Taking back control.

Life is good on Mallorca this January month. The days are sunny and soft, mostly 13 or 14 degrees Celsius, it feels like a mild spring, like always this time of year. But the nights are cold. Colder than other years and colder than when we lived on Ibiza. It’s around freezing temperatures and when we wake up I see the plants and earth covered with a thin layer of ice.

Early mornings in January are cold when you live off grid. Sometimes I light the rocket stove and make a fire straight when I get out of bed, but today it was so cold I went back under my warm duvet. Soooo good, especially with a warm cat next to you! Dorus was already on his way to his building job he’s doing at the moment. He cycles each day 1,5 hours to get there. Yes, on this cold morning under my warm duvet I thought of him on his bicycle, and I said to myself: just enjoy for the two of you, to feel guilty is a waste of time girl!

Still practising to lose that guilt and to silence the Calvinist little voice in my head. Slowly making progress. While I was still in bed this morning I thought about my family, especially my mum and sister. It has been a year since I saw them. Luckily my brother and sister-in-law visited us last June. Next April my mother will turn 82. It’s hard for her to live alone, I know that so well. But still, knowing this doesn’t make me a frequent caller, and when we call we mostly talk about the state of the world, and guess what, covid is still part of it. 

Hope

It’s a fascinating time we are living in. The developments around covid, such as the covid-passport and the coercion to get vaccinated are disturbing. We went to a protest in Palma two weeks ago. Walking through the streets of Palma with so many people, some of them with drums and whistles, young and old. It was moving. It was peaceful. Police was only present, that’s all. No fights or aggression like you see in other covid protest around the world. None of this here. It gave me hope, although we still have the covid-passport and exclusion of a large group of people and medical discrimination are daily business in most European countries. 

Protesting against these shameful policies around the world is necessary, but there’s more than covid. More other crises yes, but also more life. Since the new year I promised myself not to dive into the media on this topic that strongly anymore, as I felt negative about it all.

Especially the cold November month was a difficult month because we lost our cat, Liefje. He disappeared and hasn’t returned. I miss him so much. Lately I have dreams that he’s back again, scruffy and hungry. But deep down I know he won’t return anymore. He now lives in cat heaven, leaving a little hole in my soul. 

Donate a compost loo

Dorus wanted to do something with our sadness around his disappearance. In December we received a message from an animal sanctuary here on Mallorca. They needed a compost toilet and asked us if we could make one for the animal sanctuary. Dorus did and we donated the toilet to them. Dorus felt he should do this in remembrance of our cat Liefje. I think this was such a sweet gesture. The animal sanctuary is a wonderful place, with abandoned, neglected, and handicapped cats, donkeys, pigs, sheep , etc. The owner, Nicole, does a fantastic job. 

To donate this toilet gave us a good and positive feeling. That’s why we need to support the things we believe in. To transform the sadness into something meaningful, into love and trust. I felt that too during the manifestation. To move into action, even if it’s just small. That’s what I try to do this new year, so I’m in the driver’s seat again (the symbolic one, as you probably know, I am carless 😉

Support what you believe in

That’s also why I gifted us a membership of the Dutch Party for the Animals over Christmas. Because we only can vote in the Netherlands, we want to support this party for its important work it does for humans and animals and planet. Also with regard to covid, the Dutch Party for the Animals are doing the right thing. In contrary to all other Dutch leftish parties, they are the only party that rejects the covid passport and the covid law and defends everybody’s freedom to choose to get vaccinated or not. Proud of this party! In Spain we have a Party for the Animals too, PACMA (Partido Animalista Contra el Maltrato Animal). Their approach is a bit different though, more case to case, instead of seeing the bigger picture like the Dutch party does. Anyway, maybe I will join them too in the near future.

Turning sadness into joy and positivity and hope doesn’t mean we don’t allow ourselves to be sad. Feel and sit with our sorrows first, accept we feel this way, and then turn it into a (small form of) action.  And to know what feels right and doesn’t feel right, such as for me, not to be overwhelmed by (social) media, is something to be more serious about.

