Another month has passed. I left my tiny mobile home in Spain and traded it for different homes back home. Back home, because the Netherlands is starting to feel more like home again. I keep being surprised by how much can happen in one month back. It feels like half a year was crammed in a month. The contrast of enjoying not needing to do much, being free, not much stress, but also sometimes feeling guilty for not doing much, to lots of socialising, working, alarm clocks, the feeling of having more of a purpose and being useful. It’s really sobering to temporarily come back to a life many people are living. Sensing into how I can balance and integrate the peacefulness and space I experience in during vanlife (usually, that is ;)), into the higher paced life I experience when I’m back in citylife.
I started with Christmas drinks with my neighbours. There had been some moves, so I hadn’t actually met the neighbours who had invited me, but we all had a lovely time together. Neighbours from 5 houses gathered and even though I’m not living there at the moment, I still felt part of the group. A lovely little neighbour community :).
After that it was Christmas time, which I spent with my family. My sister came over from Switzerland for 1.5 days. We shared breakfasts together in here little home and had a wonderful dinner with the whole (step)family. We don’t see each other that often, so I really enjoy the moments that we’re all together. Last year we skipped our tradition of a sharing circle, in which we all get a turn to share our highs and lows of the year. Fortunately, this year it was back (it needed some convincing). I always appreciate hearing what the past year has been like for everyone.
This time I managed to keep my agenda open enough, to not be superbusy and travel through the Netherlands the whole time. I visited some friends and some of them even visited me, while I was staying in my sister’s place. I never really actively invited people there, but always told myself I needed to go to everyone. That my friends probably wouldn’t want to make the effort, because they’re busy and I’m not. But I was really wrong about that! It’s funny how surprised that made me feel… Dropping old beliefsystems, where I feel that I’m not worth making an effort for. We went for walks together, because there is a big forest just outside the garden of my sister’s place and I spent a lovely evening at the small spa that is really close by.
New year’s I spent with my aunt again, just like last year. This time, still with good Port, but without the truffle trip. I ended up staying for almost a week. I had no other plans and we enjoyed each other’s company. We always have so much to talk about. Designing our future tiny house together. Two wooden Finnish kota’s with a shared kitchen/bathroom in between, connecting them. And maybe an extra one as our space to give sessions. We only need a nice place to put them, so if anyone has any suggestions?! We also got back to our rummikub match, but results were similar to when we played in my van ;). And I could (sort of) help her to get here new macbook functioning. That was an interesting happening… In the end, most files were transferred and in a place that resembles the old windows laptop. It’s always a quite a resistant journey to help family out with computer things. I tend to be the designated computer nerd.
Then, my holiday time had come to an end and it was time to go back to the lab again. Instead of sleepovers at different places, I could stay at a hotel closeby. A hotel seemed the most practical option, barely any travel time and a comfortable space to myself.
Again, it was good to be back. Catching up with colleagues, making myself useful and earning some money. This time did feel quite different though. The winter darkness and crappy weather did make it more tiring. The idea of doing less in winter when it’s cold and dark, makes a lot of sense. I fairly easily get into a darker, less happy mental place. In October, when I was last in the lab, it had been so sunny and warm still. The contrast of winter time in Spain compared to the Netherlands is about 2 hours more light, besides the obvious better weather, which also has a big impact. Completely different vibe within me, but still good to feel useful and needed.
The spark of me wanting to move back to the Netherlands is growing, although I am happy to skip the dark months ahead ;). But in order for me to move back into my house, I needed to find out how to financially manage that. It still feels contradictory, wanting to move back and needing work to be able to manage it. Vanlife in Holland is not my ambition and I’m not entitled to benefits from the government. So, it was time to have some talks with Carol Ann my supervisor, and some friends, to see what options are available. Whether I could go back to the lab part-time and teach yoga at a friend her studio and other collaborations. Or if I, yet again, would have to change my plans.
