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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.. ♥


DANCE ROOTS

Posted by on Dec 13, 2016 in Blog | Comments Off on DANCE ROOTS

DANCE ROOTS

The essence of DANCE

Dancing takes us back to the essence of who we are. To the source. It makes us aware of what we have always known, but might have forgotten. It is a part of life – just like eating, sleeping and drinking. Look around you. What do you witness? Do you see that woman walking, her dress softly blowing in the wind – as though she is being taken by surprise? Do you see that dog turning circles – as though its movements are simple yet refined? Do you feel your own heart beat, gently connecting you to the rhythm of the earth? We are all intertwined to one another. We are all connected to a larger understanding. And we dance. To live. To celebrate. And to give.

DANCE ROOTS stands for:

Depth
Awareness
Necessity
Chance
Experience

Depth
We can go high only if we are able to go deep. Energy can only float through is fully when we have strong roots into the earth. When we are deeply connected to our life in this body, on this planet. Only then can ecstasy take place. Only then can we feel supported by life as we make connection to our higher purpose, our soul’s calling.

Awareness
Through movement and deep connection with our body, can we become aware of our being on this earth and in this body. Consciousness is an acceptance of who we are, what we feel and how we experience ourselves right here and right now. It is a fully being present, and a showing up for what arises – without attachment. We notice and be with. And by doing so, we move beyond and are being moved by life as it floats through us.

Necessity
Movement and dance are necessary for our own growth and be-ing. Everything is in constant motion. No two moments are the same. A flower is growing from a seed towards the light. Water is needed for our system to stay alive. Movement helps us stay in motion. It is a pathway towards health. Movement asks of us to step out of our comfort zone, and be moved along the flow of life.

Chance
Take a chance and drop into your body even more deeply. I dare you to try it out. To jump. To do something you have never dared before. And to play. To accept this invitation as nothing more than an opportunity and nothing less than a possibility. It is here and now that you are receiving this offer. Will you accept?

Experience
Every dance is a new movement. Every movement a new breath. Every breath a new moment. Every moment a new experience. What is it you have always wanted to experience but never dared to? Set your intention and breath it in? Explore new ways to be in your body. Broaden your state of mind. Learn to go beyond what is limiting you. Thoughts. Feelings. Old stories of belonging. Try out something new. Take a pause. And breathe.

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.

We start the first woman’s SPARK circle on 8th November.

Registrations through contact@carolinesjegers.com.

Wisdom of Presence

Posted by on Sep 6, 2016 in Blog | Comments Off on Wisdom of Presence

Wisdom of Presence
“Mythology opens a gateway, a portal into remembering who we are.”
While moving around on the festival grounds of Psy Fi, I was divinely being lead into a workshop with this butterfly woman: Eve Olution.

The first words she spoke went straight to my heart. I sat there in awe and with tears in my eyes throughout her entire workshop. She shared and embodied the wisdom of ‘Presence in Performance’ – and how we can use our art as a message to the divine. The medicine she gave me in that moment is still vibrating into my very being. May it inspire you as well..

TAPESTRY OF MAGIC
As a dance facilitator and DJ, I am constantly in the midst of large group of dancers, communities and tribes.. I keep being honored about the fact that the dancers who show up for Ecstatic Dance are trusting the guidance of the ceremony leader and the DJ. They enter the space and – when experiencing a safe and held container – are able to fully dive into the journey that we create all together. Together we weave a tapestry of magic, through vibration, movement and sounds.

ANCIENT ROOT OF PERFORMANCE
So what is the magic behind a ‘safe and held container’? Some of us might have already heard about the notion of ‘holding space’, but still, it’s a fairly new concept in Europe. In these times, many of us are talking about consciousness, presence and Goddesses – but what does it actually mean? Do we use the power of our consciousness to make a change? Do we truly know the stories of the Goddesses?

Tapping into the old mythologies and stories, Eve started working with women and female archetypes. She experienced that we can consciously use awareness as a vehicle to connect deeper to the ancient roots of performance. When we use the embodiment of presence during performance, we can radically transform ourselves and others. The presence of the performer will become a mirror for the presence of the observers. The dancers will become the dance – and the divine will become the vessel.

As Eve noted, directed attention of a witness is being received like fire to the performer. In the example of my own work: when I am doing the ceremony or DJ’ing for Ecstatic Dance, I am receiving attention from the dancers which creates huge fire beams directed at me while doing my craft. At times, when all of the energies come together, the space becomes one breathing body and we all get a deep and embodied sense of spaceousness. At other times, when I feel off centered myself, the space can become overwhelming or chaotic – and the dancers can feel this as well. My presence affects the presence of the others in the space. And the more I can channel that energy of fire into a divine source larger than me – the more magic we can create all together.

FUTURE OF ANCIENT WISDOM
Eve is a story teller, an actor and director. She tells ancient stories with her hands, her face and her soul. She taps into the source of what we always have known. As a partner of Yaygon Lamagier (Kalya Scintilla/Merkaba), she performs on stage during his sets. Seeing her perform truly gave me more insight into the power of presence during performance. She brought together the entire crowd, creating a tapestry of connection. As Eve also said: can you imagine what would happen if the people performing on stage are fully present? A whole crowd of 40 000 people could sink into their embodiment! What a gift!

“Claim what we are through art.”

I feel inspired to share this wisdom further, and to start giving workshops again. Keep your eyes and ears open, more is coming very soon! <3

Click here for a link to one of Eve’s videos and here for a link to her website.

