make many jokes about them. This leads me to shape this whole story into a funny “zen” statement:

Liminality is funny. 

ps. Have you ever had a look at the Hanopes website? It’s fully liminal. Here is a poem, specifically about the experience of liminality as a space: On the edge.

Mint is my new favorite color

It’s insane how busy I can be. Since we came back from our short camping trip, I decided that I wanted to keep up the “holiday vibe”. In my daily life, I’m still recovering from a burnout period (which I will write about another time), and therefore, I thought it would be a good idea to stay within the holiday rhythm. 

Its-hard.

One of my coping mechanisms has always been arranging stuff. My system believes that I’m in control, as long as I’m arranging things. In reality, the urge to arrange things controls me. Once I begin, it’s usually hard to stop. It’s like when you’re cleaning something, and suddenly you see all the dirt around it. And some more on the cabinets, and under the table, and in your closet, and a few hours later, you’ve rearranged your whole interior design. It’s like that, but with all kinds of tasks.

The truth is: life doesn’t become peaceful by finishing the organization of everything. Instead, it becomes peaceful by knowing what to organize when, as there will always be new things to do. This can be hard, especially when you’re behind on tasks. Your to-do list can feel like a big pile of dirt that never ends. And as we all know: those piles are not good for any ecosystem. 

My partner and I visited a cool clothing store during our vacation. They were selling clothes made from waste material from large “recycled” clothing dumps- mostly in Africa. It made me sad, somehow. How come that the people who are not buying from our fast fashion brands have to come with a solution for our waste material? It seems so unfair. However, what I remember from it is something different: their creativity. These people decided to actively “upcycle” the waste materials by making new, high quality clothes from them. These clothing pieces gained value, and they carry an important story. Even though there is still much more waste material coming in than leaving those dumps, this is a very inspiring initiative: it’s a source of creativity. With that, the initial problem itself doesn’t lose its significance, but the local actors suffering from it do gain agency. 

I have to think about this story when I’m looking at my own fight to solve all my tasks. I’m well aware that I will never be able to clear the whole list without something new being added, as life always continues. Can I unlock my own creativity to gain some sense of agency? And will that be worth something? I don’t know, but these questions are part of the reason that I’m writing again. And it feels good; better than panicking, at least. The last thing I need is a new interior design. 

On that note: I want to refer to the title of this piece. I’ve been wanting to write about my new favorite color for this summer: mint green. I haven’t done it yet, partly because I couldn’t find the time (thanks to all the tasks) and partly because it felt stupid. Why would you write about a color? Well, I really like this color. It gives me joy. And I recently heard someone saying: pick a color you like, and live in it. Isn’t that a fantastic metaphor? Although he meant it quite literally, and I do really like to pick small objects that are mint green, it’s also a great metaphor. 

A color can be everything. And it can be small. But most importantly, it can be your decision. One of the best ways to cope with feelings of distress and loss of control, is making tiny decisions that are within your control. Even when you’re not able to change your situation, you’re able to change a little thing. Like me, you can decide what your favorite color for this summer is, and make sure the little details of your life fit that color. Be it nail polish, vegetables, or the background of your phone. Also, the great benefit of relating a decision to the season is that you become in touch with how your feeling right now, compared to another season. It helps you think about the period of the year, its dynamics, and the way you, your soul and your body relate to them. In that way, one “silly” looking decision helps you connect to nature, gives you more agency in your life, stimulates your creativity and gives you a sense of control.

So, what’s your favorite color for this summer? 

I’ll close with a picture of one of my little mint green objects. With, alas, another task. 

🧚🏼T

It can take so much time to start something

The idea to spread The Revolution of the Kind People has been circulating in my head for quite some time already. However, manifesting this idea continues to be hard for me. It feels like I understand its essence, but it’s still hard to explain what it’s about. I keep finding excuses not to start describing, even though I’m also telling myself that this is what I want to do. How does that work?

For me this is really about the question: what things inside of me am I giving attention to? There are so many things that seem important, but are actually grabbing my attention specifically because the opposite is true: I don’t want to do them. And I keep thinking, “if I finish this thing, I will finally have time for the things I really want to do.” But, surprise, surprise, there is always something new. At some point, you just have to switch. Because the Sisyphus inside of me will never get the satisfaction of successfully pushing that stone.

Surprise, surprise: there is always something new.

Today, someone reached out to me through Instagram, asking me about the Revolution of the Kind People. This has happened more often over the past few weeks, but today was really a blessing. I thought, yeah, sure, what is it about? Why is there still no information? Then I cancelled my meetings for today, and started writing.

The Revolution of the Kind People is a Collective Imaginative Exercise to imagine a more pleasant world.

Of course, I have known what my own idea is about for a while. However, I’m understanding more and more that it’s actually about my own development. It’s about my own wish for peace and quiet. It’s about my desire to make life more pleasant.

Apparently, it’s hard for me to actively start the search. It’s also hard for me to connect my personal desires to those of many people living on this planet. I keep finding excuses to start later. When I’m finished. When I’m stable. When I’ve got my life together. I give attention to the voices that scream loudest in me, which are not the kindest ones. And that’s exactly what the Revolution of the Kind People is about.

The voices that scream loudest, are not the kindest ones.

So, hurrah! Let’s make room for the softer voices. I want to create some space inside of me; make room for what wants to come out. Honestly, I think the Revolution of the Kind People is a bit shy. It feels like it’s saying: “Really? Do you really want me to say something? This must be a mistake, right? I’ll pass.” Isn’t that cute?

Shortly, I can say that, for now, the Revolution of the Kind People is about shifting attention. To shift attention means to redirect energy flows. And, in this case, lose some energy as well. I used to do most things drastically. But today, I want to take care of the vulnerable beginnings that are sprouting in the soils of my being. Just a little water, bit of sunlight; no more Rolling Stones.