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

 

 

The Way She Tells The Truth.

Isn’t it odd

when a man calls a woman crazy and hysterical

when he tries to minimize her

while all she does is expressing the fierce truth.

In this world she is not safe.

This world can’t keep her without harm.

She is not crazy. She in fact is brave.

And they tell her to behave?

Now this is insane.

There’s something suspicious about these men.

They aren’t being humane and neither they see her as one of them.

 

Men who say women who speak up

about the violations of their basic rights

are ridiculous

should think twice.

They can’t degrade her a second time.

Disrobe her dignity. Again.

Shouldn’t they wish for a safer world for her too

instead of killing the whole discussion with their worthless words.

And why these men are so obsessed by telling the world

she’s a damn menhater, a feminist, which is apparently the same.

It’s because their ammunition has weakened.

They fade away in her light.

They can’t stand her rage

that moves like the waves of an ocean

her words hitting ashore

leaving everyone breathless.

The way she tells the truth.

 

~evalunes

 

 

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The Question Is: Do You Care?

Woww it’s already December, the last month of the year is already here! I’ve got the chills the moment I’m writing this (time flies superfast!) and not only because of the change of weather these last weeks. It’s getting colder now so that means I have my jeans back on. That’s for me always the sign and beginning of a new period on the island: when I have my jeans back on. Of course, I try to postpone this moment as long as possible 🙂

I start this new blogpost by saying this won’t be a happy read. It’s something I care about and I would like to share this with you. You might think it’s quite annoying to write about this topic, especially as the month of Christmas and holiday season has begun, but confrontations regarding to the things we always have considered to be “normal” are often disliked and found to be rather tiresome. Maybe it has something to do with human nature? Who knows..

I want to tell you something about the animals also called “livestock” by asking you this:

Did you know Spain and France have concentration camps? 

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Pigs, cows and chickens hidden from the world in the countryside. Animal concentration camps. Yes, they are truly happening. Let me explain.

Earlier on this blog I wrote about Dorus, my man, planning to make a biketrip from Ibiza to the Netherlands and back. So he did for 2,5 months and it was an awesome adventure. Crossing countries by bicycle with only a tent and the most basic stuff carrying along with him. He showed me beautiful pictures of the landscape, some of them were like scenes from a painting, green hills, a sunrise with dewdrops covering the gras and trees. Between these pictures I also saw photographs of fields with mega sheds surrounded by big fences, huge sheds totally secluded from the living world. Not a single human soul around. Enormous sheds, big silos to feed the animals and an unbearable smell betraying the presence of hundreds of animals in these mega sheds, too many of them packed and held for human consumption. Not even one animal outside. Miles before a shed emerged in the landscape the nasty smell already indicated that many animals were being kept here, according to Dorus. He hasn’t seen it, but it was all clear by the horrible odour, a smell of milky acid and animal shit. These photos are taken within a distance of only 10 km between Pamplona and Teruel in Spain. So imagine, how many more of these animal mega sheds exist in France and Spain and of course all over Europe when we keep it close to home.

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The way animals are kept by humans

Apart from the animal smelly part, I see similarities with human concentration camps which used to have existed and God knows maybe they still do somewhere.  First of all, these enormous sheds are totally hidden from the living world. They are located on places where no people live, secluded and only seen if you happen to be there, like Dorus on his bike. Secondly, the huge fences around the sheds. Fences often indicate something isn’t right, is it? The secluded locations and the fences. Nobody is able to see what’s going on there. It is even possible that on a daily basis no humans are involved by keeping the animals. The food is given to the animals automatically through huge silos. Thirdly, exploitation. To be (mis)used for a cause that has nothing to do with them which is human consumption and that brings us straight to destruction: the massive killing of animals. Worldwide 70 billlion animals each year.* Every year 70 billion animals on the world are being slaughtered! Eventually, animals don’t have a voice and a free will like humans, in that way they are powerless beings. Similar to humans in a concentration camp they are being degraded and seen without emotions and feelings. Being treated like they are just an object with whom people can do whatever the hell they want. Despite the fact we know animals are capable of feeling pain and suffering, animals are sentient, we keep them in this miserable way, solely to serve us. People held in concentration camps are being dehumanised: no human quality is still to be allocated. You could say pigs, which are intelligent beings, are being “decreatured”: no quality of a creature, a being with feelings of suffering and emotion is still given to the animal. It just doesn’t exist. Period.

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The multiple award winning documentary “Earthlings” (2005) shows you how animals are kept by humans and what happens to the animals before the meat lies on the supermarket shelves. This documentary is a hard one to watch. I’ve heard much about it amongst the people who are interested in this subject. If you feel the urge to know more about this, you should watch it.