Carol and I had a really nice dinner together. We finally created time to catch up again about how we were doing, what we want in life and what an incredibly difficult question that actually is. We didn’t really find the answer either. We did figure out that we would both like me back in the lab and that part-time would be an option, beneficial to us both. It was interesting to notice that as soon as I felt the relief of my wish being granted, I also felt a fear of, ‘but do I really, really want this, isn’t this a step back?’. And a judging critic on my shoulder telling me I should be grateful for my life and the opportunities in it, which didn’t help me feel as happy as I imagined I could have felt. Luckily, I have time, we both shared our wishes and everything is ok.
At least I know that I can actually come back and be able to live in my house, without having to freak out over how to afford it, and having time to be a bodyworker, which truly is a big YAY! I’ve also been talking with friends who have places to teach yoga and there are some options available too, babysteps…
Work lasted for 2 weeks, with a bodyreading training during the weekend, where I moved from the hotel to a friend’s place. The training was great! It felt so inspiring to be surrounded by like-minded bodyworkers and train our ability to see a human structure with its compensations and how that works in relation to gravity and to the body itself. And learning to understand better, from being able to see these compensations, where physical discomfort could come from. Everything is related and everything has consequences. It was busy though, having 12 days in a row with 9-5-ish busyness and some evening entertainment.
As I was back, I also met up with a friend of mine who I’ve been close with and have been having feelings for. I have always felt challenged by feeling that I wanted more and not getting it (and doubting whether I might just be loving the idea), but at the same time really valuing the connection we do have and the love I feel for him. Recently, I had started reading a Dutch book ‘Verslaafd aan Liefde’ (addicted to love) again. I had read it when I was in therapy and felt like I wanted to read it again, to feel where I stand now. The first time I read it, I felt very confronted by finding out that, even though I’m not a person who gets addicted to something, I do have that incredible need for and addiction to love. It is about all kinds of relationships and how they revolve around a co-dependency with someone. It keeps us from truly loving ourselves and from there, be able to share love with another. And with some work of Byron Katie added to it, I got the chance to dig deeper.
Through a conversation me and him had had, I realised how I was projecting my needs onto him and even adding a bit of manipulation to that. It made me feel a bit shocked, that I was actually doing that and it was helping me to feel frustrated and anxious. In the week that followed I made the time to really feel what was at the bottom of this. Why I do what I do and the anxiousness I experience. After feeling through a few layers of more projections I got to an incredible sadness from fear of abandonment. I cried a lot that week, able to allow the sadness to be felt. I went through old grief and seeing and feeling old beliefs of not being good enough from when I was younger. How I had interpreted that things that had happened, were because someone didn’t love me. How, in my old relationships, I was trying to be a person someone could love, but then blaming them for not loving who I truly am, because I was trying to be someone else. Nor did I want to communicate my fears, because then they would surely leave. Even though I have been the one to end both my relationships.
I can rationally see how that’s all not true anymore and never really has been. How I’m projecting my needs onto others. But feeling and integrating it is still part of my practice. I find it amazing how deeply rooted these stories and beliefs are and how easily I step into the trap of wanting those feelings to go away. It only makes them worse and they’ll be back anyway, but it still makes me not want to feel it. I do get glimpses of how peaceful it is to not get into the stories and to not fight my fears, but allowing my feelings to be expressed. That sharing what’s alive in me feels vulnerable and scary too, but lighter at the same time. Everything becomes so much clearer when all is out on the table.
Like Byron Katie says: Loving what is. Everything is exactly as it should be, there is no arguing with reality. You can try, but you will always lose.
I ended my stay in my parents house, the house I grew up in and where my mom passed away. My parents were on holiday, so I had the place to myself. It felt good to be there by myself. I was able to reflect on the process I had just experienced.
With that I move back into my van in sunny Spain. Feeling sad to leave and looking forward to coming back, but also being happy to be back in Lotje. Enjoying the freedom and time I have and making plans for the near future, but not too many, because so far they’ve always changed 😉