An Honest-to-Goodness Life-Saver. Column on Elephant Journal

It’s funny how we take something for granted for many years and don’t cherish its true value until much later.

My latest column has been published on Elephant Journal >>>>>>>

https://www.elephantjournal.com/2018/08/an-honest-to-goodness-life-saver/

Something extraordinary on Ibiza..?

 

Con Amor,

Eva

 

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Photo by Rawpixel on Unsplash

 

 

 

 

A Minimalist Life – part I –

My life is simple, I’m not afraid to confess that.

In this life where things are complex -the world is far from simple- how can we lead a “simple life”?

ALL YOU NEED IS LESS 

It all began three years ago when my love and I moved to the Spanish island, Ibiza. We wanted to live our lives more slowly and free under the Mediterranean sun. The long Dutch winter months we started to detest and going abroad, where the sun wasn’t hiding under layers of thick, grey clouds for many months of the year, had been on our minds for several years already. We loved to live our lives in Amsterdam and it certainly was a beautiful and abundant life, but we felt it was time for some change. A sabbatical year ended and now after three years we still feel very much committed to stay on Ibiza. Our lives have become simpler here on the white island as we experience we need less than before. We have a roof over our heads, a little beach-studio which we rent from an Ibizian family. It has the tiniest kitchen – in a closet! – and no bedrooms, but enough space for us. Actually, the terrace with a dream-view at sea is the reason why we fell in love with this place.

We work and earn way less, but meanwhile we experience more freedom, for example to do things we love: to be outside, bike in nature, to write poetry and start that novel, to become an eco-builder and start building a tiny house. We don’t need to work and earn money for buying the stuff we think we need. Besides, we are together without kids. I guess that makes the difference, although I have seen couples with kids leading a minimalist life on Ibiza too.

LESS STUFF, MORE TIME AND CONSCIOUS CHOICES 

I’m honest when I say that I feel happy without having many things. I don’t need them to be happy. I’ve never been a material girl anyway, that has made it probably easier too. I still have my old iPhone, never replaced it, and yes, I enjoy having a new laptop (granted by my employer :). It gives me possibilities, like doing one of the things I love most (to read & write). I think I have become more selective in what I buy and keep. You have to declutter and make choices what to bring or not when you move house or in our case emigrate to another country. I found that both hard and relieving. Especially the boxes with books I had to give away was hard and something not to dwell on for too long. Anyhow, I find very much comfort in the thought that somebody else is enjoying them now!

That I call my life simple is not only about having less things, it’s also about having more time by having more control over my time. Before we needed to earn money to be able to pay the mortgage of our house and bills and to save some part as well. Therefore we had to work more hours without enough time for other important things in life. Furthermore a simple life for me means lifestyle choices and making them more consciously, like buying local food, use the bike instead of the car (our van) and by doing this supporting the miserable oil-industry as less as possible, say goodbye to television and learn more about philosophy and spirituality and other subjects that enrich my soul, add happiness and meaning in my life.

MATERIAL WORLD

Last weekend we watched the documentary “MINIMALISM” http://minimalismfilm.com on our laptop at home. Yes, we can call ourselves minimalists.. I recognized much of it (never made the 6-figure salary before having started my minimalist life though 😉 ). Yet the documentary was a bit of disappointing, didn’t hear anything new and the price (15 US dollars) to watch it was quite overrated too, but I do believe this documentary has an essential message of truth. It says we don’t need all the things we consume in order to lead happy lives. We don’t need so much stuff in our lives and to believe owning so many things makes us happy is a misconception. We live in a material world where we over-consume and on top of that the media are feeding that material desire in us big time. Don’t we need that new dress, trendy bag or beautiful sofa in our lives to feel (more) happy? Didn’t we work so damn hard for this and don’t you think we earn it? Of course we do! And we got to have it, the sooner the better. The famous scene where you see hundreds of people waiting in line to be able to buy the newest iPhone and running across the store like maniacs to get one is quite sad and embarrasing, but shows the greed in us which, I believe, characterizes modern life.

