Fuchsia rose

I pick a rose on my way to the airport. A few hours before you arrive. The first sunrays and pieces of blue sky come peeking through the white clouds. Just before coloring into layered strokes of baby pink and baby blue. I wear blue jeans and a leather jacket. The high heels are compulsory. They are my favorite ones. Made of purple suede. Three minutes away from the pretty rough beach, surrounded by vibrant nature, I enjoy the inapropriate me-outfit. This part of New Zealand’s beach  reminds me of The Netherlands. It’s the texture of the sand, the color of the seawater, the wind. At 9.30 pm I walk down Pandora street, towards Beach road. The lush rose seduces me with her color. I approach it. To stick my nose in it’s velvety petals. Her sweet strong scent blows me away. It’s as heavy and deep as it’s bright. Just like it’s color: fuchsia rose. It’s for you. 

Because the feeling I’ve got for you is the same. Deep, heavy and bright, like fuchsia, rose, beautiful, no sharp edges, velvety, no over excited tantalizing shivers. As fantastic as they are and as wonderful they form part of us. For now the edge is replaced by something complete, equally alive, equally real, but almost placid. You are my rose.

My love for you opened a box of Pandora. I contemplate as I walk to the end of the street. But only muddy earth full of shit, is like fertile grounds for a beautiful rose, an unique deep, heavy, bright fuchsia one. The bus arrives. It travels to the central bus interchange. There I wait 30 minutes. Before hopping on the 29 bus. Nine more minutes to go before the airport. And some more before I see you again. 

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On Beyond The Edge

On Beyond Zebra is a beautiful children’s book by the infamous Dr.Seuss. My second daughter Mahdee is reading it with me. Every letter invented as a continuation of our alphabet beyond the letter Z, she points at and excitedly exclaims:’wow, that letter is beautiful!’. We indulge in Dr. Seuss’ fantasy of ‘a List of Letters for People who Don’t stop at Z’. We marvel together at the Yuzz for Yuzz-a-ma-Tuzz, the Fuddle for Miss Fuddle-dee-Duddle and the Spazz for Spazzim.

Life has got the capacity to go on beyond the edge of the end of the alphabet. To me it seems to shift into another realm, surpassing common sense and exploring the whereabouts of unique sensability. I read back the ‘About’ page of this website. It talks about living in the present moment. Like we all do nowadays. I pledge to somehow differentiate from ‘something else’, my five senses, i.e. how to experience life solely based upon the impressions generated by the senses.

How can we experience life other then through our five senses? I am talking about experiencing life through the mind. Which ridiculously enough opposes mindfulness. More on that later in life. Experiencing life through the mind goes by applying filters. Filters that tell you how life should be, as opposed to how it presents itself in her naked form. Superego, religious paradimes, legislation, society and it’s set of rules and ethics; all are examples of filters. It’s all like taking a camera and viewing the world through a lens, manipulating the edges, the brightness and the sharpness-depth of what we are exposed to.

What does life look like beyond these manipulations? What does life look like beyond the controllable frames? Words fail to communicate. We can share in words what is known. We can’t get the unknown across, other then living and witnessing it together.

The Endless Journey

 
Let’s just be difficult. And challenge our fellow souls who successfully demonstrate the purpose of traveling rather then that of reaching a destination. So let’s just be annoying and ask ourselves the question: ‘what if the beginning and the end are contrary to current wisdom, all about the destination rather then about the journey? Just for the sake of it. Or to be brutally honest, because reality has it that sometimes or suddenly, life, or at least my life, is all about a certain, specific destination. Which wonderfully leads me to the realization that without realizing it, at specific yet undefined moments the present is presenting me with an endless, continuous journey.

