(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)
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!”.
I think this is true for many people. Moreover, I see and hear that most of the day, all of us are involved with the struggle between our own expectations on one hand and with reality on the other. It is just a fact that reality made a hobby out of being different then our thinking. Frustration is building and you can call that stress.
A spiritual perspective
Mindfulness has no other purpose then making you aware of this field of tension within yourself and to teach you to be with what is presenting itself. Also spiritual teacher Byron Katie is showing people in her dialoques how suffering and stress are coming from our own thoughts about occurrences and not from occurrences itself.
Becoming clear about that, and staying clear about that is a process. The resistance is always big because in the end there will be little left from all endless stories and attached feelings, that we feel so deeply connected with. When little remains, at a certain point we start to feel lost, frightened, futile, out of control, threatening, confusing and sometimes completely dark. Our familiar personality is at stake to the root and that is quite something. That is the moment when surrender becomes important. Let it happen, dare to feel, don’t walk away, don’t go back to the old familiar need to control.
There is space for life in Tanzania
In Tanzania not many things go as you expect. So that is a perfect background for a mindful safari. Every day you will be challenged to let go of your resistance to circumstances, the tendency to accuse something or someone for them, and holding on to how you believe it should have happened. As soon as you are doing that, you will be able to receive the gifts that existence is giving in every moment, and in that, to embrace everything and everyone.
That’s why I am so happy with Maria’s description of such a moment where things went different then they were planned, but where she was able to notice and experience the beauty and liveliness of exactly where we were that morning.
“On the opposite side of Lake Victoria we wait for hours. We don’t know why the jeeps are not here and we don’t ask. We watch the scene around the ferry. Under a little roof men are playing checkers with bottle caps as damstones. Children are hiphopping like real professionals. Mothers are walking homewards with children on their backs and stuff on their head. Everything is colored orange red by the sand and the whole scene is tinted by the soft yellow sunlight”.
It is my sincere experience that the vulnerability that comes with moving along, is opening the way to your heart and to the heart of others.
Finally you may discover that you can trust life and that it knows much better then you, what is good for you. It even is possible that it is trying to support you in the things that really matter and more. That discovery helps you to relax in what is presenting itself, also when it feels nasty. That will bring the real adventure back in your life. This is what we try to live in Tanzania, and yes, that is more challenging then a weekly hour of mindfulness in a controled setting or a trip where everything is comfortably arranged in all details. But it will give you so much back in return.
Karibu (welcome) in Tanzania