He never wanted it: corresponding with a ‘foreigner’. After 20 years I was the first one. Soon I will sit in front of him. He cannot believe it.
That a white woman undertook this whole journey just for him, a black one on death row! He is overwhelmed. Believe me, a trip it was! It kept him from sleeping. He asked his son to support me…
After 24 hours of travelling and staying overnight in Pittsburg, Martha picks me up. We drop my luggage in the hotel and go directly to prison. This first time we walks the whole process together until the visitors cell. She is a lawyer and shares her concerns about politics and people who are innocent on death row. It is a sad story but in the meantime no longer unknown to me!
Peace of Mind
All of a sudden I sit in front of this beautiful Muslim man. Peace of Mind! Since they took everything of him he started to unfold his true Self. No, that was not from the one day to another, that’s for sure! I look in his eyes and put my hands against the glass. Open-minded he looks back and puts his hands against mine. He is as I have imagined. Last night he could not sleep. It was terribly exciting. He does not like me to walk to prison. Americans do not like walking! But I love it and will do it the rest of the week. It feels lovely to fill my lungs with fresh air! Even if Aaron has a good contact with his family, visitors are rare. Because I come that far we have five days after another, six till seven hours a day! It asks for extreme concentration with all the sounds on the background. Caused by changing of the guards or a screaming inmate restrained by pepper spray. Believe me, it feels so good to be here!
His story begins where many stories begin. Not only in Africa but also among the African Americans. As a child he was regularly beaten. According to Aaron a legacy of slavery. Going to university, on the age of nineteen, he made a girl pregnant. He wanted to take the responsibility for it. So he stopped his study to take care for her. The simple job brought little money in. Around him he saw people with big, expensive cars and beautiful houses. He should also be able to life like that! No, he felt not afraid. It was just exciting! His dream became truth. He could give his family a better and luxury life. He was widely honoured and respected.
We drink in each other’s energy. The only thing I use during the day is a bottle of water, he has nothing. I get not bored for a moment. We have triggered each other from the first moment. What appealed to him that I did not put him in cotton wool and did not show any pity for him. In short, I treated him the way I like to be treated by others. In the meantime I have some experience with Edward in Texas and in prisons like Holland and Curacao. I accept Aaron unconditional and I love him as if he is a part of me. And of course he is! What is touching for him is that I absolutely have no judgment about him.
Meanwhile, he takes full responsibility for the decisions he took in his life. He like to call it wrong decisions. That our decisions are wrong, well we will discover that afterwards. Basically, the decisions we take bring us through different life experiences. Going trough experiences is the only way of evolution. It makes us richer or poorer. As strange as it sounds, Aaron is in many respect richer then before. The price he paid was not small. Almost all people who honoured him when he furnished them with everything they wanted, turned their back to him. Painful, very painful! He felt rejected and abandoned.
You can not even imagine how it feels to be twenty-two hours a day and in the weekends the clock around to be in solitary confinement. You can not even imagine how it feels never to be touched by another soul. Meanwhile he gets that touch directly from the source, that is what he is showing me! He was only twenty-eight and his youngest son was a toddler when he got behind bars. He loves his children and grandchildren with the love of a wise one. Speaks and hears them regularly on the phone. Three times a week he is aloud to make a short call.
We reveal ourselves to each other. If you have so little to lose, you have little to hide. Our communication is intense and intimate. There is no shame. Regularly I see him walking out of the prison. He shares that his spirit is travelling everywhere. He is independent and free. Pennsylvania is one of the toughest prisons. In contrast to Texas, where you are aloud to touch each other but where they kill more people than anywhere else, here they do not execute people easily. The government wants to abolish the death penalty. The last executions were in 1999. They were voluntarily. Those people no longer wanted to fight. Even if the death penalty will be abolished, normally Aaron will stay behind bars till he dies a natural death. He embraces life as well as death. He is in a constant shape of acceptance and meditation. I feel privileged that I got in contact with him. Energy attracts energy. How wonderful! His name means the realized one…
This last day there are regularly periods of silence between us. Everything we wanted to say has been said. I wish you came over to America. You’re so broadminded. If everybody should think like you the world should be different. That’s right my dear Aaron. But it is by embracing life at the fullest that this transformation inside took place. Making myself vulnerable and no longer wanted to be superior, no longer I feel the need to judge somebody else. In short, going through life in all its depths and heights has changed my life at the fullest, as your situation has changed your life! Simple, you never should have believed you could better stay far away of the world of the drugs if you were told in advance. You had to experience it first!
