geniaal kind

All kids until four are genius

geniaal kindAll kids until four are genius. By the time they are ten years old, only 10% is genius. By the time they are 30 years old, we are talking about only 2%. This is the confronting, shocking outcome of a big long running American research.

It is true. Of course it is true. It is unbelievable what we learn in the first four years of our lives. We learn a language and sometimes two languages without books and drilling. And all of u scan do it. Every child can do it. Children that only seem able to remember 10 words at primary school, were also able to do this, without any problem.

In the following years there is a huge differentiation in levels. Suddenly there are children with learning disorders and that are in need of special attention to develop laborious in the direction we determined for them. Our teachers are busy with children with all kinds of behavioral and concentration disorders.

Why is that?

Read more

reality or illusion

Reality or illusion, what do you choose?

“Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away”
Philip K. Dick

All day long your mind is talking to you, thousands of messages are passing by. It all works completely mechanical and automatic. They arise and disappear by itself. Regularly every day you get stuck to it because you believe in a certain thought that arises. Bam…. you’re being cought. For me there is no difference wether this is a positive or a negative thought. Both of them don’t nessecarily have anything to do with reality. For you it may mainly concern negative thoughts that you get stuck to, that are repeating itself, and are directly evoking annoying feelings and tend to make your life miserable.

If we feel unhappy too often, we quickly think of big events that are bothering us. It must be some trauma. Something terrible must have happened in our past. And yes, during therapy, a lot is coming up. We are not aware that much of what comes up is made up of distorted memories and even made up events and experiences. Bam… you’re being cought.

Read more

ZIN met Maria Goos en Marcel Musters op mindfulness safari

Maria Goos on mindfulness safari

(Maria Goos is a well known writer in the Netherlands. Her travelstory can be read in the magazine ZIN (March 8-April 4, 2018 – in dutch)

Maria Goos in Tanzania

Maria Goos in Tanzania

Surrender versus sane criticism
“Marcel tells me again “to start to surrender to what may come”, and not to be so critical. He emphasizes that we are experiencing things that people in touring cars would only dream of! That is true, and I also like that. But I also think: how for heaven’s sake are we going to solve this?”

In the summer of 2017 Maria Goos (wellknown scriptwriter of a.o. Old Money and Cloaca) and Marcel Musters (wellknown actor and one of the founders of Theatregroup Mosquitowiththegoldentooth) are coming with us on a mindful road trip in North West Tanzania.

Even though at the end of the article Maria wholeheartedly says she had an amazing trip, and would choose again for the “chaos” instead of choosing for a streamlined safari in a touringcar, she also struggled. Many things went different then she had expected.
During the trip I sometimes had to smile. My whole life went different then I had expected. To be followed immediately by “thankgod”. But also: “what did it hurt for such a long time!”.

Read more

Vrouwen rechten Tanzania

Maasai women right’s in Tanzania

International women’s day
Masaï vrouw met kindThe emancipation of Maasai women in Tanzania still has a long way to go. In the cities is some movement. Especially young women are becoming aware of the sex differences because of the internet and sometimes in their contact with Western people.
In modern Tanzania having one woman and monogamy has become the standard under the influence of Christianity. Although men regularly reveal to me that the first African man who does not “cheat” on his wife more then once, still has to be born. The women seem to tolerate that and keep silent. More important in this third world country is that they have his children. Those children give her a certain guarantee to be first in his life and this way they ensure a house and enough to eat. The modern women work outdoors but are generallyexpected at home.  For example, it is allways a man who will join me on a trip. If I ask a woman to come, many times she refuses.

Read more

Jacaranda tree in Tanzania

The tree and the prudish flowers

An ode to my best and wise friend in Tanzania

When I finish a phonecall with Rama, we useually end with a time-consuming goodbye ritual, which I complete with joy out of respect for him. I see it as a Tanzanian tradition, but to my surprise I catch Rama more then once not even saying goodbye to people after ending a phonecall. So it occurs to my mind lately, it is very possible he thinks also it is a dutch ritual to perform.
Most of the time the ritual is like this:

R: Lala salama (goodnight) Alina
A: Lala salama pia (goodnight to you too) Rama
R: Asante (thanks) Alina
A: Asante pia (jij ook bedankt) Rama
R: Don’t think too much any longer okay?
A: I will try Rama, Thank you.
R: Bye, byebye, byeeeee, bye Alina, bye
A: Bye, byeeee Rama, take care, bye, byebye. Oh don’t forget to call D tomorrow okay?
R: I can do that. Bye
And so on……Sometimes when we allready finished the ritual, something spontaneously comes up. Yesterday it went like this:
R: Njozi njema (sweet dreams)
A: Njozi Njema……… ehh Rama do you ever have nice dreams?
R: Yes Alina sometimes I have, very nice dreams. But when I have malaria ohh then they are very bad.
A: I never have nice dreams. I wonder therefore about the dreams of other people.
R: Yes Alina I think it will get better when you say sorry to your father.

