Monday, 16 December 2013

A life less ordinary

This year started off for me with a bundle of gratitude, a ray of hope and a magnitude of plans. I set off to conquer myself and explore all that I could offer. It took a lot of falling down and getting right back-uppers, but slowly things started settling right into place. I rounded off my first year of the pharmaceutical course, passed my exams, but decided that a life behind the counter was not my cup of tea. It took quite some weeks of actual work experience to help me see the light. But when it hit me, I radically decided to change direction.

If anything I've learnt that I'm a 'people person', that I care about what else is out there and that I need to find a way to combine what matters most. Slowly the pieces of the puzzle are falling into place.
Life has thrown me chances that I have happily grabbed and which I'm trying my best at.
I'm no super person though, there's still so much to learn, to evolve and to achieve. I still need to practise what I preach sometimes, but I know I'm on the right track!
As life unfolds its unexpected opportunities, and helps me see how lucky I truly am, I feel my gratitude rising, and my spirit filling up with a warm glow of hope and love.

I've grown, I've prospered, I've taken brand new roads. I've found that it's never too late to learn, always possible to change and that when you find true love it can quietly sit around in the corners of your heart faithfully believing that its destiny will one day be fulfilled, no matter what.
In everything you learn to trust that what comes your way is meant to be, and that what doesn't probably is not. The least that you can do is take a chance and life will grant you with an outcome fit to mould you into just the person that your spirit longs to be.

I'm so thankful for the turns my life has taken, for the friends and family I share it with, for the ones that were once part of it, even if they are now nowhere to be found. I'm even thankful for the solitude that heartache brought me, as it's made me realise who I am and where my heart lies. Life is like that, it gives and it takes away, but what is left is most essential, a bundle of experiences, clinging on to one another until some get untangled or resolved.

If anything I'm just a little wiser, just a little stronger and just a bit more determined to follow my dreams and aspirations. I look forward to another year of all of this and more! I can only hope that it will bring as many crucial eye-openers to myself as well as others.
May so many hearts stop aching, so much anger disappear, may we find each other in the darkness and celebrate without any fear. May we be forgiven for the things we once did wrong, and now show kindness in return. May the fears that are deep within us find the courage to evolve, into warm acts of friendliness towards anyone in need. And may all that you wish come true ...

Merry Christmas and a loving New Year to you!

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Shitty Happiness

Nothing lasts forever and even true love tends to fade. At times it gets slaughtered so much and tested so often that it just dissolves and perishes, when you thought it never would. Nothing left. Just gone, as suddenly as it once appeared it disappears.

Did I ever think it possible? No! Absolutely not. But it's become crystal clear that it's just the way it goes in life, it can happen to anyone, at any given time. Is it painful? Yes! Utterly, excruciatingly sometimes. Does it mean you stop living? Does it mean life ends? No! It's a miracle really, surviving such heartache and loss. But we survive and as we do, life has a way of softening the blow, of healing the pain and putting things back into perspective. And one day if we're ready and willing, love may invade again without warning.

Just recently I had a friend visiting and I heard myself spontaneously telling her how happy I am nowadays, everything is going well, the kids are settled, I'm enjoying my translation work, my writing is thriving and life is good and merry. I told her things couldn't be better!

She smiled, a knowing smile. The kind that says 'been there, done that' and then after quietly having listened to my 'happy talk', she said she understood completely. She too had experienced that exact same feeling yet now that she was back in a relationship, her feelings were all over the place again. She told me, that in life, it's easy to survive alone, you get to do what you want when you want, however you want, with whomever you want. Easy. However, once you meet someone again, the challenge really starts, compromise, sharing, and making room for someone else in your life is not so easy! If we spend too many years living alone, it's pretty tough to adapt and accept this new 'intruder' into what has comfortably become our own peaceful atmosphere.

But it brings a new perspective, a new challenge and a wider scope on life. This is when you really get tested, have you actually changed? Like you said you had... Are you really more settled and happy? Or did the problems disappear just because there was no one there to argue with. No one around to hit any sensitive strings that may cause irritation or rub you the wrong way? It's at this point that it will become clear to you whether all you thought had changed, grown and was learnt, really has changed, grown and been learnt!

