What health means (to me).

Peace, war, sickness and health, it’s all happening. More than 2000 km away there is ravage and death. Lost humans and homeless animals in stifling fear. It’s surreal to realise that battle field isn’t extremely far from our safe houses. In the meantime I have been to my motherland to be there for — and with — my family. My sister has been diagnosed with breast-cancer on valentine’s day. Her tumors were removed and she will get treatment soon. The hospitals still have lots to catch up due to covid-19, so my sister is waiting for her first treatment to begin. Let’s hope she can start soon. 

Another confrontation that life can change all of a sudden. A severe attack of the human body is not that different from an invasion of a country. You trusted it to be safe, but under the skin there was tension, sickness, an underground battle fought between parties. Worlds are turned upside down. The major challenge will be to regain faith in your body, to shake off the fear in fighting your enemies. Those in war are bearing arms, and eliminating “the other”, the sick are using mental bullets as their weapons. And the heaviest bullet will be trust. Trust in the body and mind that is capable of healing, in its incredible strength and flexibility. Despair bends into courage, pain into hope. Remember that rebounds are just temporary. 

But you will only know this when you are the one who must get through this. As everything in life, you first need to experience all of it yourself. Only then you will fully understand what it means to live in a sick body or having a sick country as your home. 

What do we know about war? Only our parents know what war is when they are old enough. But we, the spoiled generation, we don’t know a damn thing. What does it mean to flee our home and country? To be a refugee? We are not able to even grasp a thing of it. Maybe we will know when sea levels rise, fertile lands turn into deserts, biodiversity is gone and our soils are completely depleted. Maybe one day we will understand as we knock on other gates.

We live in a sick world in sick bodies. More than ever we need health in our lives; for both our bodies and minds. Health means to be a guardian of nature. It means respect, acceptance, knowledge, compassion, trust, love and friendship – with yourself and those around you. But also art, craftmanship, music and dance. It’s all that nourishes life.

Con Amor,

Eva  

It’s So Unfair.

Why is it that some of us have so much on their plates? Not in the sense of work or activities. No, I mean too much as in loss, pain and grief.

fairness doesn’t seem to belong here
a heart doesn’t beat unchanged
lungs don’t breathe air parallelly
a body doesn’t survive equally
body cells don’t divide unvaryingly
a baby crib’s country doesn’t count evenly
no, fairness doesn’t seem to belong here
sometimes the spirits have other plans
and care for us differently in ways
we cannot comprehend.

Too much

Why is it that some of us have so much on their plates? Not in the sense of work or activities. No, I mean too much as in loss, pain and grief.

Every now and then this question grabs me and words as “it’s so unfair” always end up rolling off my tongue. Last Thursday morning I said these words again. I opened my mailbox and I scrolled down the bullshit information (most of it). Since three months or so I receive a daily newsletter of a Dutch newspaper which is kind of strange as I’ve never subscribed to it. Anyway, I don’t always take a further look, but that morning I did. My eyes stopped when I read the headline and I decided to open the article. I was able to read it as it wasn’t hidden behind a paid wall. Yes, it was about her. His sister he was so proud and fond of.

Paulien

I read that she died at the age of 37, Paulien van Deutekom, the former Dutch world champion all round speed skating. She left behind a 1-year-old little daughter and husband, her family and friends after she suffered from cancer.

For quite some years I lived together with her brother in a student home in Rotterdam. I remember he said how disciplined she was, always moving, training, cycling. Living a healthy life. Working hard. On top of that she had such a sweet heart. I met her a couple of times in our student home years ago. Her brother was so proud of her. Unfortunately over the years I lost contact with him, but I was able to send him a message which he replied the other day. What can you say to someone who experiences such a painful loss? I mentioned it’s so unfair to lose her at such a young age, just like I felt it. This unfairness lingers in my head.

We woke up

I talked with my partner about it and he always seems to look at death differently than I do. More from a distance. I’m sucked into it and almost can feel the pain of those who experience a heavy loss. I feel sadness when I hear news like that. I imagine the broken hearts. But I also feel it hits me like somebody pinches me and I tell myself “thank God I’m alive”. Dorus and I, we woke up this morning. My mother woke up this morning. My sister. My brother. Dorus’s dad in New Zealand. His brothers and sisters. Their partners woke up. Our friends. We all woke up this morning. Nobody is ill.