Read more

manipuleren

Manipulation in relationships

To paste your story on the other person is the beginning of manipulation and disrespectful violence. The story you paste on others is directly connected to your own desires and wishes. You desire something, the other must fulfill it and if this happens in an insufficient way, you will set your reproachful story on the other and start your manipulation of him. If someone is acting in line with your wishes, you probably will paste a positive story on the other. But both stories are about you and not about the other. Looking at both stories you will see your own desires are central.
The misery and worries of our mind are coming from a sense of dependency on other people we carry around. We believe we need the other to be happy. And we tell ourselves happiness depends on the ability of that person to make us happy.  Romantic love is in essence nothing else but the idea that the person we fell in love with can make us more happy than others. When he or she fails, deeply inside we panic and start manipulating the other to force him or her to fulfill our needs better. Read more

mensafari Tanzania

Receiving and relaxing are one

I am learning something lately. I learn really something that I’ve found incredibly difficult. I am learning that receiving and relaxation is one. This lesson is not new but the level goes deeper now. I learn to be on time to say: “listen this is not going to be solved. Here we are really quite different. We will not meet each other, I accept that”. And to my great enjoyment that nagging, sometimes sickening or even ripping feeling inside, what can stick around for hours, lets go of me and I can continue what I was doing before the argument started. Trying to solve everything, explain yourself, repeating the same arguments because you can not believe  someone does not get it, has been many times exhausting and sometimes like hell in my life. Honestly receiving what is truly happening creates relaxation and makes me free.

I learned receiving more how things are thanks to Tanzania. I experience how people leave each other alone in that country in a psychological way. And I experience that if I attempt to do some digging into somebody elses mind, soon I feel uncomfortable by their reactions, especially about myself and what I’m doing. In the beginning I missed it. I felt myself thrown back, even ignored sometimes. I felt alone as if something was missing in depth and connection with the people because I could not communicate my psychological insights with them. It felt like I could not be me at all. But after weeks in Tanzania, I feel a relaxation that results from leaving each other alone. And if there is a problem, then it is discussed. Arguments are not repeated in that conversation and if it is completed, it is finished. Attempts by me to reopen the discussion fail many times. “It was finished yesterday Alina”: they claim.

distance between people

by Paula French

My most pervasive experience with learning to let it be, happened in fact years ago between me and my mother. In 2011 I suddenly realized my mother had come to the end of her live. That touched me deeply. It hit me especially since the relationship with my mother had not been successful from the beginning. As long as I could remember we found ourselves at a great distance from each other. I realized how painful this was, much more painful than the death of someone whom you loved much. My mother was going to leave and I would have to live on with the realization that the relationship between us never worked out. I have cried terribly.

The next day I went to see her. I found her sitting at her table in front of the window in the nursing house, a lonely woman. After some chitchat we fell silent. And in that silence I hear myself say: “mom, you and me it just didn’t work out right? We have not been able to truly meet each other all these years. I feel the need to accept that together with you “. She began to cry. “This is awful”: she said. “I do not think so”: I said gently. “it is what it is”. She paused long. When I left half an hour later and was standing at the door, she looked straight in my eyes and said, “I’m going to try it Alne”.

From that moment on, something changed between us, something relaxed. I went every week to see her. The moments she was victimizing herself, I allowed her, If she was moaning dramatically, I held her hand (this gave me much resistance in the past), I drove her around in her wheelchair and it was no problem to me. Sometimes she could no longer hold her own head up. That struck me in my heart and I carried her head for her, one of my most intimate moments with her. Also my mother had changed to me. The caustic remarks began to stay away. The wary comments, distant looks, the puffings and continuous tension between us disappeared; the hatchet was buried. We were receiving each other finally in how it was and we relaxed.

Nine months later she died and I had found peace inside.

receiving

by Lindsey Parker

The moment we both accepted the truth of our relationship, we came to peace with it. Something relaxed. And out of that relaxation we were able to leave each other alone psychologically. Then things became possible for me that I had never been able to give her before; the right to feel a victim, complaining, puffing about me whenever she needed and hold her hand. I am very grateful for these moments.

 

 

Ngorongoro Tanzania - foto Servan Ott

As the day unfolds….