You see, her point was: sometimes things are easier said than done. Sometimes we think we've solved our shit, but when we are confronted with the cause again, we may realise that nothing is really solved, nothing has really changed.

I thought about that, for a long time after she left.

And I realised, that the only way to find out, if what I say and think I feel about being in a good place right now is true, is by challenging myself again with that which scares me most. Having said that, I needed to define what that was. It then dawned upon me that my biggest fear is actually letting someone back in. I fear the havoc and sweet surrender of love sending shivers down my spine. I fear losing the (false) sense of comfort that I now reside in, I dread the invasion of love, because I now know, that sometimes it doesn't last forever, sometimes it leads nowhere, sometimes it hurts and most times it still scares the shit out of me. Which brings the circle right back round to why it's so easy to be happy right now, there's just no pile of shit I have to deal with! Simple as that.

No worries though...manure has a way of fertilising the soil so that crops will prosper...someday! For now...I'm happy enough!

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Woman of the World

About two weeks ago, something absolutely amazing and totally unexpected fell right in my lap!

I had spontaneously sent an e-mail after reading an appeal for Dutch women writers worldwide initiated by a well known women's magazine in Holland. (LINDA.) I thought, 'nothing to lose, right', so I sent my short introductory e-mail with a link to my blog. A little over an hour passed and suddenly my in-box lit up and to my biggest surprise, I had received a reply!

I was out having lunch with my parents at that exact moment and I found myself reading the e-mail out loud, stuttering out the words as I read along. OMG!!! Apparently I fit the profile, and they would soon send me more information. I read and re-read the e-mail several times and still could not believe it! My spontaneous letter had hit a chord and I was in!

From that moment on, my life changed completely. As a matter of fact, my entire world literally opened up! I was thrown into a pool of extremely interesting Dutch women residing worldwide.

All of a sudden, everything fell into place. Having been an expat kid all of my childhood life, I had seen so much of the world, and tasted so many different cultures. And now after 20 years of living in Belgium, luck threw me back out into the world and gave me a chance to voice myself. Not only that, but I get to nostalgically relive many wonderful memories abroad.

I had instantly become a 'woman of the world' and quickly met many other interesting women. Just like that, passionate, delightful and thriving women entered my small world, or did we enter each others world? Fact is, our worlds blended and with that, all country boundaries disappeared! We are one amazing group of women, each with our own talents, skills and dedications. Yet we are all the same, as we thrive to share with the world, that which is important to us, as women, mothers, humans.

You see, no matter how far apart we are, one thing joins us together and that is the eagerness to connect, whether we connect to a large group, a family, a partner or to ourselves, it's that power within ourselves that makes it happen. That which makes any dream come true. And that which is realised when others dream that dream too. Alone we stand but together we move the world!

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Just too little Love

The world around us feels harsher and colder than ever. I don't remember knowing any divorced couples when I was around my children's age.... they, on the other hand, face the daily reality of nearly 1 in 2 broken homes.

Why is that? What is going on with us? Why is there so much anger and worldwide dissatisfaction?

Here's my take on it: 
There’s just too little love going 'round

We want love, we expect love, and we yearn for love, yet we are not prepared to give love unless we receive love first.
Pretty petty, very silly and so unlike what love's about.

The truth is, if we'd all love a little more abundantly, then so many of us would feel its instant reach. It would encourage more patience and understanding. It would make the world we live in a softer, safer and much warmer place...surely! 

The thing is, with love... even if it's just a simple act of friendship, one lovely thing leads to another, and with this a chain reaction is brought on, an opposite chain reaction to the one so many of us seem to be stuck in nowadays!

We put too much value into things that will never bring us happiness. It's like stuffing ourselves with junk food, a cheap and instant solution to hunger pangs, yet always leaving us dissatisfied. Thus polluting our being. We need to stick to wholesome nourishment of body and soul to stop the cravings that cause our constant disgruntlement.

