Writings | Blog

On the next pages, I share with you writings that emerge from my heart, as I give a voice to its raw, pure, honest, ugly, intense and authentic parts. And thus, letting my entire being flow and bleed onto the pages.

At times, words find me in the night or in the middle of a store – questing me to be written down immediately. At other times, I catch myself sitting in front of an empty page for hours – waiting for inspiration to come and take me on a journey of words.

I openly invite you to contact me when you are being touched, attracted, blown away or curious by these adventurous words.

May there words inspire and guide you on your journey through life.. ♥

 

Vulnerability Hangover

Posted by on Nov 4, 2016 in Blog | Comments Off on Vulnerability Hangover

Vulnerability Hangover

This morning, I woke up feeling ashamed.

What’s wrong, I thought to myself? Yesterday, I shared a very connected sauna experience with a girlfriend. I had some beautiful dances this week. I am blessed with a wonderful home and partner. I can eat, breath and enjoy the sun.

And then, oh yes.. Reality struck. I exposed myself. I experienced an intense moment of vulnerability. Of sharing my fears with other sisters. My struggles. My confusion. Did I truly share this part of myself with others? What will they think of me now?

Shame and blame.

The two angry sisters that keep us, women, small and disconnected from ourselves and our own strength. The two antidotes for true openheartedness.

But truth for so many of us. A sensation that lowers our energies, that takes away our joy and that blocks itself inside of our stomachs.

Brene Brown calls this experience the ‘vulnerability hangover’. If you really take that big step and make yourself vulnerable, then it is pretty likely that the next morning you’ll wake up thinking, ‘Oh my God! Why did I share that? What was I thinking?’

Sounds familiar?

The true medicine for shame is empathy – sharing – being heard – being seen for who you really are. What can support us is to seek connection with someone who is going to lend us an empathic ear, someone who is able to listen to us and endeavour to understand our fears, anxieties and uncertainties.

And this is one of the (many) reasons why we come together in circle. To share – from the deepest core of our being. And to listen – show up – lend our ear to each other – and mostly: to ourselves. To allow ourselves to be – and to dare greatly.

Without exposing ourselves, making that human connection we need to combat shame is nearly impossible. So I invite you – including myself – to come as you are. To bring all of yourself. Fully.

You are so welcome.

Temple awakenings

Posted by on Jan 25, 2015 in Blog | Comments Off on Temple awakenings

“Temple awakenings”

Experiences of joyful and colorful festivities in Bali

“Temple. What does it mean to you?

Sacred temple. Does it have any significance to you?

Sacred temple for ritual and prayer. How do you relate to it?”

Before reading my story, I invite you to take a deep breath, and to think about the last time you spend your precious time in a sacred temple for ritual and prayer. For asking a question. For simply being still and connecting yourself to the larger whole. To the entirety of life. To the pain and the struggles. To the hope and the beauty. When was the last time you made a prayer for something inside or outside of you? For something bigger than you? And for the amazingness that is you? When was the last time you connected yourself to this wonderful temple that is you – your mind, your body, your soul, and thanked it for its beauty? If it has been longer than a day now, I advice you to do it now. Do it now. Do it here and now. There is always time for gratitude, and that’s why I write you this story.

Ever since I have arrived in Bali, I have been in awe of the beauty and dedication that the Balinese devotees put into ceremony. Every day, I am a witness of their prayers, their offerings, and of their colorful decoration and clothing. Even though most Indonesians are Muslims, Bali is highly populated with Balinese Hindus who – simply put – pray to obtain balance and harmony between the two opposing forces of dharma (good) and adharma (bad). As many Balinese believe, the Hindu trinity of Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu are all manifestations of one and the same supreme spirit Sanghyang Widhi. Balinese Hinduism is strongly influenced by animism and naturalism, where the power of spirits houses in all objects and elements of life. Balinese believe in reincarnation of the spirit, the partition of the spirit from the body is a process that is not an end in itself, but merely a continuation of cycles. The key to balance in life is obtained through a harmonious relationship between the spirits, other human beings and the nature that surrounds them.

Short after my arrival, the most important festival, Galungan, was being held on the island. This is a celebration of the triumph of dharma over adharma. According to tradition, the spirits of the dead descend from heaven, to return ten days later on Kuningan. In between these two dates, the streets of Ubud were flooded with enthusiastic schoolchildren performing Barong dances to the sound of large gongs. In Bali, there are temples everywhere. Every family has its own temple. Every village has several temples. And every community has several larger temples. Everywhere I go and look, I see temples. Beautifully and brightly decorated temples. Places of worship. Moments of the divine. On the festivity of Kuningan, I woke up at 5am, hearing loud music coming out of the speakers of the houses that surrounded my guesthouse in Pemuteran (a village in the North-West of Bali). Walking up to my neighbour’s house (and kindly being allowed to come in and take pictures), I saw the men and women beautifully dressed up in their colorful sarongs, while bringing offers to their home temples. After that, they went to the village temple to bring more offerings. They concluded their temple trip in the large temple of Pura Pulaki, the Monkey Temple, where they would receive the blessings to then return back to their homes.

A normal day in the life of an average Balinese Hindu involves a lot of preparation time for making their offering baskets, or ‘canang sari’. Three times daily, I observe them putting flowers, rice and fruits into specially made holders of palm leaves and dispersing these around their temple compounds. Next to my room and in front of every entrance and every temple, I am finding flowers lying down and incense burning. Through these rituals, they are giving back what has been given to them. Their sharing is not based upon fear, but on gratitude to the richness of life. Offering appeases the spirits and brings prosperity and good health to the family. It is a duty and an honour at the same time, and in Balinese perspective a very natural and almost logical thing to maintain a good relationship between people and spirits.

Time and time again, I am amazed and touched by the laughter and joy of the Balinese, especially during ceremony. In between their moments of devotion, I witness them talking, laughing and simply spending time with each other in community. The children are running around, the monkeys or dogs are trying to feed themselves of the offered food, and the atmosphere is happy and light. The pedanda (Balinese High Priest) keeps saying prayers and performing rituals. And some of the women continue singing while musicians are playing on their Kempul gongs and gamelans.

Yesterday, I was blessed to go to the Tirta Empul Temple near Ubud. In this holy water temple built at 926, a bubbling spring gives out fresh water through small fountains in which the devotees will bathe to cleanse and purify themselves.

