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.
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.
For some time I’ve been wondering how long our current economic system can continue as it is based on scarce money (or better: interest bearing debt), the repayment of which necessitates perpetual growth and leads us to believe we’re separate from each other and that we have to compete for this scarce money. There are several authors who are pointing this out as well, like Mark Boyle and Charles Eisenstein (www.charleseisenstein.net) for instance. Since the beginning of this century, money has been even further disconnected from the real world as it ever had been. It’s numbers on a computer at a bank and some tangibles like slips of paper and metal coins with symbols on it that do magic to the otherwise relative worthless paper and metal. And the funny thing is: we all agree to it. We all play along with the money game and are all howling at the Euro crisis with every government in Europe fearing for a worsening of it and for their country slipping into a recession. That triggers panic in the political decision-making centers. If the number of paid transactions decreases and possibly (their average price level too) it is feared that eventually the economy will collapse. Well, yeah, if we continue to believe money is the only thing that matters in a human life, it may so happen and we’ll all end up hungry, cold, miserable and grumpy. To put it mildly.
A recession is a decrease in the number of paid transactions form one period to the previous. OK, technically speaking, this has to happen two quarters in a row. I am aware that wealth is not evenly distributed around the planet and that there still is poverty around the globe. But what use is it for those in the “developed” world to get more stuff? More stuff doesn’t make us happier or having more fulfilled lives. More stuff primarily seems to be driving forces in our society who need the power that comes with accumulating money. Big corporations, all kinds of institutions, the state itself….
I do not have clear view on what exact path will be followed by the change that is increasingly taking place but it seems to me we have to get used to having and acquiring less stuff. I’m not saying we should become poor and wait out our time because that won’t help anybody. But what WILL we be doing all day? Some say we’ll spend more time growing and producing our food, which will be of a higher quality than the mass-produced, chemically intoxicated waste we drop dow our digestive tracts right now. And that would be one condition for a higher state of awareness. This is one thing I can see happening: the world as one global, inclusive community, with on average a (much) higher level of consciousness. Hence I choose to believe that eventually, in the new cosmic era (Aquarius/Leo) the world will be flat. Or as Charles Eisenstein puts is in chapter 11 of his book Sacred Economics (www.sacred-economics.com)
“In this chapter I will refer to “government” in the context of currency issue, but keep in mind that like all of our institutions, government is going to change dramatically in coming years. Ultimately, I envision decentralized, self-organizing, emergent, peer-to-peer, ecologically integrated expressions of political will. Parallel to this, I envision an ecology of money as well, an economic system with many complementary modes of circulation and exchange. Among them will be new extensions of the gift, freeing work from compulsion and guaranteeing the necessities of life to all.”
What fascinates me how we are going to get there and what changes we have to incur in our thinking about everything but about economics in particular. How can we make sure we make his shift, by not staying stuck in the current political and economical debate that is ruled by fear. And how can we make this shift in a safe and peaceful way?
Earlier this week I landed on the Arte TV-channel here in Germany that had dedicated that day’s programmes to the theme ‘Why Poverty?’ Having studied economics at Erasmus University Rotterdam, I guess I could answer this question using economic theories and would probably come up with some kind of an accepted answer. But watching young Chinese adults reluctantly engaging in a struggle for survival, either by trying to get accepted by some top university (thereby ruining their family’s monetary reserves to cover for the cost) or by trying to find whatever job that is available amidst countless competitors, made me sick. And those are considered the lucky ones.
Today I came across the announcement of Jack Stephen’s (twitter @organicjack) new book ‘Soul Self’ ( http://soulselfliving.com/soul-self/) Here’s part of the preface I checked out on Amazon:
“Although I experienced various successes in my life, they never seemed to last or bring a true sense of fulfillment. Like many people in modern society, I spent most of my life doing what I learned as a child – striving to please others, looking outside of my Self for direction and competing for recognition, affection and seemingly scarce resources. I let subconscious programs, unhealed trauma, and opinions of other people control my life. I learned about the power of positive thinking, but I mistakenly believed that a few minutes of constructive thought every now and then would overwrite the deeply buried, firmly ignored or resolutely avoided destructive thoughts, feelings and beliefs that were creating my reality 95% of the time. I could convincingly talk about positive, healthy living, but I could not yet match those words with my actions.
Knowing that we want to be happy, yet continuing to make choices that cause unhappiness is all too common, but I felt alone in my feelings of confusion, self-criticism and despair. I had a difficult time accepting that I was worthy or capable of experiencing health, wealth and true, loving partnership. I did my best to disguise my insecurities, and over time, I accepted that while I was neither a dismal failure nor a grand success, the life I was living was the best I could expect. In nearly every area of my life, I settled for less than I was capable of creating.”
