Discovering the horizon by dance

I love to dance with my head down

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Drawing with ink an idea, not quite right

unaware of anything happening

moving around not to notice anything

going on around me. who knows or

who sees me, it doesn’t matter,

me the music and my body are one.

 

but then I wanted something else,

something new, something to learn.

Ballet. the elegant art of 

keeping oneself straight and curved

and bend and worst of all.

The art of keeping your head up.

 

And even though

I don’t usually look on my phone

while walking, I thought perhaps

I never really look up. not just

looking down or away when I dance

but practically with everything I do

I don’t look far.

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Looking down

 

and so I challenged myself to look

at the horizon for a change

while I was riding my bike home

I realized that I never did

that before. It was all so new to me

How far I saw, what connection I felt

to the horizon drawing me nearer,

the people way in front of me, the

back of their heads a beacon.

it was wonderfully strange and

a new experience.

 

and so even now when I’m writing

this poem I’m typing but I’m fixing my

eyes not on the screen

but to the obscured horizon before me

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Pretty painted view

I see the lights in the trees, the little people

walking biking riding, the trams come and go

a seagull in the distance.

I see a view that is so stunning it got painted

and yet I hardly ever see it

so busy looking down, to my screen my hands

my feet, the ground. but now, although

I’ll probably keep on looking down

I found another way to look

that I cannot unsee.

 

 

Huddled up in layers

it is a layers-game it seems

perhaps it had been so cold that

IDSC06861 had wrapped myself in

layers and layers of cotton

and wool and the wonderful

teddybear like polyester,

I wrapped myself in scarfs

and blankets and socks

and jackets and hats and

than just clothes like shirts

and jeans and underwear.

 

And when i look in the mirror

I see a little warm huddled

up creature barely exposed,

just my nose, and my eyes,

and my hands come out.

 

and I find myself warm DSC06851

again, and content. and

then the questions came

since so long- how did

you decide to wear all

of this? and I reminiscence

or- Have you

been wearing that coat?

cause I didn’t see you

in it for a year- and I tell

them, no it’s here, I just

am also wearing a poncho

a scarf a blanket, and

another, but thank you for

reminding me because, me,

I forget sometimes all he

layers that I wrapped myself

in. And for now, I enjoy

the weight of all the clothes

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filter or no filter, nothing true to life.

and layers I have bought, found

were given to me and I have

sought out- and they keep me

warm and content in this winter

kind of land. But when summer

starts, perhaps I can take off some

of the layers, and one by one

and look in the mirror see me

transformed, re-acquainting myself

with my skin that is somewhere

underneath all of these wonderful

 

 

things… and to realize that the breeze

I’ve tried to protect myself against

is no longer cold but gentle on my skin

Cotton dress.

Live the life you always wanted,

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It’s not a broken chair, it’s a piece of art.

follow you dreams, your heart

and what not. They are such

beautiful phrases and yet- it makes

me feel sad because of what

comes rushing in when you

long for something- shame for

wanting what you want, guilt for

not making it true, fear of what

if it doesn’t work out, and what

if it does.

 

Rejection is a given, when

grace doesn’t take root.

 

And I see this little girl

who literally fell flat on

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Please appriciate the matching of de yellow dress with the yellow eyes

her face of what she is playing on.

and she was upset so I tried

to distract her, but no, right away

she wanted to get back on.

 

And I wonder some times where

that little girl hides inside of me.

 

And I read the stories, see the stories

feel the stories of a woman fighting

for the right to choose, be chosen,

be acknowledged and despite all the

rejection and mocking and anger

they faced they went on smarter-DSC05532

If there is a chance of being covered

in rotten foods- wear a cotton dress-

it does come out, that’s what washing

machines are for.

 

And I wonder where that woman hides in me

and I’m putting on my cotton dress.

 

There is a tenderness taking root in me,

And a flower will grow between the pebbles

 of frustration, sadness and what shouldn’t

be. Dream or not, the next choice, next step

is by me.

 

*part of the poem was inspired by   ‘de straat op’ an exhibition in the Public library in Amsterdam about dutch suffragettes. https://www.oba.nl/actueel/exposities/Exposities/de-straat-op-.html?gclid=Cj0KCQjw_5rtBRDxARIsAJfxvYANCW7-sjJCVC1LfRPACXmTYNmd94s_xZ15_oMrwDYno8bMdWu6QgkaAnIBEALw_wcB

 

 

 

 

True love. And the fear of Desire.