It became one of the most wonderful experiences that I’ve had in Bali. While bathing myself in the fresh and cool waters of the holy spring, feeling the sun burning on my skin, connecting myself to the prayers that wanted to be heard and expressed through me and seeing the people smiling around me, I could only feel grateful for being alive.

And then there was this wonderful older woman who completely blew me away with her presence and movements. When the women started bringing their offerings in the temple next to the spring, she all of a sudden started dancing, fully owning her own sacred space. And by doing that, allowing all of us – witnesses – to enter that space of devotion with her. I bow to her. And by bowing to her, I bow to life. Because she is life. She brings life. She has brought life and continues bringing it. She showed me again that life is who she is – who I am – who you are. Through devotion, it is so much easier for me to feel connected to life, which is death, which is life. Oh yes, I bow to life. And to dance – which is life, of course..

We will not die in silence…

Posted by on Oct 18, 2014 in Blog | Comments Off on We will not die in silence…

We will not die in silence…

A ‘sudden village’ in Bil’in

Given the fact that I have been working for many years as a writer, I decided to do some blogging for and during ImaginAction’s theatre and art project in Bil’in (Palestine). So I started formulating what we are doing here. The inspiring techniques we are being taught by Hector Aristizabal (facilitator and director of ImaginAction). The games we are playing. The regular meetings we are having concerning the weekly demonstrations and political strategies. The theatre piece we are creating. And the overall experience of everyone involved in this project. This (impossible) task turned out into: not creating a blog and feeling the tensions of experiencing a writer’s block while being involved in the other creative processes. Very quickly, my writings became a few dull sentences stating some general facts of the work here. Uninspiring. Boring even. Which is quite the opposite of my experiences here…

So much is going on at the same time. Inside and outside of me. Being in this ‘sudden village’ (as Hector describes it) has highlighted how complex our human behavior is, and how easy it is for me to be distracted. Living in a community house and being surrounded by people all the time – coming in and out, asking questions in the middle of creative moments (even at this very moment) – makes it very difficult for me to stay concentrated. It does show me more about the Palestinian culture, where constant noise and movement are part of the daily life. In the Palestinian families, sisters, neighbors, uncles, brothers, cousins, friends, and (not to forget) children are regularly running in and out of each other’s houses. It creates an amazingly sweet environment of togetherness as well as a lack of solitude. It’s as if the people here have gotten accustomed to the noise. I truly enjoy being surrounded by people. And it can also get pretty intense at times to deal with the chaos.

Accepting the challenges

As a Western woman visiting Bil’in, I encountered many things, such as conflicts (both internal and external), moments of fear, pain and happiness, interesting conversations, painful realizations, yearnings for silence, and so much more. I bumped against walls – cultural walls, invisible walls and internal walls. I made friendships. I might be in the process of losing some. And I made mistakes. Many mistakes. But how to put these experiences into words?

Hector invites us to celebrate mistakes. For me, it is a big learning experience, because I was being taught not to make mistakes, or at least, to avoid them. I have a tendency to ‘want to do good for everyone’ (which is an impossible task) and by doing so, I either loose myself (and create inner conflict), or I all of a sudden find myself in the middle of conflicts that might not even have anything to do with me, but that make me feel responsible. It is a great lesson to let go, to stay true to my own truth, and to dare to state my own inner discoveries – without needing to understand them fully or expecting anyone else to agree. I am here to learn. To grow. To experience. And to share. I am here to humanize myself and all of the people that I meet. To heal old wounds. To see every confrontation as a moment of learning. And to face the challenges with an open mind and heart.

From Israeli settlements to Palestinian village

I have been in Bil’in (Palestine) for ten days now and I still recall the night we arrived here as though it was yesterday. October 8, 2014. I had already been in Tel Aviv for two days, and had just had dinner with the family of an Israeli friend. I met Hector and three other interns at the airport. As soon as the last intern arrived, we took a taxi and traveled together to Bil’in – a village in Palestine that has been occupied by the Israeli since 1967 and counts about 2000 inhabitants.

Around twenty international artists traveled all the way to join Hector from ImaginAction for a two week long project on TO. The Friends of Freedom and Injustice committee had invited Hector to share his work and experience with the community from Bil’in. Having collected around 12 000 dollars for this project, Hector also invited mural artist Francisco and puppeteer Ken to create and bring beauty to this community. The Palestinians were invited to join, and our goal is to create a play for and by the Palestinian participants about the issues in their community. The international interns came with different expectations and wishes, but our common treat is to learn how to work with community through art.

My own reason for participating for this project, was my strong desire to bring healing and transformation in my own ways of dealing with conflict. Besides that, I would also love to bring this work to my own community and to other communities around the world. In my work as a dance facilitator, writer and coach, it has become obvious to me that many people tend to avoid conflict and pain – as do I. Most of us don’t like conflict, or don’t know how to deal with it – myself included. But turning away from conflict does not mean that the wounds are not there. Suffering is a part of life. And even though it has been a large part of my life, I still have the feeling that I haven’t become an expert in it. So from this strong sense of wanting to fully dive into the acceptance and celebration of (my) life – in all of its aspects, I decided to join Hector to a warzone area, which is unlike any place I’ve ever been to.

It was night, so I couldn’t see much of where we were while driving through the settlements. I immediately became aware of the pungent and chemical smell of burning plastic. After 40 minutes, we arrived in a community house in Bil’in that has been finished very recently – and received a mattress, a pillow and a sheet. After introducing myself to some of the interns, I curled up in my little corner in the women’s room, and fell asleep.

Cultures meeting cultures meeting people

I got to experience the Palestinian people as very generous, open and friendly people. Every day, we would come together with our international group in the morning, and would meet with the Palestinian participants in the afternoon. We played a lot of games with the girls and boys from the village. Many of them were curious about the project, and the overall experience of our contacts with the villagers has also been very hectic. Many of them come and go, talk and walk away again, or just run around. We had things being stolen, and had to start locking the doors to our rooms. Also with these precautions, things still got stolen and were returned to us. We invited people from the village to come and watch what we were doing, and asked them to join. But only few stayed and decided to be a part in the play that we will be performing in three different locations. Many people – and especially children – came to watch what we were doing.

It has been interesting yet very challenging to be working with so many children in the community. During one of the workshops, Hector asked them to make images about Bil’in. They started showing us images of the violence they witness here, and of stones being thrown to the soldiers who respond by shooting and beating the demonstrators. Then – after being asked to make images of their daily lives – they created images of their other activities, such as: going to school, cooking, eating, playing football, working on a computer, etc.

