My purpose in life was motivated by society: what you want to achieve in the future and to work towards that by hard work, high performance and obtaining results. So you’ll eventually be happy, because you’re finally successful, worthy and good enough. In this way, I blocked myself from all the beauty life has to offer: my true self, my joy of life.
The beginning of my awareness process
During my early twenties, I hit rock bottom, which ignited my awareness process. I was studying at my desk and I vividly remember how that felt: tension in my whole body, a head full of thoughts going around like crazy. All of a sudden, tears started to run down my cheeks. I laid my head down on the desk and I started to cry incessantly. I was completely drained. All the joy and love in my life were gone. I totally lost contact with who I really was. I went to see my life coach. She invited me to lay down on the couch in her practice and asked me: ‘You don’t enjoy life anymore, do you?’ I answered: ‘You’re right, I don’t.’ Then she asked me: ‘Do you sometimes think about death?’ I: ‘Yes, because when I die I don’t have to worry anymore.’ She then asked me the crucial question: ‘What do you really want to do in life?’ I responded without thinking: ‘Acting.’ She: ‘Why don’t you just do that?’ I thought: ‘Yes, why don’t I?’ And that was the first time in my life I listened to my heart. I moved to the United Stated for three years to study acting and work as an actress. This was the first time in my life I wasn’t in my head captured by thoughts, but I was living from my heart. This was the first time I felt truly free. This state of freedom and happiness didn’t last long. The ego, the conditioned survival mechanism of hard work and perfectionism came back. And what I loved to do so much, got obscured by a thick fog, consisting of thoughts, fear and tension. I thought: ‘How is this possible? I finally do something, which I love, which comes from the heart. So why did the suffering return?’
When I moved back to The Netherlands, I wanted to go through life with the speed of an express train: all my attention was focused on working hard and performing at my very best. At that time I was reading a book called ‘Embracing your inner critic’, in which the critical voice in your head is being examined. This book invited me to have a dialogue with the inner critic in my head. The outcome of this surprised me enormously. The voice only wanted me to be safe and happy. I let the voice know that I could do everything on my own and that the voice only hurt me with its criticism. At that very moment, I was done with the suffering. The suffering I caused myself my entire life! I started to investigate who I really was. From that moment on, I began to absorb myself into the process of raising my consciousness. By reading books of teachers specialized in raising awareness and daily meditation, I felt I started to discover more and more of my own truth. I gained insight into old behavioral and thinking patterns, which blocked me in being myself. I’m grateful for discovering and experiencing these obstacles, because the tension, created by these obstacles, are a signal. They indicate you’re not your true self and that you live through a conditioning. This aided me in embracing the old patterns and releasing them. Below you’ll find a couple of obstacles, which I was able to release, leading to the discovery of my true nature.
The first behavioral pattern, which created an obstacle in my life, was the pattern of pulling back when another person is being dominant. I had an audition where I was in the same room with another actor. The other actor acted very dominantly and was bragging a lot. This behavior triggered my belief that I wasn’t good enough and I pulled back energetically. I felt really small and I believed the thought that I didn’t deserve to be there. The pain, the tension I experienced, was so unpleasant and intense that I had to let go of the pattern and be myself. I just couldn’t live with this kind of pain any longer. Wow, what a beautiful method the universe created to make you become aware of yourself!
I dared to be one with life and surrender to it, because I felt I could never lose it, because I’m life itself.
Furthermore, I have been able to release the pattern of controlling life by a passage from the book ‘Met de billen bloot’ (translation: Opening up) by Frans Bakker. The following passage describes how Frans offers guidance to an old woman on her death bed: “Martha you’re going to die. Really! There’s nothing you can do about it. It’s going to happen soon. There’s only one thing you can do, accept it and let it happen. Resistance will not help. You can cooperate with the process, you have to. I’m surprised I can say this with such conviction. It’s spontaneous, I don’t think about what I’m saying. We look at each other intently, and then her eyes wonder off. I detect Martha is going through some kind of process. She is not ready to accept it yet, that’s clear. Then her eyes fixate on mine. It seems like the eyes are smiling. She looks at me with great clarity, no more confusion. And then she shakes her head gently. ‘How is it possible’, the eyes seem to say. ‘I receive news about my death, but I understand it! Also my life comes to an end and no one can do anything about it. Not even me! Nothing! Nothing! Finally no control, it’s not necessary anymore. It’ s done! What a relief! No more struggling. Surrender. Yes, surrender!’ Her hand moves to mine. She grabs it and squeezes it gently. Her eyes still fixated on mine. Her head gently shaking in disbelief. ‘How is it possible. I’m going to die and I’m happy!’, the eyes are telling me. ‘I’m so happy you came to tell me this . I love you Frans.’ I also love you Martha’, while I squeeze her hand. (p.184).
