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There are quite a few of us who remember the time when email, mobile phones and social media did not exist yet – which is not even that long ago. But at the same time we can hardly remember what it was like, as these tools have become such an obvious and almost imperative part of our daily lives.

If they would suddenly disappear, I think a huge amount of bandwidth – to use the telecom jargon – would become available in my head. Just imagine all that I would be able to do.

I gladly volunteer for this ‘what if’ experiment, which I will carry out between 14 July and 15 August. My research location will be the Spanish Pyrenees, followed by the French Cévennes. I expect to suffer from serious withdrawal symptoms and promise to report on this self-chosen communication isolation on my return.

See you then and enjoy your own holidays.

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Dit is een quote die me op het lijf is geschreven. Ik vind mijn actiegerichtheid zo normaal dat ik dat talent niet meer opmerk. Ik heb anderen nodig om me erop te wijzen dat dit echt typisch voor mij is. Ik vind het heerlijk wanneer ik ergens kan invliegen en kan zien hoe het dan vooruit gaat, vorm krijgt en afgewerkt wordt.

Langdradige losse eindjes zijn niet aan mij besteed. Ik word er rusteloos en moedeloos van wanneer iets te lang onafgewerkt blijft. Of wanneer een toestand van deconstructie te lang aansleept. Ik schreef er in april over in Lost in deconstruction.

Ondertussen is de toestand van de tuin het levende resultaat van mijn actiegerichtheid – ik kan gerust zeggen ‘onze’ actiegerichtheid want mijn man lijdt aan ditzelfde kenmerk. We vliegen er graag samen in!

Ik merk ook altijd dat het wordingsproces zelf meer informatie geeft over hoe verder te gaan met iets. Het is dus vaak kwestie van de eerste stap te zetten wanneer je ergens naar verlangt. Eenmaal die gezet is, volgt de rest als vanzelf, bijna moeiteloos. Of zoals Goethe schreef “Als je iets wil realiseren of droomt te kunnen doen, begin eraan. Durf bezit genialiteit, kracht en magie. Ik kan die gevleugelde woorden alleen maar bevestigen.

Tot volgende keer!

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This quote is made for me. Taking action is so natural to me that I do not even notice this talent anymore. I need others to tell me that this is typically me. I love giving my all, being able to see something progress, take form and get done.

Loose ends do not work for me. I get restless and discouraged when something stays unfinished for a long time. Or when a state of deconstruction takes too long. I wrote about this in April, in ‘Lost in deconstruction’.

In the meantime the state of the garden is the living result of my taking action – I can safely say ‘our’ taking action as my husband suffers from the same trait. We both like getting things done!

I also notice that the process of becoming gives more information on how to continue something. It is often a matter of taking the first step when you long for something. Once you take that step, the rest will follow, almost without effort.

Or as Goethe wrote: “Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.” I can only confirm those wise words.

See you next time!

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Do you also enjoy these summery days in the middle of spring? Everything is so intensely fresh and green, bushes and trees explode with beautiful fragrant blossoms, the plants in our garden burst like miniature rockets from the fertile soil. Nature’s annual Big Bang.

It has an effect, not in the least on me. I feel like being outside, enjoying, breathing in the scents, running my hands through the soil, bringing the best out of the garden. Or just relaxing in the hammock with a good book, a nice drink at hand, savouring the moment. I feel like taking a mini-holiday.

But…. you cannot just do that. There is all this work that needs to be finished, meetings that are planned, the neverending flow of emails and text messages that need to be read and answered. “That is not what humans were made to do”, is what goes through my mind. On moments like that you would need to be able to take time off and press the pause button – by which I mean that your workload also should not accumulate while you are out.

Lately I have seen so many people who are completely overwhelmed by work and life, by a full agenda, a challenging job, but also by the demands they impose on themselves. We fill our days with so many things, we live our life at 200 miles per hour while at the same time we seem to have lost control. Exhaustion lurks around the corner, and the real ‘legal’ holiday is close but not quite there yet.

How would you like to give yourself a break for one day, and take care of yourself for a change? Completely recharge your batteries to end the working year in beauty. A day during which you get out of your head and get down to work with your creative self. A day of creative self-care.

Anje Claeys and I really enjoyed putting this together for you. On 9 June we offer a joint workshop ‘A mini-holiday, a day of creative play and self-care’ in Atelier Blauwhof in Kessel.

Anje is an artist who specialises in print techniques and creates fabulous works. You can read all about it on her website http://www.bioart.eu.

As I told you before I am passionate about the African art of kasàlà (http://www.kasalaland.art).

During this wonderful day you will slow down and learn how to write a kasàlà in a playful way, make an etching and print it. At the end of the workshop you will go home with your own work of art, ready to frame, together with your own poem, your kasàlà.

No advance knowledge or experience required. We only ask you to bring a beginners mind and a willingness to play!

More information on this day, as well as instructions on how to register can be found here.

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54569378 - abstract confusion observatory building
54569378 - abstract confusion observatory building

During the past few days this phrase has been going through my mind. Don’t get me wrong, I’m doing fine. I’m just a bit ‘lost in deconstruction’. Our garden is a perfect illustration: after all these years we want a complete makeover and to achieve this, we have to deconstruct it completely. The hedges around the vegetable plot need to be taken out, the lie fruit trees need to be moved elsewhere, etc.

From a fairly classical garden with grass and planted borders we are aiming for a wilder, more natural one, including paths that lead to spots with inspiring plants and flowers and colours that change through the seasons; and what I am wishing for specifically: no more grass. Our garden architect from “Tuinen in Beweging” (quite an appropriate name, as it means “Gardens in Movement”) translated our wishes into a plan and we want this to become reality as soon as possible. This unavoidably means going through a deconstruction phase – which feels very chaotic and confusing, and sometimes a trifle hopeless.

And that is how I sometimes feel myself nowadays. Not surprising really, when I think of all the great changes in my life in the past year. Some of these changes I consciously initiated myself, others just happened. My own landscape is being redrawn and it looks chaotic at times.

Good old Nietzsche was probably right when he said “You need chaos in your soul to give birth to a dancing star”. Our garden project also proves to be a source of inspiration. We have laid out the paths with sticks and boards. A theoretical design on paper, envisaged in our minds, can now be experienced tangibly. Our body supplies us with new information that our brain did not have before. The initial design is slowly being adapted, and what felt complicated at first, becomes clearer, one step at a time. Sometimes I can picture our final garden, and it feels great.

In my life I now also have these aha moments quite often, when I almost literally feel how my brain gets something that my body has known for a long time, like it is catching up. I also realise that I have to give it time and that I do not need to fill my days with more action. In Africa there is a saying that goes: “Wait every now and then, so that your soul can catch up”.

See you next time.

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