One of the exercises that really affected me, was when Hector asked us to partner up with someone, and tell a story through movement and words about a moment of our childhood when we felt safe. My partner took me to the basement of his parent’s house in the North of Palestine, where he would hide when the soldiers were around. Every day, as he went to school, he would pass a military check point – where he would get beaten or shouted at most of the times. “I miss my childhood,” he told me, “because it was full of adventure.” He dreams of being an artist, and inside, he is feeling like an old man dying. “I will not cry about it. Life is hard, and many times, I feel lonely and in need of touch or a friend, but I will continue smiling and laughing.”

Celebration of (community) life

And this is what I see many people do in this village. They continue celebrating their lives, within all of the hardships and terror. Ever since the separation wall, the Bil’in community has also become much stronger. They have found their ways to make things possible and to continue living their lives with a smile. We were fortunate enough to experience a few festivities. During the Harvest Festival, the villagers performed dance and music. The men were holding sticks, and moved them above their heads. The children danced along and threw flowers on the stage. I started playing with the children, and we danced around in small circles. The women and men were sitting separate from each other, and I started realizing that I was crossing some boundaries. Only certain women, such as the mother and the grandmother, were dancing. But the other women were observing the festivities from a distance. It became obvious that I had entered a different culture, and that I had no clue of their norms and values. But as Hector says it, it is only by crossing the boundaries that we know where the boundaries are. So I decided to play along with the children, and to simply be myself.

The next day, we were invited to a wedding party in the village. The women and men were dancing in a different section, divided by a wall – but we could go up to the roof and see the men dancing. As soon as we entered the women’s space, I was astonished by how beautifully they were dressed. They were moving so gracefully, moving their hands and hips into different directions, circling up with other women, and echoing each other’s movements. At a certain moment, the mothers went to the men, and started dancing in between them, while the groom was being carried around on a chair. As soon as the dancing ended, the food was being brought, and we started eating the most delicious hummus, salad and bread. What a colorful and heart-warming festivity!

Walls between walls (invisible and visible ones)

As much as Palestinians love dancing and music, there are also restrictions and rules that interfere with my own needs for space and freedom. The Palestinian women, for instance, are only allowed to dance inside of their houses or divided in a separate space with other women. On the streets, a woman is not allowed to touch a man or walk alone with a stranger. And in the evening, hardly any woman will be spotted on the street. It took me many mistakes to learn about the cultural rules. For example, I love walking around on my own, and I made male friends – who wanted to show me around the village. I also have a tendency to move my body when someone turns on music or when I am feeling excited while being outside. My body is so accustomed to moving that it has felt like needing to shut myself down completely. I turned this challenge into an invitation to both move according to my own bodily needs and to stay respectful for this culture, (hopefully) without offending too many people. Again, this is an impossible task.

There is no such thing as only one culture. Every culture exists out of different subcultures with different norms and values. It has become very clear for example that the committee members who are organizing this project have very different rules and agendas than other villagers I have met. Even within one family, certain rules might be open for discussion. It is also much easier for me as a Western women to get into contact with the Palestinian men, because they are the ones dominating the streets. At the same time, this might be unaccepted behavior for some. I have become so curious about the stories of the women – who mainly stay inside and take care of house and children. It is my wish to sit in a circle with them, to listen to their stories (unbiased by a male presence), and to be a witness to their pain and dreams. During one of the workshops, a Palestinian youngster told me that they get bored a lot of the time – especially the girls. There is no other sport for them to do here except football. So also for boys who want to play basketball, there is just no place to go.

During the workshops, we got to play three theatre pieces based on issues that came up within our own personal lives – as a result of being in a culture in which the norms and traditions are so different from ours. Every one of us has been bumping against certain restrictions or expectations that weren’t being met, and we started from one image in which a conflict was being introduced. Based on this image, we created three theatre pieces – each related to a different topic. Especially for the European women, lots of gender issues came up – so we took this moment as an opportunity to create different interventions and dive deeper into our own experiences here. It turned out to be a beautiful theatre piece, in which I was singing and dancing. Making myself ready to go to a wedding. But all of a sudden, three women would come and show me that my dress was inappropriate. That I had to wear more clothes and cover my skin. They started wrapping me up in colorful scarves, while I kept on moving in circles. Until I was fully wrapped, couldn’t move anymore, and finally: fell down…

On the first evening of our stay here, I met a Palestinian photo-journalist who has been exhibiting his work all over the world. He has travelled throughout Europe and the Middle East due to the importance of his activist work, and has a huge knowledge of politics. Meeting him has taught me a lot, and provided me with opportunities to ‘go outside’ – and by doing so, to truly connect to the daily lives of the villagers. He invited me to his family house, where I got to connect to many of his family members. I went to help them with their olive harvest, got to play with their children, was being given many gifts and had the chance to talk to the women. It was so relaxing for me to just be away at times from the creations and chaos of the sudden village in the community house and to be surrounded by family. I was also being told that there are no Palestinian homeless people and that no Palestinian children get assigned for adoption, because the family will always take care of their family members. Besides that, most of the families here are large in number – for instance, it is not unusual for a grandmother to have ten children and 22 grandchildren.

Free Palestine

In the past two weeks, we have been talking a lot about the non-violent demonstrations that have been taking place here in Bil’in for the past ten years. Given the fact that these would be my very first manifestations in a war zone and my body responding pretty strong to the tear gas, I decided to join as a witness for both of the demonstrations that we took part in. For the Palestinian people, it is important that their messages are being spread across the world. So I decided to observe what they are putting themselves through every Friday, and to share their stories through my own eyes.

Our first manifestation started before the start and ended before the end. As soon as we arrived – and some people were still getting out of their cars, the soldiers started throwing tear gas canisters and we were forced to move back. Before the demonstration, we received a short explanation about the could-s and couldn’t-s so we would not go unprepared. But from the moment I found myself in the middle of it, I realized no words can prepare anyone for the intensity of what is happening here. Two people have died, and thousands have been injured and arrested. Due to the inhalation of the tear gas, I couldn’t breathe and my face started burning. The heaviness of the gasses, the dust and the heath were weighing on all of us. We came to a standstill, and started singing a protest song with one very clear message: FREE PALESTINE. The soldiers were coming from different sides and continued throwing tear gas canisters and sound bombs in order to move us back. After being there for what felt like an eternity (but in reality must have been about 15 minutes), I decided to step away from the demonstration and could only utter three words: “This is insane.”