‘What ifs’ bring me in a wondrous world of fantasy and imagination, seducing me straight onto the way out of a sound and surrounding reality. Exit, green signs pointing towards flights of stairs. The ones you physically find next to and metaphysically as opposed to, the elevation mechanism called a lift. What ifs generally don’t have the tendency to lift you up. What ifs often lead to a place where it isn’t about logic and cognitive abilities. It makes me browse another reality. An inner reality of inside stories that float and rave upon the waves of feelings, cravings and longings. It made me tattoo at the back of my shoulder: ‘dreams are wishes of the heart’. A reality where satisfaction hardly is possible, yet always just around the corner. A reality shaped by the rhythm of a constant pendulum of frantically searching and researching at one end, while at it’s other extremity finding balance by blockage and deprivation.

Let’s assume that the concept of destiny equals our so called point of satisfaction. We assume things the whole day. In particular about other people’s thoughts, emotions and intentions. So now let us assume something about our own conception. We do have the capacity to feed ourselves with whatever it is we want, to such an extent that at a certain point we say: I’ve had enough, I am done, full, satisfied. At that point we experience a sense of satisfaction. But then, as chance unsurprisingly has it, we quickly find a new spot at the horizon to reach for. And so we accumulate a wealth in experiences. We diversify the richness of our taste palette. We widen the scope of our possessions, let them be made of material, bare power or fulfilling relationships. Eventually we end up being experienced, rich and possessed. But are we ever really satisfied? Or let’s put it this way: does satisfaction actually exist? It makes me compare a sense of satisfaction to the concept of destiny – or there being a destination in life.

What if? I bluntly put forward that a destination does not exist other then in our mind. That the concept of destiny merely functions as a tool, an apparent focus point, allowing us to thrive, move forward, push along, using, or driven by, forces of nature comparable to water whirls, blazing winds and striking lightning. We need our destination and our point of focus as an excuse to flow with those forces of nature. The conceptualization of a destiny, a point of focus and the idea that it is due to our own doings, that it’s us ourselves getting us there, give us a sense of mastering those forces of nature, that we control and that we lead instead of being led by human nature. Why do we call such a vast thing as nature, human anyway? Smells like an effort to master or at least control The Force.

We assume the continuous development, proactively unrolling, dynamically pushing like sprouts do, is led by our own genius. And it’s exactly this assumption that tricks us into being haunted. As human beings, we turn into human doings, restless, never satisfied, always (de)parting, never arriving. And you know what? To stop the motion is not an option. Stop, hold back, like pulling the reins of a galloping Arabian horse, resist the race, back out of it by trying to repress forces of nature that are so much bigger then a bit of consciousness wrapped in a human body. Inertia makes us wonder about the difference between repression and depression. Inertia leads us to believe, have faith, divert into the realm of dreaming, finding distraction and the ephemere satisfaction of multiple addictions. Closing the circle I like to put forth that the absence of a conceptual triplet evolving around being destined, destiny and destination frees the way to literally realize what it actually is that the present beholds. I assure you it’s more then just cruising along.

Reflection Zone

The light is beautiful Monday morning in my bedroom as I finally open my eyes. I find myself enveloped by a concrete ceiling, three white plastered walls and reflections of sunlight at a comfortable duvet cover and an iron bedroom doorpost. At two instances the bright white light is broken up in an array of rainbow colors, caused by the way sunbeams are broken through the sliding double glass of the small bedroom window.
At 8 am my youngest daughter is walking in almost as if she’s set on fire, the sun reflected by her white blond hair that bright. She clenches her eyes, turning her head away slightly as to not be overwhelmed and blinded by the magnificent sunlight, ‘I am hungry’. I ask her to join me in bed for a minute. She doubtfully agrees: ‘I am hungry’. But she smiles a lot as usual and tells me her hundred little stories. I yawn, unable to pull myself out of the reflection zone.

I sent her, happy with the full permission of getting the strawberries out of the fridge herself, down the stairs. Within the time it takes me to write the above, she’s next to my bed again: ‘what’s more for breakfast?’ I have to get it over with. I want to resign on life. But in fact there’s nothing to resign upon. Bits of gray concrete, stretches of immaculately white plaster, possibly showing an overwhelming bright white reflection and as luck has it, that bright white reflection breaks up, momentarily unveiling it’s true colors. The wandering mind, the coloring light, no more then reflections.