This passage made me realize that controlling life, is actually resistance to life, to what is. Thus, resistance to death. Then I said out loud to myself: ‘I’m going to die. I’m going to die! A feeling of liberation and relief washed over me. I would have never dared to think or say this in the past. I realized, however, that by accepting life, in other words to surrender to it, comes acceptance of death. It is the opposite of birth and not life. Being born and to die. Expansion and contraction of form. At that very moment, all my fears in life vanished. All these fears could be traced back to the fear of dying. I felt a strong and powerful life force flowing through me and I never felt this alive. I dared to be one with life and surrender to it, because I felt I could never lose it, because I’m life itself.
Maintaining a self image
I was able to release the third pattern of defining myself to the outside world, in other words maintaining a self image, through the following two experiences. The first experience was an exercise during a retreat in which I had to sit across a friend. The assignment was to observe the outer appearance of the other person without any judgment, followed by seeing and feeling each other’s essence. It was an extraordinary experience: I saw myself in her, I felt her energy which was at the same time mine. I saw that she was perfect the way she is, created by a god, a universal intelligence or whatever you want to call it. I felt unconditional love for her. We were one, everything around us was connected as one ocean. There was a certain presence of a higher order that moved through us all. The second experience, which gave me insight into the unity of everything, was a moment I was laying in my bed, looking at my body. I suddenly realized that I wasn’t my body. It is a self-organizing organism. All of a sudden a voice inside me said: ‘The ‘I’ is going to disappear.’ And then my ‘I’ disappeared. I was one with the ocean of consciousness, the source we all come from and then I understood that the ‘I’ is an illusion. There is no ‘I’: the image you hold of yourself and the feeling of being separate from the rest if the world is not real! I’ve never felt this much appreciation for my body and everything around me. Due to these two experiences, I discovered that I don’t need anyone to feel loved. Love is abundant and always present, I’m love itself. Consequently, the relationships with my loved ones have changed dramatically. I don’t have the belief any longer that I need someone, because I can find all the power and safety within myself. My loved ones and I are always connected, but we are self-supporting beautiful energetic forces. Stars that twinkle side by side, connected, but not dependent on each other’s love and energy.
I learned to work from my heart instead from a society based life purpose. From my heart Magic Within was born.
My true I
As my journey of self-discovery progressed, I became more and more aware of who I really am. This understanding gave me confidence in myself and life. For the first time in my life, I feel that I’m perfect the way I am. I don’t need to prove my worthiness by hard work and being successful. Everything I need in life is within myself. I’m not dependent on other people or external circumstances for the experience of happiness. When I’m myself, I’m one with life, and in that way the universal intelligence can flow through me. I don’t have to do anything for that, because being yourself happens automatically. Open, relaxed, loving, light, the joy of being alive, is my true nature. I’ve always been whole, complete and free. What a relief! My heart is my compass, I only need to follow its passion.
I started to share my experiences with people around me and I noticed there is a universal need: the need to be happy, or in other words, to be yourself. I felt deeply I wanted to support other people in this process. When you’re completely your authentic self, your attention is automatically focused on love and connection, in other words being at service. But how could I be of service? After a thorough research I discovered the coaching program ‘Innovative Coaching’. A wave of relief went through my body and I felt with my whole being that this would be right next step for me. I would have never discovered this beautiful calling if I had continued to view the world through my ego. During this program, I learned to work from my heart instead from a society based life purpose. From my heart Magic Within was born.