A girl was standing in front of her driveway – running into the house as soon as another teas gas canister was being thrown. The powerlessness of this child was in stark contrast to the demonstrators and also the soldiers. A few yards away, I saw a family having a picnic with their three children underneath an olive tree. The olive tree symbolizes the pride of the Palestinian people. Most of them are farmers, and since the Israeli Occupation in 1967, more than 1100 trees have been burned. The children were laughing and playing, paying almost no attention to the scenery that was going on around them. For them, this was just another regular Friday afternoon. Getting used to violence at such an early age is one of the most painful things I can imagine.

Death lurks around every corner

The experiences of the demonstrations left me with many questions – and with fear, anger, sadness and hope. I also got to experience the stress of it in my body. The line between heroic struggle and useless loss can be very thin at times. But for the Palestinians, going to the wall and demonstrating is a way for them to show their anger, to release their emotions, and to share their messages with the world. Another example of the terror people are adjusted to, are the sudden nightly raids that happen very regularly. We were awoken around 3 am by the IDF (Israeli Defense Force) who entered the village. Turned out that the Israeli soldiers were looking for someone in the village, couldn’t find the person, beat up the neighbor, threw some sound bombs and tear gas, and then left again. Again, the harshness of the reality in Palestine stroke all of us.

A few days ago, a young boy was being shot during a military raid in a neighboring village. He was only 15 years old, and was ‘accidently’ being hit by a life bullet while the Israeli soldiers were looking for another man to arrest. I heard this story in the evening while we were driving up to a new community building overlooking the settlers on the other side of the wall. Seeing the destruction, realizing how much land these people have lost, sensing the violence ever since the coming of the settlers and feeling the pain of the family of this boy, I started crying. A friend from the Committee approached me and gently told me: “Don’t cry. Remember, we will not die in silence.”

One can only imagine the pain that families are going through here. Every person has its own traumatic story to tell. Of being shot at in the leg, arm or feet, of their children being taken and put into prison, of being beaten to never recover from brain damage again, of being traumatized after spending three to ten years in jail, of being accused of throwing stones, of needing to go to work at the settlers in order to earn some money (even though that land used to be theirs), etc. So I listen to the stories. And I write about them. Praying that they may be heard. Praying that they may create change and hope. Praying for every person living in this village, and for every human being living on this planet, that they may keep seeing the beauty in the midst of it all. And that healing may happen. This is so painful to watch, and at the same time, we need to witness it in order to share – and by doing so, heal – it. Only then, the wound becomes the womb. The breakdown becomes a breakthrough. The loss becomes a new beginning. This is the work. It is happening – right now, right here. And we are doing it, together.

Observing and being observed

In a small village, there is no place to hide. Coming here as a tourist, I am of course being very inspired to learn more about the culture and the people. At the same time, people are also watching me, following me in my everyday movements. This is what I refer to as observing and being observed. There is always one eye in and one eye out, wherever I go and whatever I do.

Several mornings, we started our workshops with a dance session. It was such a lively experience to guide my friends here through a movement meditation, and to invite them to explore touch and release through the body. It also helped me to release the emotions I have been experiencing here, but haven’t had the time for to truly digest or integrate. At this very moment, I can feel how tired and tensed my body is. I haven’t been sleeping enough and have been taking on a lot of stress from listening to the stories here and from experiencing the demonstrations. Even though, I didn’t participate in the front of the demonstrations – meeting the soldiers from far away and breathing the gas took me to very traumatic memories of my childhood in which I felt unsafe and violated. It is such an intense experience to feel fully taken over by a burning sensation in my breathing – as it is our one and only connection to this life.

I have learned a lot from seeing Hector at work during the workshops – especially in the midst of chaos and conflicts. He continues to hold the space for all that arises, telling us that all of these moments are part of our learning experience. It is so good to stay reminded of that, because after a while – especially when I am tired – it start becoming more difficult to step out and observe my own process here. I am being challenged again and again to find my own center point, and to follow the things I want to be doing. I haven’t been involved in the theatre as much as I thought I would have, but I have been observing a lot of behaviors, both inside of our sudden village as in Bil’in.

Imagination creates beauty

For the second demonstration, we decided to also include a procession of beauty through the streets of the small village. The basic idea behind this was to create beauty and to celebrate the olive harvest. Ken created beautiful giant trees, a giant gas bomb and all of us were dancing around with branches from the olive trees. From here, we went to the demonstration, where the soldiers were already waiting for us just on the outskirts of the village. I was standing next to a house, near a few local children, and before I knew it, I was breathing in tear gas again. My body just couldn’t handle it. So I went back to the community house. The demonstrators found their way all up to the wall, and two friends were being hit by tear gas canisters. But all of us ended up returning safe and released.

Yesterday evening, we went to see a dance concert in a beautiful theatre space in the city nearby Ramallah. It turned out to be a heart-warming evening, full of laughter and joy. We went there in a small van with some family members and friends of the Bil’in dancers. During the concert, children and adults were performing the local and energetic Palestinian dances. The music also made the whole very energetic and powerful, and the lyrics include lots of political messages. Afterwards, my Palestinian friend told me that two weeks before, one of the dancers was being killed by a soldier. “This is the life,” he told me. And he added that he was feeling touched by the beauty of the dances as much as he is being touched by the people dying.

The theatre work with Hector has created lots of moments of healing, conflict and healing. I came here with the idea to fully become involved in the theatre play. But I ended up writing, dancing and making connections with local community members. I went out and took a lot of pictures. I listened to many people’s stories. And as Hector beautifully told us: “Imagination is our greatest human right. We have come together by fate, and we are here to witness, to open up to new possibilities, and to explore new ways of seeing and acting. This work is about healing and humanizing others and especially: ourselves. We are working with the people, and they are beautifully complex. We don’t ask them to act, we ask them to be themselves and to perform something in which they are experts. It is impossible for anyone to mess up if they are allowed to be who they are on stage. We are not here to fix or change anything. We start from the social and political issues of people, and from there, we become interested in their personal conditions and emotions. We keep asking questions and we keep looking for alternatives. This is where the magic happens.”

This night, we performed the theatre piece for the local community here. It was an honor to be a witness and a part of this. Our being here might have stirred a lot of things in this community and inside of ourselves. We have no idea what the consequences of our presence is. Sometimes, only one word can inspire someone’s course in life. One action might encourage someone to look for alternatives. Or one hug can create a spark of hope. Every moment is full of possibilities. And the effects might not yet be visible, or might never become visible at all. So we stay open to whatever arises. And we continue to share our stories…

You can read more stories on the blog of ImaginAction: imaginactioninaction.wordpress.com.