The Impossibilities of a Luxurious Lifestyle


‘The only available time tomorrow for a massage is 4.15 pm’.’Hummm, that’s going to be difficult with the kids. What about the day after?’

‘At 10.15 am we have availability for a 60 minute massage’.

‘That’s perfect. My kids start surf classes at 10 am. I like to book the massage at 10.15 am’.

After processing the credit card payment by phone and a long intermezzo about booking the family baths at the hot springs for tomorrow with the kids, no clay experience because this isn’t available for kids and kids can’t hang around the ‘family–bath-hot-springs’ without supervision.

‘Right’.

‘Well all is done. Please make sure to arrive 30 minutes prior to your massage’.

‘Excuse me?’

‘Please make sure to arrive 30 minutes before the actual starting time of the massage’

‘That’s complicated. I will drop my kids at 10 am at the beach and then come to you’

‘If you are late it will reduce your massage time. Our massages are back to back’.

I just paid AUS$150 for a massage, the most expensive massage I ever booked, I think but I don’t say it.

‘You need to be 30 minutes early to fill out the necessary paperwork, get changed into a robe and make your way to the treatment rooms where you will be seated to wait untill you are being guided to your massage table’.

‘Could I maybe save some time by filling out the so called necessary paper work already tomorrow? Since I will be at your hot springs then with my kids. Small effort for me to drop by your reception shortly’.

‘Unfortunately, that’s not possible’.

Our conversation lasts the necessary amount of time it takes me to become familiar with the impossibilities of a luxurious life style. After I turn and shake my world a bit, my kids on Wednesday are going to be dropped off by me 45 min ahead of their surfing class at the milk bar. Where they will be picked up by the van of the East Coast Surf School. I like easy going people. So that Wednesday at 9.45 am sharp I enter the reception lounge of the spa area at the Hot Springs. The paperwork to be filled out consists of one A4 with seven questions about allergies, age and gender. By 9.50 am after having fulfilled my writing tasks, I am changed into my robe and escorted to the treatment rooms uphill. 

‘Would you like some tea? This is Hester. The two of you will be treated in about 15 minutes. Please make yourself comfortable’. Hester takes up a magazine and asks me one or two questions about where I am from. She glances through the glossy while talking to me. She’s from Melbourne, aged around 60, a summer house at the peninsula and trusted with a remarkable memory about Amsterdam, my home town, which she visited in 1977. Walking arm in arm with her husband, he was being propositioned by a girl at one of the streets where girls find themselves inappropriately dressed standing and wiggling their hips in red illuminated windows.

‘Melbourne must have changed a lot over the past twenty years?’

‘Oh well, since I am living in it, I don’t see the change. Aside from the grafitti that has gotten way out of hand. A pity that the streetview has been contaminated in such a way’.

‘Really? Just recently there was this article in the NY times about the extrordinairy graffitti in Australia and New Zealand’.

Shortly after I decide to rest my case and silently wait for my massage saviour to come rescue me.

