Tag Archives: commitment

Lolita or Dolores, Part II

Nothing is required. It is very well possible to protect oneself against all the love and all the pain and to live a perfectly traumatized or phobic life. Running up- and down to duties, solely entering spotless spaces, closing eyes to injustice, abstracting culture by bringing it down to one-monthly visits to musical performances and museum cafés. And last but certainly not least: we are very well capable and will for sure silently bear those unexplainable little fears of heights, flying or other secret threats that come along with disconnecting. Opening up and closing down is like breathing in and out. We keep on doing it all the time. Aren’t we? Automatically? We’ve escaped or rescued ourselves from the rat race. And now suddenly we find ourselves settling down into another formality, soothed day after day by nice glasses of wine, interesting reads and the decent fantasy of making this special challenging trip, next year.

We live in a consumer paradise. Unfortunately it’s not only the material stuff we purchase exactly how and when it suits us. We got into the mode of wanting to feel in doses as well. Comparable to selecting our groceries from the shelves of the supermarket. We want the ingredients of what we’re about to feel, to be well advertised on the packaging. We actually even prefer to pay for it because it enables us to circumscribe pretty exact, restricted and narrow, the amount of what we get and to specify in terms of money what we can afford to spend in order to acquire exactly the amount of desired satisfaction. We want to enable ourself to open up the box of Pandora at a suitable time and close it when we’ve had enough. We let feeling in at command. Like we do when acting as if we control our kids, our garden, our weight and the traffic: ruling and out ruling feelings upon a whim. There’s rules and how-to’s for everything. How to (over) rule what you’re feeling is a main target in everyday life. Feeling tired? Grab a coffee. Suffering from a headache? Take a painkiller. Feeling down? Seek distraction. Fall in Love? Play hide and seek. You’ve only got to stick to the civilized manuals and guidelines and you’ll stay out of trouble. Social and outward trouble that is. As opposed to inward trouble which is lulled to sleep or anesthetized by French wine, moments of wellness or acquiring some must-haves.

As we speak I realize that we do not at all want to feel our everything and all that’s around and about. To the contrary! We’re trying our uttermost best to not feel next to nothing. We’re trying so hard to not connect!
Connection is advertised as something you experience while sitting on a yoga mat with your fingers crossed. Tuning in at the sound of aum while keeping your eyes and all other senses closed and shut up. We call this connecting with the inner self. What we’re doing is forcefully silencing thoughts and emotions to make space for nothing. After a bit we pretend to step into a sudden energy flow by elegantly moving from one asana into the next. Set and done we feel satisfied with what we’ve just done, more then with who we are and continue our daily lives as human doings instead of beings. Continue, maintain, proceed, keep up with it.

It starts to dawn at me that this can’t be the real flow of energy, contained as it is without any transforming or reborn power at all. This won’t lead to transforming the energy called pain into something else that can be released. Transforming despair into hope. Transforming knots into unwinding nests of loose ends. Why do I want this, if it doesn’t make me run harder, if it won’t give me back the control in life. It results in the opposite. It stops me from running away from the chaos. And it makes me stay put. Yeah! Finally.

To have your energy flowing for real, it takes connecting to a real source of power. Something mutual and universal I suggest. But it doesn’t really matter. As long as it is bigger then yourself. Who cares for connecting to your own level of apprenticeship? Move on up is what we’re in for. Progressing, growing and deepening the senses by broadening them and foremost alluding to the understanding of it. Keep away from it for too long and the engine is running on empty, stagnating and eventually it fails to ignite at all. Our attempts to reinforce ourselves by cursing, drinking or working hard failed. Pursuing authentic produce, spending expensive time in silence retreats or developing our own personal trainer programs actually to be honest, don’t do the trick either. You know what? It takes a hell of a lot of stopping, sitting in and letting go offs to see through that exact same window that opens onto the beautiful things in life. Lolita, Dolores, are you still with me!

Lolita or Dolores, Part I

Dolores or the mother of grief is Lolita’s real name; agent-provocateur of a whole complex of sexual pursuit and inhibition embodied in a novel by Nabokov. Feelings of attraction and guilt personified by and cheerfully nicknamed Lolita. Dolores being her real name, dolor Spanish for pain. Lolita is about the pain inflicted by Western civilization, bluntly imposing sex as not a good thing to have between a girl at the age of twelve and her stepfather. Lolita or Dolores would probably be called Felicita in a real world where mature girls are allowed to be mature when they are and real men are allowed to act upon their impulses, swift and resolute that is. For that’s how mankind survives.