Breath Made Visible

Posted by on Jun 4, 2014 in Blog | Comments Off on Breath Made Visible

‘As we tap into the deep sources of bodily wisdom through creative art expression,
we dance the renewal, recreation, and healing of ourselves and our world.’
(Anna Halprin)

We walk about 100 stairs down before we enter the room. We come in late as she is already sitting on her chair, gently whispering instructions to the people lying on the floor. The space is big and beautiful, all made in wood and existing out of four large windows that look right over a giant redwood forest. My friend, Monique from Marin County, and I put our valuables on the side, and lay ourselves down as well. I hear her saying: “Feel the energy flowing through your body as you gently breathe in and out.” No thought can resist her soft yet clear voice. Gradually, I surrender to the floor and to relaxation. Sinking deeper into my body, I experience excitement softening my (usually multi-tasking, busy) mind. Oh, how happy and honored I am to be in Anna Halprin’s “Mountain Home” dance studio!

Anna Halprin, born on 20th July 1920 (!!), has dedicated her life to dance ever since she can remember. For her, dance is a way of coping with feelings and emotions that come up, with which she has no other way of coping except through dance. “Things that have happened to me, happen to anybody in a lifetime. Moments of celebration and moments of panic, moments of fear and moments of great sorrow. I’ve always been able to use dance as a way to resolve whatever has come up for me in my life.”

Anna Halprin has become world-famous because of her pioneering work in the expressive arts healing movement. In her work and her life, she makes use of the healing power of dance. “I developed a proces called the Life Art Proces. As your life expands, your life deepens. And as your life experience deepens, your art expands. I created philosophies and methods that helped me navigate those issues into a dance experience. And that has been somewhat of a unique approach to dance. By now it is growing into what they call Expressive Education. If I create my own dances, it is always in collaboration with all the art forms. And thus my daughter, Daria and I developed a program called Expressive Arts Education. It is dance oriented, but the other art forms can grow out of it or grow into it. That has been my life’s work.”

Breath made visible
As I am lying there focusing on my breath, I hear Anna asking us to massage our pectoral muscles (situated at the chest). “Many of us are very tensed in these muscles, especially if we do a lot of work on the computer”, Anna says, adding: “If we are sitting behind a computer, it is best to find ways to compensate. If I sit still for half an hour, I want to reconstruct that movement.” As I can feel myself unwinding more and more, I also catch myself thinking about our every day lives. And about how we have unlearned to make use of our bodies in the capacious ways they were designed for. Anna suggests focussing ourselves on opening up this part of our body, and by doing so, discovering ways of realeasing our daily stresses. I start stretching my arms and shoulders while making small growling sounds. “Balance, it’s all about finding balance,” I catch myself thinking almost out loud. The more I feel myself softening, the more I am becoming focused and conscious of what is going on around me. My awareness starts shifting into a different realm, one in which time expands and space broadens. My breath becomes deeper and I am being reminded of Anna’s definition of dance: “Breath made visible”. My breath is like a compass or a North Star: its constant stream of motion allows me to connect myself and my body to the motion in and around me.

The music starts playing and we begin to explore movement through space. Anna asks us to imitate others, to pick up movements of others and make them our own. I see people passing by – blurs of eyes, feet, arms and hip movements are entering my visual realm – and allow my body to follow what attracts its attention. I shift from fast to slow to fast movements, like a drop of water flowing with the current of a streaming river. My consciousness of self and body become one whole in this contact with others. A minute becomes an eternity, and in one blink of an eye, two hours have gone by. We gently unwind, stretching ourselves onto the floor again. Anna gives us paper and a simple instruction: “Draw whatever comes up for you.” Words start floating onto my paper. Creation is what I am made of and who I am.

So much more
We come together in a closing circle and share our drawings and creations. We all shared the same dance (space), and yet, everyone of us has another story to tell, another experience to communicate. Some people have experienced great bodily pleasures, others felt free of worries. Another friend of mine felt disconnected throughout the entire evening. There is no good or wrong. It’s all about paying attention to the current moment. About listening to what is being shared. And about putting into movement what wants to be expressed. When it’s my turn, I read aloud my freshly written poem “So much more” with a slightly nervous yet exhilarating tone:

“As the music is flowing through my body,
Landscapes of feelings and mechanics melt together,
Creating a mountain on which I find myself
dancing, opening and enjoying.

When the time has come to end the class, Anna’s eyes find mine: “You wanted to ask me some questions.. I have half an hour, will that be enough?”

As I follow Anna towards her chair, I notice her beautiful dance room. The Mountain Home Studio is an astonishing place of creativity. Located in the west slope of Mount Tamalpais, it was designed by Arch Lauterer (lightning designer for Martha Graham) in collaboration with Lawrence Halprin (Anna’s husband and landscape architect). The outdoor deck was built in 1948, and the indoor studio was added in 1950. Lots of experimental movement workshops and performances were given and created here, and many well-known artists saw the beginning of their career here (such as dancers Simone Forti and Trisha Brown, and poet James Broughton). Anna believes there is a field of energy here that keeps growing, while – bringing the past into present – giving this space its particular beauty and sacredness. It is a magical place for sure.

Legacy beyond death
We sit down (Anna puts herself in her director’s chair) and I ask her my most favorite starting question: “Who are you?” Anna turns her face towards mine, slightly lifts her chin and answers me softly and kind: “Ever since I can remember, I’ve danced. After years of dancing, this language has become very familiar to me.” She tells me that when she dances, she is connected to the world around her and enters a different state. She then becomes able to “put together the feedback proces between movement and motion”. Anna lifts her arm and tells me that she immediately feels a connection to the trees, purely by making that movement. While letting her weight down, she expresses her connection to the earth. Every movement creates a different feeling – and therefore a different energy – in her body. The awareness of her body in contact to nature and her surroundings have become second nature to her. Currently 93 years old, Anna Halprin is aware of the fact that she needs to take special care of her body, as dangers are lurking around many more corners for older people. “Right now, I am researching the idea of ‘beyond death’. What happens when you die? I want to find a way in doing that dance to leave a legacy. Again I am using dance to deal with the inevitable loss of life. I am 93. Even now, dance is a wonderful stimuli to keep searching. If I am going too fast, when my mind is ahead of my body, I slow down. One of the most common things with older people is falling. So I have to be alert all the time.” As I ask her how she brings her dance experience into her daily life, she compliments my question and shares a secret of what is keeping her aging body so healthy: “Hopefully going up four flies of stairs every day and having a swimming pool, I am able to keep my body functioning. Given my age, I am very aware of how I walk up on those stairs, especially in the dark. I always do it very sufficiently. I am aware of where my body is, of which muscles I am using, and of where I am putting my weight, as to make it as effortless as possible.”