I’m already for two weeks in Tanzania now, this time without travellers, but for business. What a beautiful experience! When I’m leaving the house in the morning, I don’t know where I will end up at night. Sometimes it makes me literally dizzy of everything that is happening. Yesterday night we arrived unscheduled and in total darkness at Wag Hill Lodge, outside Mwanza. The winding road took us to a remote area. The headlights of the car were shining their light on the bush. Always exciting, this kind of venture. After half an hour, we are arrive at a wooden gate. Rama hits the claxon and a young security man in striking outfit opens the door. A red baret? A dark blue army sweater? Perfect English? This is not an ordinary guard. A second man with red baret and striking red coat, joins him, his face has a tight expression, like the marechausee. His tone to Rama sounds like an interrrogation. I start to feel uncomfortable.

A motor stops at my side of the car. Three well dressed girls are leaving the gate, their faces notable made up. Wag Hill Lodge MwanzaI think, “aren’t they too young to go out?”, while I’m talking to them. In the meanwhile, Rama gets the message we are not allowed to come in. The guests are asleep, and they don’t want us to disturb them. Already asleep? At 8.30pm? I explain I don’t have time to come back, that I’m going back to the Netherlands, and that I just want to have an impression of the lodge, and that I never bring clients to a lodge that I haven’t seen with my own eyes. The guard leaves to talk to the manager. I hear Rama say: “I don’t like this Alina, something is wrong here”. The manager refuses to let us in, we can come back tomorrow morning. To my surprise Rama insists we want to get in tonight, but it doesn’t help. Through the phone, the manager shouts that no means no.

Without saying anything Rama turns the car. “Those were school children Alina”, he says. There are many boarding schools in this area. I get pale as I understand why he is upset. “Inside that lodge, some hotshot or government figure is throwing a party”, Rama says angrily. No lodge will ever refuse a tour operator that comes to inspect the place for his guests. Silent we drive the way back. Today a visit to the police.

Here, the days unfold by itself.

Of course they always do, but in Tanzania I experience this to the extreme. Surrendering to that brings the adventure alive.

So we ended up with a very old Sukuma Chief, Charles Kaphipa. Charles is a living history book, and during one and a half hour I was captivated by his stories. During the time of the English domination, before his night of initiation as Chief of the Bukumbi region, he was beaten up. His attackers had digged a grave and buried him. For a short time he was in there, almost suffocating, and then released. This ritual served as a symbol of letting go of his old identity and being newly born as a leader.

Charled turned out to be a Chief with vision with his heart in the right place. He was pleading for the position and the safety of older women in his tribe. The Sukuma tribe still has the primitive and superstitious habit to murder women with red eyes, because they think they are witches. Those red eyes are not strange when you realize those women are cooking on wooden fires in unvented huts. I have a clear memory of my own eyes and coughing attacks when I tried to protect my face behind a shuka during meals in a Masaï hut.

The old women found protection with chief Kaphipa. In the end the Sukuma took revenge by murdering his sister. The grandson of Charles is telling about this emotionally in this video.

Later he tells me the threatened women were sitting in a circle in front of the house, often couldn’t walk anymore, and defecating in that place. He cleaned their faeces and his grandfather learned him to show respect for old people.

While I’m listening to the stories, I feel connected and happy. So many people in this country know to touch me. How is that possible? And the answer that comes to me is authenticity. The people here live their lives as it presents itself to them. They are who they are. I don’t see a lot of ideal self. Everything is also unfolding in them. They are not working on eachother, they don’t try to improve eachother, no psychological analyses. They act in the moment to their best, and all consequences are accepted. The experiences are therefore pure and innocence is coulouring the heart. The faces of old people often are very powerfull, full of character and soft.

A bit later, I don’t believe it myself, I am in flamingo pose on the roof of the teachers house in Mwanza. I’m doing a tough yoga class with Nina and sweat is streaming over my face, while I am enjoying the beautiful view over a dusky Mwanza Rock and Lake Victoria. In the air I see the shapes of a dozen of black birds against the evening sky.

What a thrill to experience all of this.

de bijzondere relatie

The promise of perfection is to gain and keep “the other”

wachtenBy the time I came out of my childhood, I was broken. I ran around like an unfulfilled child, anxious and waiting for “the other” whom stayed extremely absent. From the beginning I experienced my relatively short life as a nightmare by the absence of at least one loving adult who cared for me and provided for me a protective safety. The moment came that I understood I was going down if I continued to wait any longer. I was 19 and from one day to another I made a radical switch of the needy, waiting child to a caring personality. In 20 years to come I developed into a top aid worker because I knew exactly what I had missed. I had crossed out my own needs and was thereby fully capable to receive the other inside me. As a result, I found the bridge to the world again. That saved my life but it didn’t change the fundamental tension that I was carrying inside me.

