Category Archives: the past

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.

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Dood

“Only the present moment contains life.” ― Thích Nhất Hạnh –

Ik ben de flat van mijn overleden peettante aan het uitruimen. Overmorgen rijdt de verhuiswagen voor. Het vacuüm dat ik aantref is als een groot zwart gat in het heelal. Het zuigt alles wat dichtbij genoeg is naar zich toe en neemt het op. Om in het grote niets te verdwijnen. Ik kom dichtbij genoeg. Als ik uren later vertrek uit de flat kost het me moeite en veel tranen om weer terug te komen in mijn eigen universum. Landen op deze aarde met beide voeten weer stevig op de grond, duurt nog veel langer. If ever. 

‘Het is wat’ 

‘Wat is wat?’

‘Wat je achterlaat als je er niet meer bent’

‘Of waar ik me druk om maak; waarmee ik me onledig hou in het dagelijks leven’

Onledig, mooi woord. Veel meer dan dat is het niet. We houden ons onledig. Met gedachtes en emoties als een vaak te overheersend sausje. Sausje bij het leven, sausje dat het leven bedekt. 

‘Welk sausje wil je erbij?’

Waarom houden we ons on-ledig? De wijzen en spirituelen onder ons verheerlijken juist die ledigheid en zelf fantaseren we maar wat graag over het grote nietsdoen. Lees de glossy’s erop na, bezoek een retraite oord of ga gewoon op vakantie. Hoofd leegmaken is het devies. Het is de paradox van ons bestaan. Niets doen waarvoor je veel betaalt. Dat dan weer wel. Want als het gratis niets doen is, dan is het not done. Het grote niets doen mag je alleen verheerlijken als je het druk hebt (met geld verdienen).
Totdat ik in hun flat kom. Ik schuif één van de honderden c.d’s in de Bang&Olufsen. De c.d’s zijn in wezen al net zo verouderd als het meeste wat ik er aantref. Streaming en minimale opslagcapaciteit zijn de toekomst wordt me verteld door mijn vriend Rob afgelopen zondag. En wat dan met de materiële inhoud van wat er achterblijft na haar dood, vraag ik me af? Emoties klampen zich vast aan Shakespeare’s Complete Works, aan een etsje van een pruimenbloesemtak, aan bladmuziek van Händels Joshua. Weggeefertjes zijn het. Want wat moet je anders met emoties? Ik draag er meer met me mee dan me lief is. En toch verzamel ik in die flat een in mijn eigen ogen overdreven hoeveelheid aan emoties. Twintig pakken bedrukte papieren servetten, waarom gooi ik ze in ledigheidsnaam niet weg? Zakmesjes, pennen, een theepot nieuw in de doos, vinyl langspeelplaten en singletjes, taartbordjes, twee sierkussens, een damspel, heel veel boeken en nog veel meer c.d’s. Ik pak het allemaal in om het bij me te houden. Het zijn emoties realiseer ik me nu. Emoties van dierbaarheid, van geen afscheid kunnen nemen, van vasthouden aan wat voorbij is, van facetten die mijn identiteit vormen en mogelijkerwijs invulling geven aan mijn toekomst. Ze moeten worden samengebracht met alle andere baggage die ik al verzamelde in dit leven en die de toekomst mede bepaalt, van dit leven, voor wat het waard is. Het is de nagedachtenis, nee, het respect voor een voorbij leven, wat maakt dat niet alles naar de kringloop mag. Nog niet.

Smaller then I remember

In one of the two rooms up in the attic a folding camp bed was parked for me. The other room was scary. It was more of the real atticky part of the top floor in my parents house. It’s where my grandparents slept when they stayed over for the night. A fascinating orange and black tube containing brilliant cream that my grandfather used to comb through his hair in the mornings, made me cautiously sneek into that room. But if that marvellously intriguing object wasn’t laying around, and it hardly ever was since my grandparents peacefully lived at the other side of the country, I wouldn’t dear enter that real attic and happily sticked to my own better illuminated quarter. 

Every evening I’d align next to each other all my dolls and teddy bears, neatly tucking them in under the bed cover. Although the newly acquired barby dolls weren’t comfortable to share the bed with due to their edgy ligaments, they’d concurred themselves some precious space as well because I loved playing with them so much.

I sat on my knees next to the folding camp bed, cautious enough not to sit at either end of it after several collapses that got me, bed and everything on it, high up in the air. There was no place left for me under the neatly folded bed cover. Occupied as it was with all scattered pieces of emotion symbolized by playful doll faces and soft dark teddy bear eyes. 

We project our own set of habits and emotions onto the other. Actually this someone functions like a mirror. We think we see the other. But we only see what we know and that’s ourself. That’s us. We start with non complex single message emotions as featured by dolls and teddy bears and hug happily ever after with our first girl- and boyfriends, on and on with our partners, husband and wives. In fact we never stop hugging ourselves. If we do it right! 
Young at heart we familiarize with pure loveliness. As adolescents we get into more punky sets of emotions. Contrasting, complicated and intertwined, as unintelligible as we are ourselves. Growing older we start to assimilate personality traits and become more and more aware of complex sets of emotions. Our emotions as they are being triggered by a variety of cultural or natural expressions, are into exploring different layers of recognition through art, food, music, nature; touching beyond the skin. Still it’s in the other we see ourselves. It’s in the other we recognize our own mistakes, frustrations, loveliness and anger.

And this is exactly what happens to our dolls and teddy bears when we are kids. We project our own interior onto something outside of us. Representation, reflection, projection, you name it; what we see comes from deep down inside ourselves. As long as we’re not aware of the content inside of us, we project it outside. To make it clear, to visualize it before our own eyes. 

This little girl is arranging her emotions neatly side by side. Abundant as they are, there’s no place left – or no space yet – for her individual self; to lay down her own physical head on the pillow. 

During the same time this little girl starts giving her dolls names. In particular the beautiful big baby like doll with the eyes that open and close following the movements of the head. If you put her down, she’ll sleep. If you lift her up, her eyes spread wide open. The little girl is proud to own this big doll and at the same time she finds the big doll scary. Secretly and just a little bit she tells herself. Fact is that the plastic doll is hard headed and by far the largest member of her extended doll and teddy family. The name giving practice is pretty endless. This however is mainly due to the fact that every next morning she’s oblivious again of the names she’d came up with the preceding day. Until one day she remembers the big dolls name. It’s Victoria. The victorious and voluptuous plastic doll bears that name until today. 

How does a four year old girl know what victoria means? Has it been a way to concur the slight fear for her doll? Finally finding a suitable name, the one and only that lasted. Naming is the start of acquainting, of finding ways to get to know and eventually handle. In this case frightening and loving feelings at the same time. Victoria is overwhelming to the girl, is the victorious one to the girl and at the same time she loves the doll a great deal. Never in history Victoria was surpassed by another doll and until today Victoria lives on in the girls memory.

Somehow I managed to acquire a space in my bed night after night, surrounded by all my emotions, neatly tucked in next to me, well taken care of. And when they had silently fallen asleep I could rest my physical head next to them.