Spanish kitchen loves animal products

Since I live on Ibiza, which is part of Spain, I have noticed even more that Spain is a country where most of the people eat animal products. The Spanish food culture consists of animals and animal products. Meat, fish, cheese and eggs. Almost every meal is served with at least one of them. Especially the traditional Spanish kitchen is not suitable for vegetarians, let alone vegans. Ibiza is quite an exception though. It’s possible here to have a vegetarian meal without always ending with a salad on your plate. Vegetarian and even vegan restaurants have opened their doors and restaurants have vegetarian options on their menu. It’s way better than years ago where no other alternatives existed than eating meat and fish in restaurants. High likely also the healthy food trend has contributed to this remarkable change. Not particularly from an ethical point of view (the suffering of animals in the meat industry), but for reasons of health (meat is not that healthy for us like we have been taught it to be, also with fish we are no longer certain if it’s really good for us) it’s no longer only animal products that are being served in Spanish restaurants. Yet, the Spanish kitchen is unthinkable without meat and fish. There’s still a long, long way to go. The pintxos and tapas being served in cafés and bars in Spain are often made up with ham, cheese or fish. Here on Ibiza people love barbeque parties (and not only on Ibiza!) where putting steaks and spareribs on the barbeque is an essential part of the whole event. It’s obvious that Spain has a meat culture and so has France.

70 billlion animals and their health risks 

We consume an incredible amount of meat, like mentioned before: 70 billlion animals are killed for consumption each year. This massive amount has to come from somewhere. For this reason I’m not totally surprised about the animal concentration camps as shown on the pictures. There’s no doubt that in a country like Spain where eating meat is the standard thing to do, the chorizo, salchichas and jamón that are gladly accompanied by a nice glass of wine, must be continuously produced to serve the mass. To comply with the enormous demand the animal concentration camps, the huge sheds, will be necessary. Animals as machines, animals as objects. Don’t they deserve more than this?

We buy our steak and hamburgers at the butcher or in the supermarket where it is nicely packed without having any idea of an animal life. The end product is easy to buy without hardly having an idea of all steps in the production process before it ends in the supermarket and on your plate. The way animals are being held, unnatural and with far too many packed in mega sheds to be killed eventually, is not only miserable, but also a dangerous risk for the animal’s health and causes animal diseases, like Q-fever in the Netherlands, which can effect our health significantly.

Also animals have to grow as quick as possible, therefore they are given numerous amounts of antibiotics, even before the animals get sick. As a result the animals’ resistence to diseases is weakened and bacteria are becoming insensitive to all antibacteria, which happens in both animal and fish farming. Animals get sick by the way they are kept by humans and people get sick because of the way they’re keeping animals, Duth politician Marianne Thieme says in her excellent and very informative book “De kanarie in de kolenmijn (2016)”.  She wrote this book together with Ewald Engelen and it has certainly opened my eyes. It’s also available in English “The canary in the coalmine”. Read this book!

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Awakening

I still remember when I started to get more conscious about eating meat. I always loved my mother’s spicy meatballs – the best in the world- , her homemade chicken soup and the veal pastries and pork tenderloin with Christmas. When I was nineteen I went to university and lived on my own with other students. I cooked my own meals and often with meat as one of the main ingredients. I remember I read an article about an animal disease that started in the UK, called BSE (a bovine disease), which could be deadly if you happened to have consumed meat of an infected cow. I think it was the first time I started to discover meat isn’t actually that healthy like I was taught it to be. I no longer bought meat and changed it for plant based veggie burgers. It didn’t mean that I stopped completely with eating meat, but I reduced my meat consumption and no longer made it for myself. That went on for quite some time. Later I started to cook with organic meat and my perspective shifted more towards animal welfare – or better said the lack of it. The last couple of years when I still lived in Amsterdam I remember I almost felt sick by watching the enormous amounts of meat lying in the supermarkets just before Christmas. All those animals just died for human consumption. I couldn’t justify eating meat anymore. The moments I did eat meat I started to ask myself questions. Why I’m eating it? Do I really need it? What about the animals? Is this right to do? I could never harm or kill an animal so why I’m still eating it? In other words, I became more conscious.

These last four years I have changed again my view on eating meat. Every time I find another reason to ban it from my diet. I watched some great documentaries, like Cowspiracy (2014) and Sea The Truth (2010), I got inspired by a good friend who decided to become vegan and saw some interesting talks from animal activists and read the eye-opening book from politican and animal rights- and environmental activist Marianne Thieme. I have learnt something new: the meat industry pollutes the planet big time. Livestock and their byproducts account for at least 32,000 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year, or 51% of all worldwide greenhouse gas emissions effected by the feeding, transportation, digestion and production involved in raising livestock.** Watch Cowspiracy, you’ll be amazed.

All this brought me to no longer eat meat.

