It’s a rainy day. It’s a sad day, I’m sad today. It has been almost a year since we moved our base back to Amsterdam. “Let’s do it ‘right’ just here, before we expand again” my husband said. I thought it was a wise thing to say.
Every time I give a lecture people ask me how I experience living in the city now, after all that happened. I answer it is different now, and I like it better now I keep my life simple. But today I suddenly discovered how I’ve been fooling myself with that answer. I love my work, that is why I like being in the city. I love my family, and in the city we are not as much split up by travels. But I feel as alienated as ever. Maybe even more. I don’t understand the language of modern life. I don’t speak the language of capitalsm, glamour, social success. I do not understand the morality of Instagramm, H&M or Netflix. I can feel the power of these things, but I mostly feel the violence that it is rooted in. The hunger for power over others.
Is this obsession with looking beautiful, with how things look on the outside not just a fight to cover up something ugly deep within?
Our shallow focus on outward beauty may be more of a confused reaction to the memory of true beauty that an actual encounter with it. How about the appreciation for the real beauty of the spirit behind it? I know we excuse ourselves to say that our fashion choices and carreer reflect who we are. I did that for a long time. But be honest, is this really the case? Isn’t it more a desperation? A fear that no one will bother to see who we really are? Afraid that the treasures we carry inside of us will not be seen by the world, and thus will remain worthless. Isn’t this what Instagramm or Facebook is all about?
It took me two years to be brave enough to call myself a healer. And still – if people ask me what I do for a living I will make the joke of raising my hands and do the ‘microwave’ sound. Like I have to excuse myself for there is no status in healing, let alone that I can win a prize for it or showcase my results somewhere.
I have choosen to be a nobody, to search for the beauty inside of my soul. To answer to the desires of the soul, in stead of the outward desires to show results of my achievements and taste. At least once a day I feel naive I did so. I feel empty handed because I have nothing to show for myself. I feel overruled by all the people who are ‘doing better’ than I do. On these moments I feel worthless and terrible.
“In a society that profits from self doubt, liking yourself is a rebellious act.”
So what can I do? I go silent. I become even more quiet. I almost disappear. And I remember what I carry on the inside. The tremendous amount of love and peace I have found there. And how being a healer gives me the opportunity to share this with other people. To make them cry tears of relief, of being fully understood, for being healed and helped. I like myself for it. I have learned to love myself a lot more because of it.
So as far as living in the city goes : I love that I can have a quality coffee on every corner. I love buying clothes. I love bookstores. I love going to the market. I love bumping into friends on the street. But to be honest : no, I do not like living in the city. I do not even like living in this part of the world. I do not feel modern. I do not feel free. I feel a total alien.
I am homesick. But hey, I believe most of us are.
picture by ed van der elsken