THE POWER OF CHOICE  

However, we have a choice. Always. We can choose ourselves to do it differently and if you want to, step by step. We can choose to become more aware of the consequences of buying certain things, like, for example, clothes which are made under unworthy circumstances. The fashion-industry is huge, especially fast fashion, and we all need something to wear, don’t we? So supporting fair trade and ethical clothing is already an important step. I have bought just a few new clothes the past three years. It absolutely doesn’t mean that I don’t care about clothes anymore, but what I have bought most I bought second-hand at a market here on the island so these clothes get a second life. In summer you hardly need any clothes anyway as the sun don’t let you wear that much; having less clothes works absolutely fine here. On top of that, I work from home and nobody sees what I’m wearing so most of the time this results in wearing a few favourite pieces over and over again. I suppose being “nonchalantly” dressed in a modern office in Amsterdam like I am here on Ibiza would be less simple and possibly not appreciated.

Yes, I believe we can choose to experience more freedom and happiness in our lives by making our lives simple(r). It works for me and I’m still learning.

Don’t be afraid to make your life simple(r)!

Stay tuned for “A Minimalist Life – Part II -”!!

Con Amor,

Eva

October mood

We’re already landed in October! I haven’t written much on this blog lately. Not that I don’t know what to write, but it’s evident that I have been quite lethargic lately, I still am a bit to be honest. Last two weeks I had ennoying belly-problems, it’s not over completely. Lost weight. My new shorts are hanging loose around my butt. I’m giving the intestines and belly some rest now. No more vinos for the time being, that’s for sure.

When you don’t feel that great physically, you surely don’t feel exactly on top of the world either. In order to not losing the magic here I biked to “El Mirador” of “Es Vèdra” last Saturday (what can be a greater remedy against apathy than some good exercise?!). From here you have a beautiful lookout and view at the world’s third most energetic point “Es Vèdra”: Huge rocks risen from the bottom of the Mediterranean sea. Looking at it I see the shape of a sleeping dragon. Some say this island of solely rocks is the heritage of Atlantis, the mythical and lost island. Not a single soul lives here. Probably another reason why it fascinates so many people. So mystical rocks of Es Vèdra, give me a shot of energy and amazing magic please?

I started to feel more energetic again, that was easy (!), but it didn’t last very long. After I came home, sweaty from the bikeride, and had a shower my eyes became heavier and heavier and so I ended falling asleep for an hour or so. But it was all good and the mystical sleeping dragon is still here with me.

I may have not blogged for a while, but I do write a little almost every day. A poem, some phrases and thoughts. Most you can find here: Silentsouldiers poetry Ibiza . I’ve noticed that writing about how I feel really helps to find more peace with myself. After I write some lines and lay my pen down I truly start to feel better. Because I give my thoughts a life and don’t keep it in my head all the time. So here’s another reason to write! After all, you have to make your own happiness. How much love and sun, how much fortune and how many caring, sweet people you have in your life, it can’t always save you. It enriches your life, absolutely yes, but the only person in the world who can save you, is you.

Con Amor,

Eva

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Looking for love…

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Everybody deserves love in his or her life. Love from our lovers, partners, children, family, friends, animals. To receive and give love. It’s not only romantic love. It’s love from being to being, human to human; it’s transcendental love. We thrive on love; regardless our age. It’s the fundamental healing power in this world.

Yesterday I had a great day with my dear friend. She’s a fantastic woman, beautiful, intelligent and very lovable. She had a bit of a rough week so I thought some beach, lunch and talking-time would bring some loving comfort here. The thing is, she’s feeling alone and wishes to meet a love in her life. While talking with her I was wondering (like always) why on earth this amazing woman doesn’t have an amazing love in her life who adores her. Why not? She deserves it. Like everyone. But especially she!