Take me with you
Take me with you, Aaron says. I take you in my heart, you are always with me, always within me. I put my hands against the glass. He presses his hands against my hands. I love you. I love you too! I turn around to leave the cell. Aaron will be put in chains before they open the door. Put in a strap he will be returned to his cell. Meanwhile the guards know him and treat him with respect. For the last time I look to him while I walk the long, long, silent corridor. Easily I find my way out through the controls. Except a few lawyers, I was alone today. And then to know that there are 1500 people behind bars and another 250 on death row! Tomorrow dear Martha will bring me to Pittsburg-airport. First we will have lunch together. I will take the plane to New York. There I have to spend a night before I can fly to Miami and Curacao. The guard at the desk has become more human. I sign the list and step outside. I breathe in a few deep breaths of fresh air and for the last time I walk to my hotel. It’s a beautiful day…
While I am walking along the beach, it strikes me that I am shining since a few days. My smile goes from ear to ear, does not even stop when I go to sleep and is still there when I get up. Behind all of that is a field where there is no restriction – there is unlimited space…
It has to do with the fact that for a number of days my body has been fearful out of harmony and suddenly I knew the reason. I wanted things being differently as they were! Without wanting to let go it compulsively, I just let go of. Not only my body feels much better, my soul is shining and brilliant as before. Not yet, it shines even more: there is another bit of insight – a little polishing…
I thoroughly enjoy my morning ritual. I wonder why the boys on the beach, in the hotel and even on the street seems always so happy to see me. I watch some tourists. Most of them ignore those guys or irritated they try to skip them as if they are flies! And as we know, this even does not work with flies! Everyone wants to be seen and recognized. First and foremost these guys. Moreover, they are just doing their job and this is their home. They have every right to be here!
I do not like to compare, simply there exist no law of the Medes and the Persians, but if I should have the guts, I would say that these guys usually have more inner civilization than many Westerners have. Sometimes tourists go beyond limits of the permissible. Most Afrikaners loke more tolerant, they seem not likely to pay the same coin back! Africans are generally still rooted in the rhythms of nature, although they seem to lose their innocence as they have more money. In short, the sense of Mine and Yours has made its entrance. Fear of loss and shame seems to be a logical consequence.
I grab my backpack to go home and look into the smiling eyes of a singing security man, named Stephen. Having no teeth not even hinders him to show his bright smile. I compliment him about his voice and there’s a wonderful exchange of energy. No, he speaks, I listen. What arrogance to think that I could learn those people something! ‘God has given me this life and I am grateful. I have a job so I can maintain my family. As a gift I love singing, so on Sunday I sing in church to praise God. For all this is not my merit, it is purely God’s. Just take this Indian Ocean. Is it no miracle? The tide comes and goes. No man can change that. Only God can. Listen to the trees. They are silent now. Where is the wind? Suddenly there is wind again and the trees start to sway. We can not change this, it is just there. Life is a miracle. There is so much to be grateful for…’
Yes dear Stephen, there is so much to be grateful for. I feel overflowing with love for you, for your beautiful country, for all the great people I daily met, who eternal seem to shine, whether they have anything to eat or not. It is so easy to love you since I love myself unconditionally!
Occasionally I feel that it is a bit difficult to understand and appreciate people I am really close with. There are still some expectations which no doubt has to do with my vision of reality, what of course not have to be their reality! Letting be that what it is, without wanting to put a Tag on it, is still a challenge! So there is always something that can be polished without actually necessarily wanting something to polish!
The understanding, the insight, is more than enough to change what can be changed and what not can be changed to accept…
Forgiveness is the letting go of the thought that the past should have been different. Forgiveness is a gift you give to yourself… -Aba Gayle – USA, mother of a murdered daughter…
In the TV-program The Walk of December 3 meets Hella van der Wijst Aba Gayle. I saw Aba for the first time in October at a meeting of the Inside-Outside Foundation. People who correspond with people on death row, like myself.
Illusion of separateness
As I look at her again, I realize that forgiveness touches the basis of our existence. Forgiveness brings us home in our heart after a long, long journey. The ego starts to dissolve and there seems nothing left to hold on. Nothing left to separate yourself or to feel that you are exceptional in any way.. You fall through all the layers of your self-created reality which has separated you from your True Nature: the comprehensive Source we are and that we call God or Love or Energy. The confusion that we are separate individuals start slowly to disappear after you have applied the Power of Forgiveness. Not because you feel you MUST forgive; as long as we want something, forgiveness will not be sincere. No, the power of True Forgiveness bubbles up from a deep soul desire. From the willingness to embrace life in all her fullness, to let be ‘All That Is’ the good as well the so called bad. It is the story of the prodigal son who finds his way back home after a long, long time. When I look back at my own life, I went through this process years ago. I became aware of it when I suddenly and spontaneously wrote an ode to my parents in my book; ‘Mastery beyond death’, in which I fully embraced the past without even wanting it to be different than it was…
… The last line in this tribute is for my dear parents. Although the relationship with them has been anything but easy, I have freed myself from my past. Gratefully I look back at my life. It was a life full of trials, which I have transformed with supernatural aid into opportunities and pure joy. There is no reproach left, there is only an overwhelming sense of love and gratitude. Gratitude, dear father and mother, that you gave me this opportunity, this life. Gratitude that you were willing to receive me with love and did everything within your power that was possible in those days and in those circumstances, to bring me up and to embrace me. No doubt you loved me. And I can now honestly and sincerely say: you were the perfect parents I needed, to achieve true inner freedom and inner peace… – From: ‘Mastery beyond Death’
Forgiveness you cannot make happen: forgiveness occurs when the mind or the ego begins to lose its power over you and your True Nature starts to UNfold itself increasingly. You become what you basically always were: a being of pure light. Light knows no separation. The core of the murderer is the same light as I am.
