The case for ‘spacing out’

Often people ask me what this coaching is all about. One of my answers is: ‘to make more possible for those who choose to work with me’. A justified question then is how I do that when I don’t give advice, which is correct as I’m not an expert in so many fields. One central theme in my approach is to access the awareness/wisdom of the being.

Whether you believe it’s ‘inside of us’ or that it’s out there in some way and we can access it, the point is there’s more relevant information available to us than what our narrative holds at any given point in time. We are our beliefs as they say. Or according to the Buddha, we become what we think. And we’re taught to mostly use our left brain.

To access our being’s awareness or wisdom, you don’t need to do a lot. On the contrary: you just need to do nothing. And that of course is the hard part at the same time. We’re so programmed to be busy. We’re condemned to doing stuff and preferably all of the time, that doing nothing is regarded as a sin. As a waste of time. Many people I know tell me they feel really uncomfortable doing nothing. Especially if that lasts longer than a minute or so. Obviously, I get that as, me too, I’ve been schooled in the same system as most of you here. Doing nothing is no good. Hmmmm.

Of course, you can make a formal practice of ‘doing nothing’ by taking up some kind of meditation. And that may be very useful indeed but you can also do it in a much less formal way. Gazing out of the window, take a brief nap, go for a walk. Take a look at this 16 min Ted Talk by journalist Manoush Zomorodi. A lot goes on in our brains when we ‘zone out’ as she calls it. Most remarkable: new connections are being made. And ideas can pop up, seemingly out of nowhere and without being discarded by our belief system right away.

I heard the famous film director Steven Spielberg once say that you need to listen carefully to that special voice inside of you. That little, soft voice that informs you about stuff our intellectual mind can’t fully come to terms with. Perhaps it’s an upcoming decision, an important event in your career or in your life, or a situation you’re in and of which you’re not clear in what direction to move. You can only hear what it has to say by paying attention to it and by listening carefully because that voice speaks softly and never shouts at you.

Take about two minutes and look at this video. And then…. Just let it sink in, allow yourself a few moments to do nothing and notice what happens within you. 

Practice Stillness. Regularly.

We’re living in turbulent times as I’m sure we’re all noticing. We’re faced with multiple escalating crises all over the world that, due to their complexity, we can’t solve right away. There are no quick fixes available for each of them as much as we would like.
According to Ray Dalio in his book ‘Principles for Dealing with the Changing World Order (Why Nations Succeed and Fail) this is a normal phenomenon following patterns that many civilisations have followed over the centuries. The western world is in decline and especially China is on the rise. Although he stipulates that he doesn’t say that countries like the USA will fall apart, the evidence doesn’t leave much room for another conclusion. When left to our devices we overspend, print money, and allow the wealth gap to widen which in itself fuels social unrest as German insurer Allianz is now warning for.
It leaves me with a question: how can each of us be, in order to make a different course of events possible? Indeed, I’m focussing on the being rather than the doing, to which we have been condemned for centuries. Learning to be will inform the actions we need to take probably in a different way. I’m not saying that the only thing everybody needs to do is to sit and do nothing. But rather become still before we get to doing and perhaps collect different information.
Here’s an invitation: from today onward find a few minutes every day during which you do nothing. No email, no quick glancing on a news site, no social media, no fiddling around with your smartphone. Just sit still. You can gaze out of the window, by all means. And then notice what is shifting in your mind or in your body perhaps. What is different from when you were busy? You can do this more than once of course and very likely quite a few of you may have a practice for stillness (around breathing for example) already.
Yet, I’m inviting all of you to start practising this and feel free to let me know what you are noticing.

practice stillness

Die Bekämpfung von Covid-19

Was ich begrüße in dem Kampf gegen Corona sind die Maßnahmen die getroffen werden um das Virus mit seiner Virulenz beherrschbar zu machen. Auf gesellschaftlicher Ebene, werden sehr, sehr viele Gesundheitsjahren gewonnen dadurch daß viele Menschen nicht sterben, Infizierten nachgefolgt werden können und sehr viele nicht krank werden müssen. Es wird appelliert an Solidarität und das ist gut.

Was mir fehlt im Diskurs über die Maßnahmen, ist die Betrachtung wie viele Gesundheitsjahre verloren gehen dadurch daß diese Maßnahmen sehr tief eingreifen in was uns Mensch macht. Wie viele Existenzen werden ruiniert dadurch da sehr, sehr viele ihren Beruf nicht ausüben dürfen, dadurch daß man sich nur extrem beschränkt treffen darf, dadurch daß Menschen vereinsamen, daß Menschen an Depressivität erkranken? Ich frage mich wie die Verhältnismäßigkeit der Maßnahmen beurteilt werden würde, wenn die verlorene Gesundheitsjahren mit betrachtet würden. Hier fehlt mir den Appell an Solidarität.