Speaking about control…You remember this one? Janet Jackson’s Control. Always loved this song (and the moves..)

Here she’s again:

Con Amor,

Eva 

Raif Badawi and the Happy Shares on Social Media

Did you ever notice that when you post something on social media that isn’t a holiday picture, a gorgeous sunset, a selfie, your baby or cat, your fitness workout/yoga or you in a cool restaurant/club, your active friends/followers become all of a sudden quiet?

You hardly get any “likes” or comments?

It’s oh so quiet..shh shhh?

Happy stuff

Since I use social media platforms as Facebook and Instagram for several years now this is quite familiar to me.

Yesterday for example I reposted a video about the writer Raif Badawi who’s already 6 years in prison in Saudi Arabia, because he expressed his thoughts about the regime and Islam in Saudi Arabia. It almost cost him his life. Interesting to see that when I post a picture of a beautiful sunny Sunday on Ibiza quite some of my Instagram followers seem to like it whereas the video and words about Raif Badawi hardly has any views. And really this isn’t the first time and I always wonder why.

Do people only want to see happy stuff on social media? Or is it because they don’t know what to do about the injustice, it’s hopeless what they see, and therefore they decide not to pay further attention? Is it because it’s too far from their existence? Or is it because they just don’t care?

I always wonder why. Social media, it’s a fascinating subject. Earlier I wrote a piece about it on this blog. I was fed up with the fakeness on social media. I was disappointed about the way many of us are using social media. The emptiness I saw — and still see. Then quit if you don’t like it, stop whining about it (I hear you)!

Of course, I know I can, but I decided to stay as I — between the hollow words and images — still find inspiration on social media and it can be fun to have some glimpses into the lives of family and friends abroad.

I’m not the type of person who only shares how beautiful Ibiza is or post pictures of places where I’m having my dinner or glass of wine (in my warm home ;). At times I post about issues that are happening in the world and which mean something to me and that isn’t happy stuff: violations of human rights, injustice, people suffering from war, the brutal way animals are treated by humans, the plastic in the oceans. You see, the sad stuff.

Love-hate relationship

I accepted I just have a love-hate relationship with social media and I will stop complaining about it once and for all. Maybe also start accepting the possibility that quite some of us don’t want to see sadness and injustice on their social media pages, or at least don’t feel the need to comment on it, but rather see the sunny side of life in their social news feed.

Everyone should post on social media whatever they find worth sharing. It’s your place so you can do whatever you want. We are still the lucky ones who are free to express ourselves (in whatever way that is).

Raif Badawi wasn’t.

 

Con Amor,

Eva

 

P.S. Any thoughts? Be welcome to share them with me.

 

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It’s a strange world.

Do you feel it: September blues? September always has been a melancholic month for me. The melancholia especially started when I was a law school student. September meant farewell to warm summer nights, late dinners with friends on the balcony and the vibrant city full of expectations where the days were still long. At the same time while autumn showed its falling leaves a new beginning was out there. Years later not much has changed. September still gives this melancholic feeling. A longing for what has been, for what is lost, but also new times ahead of me where the days are shorter, the nights colder and the wine is red and rich, no longer chilled and white.

Part of this melancholic mood is the way the world looks to me lately. With eyes wide open I look at her and at the moment it feels like I’m not really being part of it. It feels like I’m only observing and not participating. She delights me with her beauty, versatile character and heroes living in it, but she makes me also sad with her brutal murderers, cowards and present fakeness screaming for cheap attention. Lately I notice there are moments I feel less connected with the world than before when the days were still long, hot and sweaty. I see a darker world now in which countries are burning, embraced by human despair.

