Eivissa

Sometimes I miss you little sister

your spontaneous invitations 

to explore the shore and forest paths

to be in nature with a dance and a drum

you never disappointed

~

Often you floated away

having us under your spell

mesmerising as you are

with long summer dresses 

blowing in the wind

always open to stories and magic

~

You are my hedonist sister

everybody loves and everyone claims

to have a piece of you

~

It makes me sad 

because you are exploited

by those with big dollar-sign eyes

who don’t care about your well-being

their only interest is taking a piece of you

without connecting with who you truly are

your past leave them cold

your wells have dried up, don’t you see?

~

I wish you’d kick those ignorant bastards out

but then they come to me, spoiling it here

while all I want is

real kings and queens

caring for the land 

instead of their next champagne and lobster

And so should you, little sister

I love you.

M. 

Belonging as a Wild Woman.

I just finished a book called “Belonging” by Toko-pa Turner.

The title of the book spoke to me, as the theme belonging is beautiful, tricky and so universal. As humans, we all want to belong. Belong to a group, culture, a partner, place, a home.

Messy

The title spoke to me, because the past two years I spent in transition time without having a place I could call home. For the first time after two years I feel I have a home again. And apparently this is something very important to me, to have a base, a place where I can be myself and build upon. It’s still messy and a lot of times I’m looking for things I can’t find anymore and don’t know where I put them, but we’re getting there. Moving house means always chaos.

The first thing I noticed when I returned to Mallorca after being with my family in the Netherlands, was how I re-connected with nature. The full moon that seemed huge on the early morning I arrived by ferry; the dark-red earth plowed by the farmers some days before; the stars at night; the bleating of sheep; the fresh air; almond trees that just have started to blossom. They made me feel home. Although my heart ached to leave my family, I knew I was home.

Fit in

Some weeks before I walked through Amsterdam with my sis and niece and it made me realize I never truly abandoned this city. Home just knows several places. After these years living in Spain, I still belong here. Home is a place where we are accepted the way we are, with flaws and all. I was, but of course like so many, I also needed to fit in, job-wise. Trees that grow euros, didn’t exist in our city-garden and never will be. Sometimes I felt a stranger in the work I had to do.

The most valuable “asset” I gained by moving to Ibiza and later to Mallorca, is the connection with the natural world, which I didn’t really see before. I couldn’t see before, because I wasn’t aware of this whole world of miracles around me. And I am a part of it! It was on Ibiza that I finally learned that the phases of the moon correspond to my menstrual cycle. I just never thought of that, and nobody told me that before. Ridiculous, right?! 

Wild Woman

I started to read about the archetype of the wild woman, a book named Women Who Run with the Wolves : Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype by Jungian analyst, author and poet Clarissa Pinkola Estés. 

A Wild Woman lives authentically, with a sense of creativity in all she does. She has the passion and courage to express her self and her ideas freely, even if it feels vulnerable, because she then lives her truth.

To me a Wild Woman is an intuitive, confident, caring, creative woman who lives in tune with herself and above all with nature, free from societal expectations, fully aware of nature’s power and that power that resides in her. I don’t consider myself a wild woman (yet), but I love the idea of her!

On Ibiza I met a few women who are close to Wild Women, mostly living completely free of what society expects from them, but often, like everything on Ibiza is, it was a lot of show too. Not authentic. I know a Dutch lady though, she is in her sixties, caring, free, and does completely what she desires, loves nature and animals and lives totally off-grid in the hills up north. She is true to herself and to others. To me she is a Wild Woman.

Are you a Wild Woman? To stir up the wild woman within, immerse yourself in these 13 quotes.

A Wild Woman feels, and is connected with, the natural world and the animals around her. She plays with dirt, feeds the plants, dances in the rain, plants trees, eats their fruit and honors her belonging to the earth. She is home. And she knows she’d better take care of it.

The book Belonging by Toko-pa Turner shows that belonging isn’t always a place, but a set of skills that we in modern times have lost or forgotten.

To re-find our ties with nature is a way to find belonging in this world.

Alienated

Toko-pa Turner writes poetry with Belonging. This deep fragment at nearly the end of the book is truly spot on:

“Reflecting on our present-day relationship with nature, you could say that we are collectively and chronically disoriented. I believe a great deal of the lostness we feel as a culture is a result of how alienated from the natural world we’ve become. Not only are we disconnected from nature, but aneasthetized to the enormity of that loss. Many people don’t even realize what is missing because they’ve never known it, but underneath our preoccupations with getting ahead and being accepted, there is a deep well of pain: our unbelonging to the earth herself.

