In twenty knots of wind Endless Summer plowed her way through pretty decent size waves. This meant nothing to our two “keiki”. The two of them snoozed peacefully through the different kinds of wind and water conditions. Closer to the Kaua'i coast, we were laying becalmed in those same size waves, while the boom, the dinghy, the dagger boards, and the rigging clang and chime to the tune of some particularly disharmonious piece of modern classical music ... not a peep! The unusual sound of the main sail unexpectedly crashing down the mast like the sound of a train rushing by, was the only thing that did manage to rouse them temporarily. They were a great help during the following hour in which Scott had to climb up the mast in building seas to retrieve the main halyard.
And so the kids and I passed this first overnight passage since we had parted with Scott in New Caledonia at the end of September. After a delightful 3 month visit to family and friends, we were joined together again the day before Christmas in Waikiki, O'ahu. We spend a month there, happy to be together again, seeing some of the sights, enjoying the hospitality of the Hawaii Yacht Club and meeting new friends. However beautiful the surrounding, however, the amount of traffic on the island did get to us after a while, so we decided to move on to greener pastures. Anchored since the middle of January in Nawiliwili Harbor, with side-trips to beautiful and secluded Wahi'awa Bay, we've basked in the relaxed attitude and friendliness of the people here on the “Garden Island”. We sailed here a day after Everett and Susan, owners of a wooden beauty named “Let 'er buck”, headed in that direction. These new friends of ours had quickly convinced us that Kaua'i would be a perfect place to start exploring the Hawaiian Islands. Our rented mini van has brought the six of us to the start of stunning trails and to beaches where Ev has been getting addicted to surfing.
After a month in Nawiliwili Harbor, Susan and Ev had to leave us to head back to Wyoming. It was hard to say goodbye to the two of them. We had found a bit of “family feeling” with them. I especially missed Susan after her departure home for the anticipated birth of their third grandchild. Susan has survived cancer, which she contributes to a combination of factors that included first and foremost a change in lifestyle and diet, and vitamins and dietary supplements from Usana (more info at the end). Needless to say that the two of us had a lot to share. Her curiosity stimulated me to find the right words to share what I find so fascinatingly true about Intuition and Energy Medicine.
One of the difficult aspects about cruising life is that you have to say goodbye too soon and too often to the wonderful people you meet along the way. Especially after having been back in Pacifica and Europe for a few months, it was emphasized anew how lonely this cruising life often is. Very little is more important in life than having a group of people who understand and support you in your life philosophy, and in the things that lay close to your heart. I feel very grateful to be part of such a community with my group of friends in the San Francisco Bay Area. I will forever cherish the memories of the warm reception we received during our visit there. It was such a joy to see all those sweet souls in person again. The excitement and hospitality with which we were welcomed back into their open arms, and into their homes, after one and a half years of absence, was heartwarming. We celebrated with several joyful welcome-back and goodbye parties, with Tristan's goofy 13th birthday party, with lively sleep-overs and many bouncy hours on the trampoline for the kids, with beautiful Pacifica beach walks, with soulful late night and early morning heart to heart conversations ...
Back in the arms of my family, we had been spoiled with delicious restaurant-quality home cuisine, with happy and exuberant family gatherings, with a most outstanding housewarming party from my sister and brother-in-law that celebrated our visit at the same time, with a large and varied Dutch breakfast ready on the table every morning after we came back from our walk around the walls of the medieval town my parents live in, with Nikki being welcomed in my sister's home for a couple of weeks while she attended the school her cousins go to, with Sinterklaas festivities with insightful and creative poetry, with the typical Dutch “cozy-ness” my mom is famous for, with my dad's playfulness and sense of humor, with my sister and brother-in-law's generosity, with Frederike's, Arne's and Maaike's enthusiasm ... with all the warmth and love family can give.
During our time in the San Francisco Bay Area, I also treated myself to a weekend just by myself, while Scott's mom took the kids on an adventurous camping trip to the Sierras. I thoroughly enjoyed those few days to re-group again. I spend most of my time reading through all the experiences, thoughts and emotions I had jotted down in my personal journals these last couple of years, appreciating all over again the beauty of the opportunities this trip has presented to us. I just loved these few days of peace! The total absence of anyone asking my attention for 2 full days in a row was pure heaven after having being exposed again to the frantic pace of “regular” life. It had been so easy to roll into again. Everything was so familiar! Before I was even aware of it, my brain had made a beginning in picking up its old habit of hurrying and organizing on autopilot. It showed crystal clear how much I had needed to step out from it all. This is how I used to function: moving from one engagement to the next, almost always loosing the fight to find time for myself. I've been “on the outside” for while, and am now faced with re-entry -however much happily anticipated. One of my most pertinent questions has become: “How do I prevent that from happening again?
Several of those soulful conversations I've had with friends have been about exactly this issue. It's so easy to get caught in living “daily life” - in just doing what “needs” to be done from day to day. I feel that this is even more of a problem for those of us who are mothers: we have been programmed to sacrifice everything in the name of what is good and right for everyone else. But it is true for all of us that if you run along day by day doing only things that “need” to happen, and never doing anything that connects you with yourself and that gives you pleasure and joy, you allow yourself to be depleted until your emotional and spiritual tank is empty. You're only running on the fumes of habit then and at that point everyone looses, especially you.