Beauty and the Body

Posted by on Apr 29, 2015 in Blog | Comments Off on Beauty and the Body

Do you ever look in the mirror, not loving what you see?

Do you ever look around you, comparing yourself and criticising your own body?

During her life time, every single woman will hear voices inside and outside of her telling her she is not good enough because she doesn’t match an ilussionary standard of beauty. Or telling her she is too beautiful or sexy or too connected to her ‘soft animal body’ (and thus an outcast as well)..

A few years ago, I started writing a book on conversations with my body (it is my aim to finish the book this year!), and this is what I wrote as a part of the introduction (I talk about my body as a living entity and thus naming her a ‘she’):

“I didn’t grow up wanting to have a body. I didn’t even make any connection to her, time and time again closing her off, and letting her follow what I wanted her to do. But she found her way of making me listen. At a certain day, she stopped functioning – forcing me to delve inside, to stop running away from what was calling me, to take rest, and to integrate. My entire being was being forced to inhabit her, to feel at home in the body that I was given. And up until now, I still have flashes of what ‘needs’ to be different, or of what (I think) needs to ‘change’. Oh, how I have blamed myself. How I have felt shame and doubt concerning my looks and concerning ‘her’ natural way of being. But she kept and keeps doing her work, and she kept and keeps expressing herself in a multitude of ways. Step by step, I am working my way through all the old stories that were attached to my body. Breath by breath, I am feeling the pain of my own traumas and collective pain. Of suppression and oppression. Of disempowerment and abuse. Of joy and bliss. Of love and abundance. Of connection and truth.”

Even though I have been dancing for so many years, and even though I can feel divinely grateful for my body and treat her as my temple, I still have moments that I judge my body thinking she should be different. I still have moments that I don’t like the constant changes of my bodily forms. Or I have moments when women come up to me telling me they feel threatened by or attracted to my appearance, as I can dance so wild or am looking so comfortable in my skin.

A few years ago, I started giving one-on-one coachings, supporting others on their path towards deep embodiment and acceptance of Self. And I noticed: by sharing my wisdom and adoration for the body and her constant changing landscapes with others, I started feeling more LOVE for myself and my body!

So this is my recommendation for you today: give a compliment to a beautiful woman – whether a stranger, a (grand)mother, a daughter or a neighbour. Give it wholewheartedly, without expecting anything in return. You might be surprised by how much and what you will receive!

May you love yourself for who you are and may you perceive your body through the eyes of love and beauty. And may you can look from within – and make connection to the beauty that you already are, always have been and always will be!

Namaste!

PS: This link takes you to a wonderful project that inspired me to write this blog.

SPARK (The Sensual Feminine)

Posted by on Apr 18, 2015 in Blog | Comments Off on SPARK (The Sensual Feminine)

I am an sensual woman. It is the essence of who I am.

For many decades, my power has been seen as weak. Or scary.

For many life times, my strength has been seen as an agressor. As something that needed to be ‘domesticated’ or put to sleep.

But the wild woman is always present.

It is just a matter of taking ownership of it.

Regularly, men and women come up to me to thank me for the energy I bring into a room. Some of them share their longing for being in their own sensuality as well. The dance floor provides me with a space where I have learned to feel safe enough to fully enter my own power – through embodiment, which can be pretty wild at times. At other times, it can be very soft, sweet and vulnerable. Oh, I have cried so many times on a dance floor!

This week, I went to the forest. One of the only places in the North of Belgium where you can actually hear *silence* (read: no human-made noises). I stretched myself out on the grass and allowed the sun to caress my skin with her warm rays. I felt like any woman would feel when she is enjoying herself: yammie and sweet. Deeply rooted and connected to the nature around me. And all juiced up. I took a pen and started writing:

What if HSP does NOT mean High Sensitive Person but High Sensual Person?

And what if the essence of the feminine is her power, not her weakness?

I received one answer: SPARK!

What does SPARK mean?

Sensitive
Presence
Attentive
Relaxed
Kind

I asked for more clarification, and received these messages:

Sensitive = senses
The essence of the feminine is soft and sensitive. The feminine knows before the action takes places, she feels before emotions are being shared, and senses before changes happen. The feminine is ultra-intuitive and has a deep connection to the power of the heart. Sensitivity is as easy for the feminine as action is for the masculine. Brought together, situations can be dealt with in a harmonious manner. The feminine accepts and allows what is beneficial for the higher good. She reacts towards injustices by bringing herself as close to the situation as she can, and protects what needs protection. The feminine witnesses and lives according to a very simple truth: vulnerability is powerful. And power is accepting this wisdom, and putting it into action.

Presence = present
The feminine is right here, right now. She enwraps what is actual and does not try to change things with force. She gently takes pauses as she goes along and witnesses the changes amongst her unfolding. She has patience yet perseverance. She does not give up easily but chooses her battles wisely. She knows when to go and when to stay. She sits in the midst of the fire if she has to. And she protects the weak, the vulnerable and the lost. She gently listens to the wisdom of the nature surrounding her and knows she is a part of this. She lives according to the wisdom: my presence is a present in the present.

Attentive / Amiable / Alive
Who does not like the gentle yet clear touch of the feminine? She is loved, loving and lovable. She knows love is only connected to acceptance of who she is – entirely. It is a giving up and letting go. It is a deep surrender, release and satisfaction. The feminine prays in order to connect. She dies in order to be born again. She asks in order to be given. The feminine dives in order to find. The temple is where she can recharge her energy. Her body, her womb, the darkness of her depth and the strength of her love are her dedication to spirit, to her guides and to her beauty. Here, she finds herself home again. Here, she truly receives the gifts of Life.