Of course, we can never truly be separated from the natural world because, like every other living being, we are quite literally expressions of the earth. But in the grandness of what we as a species have created and called civilization, we have come to think of ourselves as conquerors of the wild.

Forgetting, in some pandemic amnesia, the true origins that make any of it possible. Our consciousness is so disconnected from the web of life that we have come to think of the earth’s generosities as our own resources to privatize and commodify for profit. We are so enamoured with the construction of our own endless, narrow tunnels of productivity that we have become alienated from the very body that supports and sustains us.” 

Con Amor,

Eva

Photo by Christopher Campbell/Unsplash

6 Ways to Rewild Yourself Now.

As David Attenborough said in his latest nature documentary A Life on Our Planet: “WE MUST RE-WILD OUR WORLD”. Watching his witness statement of today’s natural world, Attenborough demonstrates the planet’s wilderness and biodiversity are rapidly declining, and it’s shocking proof.

Last year when the fight against a pandemic ruled our world – and in most countries across the globe the battle is even more alive now – we could witness unusual images as a result of the global shutdown.

As human activity stilled and people were locked down in their homes and an unprecedented silence entered metropolitan cities, wildlife responded. Wild horses appeared in the streets of Sarajevo, jackals in the heart of Tel Aviv, deer were wandering in forests during daylight, female loggerhead turtles could undisturbingly lay her eggs at closed beaches. Smoggy air turned into cleaner skies, polluted rivers turned into clearer waters. All of a sudden silence ruled the chaotic world and natural conservation could exist without human interference.

You may even say the pandemic has been a demonstration that we are not apart, but a part of the natural world. We are a part of a larger complex natural ecosystem. And our human impact is valid.

As David Attenborough said in his latest nature documentary A Life on Our Planet: “WE MUST RE-WILD OUR WORLD”. Watching his witness statement of today’s natural world, Attenborough demonstrates the planet’s wilderness and biodiversity are rapidly declining, and it’s shocking proof.

Material world

Re-wilding the world starts with re-wilding ourselves. We are so accustomed to spending most of our time indoors in air-conditioned and central heated houses and offices. We hardly know how cold or heat feels anymore. In our modern lives we often do sedentary work, we sit in front of computer screens most of the day. We watch our Twitter timeline to see the latest dramatic events in the world. We read our newspapers and magazines on the same computer screens. We let in the noise of the digital world, where conspiracies, fake news and sensational stories spread across the world straight into our living rooms. Stories that don’t seem to unite, but divide the world. Modern and fast lives, in which the connection with the natural world is completely lost. Because we are too busy living these lives. We feel that we are a part of a material world, separated from the natural world.

Bliss

It doesn’t have to be this way. There are small things we can do, on a daily basis, to bring back the connection with nature, re-wilding ourselves, because deep down the connection is there. How do we otherwise explain the joy we feel when we walk in a forest and we see deer grazing? I felt it the other day, the fresh winter air on my cheeks and the scent of dewy leaves, while I walked through the forest and dunes and young deer were running off from the distance. Pure bliss. Peace. These serene moments in the forest make us forget our mundane troubles. 

Here’s what we can do to re-wild ourselves, to end the lost connection with the natural world:

Go outside

Turn off the noise of screens and televisions and walk in the park or in the forest. 

Fill your lungs with the cleanest air. Immerse yourself in nature and watch the birds and look for their names. 

Be powered by ass, not gas

Take your bike for transport and use those strong legs to get you from A to B. Feel the wind in your hair. Breathe in the fresh air.

Get your fuel free of pesticides and plastic

Eat vegetables from a local organic farmer or a local market. Who actually wants eggplants sprayed with pesticides that kill biodiversity and which are wrapped in plastic? The dreadful amount of plastic packaging in supermarkets is hard to watch.

Re-connect with the animal kingdom

“Change our diets into mostly plant-based diets. The planet can’t support billions of meat eaters,” David Attenborough says in A Life on Our Planet and he isn’t the first conservationist and environmentalist who claims this. 