Health benefits of plant based diets

We need to consume meat to stay healthy, right? That’s at least what the meat industry wants us to believe and that is exactly the same with the dairy industry where animals are being exploited as well. Remember the famous advertisement slogan “Milk the white motor” of the Dutch dairy organisation to promote milk is healthy and also with regard to the exploitation of the animals it is just as bad (baby cows are immediately taken away from their mothers for reasons of mass milk production for human consumption and male baby cows go straight to the slaughterhouse as they are useless for producing dairy). There are studies showing an intake of animal protein isn’t the answer to a good balanced health. Besides, animal protein isn’t stored in the human body, just like plant based protein, but has to break up in amino acids first, which are the building blocks of all protein, in order to develop human protein. It crucially takes the human body much more energy to break up animal protein compared to plant protein. That often explains  the bloated and heavy feeling after eating meat.

In fact, people are unhealthy and having diseases, like hartdisease, diabetes, high blood pressure and various cancers because of eating too much meat. Plant based diets have proven to be healthful, nutritionally beneficial and adequate, reduces the risk of diseases and is beneficial in the treatment of certain diseases. I won’t elaborate this here for this blogpost will be way too long. The documentary “Forks Over Knives” (2011) seems to be an insightful documentary about this topic. It’s on my list to watch. (forksoverknives.com).

I recently listened to a podcast hosted by Rachel Brathen (aka Yoga Girl) where James Aspey, a public speaker, passionate animal activist and vegan sports guy from Australia, was telling about the animal and dairy industry and why we should consider a vegan diet. One of the things I remember he said was something like this: “You can’t watch animals suffering and see them being slaughtered but you do put the bloody result of it in your body? And for what, for the taste? Or health?” Aspey, who used to be a fervent meat eater, suffered from leukemia and had only a few months to live.  Thanks to a vegan diet he began to feel better and in the end he even fully recovered from the deadly disease. He is convinced the plant based whole-food diet is one of the main reasons he’s still alive.

And..do you care?

In short: does this mean we all need to become vegetarian (no meat, no fish) or vegan (no meat, no fish, no dairy)?  I eat eggs, preferable from chicken living in the countryside of Ibiza, and sometimes I do eat cheese and fish when I go to a restaurant, so strictly I’m neither one or the other. Does it matter? I believe it’s most important when you’re feeling healthy and conscious about eating or not eating animal products. By writing about the animal mega sheds Dorus saw in France and Spain during his biketrip and sharing his pictures I hope someone who reads this will start to think further and become more conscious about the killing of 70 billion animals for human consumption every year and the mass meat industry. We can’t afford it anymore by saying we didn’t know animals are exploited and kept in a horrified way in sheds like these. We allow animal concentration camps to exist. We all have a choice with our forks and knives, we have power in what we choose to consume. We can educate ourselves. We can choose to reduce our meat consumption drastically or by no longer consuming meat. If these mega sheds, these animal concentration camps, are that dreadful for you as they are for me, I hope you’ll choose more consciously in what you want to have on your plate. It won’t be my intention to condemn those who keep on eating meat, it’s everybody’s choice. I certainly don’t want to judge, but it’s hard sometimes to see people just don’t care at all. I would be hopeful when I would see awareness rising about the animal agricultural industry, even if it just concerns only one person. Maybe it’s you? And you know what? It can be contagious to rise the level of consciousness and to live in a world where human kindness and respect for animals exist. This article is just a small attempt to achieve this.

Con Amor,

Eva

 

 

* Compassion In World Farming: https://www.ciwf.org.uk/about-us/strategic-plan   M.Thieme, E. Engelen, De kanarie in de kolenmijn (2016), p. 58.

** Goodland, Robert & Anhang, Jeff. “Livestock and Climate Change: What if the key actors in climate change are…cows, pigs and chickens?”. WorldWatch. November/December 2009 http://www.worldwatch.org/files/pdf/Livestock%20and%20Climate%20Change.pdf

 

 

 

 

 

Beautiful Things

On this November morning I’m sipping my coffee and write a little piece about you, the ever changing sky and the sun slipping through.

I’m thinking of glorious cities where pumping energy can’t find its way out and pushes on silent corners.

Trapped in the veins of human desire, men and women are rushing their way through existence.

The big things count. Money on the bank. Long hours at work. Promotions. Cars and planes. One day you’ll too busy counting.

While the eye doesn’t know how to perceive the small things, the heart has forgotten to feel them, to love them with our whole being.

The falling leaf of a tree with colors of a blazing sky.

The smell of fresh earth after the rain has returned.

The sweet words of a friend.

The laughing bird in the morning.

The current that keeps on flowing. Just like you.

You’re flowing as life moves within you. Move with the small things, with the love you know. Discover grandeur in and around you. Chase it. Even in the New York City streets where it’s hiding from the dirt. Where it’s dying from skies without stars. Where it’s suffering from the concrete blocks. Where it’s all falling down by the need for more. Like you’ll never have enough. Like you’ll never be enough. You have and you are. We are.

Enough.

 

⤀ . ⤀ . ⤀ . ⤀ . ⤀ . ⤀ . ⤀

Here’s a beautiful video I came across on the magical web and love to share with you because of its beauty, message and words..

 

 

Enjoy!

Have a beautiful weekend ♡

 

Con Amor desde Ibizaaaaaa,

Eva

 

 

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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