She continues her search for romantic love. Stories of the men she has met till now are mostly amusing, but the men are not the persons to build something with. So there’s quite some disappointment. I truly hope one day she’ll meet a great guy with whom she can share her adventures in life. Although I do think we need to start with ourselves first. To love the person just the way you are. To say: I deserve the best in life. I don’t settle for anything or anybody less. She can love herself more than she does now, I think. I know it’s not always easy to find happiness, to be happy and life can bring us down, but we can’t find happiness elsewhere than in ourselves. Be at peace with ourselves, also on days that suck. Have faith. Surrender. Sure, we haven’t learned that at school..

I have to think about these striking words of a writer I admire, Anaïs Nin: How wrong it is for a woman to expect the man to build the world she wants, rather than to create it herself.”  Yes, we are responsable for our own happiness. Always. However, if you are lucky to have found your big love in life, your life can get better, healthier and happier, which affects the person you are. Love makes us blossom.

Searching for love… It’s already in you, dear friend. You are love. You are happiness. Trust in it and romantic love comes your way. Hahaa, I know, I’m a romantic, but it worked for me. I know it will for you. Don’t forget to be true to yourself on the way. Create your own world with the things you love, the things that make you happy, friends, music, adventures… Never give up on love.

Because like I said, you deserve the fucking best in the world! 🙂 Love you, beautiful friend!

Awake

 


She wanted to be saved

only by herself

because deep down

she knows her way

 

Last Thursday night I couldn’t sleep and felt overwhelmed by that annoying little monster.. again. Every now and then it comes and visits me, preferably at night: doubt that takes over and brings me out of balance. These questions: “Am I on the right track?”; “Did I disappoint my parents by choosing this kind of life on Ibiza, without a satisfying career I studied hard for?”; “What am I doing with my life?”; “Is it meaningful and if not or not enough, do I need to make other choices?”; “Am I happy with my life?”

Probably that feeling of doubt was also triggered by my very good friend who came to visit us with her husband and children. On my birthday she said something like this: “…but don’t you want to do something about these things? … I do.” She referred to the human rights crisis regarding the refugees and immigrants in Europe. My friend feels quite involved by this matter and wants to work with refugees and wants to be a bridge builder between cultures. Very idealistic and I admire her for that. She pointed out that I used to have such ambitions too with my project for Amnesty International a couple of years ago. Of course I know and I still believe it’s very important to have ideals. Later this short conversation made me feel as I’m only living for myself, here in sunny paradise, without any responsibilities and meaning in my life. It honestly gave me a bad feeling. Not only caused by the remark of my friend, it happens occasionally that I feel overwhelmed by this extreme feeling of doubt. But is it true? Am I only living for myself, without having meaning in my life?

Giving up life and work in Amsterdam and moving to Ibiza changed me. I slowly have started perceiving things, that used to be very normal to me, from a different perspective. Things such as work, career, expectations, happiness, success, ambition. Through books I’m reading, the talks with my man and some friends on the island, through more free time I have for contemplation and feeling more connected with nature than in the Netherlands, I am no longer the person I used to be and sometimes that means I feel overwhelmed by doubt. The “safe” status of having a full-time career, more than enough money and meeting expectations of family and friends around you, and let’s not forget, society, used to keep me going. It formed my identity for many years. As soon you don’t have these things anymore you feel lost. It happened to me, especially the first year after we came to live here. Just for the record, now I feel completely at ease with my new identity as an Ibiza-resident 😉

I guess having a meaning in life is important for many of us. It’s also for me. It doesn’t need to be enormous, I believe you can touch someone’s life in a small and significant way. I feel there is music to share at some point in my life. Each day I feel blessed to be part of this beautiful island with my man, but I also realize we live in a kind of “bubble”. A paradise surrounded by an endless blue sea. From our window I look down to it. Protected by the deep blue sea from the bad world out there. Living here gives me that feeling… And I’m thankful for that.

To be continued.

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