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Dear readers, Beste lezers,
 
After more than a year, I have decided that jeroensjourney.punt.nl is, ehhh, full.
From December 2005 till the end of 2006 I have written 235 blogs and had some 600 readers per month.
 
But with the end of 2006, I also started a new journey in Asia with a different 'inner' focus. My last journey, apart from just holiday, was all about healing old pains and emotional wounds, it was what I now call a healing journey.
 
My current journey continues to be one of ongoing personal growth and healing, but has a new
focus in that it is also about what I want to do in the outer world. It is about looking for inspiration and is much more a spiritual journey. It is not anymore about me (and my ex), but all about me in relation to the outer world. So also about work and vocation.
 
I will continue to write about this journey on my new weblog. 
Click here:  jeroensjourney2.punt.nl. (Link works now!).
 
Thank you for visiting jeroensjourney. You are still welcome to post reactions or ask questions, and I will still answer them. But more action will be found in the coming months on jeroensjourney 2.
 
With love from Thailand,
 
Jeroen
Lees meer...   (17 reacties)
Where:  Brasilia, Brazil
When:   December 9 - 16, 2006 
 
Brasil! Brasil?
 
Dear reader,
 
It has been a while since you heard from me.  I am just catching up with a blog on my experiences in Brazil in December.
 
I was back in Brazil for the second time in 2006year and the 8th time in total for a conference on urban traffic planning. My job was to meet up again with the people from the Ministry of Cities and people from different municipalities as a first mission of a new 4-year international programme on planning for cycling in cities that is starting on the 1st of January 2007.
 
For me, just before returning to Thailand to continue my spiritual journey, it was a good opportunity to earn some money and to work again and see how it is to be in touch again with my field of expertise. Do I want to continue doing this work? and Would I like to live in Brazil for a longer time? were some of the questions on the back of my mind.
 
 
The Brazilians
 
Let me start to give you some of my feelings, thoughts and considerations about Brazil.
From the first time I was in Brazil, I loved it. Or more precisely: I loved the people. The human warmth, the friendliness and the sensuality of the Brazilians always strike a cord with me. Brazilians like people. They (of course I am generalising) like to socialise, dance and enjoy life. I know, that in Brazil people run at you embracing you like you are their lost son that came back after 20 years, might not mean that much, but it still feels nice. People matter. In Holland I too often feel that people have (and take) no time to meet and greet people, and that work and things have a bigger part in our lives than people.
A Brazilian friend of mine who came back from living in Japan told me she started crying when people in the queue in the supermarket started chatting with each other. Normal in Brazil, unthinkable in Japan and (I would say) rare in Holland.
 
 
Brazilian society
 
But that's the people. It often seems that the nicest people live in societies that are not so nice. I don't know how that works, but it often seems that way.
The Brazilian society is harsh. The differences between the rich and the poor are huge and (partly as a result) criminality is a huge problem. More than a hundred people are killed everyday in what some call the 'guerra civil Brasileira'. And the same amount of people are killed on Brazil's roads. Corruption and self-enrichment by the rich seem to be a national sports and the jails are hells on earth.
 
But there is also continuous hope. The democracy with all its problems and scandels is alive and kicking. Even sittings of municipal councils are broadcasted live on television and a vibrant press is following politics every minute.  
With president Lula in power not everything has changed for the better but programs to take care of the needs of the poorest in the country, do make a difference. And there are few countries where public participation is so wide-spread than in Brazil. That doesn't always make it easier to get things realised, but makes that what get's done has a good base of support.
 
 
Work in Brazil
 
In the field I work in, I continuously meet people who are passionately working for whatever they believe in (in that is planning for cycling and a more 'democratic' way of traffic planning). I like that there are so many people that believe that you can make a difference, however difficult that is. That enthusiasm is contagious and makes it nice to work in Brazil. And there is a lot going on. There is absolutely no doubt that I can make a much much bigger difference in Brazil than I could ever do in Holland. So that is great. If you want to make the world a better place than the more impact you have the nicer it is.
 
On the other hand everything is political in Brazil, so if you cannot manage to convince those in power, great plans and common sense is not enough to make a change. You need to know, or get to know, the right people.
As you'd expect, planning is not Brazilian thing. Conferences, meetings, everything starts always an hour or more late and sometimes finishes as much as 2 hours late. As Brazilians like to talk, there is also a habit of not chairing meetings or forum discussions so that they indeed go on indefinitely.
With this, there is a habit to work crazy hours. Starting at 8 am and finishing at 8 pm is not extreme (as I have seen it). If that work is efficient and effective is another thing. As with the badly chaired discussions, a lot leads to nowhere or to the wrong result. If I'd ever work for a longer period in Brazil I'd definitely make sure to limit the time I spent on work and maximise the output. In Brazil it is a bit the American system, a lot of hours but the output per hour is much lower than in Europe.
 