Relaxed / Roaring
She roars and screams, yet deep inside, she is as calm as the seabed. Nothing can truly affect her, as love is who she is. Whatever hurts, breaks or opens her, the inside knowing of her truth offers her healing. And for that, she connects herself to sisters and the mother energy. The feminine is unbreakable and rises with every gentle touch. Do not try to tear her down, because you need her. In order to find peace in your heart, and rest in your mind and body. Your Soul longs to be connected to her waters. Let go and follow the flow. Let her bring you exactly where you need to be.

Kindhearted
With every smile and laughter, her loving-kindness will be shown to you. The feminine plays in order to reconnect to her inner child. She sings in order to give expression to her inner voices. She dances in order to give expression to her inner movement. She cries in order to give expression to her inner feelings. The feminine desires to be treated with dignity and respect. In her eyes, the divinity of each Soul is being reflected. In her voice, the love for her ancestors is being shared. In her words, the truth can be revealed. This is the power of the feminine. It is here to guide you – are you willing to accept?

Well, I ask you, are you?

Are you willing to accept the power of the feminine?

It is time to SPARK!

abunDANCE of Money

Posted by on Apr 8, 2015 in Blog | Comments Off on abunDANCE of Money

In this life time, one of the biggest subjects we talk about – besides love – is money. It is connected to the secrecy, the dirty or the admirable. Money is able to make us run around like fools in order to have more or better. Our lives are organized around it, yet without our connection to it, it has no value at all. Money is given value through us. Through the use we give to it. Through the Soul we put into it.

Money requires of us to be seen, to be visible. Otherwise, it cannot flow to us. Because it loves value. And it asks of us to value ourselves. In the last two weeks, I received three fines. Three parking fines, that is. It’s interesting that it happened just now, as I have been learning to trust life more the past few months. I am valuing myself and my work more. So I am parking myself in the middle of my own being more. I am sharing with the world: here I am! I am making myself more visible. Someone once told me: “If you don’t do anything, you can’t do anything wrong.”Life is asking of me to take chances. And thus, to invest money. I will lose money. I will gain money. But in the end, I will follow my Soul’s calling.

Up until recently, money was something that would stress me out. That I did not want to spend too much, as I believed there would not be enough. Or that I required of me to sell my Soul. If I wanted to earn, I would have to do things I didn’t like at all. Throughout the past years, I’ve been able to travel a lot. And I learned to do so on a tight budget. Money would influence my choices, and I would follow only what would seem to be the cheapest options. There have been moments of abundance, of allowing myself to fully follow my dreams, and to spend money – a lot of money. These choices were always connected to what I truly love, namely: dance and movement. Every time I would spend more, I would be able to generate more. And if I would fully allow myself to manifest abundance, money would start flowing to me. But the fear is still here – inside of me and around me. I don’t get stressed about it as much anymore, but the fear of not earning enough is still sneaking undercover..

Money is energy. It is a value we give to our work and our life through investment of time,  presence and actions. It is the emotions and the physicality we put into being. It is an easy and universal means that helps us live, exchange and survive. Nothing more and nothing less. Yet, it can also be misused. It can be used in a way to mislead, to mistreat or to misuse others. Money is connected to power. As I refused living a life within our slave modern society, in which our body and well-being are being ignored in many ways, I have unconsciously kept myself poor. I didn’t want to participate in this game of taxes and expenses and I was afraid of playing big. I thought I needed to stay small in order to be a good girl. Or I felt so bad for the poor in our world, that I would keep myself poor as well. So I wanted to belong to them. Like I wanted to belong to the outcasts when I was a ten year old, even though my ‘cool’ class mates really liked me and even invited me to their ‘cool’ parties. So I realize: how can I do good in this world, when I am in a constant struggle of survival and am not living according to my full potential!? I am losing so much of my energy to be pushing the gas and the break at the same time. Or to be driving 30 km/h even though I am sitting in a race car.

Even though I can reflect on all of this with a slight touch of criticism and even laughter towards myself, I also am able to see all the gems that this life is giving me. I could live at my mom’s house, and got to see so many beautiful places on this planet. I truly learned to appreciate what matters in this life: heart connections, friendships and magical moments of surrendering and receiving. What I needed, always came to me. What I loved, always ended up being met in the end. I learned to let go of material things. To de-tach myself. And I learned to live and travel light. There is a time for everything in life..

Now the time has come to step away from my limiting ideas. To not only think in terms of enoughness. But to embody abundance again. Like the abundant flowers that are blossoming now. The abundant raindrops that fall out of the sky as clouds cover this earth. Or the abundant breaths that are to be taken in one life time. Nature doesn’t think in terms of shortage. In fact, it doesn’t think at all. It just lives according to abundance. I don’t need to have too much. I will stay very weary on not being all sucked into materialism. But it is time for me to fully embrace abundance now. It is time. For abun-dance. Are you with me?

My Soul’s Calling

Posted by on Apr 7, 2015 in Blog | Comments Off on My Soul’s Calling

What is your heart’s desire?

Which wishes linger inside of you, deep down, and are waiting to be awoken from their sleep?

Which dreams are secretly wanting to be fulfilled?