I don’t know about you guys, but it strongly resonated with me. I recognise my life in what Jack wrote and I must say I’m looking forward to read his book as he is coming from experience rather than being a smart consultant. It left me pondering once more about our beliefs. About my beliefs… Again they prove to be so strong, even if we don’t recognise them and even if they live far below the surface of our conscious perception. Perhaps as a result of one or more experiences in our childhood. Like parents telling us to fit in. Teachers telling us to do as we’re told. Others telling us we can’t play along. Well, in my perception that’s exactly what all of society did when I grew up. Today, I feel it leaves me on a journey of which I know I haven’t completed it yet. Over the last few years I’ve gained tremendous insights in who I am and what I’m here for. But I feel, I sense there’s still more to the story that will eventually really set me free and get all of my talents going. The score until now? OK, well. according to my clients I am an excellent executive/transformational coach. And I really love doing that work as I know it’s part of who I am. Last year I published my first novel ‘The Glass Dome’ (www.geerthofman.com/glass-dome) and I’m writing my 2nd one (working title: Water Colours). It took a while (of actively fighting it) before I could accept that the novel wanted to manifest itself in my life…. (What do you mean: limiting stores I was telling myself and therewith blocking the flow of energy?) The third leg has to do with music. And actually, writing this, my thoughts go back to a meeting last week with an old-time friend with whom I hadn’t hung out for a long time. He mentioned that the first thing I told him when we first met (this goes back to 1982 or so) was that I rather wanted to have become a guitar player but had decided for studying economics in stead….. I must confess, that kind of hit home. The experience is similar to being called by my first boss ever following me inviting him for the book launch in Amsterdam last year november. Laughingly, he shared that it had been one of the first things I had told him: that I wanted to write a book. Oyyy…. so I guess I have become at least partially blind to that what wants to manifest in my life. And hence I got my portion of struggle.
Well, anyway…. as I said I’m still on my journey of discovery. With the biggest challenge finding ways to interact and engage with all of you out there. Somethign I find very hard to do. So if you have any insights or experiences you’d like to share….. I might have a few in return (but only if you want to)!
Again I’ve been reading in Ken Robinson’s fabulous book ‘The Element’ (http://sirkenrobinson.com/skr/) In short: it’s about (encouraging) people finding their calling en living it. Towards the end is a passage that really hit home for me personally. It’s the chapter called ‘For Love or Money’ where an academic is introduced who is crazy about playing his cello and apparently very good at it too. The point that got me gasping for breath is where the academic is quoted saying that ‘calling it a hobby is ridiculous’. Bang! That hit home! For me too, calling playing music a hobby really sounds off. Although I thoroughly enjoy my professional activities as executive coach I also find myself in my element when I get to play music. And it’s no longer only playing. I started arranging songs and actually composed a few myself. Well, composed: let me just say the music came to me when I was ready for it. On no occasion did it involve sitting down and think what I should write. Playing music has given me some extraordinary moments of flow, especially during the last three, four years when I got to play with others again. With the FFB-BigBand (without having prior experience with or exposure to this kind of music) I’m one of the soloists. Mind you, on guitar, not really the first instrument that comes to mind when you think about bigband music. It was only at the second gig that our band leader asked me to play a solo. Where I was really struggling trying to keep up with what was being played! 🙂 And I have similar experience with my other bands and projects. I like to have a good time but also to touch our audience and frankly, and probably this is a result of why I play music, I want to be good at it. Oh, and equally important: for me it’s so great (and vital) to engage with other people and be on the same wavelength with them! I get tremendous support from them and I try to support all others where I can.
Something similar applies to writing novels. The first one ‘The Glass Dome’ wanted to be written by me if that makes any sense to you at all. I had no ambition nor intention to become an author. But somehow, and finally, I gave in to this urge which I felt. Or better: I had the courage to give in to it and wonder at what wanted to manifest itself through me. Again they keyword here was allowing. Allowing to let happen that which wanted to happen. No, not as a helpless victim but as a fully aware steward of those energies.
So being an author and musician goes along perfectly well with being an executive coach. following the energy creates new possibilities that seem to perfectly fit what I’m doing. Again: I thoroughly enjoy all three of these lines of activities through which I like to share my love for all and consider them to continue my element, as Sir Ken Robinson would have it. I wouldn’t want to drop any of them, nor would I want to focus exclusively on one of them.