This is some kind of poem. Its far from poetically perfect. they are my musings on fear, and love, and desire.

True love.

It really says it. DSC06812

The mythical words so carelessly almost,

so clearly, so boldly stated.

True love it says.

 

It doesn’t come after a story of

a boy meets girl- no

It is a definition.

There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. 1John 4:18

 

And my worried mind so often wondered

but how does it work? How does true love

work? How does fear work? Fear comes it

seems when we expect punishment.

And I think of all the times that I warn myself

for the disappointment that will come,

if I give space for my desires for love,

space, kindness closeness.

any loning,  Itruely believe,  will so cruely be punished

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in whatever space or form.

 

And then

 

The one who fears- it says after-

The one who fears punishment has not been perfected in love.

And I don’t know what that means.

It could almost seem that if I would just

be a bit more perfect in falling in love-

the fear would fade.

But now, in my hopeful heart I think 

it means.  if you have fear you just

haven’t yet learned to trust love yet.

We learn to trust by understanding,

knowing experience that grace, freedom,

forgiveness,  these are daily, generous things

 

One translation puts it like this:

he who fears is not grown up in love.

And you know. That is comforting

since every day we grow a little right

The fear will fade, Love will grow.

I’ll grow up to be full of love instead of fear.

 

I heard recently- anxiety is- when you are

petrified because the desire of the other

is there and you don’t know if you’ll be able

to live up to what we want. Growing up

in love means not to be afraid of desire,

It is perhaps understanding that desire

is the fire, the fuel, the source of life rather

than the calling card of judgement day.

 

you know. judgement day is just once.

Grace, forgiveness, True Love. That’s daily.

Seven Years

It’s been seven years wordpress says-

I then wrote a blog for a course on

Russian history and culture, still the

cheburashka_1000

One of the first things i wrote was on this little furry guy, cheburashka

best course that I followed in university.

Recently I saw an object in the hermitage

amsterdam that reminded me of my first

blogpost excactly 7 years ago.

The course however, it gave me something more,

the practice to write. I’m still proud of

things i wrote then and also everything

here on lieverleesje years and years later.

I remember seven years ago, talking about

the course and telling some random person

that I would want to do a PhD in costume

or textiles. I didn’t come that far yet,

but tommorrow I’ll present on my masterthesis

among a bunch a people who are doing a PhD

in this moment. So who knows, I might get there.

One way or another I’ll write.

One scribble at the time.

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Old stuff is great

Precisely ready to write

I’m not sure if I am precisely ready to write-

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I need to get some new images- next challenge- be in precisely the place to take pictures

But my brain is full of ideas, concepts, big things

that beg to be linked to little stories that I’m finding

all over my memories, all trough my life in my mind.

 

Its funny how it works right- I have all the things that

I care for and long for and I see them quite clear

and as I clear my voice, to speak, I tell myself- nevermind

why would anyone want to listen to this– you’ll be taking

up space, or you’ll be building a structure that is so

new to them that it’s appalling or out of vocabulary like

in that book where it said — you can ask that question but

the answer to it won’t fit in your head. — nice try, but you’re

not ready, not welcome, not yet, not precisely there.

 

When I read that book, or rather line-

I forever found words for a love for questions

that are unanswered- un answerable even. Yet somehow

there is so much life growing inside of me for these

mysteries that won’t be able to be solved in just my head-

but perhaps if we put our heads together if I will tell a story

A door will open– that we didn’t even realize was there-

like the moment that everyone commented on the sudden

change in music because someone unplugged a laptop

while another linked the playlist that started in the middle

of the song. One said- ‘you might as well do it that abrupt’

I said- we humans need moments like that- where we

get roughly awakened from the blurry unconscious stream

we’re in– perhaps, that truly is living water.

 

All in all- I don’t know if I’m ready to write yet- but I

do know I went to listen to be inspired to see and

see a vision of something I’ve never seen before.

And I guess it worked. I’m precisely right where

wanted to go- in a place where I want to write.

Little ball of joy.

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Light and smiles.

I send a smiley. A little yellow ball of joy.