***

For many years, I had the feeling that I wasn’t fully paying attention to my own desires. I would put another person’s needs before my own. And I would loose contact with my own longings. Or I would chase a dream I thought was mine, but wouldn’t feel fulfilled when that dream became manifested – realizing I was living someone else’s plan for me.

Ever since I started teaching – about eight years ago – I dreamt about teaching big groups of people making use of the deep healing powers of dance. In the beginning, I was happy to have groups of four to twenty people. And sometimes, only one or two people would join my classes. It wasn’t always easy, and I started doubting myself many times, but I kept showing up. I kept listening to what my heart asked me to do. Last month, I was being asked to be a ceremonial leader for Ecstatic Dance Amsterdam. While I was tuning into this evening, I all of a sudden realized that my dream was coming true. And there I was.. standing in front of 160 movers and dancers – many of them experienced and with a clear knowledge of the practice. Their eyes looking at me, their ears waiting for me to lead them into movement, their Souls celebrating their willingness to connect with their true essence. And I, nervous as hell yet grounded in my body, allowing the love for dance to simply float through me. Telling myself: “You have been doing this for so many years.. Just be the dance. Don’t do anything. Just be. Be-come the dance. And oh yes, don’t forget to breathe!” I left that evening feeling touched, moved, humble, grateful, vulnerable, dedicated and blessed – all at the same time.

Many times, we focus our wishes and dreams upon specific events. We want to have a big car. We want to find the perfect partner who has to tell us the perfect things. Or we loose contact with our dreams. We forget what we want. We search for what doesn’t serve us, and become sick or unhappy. We forget to ask ourselves: how do I want to feel myself? Which feelings do I want to experience once my dreams start coming through? More so, does it really matter what happens on the outside, if our inside is still struggling and maybe not even taking in the gifts that are given to us? It is all about being receptive. About opening up, even though it might be scary. About embracing all of our different personalities, all of our different emotions to take a place at the table. And to be a moderator. To listen to them. To find a middle way. Or to let one of them take over the meeting. But in the end.. It is up to us to decide. How do you want to feel? And how do you feel now, allowing yourself to dream out loud? To embody your own gifts? And to share them with the world? A friend once told me: “It would be criminal not to share your talents with the world.” And she was right. There is a time of diving in. Of meeting our fears. And then there’s a time to be bold. Courageous. And to take that one step, that allows us to fly.

A few days ago, I was reading a blog post of Marc Allen about his Keys to Success. He has a very inspiring story to share, as he started as a poor 30 year old, feeling anxious about fulfilling his dreams – with no job and no family support. He decided to sit down and write down the scene of how his ideal life would look like. Then he took another piece of paper and listed the goals he planned to accomplish, worded as affirmations. Such as: “In an easy and relaxed manner, in a healthy and positive way and for the highest good of all, I am now creating a thriving business.” He took his affirmations with him wherever he went, and started allowing himself to ‘work smarter, not harder’. Marc also kept repeating to himself that ‘once I get the inside right, the outside falls into place’. Five years later, almost every single one of his dreams got manifested as he became a millionaire! He created his Millionaire Course in which he shares his richness and wisdom with the world.

Especially in relationship with others, fears and resistances are being met – and we refer to them as ‘triggers’. In connection to my partner, I am being given a mirror of where I am not being clear, where I am not appreciating my own boundaries, and where I am wanting to do so good for the other, that I lose myself entirely. We all show each other mirrors. We are being asked to look into them wholeheartedly. And to embrace the fears that might arise. Living our dreams can be scary. As it gives us a feeling of vulnerability, of being naked. Vulnerability can be used as a power, if we allow it to transform us. If we don’t fight against it. Oh my, I am so good at fighting. At going into counter-attack, in stead of moving away from the attack. In stead of using my own energy for my own benefit. In stead of creating clear boundaries – loving yet grounded. It is a learning process. Time and time again, we are being asked to look our demons into the eyes – to enter the small room in our psyche where all of our darkest bones are being buried. And to bring them back to life. To move beyond naivite and fear, and to step into our own intuition and strength. As an empowered agent.

***

Have you been feeling the calling lately to listen to your Soul even more carefully?

Do you wish to express your talents with the world more fully?

Or are you learning to share more deeply from the heart?

***

Clarissa Pinkola Estes is a story teller and writer, known for her book ‘Women Who Run With the Wolves’. She talks about an inner predator living in the psyche of both men and women. This predator is a ‘contra naturam’ (against nature) force, which opposes the positive: it is against development, against harmony and against the wild. It can show up in dreams or might erupt our most soulful and meaningful plans. It severs us from our most intuitive nature. And it asks of us to practice a maturing of our own inner wisdom by listening to our inner voice, by asking of the right questions, by seeing what we see and hearing what we hear, and finally: by acting upon what we know to be true. Clarissa emphasizes: “These intuitive powers were given to your Soul at birth. They have been covered over, perhaps by years and years of ashes and excrement. This is not the end of the world, for these can be washed away. With some chipping and scraping and practice, your perceptive powers can be brought back to their pristine state again.”

Connected to these thoughts, questions and learning processes, I feel very blessed to invite you for a most unique event, held during the weekend of 6-7 June and co-facilitated by my dear friend Alessia Cartoni from Madrid. Alessia and I met each other in Bali, where we connected to life through beauty, dedication and creativity, and where we received a very strong vision to co-create and share our work with others. During this weekend, we will call forth YOUR gifts as we share our tool kit gained from years of experience working in dance, movement, theatre and music – both nationally and internationally. Together, we will weave a Web of Visions and create a safe and held space in which you can dive deeper into connection with your Soul’s Calling. The venue of Universa at Melkmarkt 4 in the heart of Antwerp has a beautiful view over the Cathedral. Be prepared to be surprised and to expect the unexpected..  Because who knows.. Dreams might come true! You can read more about this event through this link. I also give private Soul Coachings – face-to-face or through Skype. For more information, click here!

