The Spiritual Supermarket #1

Emotional Blockage Release Treatment

Costs: 1000Rp (€14)
Duration: 1 hour or a bit more if you’re badly blocked 🙂
By whom: an Indian guru named Vipin
Where: anywhere you like, as long as there is some privacy so you can cry or swear out loud
Evaluation of effectiveness: definitely value for money, score 8 out of 10
Evaluation of craziness: wow, you need to be quite open-minded for this one, score 6 out of 10

As you might have read in my last post, I had some difficulties getting in touch with my emotions. Very strange for an emotional person like me. But, the best part about the problem was that I was in the best place to find a solution. If you are in the middle of the spiritual supermarket, you can get anything you like. “How about an Emotional Release Session?” Lyn recommended one to me even though I had not told her about my not-being-in-touch-issues. Ah well, I might as well give it a try. It might help me to land, since I had some difficulties with that too… I was in the most rational critical and sceptical state of mind. I did not feel like going with the magical Indian flow AT ALL. So what could possibly happen? There was definitely nothing to lose and I was totally in control. Let’s do this.

I went for my first treatment to Basho and was introduced to my man on a mission: Vipin. He totally looked like an Indian guru with his white kaftan, long hair and beard: “I will take your pain and give you freedom”. I was not in pain, there were no emotional difficulties whatsoever and if he would give me pain, I was totally able to deal with it, even though Lyn and friends had mentioned that it was a pain like no pain you ever felt before. I mean, how bad could it be, it was not like I was going to have a baby so it should be fine. Okay, I have to admit, I am acting cool now, I was a little scared because of the pain-horror-stories but since expectations are killing, I should just find out for myself how this would go.

So there we were, Vipin and me, in a Shala in the back of the Guesthouse. “You lie down please”. Okay, this was where the magic was supposed to happen, on a thin mattrass on the sandy floor. No emotional problems. Yes a few things had happened to me in the previous year but they were all covered and totally felt, embraced and chewed up. And gone, most importantly. So there was not much to release really.

You are probably wondering what the treatment is about by now. Well, to make a long story short, he stands on you and then you get angry or sad and you cry. And you let it all out. And after that you feel relieved and free. That’s it. Oh and you’ve got big bruises 🙂 Offcours its more than that and I am totally not fully recognizing what it really is about, but this description is just to give you an idea. The philosophy behind it states that emotions that you try to push away because you don’t want to feel them, are held in your body somewhere and become a blockage. At that point, the energy meridians are not flowing anymore and that can cause trouble. So if you have pain in your neck, it might have its origine in your leg because you did not express your anger towards your neighbour who has been annoying you for a while. Just an example, definitely not about me. As you know, I totally feel this whole idea. I think our western idea of illness (on a mental and physical level) and dis-ease is narrow-minded and I welcome the eastern ideas about being healthy and staying healthy. To me they are a beautiful supplement and sometimes even better than what my doctor would prescribe me. I am not saying that this is any better or whatsoever, I only know it works for me.

So there I was, with Vipin intensely pushing his foot on my calf and me almost screaming because the pain was so intense. “Just breath, from your mouth”, he replied. And right at that moment where I found myself ready to grap his calf to get back at him, he eased my pain by sitting next to me, stroking my head and telling me that I was “only body, no mind”. It was crazy. With him beside me, the pain left my body quickly and after asking me if I was okay, he moved on. “Not so much anger in your body but many many heartbreaks”. I laughed out loud. I know, there was nothing new about that. “You had period with too much stress at work, right?”. “You were on stage performing when you were teenager, right?”. Yes I was, he was right again. He asked me to walk around the shala. “Your right leg very tight, you think about masculine energy a lot.” I was laughing again, even though I was not sure if he meant what I thought he did. And no, he did not mean that I was thinking about guys a lot, even though that wasn’t untrue either, he meant that I was on the active stroll of life. Heavy energy, doing instead of being or feeling, on the move without relaxing. Not so feminine. Hmm, yes, there he had a point too. Then he took my hand and observed it extensively. “Hold your hand straight. Not like this. Hold it! Fingers together!”. And there it was: “You worry about money. You think about it too much. You are saving money and this is metaphore for anything else in your life. Your heart is closed because of this. Why you scared?”. Fuck. Sorry but my ego came alive at this particular moment of the treatment: I AM NOT HOLDING ON NOR SAVING MY MONEY. Yes, he was right, again. All I had been thinking about in the past few days was “How am I going to make it through these 6 months abroad without earning money?”. I was worried about it and I had not found my solution yet so yes, I was saving. And to be really thruthfull, I had been like this on many of my previous trips. Saving gives you the feeling that you are in control and that you get to do as much as you possibly can with the least amount of money. No-one had ever said this before, but I was happy that finally someone told me to stop this. “You are rich, why would you worry about money?”. I could have answered with plenty of excuses, but I wanted to be honest. The bearded man was right and it was time to get stuff flowing.