Back in our not so real world: how do we act upon our instincts? Or do we not act at all but re-act, obstructing energy, merely giving way to feelings of pain and remorse. Pain that is inflicted by something bigger then ourselves: the rules of society, laws that protect the weak, administered authorities. I rather make companions in suffering for the things that are too big to carry around by myself, then bluntly act upon my instincts. Because if I do, I will be outlawed, out ruled or imprisoned. Hence, I unconsciously share and make fellows in carrying the pain, creating my own keepsakes of pain. Until the pain can be turned into something else like tears or grief and as such can be harmlessly released. It’s not the soul or whatever word you prefer to describe the essence of being in general and human being in particular, that’s crying. Souls, like boys, don’t cry. Actually boys should cry a little bit more. To keep them from doing more harm then preventable.

The body cries and sheds tears, not the soul. If ever, souls merely weep. The soul doesn’t get tensed, the body does. Souls just are. Beings. Not running, making love, eating nor the act of crying make them exist. Souls simply are. There’s one thing they do. They mate. Souls mate and make soul mates. In doing so they produce more soulful material. Let’s say they reproduce. To cut it short, when I’m crying it’s a form of pain release; it’s not my inner self that expresses itself. It’s outer tension turned into something else. Be it tears, laughter or rage, it remains energy, just neatly enveloped in different wrappings. Energy is energy. It only takes on different forms to manifest itself: pain, love, a tree or burning flames. It implies that pain cannot be dissolute. Dolores might be a pretty heavy name to carry – imagine giving it to your daughter – actually it’s what it is and what we all do. From friend to friend, from parent to child, from neighbor to neighbor, from driver to pedestrian and the other way around; we carry pain.

Talking pain, it’s universal. It’s all around and all about. The guy that jells at me in traffic, the parent that accuses me, the lover that hurts me; they all suffer themselves, not being able to digest the pain. It might be against all odds but pain simply is not to be digested. We say we digest pain like we say that male love goes through the stomach. Which symbolizes something essentially immaterial. What is digested are the keepsakes of pain and love. We turn them into something else. Into grief, hope, laughter, fantasies or sorrow. If we’re able to! We transform pain or love if we or others allow ourselves to do so. Then we release it. Pain in the form of tears, love in the form of tenderness. If not, if we’re not able to transform the pain, we’ll inflict it upon ourselves causing mental and physical illness or upon others in a faint attempt to get rid of it, understandable but extremely sorrowful. What happens if we’re not able to transform the love? Well look around and see for yourself.

Let the body release. As far as physical and mental barriers or boundaries permit. And this is why, even without consciously being aware of it, we crave to open up. As much as possible. Not so much to receive the love that’s presumably all around. Please keep looking for magnificent flowers and beautiful butterflies. See the beauty of it. To open up to all kinds of instant provocateurs of the senses. But be prepare to cry now, to feel horrible, down and outworn. Pain and the lack of love manifest. Transform to release it. It simply is a package deal. Once you really connect, you connect with everything around you. Love and injustice, misery and marriage; it’s all like horses and their carriage. You tell me what’s abundant: is it love or is it pain? And Lolita asks Dolores: ‘what is in a name anyway?’

Free of

Which content to share first? The exploration of free-of-animal-products-lunch-options in Amsterdam? An adventure an old friend of mine came up with. Like myself, he turned vegan almost two years ago. We share our experiences over vegan or even raw cheesecakes, banana bread and complete gourmet lunch deals. Appetizing yet remarkably more difficult to pursue then one would believe in the free-est city of all: Amsterdam. Really exploring a certain field needs persistence. We set out primarily every other Wednesday. This might change to every other Thursday. Along side persistence features structure. Indispensable assets to take off with.