***

To end this blog, I share with you another key from Marc Allen’s Millionaire Course: “You have everything you need: a miraculous body, a phenomenal brain, and a vast and powerful subconscious mind. Now it’s just a matter of focusing them in the right direction.” May you continue finding the right direction while listening to your Soul’s calling. May your dreams come true with ease. May you find your own power as you move forward. And may you feel supported by Life and Love.

Looking forward meeting and guiding you somewhere along the way!

 

 

“A Giant Snake” (My Kundalini Awakening)

Posted by on Jan 26, 2015 in Blog | Comments Off on “A Giant Snake” (My Kundalini Awakening)

“A Giant Snake” (My Kundalini Awakening)

Explorations of sensuality and growth in relationship

So much is being written on the subject of men and women. On the subject of the relationship between the sexes. On the subject of sexuality and sensuality. And on the subject of questioning gender similarities, differences and culturally patterned ways of education. Many among us are searching for new ways of relating to ourselves, to the world around us and to one another. A lot of the old structures (such as monogamy) are being examined. We are living in a time of big change and transformation, and only through exploration and experience can we discover what feels good and what wants to be re-created through us. As a woman who has been living on this planet in her current physical body for 32 years now and who has had many life experiences, I finally feel ready to write about the subject of sexuality and relationships. I’ve been unconsciously ignoring writing about this subject for quite some time now, but this morning, a very clear impulse of inspiration came to me – so I will give it a try, especially because it means: stepping out of my own comfort zone (and I am in for a new challenge!)..

In my previous blog, I wrote about the importance of coming together and sit in circles. With women. With men. With both women and men. A few weeks ago, I was telling a man I met in Bali exact the same thing. He asked me: “Then what would you do with the transgendered ones among us?” Well, they can sit wherever they feel most comfortable. If they feel more related to men, they can sit with men. If they feel more related to women, they can sit with women. I will not go deeper into this subject though. Because I want to talk about men. Real men. The men I meet and talk to. The men who feel like men. The men who are still outgrowing their young boy bodies men. The men who teach and shake me. The men who are being taught and shaken by me. Often, men have been a distraction in my life. At other times, they were an attraction. Most of the times, they were both. Or everything in between. So much can be said about the topic of relationship and sensuality. But the subject might be clear by now. Men.

And thus: women. Given the fact that we can all agree to some degree that “this is a man’s world”, as James Brown so beautifully sang, “it would be nothing, truly nothing without a woman or a girl.” None of the male (nor female) bodies would be walking around on this planet without the mothers that birthed them. Talking about men implies talking about the moment I truly opened up to relating to men. The moment I discovered my own femininity and sensual/sexual being in this world. The moment I was no longer a young girl, but became more aware of my own womanhood. The moment I realized I had a female body that was birthed to be met in her full orgastic potential. I will call it my moment of Kundalini Awakening, referring to how the yogic philosophy describes it (Kundalin in Sanskrit meaning “circular”). Because that’s the moment I fully became aware of the presence of men in my life, and of my relationship to them.

I was standing on top of a huge cliff, with a view over the ocean. As I looked down, I saw two giant snakes swirling and playing in the ocean miles below my feet. I could hear my friend warning me to be careful. But these giant creatures were so far away from me. What could go wrong? All of a sudden I saw one of the snakes rising up. And up. I hid away behind a rock. The rock became soft. The snake entered my body.

I woke up in one sudden and shaky motion with a very clear knowing: “I have a snake in my body!” This dream occurred to me about six years ago, before I was about to set foot on India for the first time. Before I started venturing through a for me unknown and foreign place. Before I had ever even heard of something called kundalini energy or had ever done any yoga in my life. The snake became my guide on this first big trip. I ran into snakes everywhere and ended up learning the snake dance with the Kalbeliya gypsy dancers in Rajastan. I met men, but was still being seduced by them. Many of them I couldn’t trust. I ended up spending the night with an Indian guy and asking him to leave in the middle of the night. I became misled by a snake charmer, and was smart enough not to follow him to his room. The seduction of the snake can be a very dangerous game to play, and I  had to get to know how to control her in a gentle yet clear way.

After my first journey to India, I continued living my life the way I had lived it before. But the passion for love and sexuality had awoken in me. My kundalini energy wasn’t fully floating yet, but I had taken the first step. The Hindu scriptures describe Kundalini as lying “coiled” at the base of the spine, represented as either a goddess or sleeping serpent waiting to be awakened. In modern commentaries, Kundalini has been called an unconscious, instinctive or libidinal force. It wasn’t until four years ago, after my father passed away, that I re-connected to my inner snake body. My life changed after an unexpected approval of my application for a week-long workshop called “Dream Dance” – held at the magical retreat center of Esalen Institute in Big Sur. I decided to travel for three months, delegated the work that I had planned to do, and left for California.

