I’m writing this as the whole world around me has turned white. I cannot remember when I was in the Netherlands with this much snow and these temperatures. Honestly, it feels lovely! It has been quite some time since I’ve last really experienced winter, the way I always imagine winter to be like (even though very often it is not like that at all). I mean, Spain also has winter and it is definitely colder than summer, but still when the sun is out, I can walk around in a t-shirt and flipflops in January. Not that I cannot do that here now, but hypothermia will set in a lot sooner :).
Luckily, I’m living a life now where I don’t have to go to work or do a lot of things, so I can actually enjoy this weather, instead of feeling frustrated by it. That is such a joy!
Another thing that is an amazing joy is that my house has been sold! It feels really good to close this chapter. The space that gives me, has taken away so much stress, mainly financially. I’ve been able to manage it well the past years during vanlife. It’s a basic life, but I experienced a lot of freedom. There was however, always this mental pressure and feeling of uncertainty of where to get money from in the long run, because renting my house out didn’t leave enough to live from. Of course, there are always things that I can do to earn money, but how to manage it in a way that I enjoy and isn’t stressful (isn’t that what we all want?)?
On a less joyous note, early January I got my test results back. They sadly showed a decline in kidney function. Not what I had hoped and felt like I’d been ‘working’ for. The call with my nephrologist calmed me down a bit. She gave me some diet and lifestyle adjustments, that should get some values back in the more normal range, which in turn should stabilize my kidney function. My cholesterol was too high, which is a strange phenomenon for a skinny person like me, but here we are. During the beginning stages of the diet, I had been reading food labels, to make sure I would get enough calories. Now, it’s more finetuning where they are coming from and if they are the right choice for what I’m doing. If I’m on the finca, building, it’s a good idea to eat a bit more proteins. If I’m behind a computer then some carbs and sugar will do just fine. I’m learning so much about nutrition.
The high cholesterol can also be the result of stress and lack of movement. Reflecting back on the past months, made me realize I had indeed been a lot more stressed out than I wanted to admit. The corners of my mouth had been cracked for weeks, which for me means that I need to take a break. I had come up with all kinds of other excuses why it had been like that for a such a while, like vitamin C shortage, or too much surfing in the cold water or the milk kefir I was drinking, because emotionally I was fine… right?
But, while being back in the Netherlands, away from the finca and the dynamics there, I realised it had been too much. I’d been holding space for Charlie and his girlfriend, listening, accepting, digging deep within myself to understand the triggers and resistance I felt and finding ways to be helpful, supporting the project and not be in their way. Choosing to place myself in kind of a helping mother role, which comes easy to me, but turns out to be damaging to my body and mySelf. I always find it so difficult to see and feel clearly when I’m in such a situation. One of my strong points is finding the positive/good/learning in every situation. But drawing a line and creating distance to take care of myself, is still a work in progress. Because when should a line be drawn? Having said that, I have come a massively long way already, if I say so myself.
Through all this reflecting I also came to feel that I function better when I have my own space. That maybe this community life I’ve been living in Spain, is not what works best for me. Maybe it would work better with more people, because 3 is very few and not really a community, but still. It feels very sad to leave the finca, Charlie and the project. This decision has taken quite some time to make. Feeling grateful for all that I’ve learned about what it takes to live in a community and everything I’ve learned with him. Letting go and choosing differently keeps being a challenge, especially when the connection I feel is strong. On the other hand, it also feels like an incredible new opportunity and adventure.
So, these past weeks have been a great slowing down. Sharing time with my parents, my aunt, friends and myself. Selling (everything in) my house. Reflecting on life, realising that my kidneys are helping me massively to choose better. I’d prefer a gentler call, but I’m not sure I would hear and listen to that. My movement and meditation practices have been brought back to life, to counteract the wintery indoor series binge times (with a blanket on the couch and hot cacao and homemade cookies that I can actually have ;)). Every day, I go outside for a walk or a cycle and I in between computer work put on music loudly and dance, oh boy that’s so nice! All this has made such a difference. There had been some serious lack of mind-body maintenance. The chatter in my mind during the first weeks of meditation were confronting. However, it was also very motivating to keep going, because I know how that changes with practice. The creative energy I feel now during the day is very helpful in developing my bodywork business. Fingers crossed that my kidneys are also experiencing the benefits and show it in the next tests!
Surprisingly, I even followed some online marketing coaching sessions, which has helped me shift my perspective from ‘ieuwww marketing bleh I cannot sell myself’ to ‘if you feel stuck, I might be able to help you out, here I am’. The joy in spreading and sharing this knowledge feels really fulfilling. And now, I have even slowly started to give online 1-on-1 movement sessions. It’s a journey to find my way in that. From talking way too much and feeling a bit insecure about whether I would know what to do. To now listening more and working together on what the actual question is and guiding the awareness during the practices.
During one of my walks through the forest, it came to me that when I return to Spain, I could buy my own little terrain. With the money from my house, that should be possible. On that terrain I could live and make Wicked Retreats come to life. The ‘company’ I had created 3 years ago, with which I wanted to offer retreats and workshops. Now, the idea would be downscale it a lot, with just 1-3 guests. Perhaps some more for workshops, just not too many. I feel that works better for me. On the future terrain I would have 1 or 2 yurts or living spaces, maybe even a van for guests so that they can experience my way of life. In this retreat, extras could then be added by personal movement or meditation practice guidance, massage or bodywork either receiving or learning or woodworking. Through collaborations with friends, we could add surfing, arts, cooking, permaculture or something with horses, so many possibilities! But in essence slowing down, listening and creating more consciousness about body, mind and surroundings. That idea made me feel so excited!
So, I’m now sitting with that and once I get back, I’ll see how everything will take shape. No rush, no stress, all in good time.
First, I’m going to keep enjoying wintery Holland, family and friends here and work on my online things, until I am vaccinated. And I’m very much looking forward to spending time with my friends in Spain once I’m back. Sharing hugs, having a surf and looking into reorganising myself there.