And however normal it is to send little yellow

balls with all kind of messages this little ball

seems significant. It is as if as we talk,

there is a little ball of joy growing in me.

true, it feels a bit uncomfortable like a knot

in my stomach but a happy knot. Like being

in love. I’ve noticed that these days the little

yellow ball grows inside of me, joy, and pride

and love. I know it so well, It’s been there

my whole life. It is light, almost weighs

nothing but is so strong, like a beach ball,

light to move around but strong when you

try to push it underwater. I’ve spend some

time trying to hide the ball, pushing it

under. It’s the hardest thing. I’ve always

struggled with the water, but perhaps,

instead of looking at its darkness,

I can hold on to the yellow ball. And

know it is just a fraction of the perfection

of the sun, the son in the heavens.

Learning about basic human needs from a dog

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Apparently, I have no pictures of dogs. But yeah. follow the animals in 300 meters. They are right.

These days are days of learning a lot of new things, self-development, relationships, all that. And recently I was reading ‘Attached’ from Amir Levine. There are roughly 4 attachment styles- secure, anxious, avoidant or the wonderful combination of fearful and avoidant. The book goes into the differences of styles and how they work, and how one can try to redeem him or her self into a more secure attachment. Secret solution: If your anxious or avoidant or both ‘just’ find a securely attached partner that puts up with you- problem solved. However, for those who are not ready to step into a relationship with another human, secure or otherwise, the book suggests practicing secure attachment with animals. The idea is that we are way more empathetic towards animals than we sometimes are to other human beings, and I guess, that you can’t really play mind-games with them. At least, with dogs. Cats are sneaky basterds that probably are playing mindgames with you one way or another.

Obviously, the idea of animals as some kind of substitute for a relationship is not really revolutionary- you know, plenty of spinsters with cats, or people who claim their dog is their best friend. Personally, I think that you can still have an avoidant or anxious relationship towards an animal, and like I suggested with cats, they might also have anxious or avoidant attachments themselves- (our cat is for sure a crazy ‘fearful avoidant’ type who only comes close on her own terms). However, the idea that relationships with animals can have a healing impact or teach us something about relationships is an intriguing one.

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I’m sure cows can also teach us about our needs, or all the ways you can use a boat

For a couple of weeks, I’m dog sitting, I’m sharing my living space and days with a crazy energetic dog that forces me to go outside at least 3 times a day, which is great for my otherwise hermit-self. Ofcourse aside from taking her out for walks and I am reading up on all kinds of psychology and relationship related theories. Recently I was reading about schema therapy- A type of therapy that focuses on ‘healing’ unhelpful schemas (ideas about life) in order to change longstanding unhelpful patterns in thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Unhelpful schema’s, according to this view, exist because our core emotional needs one way or another weren’t fulfilled when we were young or still growing up. These emotional needs work quite similar to physical needs: we all have the need for food- if we don’t eat, we go hungry. Similarly, if we all need sleep- if we don’t we get tired and function less than optimal. When needs are not met, there is a really clear negative consequence.  Strangely enough in our culture ‘needs’ seem to be in a way optional- I think we all know people (or ourselves) who forget to eat or don’t sleep enough. If we are already good at ignoring physical needs- how do we relate to emotional needs? These might seem even more ‘optional’.

First of all: Which emotional needs does every human being according to schema therapy have?

  1. Secure attachments to others (includes safety, stability, nurturance, and acceptance)
  2. Autonomy, competence, and sense of identity
  3. Freedom to express valid needs and emotions
  4. Spontaneity and play
  5. Realistic limits and self-control.

Personally, I noticed that as soon as I read these things I was quite skeptical- sure children might need these things- but do adults? For instance- how about people who are not spontaneous or playful at all? Similarly, I know so many relationships or situations that somehow do not allow for these needs to be met- so how important are they? To me, they seem to only happen in certain situations, so they must be some kind of luxury right? Interesting and important, but not neccesarily ‘the core’ of what it means to be human- right? Somehow, however, I remembered the remark from ‘Levine’ and thought of looking at my resident animal, to see how these needs would be expressed by her.

I realized that although when I thought of human beings I couldn’t locate the core emotional needs to easily in their life, in the few days that I spend with this dog, I saw all these needs so clearly in her every move.  So how did I see these needs in her everyday behavior? I made a list of all the needs and how I recognize them in her behavior.