Sometimes I find people listening to this story in awe. Like as if they would never be able to do something similar. Well, as stated in my previous blog, it probably is going to be quite an effort if anyone would want to carbon copy my life. But similar possibilities exist for all of us. We are not confined to one context to deploy the many talents that we have, to share our gift to the world.
My invitation to you right now is to find your place of stillness and ask yourself whether you are really fulfilled. If not, don’t blame yourself or anyone or anything else for that matter but ask yourself the question: what is it that I need to experience fulfillment? What is it that wants to make itself heard or seen in my life that I haven’t been able to until now. Stay with those questions for a while and allow your soul to show you the answer. And by all means: do let me know what comes out of it for you.
Today I cam across a tweet by Deepak Chopra, where he addresses the question whether we all have a personal destiny (or personal mission as he calls it) in each carnation. Here you can find the answer: https://www.deepakchopra.com/blog/view/600/personal_mission What I like about his comment is that he basically states that we all have one and that it’s not exclusively about grand themes. It’s not about touching millions of people and getting recognised for that. Rather, it is about finding yourway, or better: allowing yourself to join it as automatically your talents will flow to where they are needed. There’s no question that they’re needed. Why? Simple: otherwise you wouldn’t be here at this point in time and space.
In a previous blog I hinted at how you can start getting more open to finding your calling (https://geerthofman.wordpress.com/2011/09/28/how-do-you-do-it/) Of course, you can use (additional) approaches and tools that you feel most comfortable with, in order to get more clarity about your calling. (I’ve mentioned before that for me Alan Seale’s approach has been working very well (http://www.transformationalpresence.org/ The great thing about this approach is that it steers away from our usual intellectual and analytical approach to problem solving. And it quiets the worrying ego. But how can you tell what your calling is and how do you know you’re on the right track? That seems to be a challenge, I mean trying to find your path in life where there are no road signs. Especially with your ego shouting at you to not start doing something that would certainly get you in trouble 🙂 And then you see all these people kind of doing what you feel your life is about. Well, to start with the latter ‘issue’: everybody’s calling is unique. There’s absolutely no risk of you copying somebody else’s life purpose as long as you stay connected with your innermost self. When you think you should imitate someone else’s life….well, what would be the point? If that would have been your life, it would have come to you and not to another person.
Once you start exploring what activities in your daily life fit your personal mission, there’s one sign I’ve found to be pretty helpful. As soon as you formulate your intention and start giving attention to it, synchronicity and flow will start occurring. Events, people, information, whatever will start popping up seemingly out of nowhere, aimed at progressing and refining your quest. You will start experiencing moments of flow and fulfillment as what you are embarking on seems to fit your talents quite naturally. Of course, our mind will kick in from time to time and judge it silly what it is that we’re doing. But again: if you can stay close to your inner self, you may get a different signal. And there’s something else which I find rather interesting. Once you start experiencing flow and fulfillment, you’re no longer worried about the outcome. It is actually at this moment that you allow the journey to become the goal and therewith an endless source of inspiration. Rather than something you should force yourself to, it should be something you allowyourself to align to. Something you allowto happen through you as the results of it manifesting through you are highly desired. And will bring peace, not only to you.
For me this approach is working rather well. Of course I had doubts from time to time (and still have) whether or not I’m on the right path. The right path for me, that is and to restate the obvious: not what I would think the right path I think others expect from me. Doubt kicks in when my mind starts getting worried, e.g. about results not showing up quickly enough. But I must say, every time I go back to this point of stillness and every time I dedicate myself to what I tell myself my work is, it seems to be coming from a source of deeper knowing and peacefulness emerges, together with flow and knowing that what I’m doing (coaching, writing and playing music) is meaningful. And I hence I learned to trust to follow that soft-spoken inner voice, in spite of the loud stories at the surface.
What about you? What is working for you to find and pursue your personal destiny? How is it affecting the life you’re living?
Over the last few weeks I’ve received many questions about the main character, Peter Woudenberg, in my novel ‘The Glass Dome’ (www.geerthofman.com/glass-dome). It’s basically the same question over and again and it is asked by senior executives from various organisations: why is Peter so much about ‘love’ all of a sudden? Why has he turned into a weak, gullible character? Can’t he deal with the pressure no longer?
