I've had my reasons for dreaming of a sustainable life, in community and in harmony with nature. But the story I read last week gave me something I didn't see coming. It surprised me and felt completely natural. Like a big piece of the puzzle clicking into place. The story is about a little village in the US that baffled researchers until they got their heads around what they were seeing.
What they discovered only fuels my desire to live a life of community. And I don't have to wait. I'm doing it right here and now by connecting with people in a way I've come to love and depend on: in all honesty.
Here's to the healing power of community, not just on our heads but on our physical state! >Read
On Sunday the 13th March I walk out to the road without knowing where I'm hitch-hiking to. All I have is an image and a wind direction. Minutes before I leave, Stevie gives me a book titled No Destination. What happens on this day leads to six weeks of adventure. This short film, shot by veteran film makers Sol, Arielle and Maya (four, seven and nine years old respectively) shows how I end up in the funkiest quarters I've ever slept in. 'Funky' being 'good funky', not 'smelly funky'. Enjoy! >Watch/Read
I didn't do much filming since I left the Heartworkers-project two years ago. But with this trip coming up I wanted to carry a camera. For two months I hardly used it. At one point I even thought 'Why did I bother?' And then I met Roxanne, Ruaridh and Duncan. >Watch
I'm about to round off three months of living and traveling in Scotland. I found a book's worth of beautiful people and inspiring stories. I wrote and—for the first time in more than two years—filmed some of them. I met Justin while I was volunteering at Pillars of Hercules, an organic farm in Fife. He's there three nights a week to bake organic bread for the farm's café and shop. I ask if I can join him on one of his baking sessions. So on a Sunday at five p.m. we start mixing and rolling. I get to meet a lovely, soft-hearted man and his passion for bread. And I now know why supermarket bread has such a ridiculously long list of ingredients. >Read
One of my best friends, René van Dijk, let go of pretty much everything. His relationship ended, he gave up his house and lost the love for his work. He allowed himself to wander, to discover nature, and gave his creativity space to resurface—in its own time and in a new light. >Watch
People who stand up for positive change without asking for permission, acting from a loving, peaceful and uniting place, get my heart all pumped up. Their stories fuel my fire. So does this one: a Spanish village that refuses to sit and do as it is told. >Read
"Dhanakosa operates in the spirit of generosity, or dana (a Sanskrit/Pali word meaning giving or gift). This allows us to be open to anyone regardless of individual financial circumstances, by allowing people to pay what they can afford." The practice of generosity takes us beyond ideas of separate self and constitutes a basic ethos at the heart of community. So, a dana economy is a gift economy, or an economy rooted in generosity. > Read
Dear fellow human being,
I have been astray. Lost in a world I couldn't understand, looking for a place I could call home, weighed down by the stress of acting normal. Until I faced myself and walked through a door to find a new world. But pretty soon this new world started looking just like the old one. And again I lost myself. Until I saw through it all, liberating myself in one fell swoop. From then on everything was going to be different. Everything became different. It just didn't happen the way I thought it would. >Read
I'm currently following an online course given by Charles Eisenstein. His book Sacred Economics gave me a whole new look on money, my and our relationship to it, and how this touches the core of how we perceive ourselves and the world. Mostly it helped me become more free. This course is called The Space Between Stories. In addition to attending live webinars we're invited to share personal experiences. Of old stories and beliefs that dropped away and made room for... not-knowing mostly. This week we were asked to describe an event where we took inspired action that created a result beyond anything we could have "forced". >Read/See
In July 2014 I spent eight days in the Scottish Highlands, carrying everything I needed to eat, sleep, walk and be on my own. Well, almost. I did a fair bit of research before I left, speaking to hiking buffs, digging for inspiration and compiling a detailed list of what to take. Being out there made me understand what I needed, plus what I hadn’t thought of. This blogpost is a ‘How (not) to prepare’ guide: everything you (don’t) want to take and why, food tips, and what to forget. I hope it helps you prepare for your trip. And I’d love to hear from you if you have other / better ideas! >Read
Last week, someone told me that electric motor car company Tesla opened up its patents (or at least, won't send in the lawyers) to people using its technology with a good intention. This message really inspired me, because it speaks of a company that clearly understands why it's doing something - and keeps its actions connected to that why. >Read
"Shall I bring some long-johns too?"
- "Oh, that would be great. I was thinking about those a couple of days ago, but I forgot."
"OK, well, I'll just bring a couple of things so you can pick what you want to take."
- “Alright, thanks, see you tomorrow!"