In this way we also help prevent wildlife’s habitat, like the Amazon and Brazil’s Cerrado, from being destroyed and counter deforestation.

We help making an end to factory farms which has normalized animal suffering and the killing of tens of billions of animals, like 50 billion chickens plus tens of billions of fish and shellfish each year.

Our connection to animal lives is completely lost, we consider them as food, as objects, and not as sentient beings. We keep denying their suffering and keep our heads buried in the sand. To reconnect with the animal world and to protect wildlife’s habitat, we have to change our diet and stop the animal holocaust. 

Be the gatekeeper your mind needs

We can be easily bombarded and become overwhelmed by the news each day if we’re not careful. Especially in these pandemic times the stream of negativity that flows into our world is dramatic. Watching the news, it doesn’t bring you anything, but misery. I’d rather read a good book or a well written article about the topics I care.

Really can’t miss the news updates? Allocate a time frame, for example an hour in the afternoon. If you’d rather want to keep your spirits high than low, don’t start the mornings with watching or reading the news. To me, there isn’t a worse way of starting my day.  

Feed your soul, don’t poison it.

Again, in these unusual and depressing times, we need to be extra watchful how we feed our souls. Caring for ourselves and each other is what we have to do now. Let’s surround us with people who want us to grow and who want the best for us, and vice versa. Support each other. Go for walks together. Read books that inspire. Have dreams and goals you’d like to work on. 

Grief need not harden us. It can open us. It can remind us that our highest duty is to maintain a harmonious relationship between people, nature, and spirit. ~ Nadia Owusu 

Con Amor,

Eva

Illustration by Vanessa Rose Graham

16 Nature Quotes That Will Leave You Breathless.

Let’s go outside, feel the sunshine and breathe the wild air! My 16 favourite quotes on nature which are my reminder of her power and wisdom.

A walk in the forest, a ride with your bicycle through the countryside, a dip in the ocean, the lush garden where you enjoy the late afternoon sunshine after work… these priceless moments give us joy and we need them to survive in a chaotic world. Go outside and when the weather is dark and gloomy, get yourself some plants for in the house. Green plants incite feelings of happiness.

We need time in nature every now and then to charge our levels of happiness, to release stress and to heal of trauma and grief. I’m grateful to live on this small island surrounded by the waves of the Mediterranean Sea where the possibilities to spend time in nature are countless. Strangely, I often find myself behind my laptop, spending too much time there..

So let’s go outside, feel the sunshine and breathe the wild air!

My 16 favourite quotes on nature which are my reminder of her power and wisdom.

The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quiet, alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be.
~ Anne Frank

Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.
~ John Muir

Things don’t just happen in this world of arising and passing away. We don’t live in some kind of crazy, accidental universe. Things happen according to certain laws, laws of nature. Laws such as the law of karma, which teaches us that as a certain seed gets planted, so will that fruit be.
~ Sharon Salzberg

Nature doesn’t need people – people need nature; nature would survive the extinction of the human being and go on just fine, but human culture, human beings, cannot survive without nature.
~ Harrison Ford

Our task must be to free ourselves by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty.
~ Albert Einstein

Wolves and women are relational by nature, inquiring, possessed of great endurance and strength. They are deeply intuitive, intensely concerned with their young, their mate and their pack. Yet both have been hounded, harassed and falsely imputed to be devouring and devious, overly aggressive, of less value than those who are their detractors.
~ Clarissa Pinkola Estes

Every particular in nature, a leaf, a drop, a crystal, a moment of time is related to the whole, and partakes of the perfection of the whole.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

One of the first conditions of happiness is that the link between Man and Nature shall not be broken.
~ Leo Tolstoy

May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds.
~ Edward Abbey

Mother Nature is always speaking. She speaks in a language understood within the peaceful mind of the sincere observer. Leopards, cobras, monkeys, rivers and trees; they all served as my teachers when I lived as a wanderer in the Himalayan foothills.
~ Radhanath Swami

All the lessons are in nature. You look at the way rocks are formed – the wind and the water hitting them, shaping them, making them what they are. Things take time, you know?
~ Diane Lane

The key to nature’s therapy is feeling like a tiny part of it, not a master over it. There’s amazing pride in seeing a bee land on a flower you planted – but that’s not your act of creation, it’s your act of joining in.
~ Victoria Coren Mitchell

