Splashy Clothes or a safari to Tanzania?

I am living around the corner of the Shopping area of my hometown. I used to walk through that area many times a week. I never truly shopped there, I was of course not the shopping type. But every time I accidentally past by and my eye got caught by some trendy clothing, I bought it without even thinking twice. And I certainly did not allow a question popping up like: “Do I really, truly need this new hot item? Maybe I had enough trousers but not “that specific, great looking, flashy, striking trouser”.  I think through the years this habit costed me a crazy lot of money. Now was it worth it? Did it make me more happy, more wise?
Let’s have a closer look at the issue.
Q: What exactly is a new flashy shirt or trouser promising me?
A: It will make me more attractive
Q: What exactly does it promises when I am attractive?
A: Men will notice me.
Q: What does it promises when men are noticing me.
A: They will desire me
Q: What does it promises when men desire me?
A: It will give me a thrill, a shiver of excitement
Q: What does it promises when I get a thrill?
A: This thrill makes me feel alive

This thrill makes me feel alive? And then to think that in reality I haven’t felt attracted to a man for the last 15 years. So why am I spending all that money on something that needs to make sure I get a thrill, which obviously has not been fulfilling for at least 15 years.

Suddenly that fancy trouser or shirt, that steady job, the boring fitness afternoons, the approving glance of a man did not feel so promising anymore. Time to drop it and go for some real experiences. And guess what, life brought me to Tanzania. Tanzania did not promise me an adventure, it is an adventure. 2013-07-19 13.21I jumped into this unknown world, knowing nothing, at first blind with my eyes wide open. I had no idea where this story was going, just followed the flow. It brought me love, laughter, adventure, new challenges, learning processes, despair, victory, insecurity, pain of the heart, cultural differences with people I love, frustration, nature, new friends and lots of crazy new experiences. It did not promise me aliveness, I am alive. I always was alive. It is impossible not to be alive. Every moment my senses are ready, taking in the new, the unexpected, taking in more of life, reaching their potential.
What we wish for you in 2016 is to take your bag and go to places you have never been before. Step out of the routine, step into a new world. Open up to new places, people, food, customs, rituals and so on. It will bring you real experience that will make you feel more alive. They will challenge you and show you new and rewarding aspects of yourself. To step into a totally different culture has the power to bring a new connection inside you. It is not always easy and…

it costs but for sure the fancy trousers and shirts and other material things cost you more…

Happy New Year to you all!!

Remember when you saw your first Lion?

20-hildur-runs-to-simba-east-the short happy life of a serengeti lion

Photo by Michael Nichols

This excitatory question I found on the website of the Lion Illumination Project active in Tanzania. My first Lion? In my mind the image of a Cross-Eyed Lion occurs. “That’s right, In my mind I am looking straight in the eyes of Clarence”. Suddenly I see the faces coming up of Dr. Tracy and his daughter Paula. And then the name of the series shoots in my brain: “Daktari”. Djee it must have been in 1966-1967. We just had our first black and white TV. On the sofa, in my pajamas, one glass coca cola beside me, we were watching Daktari and to me this cross-eyed Lion was the most interesting character they presented. Because of his handicap, he was unable to hunt and therefore they adopted him. We had a big sheepsdog with long curly hair but this Clarence was something totally different.
Later we went to the Zoo in Amsterdam and there was this small Lion house where Lions were sleeping all day, yawning and bored. Even as a young child I experienced the smell of dullness, caused by lack of freedom. Also I remember the instinctive fear running through my vains while watching them.
Lions! Since 4 years I meet them regularly in the wild nature of Tanzania. Lions can sleep 20 hours a day. twee mannetjes leeuwenSo many times we see them lying in the grass, lazy and relaxed, showing the opposite behaviour of cheetah who is very awake and sitting upright, peering the environment for danger.
But then the moment comes that a male Lion shows up beside your car and every muscle can be clearly seen. And he is looking at a group of Thomson Gazelles a few hundred meters far. Nothing distracts him, all his attention focussed, and demonstrating the power that embodies him. His head up, his manes majestic and suddenly you know; this truly is a magnificent being.

