Beauty, connection and warmth

December 08 2013

Dear people,

I love reading your stories. You give me the chance to share your lives a little bit. To me, this is very valuable. Thank you!

Me, I am a forty-year-old single mother, about to lose my job. Uncertain times. But by now, I do want to take life as it is. I also found out that I want to dedicate it to beauty, connection and warmth. This is what matters most to me. Knowing this feels warm and sweet. So strangely enough, I have never felt happier.

I remember being a child and walking home from school. I passed a field where a girl was playing. She saw me passing and she started screeming something. I could not hear what she said, so I walked in her direction; she then came running at me. As she came closer, I heard she was actually insulting me. I didn't know her, she didn't know me, I didn't do anything to her, but still she started hitting me. I ran away.

This experience stayed with me. I could not understand why anyone would want to do this, and it was very difficult to accept my own powerlessness in the face of agression, hatred, lack of consciousness, or however you would want to call it.

Over time I decided to withdraw from the world. I found a safe place to live in my mind. It was a lonely way of living but it also allowed me to be close to beauty and far away from the violence and hurt I saw all around me. My body turned cold and I never felt very safe. Living like this had something very grey and meaningless about it. I connected to others in a judgemental manner. My mind was working hard to close off my reality for anything that could prove me wrong.

At twenty I wanted to become more alive. I did all kinds of physical things, singing, theater, yoga, to become a bit less sterile. I had children. This opened up completely new layers within. To really inhabit the body is a long process but very worthwhile. It changes everything.

Eight years ago I started working in prison as a humanist spiritual counselor. There I met very many loveable and soulful people. People that grew up in poverty, in environments which were not safe, with little love and respect. People with addicted parents. People who had to become used to unstable and unhealthy relationships and bad food. People who were so bored that they went on drugs as young as they could. People who spread violence and hurt in the world and were suffering.

I also met many people in my personal life, who were doing well in terms of jobs, safety and material wellbeing. But amongst them many who lacked somehow the ability to really care, about others, about the world, about beauty, about nature, about truth. They emit some sort of hardness and coldness.

Slowly I learned to remain present more, and not to react to pain by stiffening or withdrawing. I became less of a victim of circumstances, and more of a creative force. Very nice that this is possible.

Now I want to use what creative force I have, to further beauty, connection and warmth.
Beautiful things can happen between people. Nobody should go through life unseen and uncared for.

My two kids say hi, I say: may you all blossom,

I would love to hear from you,

All the best, Jolanda
[email protected]
The Netherlands

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