How politics help…

…to speed up the process of de-institutionalising.

Today I came across a blog by Umair Haque on HBR Blog Network ( about the question if America is giving up on its future.  As he states:

“Washington’s bogged down in games of brinksmanship instead of practicing the art of leadership. Hell-bent on running each other into the ground — instead of running the nation — America’s so-called leaders are sending us into what wonks are calling a “policy-induced recession.””, Mr Haque continues and quotes Secretary of Defense Robert Gates (

In his Liberty Medal acceptance speech at the National Constitution Center on September 22, 2011, Dr Gates says:

“I do believe that we are now in uncharted waters when it comes to the dysfunction in our political system — and it is no longer a joking matter…we have lost the ability to execute even the basic functions of government, much less solve the most difficult and divisive problems facing the country. Thus, I am more concerned than I have ever been about the state of American governance.” (you can read the entire speech at

To me that is spot on and I’m pleasantly surprised in a way to hear this from a leader from the establishment. And this process of political leaders being hell-bent running each other down is not only taking place in the USA of course. In many countries around the world that have some kind of democratically chosen government the same process takes place. Whether it’s Italy, The Netherlands, Belgium, UK, France, just to name a few. Polarisation seems to be the only possible way forward, obviously not for the nations the politicians are supposed to serve but at least for the contenders for political leadership functions themselves. Political discourse has degenerated in a superficial and course debate with the sole aim of slandering the opponents. A different view is not only different; it is bad as is the person expressing that view and all those who agree to that. And yes indeed, I covered the theme in my novel The Glass Dome as well. I choose to believe that the challenges we are facing are from a different order. To me it seems as if something rather large is happening and is inviting us to take a step back, try to see what wants to manifest and gain a different understanding. Indeed: finding solutions on a different level than where the current problems have been created. And yes, sure, that will lead to a radically different outcome. It looks to me as if the political system as we know it in our democracies is starting to come apart. (For dictators there’s even less hope as the Arab Spring has demonstrated.) I do not know exactly how the new leadership will look like but I would imagine it being non-hierarchical and distributed with those individuals meaningfully contributing to that based on the temporary match between what any given situation requires and the talents they have. And that would be a radical change from where we are now.

But it also seems that pressure needs to rise more on us before a critical mass wakes up and has the courage to start living that in-radix change, which in my view will be a step in the direction of the destiny of mankind. From our current political leaders no such thing can be expected, trapped as they are in their fixed scenarios. Focused on trying to keep the current system in tact, while at the same time accelerating its decline. Victims of their own roleplay which should make all of us careful not to become victims of that as well. I don’t hold all the answers and I choose to believe that no single person does. We’re past that era. Collectively we do, however and I’m very interested in seeing how we can connect and mobilise that hidden, yet unmanifest intelligence and wisdom we all carry, while ensuring each individual’s freedom.

Let’s wake up to a meaningful way forward! There’s interesting work to do.

Many blessings,



How do you do it?

One of the questions I get asked on a regular basis is how to connect with your personal destiny. And most of the time that question coming from busy executives, managers, professionals and what not, as a rule this question  is followed by the desire to get a few practical tips.

Of course.

We wouldn’t want to waste time in our lives that are governed by the back-to-back appointments in our diaries. We only take the shortest and fastest way forward to serve out goals. In my naivety I used to say when I started working with this concept that there is no such thing as a quick, three-step approach to finding and living one’s destiny. I believed that one had to suffer and work hard in order to get connected to it. Nowadays I see that a bit differently. I still choose to believe that there is no way to living the life you are called to without actually embracing it. Yes, I too can see this is an obvious statement. Nevertheless I consider it to be true. What I no longer believe is that it requires suffering and hard work to get there. Well, in most instances, that is. There’s hard work involved when you get to recognise you are your beliefs. Not only do we have beliefs, we are the stories we have created about ourselves and the world we live in. And keep creating for that matter. It may take a while before you’re comfortable with that and that’s perfectly alright. It may then take some more time to work on those as you sometimes need to get over a certain threshold to start engaging yourself in a conversation with your beliefs.

But that’s not for now; back to the question: how do you connect with your personal destiny?