The workshop “Dream Dance” was a combination of Jungian dream/Gestalt work and a dance form called The Five Rhythms. Esalen is located at the beautiful coast line of Big Sur where the Santa Lucia Mountains rise abruptly from the Pacific Ocean. Shortly after my arrival at Esalen, I woke up one morning only to realize that I had arrived at the exact place of my dream: a giant cliff with down below the ocean. That week, I danced and moved with my snake dream. I entered the movements of the snake, became the ocean, the cliff and the rocks, and received many messages and insights. I learned that to be careful means: to be full of care. I learned that the snake inside of me truly wanted to be heard and expressed. I learned that the beauty inside of me needed to be shared. That I needed to let go of my old self, in order to rediscover myself anew – like a snake shedding skin. In short: I became aware of my own, previously sleeping, sensual energy and had a very clear Kundalini Awakening.

One evening, I was soaking in one of the outside hot tubs overlooking the cliffs of Big Sur, watching the stars and hearing the waves hitting against the rocks. A very attractive and sweet male dancer was sitting next to me. We were talking a bit, and enjoying the wonderful scenery. At a certain moment, he asked me if he could touch my hand. I softly entrusted him with my hand, and he gently started caressing it. What happened there and then was pure magic for me. With only one stroke, it felt as if every cell in my body cracked wide open. My entire body exploded. My inner fire bursted into flames. I became everything around me and everything around me became me. I became one with all that is and ever will be. Nothing stayed hidden for this energy. All of the old ideas and limitations that I had put upon myself (notions of being unworthy and not beautiful enough), had to surrender to the flames. It felt as if all of the energy that I had kept to myself, that I had tried to hide or shut down, all of a sudden opened up, to never be closed on me again.

After this experience, the most beautiful men started approaching and seducing me. Men with such persuasiveness that I was surprised they even fancied me. I had changed. And I started opening up to exploring this energy. The path of sensual awakening had chosen me, so I had no other option but to surrender to it. Many times, it was very confusing for me. This energy was so wild and powerful, that I wasn’t able to direct it. That I didn’t know what to do with it. That I sometimes couldn’t sleep because it was floating so abundantly. I had no idea what was happening to me, but was fortunate enough to meet people who helped me use it in creative ways. I started exploring my relationship to men in many different ways. I became curious of different exchanges, and wanted to learn what this energy could bring me.

I met many more men and every experience was very different. My curiosity would drive me into the dangerous games of seduction, and I was luckily always protected by my guides and friends. I traveled with one woman and her family for a month through Mexico, and she is still one of my best friends and teachers. She taught me about sexuality purely by being herself. She showed me what it means to be a tantrica and helped me become aware of my own powers. Up until this day, she knows about every man that I have met. When I fall in love, I show her a picture and she will look into his eyes. She will ask me if he will be able to take care of me. If he will be able to support me. She protects me when I experience yet another heart pain. And she gives me advice when I meet a man who leads me away from my soul’s path and dedication.

When I was 18 years old, a friend once told me: “Caroline, it is attractive to be hard to get. But you are too hard to get. No one can approach you.” I used to be so scared to open my heart. I didn’t want to get hurt. I didn’t want to let anyone in into my castle. I built up strong and big walls. Until I met a man who helped me break them down. Purely by loving me, he helped me love myself more. He helped me open up more. During the past few years – after my Kundalini awakening, my heart was so open at times, that I wasn’t protecting myself anymore. That I would fully give myself to the other, and would even force myself upon the other. I now see how I have scared men away from me. Because I wanted to be loved so badly. I was going outward and holding on to their love. I wanted them to love me. Or I wanted me to love them. Please, love me and stay with me. I have so much love to give. Please, accept my love. At the same time, I didn’t trust men. I became angry with men because I didn’t want them to play the game of push and pull with me. I didn’t want to be attracted and then pushed away again. But I was doing the same. I wasn’t being clear with myself. So how could I be clear with the other?

Throughout the years, I learned to stop directing my energy onto someone or something else. A sexual or sensual energy can be used in many different ways. It can be used to create. It is the power of creation, it is the life force, and it floats unlimited. At the same time, it doesn’t have to be shared with just any random person. It wants to be taken care of, it needs to be protected. What I had to learn as well, is how to continue staying open and at the same time be able to distinguish between what is good for me and what isn’t. Some men immediately want something from me. They will tell me I am the problem if I don’t give them what they want. Or I will blame them for not giving me what I want. I see so many people struggling with their partner, sticking together because they think they are growing. At times, that might be true. I truly believe it’s important to stay with both the beauty and the pain. To continue showing up. But I also came to realize that it is important to distinguish good from bad. In the current New Age culture, this capacity of making distinctions is sometimes far from reach. We think that growing needs to happen in pain – all the time. We look at ourselves and think we need to become better. And better. So we become attached to the pain and the struggle of growing. Until we realize: life can be sweet. I am already amazing. All is well.

After my last serious break-up, I ended up doing only one thing: asking for peace in my heart. I started reading Marianne Williamson’s “A return to love”, and kept asking for miracles. From the moment I started experiencing peace in my heart, all of the other experiences started fading to the background. Then it didn’t matter as much whether he loved me back or not. Or whether he had ever loved me or not. Because I experienced peace in my heart. I felt at peace. In my heart. I remember reading that, after one of her friends said that most men can’t commit, Marianne responded: “The problem is not that most men cannot commit, the problem is that you start a relationship with these men.” This sentence gave me a very strong clue of what had happened to me as well. I didn’t trust men because I couldn’t make clear boundaries. I couldn’t commit myself to hold a sacred and safe space for myself, and kept on attracting men who couldn’t fully commit either. I was afraid of being abandoned, of being left for another. And I have been left for another, and I have left, several times. Time and time again I discovered that no one or nothing could abandon me, if I would not abandon myself.