The other interesting subject I am longing to share with you is a small little treatise on the difference between attachment and connection. This is more of a group travel. It’s the first time for me to make up my mind about the difference between attachment and connection. To do so I’d better be in your presence. If not I risk loosing track. The suspected major importance of the difference between attachment and connection (attaching an electric wire, plugging in for connection) holds me back a bit. I feel it to be difficult to grasp it’s full meaning. As opposed to the adventure that evolves around the ‘free of’ food-trip. Simply drawing upon some sort of rationalistic point of view and behaviour guided along a clear – free of – etiquette. Or isn’t it that simple? Am I oblivious of the important subconscious impact my friend and me make by eating vegan and the drive we feel to follow it through?

Let me quickly share some first results of our comparitive research into the vegan lunch options, just to give you an idea. After having had lunch at Dophert, Wagamama, the Alchemist Garden, Deshima and Lavinia -all being day time restaurants located in Amsterdam and offering good lunch options, we agreed upon the best lunch deal at Deshima. We do not take into account the bill. Price-quality relation isn’t the first thing to consider in this new type of sports. We take into account: the quantity of vegan options at the menu, the genuineness of the chefs’ vegan drive, the authenticity of the ingredients and the energy we got from the food and it’s location. We discovered ‘the Amsterdam way’ isn’t appealing if it comes to vegan cooking in particular or serving food in general. We feel best if our servings are honest and made with an amount of knowledge, love and attention that surpasses our own. The establishments with a kind of non-commercial feel, really focusing at the food, in an environment that’s not exactly cosy, hip or outstanding we like best: Deshima and Alchemist Garden. Lavinia makes a nice day break by presenting their products and menu in a customer friendly way, up to date yet low profile. Unfortunately the so called Amsterdam way rules. The awesome looking cakes at Lavinia all contain refined sugar. So far for the outcome of the research into vegan lunch options.

‘Free of’ features easily as the main adjective for 2015. The best adjective according to my humble opinion being no adjective at all. Free of as an adjective is coming close to this minimalistic best. There’s all kinds of free from. Free from as opposed to free form, is restrictive, bordered and contains a lot of no’s. Instead of freely forming – or going with – the flow. Alas! we do no longer go with the flow.

Yet at the same time we’re meant to accept all that is. No no’s, no resistance. At least that’s what mindfull or wise people are telling us. Forget your ego, don’t let your mind rule your behavior. This contradicts big time our efforts to live consciously by saying no to almost everything our bodies crave for. Or does it not? Acceptance versus resistance: it leads me to grasp for a solution hidden in the difference between being attached and being connected. Saying no to the good taste, nice textures and satisfaction derived from animal products, results in testifying to me and others that I am not attached to these animalistic seductions. Instead I connect to my body. If I really connect to my body without the fear of loosing what I like – being attached – I find out what I really need. However if then I discover the body cries for ice cream, red wine and sashimi, I am set back. The mind says: ‘that’s wrong!’ To make things even more complicated, we get to the explanation that if the body yearns for unhealthy stuff, it means the body is not in balance. Would it be in balance, it would crave for mere water when thirsty and carrots or beans when hungry. Pretty daunting and much of a disillusion after having prioritized food in every possible way for the past thirty years.

Where’s the exit? Experience! To go through it all. To find out that listening to my body doesn’t actually start with listening to my body. Conscious living and eating both start with the mind. Hence mindfulness. First I tell myself or let others and pseudo-scientific studies tell me, what is good or bad for my health. A good first step into this thousand miles journey is for example: Timeless secrets of Health and Rejuvenation by the late Andreas Moritz. The journey continues by saying no to almost anything that is easily available, palatable and payable. Hence the exploration of alternative, macro-biotic, ayurvedic and vegan fields to find out what suits my taste. Then developing proper recipes, creating a personal daily routine and new cravings. Along the way this most exciting revelation pops up: I can actually make the body crave for green tea and date balls covered with shredded coconut instead of glasses filled with Sauternes accompanied by butterscotch chocolate, not to mention the terribly wrong foie gras. It takes a couple of years and a lot of don’ts. But it works!

After all I am not so sure if real connection is coming in. I’ve merely just changed my patterns and habits. Because the mind and others made me believe my former patterns and habits were unhealthy, making me stressed, tired and old. I was able to transform my attachments. Which is an important step into the direction of being freed from attachments. But it isn’t the same thing. Sometimes I really am able to feel the body, to connect to it. The funny thing is, when it happens, I am happy. The inner body doesn’t talk back telling me what to resist.

With special thanks to my friend Michiel Oudakker and awesomeamsterdam.nl