Too many of us find fault in what others do or do not do, but do we ever think to look at ourselves before lashing out our opinions at others? We're so used to living in this fast and (throwaway) consumer society, that once our need for something or someone is over, we move on, regardless of the consequences. In fact, the consequences no longer even seem to matter in the great scheme of things, EXCEPT that.... THAT is the exact reason so many of us are no longer able to give a little love, because we think it doesn't matter. Pain and hurt often destroy the good intentions of an otherwise thrivingly loving heart. People struggle to trust again, and fight inner battles to recover from their loss of self (worth). I see it happening around me, and fear that what is left of the kindhearted spirits is rapidly being absorbed by 'Pac-Man-like' society destructive ideals, such as greed, ego, pain, anger, jealousy and revenge. Once gobbled up, there's no telling whether you'll ever make it out, let alone be able to show kindness or love again.

So I think it's time to quit the selfish 'me', 'me', 'me' mode we seem to have programmed ourselves into and start thinking about 'how we can each contribute a little love into this world'. 
Dare to smile at a stranger to wish them a good day, let a pedestrian cross the road although you may be in a hurry, help a friend out even though you're busy, give someone a cuddle just because you know how great it feels to get one, or end a family feud as life is far too short for anger and watch the magic happen....
cause, love is, free yet fundamental and thrives on simple acts of kindness... it will naturally flourish and sow its seeds if you let it.

Saturday, 3 August 2013

Life of Riches...(Het Leven in het Reservaat)

Have you ever noticed that some people feel so superior to others that no matter who they meet, (unless you're loaded and of 'capital-interest' of course) they instantly forget who you are?! I seem to bump into quite a few of these men (mainly). A while back whilst invited to attend THE party of the year in this glorified circus we live in, I was seated next to a man that I had met on many other occasions. As everyone was looking for their seats amongst the four lengthy and beautifully decorated table rows, he pulled up right next to me, turned towards me and introduced himself - for the 13th time!!

To be quite frank, I don't change much, hardly yo-yo weight wise and have an easy face to remember. So having to introduce myself for the so-many'eth-time, kind of pissed me off. And so, I said, in my most polite 'gritting-my-teeth-but-aiming-to-be-friendly-voice' possible, "we've met before, haven't we?' He gave me his well rehearsed painfully apologetic smile and arrogantly replied, "oh yes, now I see" (Excuse me, but were your eyes closed when we shook hands ??? All those 13 times ???). 

What is it with this type of arrogance? Does he really think that the vagina he came out of was better than the one I came out of ? Was he breastfed and therefore better milked than the rest of us? Or did his family buy their food at specialist 'well-bre(a)d' supermarkets? 
Anyway, after that short and awful intro, he sat down, and of course....turned his back to me during the entire dinner. 

What a blessing !!! His rudeness turned out to be his most honourable deed of the night.

It makes you think though....why do people consider themselves to be better than others, is 'betterness' determined by intelligence or money? Does a big brain or wallet guarantee a wealthier spirit? Of course NOT, we all know that, yet why do some insist that they are and always will be superior to others?

When we reach the end of our time here, we all die, no one is exempted from that. We all stop breathing, all our hearts stop and we all end up either incinerated, buried, or scattered over fields or ponds. But guess's after that....after death that the crucial truth's in how you are remembered, in what you leave in people's hearts, and how much love you left behind. That is what you truly were, and in which greatness you may one day be remembered.

So, if you're one of those arrogant pricks that thinks the world revolves around you, take a look in the mirror every morning please and see who's staring back at you, for one day you might not even recognise yourself and won't even know who you've turned into. Those that once meant something, will easily forget you, because what you thought was so important, will only leave behind and empty 'air' of space.

Sunday, 7 July 2013

'The Paradox of Life' - Quote

"The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but
shorter tempers, wider freeways, but narrower viewpoints. We spend more,
but have less; we buy more, but enjoy less. We have bigger houses and
smaller families, more conveniences, but less time. We have more degrees
but less sense, more knowledge, but less judgment, more experts, yet more
problems, more medicine, but less wellness.

We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little,
drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too
little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom. We have multiplied our
possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and
hate too often.

We've learned how to make a living, but not a life. We've added years to
life not life to years. We've been all the way to the moon and back, but
have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbor. We conquered outer
space but not inner space.

We've done larger things, but not better things. We've cleaned up the air,
but polluted the soul. We've conquered the atom, but not our prejudice.