The past few months, I have been creating much more clarity in the sayings of my YES. I have learned to say YES to NO, which is one of most powerful and helpful tools in any relationship. Many times, we are scared of saying NO, because there might not be another chance. Another man. Another possibility. We might make the wrong choice. But these are ideas that house in our heads and are purely based upon limitations. It felt very scary for me to truly and sincerely say NO to these old patterns of relating. Of making myself smaller simply to be or feel loved. Of giving myself away purely because I thought the other was stronger or wiser than me. Living life and being in relationship opens us up to the bones. It can shred us to pieces. It can bring up all of the old wounds that are still hiding inside of us. I keep going through both the beauty and the terror that is living inside of me. And by clearly saying YES to NO, I discovered that I am also ready to say YES to YES!

 

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..

“This is where I heal my hurt”

Posted by on Jan 20, 2015 in Blog | Comments Off on “This is where I heal my hurt”

This is where I heal my hurt”

My first nights on the magical island of Bali

Every chair was taken after I seated myself. In the corner of my eyes, I saw them sitting at the table opposite of me as they were charging the batteries of their phones and talking to one another. I had just left a sticky, airconditioned flight that had taken me all the way from Brussels to Abu Dabi airport, and was now patiently waiting for my next flight to Jakarta, Indonesia. I still had about five hours before boarding, which left me with enough time to stroll around the not so interesting shops, to read in The Middle East Magazine (that I got for free and in which – to my surprise when I opened it – a photographer friend from Palestine had gotten some of his pictures published), to eat dinner, to sit, to observe (there are so many people from a diversity of cultures joining in this one big airport, so I started inventing a small game of guessing where people came from and looking at their next destinations on the big boards next to their gates to discover the answers), to lie down, to sleep and to listen to music. And oh yes, I almost forgot: to talk. Being all friendly and social as I am, I went over to the other table where they were sitting, and started talking to them. They were waiting to take the same plane as me, and were traveling to Bali as well. So we were heading in the same direction. I gently nodded at them, mumbled “See you later” and moved along.

Later, after another long and sticky flight on which I watched a bunch of you-would-never-see-these-unless-on-the-plane movies, we met again at the Jakarta airport. As we started talking again, they friendly invited me to stay at their bungalow park. ‘They’ were two guys of my age – now living in Germany but born in Bosnia and Kosovo during the war. ‘They’ had a third friend who would come a few days later as he’d gotten some problems with his Visa and was waiting for a new one to arrive. So ‘they’ had an extra bungalow in a private resort that they had rented as their base in Seminyak for the coming month. I could stay there for a few days, they suggested. But since I didn’t respond immediately to their suggestion, they asked another girl. I kinda wanted to be on my own, and didn’t feel like we had much in common. Plus, I read that Seminyak is a party place – and drinking or partying until late in the night were the last things on my mind (they hardly ever are). I was so so tired. Two days and one night of traveling. A few weeks of almost no sleep and a lot of work. And two interesting, but o-so intense projects with theatre maker and activist Hector Arastizabal in Palestine and Italy. I needed to do one thing: NOTHING. But would I find rest in the hostel that I had booked for this first night in Sanur (I read it was kinda boring there and not a very nice beach)? Would I find a taxi driver who would take me there, as someone told me today was a day of festivity (so many people were not working or the taxi drivers would charge much more)? Would I ever receive another opportunity to go to Seminyak, if I didn’t join them now? (I ended up going up going there three weeks later for a concert of spiritual singer Nakho, but that’s another story.) There was a girl coming as well, so I guess that makes me more safe? And who knew, I might even like it there?!

My mind started playing tricks on me, but finally the other girl and I decided to go along with them and share the extra bungalow for my first night in Bali. After 20 minutes, we arrived at Seminyak. We drove through a street full of clubs (outside, I saw travesties and prostitutes taking a hold on the passengers passing by), made a turn to the left into a narrow street, got out of the car, walked through an even more narrow street, and arrived at a small resort with 3 bungalows and a beautiful pool in the middle. I could hear the bass of the club’s music pumping into my vessels, and wanted to leave right away. At the same time, I realized it was already midnight and had no idea where to go elsewhere. I just needed to sleep. After a dive into the pool and a small meal, I went to lie down in the bungalow. An hour later, the girl came back from a walk with the two German guys. It was 3am. The music stopped. I promised myself to leave as soon as I would wake up. And thus fell asleep.

I woke up in gentle quietude and took a shower. The sun was shining through our bungalow window. I took a deep breath and realized it was cold. I wanted to leave, went out, realized it was very warm having left the airconditioned room, and started talking to the guys who were sitting outside. Another man had entered the resort, he turned out to be the owner and told me that I shouldn’t rush myself: “Just stay here for one more night, and leave to Ubud tomorrow. You are tired now, so you should take it easy.” He was right. I was amazingly tired. I started breathing in and out more deeply, decided to buy a local sim card, get breakfast and take a look around. At least I had arrived on the magical island called Bali, so I wanted to explore which hidden gems were waiting for me – even in a place like this. We went out together and started walking around in the little shopping streets. The sun was shining more strongly now and I started feeling more and more relaxed. After lunch, the girl and I went to the beach and stayed there for the entire day. I enjoyed it so much, that I forgot about my plans to go to Ubud. “I will survive one more night,” I promised my body. Besides, one of my favorite teenage bands were playing that evening – the soulful hiphop band De La Soul – so I really wanted to see them live!