Notwithstanding her age, Anna is still teaching classes and workshops in California. “I don’t have to do this. I could just be sitting, trashing hours and eating chocolate,” she tells me with a big smile. The Studio’s evening lights lit up the wrinkles in her laughing face, giving her an expression of great wisdom and generosity. She continues: ““I try to define what do elders do in other cultures. They maintain their rituals, they teach the young, they heal the sick. And so I try to fulfill what elders do. It brings me enjoyment.”

What about the children?
Given the fact that dance creates healing and peace in larger communities, we could also take that knowledge and put it into action, in our schools and in our homes. “Dance and movement can bring about great leaders,” Anna says, “I deeply believe in the power of dance. It needs to be in our school systems. For children, dance is their first language. I taught children for 25 years. I had one group that started at the age of four. I worked with them throughout high school. These kids never forgot it. Each of the children became a significant leader in whatever field they chose. They didn’t all chose to be dancers. They are very successful in their lives. It is just remarkable.”

“There’s a lot to be done out there.” Anna and her daughter Daria created a training program “Life Art Process” in the Tamalpa School. They now have branches all over Europe, and are also starting a branch in Israel. Anna is excited about these constant changing and growing processes. “I am constantly growing into the changes. I don’t know now what is going to happen tomorrow. I live in the present, while finding road maps that define my intentions and that give me methods of theoretical approach to fulfill these intentions.”

A body of nature
Anna is very committed to working in natural environments. “I am very lucky because I have an acre of first redwood trees and a beautiful natural environment where I can walk into. There are no houses around, only nature. I also have a place up by the ocean and give workshops there. Since we are a part of nature, being in nature dancing is the best way to feel the connection. We are not the center of the universe. I am so lucky to have this environment to work with. It is so nice to be outside, with the sky and the birds.”

Anna’s daughter, Daria, has been doing this work ever since she was a little girl. Growing older, Daria also studied Gestalt Therapy with Fritz Perls and Psychology. Where Daria looks at dance and art from a therapeutic background, Anna approaches humans from an objective, scientific and philosophical point-of-view. “It excites me that scientists are currently doing lots of research about the brain and about interconnectedness. They have for instance discovered that the brain has patterns that are repeated in all forms of life. This body of ours is a replica of the molecules in all living things. When you know how your body works, you have the potential of being able to generate creativity which is what art is all about. The only way to bring our body into dance, is by finding the real commonalities of patterns.”

Fighting the good fight
When Anna was 80, she was diagnosed with cancer. Anna tells me that, after she had the tumor removed, her body altered forever. This gave her an extra impetus though, to compensate for that physically. The operation had taken away lots of strength in her body. “It could have completely destroyed me. Or – as it happened – made me stronger. It made me stronger in my motivation to maintain that physical aspect of my body, and also to confront the possible loss of life. It felt like enlightenment at gun point. I like that expression. I really had to decide if I wanted to live or if I was going to let myself die. It was that urgent. Once I made the decision that I was going to live, I had to fight for it. There was always a shadow behind me, saying: ‘Remember why you are here! Remember. Why. You. Are. Here. What is your purpose.’” A moment of silence falls into our conversation. I hear the voices of my friends talking in the distance, but am feeling focused on the conversation, on the here and now. This woman is showing me the blessings of her wounds. She is taking me inside of the darkest parts of her Dance Journey, which has brought her both insights and fear. Just like every human being on this planet has the choice, Anna very deliberately made the decision to life.

Anna found ways in which she can express her pain, fears and doubts through art, creation and movement. Is is Anna’s purpose to create a pathway for others to follow – one in which dance changes lives, and creates healing? “My cancer changed my intention around dance. I founded the Planetary Dance, which has to do with peace, with finding peace within yourself and the world. With relationship and commitment. And with fighting the good fight.” The pieces of the puzzle start falling into place. So that’s one of the reasons of why Anna is still teaching. Her work is clearly not done yet. She still has so much wisdom to share with the world, and with her students (lucky us!). The good fight needs a good leader, and Anna is certainly one of them. “My greatest satisfaction is when I see people finding themselves liberated through dance. When I see how dance has given them the tools to live their lives more creatively.” Not only has Anna been committed towards sharing her wisdom of dance and body in her own home, Anna has also been traveling around the globe, sharing her messages of peace and art. “More recently I came back from Israel where I had the opportunity to do the Planetary Dance with a group of women from different religions. It was really wonderful to see Israelis and Palestinians dance together. That’s the kind of legacy I want to leave behind. Dance can bring about peace.”

Into (poem)

Posted by on Feb 6, 2014 in Blog, Poetry Extracts | Comments Off on Into (poem)

I step into the past,
and start walking in circles.
I step into the fear,
and allow myself to fall deeper.
I step into the dark,
and realize I can’t see a thing.
I step into the night,
and listen to its secrets.
I step into the fire,
and dance along with every spark.
I step into the unknown,
and am feeling pushed around.

And while stepping into
this and that and more,

I step into
Life,

and discover
– again –

that

Life
is
a
playground
,

simply asking of me
to get into the groove.

– Caroline S’Jegers

Kolkata Sanved (Tweet4Change)

Posted by on May 30, 2013 in Blog | Comments Off on Kolkata Sanved (Tweet4Change)

Kolkata Sanved (Tweet4Change)

I received this message from a friend this morning: “Help in the fight against human trafficking and Tweet for change! Every vote for Kolkata Sanved earns the organization 100 INR!”

So I also invite you to do so. You can follow this link and make your ‘vote’ for Kolkata Sanved: tweet4change.

A few years ago, I worked there as a volunteer. Kolkata Sanved is an organisation that uses Dance Movement Therapy as an alternative approach to counseling, psychosocial rehabilitation, self expression, and empowerment. Their core project, ‘Saving Lives through Dance’, works with diverse marginalised communities in collaboration with governments and non-profit organizations (NGOs).