That does not mean that in this earthly dimension the consequences of our actions can be avoided. Although I find the death penalty inhumane, cruel and barbaric, it is logical that every action has a consequence in this life and that we have to take responsibility for our actions. That applies for me, that applies for everyone. I, myself, no longer feel the need to punish others. I am not God, just ‘I AM’. For God does not punish, the latter is simply what we do ourselves!
When I forgive the murderer of my daughter I free him and I take the burden on my own shoulders. Moreover this feels like betrayal to my daughter, said Ron Lock, parent of a murdered daughter against Aba Gayle.
Until we can forgive we live in a self-created hell, the hell of separation. We experience ourselves as separate individuals and create a situation in which we feel that we are better than the other by taking an object or a situation that we can hate and fight, to sustain our ego; our idea of separation. – That’s quite a clinical explanation, but in my opinion not far from the truth.
The death of the ego
Aba makes no effort to convince Ron that he should forgive. She knows better than anyone that this will not work. Forgiveness means that we have to release our feeling of being unique. It’s this feeling of uniqueness and superiority that we fight to maintain at all costs, otherwise we feel that we fall apart and there seems nothing left. And that is the Truth: eventually we will be nothing, but our True Selves. In short, forgiveness is the gift we give to ourselves when the apple is ripe to fall off the tree. It’s the end of hell. Fear transforms into unconditional love. It is Heaven on Earth. It is total Liberation …
… We are creating the inner cave, to welcome the birth of the unconditional love within ourselves: the divine child, the son of the Father / Mother. The spark of spirit, we have forgotten such a long time is, awakening. The Kingdom of God, no longer outside us, comes to life. – Out of my book ‘Original’.
I have been back from Kenya for a week now and it is difficult for me to put my experiences on paper. I am touched and filled with energy and grateful for the experience given to me. For the second time I experienced the feeling of coming home. The first time occurred to me in India…
My son Patrick and his girlfriend Jolanda invited me to go with them to Kenya to visit their project. I immediately said yes on one condition: I would like to go a day on safari! I had nothing else to do or to arrange, the only thing I had to do was to wait and see…
After a well cared flight to Nairobi, we are welcomed by a wonderful man named Mwasi. He will be our guide for the coming week. He drops us in Hotel Serena – an idyllic spot! The next day we visit the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. We witness the feeding of baby elephants. How touching to see the relationship between elephants and caregivers. We feed giraffes, Jolanda’s favourites, get a great tour in a copper fabric and have a delicious lunch. Honestly, a day with a golden lining.
The next day we go on safari. Five special days. For the three of us the highlight is our stay at Sweet Waters. A private park that reflects heaven on earth. Not only nature – but also the animals. We see a countless amount of impalas, gazelles, guinea fowl, marabous, cranes, baboons, ostriches, and of course elephants, rhinos, buffalos and lions, giraffes, hippos and many other animals and birds. Too many to mention! To stay here for a few days means you will completely forget yourself and experience heaven on earth!
After visiting two other parks we fly to Mombasa. We take our residence at the Serena Beach Hotel. Undoubtedly the most impressive hotel I have ever seen – built in Moorish style. What makes it so special is that everything – absolutely everything – feels completely harmonious. Definitely the result of good management. Samuel climbed the whole ladder: from the bottom step to the top to become the manager. He is absolutely beautiful – both from the inside and the outside – and it appears to us that he will be very supportive to our project!
Little Angels School
I thoroughly enjoy all the beauty – without a moment of feeling guilty. That is definitely new for me! The next day we visit Elizabeth and her school in Shanzu. She started eight years ago with two preschool classes and now there are nearly four hundred children in the Little Angels Academy. What a dynamic! We are sitting in the classroom, correcting homework, hugging and laughing, yes mostly we laugh a lot. Despite the poor accommodation it is sheer joy to be in the middle of those innocent and happy children, to see their sparkling little faces and to watch them singing and swinging.
At noon, the rooms are swept and after the kids are fed they are put on the floor to have a nap. No doubt, you can see that good education is vital for a society in transition. With the help from Samuel and the bishop, there will be deposited a new foundation under this project. From a private school it will be a non-profit organization. Patrick has his hands full to teach Elizabeth structure and give her overview. For the first time she knows the amount of money coming in and that is lesser than the amount what is going out! But her faith in God solves (almost) everything…
The beach boys
Early bird as I am – you will find me every morning around 6.00 on the beach. I do my Qigong exercises and meditation and enjoy the sea. It is an energetic start of the day. I make friends with the beach boys. I really see and respect them. That is the reason that they do not trouble me. I enjoy looking to the women who are gathering wood for the fire and return home with heavy loads on there heads. Yes, here too, society is carried by women! When the tide is low the boys take me into the sea and show me beautiful treasures. Also at low tide we explore the coast.