I have to admit that I was sceptical about the whole treatment, while enduring it and afterwards. My critical voice had taken a comfortable seat in the back of my mind and was with me to comment on everything the whole time. “Offcours I am thinking about guys, he only knows this since I just told him that I am single”. “I dont know anyone who did not have a stressful period at work, he can say this to anyone”. “I just told him I am Dutch, and saving money and being stingy is what we do”. “Which teenager did not perform on stage when he was in High School? Don’t they all?”. But I also felt better after the treatment. There were a few tears, I cursed at him and told him I did not like him and we laughed also. He seemed very enlightened to me, he was not taking himself or anything else too seriously and I was happy to hear his life-story. And he really seemed to be a genuine guy. For some reason, my intuition told me that this was all good and I could trust him.

The night after I had an extremely vivid dream: I saw a Dutch well-known comedian who was about to commit suicide, his heart was hanging out of his chest and I felt the urge to help him (where I would normally be anxious and walk off quickly). He accepted my help, we had a talk and a laugh and it was all good. I woke up from this dream, what I would normally have considered and felt a nightmare, and felt at peace. Totally. I was surprised and amazed and the heart-part of the story made sense. And after all, I clearly had opened my heart as well to help him. It was a new sensation and I was happy to wake up with this ease in my body.

A week later I was on the beach with friends. I felt incredibly happy and open, I was in touch with my own feelings and the people around me. And then I ran into Vinod. He looked at me and told me that my aura was beautiful and that I looked way happier than the week before. I had another treatment that day and even though I was not so very aware of all of this, he was right. I felt a LOT better. I told him that I felt that the yoga and creative writing had a major contribution on this transformation and he just smiled. It was all good. His feet were on my back legs again when this time I had the nerve to tell him that I hated him. “Just breath. You are only body, no mind”. He read my other hand and told me that I was not going to settle anytime soon but that he did see a marriage-line. I decided to do one more treatment, since I had been able to shush the critical voice in the back of my mind and I could totally throw myself in there now. It was intense. I could fully release and let go. I didn’t know what it was, it didn’t know where it came from, it just felt good to let it be and let it go. “You are only body, no mind”. He wanted to speak a bit more this time and told me that it was about time for me to stop thinking. All the ideas, all the judgements, all the shoulds for instance about love and relationships were killing me. “Stop making ideas Anna, cause God will kill them anyway”. I know this was my problem. Ideas are anchors, they’re like directions and can give you the structure you need whenever only “being” is getting to you. And just like everyone else I love my anchors, but at the same time they restrict you. And it’s all about balance, again, as always. It made a lot of sense actually, all of it, and I felt thankful for all the pain he caused in the past few days, the inspiration I got out of it and the interesting things he mentioned. And most important: I felt like myself again: connected and in touch.

After the last treatment ended, I walked out of the shala, quietly, since I was so full of the experience. I gave my friends a hug filled with love, ordered my food and sat down to wait for my meal. Aman, the owner of Basho, turned the music on. Loud. Dance music. I wasn’t even thinking, my body got out of the chair before I even knew it. I danced my way to the sandy area and let the music move me. The release that I felt and the freedom that came with it was amazing. I could move in any way, without any thoughts or restrictions. I felt not only free, but intense happy as well. This was the most ecstatic dance ever. As the music went on and the speakers repeatedly sang to me “Everybody is free, feel good”, I knew I was where I needed to be. Full on, in the moment. I was only body, I was no more mind.


Sommige mensen gaan naar India om zichzelf te vinden. Nee. Ho. Stop. Opnieuw.
Heel veel mensen gaan naar India om zichzelf te vinden.

Zoals ik eerder al schreef was dat niet mijn doel aangezien ik eerder al goeie vrienden werd met de persoon die ik denk te zijn. Toch vond ik vorige week weer iets nieuws. De robot-versie van mezelf, versie -1.0, beter bekend als Robo-Anne.