If we could establish a deep abiding relationship with nature, we would never kill an animal for our appetite; we would never harm, vivisect, a monkey, a dog, a guinea pig for our benefit. We would find other ways to heal our wounds, heal our bodies.
~ Jiddu Krishnamurti

I understood at a very early age that in nature, I felt everything I should feel in church but never did. Walking in the woods, I felt in touch with the universe and with the spirit of the universe.
~ Alice Walker

In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.
~ Albert Camus

Nature is our eldest mother; she will do no harm.
~ Emily Dickinson

The fire in the sky
the moments before darkness arrives
with all her fury,
this pallet of exploding colors
it’s a message of hope.
It says I have lived another day
and so have you.

Con Amor,

Eva

Value Beyond Money.

How old beliefs can sabotage our most beautiful life. It’s hard work to change our beliefs, even if we know they fit the life we’re living much better and that they make us a happier and a nicer person.

Every Dutch man and woman knows what “being a Calvinist or Calvinistic” means: you must work hard, live a steady life, save your money and believe in scarcity which stops you from living an abundant life. Right?

Calvinism is the philosophy of Johannes Calvijn (1509-1564), a French-Swiss Christian theologian and the founder of this Protestant-Christian doctrine. Interesting detail is that Calvinism created the perfect climate for the rise of capitalism. These above mentioned characteristics are deeply rooted in the Dutch culture. Most Dutch parents raise their sons and daughters in this belief, at least they used to.

It’s remarkable to see that the Calvinistic thought can still bother me in my daily life. Especially when I choose to spend the rest of my life in a way that I wouldn’t describe as a life of hard work with each month enough money earned that can be saved. And since my view of life has changed from scarcity to abundance. I can tell you, it’s not that easy. It’s hard work to change your beliefs, even if you know the new beliefs fit the life you’re living much better and make you a happier and nicer person.

Every once and a while I feel guilty (another Calvinistic trait) for enjoying the freedom I have on Ibiza. I feel guilty of not yet earning money with my articles. I am blinded by the deeply rooted belief that I must earn money with my work as a writer. This conviction is even broader and sounds like this: I need to earn money to be of value. Isn’t that terrible? This is not who I am today, but still it’s a lingering thought and it’s difficult to erase.

Friends and family are asking if I have found new work (I quitted my job two months ago. At the moment as I’m writing this, a message of a friend has popped up on my phone asking this very question! Really!).

Well, this is my work: writing. I have found my new work and I’m happy and grateful. Does it pay the bills? No.

Does this make me worthless? I don’t think so, although I sometimes believe it does. Where does this self-sabotaging thinking come from? Of course the Calvinistic roots are part of it. I’d give a hell of a party with as many mojitos as you want if I could say them goodbye. Although, and I would like to have that clear, the Calvinistic traits that are at the base of Dutch society did serve me well when I was younger (my discipline to attain a masters degree in law during some difficult and emotional years). Nevertheless, I feel they don’t fit me anymore. They interfere with the new path I’ve chosen. After all, Calvinism and Ibiza are not exactly a match made in heaven.

How people are valued is explained by the physician Dr. Gabor Maté:

“The nature of our economic system that says that what matters is not who you are, but how you are valued by others. It’s a materialistic society. We value people for what they produce or for what they consume. And the people that neither consume nor produce are ostracized and totally devalued by society.”

In moments of weakness this is how I view myself, whether I like it or not. This is what society tells us from a young age and goes on telling us until we die.

Last night I came across this short and interesting video of Dr. Gabor Maté:

 

 

I wouldn’t say that I feel ostracized or devalued by society. Please no. And certainly not here on Ibiza. No, I’m rather shocked by the fact that I sometimes see myself this way: I am of less value because I chose to follow my heart (instead of the money).

I will shake off these thoughts, my chronic convictions about money and my worries of what other people think of me. I want to keep on believing in my own path and not to be distracted every once in a while by old beliefs and by what other people say to make me doubt myself.

To do this succesfully I only have to be in a forest with trees standing tall, admire the moon at night, hear the sea waves breaking, listen to the laughing sea gulls in the mornings or ride the rocky path on my bicycle. It’s ironic how I always forget these bullying beliefs when I am outside, in nature, witnessing the things without “value” that give me value for I am part of it all.

….You and me, we’re part of something big.

 

Con Amor,

Eva

 

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