Helen is being collected. Another woman that meanwhile had come into the relax room, is being collected. Finally Leia comes rushing in, accidentally smashing the door close behind her while apologizing for being a bit sweaty: ‘the hill is steep you know’. I like Leia although I think her demeanour is not very professional. She explains me some things about the ingredients in the oil that she is using. I tell her my skin is not prone on heavy scented creams and oils, essential or not. Obviously she forgets about this soon enough. The amount of very cold oil splashed on my skin without being warmed by her hands first, is quite excessive. The temperature in the massage room already being cooler then comfortable, most probably due to the fact that Leia herself is a bit overheated and let’s the aircon cool her down. I decide I don’t want her to get in a bad mood and keep my mouth shut. Bite your lip Reina, and endure. The massage itself literally doesn’t make a big impression. I think there’s no chance at all to improve the experience. I decide once more to keep my mouth shut. Leia finishes and asks me to wait for her to return so she can let me out. I wait, realizing my cloths are in the dressing room down hill. I wonder why I am left to wait. I think of my children who must probably be towards the end of their surf class by now. After several long minutes I step out of the massage room. Planning to visit the toilet but discarting the idea when I see four women waiting in line for 1 single toilet. I want to make my way out of here as soon as possible. And then I almost bump into Leia again who is hurrying with a large pile of towels on her arms through the corridor. She manages to set me up with a small little double folded card that says: treatment plan, while I apologize myself as polite as possible under the pretext of kids waiting for me to be picked up. ‘Don’t wash the oil off’, Leia concludes insistingly. But I can’t wait to wash the excessive amounts of oil off. I’ve got trouble finding my way back down hill to the changing rooms, paths being restricted by ropes preventing a free through way so that the non-privileged can’t trespass the more exclusive parts of the premises. With some assistance I make my way down and quickly into a shower to shortly afterwards pass by the reception, where I wait, hesitating a moment, not knowing what to do with my locker-wrist band, the girls behind the reception all engaged in phone conversations. When I am just about to hurry on, I am being asked in a generous tone: ‘How was it mam, did you enjoy your massage this morning?’
At the end of the day I read in my treatment plan: ‘discount on products applies, next recommended treatment: Morrocan Cocoon’. 

Going to Kathmandu


In Bhaktapur’s busy bus station’s street, the pavement is swept immaculately clean. Big chicken are foraging, most shop owners with a damping cup of tea between the palms of their hands. It ‘s not that cold, 8.30 am. I change bus on my way from Nepal Yoga Retreat in Telkot to Kathmandu, on my first day off. Quickly taking a super sweet black tea at a little café outside. I am not into sugar. Maybe because I used to like it too much I try to avoid it now as much as possible. Not today. I am excited to be where I am. I order a second tea right away against any mindful objections. Not much later on the bus to Kathmandu I feel pretty sick. Sugar overload on an empty stomach. But feeling sick in an overcrowded bus in Nepal is somehow the way it should be. I accept my condition. No regrets. I love being here.
Ayurveda favors eating with your hands. Aside from seeing, smelling and tasting food, one should feel it as well. Makes perfect sense to me. And certainly to my kids. Can’t wait to tell them. It is awkward though, sitting in a quality food café – a name much preferred here for lunchrooms – where the food looks absolutely delicious. Instead of sandwiches or a salad, here lunch is served as a plate of rice with a variety of condiments, freshly made, freshly ground, lovely scents. Some use a spoon. Most eat with one of their hands. Mixing rice with sauce or curry and aptly shoveling it up into their mouth using three or four fingers. Although the garnished rice sticks all over the hand, it does look quite civilized actually.

This will make my kids very happy.