Normaal ga je op reis en scares it the shit out of you, vooral als je alleen gaat en helemaal als je naar India gaat, laat staan als je een half jaar weg gaat blijven. Ik moet iets heel geks zeggen: ik voelde bar weinig. Deed het af als in het moment zijn, of misschien m’n kop in t zand steken, er geen ruimte voor hebben, kon allemaal. Diep diep diep van binnen hoopte ik ergens heel stiekem dat dit gewoon de nieuwe en vooral blijvende versie van mezelf was. De 30 naderend, en dan na al het gedoe ein-de-lijk in balans. Genoeg gevoeld, genoeg drama en duidelijk “geheeld”. Wat heerlijk. Ik was eindelijk “af”. Finally!

Los van wat stress over die backpack  en tranen toen ik m’n mama-tje gedag knuffelde, voelde ik ook op 8 januari 2015, the day of departure, heel weinig. Ja een kleine flits toen ik met m’n paspoort door de Deutsche douane was, here I go! Maar de spark was nogal minimaal, meer een soort van uitdovende waakvlam waar nul warmte vanaf komt laat staan dat je er op kunt koken. Geen verandering toen ik op Abu Dhabi landde en me tussen de niqabs bevond. Oh jawel, een kleine glimlach kon er af toen ik, eenmaal geland, een praatje maakte met de captain die het maar wat interessant vond dat ik 6 maanden niks ging doen in India. Ja, daar was een inieminie gevoel van trots. A split second. Geurende Indiërs in het vliegtuig, het gerochel verwelkomde me direct, starende blikken, geen plek voor m’n knieën maar nee, het kwam niet binnen. Het stoorde me niet, het raakte me niet, niks. Ik moest wel heel even lachen toen de first officer plechtig en hartelijk zei “enjoy the Jet Air experience”, terwijl ik in deze meurende lucht hing met m’n knieën opgefrot tegen de stoel voor me. I will, thank you so much. Aankomst in Goa, 4u sochtends, een gevaarlijke taxirit, het weerzien met Lyn, m’n vrienden bij Basho Guesthouse, de zee voor m’n neus, de zon op m’n huid, de muis in m’n hut, de kleuren en geuren van het Indiase straatleven, de bedelende magere ongewassen vieze kleine meisjes. Niks. Het deed niks. Zelfs de grazende koe naast m’n hut die me superonverschillig aankeek toen ik hardop vroeg wat ie aan m’n huis zat te happen, niks. Verdoofd. Ik was duidelijk vervloekt. What else could it be.

Van een heerlijk gevoelig mens met een lifelong-abonnement op de achtbaan naar een ongevoelige arrogante onberoerde koelbloedige verwende niets-voelende robot. Het voelde zielloos. Wat een arrogantie, zon mooi avontuur, zon cadeau aan vrijheid en er niet eens dankbaar of blij om zijn. Ik vond het niet zo tof van mezelf.

De creatief-schrijf-en-yoga-retraite was inmiddels begonnen. Ik vreesde het ergste. Zonder emoties, geen creativiteit. Had ik mooi de hele dag de tijd om me te buigen over mijn nieuwe ubersaaie persoonlijkheid. Want saai was het. Jeetje wat is het leven boring als je een robot bent. Niet te doen. Net alsof je ogen, oren, neus en eigenlijk alles aan je lijf dicht zit. Verstopt achter een dikke laag smeer. Je merkt niks op. En das echt heeeeeel raar in een prikkelrijk en magisch land zoals dit! Maar ach, m’n nieuwe persoonlijkheid bleek heel rustig te zijn en het zorgde er ook voor dat ik het gevoel had de hele wereld aan te kunnen aangezien er niks is wat me angstig boos of verdrietig maakte. Dat lijkt positief maar ik begon het beu te worden. Ik begon steeds meer te verlangen naar de emoties die ik zo vervloekt had. No pain no gain. Het was waar. Liever pijn zelfs, dan deze modus zonder ervaringen. Ik was duidelijk gehecht geraakt aan m’n gevoelens en vroeg ze tijdens meditaties om me weer op te komen zoeken. Als zelfs een yoga-retraite me geen gevoelens meer bracht, dan wist ik het ook niet meer. Heel soms, bij een intense asana, voelde ik even iets in m’n buik. Een rupsje met gevoel. Nou nee, eerder een larf. Daar heb je niks aan weet je, aan larven. It wasn’t even worth mentioning really.