One day I visit with Kavu his compound in Mtwapa and buy a present for his mother. I am besieged by children. They love the sweets we present them. It’s great to be momentarily a part of such a family. Kavu and his sister cook a delicious meal on paraffin and one of the boys is climbing in the palm tree like a monkey to pick some coconuts for me.
When Patrick and Jolanda are going home, I’m not going to the village what I originally planned. This is evidently not an option. I get the same room for a special rate and this is perfect. From now one our favourite table is reserved especially for me. Omar brings me flowers and the last day I will find even a fruit basket in my room. I am deeply touched by their unconditional love! The way these people serve is not submissive but feels very natural. I invite Elizabeth for a day at the hotel. We play “Queenie” together and afterwards we dance. Well I did this almost every night – bare feeted and intensely enjoying. And my joy was their joy…
Elizabeth and I play together in the sea. Alex passes on in his catamaran, and takes us for a trip to the reef. Amazing! Later we sit on my balcony and enjoy the brutal but funny monkeys. They come sometimes even in my room and unerringly they know to find the sugar! Elisabeth visibly enjoys the enormous buffet, a feast for the eyes and a delight to the palate. She calls me Dada – which means sister.
One day, I go with the guys from the beach in a wooden catamaran to Copacabana. We walk in a magical atmosphere in the forest where the houses are remnants of the slavery. Felix – an other beauty – tells us fascinating stories. I did not knew that it were the Arabs who started the slave trade! We eat fish in a simple restaurant on the beach while Kavu’s brother Rama, entertains us with his acrobats group. We stabbing the river in a boat made from a mango tree, chat with the fishermen and continue our journey by foot in a magical atmosphere of crabs and waterfowl. I have to say goodbye to the boys on the beach. Gafana is showing up to show me proudly his new clothes. We hug each other. I will miss those guys!
The next morning I make a promise to the sea: If it is God’s will (or however you want to call this energy) I will come back. Sam, another beauty and the driver of Elizabeth, picks me up and we visit the bishop. What a open and fine man. We may find that churches are not of this time, but in Kenya you can not do anything apart of the church. And in this case I feel for the full hundred percent satisfied with this. Once this bishop was a successful businessman. He got a call, left all his possessions, and went for the church but especially for the people…
And than I’m on the verge of what has touched me the most. Again it were the human beings. I have travelled half the world. I’ve lived in places where white people do not dare to come. Everywhere I have met beautiful people, almost everywhere. But the people in Kenya surpasses all human beings. From poor to rich, from young to old, the Kenyan seem to be born with an inner smile and a healthy self-esteem. At most they have one weakness. They still think that every white man is rich and will redeem them from their misery. This is undoubtedly a remnant of the colonial past, but makes them unnecessarily dependent. I quickly put to their minds this is no longer true. There’s enough money in Kenya itself. The problem is that not everyone wants to share.
But this dependency is starting to change – the beautiful Thomas told me on the plane to Nairobi. A text message appeal to deposit money for the victims of drought resulted in collecting millions of shillings in Kenya itself.
Kenya is a country rich in resources and capabilities. Labour costs nothing. A teacher earns € 50 per month. In short, where we in the west have to take a step back, everything in Kenya is still open to explore.
In all simplicity
And YES I am investigating whether it is possible to return to Kenya for a longer period. Now I understand very well why I throughout the year tend to make space for something new. To live there means an easy way to be myself. Sharing the joy that I essentially am. And what I’m going to do – that will undoubtedly become clear in a natural way – as always…
Kenya is a beautiful country and can probably be called the heart of Africa. The power of the people lies in the spirit and the strong family ties. As one member of a family earns an income, he usually maintains the whole family. Afrikaners are very clean on their bodies and in their houses. Even the modest shack is clean. Outside, the compound contained only one wallet toilet. It was very sober, but clean. Unbelievable how they do it with the little water they have. On the other hand they throw all their waste just on the street. There is no garbage collection. No wonder there is much pests and diseases such as malaria and dysentery are rampant rant.
Relatively the 42 various tribes fairly interact together. The only tension is caused by the Kikuyu – the tribe of the president. They usually get all the good jobs. Kenya is very corrupt. Everything works through committees or wheelbarrows. That is why the people revolted in 2007 about the re-election of President Mwai Kibaki. Because of the riots and the enormous fires, many people lost their lives and others lost their jobs and felt into poverty. Tourism also got a big blow. Many hotels are closed and the merchants at the beach usually suffer sheer poverty. Is it any wonder that they abreact on the rich tourists? But tourists don’t like to be disturbed, they would freely enjoy their well deserved holiday!