Was mir weiter fehlt im Diskurs ist die breitere Perspektive. Man möchte so schnell wie möglich zurückkehren nach wie es vorher oder früher war. Das ist verständlich aber die Frage worauf das Virus zeigen möchte ist nicht anwesend im öffentlichen Diskurs. Welche Einladung liegt verborgen hinter der Virulenz? Was ist das größere Thema und welches Potential hat das für uns alle? Vieleicht ist es die Einladung mal grundsätzlich zu reflektieren auf die Frage wie wir zusammen leben wollen.

Was mir auffällt und stört ist die Angstmacherei. Es herrscht an Tabu auf Sterben. Sterben macht Angst, obwohl es die einzige Sicherheit ist, die wir haben, wenn wir in diesem Leben geboren werden: eines Tages werden wir sterben. Alle Tiere (also auch wir Menschen) können sehr gut mit Stress umgehen aber nur kurzfristig. Es hilft uns zu überleben. Langfristiger Stress führt zur chronischen Angst und das führt zu Krankheiten. Weiterhin holt es unsere Existenz aus dadurch daß wir deutlich weniger in der Lage sind zu lernen (und damit weniger Möglichkeiten erarbeiten um unsere Existenz zu gestalten). Aber auch werden wir weniger in der Lage sein zu entspannen, zu spielen und einfach zu sein. Und weniger Verbindung zu anderen Menschen haben – die man ja eh nicht vertrauen sollte weil die uns infizieren werden.

Es ist Zeit für einen neuen Diskurs, den wir nicht exklusiv unseren Politikern überlassen dürfen. Wir müssen diesen Diskurs zusammen führen. Jenseits von der heutigen politischen Arena, mit ihren etablierten Interessen und Spielen. Und wir müssen dabei lernen auf der Vielfalt der Stimmen zu hören, damit eine nachhaltige Welt entsteht für uns und für alle Generationen, die nach uns kommen.

Es wird keinen ‘quick fix’ geben aber wie können wir damit anfangen?

About Transformational Presence


In my previous post, I briefly touched upon transformational presence as one of the important cornerstones of my work and life. Let me say a few words about this as, in the next posts, I will probably refer to it rather frequently I guess…..

In his book “Transformational Presence, How To Make a Difference In a Rapidly Changing World”, Alan Seale ( describes it as:

“showing up to life and leadership in a way that creates the best possible conditions for transformation to occur. We cannot make transformation happen – that’s called “manipulation!” Yet we can create environments and cultures that encourage transformation to unfold.”

There are a few things that you may or may not notice reading this. First of all: “showing up” means here how you choose to show up. Rather than being pushed around by whatever is going on in your life, and hence being in response mode, this is the first distinction: to operate from choice. We can’t always change the circumstances right away, but we can choose who we choose to be. And that alone makes quite a difference.

“…to life and leadership…” it refers to Transformational Presence not being the latest fad that you can apply in your professional life for a while to finally discard of it as the fad doesn’t really work. Transformational Presence is potentially a profound re-orientation on your life altogether. It is always open to what wants to happen in any given situation. And also, who that is asking you to be, which is completely different from what you want to happen in a situation and what should change (probably excluding yourself) in order for that to happen. Now you might think that being open to what wants to happen means, giving in to that. This is most definitely not the case. By being open to the potential in a situation and also to who is that asking us to be, it opens up the possibility to flow with that instead of fighting it. Flowing with it is different from ‘going with the flow’. To me, the latter lives in a domain of resignation, of giving up, of powerlessness. Flowing with what is happening comes from expanded awareness and alertness for us to act when the moment is right. I will re-address this in subsequent posts.

“…. that creates the best possible conditions for transformation to occur.” In our rapidly changing world with so many people speaking and acting to serve their goals and interests, it will prove to be a hell of a rodeo trying to make things happen and trying to control every step in that process to get a guaranteed outcome. The question ‘are you talking to life, or do you let life talk to you?’ comes to mind while writing this. Living your life grounded in the practices of Transformational Presence allows you to partner with your potential if you like. It’s about flowing with what wants to happen whilst being very candid about the question who that is asking you to be. And indeed it does mean that you’ll allow change into your life. Perhaps even a more profound change from time to time. Like change across form. A transformation so to speak.

I hope this is helpful as a start. Share any questions you may have!