  1. Need for secure attachement to others. For this dog, it is so important that she knows I’m there- 2 times I left the house without her, and she anxiously chewed up some paper and plastic. Also, when we go outside and I let her off her leash, she never goes out of my sight and makes sure she can see me.
  2. Autonomy, competence, and sense of identity. This dog despite being small, knows what it wants, and it is often more as if it is taking me out, then the other way around- when she smells something she’ll pull me in that direction- she also loves being off the leash and going her own path (although she stays within reasonable boundaries)
  3. Freedom to espress valid needs and emotions. When she’s been in her own solitary space enough and decides she needs cuddles- she will make it clear. She will just sit next to you and cuddle. or rather, just on top of you. Similarly, if she is upset she will bark.
  4. Spontaneity and play. I started playing with this dog with trowing sticks, to somehow make her lose some of her energy, and that works great, she gets so excited, however, that she won’t let it loose for me to throw it again- I have to get another stick or ball (or pretend to throw another stick or ball) only then she’ll let me throw it again. This was mostly initiated by me, but the other day she all of the sudden wanted to be under the couch- I didn’t understand why, but a minute later she came out with a squeaky ball- and just started playing with it by her self- talking about spontaneity.
  5. Realistic limits and self-control. Obviously, I’ve already mentioned that this dog knows here boundaries. I don’t do any commands with her, but she instantly responds to her name. Like her owner says- she’s loyal. She knows her boundaries.

What became clear to me looking at the ’emotional core needs’ for humans with this dog, all the sudden they weren’t needs. They were just descriptions of her life. All 5 needs are constantly showing up in every interaction. For me still ‘needs’ are a strange thing. Needs sound like needy, difficult, and a burden to others. However, as suggested in the book ‘Attached’ with animals our relationships are different. Although we surely can see animals as difficult or a burden to ourselves and others, we would never disqualify their needs: ofcourse they need to eat, sleep, have some freedom, autonomy, limits, play, express their emotions and some secure attachment, someone that takes care of them. We can’t ignore these animals needs like we do our own or others because they will make it clear that they are present. They are not simply needed for them, but predicters of life.

I must say that I’ve always been hard on myself for having needs, and frankly, also other humans,  but I am able to accept them easily in an animal. Now, not allowing or accepting the needs that apparently every human being  (or living being for that matter) has, somehow seems silly, and unnecessary suffering. Thank God there are other living beings than humans on the planet, that teach us empathy and what it means to be alive.

“Look at the birds in the sky! They don’t plant or harvest. They don’t even store grain in barns. Yet your Father in heaven takes care of them. Aren’t you worth more than birds?”- Matthew 6:26

The books that have inspired this writing:

Attached -The New Science of Adult Attachment and How it Can Help You Find – and Keep – Love by  Amir Levine and Rachel Heller

Schema therapy- A practitioner’s guide by Jefferey E. Young, Janet s. Klosko, and Majorie E. Weishaar

crack.

I write the title of this poem.

I mean to describe a division between to pieces of rock,

of mountains, the world simply collapsing, bursting open.

Cracking. He wrote- There is a crack in everything

that’s how the light gets in. But these days it seems to

me that there is simply darkness coming out.

Not that people see it that way.. They don’t seem to

see anything. And me? Am I some enlightened soul

who sees the thread of the world opening a mouth

to devour all? Hardly. Sometimes I wonder if it’s

not simply easier to close my eyes as well. Pretend

that this is some kind of Doctor Who adventure

The crack in time. That’s what it feels like some time

Including all the monster like things that are haunting

one way or another. The police box exploded. Nothing

we can do about it, only accept it happened already.

I’m not sure how to apply a Doctor Who metaphor

to all of this, I just know that to me, the world is

a scary place like this. And I don’t know how to live in it.

stilled

DSC01040I am stilled.

I am not moving- no longer sure how to.

I know so many instances where I didn’t

and so many things now have triggered

this stilled-ness. my body aches in different

places, and I’m not sure if its because

I’m feeling emotions or if my body just

said hallo after me ignoring my ideas

and thoughts, the disappointments.

Go she says. Go and do what you want

And I’m not sure what’s what- but she

says go and write go in that space that

frame of mind where you can roam

wild and free, learn, teach yourself

that when you’re stilled you don’t have

to stay that way. Not anymore.