 
Live in Brazil?
 
So how would it be to live in Brazil? I am not sure. In my current line of work I'd probably work in a busy, noisy, polluted, car-oriented city. Even a small city like Florianopolis has 3 lanes of traffic along the coast and the next quiet beach is a drive away (not like my 15 minute cycle trip in The Hague).
And of course, much more than in Europe or Asia, you have to mind your personal safety.
But then, living with Brazilians for a while will be a nice experience.
Anyway, nothing I need to make decisions about now. At the moment I enjoy Thailand....
 
All the best,
 
Jeroen
Lees meer...   (2 reacties)
Where:   The Sanctuary, Koh Pah Ngan, Thailand, http://www.thesanctuary-kpg.com
When:    1 January 2007
 
 
2006 goes, 2007 comes
 
 
Dear reader,
 
From the beach in Thailand:
 
I wish you all a fantastic 2007!
May your dreams come true,
May you take from 2006 what you learnt,
and may you forget and forgive what you'd like to leave behind.
May love, compassion, wisdom, joy and inner peace be your companions in the new year.
 
A brand new year with new opportunities
 
 
For me 2006 was far from an easy year,
but at the same time it was a year of enormous personal growth. To see where I
am now compared to a year ago is really a landslide difference.
 
2006 was.....
 
A year in which I was blessed to meet many amazing people from all over the world, and make new friends, that have touched my heart,
 
A year in which I discovered many new and most powerful practices, massages and therapies that relieved me from psychological and emotional pains and are leading me to ever increasing freedom. Just knowing that,I can use these for my inner journey and whenever life is hard, is great.
 
A year in which I more and more got to know and live the amazing wisdom of Buddhism that made that my view on life and the world has changed forever,
 
A year in which I 'discovered' a new country (Thailand) that I love, where I feel I can always go when I need a break or a spiritual refuge.
 
 
2007
 
With most of the really hard work (and most difficult times) behind me and a large toolbox of practices (taoist practices like chi kung, many different meditations and much more), treatments and newly gained personal and universal insights, 2007 for me will be a year of reaping (oogsten).
 
While inner peace is becoming more and more normal and with practices at hand that bring out joy (without a cause, I am still stunned by it), I am sure there also will be many obstacles and storms to overcome.
 
Still everything in my life, in my outer journey, is uncertain, but also everything is possible.
Not knowing what I'll do for work and where I will live is not always easy and sometimes scary, but more and more I feel that the answers will come and that I'll be fine anyway and wherever I'll be and whatever I do.
After all, your outer world is just a physical manifestion of your inner world and your inner convictions. Is your inner world full of unhealed emotional wounds, are your convictions limiting and based on fear and scarcity, than that is what you'll manifest in this life and into the world.
So changing that is the single most important thing that you can do to create the life you dream about. I am on the way, the journey goes on and I'll continue to let you know how it goes.
 
After one of the best new year's eve parties I ever had, 2007 is going to be a good year.
I wish with all my heart that it will be a good year for you as well.
 
With love from Koh Pah Ngan,
 
Jeroen
Lees meer...   (5 reacties)
When:    16 - 18 December 2006
Where:   Schagen, The Netherlands
 
Brazil - Holland - Thailand
 
Dear reader,
 
After a week for work in Brasilia in Brazil, I am now 2 days in Holland to empty my suitcase and pack my backpack. On the morning of the 19th of December, just over 5 months after leaving, I will be back in Bangkok.
 
I am going back to Asia, to relax and to continue my spiritual journey to get a clearer idea about what I want to do with my life (work, etc.) after leaving Asia in March 2007 (probably).
I am at least going to do a 2-week Taoist course in Tao Garden near Chiang Mai from January 14th to January 18th and I am planning to do another meditation retreat.
 
I will keep you informed on my weblog. In my next blog I am planning to write something about my relationship with Brazil, after my 8th visit to that country.
 
As always, reactions on this weblog, and by e-mail are always welcome.
 