The pitfall of Kenya’s is their dependence on the rich West. Between 1952 and 1959 there has been a bloody struggle for independence. Thousands of people lost their lives – mostly Kukuyu’s. Kenya became independent in 1963 and today Kenya has one of the strongest economies in Africa. But the general population is very poor. The abuse of workers in the pink nurseries is distressing and then we’re not even talking about the pollution of valuable natural areas – including the largest freshwater Lake Naivasha. We visited this beautiful area to watch the numerous hippos and admired the hundreds of various waterfowl. For the flowers there is much fresh water removed from the lake. This is disastrous for the wildlife population. The workers – mostly women – earn barely enough to pay their transport to visit their families. This problem also enacted in the hotels. Because the staff are often Kukuyu and live in or around Nairobi, they can only occasionally travel to their family because of the high cost of transport.
Money is no solution
Money can be supportive to help a project to start, but the pitfall is that it can make people dependent. Only giving money without checking where it will be used for feels like throwing it in a bottomless pit. Afrikaners are living in the moment and the money which comes in is also being used in the moment. Budgeting – What Patrick did with Elizabeth – is extremely important. It is our duty to teach people how to catch their fish – instead of giving them fish. This undoubtedly flatters our egos – but is often a short-term solution and does not contribute to structural improvements. We often give money to projects because we want to redeem our feelings of guilt. If we actually want to contribute something then we ought to be wiling to investigate on the spot what we really can contribute.
Sister Mary in South Africa is for me the a living example of a great manager. She was always working to improve the awareness of the locals. When people are trained and aware, they will give their share in various projects. I also could have a bit of contribution in this by training people in self-healing and that has given me an enormous joy. (book: Love is Al There Is)
The question is: How do we make people independent from us rather than dependent. Well I just leave it to the question. I certainly do not know a solution. Generations will pass by before the effects of modern slavery and colonization are erased. In the meantime, it is still a matter of pioneering.
Kenya has many fertile areas – like the surroundings of Mount Kenya. If the area could be properly explored and the distribution of the products could be improved, Kenya could in this respect reasonably support themselves. Knowledge and skills are often the missing link. Since many white farmers were expelled from their land without having their management skills transferred to the Kenyan, people miss the knowledge.
Black and white, we need each other to restore the balance in this world. Kenyans are very sensitive people. They completely live in their bodies and are connected to Mother Earth. We as Western people mostly live in our heads and have lost that connection. If we cease to feel superior and are willing to share our knowledge – we will contribute to a greater harmony and healing of ourselves and others.
I am optimistic. The glass is half full – even in Kenya. I see a kind of beauty in the people we often have lost. I can see it in them because I found it back myself. I call it innocence.
Unlike here in Holland, I experience no barrier to be open and honest with the people. Contrary, it feels very natural. I address them at their own strength. Kavu told me: You have given me new eyes – you have given me new ears – you’ve opened my heart. Anyway it is a process of reflection. One and one equals three!
If I should like to do anything, I would say I like to be a mirror. I like to be just a reflection of what I am. I like to show them their beauty and their power. I know from experience that I only have become mature and independent at the time I started to believe in myself. From that moment I became elusive in the eyes of others. But I found back my humour and my inner joy. That joy was always there, but it was covered with so much misery that I had forgotten it. This is pure wealth and can not be bought by any money. From that moment I do not longer live in poverty, all I need is provided to me at the right time!
Because of our focus on what we don’t have we can not see what we do have. And that and nothing else is our true wealth…
Until the moment of awakening we often create our own reality. We do not see what we already have and focus on what we wanted and that is generally something outside of ourselves.
At the moment we have moved to the place of our dreams the reality turns out to be different. We start to realise that it was only a dream. We start to see what we already had and if we are not careful we will start a new dream. Anyway, all these movements on the outside sooner or later bring us into contact with our lost paradise which is not outside ourselves but inside the core of our being…
Ten months ago my friend Chantal and her partner emigrated to Canada BC. Seven months later they settled on Vancouver Island. Therefore my base will be Victoria on Vancouver Island. The summer that started far too early in the Netherlands is too late here. It remains cold and wet. Chantal and I decide to go to the mainland and throw our camping gear in the back of her car. We buy a small tent of 2 by 2 and a gas burner. Believe me, if you want to test your friendships, camp three weeks together. If you survive, you will survive any crisis together!
Towards the Rockies, in Silver Creek in the Shuswap District, I meet Sienie. Sienie is 80 years young and sparkling with energy. At the age of 22 she fell in love and took the boat to Canada. After the death of her beloved one she does all the work on the farm on her own. She has a tremendous spirit and looks like a guy of 40 when she drives the tractor! She lives on the foot of Mount Aida with has a powerful energy. Here we catch a first glimpse of bears.