We write more, but learn less. We plan more, but accomplish less.

We've learned to rush, but not to wait. We build more computers to hold
more information, to produce more copies than ever, but we communicate less
and less.

These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion, big men and small
character, steep profits and shallow relationships. These are the days of
two incomes but more divorce, fancier houses, but broken homes.

These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway morality, one
night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer,
to quiet, to kill.

It is a time when there is much in the showroom window and nothing in the
stockroom. A time when technology can bring this letter to you, and a time
when you can choose either to share this insight, or to just hit delete.

Remember; spend some time with your loved ones, because they are not going
to be around forever. Remember, say a kind word to someone who looks up to
you in awe, because that little person soon will grow up and leave your

Remember to give a warm hug to the one next to you because that is the only
treasure you can give with your heart and it doesn't cost a cent. Remember,
to say, "I love you" to your partner and your loved ones, but most of all
mean it. A kiss and an embrace will mend hurt when it comes from deep
inside of you. Remember to hold hands and cherish the moment for someday
that person will not be there again. Give time to love, give time to speak
and give time to share the precious thoughts in your mind."

Sunday, 27 January 2013


One of my all time favourite movies has a magnificent quote :

" I think your heart grows back bigger, you know? Once you get the shit beat out of you. And uhm, the universe lets your heart expand that way, and I think that's the function of all this pain and heartache that you go through and you gotta go through that to come out to a better place, and that's how I see it anyway"
(Must Love Dogs)

I have loved this quote from the very first time I heard it. But today, it finally made perfect sense to me !

My very best friends decided to organise a 'surprise' - 40th - birthday party for me. Inviting some of my closest friends only, because;...they jokingly complained,
'I apparently have too many friends....'

To be honest I felt desperation and guilt but something clicked into place whilst I cried tears of overwhelming self issues over this and gratefulness took over.

All this time, I thought that life was about that ONE love, that very special person that is supposed to come into our lives and sweep us off our feet. The knight in shining armour. The one that makes it all worthwhile. The true love of your life. How wrong I terribly wrong I was....

You see, I had not wanted to celebrate this upcoming birthday. Because, well;
I felt sad and ashamed that at 40 I have not yet achieved that much in my life;
I felt single and a failure for it;
I felt shame towards my children who have seen me cry on numerous occasions out of utter desperation and struggling with my life's challenges;
I felt a great need for independence since nothing I have is actually mine;
I felt my best was never quite good enough;
I felt stupid and guilty for feeling all of the above in the first place;...and last but not least just because forty sounds so damned old and grey hairs and wrinkles are invading what used to be 'me'...!!

How ungrateful and wrong I was !!!

Life is not about a summary of what you feel you haven't done or feeling sorry for yourself and it's also not about ONE love at all. It is about all the things you did from the heart and about GREAT love, it has nothing to do with superficial achievements, money or status.

Great love is when your heart fills with joy because you realise that you have kids that you are utterly proud of, because they are turning into fantastic, compassionate and good human beings.
Great love is when you can be there for someone exactly at the right moment.
Great love is when you've had someone to lean on time after time, without fault.
Great love is knowing that those you care about so much care just as much about you.
And among all the many many other Great loves is;
the Great love of your friends when they team up together  and even though you yourself don't feel you deserve it, they still find you worthy of a surprise 40th birthday bash !!

Today I was reminded of this, life isn't always rosy, and we all have our shit to deal with - to each their own. But it is as great as we make it within us. It is all as good as we accept it to be.

And so, to go back to the wonderful quote, I think that my heart has grown back - bigger, and bigger each and every time after every ache and pain. And I am now in a much better place !

It's time to enjoy the moments and share some of the love that has been put in there by all these great loves, so that this fantastic heart warming friendship is passed along to others.

I guess forty means 'over the hill' in the sense that the climb may be over and it's now time to slowly stroll down hill whilst enjoying the magnificent views of this 'better place' that holds a wonderful inner sense of serenity.

BUT if it's not, then it's time to just roll off that hill and enjoy the ride, for God's sake!!

How lucky I am to have reached forty with such Great loves !! THANK YOU X