Every time I hear these questions I smile. And I explain why he chooses to connect to this all-encompassing force. Why he chooses to be love rather than talking or preaching about it. And that it has made him stronger. Perhaps less dominantly present than before and less concerned with the impact he is making at any given moment. It has taken him a bit of a journey but he has come to peace with it as he realises it has always been a them in his life as long as he can remember. Peter addresses it rather directly in his farewell speech to his team at the office in London.
“So I’m aware that, in my attempt to describe what I went through and how that has changed me, I’ll be using vocabulary you are not used to hearing from me. Rest assured though that I’ve not gone bananas, nor have I started smoking stuff you can find in just about every coffee shop in Amsterdam.”
Another bout of laughter rose from the audience and Peter went on.
“I have started to develop and accept a notion of where these insights will lead me, without everything being clearly outlined for me. But that’s OK. By now I have learned to trust that the required answers will show up at the right time. And again, I fully realise this must sound wishy-washy to you, especially coming from someone who was a high-ranking officer in this no-nonsense, ‘we-get-things-done’ professional organisation. Where I’ve felt everything from absolute joy and bitter frustration over these weeks, most of all a feeling of gratitude and appreciation starts to emerge.”
He looked around and hardly saw any reaction. Perhaps they were actually thinking he had gone crazy after all and were they looking at him with compassion, hoping this embarrassing situation to end as soon as possible.
“OK, here’s some new stuff, probably for most of you anyway. One of the things the conversations over the last weeks have led to is that I’ve chosen to believe we are all unique and that we all have a unique calling that has the desire to manifest in our lives.”
The audience continued to listen to him in silence. Peter wasn’t sure if they could relate to what he was saying but he really couldn’t care less. Having started to convey his actual message he felt liberated.
“I’m not done yet,” he said with a smile and feeling confident now. “There’s something else. Increasingly I feel that my calling has to do with love.”
Now some people were looking at each other, quietly exchanging short comments. That didn’t disturb him in the least and he smiled at the group.
“I know this sounds weird to you guys but I feel love when I look at a beautiful flower. I feel love when I look at a new-born baby. I feel love when I look at a masterfully crafted piece of art. I feel love when I look at a homeless beggar in the street. I feel love when I see people struggling in the corporate world. I feel love because there’s not enough of it going around, scared as we all are to let go of the illusion of separation, scared as we all are to show ourselves who we truly are and to live the life that we are called to. And to allow ourselves to completely unfold our vast potential, for our own benefit and at the same time for the benefit of all on this planet. I feel love and that’s what I want to feel.”
By now science is proving what many spiritual traditions have known for ages: everything is connected. There’s no void but a plenum, as Aristotle already knew. How this connection looks like is rather irrelevant if you to try to grasp it in terms of matter. Is suffices to acknowledge it’s there. We influence ourselves and each other every moment of the day with our attention and intention, with what we think and how we feel. When we are love our world changes right away, and for the better as I choose to believe. Dr Masaru Emoto illustrates the point quite powerfully with his water crystals (http://www.masaru-emoto.net/)
For those of you who haven’t seen this before: it’s a picture of water to which some kind of positive intention has been sent. Then he freezes it following a well documented scientific protocol. In the process of thawing crystals form with beautiful shapes like the one above.
Here’s how Peter describes to his friend Isabelle, who has accompanied him throughout an important part of his transformation, what discovering love as a main theme in his life means to him. They meet in Amsterdam, a few days after his farewell speech in London.
“What else is going on?” she [his friend Isabelle] asked. “Did you find a job?”
“No I haven’t been looking for a job yet. I guess I’m finally beginning to accept what wants to manifest in my life and am giving it some thought about how to give it a place in my daily life.”
“OK, sounds good. Tell me more.”
“Well, I have finally accepted and embraced the notion that I have a personal destiny too and in a recent conversation with my coach I’ve declared what had been hanging around for a while anyway.”
“You’re getting me all curious here, tell me more. This sounds exciting!”
“Well, I don’t think it comes as a surprise to you but at the deepest level it is about love.”
“Great,” she said softly, “so it’s official now.”
“About love as a power that we carry and that we could have carrying us all. A bond between all people. There’s simply not enough of it going around and I know the world will look totally different when we can really see each other in our uniqueness.”
Arguably most songs and stories ever we listen to are about love. It is fascinating, yes, but more than that experiencing it is uplifting, enjoyable, improving our health, bringing peacefulness, oh I guess I could go on here for ever. Let’s just stick to this Beatle title: All You Need Is Love (http://bit.ly/L84P4Q) and make our world fuller of love now than it was yesterday. It’s our natural state anyway 🙂 Love is All (http://bit.ly/4gYsF9)