Sunset over Amsterdam, day one of hundred and eight days

If you love something very very much, let it go. When it comes back, it’s yours. When it doesn’t, it never was
Does human history teach us what happens when one acts against the odds? I like to keep track of the odds for a sacred amount of days to come in order to document the present. I start with day one as the absolute beginning, while questioning it’s absoluteness instantly at the same time. Our life begins where we want it to begin. And so does this story. About love, believing in it against all odds and most significantly, acting upon it. If Hamlet were to be living today the quintessential question would be: ‘when to let go and when to hold on?’ Instead of the infamous coming to age individualism dating back to early Renaissance – meaning rebirthing – Europe expressed by Hamlet’s personal struggle ‘to be or not to be’.
Dark grey, almost black with a purple lining in the form of an horizon. Topped by deep red, like starved flesh, spilling into soft bright orange. Not the kind of orange our country is adorned with as it’s national color. Although the color scheme in fact is very appropriate, taking off and away from Amsterdam. Really taking off and away from it. As if the Dutch sky decides to give me a proper goodbye. Although the copper orange is soft and heavy and more reminiscent of a warm Spanish night in the midst of summer, a village square with flirts of flaming flamenco music, enchanting and everlasting.
Memories and expectations fight hard to be acknowledged. Taking off and away from Amsterdam. I feel it in my lower stomach, my core, more then that I cling to thoughts that plop up in my mind like popcorn but vanish as soon as they meet the languish orange twilight. Leaving behind feelings that cautiously fill the farewell gap. Feelings that unconsciously look for a wardrobe, a sheltering sky. Wanting to be neatly tucked away in a closet. Well kept and guarded until they are deliberately taken out when the time is right. I like them orderly and controlled, no outbursts please, nothing too heavy nor too outworn, just decent. And preferably well recognizable. For when I come back to pick up my ‘feeling’ I don’t need to search through a vast eclectic wardrobe for a long time, rumbling through many look-a-like ‘feelings’. My feelings envelop me like a warm winter coat or they protect me against a cool breeze on a bright summers day like a light wind proof jacket. 
Day one of hundred and eight days. A sacred digit. One as in absolute beginning, zero as in Omega and infinity at it’s side shaped by number 8. 
Flying over Saxony with Leipzig and Dresden informs the lcd screen. Five and a half hours to go before I transit in Doha, capital of Qatar. A very modernist and affluent moslem capital with hints of an archaic society. Of which I was reminded within a matter of minutes after I sat down in the Qatar Airways vessel. My neighbor at the other side of the aisle prompted me to switch off my phone when the plane was about to take off while I was still usurped in messaging the love of my life. Is it me or women from Amsterdam in general that react like allergic to Arabic men trying to dominate us, women in general? I am not talking about how off setting we experience them dominating their personal women. But they fucking act like that all the time, against all women. Inside I scream. However, turning forty eight in five days I’ve learned how to express my complete inability of how to cope with this behavior in other more decisive ways. Neglect the message, knowing that that is exactly what ignites their feeble masculine pride and really puts them off. Talking cultural-religious conditioning here. Both mine and theirs. Love will safe the day one day. One first and last and until infinity breaks, day, shining bright like deep orange copper, laced by a purple horizon.

An homage to great escapes

IMG_2484

I am in the air. As if it is a radio show. But it is about flying. An airy no-show. Absent from my daily life for a week, maybe two. What is my daily life and why is flying away from it seen as an escape? It doesn’t feel like it is. There’s stuff – like matters of life and death – that don’t get to be done because they are overruled by short term daily life priorities and goals. Being easily overruled or overlooked doesn’t mean however, that matters of life and death are of no importance. To be precise, short term and long term both need equal attention. But yes it’s difficult to free one’s attention from short term busy-ness. Because most of the time short term busy-ness is surfacing acute and clear. Whereas long term busy-ness is like an undercurrent building up and gaining force over a length of time and therefore harder to capture.

It might even seem that daily life is composed of only short term busy-ness. So the moment one abdicates from setting the alarm at 7 am to prepare breakfast and lunch boxes for the kids, bringing the kids to school, attending to work or other engagements, groceries, play dates, making dinner, the usual entertainment time abided with phone conversations, media or so called ‘quality time’, the very moment one doesn’t set mind and body to these occupations, it’s called an escape from daily life.

I reckon my daily life deserves as much time to be spent on overthinking my values in life, exploring the borders of my comfort zone, breaking habits that have silently turned into unconscious patterns or setting up new ones. What I am saying is that to me, the time and energy spent to achieve these goals are as much part of my daily life as the repeating schedule captured in set moments of time. How to create space to do all that? Flying time – a good time unit of being in transition or even better, of being lost in translation – is terrific. Obviously flying is not the thing we do out of a quest for taking distance from our set schedules. We’re not going to be in the air for the sake of being in the air.

Which actually is pitiful. Flying time is excellent to float amidst the clouds of life, possibly peeking into ‘see-throughs’ on to our short term busy-ness – as in being busy and maybe capturing a glimpse of the overview; origin and destination included. What I am getting at is that abdicating from our so called daily lives in fact isn’t an escape at all. It is so much not of an escape that instead of merely experiencing the reality of it, temporary abdication of a set schedule even turns out to be more confrontational on a deeper level then engaging in the fairly superficial daily ‘short cuts’, is.