Intense life

People like Paulien, they lived their life as all which they experienced had to be squeezed in a short time. Therefore it was an intense life. Maybe to another person it would held a complete lifetime. They truly lived. In their short, but lives well lived my partner sees a certain consolation. Yes, it’s a beautiful thought, yet for a parent or brother we can’t imagine how it must be to live with this cruel reality.

50th birthday

My sister turned 50 last Friday. I wasn’t there, but in thought I was and automatically I went back to March 2015 when a doctor said she possibly had metastatic cancer. I took the first plane to be with her and my family. In that time we were torn between hope and fear. I will never forget how thankful I was my sister wasn’t severely ill, but would be able to become healthy again. In the end she recovered from her illness. My old roommate’s sister didn’t.

Cherish what you have

It’s a fact, we can’t control everything in life. However, as the words which a friend wrote to me say: what we do control is how we cherish what we have and to make the right decisions for ourselves, with love and without regrets. It’s true. It’s powerful.

Con Amor,

Eva

A Ship Without Direction

A relationship, a friendship, a job or project needs time before we learn its worth and the ability to build on. It needs patience. It’s like climbing a mountain where you experience uncomfortable moments. For writing goes the same.

“The road of life twists and turns and no two directions are ever the same. Yet our lessons come from the journey, not the destination” ~ Don Williams Jr. (American novelist and poet)

A relationship, a friendship, a job or project needs time before we learn its worth and the ability to build on. It needs patience. It’s like climbing a mountain where you have uncomfortable moments, fogginess and uncertainty of which path to take. These moments are succeeded by times of pure bliss when views are clear. It’s a pulling and pushing force when it doesn’t seem to flow. For writing goes the same.

Lost

The end of last week I felt quite lost. I was not only questioning my writing activities, but all choices I had made and still make by living simply on Ibiza. I was critizing myself. Worrying what family and friends are thinking of my choices in life. As a result I felt a lack of inspiration – which really sucked – asking myself: am I on the right track?

I don’t regret quitting my job here on Ibiza last July. After three years it was the right thing to do and this is the time to build on my relationship with writing. These past months I wrote whatever I wanted to write. I approached some magazines and online-media to offer my articles to. Some of them were replying and accepted my pieces, others didn’t. However, I feel like I just started to climb that mountain, so maybe I should be more patient with myself while I work on new articles and also poems for a book I wish to publish.

Life knows its ups and downs. If we have more time on our hands, like I have now (and it’s a true luxury to have time!), it often means time to over-think questions and events in life. “Am I on the right track” is such a question. “I don’t know” is an answer too.

Sushi

However, this isn’t new for me. Before we moved to Ibiza and I used to work as a legal consultant, later freelance, I asked myself this question too. But it occupied me less as I didn’t have the time to think about it seriously. I just woke up each morning and did what I had to do earning more than enough money to live a comfortable life and eat sushi every Friday evening.

Role

Those with labour or freelance contracts or those who are entrepeneurs might question too if they’re on the right track, but keep doing what is expected as the mortgage, billls, cars, holidays and children clothes have to be paid. Besides, it feels safe, having a jobtitle or occupation. For most of us, it does. It’s a role. To say that I was a legal consultant made things clear. I identified myself with this role which felt safe and distancing myself from that role have resulted in being a ship without knowing its direction. But like I said, having that role didn’t prevent me from questioning my direction in life.

Thankful

It’s a beautiful sunny November day while I’m writing these contemplations. I walked this morning on the beach and among these days on which I feel like a rudderless ship, I’m super thankful for my life here with the man I love. I adore the beauty of this island this time of year and know this is my home I love.

Those who might feel lost too, remember this: You don’t always have your answers ready and that isn’t something to be ashamed of. “I don’t know” is an answer too (thanks D). You might not know your destination, but you’re travelling knowing that your steps finally tell you the answers you were looking for. Be patient with yourself and your journey.

Con Amor,

Eva

 

 

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When Things became Clear and I Could no longer Stay.

Last month I made the difficult decision to quit my job. Things became suddenly so clear that I could no longer stay.

To take the decision itself wasn’t that hard as my whole being felt this isn’t right anymore. I feel grateful to be supported in this change by my positive rock-solid man.