That evening, the girl left. Her friend had arrived, and they found another place to stay. The German guys made plans to go out, so I decided to skip the concert and enjoy the time on myself in the resort next to the pool. Before they left, we jumped into the pool again. I talked to the guys about their home countries and about the war. I told them about the project I had been doing with Hector Aristizabal in Palestine, and they complimented me for my courage and dedication. “It is so important to spend your money wisely,” they told me, “for example, in project like these.” “Yes,” I answered, “it is important to be a witness of their pain and struggle at the same time sharing moments of play, relaxation and joy with them.” They left at 10pm, and I put on music, started dancing around the pool and went to lie down on the cushions at the covered terrace. The monsoon rain started pouring and I was feeling at ease and happy. In the distance, I heard the music pumping again in the clubs. But this time, I felt safe in the little container that I had created for myself. I felt rested in my own energy. I felt ready for the adventure that was awaiting me.

Or so I thought.. 2.30 am. I heard a male voice screaming. I woke up with shivers running through my entire body. What was going on outside? I reminded myself that I luckily had locked my door. The German guys had entered the resort and were now talking at the terrace in front of my bungalow. One of them screamed again: “Call now!” I overheard the other guy talking on the phone: “Yes yes, we want two girls. No come on, really? That’s too much. Let’s make it half price. And send us pictures of the girls, okay? We want to see them.” My body continued shaking, and I realized that I was hardly breathing at all. As if my safety shrunk to a diameter smaller than my smallest bone. My bones started hurting because of my sudden tension. I could only think that they shouldn’t know that I was awake. One of the guys screamed again, this time saying that he could not wait to get a blow job, so they needed to hurry up. I wanted to stay as quiet as possible. I didn’t want to hear more, but I also needed to know what was going on. Just in case. I. Could. Get. In. Danger.

My mind started running like crazy. So many thoughts entered my system, and I immediately forgot that I had met these guys – and that they were actually human like me. That they had needs, but different ways of dealing with them. That they had pains and fears, but different ways of dealing with them. I started dehumanizing them. Making them into monsters in my mind. My mind started making up stories, of them coming knock at my door, not being satisfied with their cheap thrill, and needing more body, more objectification, more numbing of any feeling or sentiment. I have a tendency to face whatever arises. But hearing them order prostitutes like that, I felt like running away. I had nowhere to go though, and felt unsafe to walk out and face them. I thought about the young girls that ended up being forced into prostitutes in order to survive. They might survive, but they are not alive. I cried for them. For their limited freedom. For their pain and daily suffering. I remembered the dance therapy work I had done with prostitutes and victims of trafficking in Kolkata, India. I could see the faces of the women’s children as they ended up living in the Red District Area – not being able of finding any other job than following in the footsteps of their mother or her pimp. I remembered Kolkata Sanved Organisation giving them new future prospects. I cried for the terror, and for the possibilities. I cried for humanity.

Being a woman, I have felt unsafe many times in this lifetime. I have never had any physical abuse happen to my body. I have never been raped or physically hurt by another. I have never had to do anything against the will of my body. And still, I have felt vulnerable and connected to a very old and traumatic fear of abandonment and violence. This is of course the wound of the feminine. And of the masculine. So many women are unsafe, even in their own homes. So many men are afraid to face their own power and the power of the feminine. So much fear. Fear. Fear. And denial. Ignorance. Suppression. Misinformation. Lack of education. At this very moment, a woman is being raped. At this very moment, a child is being born. At this very moment, a man is being hurt. At this very moment, a soldier is being commanded to shoot a small child. (And who is commanding the commander?) At this very moment, a small child is being killed by a car. At this very moment, a small fish is swimming in the ocean looking for food. At this very moment, another volcano is bursting into flames. At this very moment, the ocean is being polluted. Stories are everywhere. Everything is happening at the exact same moment. It is up to us to voice these stories. And to rewrite the old ones. To speak our truth. Old stories, new voices. How do we want this life to be? We have the power. We have the choice to come together in circles. With men. With women. With both men and women. And we have the responsibility to heal. To heal these wounds. To heal these wounds of both the feminine and the masculine.

Lying there in my little bungalow, I tried to embrace my fears as if it was a child in need of comfort, so I could regain a deeper feeling of compassion and trust. Even though very subtle, I could experience how the undercurrent of love was present even in that deep moment of fear. I kept reminding myself.. The guys outside might feel hurt, just like me. They might feel scared, just like me. At the same time, it is my duty to speak my truth. To stand up for injustice, and to use my anger in a creative way. This is my body, this is my home. This is my church, this is where I heal my hurt. During that second night in Bali, I kept on breathing through my fears. Telling myself I was safe. I am safe. I am safe. Praying for guidance and support. Promising that I would continue speaking my truth, and the truth of humanity. I asked for help, and received it. Some of my friends were online at that very moment (my night was their evening), and their support through Skype messaging dragged me through that night. Around 4am, I heard them leaving the resort. Around 4.30am, I heard them entering again and talking more softly with each other. Around 5.30am, I heard them turning down the lights and closing the doors of their bungalows. And I remained as silent as I could, with the knowledge that this silence would be broken. Around 7am, I got up, packed my bags as quickly as I could, and left the resort. This is my body. This is my temple. This is where I heal my hurt. This is my body. I am safe. I pray for every human being on this planet to be safe.

– Of course, after this challenging experience, I also got to have many more amazingly beautiful experiences.. So stay tuned for more stories!