The snow has not melted everywhere and many National Park is still closed. In Banff we enter the heart of the Rockies and finally we can walk different trails. Wow, what an impressive surroundings. No, places like Lake Louise can not attract me. Too touristic. I prefer the pristinely of Lake Johnson. I feel uplifted into my bones. At sunset, at Lake Minnewanka, it start to be busy on the road with moose, deer and chamois’s. We see an owl and have to stop our car for a newborn fawn when she crosses the street.
We camp on rivers, lakes and in National Parks. On the way back, between Kaslo and Nelson, we camp in Kokanee Glacier Prov. Park. The environment is absolutely beautiful. Doing qigong in the silence of the morning at the lake with views on the snowy peaks is absolutely magical and energetic.
Apart from the world
Canada BC, if you want to escape the world or you love skiing and long winters and hot dry summers, you have to move there. There seems to be nothing of violence, the world seems to past you by. At the least, when you dig a little deeper, you’ll stumble across the hidden suffering of the natives, what the Government is trying to resolve by giving them a status apart. This is undoubtedly the result of old guilt feelings and makes the differences even greater. You will meet this phenomenon also in Australia and New Zealand.
Eagle: National Symbol
In a country that is 200 times as large as the Netherlands there are living lesser than 40 million people. The distances are huge. Very relaxing to drive but sometimes also a little bit boring. If you are sensitive even a little bit depressive by now and then with all the pine trees. Suddenly however, the landscape is spatial and energetic again. Watch out for bears! They will come into your tent if you have food there. We have seen some, they look cute like teddy bears. Elk, deer and chamois are also abundantly present. The eagle is a national symbol. You see them frequently. They are breathtaking.
It’s one of my greatest passions to gather wood and make big bonfires. I enjoy the sober lifestyle. So sober that I lose 5 pounds in the first three weeks. You rarely see fat people in Canada. There is no consumerism in the air. During the day it’s nice and sunny ‘doing-weather’, at night it is around freezing. We soon understand why so few people are camping this time of the year. We sleep with all the clothes we carry with us! The last night on the mainland we camp on a river between rough mountains in the Cathedral Park far from the road in the Similkameen district. I feel more than before the magic of the Indians. Here I should have stayed longer!
Back on the island it is done with camping. It is too wet and too humid. But the reward is a huge variety of hikes and a greater difference in nature. Rainforests, rivers and sea. Exciting trails with whales along the coast. If you are outside the tourist area, frequently you will manage to be on your one. Stay alert for bears. That is the only challenge in Canada. The only thing comparing of the USA is the American way of greeting and the huge cups of coffee. Canadians live their own lives and the outside seems totally unimportant.
In short: a country where the misery of the world seems to be far away and where the huge clean skies absolutely charge your battery. Always carry on the island sunglasses and a raincoat, because the weather is changing even faster than your mood. The cloud formations are beautiful. If you like to uncover your inner depth, it is the right place to be. No longer you can hide yourself or any of your illusions. In the longer term you probably start to miss the challenge and inspiration to develop yourself. Let me put it this way: Canada is not an entertaining culture, and you have to find your impulses and challenges in life within yourSELF. Anyway, it’s just what you need right now!
My house is decorated with flowers and cake. I stay for the first time in one month outside until late at night in my summer dress and I enjoy this also at the fullest…
Because for them it is of no importance if I wear a headscarf or not, but out of respect for a culture who have devised rules and regulations and has accepted them as truth. After the service an Iraqi literally throws his aggression against the West over me. I am overwhelmed, but do not feel addressed. I’m not a member of a group, but an independent thinking individual. Suddenly I stand hand in hand with a beautiful boy from Somalia. I wonder what he could have done wrong! He is not interesting if I am a Muslim. He does not invent a new framework by calling me an atheist (which his friend immediately did). He is in every respect a true human being.
I join the Imam during his mosque service in prison. He thinks the men will appreciate it if I wear something on my head. It is not an obligation, but still. And so I cover my head – voluntarily – out of respect. Not out of respect for God or Allah…
Call it coincidence: on the way back home I listen in the car to a discussion about a male teacher who refuses to shake hands with his female colleagues. The question is if we should tolerate his behaviour or not.
For clarity: religion has an inside and an outside. The inside is unity. The majority however associate themselves with the outside, which is created by man. Unfortunately, in our separated state of being we can not see the truth and we create nothing but division. Divide and conquer and keep the mob under control has been the slogan for decades. It is not the inside or the essence of religion we have to concern about, but the outside. Would this man really believe that it is an eyesore for Allah when he should treat his female colleagues as he wishes to be treated himself?
It’s too crazy for words. How would an all reviewing power we call God or Allah being interested in such trivial matters as the difference between men and women? Are we forgotten that God or Allah symbolizes nothing more or less as unity and all of us have emerged from that same unity? In short, any sane person knows that this is a pertinent lie. At this way we degenerate God into a kind of an ego-thing and sorry, that is God unworthy. It is even abnormal, or better said unconscious, as the Christians in the past who were convinced that they had to rescue other cultures they called primitive by saddle them with their self created image of their own deity.