All the best from a cold Holland,
 
Jeroen
Lees meer...   (5 reacties)
6 December 2006
 
After meeting my ex & new loves
 
This is the last blog in a series. Meeting my ex was an important step and in a way the end of a chapter of mourning, struggling and healing. Therefore all these blogs, since I feel this marks the end of a period. It feels like, by overcoming my fear to meet her, I can finally let go of her and can move on to start building up my own life. My healing journey comes to a quieter phase, with most of the work done for the moment. From now on more attention will go to my spiritual journey. I will write more about that in a later blog.
 
Another release after meeting my ex
 
The next morning when I woke up I found out that there was more to the whole thing. It really seems like for me, ‘sleeping on it’ [een nachtje erover slapen] is the way to get more clarity about what really happened. What the events really did with me on a deeper level.
So I woke up and I didn’t feel great. The talk about relationships and the well-meant advice of my ex to let new love come into my life rather than just focussing on my personal growth without being open to a new relationship, triggered an old fear. The fear of not finding another girlfriend that I love the way I loved her. This fear based on a deep feeling of “not being good enough” or not “being worthy of love” has diminished through the healing I have done, but still hasn’t disappeared completely yet as I found out.
 
Now that, in Quantum Light Breath Meditation I have found a great new instrument to use strong emotions to heal the underlying emotional wounds, I decided to try this out again. And this let to an enormous emotional release (a lot of crying) and has for sure helped me one more step to get completely over my birth trauma that led to fear of abandonment and other unpleasant emotions and patterns.
So once again my ex had brought things to the surface that enabled me to heal the wounds. That is great and another proof that facing your fears is the way to grow and heal. Not running away for your fears or suppress them.
 
What also became clear was that I used an old strategy to hide the abovementioned fear. The strategy of saying that I am not looking for a girlfriend or that now there are other priorities in my life. Until about a year after the break-up there really was only one thing important in my life: Getting over the break-up and healing my wounds was the only priority. I still wasn’t ready for a new relationship and was not yet interested in other women yet. But that phase is over now. My most recent strategy or the story I tell myself to try to make myself believe that something is okay when it is not really,
This is also something I have to face, but without being dramatic about it. My approach to life will remain the same: focus on my personal growth, make myself strong and happy independent of other people and circumstances and listen to my inner voice. Then, I know that is true but in moments of “small or negative thinking” it doesn´t feel like it. Trust or faith is the word. I am starting to learn to trust and have faith. That is what comes when you really let go.
 
All the best,
 
Jeroen
Lees meer...   (14 reacties)
5 December 2006
 
Meeting my ex!
 
We met at the railway station in the city where she lives and spent one and a half hour in a nice café nearby. It was weird: So normal, so familiar and pleasant. The whole dynamic, as I had expected, was very different from what happened in our e-mail contact. It was really nice to see her. I still felt attracted, I still felt love, but after all the healing I had gone through, particularly in Romania (see my blog , Aug. 2006), I noted that the dependency was gone. The feeling of needing her was not there anymore.
We talked about all kind of things, her life and work (through my blog she knew more from me than I from her), the time since the relationship and work, the world and relationships. It was really nice.
 
Looking back at our meeting later, I started to realise that it is, of course, possible to love someone, that you can even be attracted to someone, but that that doesn’t mean that you should have a love relationship together. That you need to do something with it. It felt like that. It kind of felt like I could still marry her if she’d wanted to, but that even though we almost certainly never will get a love relationship again, I could see her as a friend, enjoying my feelings of love and affection, rather than these feelings being a problem.
 
I guess it is like loving chocolate and still be able to walk past the bonbonnerie because you know you would overeat, spent to much and in the end feel bad about it. Having to go into that shop is dependency or even addiction. Being able to choose whether or not to walk into that shop or not is freedom. And maybe, if you let go of the idea that you have to act upon your desires, you could even stand in front of the shop window and enjoy the idea of eating chocolate without indulging in it. I know, any methaphoric comparation has its limitation, there is more to love than to chocolate, but I still think the basic idea is the same. Are you free to act upon your desires or are you a slave of your desires. The Taoist and Buddhist path I have been walking for the last year leads to freedom with enlightenment as the ultimate freedom to live your life happily and in whatever way you want. 
It is all very weird. All I described here above is of course my interpretation of my own feelings. Do you know what love feels like? Or what the difference is between love and being ‘in love’ [verliefd]? I don’t really know.
 