This fundamental tension rooted into the continuing belief that I needed “the other” to make it in life. And how can you relax when your inner camera is 24 hours a day obsessively focussed on the other because they are unconsciously seen as the primary lifeline? It doesn’t matter if you present yourself as someone who gives or takes in this battle to survive. What matters is what works for you. Because how can you relax if you believe, that you must be perfect to be seen and embraced by the “other”.

In the tireless effort to perfect my personality and become the perfect, wise adult for others, I lost the ability to be able to receive. But that did not matter because I needed nothing. I came a long way, I must say. And still I benefit from the skills that I have developed in that time. I assume you will have your own interpretation of your ideal self.

But how wrong I was!

drinkplaats AfrikaThe deep relaxation that I essentially was looking for, only came when I realized I didn’t need this “other” to be my lifeline. In fact the other has nothing to do with that. The deep relaxation that I actually was looking for, only came when I released the illusion of neediness, and started to see that my real lifeline was given by life itself. When I turned my attention to existence I saw this miraculous event in and around me, giving me oxygen every moment, providing me with food and drinks, regenerating me during my sleep, keeping me warm and giving me space any moment. A completely impersonal but completely loving and intelligent system that gives me everything what I essentially need.

I have been save in the womb of life all my life and so are you, but I did not know it.

And does it matter how perfect you are? Does it matter what you’re doing and how you do it, if it’s not the exclusive relationship with the other that keeps you safe? Do you get less oxygen when your lover dies?

The promise/illusion of perfection is to gain and keep the attention and care of “the other” as your lifeline. To see through this idea is the major liberation to give yourself and it will restore your natural line with existence. It will change everything and give you a new perspective on life. And what a joy that will bring. You are free at last. Please understand this. It is the key to your freedom.

And it is also for this reason that nature as the mirror of your true lifeline, has so much to offer you in your liberation of the deep-rooted idea that you can not survive without “the other”.

Main Photo by Lizanne Croonen for Mindful Adventure

Pelgrimage Ngorongoro

A pilgrimage in Ngorongoro Crater Highland

Pilgrimage Ngorongoro TanzaniaA pilgrimage is traditionally a trip to a place with a particular (often religious) significance. But as a modern Pilgrim you will be going on a journey of inner discovery. Normally you will not go for an ordinary journey from A to B. As the famous Vietnamese Mindfulness founder Thich Nhat Hanh puts it in words: “We appreciate in ourselves to have no purpose or a specific destination, so we don’t have to worry or to hurry. Walking is no means but the goal. Every step you take makes you happy, peaceful and serene”. In that sense, you could say: a pilgrimage is to be, it is embracing this moment, to be  here and now. And the path is a metaphor for life. With ups and downs – it’s all part of it. And while you’re on the way -in fact, we are all constantly on the way -try to do nothing else than to receive life as it presents itself. Admissibility in that you will start making all sorts of delicious discoveries.

While you walk without aiming at a target, you start experiencing each step as a miracle. And that is in fact reality. It is a miracle that you have two legs and two feet that allow you to move over this planet Earth, which is speeding at 70,000 km an hour through the universe. Walk and sit in conscious attention makes us happy. Slowing down helps. The slower you become, the more easy it is to keep focused. Consciously focusing without wanting anything from anybody, will bring this profound feeling of joy alive in your heart.

The modern, active and generally troubled Western person don’t have time to walk in a relaxed way on paths or to sit under a tree doing nothing. We are engaged in an often overactive mind which endlessly fascinates, directs and commands us. We have no idea how this attention we constantly give to our thoughts and feelings lock us up in ourselves and creates a veil between us and the world. We have stopped looking and listening and see the world no longer as a constantly innovative adventure but as a repetitive predictable, mechanical phenomenon where we try to survive.

pelgrimage NgorongoroWalking along paths in bizarre beautiful nature, to sit regularly with yourself alone without a smartphone in your hand, bringing back the “burden” of property to a reasonable minimum and the confrontation with a completely different world and culture than you are used to activates your senses. That way you break during a pilgrimage through your veils. But that’s not it and you’re not there yet.
You still have to open the windows and allow this wondrous reality to enter, to crash inside you, to pour you. And you learn to stay responsive and to do nothing else but receiving what you are given.

How do you open more and more to all those gifts life is giving you permanently?

Most people need help to answer this question, like I was supported years ago. The proces of opening up is what is called awakening, awakening from a dream, awakening from illusion, awakening from the unreal. You can also say in plain language: awakening from all the stories and feelings whom are locking us up in ourselves and slowly brought us down to small minded, unhappy beings.

The moment you start waking up from all the stories you tell yourself you might discover you are living in this wonderful, enjoyable, sensuous, adventurous world. I would love to see everybody to find this out for himself.

Karibu/welcome

Main photo by Lizanne Croonen during our Christmas safari 2016