Gisteren ging ik op pad met m’n nieuwe Amerikaanse vriendinnen. Old-Goa, de oude kerken en tempels bezoeken. Ik had gedacht veel blanke toeristen te treffen, maar we waren de enige drie, more or less. India staarde ons aan. De telefoons kwamen uit de zakken en al dan niet stiekem werden we vastgelegd door de Indiase bevolking. Ik voelde iets van irritatie opkomen, en het bracht me direct terug in Sulawesi, waar ik zwaar over de zeik raakte van alle stiekeme foto’s van dat blanke lange meisje aan het zwembad. Ook nu voelde ik irritatie, toen ik over de schouder van een Indiër meekeek toen hij vol trots door zn (allemaal bewogen) stiekeme shots van ons heen scrolde. Sukkel, hoorde ik mezelf denken. Wow, emotie! Not too bad! Maar toen ik er bij wilde komen, was het alweer verdwenen. Weg. Back to robot-mode.

Amber, Elisabeth en ik ontvingen een blessing bij de tempel inclusief voorspelling van ons leven: “You Anna you will be engaged by the 8th of April 2015 and be very happy in the next year, but only if you feed the dogs at the next full moon!” Ha, dat zou mooi zijn! 🙂 en terwijl de priester heilig water over me heen sprenkelde, merkte ik mijn verlangen op, naar vorig jaar, naar de verbonden intense fijne gevoelens die ik vorig jaar had als ik in een tempel stond the shinen vol emoties. “Had ik dat maar weer”. Bizar, want als ik iets niet heel fijn vind, is het wel het gevoel van een gebroken hart, het niet kunnen en willen loslaten van iets moois en de ellende van het “niet krijgen wat je wilt”. Shit. Ik wilde iets terug wat ik eigenlijk niet wilde. And it was out of control: ik kon er niets aan doen. Het was gewoon zoals het was. The ultimate practice.
Gisteren tijdens de yoga-sessie in de ochtend vroeg Lyn ons om een aantal asanas 10 ademhalingen vol te houden. “No way, geen zin, ik wil dit niet, hoezo, ik stond er al 4 in, mag ik er dan 6 doen nu?” M’n hoofd stroomde over van niet-zo-willende-gedachten.

Daarna door naar Warrior 2. Ineens voelde ik de zon op m’n gezicht, voelde ik de warmte langs mijn nek glijden en voelde ik vooral heel veel kracht in m’n benen. Wow wat stond ik sterk. En wow wat een verschil met hoe ik hier 365 dagen geleden op de mat stond, of meer hing eigenlijk, huilend steeds weer in Child’s pose terug kroop omdat het allemaal moeilijk, lastig en teveel was, zowel lichamelijk als mentaal. Wow. What a difference.
Ik voelde de energie en kracht door m’n benen en armen schieten, keek over m’n linkerhand naar voren en voelde het vuur weer in m’n buik. Dankbaarheid door m’n hele lijf. Ik voelde de tranen glans geven aan m’n ogen en ontving ze met open armen. En een open hart. Welkom thuis.

Toen ik na de les op m’n scootertje terug naar t dorp cruiste, zag ik naast een winkeltje een lief klein ventje op de stoep zitten in hurkzit. Blote billetjes. “Wat een schatje”, dacht ik, “en wat een lieve kleine billetjes heeft ie.” Ik keek nog eens goed. Ik zag een plasje onder zijn hurken. En een hoopje poep. Holy  lord, het kind zat te poepen! I was wide awake! Het kind zat op de stoep te poepen, voor het winkeltje van zijn ouders! Niet normaal!! En of ik wakker was! Gelukkig, goed gevoel om je ogen weer open te hebben.

En om zeker te weten dat ik wel echt wakker was, werd ik even later nog even verrast door dit bizarre land. Na een heerlijke koffie op m’n favo workspot stapte ik het cafeetje uit, terug de wereld in. Slippertjes weer aan en m’n blik omhoog, ready. Zie ik ineens een dood hoofd, shit een heel dood lichaam, liggend op een bamboe-brancard, gedragen door 8 mannen, door de straat voorop gaan in de rouwstoet. Wow een dooie. Sorry, maar dat was wat ik dacht. Ik voelde de schok door m’n lijf heen sidderen. Hallelujah, ik was niet meer veilig, ondergestopt, blind. Wide awake again. Zucht. Gelukkig maar.

Ik ben niet meer in slaap gevallen sindsdien. Ik ben er weer. In volle glorie mét emoties. Gelukkig maar, want ondanks dat ik me nu beter kan verplaatsen in mensen met een abonnement op de draaimolen ipv de achtbaan, en ik ook dankbaar ben dat ik dit eens heb mogen ervaren, ben ik nu wel extra blij met m’n eigen vertrouwde gevoelige zelf. Met dank aan de robot.