In Tanzania the tribes (like Masaï) are living in areas with wild animals. In general this is a peaceful and harmonious coexistence. But depending on circumstances cats can visit the villages to catch of livestock. But better not touch a cow or goat of Masaï. They are holy, they mean survival. So many cats are killed in this conflict. The Lion Illumination Project is dedicated to honor the warriors on both sides of the conflict by creating a peaceful solution. They install solar strobe lights in the bomas to keep the cats out. At our village Endonyowas Mindful Adventure saw many bright lights, the last time we were there. Walking in the dark after a simple but full meal, those lights were flashing like Gods watching over the village. It works. For lions it is like a disco and they hate discos. If you want to know more or support this project you can read more

There is a kindness in life

Open your eyes
What do you see?

You see the mountains
solid, rough, untameable, scary and impressive against the sky
or green, hilly, gentle, protective and kind

You see the rivers
restricted, controlled, directed and angry
or playful, boundless, wild and free
P1070037 You see the trees
rooted, passive, bored and unable to move
or strong, steady, stable and alive

You see the sky
cloudy, dark, foggy and smoggy
or clear, blue, shiny and infinite

Open your ears
What do you hear?

You hear the wind grumble, pushy, raging and mad
Or whispering, gently and dancing around

You hear the silence
say nothing, do nothing and be nothing
or peaceful, understanding, receiving and calm

You hear the leaves murmur, tremble and holding on to the tree
or crackle, laughing and singing their song
alne 9 Lioness Mara 7 by Adri de VisserYou hear the lions crawl, jump, murder and mate
or yawn, spin, snore and relax

The real world is out there. Our senses are the bridge.

The moment we are busy with thoughts and feelings, we lose contact with our senses. When we lose contact with our senses, we lose contact with real life, with reality right here and right now. When we lose contact with real life, we will be lost in our own fantasy world, projecting our own fantasies onto the world. And we all know how much misery this brings.

Servan Ott Fotografie -- Natuurfotografie - Workshops-5589
Mindful in Tanzania means bringing back our attention to our senses, to real life. The wild nature will make it easier for us to become available to real life again. And once available to real life, it is very possible that life will show its kind face, its harmony, its peacefulness and supportive presence. It can feel like coming home. It is for sure worth the try.

Indigenous people experience Climate Change every day

Last Monday the Climate Change Conference in Paris has started. One of the biggest causes of climate Change is deforestation. The official numbers of CO2 emission varies between 12% en 20%. Wat is deforestation and what are the consequences? Watch this short dutch video.

In South West Kenya you can find Mau Mountains, which contains 25% of Kenyas forest areas. It is one of the biggest compact forest areas in East Africa and millions of Kenyans depend on it for their watersupply. However years of illegal colonisation have destroyed big parts of the woods.

NRC journal of Friday 27 November quotes farmer Alfred Soi: “We have always been warned by the tribal elders not to destroy the wood because it would lead to destruction of life. Why do politicians nowadays forget that? I would like to strike them with a curse”. Years of misrule, mondial as well as local have contributed to icecap melting of Mount Kenya and destruction of the woods  which once were beautiful.
mtkenyaforestimg1The mountain can’t hold the water any longer because of logging. It spits out a wild, brown flood engulfing the agriculture and economic important Tea Plantations. The Tea Research Institute in Kericho measures a rise in temperature of 0.2 degrees every year. Therefore the climate has become unpredictable. They are confronted with dryness and frost, which they never experienced before. In general you can say the indegenous people in all the world are experiencing the consequences of Climate Change the most, allthough they have nothing to do with the causes. Unnoticed they are struggling to survive in their homelands. But several tribes allready started to investigate where and how to migrate the entire tribe. You can read more about this issue here:

The problem in the West is that we only know about Climate Change through information. We do not feel it. We do not experience it. As a result only 7000 people marched last Sunday in the Climate March Amsterdam.

Reading the article above suddenly the consequences come closer. These people are living close to nature and they see, hear and feel it every day.