At many places around the world there’s a simmering tension, smouldering fires are waiting to explode. I know, you rather don’t want to see it. So once again you post a picture on your Facebook or Instagram of your new outfit or bottle of champagne that tastes so deliciously on your sunny loungebed along the Mediterranean sea. Applying a few filters to beautify the image as your pretty little face has to look fresh and flawless on it and, oh yes, you should quickly get rid off the cellulite skin on your butt too before you’re flinging your photo into the wide world. Of course, it’s accompanied by the empty words “mood” or “life is great”.  And don’t forget to look sexy into the camera lens with your eyes slighty clenched and lips kissing in the air. Okay don’t laugh. It aren’t only some of us women who do this, no worries; empty-men-social-media-accounts we have more than enough too.

When I’m exploring Instagram I see many of these empty pictures, no real message, just sending out a beautiful face or tight and toned abs. I see loads of selfie-queens and selfie-kings out there. Social media is a way to get connected with people from all over the world, but I doubt if these type of posts will give the connection we’re longing for.

Our whole life we are looking for connection with the world around us and the people in it.  It starts when we are kids and in the life that follows the desire to be connected with others won’t fade away. I believe we want to feel connected with each other to finally discover we basically are all the same as we’re all longing to be recognized, to be noticed. The real world offers this opportunity as we have family, friendships and lovers with whom we feel connected to. The world of social media has made the world smaller as we can connect with people from all over the world. When I’m looking at those meaningless pictures on Instagram even the slightest feeling of being connected with this particular human being is miles away. Yet, there are times I do and that’s when I feel inspired, educated, motivated and touched by what I see; for example a woman who devoted her young life to share personal stories of people who fled war and violence. Or some accounts about veganism that tells us becoming a veganist is one of the ways to make the world a better place, but still eat deliciously!  Or the famous yoga girl who shares her ups and downs and shows little clips of yoga practice. It makes me think and I take small steps by finding that new vegan café on the island or by buying that e-book bringing wise messages we all could use well. And for me most inspiring, the writers accounts where I often find honest and truthful writings. I think social media gives us an opportunity to make a worthwile connection and in this way to be noticed, because we are so much more than this collective emptiness, aren’t we?

Of course I know that these small squares and hollow words only give a quick impression of that beautiful man or woman. It’s a snapshot and it doesn’t say anything about real life with its doubts, worries and insecurities. They are hidden, perfection is what you see. That must be damn hard for teenagers and young adults. All those apparently perfect and active lives full of success stories that walk into their daily lives. How can they become their real selves and stay like that? Not only difficult for the young ones amongst us, but perhaps also for the doubting thirty-something? Why everything must always be perfect? Most of us have such high expectations of life, but our lives are far from perfect. Life tastes sweet, sour, bitter. Rinsing with fruity bubbles is an option, but it does not help to get rid of the bitter taste in your mouth.

We already know that this empty exhibition on social media is rather fake, but could it also indicate the indifference to the world around us? We continue to consume too much, there’s global warming caused by our choices, the Great Barrier Reef has been pronounced dead, people are fleeing war and violence, the most basic human rights are being denied by various governments in the world, genocide still exists and there are hundreds of thousands of children who only know a miserable life in a refugee camp. To me it all says we can’t afford this empty bullshit any longer. Instead we have to make our voices heard. Support a cause. Keep learning and evolving. Ventilate our thoughts. Tell and show “the real thing”: make that connection by inspiring, motivating, educating and touching each other. Our impact doesn’t always have to be big or a succes. With every thought or action caused by our truthful words or image we win.

The good thing about melancholia is that it gives impulses of creativity and inspiration. I can keep my thoughts and writings for myself of course, but in times of Instagram and Facebook I can also choose to share it with others and perhaps even make a connection with someone out there in the world. Maybe the words I wrote can help or inspire a person, cause the recognition or adjust the opinion of someone miles away. Wouldn’t sister- and brotherhood make the world a nicer place to live in? Social media can do so much more to achieve this. Only if we allow our true selves.

 

Con mucho amor,

Eva

 

 

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