De verdoving is uitgewerkt, de vloek opgeheven, de koud is verdwenen en de creativiteit en verwondering zijn samen met de vlinders weer terug. Godzijdank. De verwondering om de Indiase gebruiken. Het ja schudden als ze nee bedoelen maar uit beleefdheid niet zeggen. De koeien in de winkelstraat. Het getoeter van alle voertuigen om me heen. De verkopers: “You want massaas ma-am?”, “You want look inside my shop?”. Het uitzicht op het strand als ik uit bed stap! De heerlijke Indiase currys en mango’s. De stank! Haha zelfs de stank voelt goed! De praatjes met zowel de westerse als de Indiase mensen om me heen. Kletsen met de kinderen wat ze die dag op school hebben geleerd (antwoord van vandaag: “naughty boy” wijzend op haar jongere broertje, haha prachtig :-)). Een massage geven aan een van de verkoopsters omdat ze vandaag niet lacht en last van haar rug heeft 🙂 dat gezicht toen ik het echt ging doen 🙂 Dingen weggeven omdat ik niet meer wil vasthouden. En vanochtend heerlijk met een 3 maanden oud babytje gespeeld en gelachen met haar ouders en oma, het was fijn om de vertedering in mn buik te voelen. De glimlachen. De lachende ogen. Oh boy, hoe veel mazzel heb ik dat ik hier ben en nog zo lang mag zijn hoop ik.

I seem to be ready for my journey. And wondering what more there is to come! Bring it on India!

Doing nothing

IMG_0065 “This week, we will be busy doing nothing”, said Karl-Ludwig, our teacher for the Youth Winter Retreat 2015. I mostly liked the busy part in the sentence and the rest I didn’t even hear because of my beautiful but impatient half-deaf personality: all I could think was “lets do this!”

For some reason meditation has an awful reputation. For many people it sounds like something spiritual, strange and most of all, floaty. It isn’t it. Well, at least not for me. Its not about floating away to different worlds, lifes. Not floating away in the past or the future. Its all about being here. Right here where you are and where your body is. It seems so simple, “being where you are”, doesnt it? But it’s hard, doing nothing and being where your body is. Thats weird, that its easier to do something than to do nothing.

It takes a lot of practice and after 8 years of meditation practice I still suck at doing nothing. Which I think is great, since I am one of the most competitive persons you will ever meet. I can never “win” my meditation competition. You can only be aware or not aware. Here with your mind or somewhere else. I hate it and I love it at the same time. And I can never “finish” so all I can do is sit and do nothing and observe whats going on. Without a goal I can work for. There is no such thing as a goal in meditation. I hate that. And thats why I love it. All you do is breath and be in the gap between two thoughts. And everytime you float away, you kindly bring your mind back to your body: right here, right now. Thats all. Thats it! Sit up straight, like a king or queen, even when youre thoughts or feelings go crazy on themselves and make up gigantic stories. Cut your thoughts into pieces and come back. Cause when a thought repeats itself, it becomes an opinion, which becomes a belief, which becomes the truth and eventually it becomes you. And all of that started with one thought that you made up all by yourself. Don’t let your thoughts make you go crazy! I like to be aware and prevent myself from becoming my thoughts. I’d rather be in the blank space in between the thoughts. There where my body is. On a medition-cushion in snowy Germany and nowhere else.

So going to the Winter Youth Reatreat to sit for hours and meet young and fresh people who like to do that too is something you can make me superhappy with. It was my second time participating in this beautiful program in Schloss Heinsheim and it was totally different than last year. Great, since expectations dont work anyway. Nor do comparisons. Again I’ve met the prettiest people. Isnt that interesting too, that you become so aware, so much in the here and now, that you can look at people and fall in love with them without even talking to them? Have you ever really paid attention to smiling people around you? A smile is food for the soul and I cant stop eating. So I’ve been staring a lot and secretly fell in love a lot of times. What a beautiful stories I’ve heard and how amazing how people are able to express themselves in different ways. It was so easy to connect with them. To be inspired. To feel at ease and loved by there beings.

I just wish I could take the smiles and the people with me in my backpack so I could keep this with me at all times. But everything changes constantly and there’s no use in trying to hold on. Not to positive or negative vibes. Isnt it the greatest thing in the world that everything changes always? Work with your mind and you will be able to let go. Speaking of which, I dont only suck at doing nothing, I suck even more at letting go. I just love to hold on. Or push away. I think I’ve got some work to do. If anyone has some advice on letting be and letting go, please leave your comment below. After you have been busy doing nothing, offcours.

Thank you Karl, thank you Susanne, thank you Anne and thank you beautiful people for being there with me. On our medition cushion in the snow in Germany.