While working there, I felt as if I was coming home.. Although being confronted with the harsh reality, and while working with survivors of sex trafficking, it was one of the most beautiful times in my life. And this is what I wrote back then: “I was helping during a movement workshop with community girls… When I suddenly noticed their faces: I have never seen such a big smiles and I have never felt such a pure and energetic atmosphere in my life before! These girls have so many problems, but when they started dancing and playing, they opened up like a beautiful flower! Dancing truly saves lives!”

More of my experiences can be read on the blog I wrote back then (in Dutch): click here.

More information about Kolkata Sanved can be read on their beautiful website: kolkatasanved.org.

Dans Je Magie

Posted by on Mar 4, 2009 in Blog | Comments Off on Dans Je Magie

“Dans je magie”
Een zoektocht naar betoverende dans in India
(foto’s en tekst: Caroline S’Jegers, publicatie: Luck Magazine, maart 2009)

Al sinds mensenheugenis maakt dans deel uit van de Indiase cultuur. Gedreven door mijn passie voor dans trok ik een aantal maanden door India, en werd ik er bezield door de betoverende krachten van de “slangendans”.

Hoe het allemaal begon…
Ik stond bovenop een hoge klif, net voor een diepe afgrond. Twee kleine stapjes vooruit, en ik zou de grond onder mijn voeten verliezen met als gevolg dat de zwaartekracht me duizenden meters de diepte in zou doen tuimelen. Ik keek naar het grote meer waarin ik dan terecht zou komen – dat vanuit mijn standpunt eerder op een stipje leek – en voelde me duizelig worden bij deze gedachte. Ik zag twee onmetelijk grote slangen krioelen in het water en hoorde een vriendin van me roepen: “Wees voorzichtig!” In gedachten stelde ik haar gerust, de klif was namelijk zo hoog dat de slangen nooit tot bij mij konden geraken.
Plots steeg één slang op uit het water. Ik probeerde me te verbergen achter een rots, maar het was reeds te laat… Ik voelde me omhuld worden door warme dekens. De slang was meedogenloos en glipte mijn lichaam binnen.
Op dat moment schoot ik wakker met het overrompelende gevoel: “Er zit een slang in mij!?”
Deze droom kreeg ik op de vooravond van mijn eerste grote en verre reis naar India, zo’n twee jaar geleden. Ik wist toen nog niet dat de slang mijn beschermster en begeleidster zou worden tijdens mijn trektochten, op zoek naar dans, doorheen dit veelzijdige land en dat India me zo zou gaan fascineren.

Verwacht het onverwachte
Toen ik voor het eerst de Indiase bodem betrad, werd ik overspoeld door de verscheidenheid aan geuren, kleuren en indrukken. India is een land van contrasten: arm en rijk, traditie en moderniteit, orde en chaos, je treft het er allemaal naast elkaar aan. Met een Lonely Planet in de hand voelde ik me gewapend voor wat me als reiziger in India te wachten stond. Ik had er namelijk in gelezen dat toeristen die met de stroom meegaan, beloond worden. Zo moeilijk kon dat toch niet zijn, om “het onverwachte te verwachten”…

De cultuurshock was echter enorm groot toen ik in de broeihete hoofdstad Delhi aankwam. De eerste dagen in Delhi waren immens confronterend voor me. Wat ik ook deed of waar ik ook keek, ik kon geen enkel raakpunt vinden met de werkelijkheid die me zo vertrouwd was. Mijn lichaam werd geprikkeld langs alle kanten: stof, drukte, pikant eten en vervelende muggen (die op de koop toe vervelende ziektes met zich mee kunnen brengen). Nog nooit was ik me zo bewust geweest van de processen die zich in mijn lichaam afspeelden. Ik voelde ronduit elke porie in mijn lichaam! Ik had het gevoel dat geen enkel woord kon uitdrukken wat ik ervoer. De pagina’s uit mijn dagboek bleven onbeschreven, en dat terwijl het neerschrijven van mijn reiservaringen één van mijn meest geliefde bezigheden is…

Heilige dieren in India
Als je de reisboeken over India doorbladert, zie je heel wat heilige dieren de revue passeren. Het vereren van dieren reikt ver terug in de Indiase geschiedenis en heeft zijn wortels in het Hindoeïsme, één van werelds oudste religies. (De aanhangers van het Hindoeïsme, de Hindoes, geloven dat het leven cyclisch is. Alle Hindoe goden worden beschouwd als een manifestatie van Brahma, de oneindige en eeuwige schepper van het universum.)
Zo heb je de Heilige koe met haar zuiverende kwaliteiten, de olifant die symbool staat voor wijsheid en rijkdom (en gelinkt wordt aan de Hindoegod Ganesha), de aap die standvastig en krachtig is (gelinkt aan de god Hanuman), en de slang die geëerd wordt vanwege haar scheppende, vruchtbare, onsterfelijke doch ook beangstigende krachten. Hindoes geloven dat ze door het vereren van de slangengodin Manasha, de “vernietigster van vergif”, behoed worden voor de dodende effecten van slangenbeten.

De slang als metgezellin en beschermster
Na een aantal dagen merkte ik dat de heftige lichamelijke en emotionele reacties die ik ervoer, langzaamaan begonnen te bedaren. Voor ik vertrok hadden zoveel mensen me proberen te verwittigen voor de duizenden gevaren die je in India kan tegenkomen, dat ik er vrij angstig rondliep. Het werd me snel duidelijk dat ik dat moest loslaten. Ik probeerde me te ontdoen van de laatste stukjes paniek die me nog in hun greep hielden, en nam me voor om mijn reis vanuit vertrouwen verder te zetten. Op dat moment begon de slang, die zich tijdens mijn droom o-zo comfortabel in mijn lichaam had genesteld, zich terug te manifesteren. Al snel bleek zij een zegening op mijn tocht, en ze bracht me in contact met vele diepspirituele ervaringen die ik op voorhand onmogelijk had kunnen bedenken. Ik begreep nu ook wat het betekende om de stroom te volgen en volgde de tekenen die ik op mijn weg tegenkwam.

Door me steeds weer te laten leiden door het symbool van de slang, kwam ik in contact met een slangenbezweerder die me tevergeefs trachtte te verleiden om naar zijn huis mee te gaan in de yogastad Rishikesh, met een toerist die een slang op zijn been getatoeëerd had in Manali (deze toerist bleek eveneens een beschermengel te zijn, want ik ontmoette hem net op het moment dat ik een échte slang op mijn pad trof), en met kleine krioelende slangen in het heilige water rondom de prachtige Gouden Tempel in Amritsar. Maar het was vooral in het magische stadje Pushkar dat mijn “ontmoeting” met de slang me door en door kon beroeren.