Kindergarten work! Grown ups cannot longer think like that. It is all ego, nothing more than ego, who always wants to be in the right. And that is exactly that piece of ourselves we should get rid of! Anyway, physical life may at the end an illusion, but it requires a number of clear rules. When I go to India I eat with my right hand and cover my shoulders. Although I do not pretend to be one of them on the outside, at the inside I am one with all and the same. In all respects I voluntarily will follow some of their rules without losing myself.
Essentially we are a tolerant nation which really likes to embrace and welcome others. It is normally that we will be restricted by our own human limitations. I think it is natural that everyone who wants to live in this country and is using the luxury facilities we all created together, in return has to accept a number of rules. In that respect, life is no different from sport. To play sportive football, we must embrace certain rules. It is a privilege and not a right that everyone in this country may practice his own religion, while Christians in their homelands are threatened and persecuted. That is something to be truly thankful for! Unfortunately, we are caught in webs of fear. And that fear makes that we consider everyone who is different as a potential enemy of our freedom.
Why are we so afraid to name those things? Because they can be only appointed when we have gone through hells of pain and suffering and no longer are trapped in the web of duality and self-created fear. I like to share my wealth and should like to be an open door for anyone who needs an open door. I know a great guy, he is now 25 years. His family has a residence permit. He does not, he was arrested in the past for a few futilities. He behaved himself amazingly well and for many he was an example in the community were he lived in.
But suddenly he started blowing again and lost himself completely. Is it surprising? To be outlawed is inhumanly cruel, especially if you are so young. Undoubtedly, and almost inevitably he ends up in criminal circles. The cause is the same system who tries to be tolerant willy-nilly and performs endless discussions about wearing headscarves or not. The point we miss in this infinite paradise is clarity. Endless debates, each time more and more commands and prohibition. But the essence remains unclear. We miss the power of an adult and enlightened leader!
During a meeting, I have a nice conversation with Achmhet. He is in his mid forties and half of his life he lives in the Netherlands. Do you enjoy yourself, I ask. Yes Yasmin, completely. Do you feel discriminated here? No, absolutely not. Do you agree that whenever we feel discriminated it says also something about ourselves? Absolutely Yasmin. To be frank Achmhet, I’m not really into all those outer churches and mosques. Shall we make a joint house of prayer? Sounds like a good idea Yasmin. In hospitals and airports it is already like that. Wow Achmhet, we have started a first step to brother / sisterhood. Come on, I’ll give you a kiss. Okay, for today we just will shake hands …
I do not assert that discrimination does not exist. People who are stupid and ignorant will discriminate. Fear is the cause. However you can assure that people who feel discriminated also tend to discriminate. When the whites were put out of play in South Africa the different tribes started to fight each other. In short, people who believe in separation like to manifest themselves, to fight and to win. Therefore it is important that we find our way inside, because only at that level – individual – we can connect ourselves with our true nature and with others. Not because God or Allah wants it or culture prescribes it or whatever. Our mission is to be independently minded beings who are no longer wanted to hide ourselves behind the code and the safety of the herd, but mature and independent dare to decide by ourselves what is good for us.
The moral of this story: exterior is shape and represents separation. However, it is the same visual world that eventually will teach us to transcend the duality. In essence all religions preach the same, but on the outside they causes divisiveness. As long as we belong to a club, religious, spiritual or New Age (nothing more or less than a new church form) and use this form to raise ourselves above others, we keep separation alive.
The solution is awakening, an inner and individual process. At this time we become spectators. We live in the world without looking down on others. We are no longer of the world and we do not participate in the ego play because we see through it. The ego ultimately only wants one thing: keep the separation alive so we can dominate others. Let us stop making outward wars, but start the inner battle. Let us sacrifice our sacred cows to the foundation. Let’s take our sword in our own hand and free ourselves from all restrictive ideas we have adopted for truth. Chase no longer euphoric feelings and a certain state of enlightened. It is yet another game of illusion to escape of the truth. Instead of all this allow yourself to face yourself HEARTHly and honestly. It is the only way to silence the ego!
My happiness does not depend on whether or not to walk the Camino de Santiago. Every day I walk my camino…
After a few days in a simple hostel with lovely people in Porto, Giri (my ex-partner and still my mate) an I have to leave to start our track. We walk to the subway. I notice a beggar. He is sitting like a king in a shop window, while enjoying a kind of a sandwich. His joy is my share. What a beauty!
We begin our journey differently then expected. To be honest, I did not expect so much! Arriving at Vila de Conde is surprising. It is a beautiful spot on the coast with a true Templar history. My heart is fully open. Essentially, if my camino should end up here, that would be perfect! In the afternoon we arrive at the main route. You can not miss it, even if you should like it! I start to realize that Giri and I are not the only ones on this route. There seems some twenty other pilgrims, recognizable on there shell.