This phone call with my cousin Wouter turned out to be a life saver. So did my girlfriend (woohoo!) Ilse’s decision to buy me a waterproof map case anyway, even after I’d said I didn’t need one.” By the time I realized how much they’d helped me, I was unable to get in touch with them to say thank you. Read/See
Jan Dirk and Irene decided one day to just stop: no more antibiotics in their dairy farm. A decision very, very few have dared to take. It created a bucket-load of problems and cost them a lot of money. Because in doing away with antibiotics, they came to see how everything, literally everything on their farm had completely lost the capability of maintaining a natural balance. In the first years, a third to half of their calves wouldn't make it past a couple of weeks. But instead of resorting to standard vaccination measures, they asked themselves: "What's really happening here? Why don't these calfs just get up and live? Where are we out of balance?" >Read/Watch
A couple of weeks back, I interviewed 10 people for Europeana, a collective effort to digitize, all of the cultural content that's locked away in museums, to bring it together, and to make it available for everyone to re-use and remix for their own creative expression. It was amazing to feel, really feel, everyone's passionate involvement. And to get a better understanding of why it's important that this happens. But Nick really took the cake. >Watch
It's been almost five years since I stopped following the 'news'. What that gave me is more peace, more creativity, and the confidence that - really - I'm not missing a thing. I actually feel much more connected to life. And I've gained the highest quality, curated news channel I could ever imagine: close friends. The way they filter the junk and pass on the real stuff, enriching it with how they feel about it... wow. What happened this morning might be the best way to explain. So here goes: >Read
I've known it since I had myself in stitches for ninety minutes, watching Ace Ventura for the first of many, many times: the guy who came up with this is a genius. Today, almost twenty years later, I've discovered why. I just watched I Am, a beautiful documentary by Tom Shadyac, who decided not to make another comedy with Jim Carrey. Instead, he took a trip with two fundamental questions and a small film crew. >Read/Watch
A couple of weeks back, Richard and I constructed a upgrade for my windowsill and living room, from a selection of beechwood that he’d personally cut down. He didn't want to hear about any kind of payment: I’d already helped him to translate a booklet. We spent an entire Wednesday in and around his workplace, to talk and do something that’s supposed to look like work. >Read
Every once in a while, something from someone floats by, and it contains so much truth. So powerful, and so hilariously simple. Below video is a beautiful reminder about outside knowledge, and how it makes us forget. So here's to 15 minutes of Jon, master of the easy life, the real life, and worth every second! >Watch
This week, it seems, we've encountered the mother of all problems: bad cellular coverage when you're inside your house. On the train, I saw a front-page headline in one of those free newspapers: "Complete neighbourhoods distraught because of poor cellular coverage". Seriously... >See
A couple of weeks ago I went through my last box of books. Most of them ended up leaving the house, but this one I wanted to keep. I read it over four years ago, and together with Cradle to Cradle, it really opened my eyes to what profit actually means. Old news, but reminders never hurt. Actually, we need reminders. Because we haven't quite understood yet. >Read
Why is it so exciting to show ourselves? The whole package, for real, without making it any prettier than it is? And when we do, why does it so often feel like we’re ‘revealing’ ourselves? And why the hell should we do it anyway? Seriously, there’s no fun in walking away from that wonderful castle called ‘image’, is there? Well, actually, there is. At least, that’s what I’ve come to learn. >Read/Watch
I'm not going to write too much here. Charles' clarity and vision has me dumbstruck. So please, enjoy: >Watch
One of the few things I wrote during Thijs' and my journey through Namibia. With so much splendour, all over the place, already here, why do something? Why not just leave it? >See
Everything that receives attention grows. And gratitude's a really nice way to make something grow. Asking myself what I'm grateful for always points me to the things and people in this life I can be happy about, however big or small. It helps me release myself from the grip of negative, destructive thoughts I occasionally find myself in. And more often than not, I discover beauty in very 'mundane', every day stuff, things and people I might otherwise not even notice. To me, that makes it a practice of simply being aware, here, now, not one of covering up whatever I don't like. >Watch
I used to drink soda. Then I discovered that drinking it was making me hyper-active and not very happy, so I quit. And I turned it into a symbol. For the Western Disease. Then I came across this video. About John Nese, owner of Galco's Soda Pop Stop in Los Angeles. I've probably watched it fifty times now. Because he's a funny, heart-warming hero. But also because he's one of the first who truly made me understand the inherent beauty of work. Any kind of work. >Watch/Read
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