I know that all spiritual teachers talk about real love being unconditional (independent of the actions of the other), detached (loving to be with the other but not needing the other) and having the best intentions for the other person.
Looking at those definitions what I feel for my ex now is probably closer to love than what I felt during the relationship. At least the fear (of abandonment) was not there anymore. And as some say: “where there is fear there can be no love”.
Good it is all a journey of discovery. But whatever I feel for my ex, it feels better than I could have hoped for and the step to finally meet her has been a very good one that helps me to heal further and to let go of her as a lover.
 
Take care,
 
Jeroen
Lees meer...
Contact with my ex!
 
So just before I left for Brazil and Thailand, on December 2nd, I wrote her an e-mail.
 
Gratefulness
 
In September I had done a tantra workshop that ended with a Quantum Light Breath meditation; a meditation technique with strong breathing and music. At the end of the meditation I felt gratefulness [dankbaarheid]. It had been a beautiful course in which I felt balanced and centred and I felt gratefulness towards all those people, teachers and healers that had helped me to get where I was. The first person that sprung to mind was my ex. She after all taught me what love was, opened my heart and then hurt me so badly that I had no choice than making my emotional and psychological healing and personal growth the priority of my life. It was not (yet) that I found that it was good that she had left me, but I started to see more clearly all the good it has brought me. Life would never be the same again. But maybe in a positive, not a negative way.
 
Writing an e-mail
 
So in my e-mail I expressed my gratefulness, and instead of being critical (which I had been in previous e-mails), I acknowledged what I had learned from her.
I also explained a bit more about the reasons why the break-up had been so difficult for me. I had the feeling that she thought that I should just stop thinking about her, stop wining. I felt she didn’t try to see the situation from my perspective. For her a new relationship was always around the corner after every break-up. I didn’t have that experience and the shattered dreams of a beautiful life together were not that easy to let go of. So I wrote about that hoping she would better be able to understand.
 
A response
 
She wrote back that she was open to meet. That she had waited two days before opening my e-mail. Like her e-mails caused a lot of emotional turmoil on my side, it hadn’t been too different on her side. In her e-mail there was nothing that gave me the impression that it would be a bad idea to meet up, part from the fact that she was very busy.
Then she wrote that she probably wouldn’t make it and she asked me why I would like to meet her anyway. I had many reasons why I wanted to meet her and wrote that in a lengthy e-mail that, being so busy irritated her.
 
An angry reaction followed and then we ended up chatting. I did not know that was possible in my e-mail program, but it was, and in the interaction that started with anger from her side, I encouraged her to just express whatever she had on her liver. At the end of the relationship some things were so painful that I didn’t want to hear them from her. Now after I had expressed all my frustration and pain (also on this weblog) it was time for her to vent her anger. I won’t write about that here. This is my weblog, not hers, but it definitely helped to understand her side of the story better, to understand her pain. Seeing the suffering in others leads to compassion, Buddha said, and also this time he was right. During the chat she got rid of her anger and the conversation became friendly towards the end. She informed me that she would text me the next day if meeting up that night (my last chance before leaving Leiden and Holland) would still be possible.

Feelings, the day after
 
The next morning I experienced what the whole interaction with my ex really meant for me. There was some anger about what she had said the night before and I didn’t feel as good as the night before. The emotional unshakable rock I felt to some extent at the end of the night was not as unshakable as I thought. But with some Taoist exercises and Quantum Light Breath (thank god for these techniques) the whole emotional mix of anger and nervousness about meeting or not, moved through me. That is what emotions should do move through you. Emotions are there to warn you or stimulate action. But they are naturally meant as a reaction to an impulse. Going back to our roots: There was fear for when a tiger chased you, anger or jealousy when another man tried to steal your wife, etc.
But when the stimulus is gone, the emotion should go. Unfortunately many people don’t life like that and neither did I. The desperate feeling of being abandoned stayed with me for months (with many ups and downs of course) often revived by unproductive (negative) thoughts.
But this time I really noticed that I was upset but could just look at it and let the energy of the emotions pass through me.
 
When that afternoon I was in Utrecht for work (to discuss my trip to Brazil with my boss), she texted me that it would be possible to meet.
In my next blog I’ll write about that meeting.
 
All the best,
 
Jeroen
Lees meer...   (2 reacties)
Meeting my ex?
 
Dear reader,
 
Last Tuesday, December 5th, I met my ex-girlfriend for the first time in one and a half year. And it was a good meeting. I’ll tell you about it in blogs to come.
 