Picking it up again


It’s been a while. I confess. Mea culpa. Of course a lot has happened, like getting more actively involved in playing and also creating music. Two CD’s have been published: a live album with the FFB Bigband from Barsinghausen, Germany ( And a CD under the name of Gallagher’s Twin with originals for the most part written by my buddy Robert Schramm ( And there is more ( I must have mentioned it before: music indeed is my first passion in life.

But also my professional development has gone on. I’m continuing to work internationally as a Senior Executive Coach and Facilitator, working with leaders, managers, and professionals. The focus herein has shifted somewhat though. From being a bit on the traditional transactional side to fully transformational. A great source of inspiration is Alan Seale from the Center for Transformational Presence in Massachusetts, USA. ( I invite you to take a look at his website and learn about his views on transformational presence and the Great Breaking Open. I’m sure you’ll like it.

So…this is it for the moment. It feels good to be back here and I’m looking forward to being around here more often as of now.

Best wishes,


The Next Event


so we had our shooting in Paris (not sure if anyone considers the daily casualties in places like Nigeria, Syria, Libya, Iraq to name just a few) and all in the western world seem to be grabbed by the drama, the strong emotions that come with it. Take a look back at this post I learned from Alan Seale ( that a distinction can be made in four levels of human engagement:

  1. the drama; whose fault is it?
  2. the situation, the facts, how do we fix it as quickly as possible? It’s about making things OK again.
  3. level of choice: who do I want to be in this situation?
  4. opportunity; what is it that is really wanting to happen? What is the gift?

On levels 1 and  no learning takes place. It might be where mass consciousness is living.

On levels 3 and 4 things start to shift as we redefine our relation with the drama.

So in relation to the ‘drama’ in France (or any other of the many dramas around  the world) : What is the opportunity? What are the missing conversations? What wants to show itself that we have not been able or willing to see? My quick guess at the moment is that it is calling for a different  way of living together on the planet as one humankind. We can’t go on exploiting the earth and its inhabitants in the name of free market economy. As if trying to make as much money as possible is the dharma of mankind. We can’t go on cutting people out from the abundance we create. We can’t go on locking people away in endless suburbs with no perspective to a meaningful and fulfilling life. On account of the free market economy. So again, what wants to show itself through these acts of terror? Why are so many people immensely scared?  Why haven’t we been able to hear them? To listen to them? And work out a different way of peacefully and prosperously living together? Away from any kind of dogma. Why are we trying to make things OK again? OK for who? It’s time to change the game. We’re in this together…..

Peace be upon us,





You’re back home again #MH17


Copyright ANP/Pierre Crom NRC Handelsblad 19 July 2014
Rescue workers working a field in East Ukraine looking for bodies of passengers of flight MH17. Copyright ANP/Pierre Crom NRC Handelsblad 19 July 2014


This text kinda emerged from somewhere when I was pondering the events around the downing of flight MH17 and the flying out of the bodies of the people that had been killed in the event. I wrote it because it wanted to be written. First in Dutch, then in German and now in English. If one thing should stand out, I hope it’s the desire, the necessity for all wars, and the immense suffering they cause, to end. Where ever on earth they take place and for whatever cause: they mainly cause unimaginable human suffering. It’s time we learn to see we share this home together. And that our joint efforts should be aimed at making this truly a home. For all of us. Please read the text and let me know what you think.


You’re back home again


You’re back home again

And that makes me happy.

Yes, indeed, happy.

A foreign emotion amidst incessant

Powerlessness. Anger. Disbelief. Grief.

Above all grief.




You’re back home again.

I wanted to ask you how it was.

But it’s all so different now.

Share with me how you remember your last moment in this life.

I want to comfort you, take you in my arms, caress you, hold you against my heart and whisper that all is fine.

But I can’t do that.


You’re back home again.

And at last we are permeated again by the senselessness of war.

It doesn’t matter whether it’s a shot from a machinegun.

A machete.

A bomb.

The broken glass in the hand of a drunken idiot.

Or a missile.

It doesn’t matter.

It doesn’t bring any good.


You’re back home again.

Back home again after an unexpectedly long journey.

Finally back home after you had to wait so long.

Caught in a game played by scared pawns of power.

Left under the mercilessly scorching sun in a field far from here.

Robbed of the last dignity that was yours.


You’re back home again.

See all of those, who have come to greet you.

See all of those, who stand around you.



For a moment.


You’re back home again.

And I see the infinite void in our heart.