As I wake up in empty morning space

As I wake up in empty morning space, it’s virginity is corrumpated by a thought. The first thought that comes to mind is: ‘something of you is not here’. The part of you that has filled up my almost every morning since days, weeks or is it months? – time is relative, so is distance – your voice isn’t here. I ask myself what physical presence is. Is a voice to be described as a physical presence? Waking up by hearing your voice makes a deep impression. Your voice has grown on me. To me it’s a physical presence. Leaving me with a vast emptiness if it isn’t there to listen to.
After the morning looses it’s virginity because of this first thought, more thoughts easily follow.
Hours and what seems like a life time later my mind is up and functioning at full capacity. Emotions are trying to peek through. Popular pop songs in the back ground, a sweet little daughter calling my name once every couple of minutes. I resist life as it tumbles over me. Safe guards and barriers are raised to keep me from engaging. Why? I wonder why, giving my mind another bone to suck on.
Does meditation brings back that virgin empty morning space? It does. Because the outside is a reflection of the inside. My conscious is empty as I wake up. So it projects space and emptiness into my surroundings making me clearly see and encounter what’s around me. Meditation is clearing my mind from emotion provoking thoughts. As I open my eyes consequently, I project my inner emptiness onto my surroundings, making me see clearly what is.
Every tree, every sun ray is a projection of the mind Plato discovered. This for me this is still difficult to asses. Does it mean the sun ray giving me joy upon waking, does it not exist or does it exist? Hamlet resonates. To be or not to be. If everything only exists as a projection of the mind, we can make it appear and disappear as we like. Don’t pay attention, don’t nurture and it doesn’t exist. Pay attention and nurture and bring out the potential. You know that smallest particle all material is made of? It flips in and out of potential existence and detectable presence and is called a quark. Why do some particles cling so densely at each other that they become as solid as a rock? Whereas others don’t get to see the light of day only if you focus closely. What’s the true difference between a tree and a thought? Blows my mind, feelings explode and little children fall asleep on my lap.
At the end of the day.

 

Melbourne

  

 
At 9.30 pm I’ll be flying back to Europe. I look forward to lock myself up in the plane; to anonymously hang around international airports. Twenty eight hours to pass in nomans land. The space where thoughts are as translucent as the disconnection of my body with it’s surroundings. Emotions are slowly taking hold of me. I will be able to escape from them, hopefully for a little bit longer. Fly away, haunted. 
Café Excello next to Parliament train station is nice. Almost every hang out in Melbourbe is nice. And then you drive into the mountains that are hills and green and beautiful apart from two death-by-accident wombats in the middle of a road. Bird life, vintage hippy stores, the yarra river reflecting sun drops. 

It is cold.The english breakfast tea from my little stainless steel tea pot ‘with milk please’, goes down within minutes. Killing thoughts, emotions and time before I will enter the kan of Onsen Ma. Kan is Japanese for space. It’s a remarkable theme in my life these days. Space, in all it’s dimensions. It feels very light and airy, hard to hold on to. Yet bloody necessary ’cause it doesn’t suffocate me. As my daily life, my social life and my work do. Love needs space, air to breath and energy to flow, blockages to go.

I conceive the space eagerly. It leaves room for emptiness. Emptiness that hence is easily filled by happiness, sorrow and the warmth of love. That is what’s happening. The three are fighting a tight cosmonautic race. The Onsen is expecting me in five minutes. I pay for my english breakfast tea at the cashier of Café Excello. Consciously, as to to keep my mind from spinning. And I proceed into space.

Melbourne time 6 am. At thirty eight thousand feet high in heaven, I wake up in my window seat, fore last row of the aircrafts purple section. It’s nice, dark and cosy. The interior of the plane has wood finishings and a sky with stars that light up above the aisle. I miss him. I missed him at 10 pm when we took off instead of eating a salad he’d prepare for me. I missed him at midnight dozing off instead of having passionate sex with him. I missed him at 3 am hibernating between sleep and consciousness instead of crawling my warm body up to him. I miss him now, writing these words instead of making early morning love to him.