The first thing I would consider is that you need to get out of your normal routine and to find some silence. In his book,  ‘Soul Mission, Life Vision’, Alan Seale calls this finding your point of stillness. Personally, I like that description. There are probably a great many ways of finding that. I would like to share a way that seems to work pretty well for most people I have worked with, as it does for myself. First of all: find a chair on which you can sit comfortably, preferably with your back straightened. Make sure you put both your feet  stable on the ground. Your hands go where they are comfortable, probably in your lap. Now close your eyes and focus on your breathing. Most of the time our breathing is rather superficial and fast, preparing our body for action. That’s not what we’re looking for here. So start breathing calmly through your diaphragm. When you use your diaphragm (as babies naturally do) your belly moves out a bit when you inhale. That’s because the lungs push the diaphragm downward. So calmly take a deep breath and try to have your lungs push the diaphragm downward a bit. When you exhale, the opposite happens: your diaphragm will gently push upward, pushing the air out of your lungs. Why don’t you try this for a bit? And please, don’t panic if it doesn’t seem to work right away. When you’re very busy at work your mind may fire all kinds of thoughts relating to your busy schedule. That’s fine. Let it do so. Just maintain your position in the chair as described and return to the ‘belly’- breathing. On the one hand it is a simple exercise, which you can do everywhere, anytime. On the other hand it’s difficult because you’re not used to it. It probably will take a bit of practice to get accustomed to it, but, hey, that’s where the saying ‘practice makes perfect comes from. A singing teacher once told me that when adults join her classes they are so not accustomed to using their diaphragm that the first few lessons, much attention is given to this as it is a prerequisite for singers. Just allow yourself the time to get used to this rhythm. It’s up to you how long you wish to continue this exercise but once you’re getting into the rhythm, you may notice some effects other than feeling awkward. Perhaps you will start noticing the silence as it is. Perhaps you find this relaxing. I would be very curious to learn what thoughts start surfacing and how they’re different from your ‘normal’ day-to-day thoughts. It may seem as if something else is trying to speak to you: your intuition. Once you get to this stage, you’re getting in the district of finding your calling. It’s the first step, albeit a valuable one.

Good luck trying it!

Many blessings,


The Very Reason…

Since I don’t know when, I’ve been aware that there must be a reason why I came into existence. Yes of course, my parents were involved in the process but the biological part is not what I’m referring to. What I mean is that I choose to believe that I have a calling. There’s something in this life to which I’m called. As a matter of fact: I’m not the only one,  we all have a calling, a higher purpose, a personal destiny. Or a soul mission as my friend Alan Seale beautifully labels it. (You may want to check out his much acclaimed book “Soul Mission, Life Vision” )

Almost every time I bring this up during a lecture or a workshop, I ask the participants if they agree to this and if so if they could come up with the names of a few people who live their calling. Typically they will come up with names like Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Theresa and Nelson Mandela. Obviously these were and are great people, influencing a great many of us around the globe. What I find peculiar is that hardly anyone of the participants really believes he or she has one too. They may have a mental understanding of the concept which leads them to think “Yeah, right, makes sense to me. Sure, I have one too”. But they can’t imagine ever having a life based on this. It’s impossible for them to conceive a life where their higher purpose is the guiding theme for them in whatever they do. Dealing with the daily exigencies of modern life they hardly find the time to ponder on this thought let alone to explore the route to connecting with their calling. So they choose to believe that having a life based on your personal destiny is a privilege for a few great minds. And for the rest it is probably a luxury to which one can put one’s attention after the more basic needs in life are met.

However, it is the principal reason for our very existence. Our personal destiny is about what our soul wants to express and therewith allow to manifest that which wants to manifest in our life, contributing to our life and to our environment at large. When you look at it from this angle, you may wonder why only a few people have a clear understanding of their personal destiny.

Now suppose it would be the other way around. Instead of telling yourself you have no time for this, or that this doesn’t seem to be serving your immediate needs, suppose you could listen to your innermost voice that expresses this calling. Suppose you would. How would that affect your life? What would be different from the life you’re having now? What would you be doing? Why would you be doing that? What would you have stopped doing? Why? I would like to invite you to stay with this for a bit and play with these thoughts.

How do you like that outcome? How does imagining a life based on your personal destiny make you feel? Most people would state they kind of like the picture of how their life looks like and how it makes them feel. Many of us will refer to this as a state of peacefulness. But also ‘happiness’ is often heard, as are terms like ‘fulfillment’, ‘meaningfulness’ or ‘joy’. It has something to do with knowing who you are and with being happy with that (as opposed to fighting this by wanting to be somebody else).

Now let’s take this a step up. Suppose an important part of all men and women on our planet would live their calling. Let’s be bold and say that we’re talking about the majority of all people. One of the first things to observe is that none of our individual callings are conflicting with another. None is better or worse, they each have their own contribution to make. People living their calling often tell me it feels so natural to them that it almost feels as if they have no other choice. Obviously they do have one but it shows how powerful connecting to your life purpose is. They tell me they feel they are connected to something which is bigger than just themselves and their personal, short-term often material desires. Without feeling they are making a sacrifice, they contribute to making the world a better place for all, however small their contribution might seem. So they most definitely don’t retreat to some far away desolate corner of the planet. They don’t seclude themselves from the rest of us. On the contrary, they choose to engage and co-create the future with others in an ever-changing universe. Without proselytizing, without preaching, without imposing their ideas on others.

Without knowing exactly how our planet would look like if the majority of its inhabitants would follow their calling, I know for sure that the outcomes of that would be different from what we have now. With no need for judging others, fearing others or fearing having not enough for oneself it is fair to assume that there would be more room for sharing what is available, more caring for all on the planet, more freedom, more space for a shared, global consciousness. A growing awareness that indeed we are all one and that separation is an illusion.  A wise old
friend once told me that people who live their personal destiny bring peace. I love this statement and it resonates deeply with me.

What about you? How do you think the world would look like when more and more people start living? Let me know! Post a comment and let’s get a conversation started. Let all of us know how you would see the world different than it is now.

Thank you! Many blessings,