So what is going on when I get into “being busy”? Why is it so hard to take time out for myself? Why did I so often feel overwhelmed, disappointed, and exhausted -as so many people do? It seems clear that there are many different pieces to solving this puzzle, and we also each hold a different mirror up to that puzzle, but it certainly has to do with the fact that in this world of plenty we are focused on maintaining a certain lifestyle, while we are forgetting our connection with the deeply rooted memory of having been put on this earth to develop the power of our spirit and to rediscover the task we have in this lifetime (paraphrased from James Redfield's “The Celestine Prophesy”). An age old issue, but not any less valid because of its ubiquity!
These past years have given me a chance to get closer to myself, closer to my soul, to my source, and to contemplate what is it that I really want to do with my life. What is it that I'm truly passionate about? It will have something to do with sharing the importance of -and the increasing body of confirming research regarding - the interconnectedness of body, mind, soul, the Earth and the Universe. I'm envisioning it within a context of sharing this with kids and youth, of giving them the tools to be able stay in touch with their soul. Realizing this has brought some inner peace and sense of security, even though I don't know yet how everything will develop in a more practical sense. I trust that events will line up, that opportunities will present itself if I stay aware of the synchronicities in life, that my creativity and my intuitive skills are boundless. I'll not be afraid to explore several avenues, to check out several “what if” 's. It has taken time for me to develop the courage to believe in this and to stand up for this. It required taking time out for myself. I was fortunate that the opportunity for this adventure presented itself and that I could -more or less- get away from it all. I would like to, however, encourage everyone to find a way to incorporate quiet reflective time in their daily life. Take time for out yourself when you feel overwhelmed, stressed and restless. You are being told something!
“Can we truly be of service to others if we don't know ourselves and don't know how to take care of ourselves first?” Having been raised in an environment in which the emphasis was on always putting the interest of others first, this is something I have had to come to terms with. I founds some guidance in these words by Bernie Siegel ( “Love, Medicine and Miracles”, p.66): “It's an important problem many people have with themselves. Self-love has come to mean only vanity and narcissism. The pride of being and the determination to care for our own needs have gone out of the meaning. Nevertheless, an unreserved, positive self-adoration remains the essence of health! Self-esteem and self-love are not sinful. They make living a joy, instead of a chore.” This is not about focusing on oneself in an egocentric way, but about finding a way to consciously manage one's energy in the most efficient way in which one can help human kind along towards a higher awareness. “Human kind” includes you too! We all have experienced something like an ultimate feeling of joy in our core, in all our cells ... at least once. So how can we get that feeling back on a more regular basis?
Inspiration often comes from reading about other people's lives. Even if we can't follow their model to the letter, we can take from it and try to approach it as close as we can. In the magazine “Mother Earth” I read about the life of Helen and Scott Nearing. Apparently they are rather famous in certain circles. They lived a very “alternative” lifestyle, and I wish to be so at peace as they seem to have been. What has inspired me most is their “Living at 5 levels”:
I feel that these “levels” offer some guidelines as to how we could create a sense of balance in our lives that would make us feel more content and happy. We will each have our own approach and our own emphases, of course, but we can all aspire to feeling more at ease and at peace while contributing to whatever our task in this lifetime might be. In my next Reflections I will dwell on how becoming aware of how clearly my state of mind influence how my days go, made a difference in my life these past couple of years. I would like to end with presenting a little gem of a book that gives a sparkling visual illustration of how taking care of oneself is something that nature had planned for us all along.
Masaru Emoto's “The Hidden Messages in Water” -he's also featured in the movie “What the bleep do we know?”- is one of the most startling examples of how mind influences matter. This Japanese scientist, who has studies water molecules for more than a decade, started taking pictures of the crystals that form when water has been exposed to different kinds of words, music and photographs, with both positive and negative intentions. He discovered that the crystals takes on different shapes for different intentions! Words indicating harm and sadness result in disheartening blobs. Positive, creative, optimistic, and loving words generate beautifully shaped crystals. The most perfect of them all was created by “love and gratitude”, words that “serve as the guide to the world”. Given that the average human body is 70 % water, given that our first months are spend in a totally aquatic environment vital to growth and development, given that 74 % of the planet's surface is covered by water, given that life is made possible by the hydrologic cycle, given that physicists have come to look at water as an anomaly among other compounds considering its unusual and unique properties ... some inferences can be made. Emoto believes he is starting to discover something like an answer: “So how can people live happy and healthy lives? The answer is to purify the water that makes up 70 percent of your body and of the earth.” The conditions of the mind have a direct impact on the condition of the body ... and beyond that. In Emoto's words: “Our emotions and feelings have an effect on the world moment by moment. If you send out words and images of creativity, then you will be contributing to a beautiful world. However, emitting images of destruction, you contribute to the destruction of the Universe ... If you become aware of this, ... you will have the capacity to change the world within a moment. All you must do is make a simple choice.”
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