Magie in Pushkar
Pushkar is een populaire, veelbezochte toeristische stad en een belangrijk pelgrimsoord voor Hindoes. Volgens de Hindoeïstische mythologische vertellingen werd het stadje gecreëerd door de Hindoegod Brahma (de schepper van het universum). Zesduizend jaar geleden zou Brahma een lotusbloem hebben laten vallen op de plek waar nu het Heilige Pushkar Meer gelegen is. Wanneer ik aan dit meer zat, voelde ik een magische rust tot diep in mijn lichaam doordringen. Ik genoot er ’s avonds van het prachtige uitzicht van de zon die in de verte onder de horizon neerdaalde en van de klanken van een mooi fluitspel.

De locale bewoners van Pushkar spelen erg in op het groeiende toerisme. De smalle straten barsten van kleine winkeltjes en de verkopers spreken de toeristen aan met “typische” zinnetjes zoals: “Ma’am, where you from?” en “Only looking, no buying”. (Dit laatste zinnetje zei een verkoper zelfs een keer tegen me toen ik naar het toiletpapier stond te kijken dat uitgestald stond voor zijn winkeltje.) De Indiase verkopers spelen in op het feit dat westerlingen snel in de verleiding raken om enkele (naar westerse normen) “goedkope” producten te kopen. In Pushkar raakte ik gefascineerd door de prachtige, kleurrijke doeken en sjaals en de fonkelende, mooie juwelen. Zo kwam ik thuis met zeker 20 sjaals in mijn bagage!

Wat me echter het meest van al trof in het idyllische Pushkar, was het feit dat het stadje gelegen was naast de “slangenberg” (Nag Pahar). Weer eens liet de slang me niet los! Bovendien was ik niet naar Pushkar gekomen om er de eerste de beste dansvorm te leren. Neen, ik werd er betoverd door de vloeiende “slangendans” die uitgevoerd werd door de vrouwen van het zigeunervolk Kalbeliya. Die dans moest en zou ik leren!

De sensuele slangendans
De bewoners van de Kalbeliya stam wonen ietwat buiten Pushkar, in vervallen hutjes in de stoffige woestijnvlakte. De meesten van hen verdienen geld aan de vele toeristen die Pushkar bezoeken. Zo lokken de mannen de vakantiegangers door het bezweren van slangen en het maken van muziek. Met een dwingende overtuigingskracht proberen de vrouwen de toeristen juwelen te verkopen, henna aan te brengen op hun handen en voeten, en hen danslessen en -voorstellingen te geven in hotels.

Tijdens mijn verblijf van twee weken in Pushkar kreeg ik de kans om het Kalbeliya kamp te bezoeken en de slangendans te leren van één van de zigeunervrouwen Soenita. Zij vertelde mij dat ze van jongs af aan wekelijks danslessen had gekregen van een “dansguru” (traditionele dansleraar) en dat “haar hele volk met hart en ziel opgaat in dans en muziek”. Door de dagelijkse trainingen was haar lichaam enorm flexibel geworden. De elegante en charmerende danspasjes die ze maakte, toonden bovendien duidelijke overeenkomsten met de soepele en gestroomlijnde bewegingen van slangen. Elke dag leerde Soenita me een aantal nieuwe danstechnieken. Na een week voelde ik duidelijk dat mijn heupen zich losser bewogen en dat mijn voeten steviger op de grond stonden. Net zoals de Kalbeliya vrouwen, draaide ik mijn lichaam in het rond, terwijl ik mijn armen door de lucht liet vliegen. Mijn handen maakten gracieuze gebaren, terwijl mijn ogen zich op een punt in de verte richtten.

Eén van mijn laatste avonden in Pushkar vond er een dansvoorstelling plaats voor mijn hotel. Het werd een adembenemende vertoning. Al wentelend waaiden de zigeunervrouwen hun kleurrijke rokken heen en weer onder het felle vollemaanslicht. Met hun voeten bewogen ze zich voort op de ritmes van de aanstekelijke muziek. Ik kon niet anders dan deelnemen aan dit fantastische schouwspel. Ik werd meegesleurd door de sensuele, gracieuze en cirkelende bewegingen van de dans, en bewoog mee op de opzwepende ritmes van de drums en de hypnotische klanken van de Poongi (speciale soort fluit). In wisselwerking met het publiek kwam er een intense kracht vrij tijdens het dansen, en voelde ik de adrenaline door mijn lijf stromen. Die avond deelden de Kalbeliya vrouwen de “energie van de slang” met de toeschouwers in hun vurige dansspektakel.

Een dubbel gevoel
Hoewel dat een ervaring uit de duizend voor me was, hield ik ook een dubbel gevoel over aan de tijd die ik doorbracht met de Kalbeliya vrouwen. Omdat zij nooit geleerd hebben om met geld om te gaan, geven ze dat wat hen gegeven wordt, vaak meteen weer uit. Velen van de zigeunervrouwen zijn niet steeds “fair” tegenover de westerse toeristen. Zo proberen ze hen vaak met allerlei truckjes geld te ontfutselen. Bovendien worden ze binnen het kastensysteem, dat nog steeds overwegend heerst in India, geclassificeerd onder de kaste van de “onaanraakbaren” (of paria’s). Het lijkt alsof er op deze manier weinig aan de povere situatie van de Kalbeliya’s veranderd kan worden. Gelukkig houdt de organisatie Fior Di Loto zich bezig met het eisen van rechten voor de Kalbeliya’s en met hen onderwijsmogelijkheden aan te bieden.

Dans van intuïtie
Niet lang na mijn verblijf in Pushkar, keerde ik weer huiswaarts. Thuis aangekomen voelde ik me enorm dankbaar voor de vele inspirerende mensen die ik op mijn tocht had mogen ontmoeten. Omdat ik de confrontatie met India en, meer nog, met mijn eigen kracht en zwakheden had durven aangaan, was ik trots op mezelf. De ervaringen in het Noorden en Westen van India hadden me een nieuw bewustzijn en nieuwe inzichten gegeven over mezelf, over de wereld en over de dans. Maar bovenal had ik geleerd om te vertrouwen op mijn eigen intuïtieve krachten. En vanuit dat nieuwverworven, magische vermogen zette ik mijn eigen levensdans voort…