Geert Hofman


I’m just wondering

NotGovernedByMoneyHi y’all 🙂

Off late I’ve been wondering what would happen if we were to live without money. This comes after witnessing the economic debates, on how to get us out of the crisis and which have been going on for more than 5 years now, and having talked to Charles Eisenstein (

As you may know, money (the digits on a computer at the bank, linked to your name, which will be positive or negative) gets created out of thin air (a few mouse clicks) as interest bearing debt. This necessitates paying back more than you received which means, in shorthand,  finding a product or service to generate the money with and it means necessary economic growth. Right up to the moment where all commons have been taken and everything non tangible (which used to be available for no money as well). I mean for an individual it may still be possible to find a new niche but it’s clear to me that for the entire system this is a dead-end street.

And hence I’m wondering: would really everything collapse and would we revert to being undeveloped, uncivilised creatures? Miserable, sick, starving? Stealing away scarce resources from another? Violently unhappy and perpetually unfulfilled? That would be a case for the money game to start all over again.

Or would we see that we can have access to enough (as opposed to never having (owning) enough)? All of us. And if so: what would become available to all of us? Which is not available now under this monetary-scarcity paradigm?

What are your thoughts?








For a year that matters

So, well, yeah, the year 2014 has started. How many of your resolutions are still alive? How many have already been buried? How many did you make in the first place. For me, this year will be dedicated to three things:

  1. continuing my transformational and exec coaching work and workshop facilitation
  2. composing and playing and recording music (and finding out what I really want here)
  3. writing

Ad 2: I started the year with a recording session in a studio here with by buddy and we’ll have a few more next week. The idea is to have an EP out on iTunes this spring. And: (OMG) I registered for a course Songwriting via Berklee College of Music!! I’m so excited!!

Why these three things? Because I enjoy doing those, they all make me happy in a way. And also because they allow me to interact with people from around the world and potentially touch their hearts, be a bit of inspiration, comfort. You tell me 🙂

In order not to forget to focus on these three things and also in order not to revert to this old habit telling myself I can’t do this (and hence revert to petty daily stuff only), I was so lucky to come across this beautiful poem by John O’Donohue. May it serve as an inspirational reminder for you as well. Let us live the life we’re called to!!!

For a New Beginning

In out-of-the-way places of the heart,
Where your thoughts never think to wander,
This beginning has been quietly forming,
Waiting until you were ready to emerge.

For a long time it has watched your desire,
Feeling the emptiness growing inside you,
Noticing how you willed yourself on,
Still unable to leave what you had outgrown.

It watched you play with the seduction of safety
And the gray promises that sameness whispered,
Heard the waves of turmoil rise and relent,
Wondered would you always live like this.

Then the delight, when your courage kindled,
And out you stepped onto new ground,
Your eyes young again with energy and dream,
A path of plenitude opening before you.

Though your destination is not yet clear
You can trust the promise of this opening;
Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning
That is at one with your life’s desire.

Awaken your spirit to adventure;
Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk;
Soon you will be home in a new rhythm,
For your soul senses the world that awaits you.

John O’Donohue

Here’s to a year that matters! To a life that matters!

Blessings, Courage and Love!


What has changed


It’s been a while since I’ve published my most recent post. Let’s talk shop right away, if you don’t mind.

In spite of all these fantastic ideas that, me too, I’m having, you know ideas and thoughts and emotions and what not about what is ahead of us, I’ve decided to start sharing my personal experiences here. Rather then trying to paint a bigger picture. Personal experiences relating to living the life I believe I’m called to. And of course to let you know about the battles I’m fighting with me old and persisting beliefs that stand in the way of fully opening up to, of completely surrendering to and embracing that which wants to become manifest in my life.

It’s the most important reason for the decision I took at the start of this year to allocate more time to engaging with music. It’s always been there and at a young age I decided to move it off radar – giving in to pressures of my parents of course and in spite of me having full clarity of how to proceed with my life and education. If you wanna have a look and a listen what that now is leading to, be my guest:

So again, this blog is going to be more about me and my – hopefully – growth to living the life which is mine and the contribution it may hold for all of us. With three purposes, well for now that is:

  1. to serve as an example and perhaps a source of inspiration for you out there in a similar situation as what I’m sharing with you is basically walking the talk. Not to prove anything. Not to tell you you’re wrong. Just as an invitation.
  2. to show how that positively impacts myself and others
  3. to contribute to a different game on the planet. The money game has shown us what is capable of both positively and negatively and it’s time for a new game: the human game for all of us on the planet. But hey, I don’t need to be the guru here holding all the answers as I know I’m not, as it’s all of us holding the pieces of the answer as to how to move on to the next stage in human development. At the same time I don’t want to remain silent and want to take responsibility to progress matters,

That’s it for now. Stay tuned for more stories soon!