Three years ago I started this job. It helped me to settle down on Ibiza after we left Amsterdam and decided to become residents of this island. I was thankful for that, especially since it isn’t always easy to build a life here the whole year round.

Since a couple of months I have discovered my loyalty and the work I have done, don’t matter. When money becomes an issue something ugly appears to the surface. I know. I have seen it.

After these years in which the job went well it’s rather disappointing to notice that I, as a worker, wasn’t truly appreciated. When I decided to stand up for myself my gut feeling said to pay attention and what I asked for won’t be appreciated. “Why are you start talking about your monthly wage? These are Ibizan wages and are standard here”, my inner conversation sounded.  And it turned out my gut feeling, my intuition, has told me the truth – like it always does. Even the inner voice appeared to be a real voice afterwards.

I never intended to do this job for many years, but after being a loyal, responsible and trustworthy worker for three years, at least I hoped to grow financially. That would have kept me motivated for another year and would have compensated the raising rent. Now that part didn’t work out, no proposal was done to try to keep me on board. Every business owner has to do what he or she has to do and he surely isn’t obliged to agree on every single aspect. Of course not. However, this was the first time ever in the past three years I wanted something and I can say it has brought me some interesting insights.

These are my last two weeks in this job. The work for a company which keeps on growing superfast and which is full of successes.

So, what’s next?

I have decided to follow what makes me happy, which is writing. Yes, I’m a bit nervous, but excited as well.

The fact is, at crucial moments in my life writing always wanted my attention. Now this is the ultimate chance. To do good things that are worthwhile to me and hopefully others. After all, we have only one life here, so we’d better have a meaningful and fulfilling life in which we cherish faith towards the moment and the near future. A life in which we can grow and share our passions with each other. A standstill isn’t an option. Certainly not when we believe we deserve better in life.

 

Con Amor,

Eva

 

 

 

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Being in my Forties Makes me Realize a Few Things.

“The most important thing is to hold on, hold out, for your creative life, for your solitude, for your time to be and do, for your very life; hold on, for the promise from the wild nature is this: after winter, spring always comes.”  ~  Clarissa Pinkola Estés

Death comes quickly and unexpectedly, sometimes exasperating slow. Death is sharp as a knife or nothing more than a salvation. It’s true, life is over before we know it. Not only our own lives, but also the lives of the ones we love dearly.

Life is a wondrous and bittersweet gift that gives us wings the times we feel light and free and brings us down the moments heaviness pulls at us. One day we will fall down and we will decide to pick ourselves up again. A loved one just died, illness gets under our skin, a relationship belongs no longer to the here and now, dreams are burried, loneliness creeps in or a troubled child causes grief. Maybe sooner than we think, maybe later, but at some point we all meet dark days in our life.

Last month I was celebrating my birthday and after 42 years I find myself asking questions about life more than ever. My new age has introduced some restless times with true life questions to ponder: Do I really do the things that matter to me? Do I live my life the way I truly want it? Do I have dreams? What am I doing to achieve them? Who am I?

The thought of the finitude of life and wasting it to things that don’t really matter to me, preoccupies me. I dream about the past where my future felt limitless and where life as a woman in her forties still seemed unimaginably far away. Adolescense didn’t have a huge grip on me, I was a happy, easy-going teenager,  but this new stage in life (my forties) does. The doubt and the fear of unchased dreams don’t go away. They won’t die. They die only if my life ends this very moment. My forties want to tell me something and I rather sit down and start listening.

 

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Photo by Aziz Acharki on Unsplash

 

As soon as I start to think that I love my life, still I’m not living it exactly how I want it, a deeper feeling of unworthiness, of shame even, enters my thoughts. What on earth are you complaining about? You have everything you need!

My dream is to write, to spend most of my precious time here on things that matter to me. I’m dreaming of a life filled with creative expression, inspiring conversation and enriching encounters. That’s nothing to feel ashamed about. Maybe I won’t be good enough, but I will never know as long as I don’t write.

Being in my forties has led to this new discovery which will be the gateway to a new phase in life. But where do I need to start? How do I make that change that enables my dreams to become reality?

Read further here … thanks! ♡

 

Con Amor,

Eva

 

 

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