Being a pilgrim is related to an inner connection with TAU what means God. I do not feel the need to show this. But to stay overnight in the Auberges, we need a pilgrims pass. We break this rule the first night already. I do not like the atmosphere in the Auberge and we find a simple shelter for just the two of us.
We are early risers. The most pilgrims leave later, so we do not meet many fellow hikers. Unfortunately, the chapels and churches are usually closed. The one they are open are often so profusely that you forget what it is all about… One of the highlights is our stay at Jacinto and Fernanda’s house. This beautiful couple use there spare time to catch up and care for us pilgrims as if we were their children. They are absolutely unconditional.
After a 80 miles we are about half way. After Valencia we cross the Spanish border and arrive in the beautiful countryside of Galicia. We spend a day in Tui, a charming town with a beautiful cathedral and great gardens around. Then begins the fun. The clock goes one our back. If we walk on at 6.00 hours it is still stays dark for more then an hour. The path takes us regularly on the original Roman trade route. Unfortunately, we are no longer the only early birds. The pilgrims doubled with a factor of 5. To get sure to have one of the few beds in the Auberges, they create a real run.
No, this is not really my thing. I have the feeling that there is constantly somebody behind my heels and I have to be careful not to lose my inner silence. We find the balance in it by going occasionally off the path to lie down in nature for a while or to do a few qigong exercises. Just perfect! It is beautiful walking weather. The one day it is raining is the worst one. We have to walk more then two hours over an industrial estate. Believe me, that is not really a pleasant thing! I am surprised how quickly my body recovers, especially since I have gone off with a serous injury of my foot. What an amazing phenomenon our body is! What breaks me up occasionally is the lugging of the luggage. At the same time it is the charm: living with only what is needed. And we need so little…
We walk the path to get rid of entrenched beliefs. It is time for something new. Outer churches and saints have no value to me. It is not only the accent on the suffering of Jesus I cannot connect myself with, it is also the unnatural picture of Mary. For me she is a goddess and symbolizes the middle between light and dark, the middle between the two Mary’s, the absolute harmony.
To discover our own nature we have to reconnect with the mystery of nature. Pilgrim is a symbolical road to connect with this path, with the inner self. Spirituality in a form, traditional or new age, immediately loses momentum.
We stay overnight in a convent, along an alternative route. It is a beautiful place without specific purpose with more than twenty simple beds. I do not take a shower and I prefer the toilet outside, but simplicity has never been a point for me. What could be nicer then pee outside under a beautiful starry heaven? Our host is not practical at all, so Giri and I and Leo from Poland are preparing joyfully a kind of a meal. The food is well received by the others and I can say the three of us enjoyed tremendously the working together.
Our last night is not far from Santiago. So we leave late this morning, around 10.00 o’clock. Believe it or not, we are the only hikers. A miracle! After a few great encounters, suddenly we find ourselves in the centre of the city. The cathedral is impressive. The well is touching me and I dip my hands as a symbol of innocence…
We could not leave our backpacks in the cathedral so we first have to find a simple hostel. Santiago is a lively and a touristic city. I estimate that every day some 500 to 750 pilgrims walk in by foot. There are also many tourists buses every day. Yet the atmosphere is pleasant and relaxed. There is lots of music on the street. People are happy and laugh a lot. Sometimes they even cry without apparently reason. Listen; what we did is peanuts, but some pilgrims are on the road for months. Some of them are welcomed by their partner, their family. You can imagine that this is an enormous transformation for both parties.
It is an emotional thing to get your last stamp. It looks more like a fight. No, I do not need a certificate. I certainly will not hang it on the wall. Later on we line up for the crypt of James. This also happens in a strange energy. With a sense of humour I would like to call it spiritual greediness. Although the cathedral is impressive on the inside, I do not click in. In contrast with the cathedral in Le Puy in France. This church was in all respects a revelation for me.
We are born as gods, most of the time we have forgotten this. That becomes clear as we experience some of the pilgrims night life. There is a lot of noise on the streets. Around 3.30 am the first wiping-machine start to collect all the broken glasses. The man with the broom follows and before dawn the streets are spotless again. When the partygoer in the afternoon is back on scene, he is unaware of the mess he left behind. The show must go on. Long live the economy!
We take a bus to Muxia – the alternative end of the world. Although I have two dull hours on the bus, wondering what the hell I am going to do, that feeling disappears immediately when I see the Atlantic coast. Wow, here I can be totally myself. I touch and see God in everything. Butterflies in all colours and sizes are guiding us on our path. In the early morning we burn our worn-out clothes on the beach. It is a tradition and a symbol of a new start.
The people here are Celtic speaking. We could be in Ireland as well. The end of our trip is even as divine and impressive as the beginning…
We fly back home from Santiago via Madrid. I could not have imagined that I would love this city with its six million inhabitants so dearly. What a difference with Holland. Everybody is so relaxed! If I am among the people, on the crowded square, at the Puerta del Sol, everywhere I am just mySelf…
The purpose is not relevant. It is just the road that is important…