Those who know me and those who have been reading my blog for a while know that the end of my relationship in July 2005 has been the most significant event in my life so far. Okay, maybe the most significant one together with falling in love with her. I’ll leave out that part of the story. But to make a long story short, for those who don’t know the story, I fell so madly in love that I completely lost myself and my happiness became completely dependent on my girlfriend. When then, after one and a half years together, she left, it felt like the end of the world. Like life didn’t matter anymore.
This breakup is the reason this blog exists and the reason I went travelling to Asia to figure out who I am withhout my ex-girlfriend and to mourn and heal the emotional wounds that were triggered by her. I need not go deeper into this. Those of you who read my blog regularly I guess, got completely bored from time to time from my talking about ‘my ex’.  I have good news for you. That might stop, or at least the tone will change.
 
Back in Holland – not yet meeting my ex
 
From the moment  first returned to Holland in July 2006, I thought about meeting my ex. Our last e-mail contact in January 2006 had been unpleasant (cyber fights) and I had decided to not get in touch anymore. Old pains were stirred up and every unfriendly line she wrote kept buzzing around in my mind for months. So I concluded that whether we would ever meet again or not, this was too early for me.
Then before and after returning to Holland in July 2006 I got completely stressed out just by the thought of going to (or being in) the country where she lives. It was only after I decided that even then, one year after we split up, it was still too early to meet.
 
Back in Holland – meeting my ex at all?
 
Ever since, I have played with the thought of gettting in touch again. I talked to people about it and many, after seeing how I still felt the pain of the breakup, advised me to just forget her and not to hurt myself again by getting in touch.
As I’ve never had a love relationship like this before (see my blog ‘me and women’), for me it was always a ‘I don’t know’. I have friends and know people who never ever see any of their ex-partners again and others who become really good friends with them. So although for a long time it felt like a no-no to meet her again, to me it felt weird. How can it be that from one day to the other you end all contact with someone who was not just your lover, but also your best friend or even your soul-mate? Of course there is the pain of losing what I didn’t want to loose, but when that wound is healed there should, in theory at least, be no reason not to have a pleasant contact.
 
The fear of meeting up
 
So over time, while I contemplated meeting my ex, the fear of what would happen if I’d meet here stayed present or ever got worse. Would I fall in love again or still be so much in love that I would leave heartbroken again? Would we end up quarelling, adding another unpleasant interaction to a list of unpleasant e-mail conversations?
Would be okay, but still bring the whole breakup and memories of what I’d lost back into the forefront? I definitely was afraid that something like that would happen.
But I also remembered what I have discovered over the last year and a half. When you face your fears, look at your fears, rather than running away from them, your fears get smaller or even disappear completely. “Feel the fear, and do it anyway” is the title of psychologist Susan Jeffers, and she is right of course.
You can try to surpress the memory of your past, do as if it never happened, but that kind of surpression I believe will sooner or later have consequences. Bringing your fears in the bright light is the only way to let them disappear, I believe.
 
I had gotten stronger, more centered, more grounded, more balanced and after all the therapies and meditation many emotional wounds that my girlfriend triggered were more or less healed. So I made my decision. I was, if she was open to it, going to meet her. It might not lead to a friendship, but one way or another it should help my process of overcoming my breakup and healing my wounds or at least help me to get rid of the fear of meeting up.
 
In my next blog I’ll write about the first contact since many months.
 
Take care,
 
Jeroen
Lees meer...
Where:     Leiden, The Netherlands
When:      December 7th, 2006 
 
Leaving Leiden and Holland
 
 
Dear readers,
 
Since October 1st I stayed in a friend's house (who is currently in the US) in the old Dutch town of Leiden. For me more than two months living in one place is the longest consecutive time I stayed in one place during the last 12 months. My plan was exactly that: since I lived like a nomad for most of last year (travelling through Asia, to Romania and working in Brazil), I thought it would be nice to ground a bit. Stay for a while in one place.
 
That has worked. I have started to feel at home in my new appartment and in the city. A course in modern dance gave me a nice weekly outing and some friends I meet with after the course. Together with regular meditation gatherings and visits to the historic city it has given me some feeling of 'home'. A good experience that gives hope for the future if I decide to come back to Holland for a longer period after Thailand.
 
 
A home?
 
Not completely though. After having spent most of my life abroad since April 2002 (mostly in Ireland) The Netherlands did not feel like the only natural home. But then I can't think of one other spot either. So as a basis with regular travelling maybe it is not too bad. Something to decide upon later.
 
 
Back to Brazil and Thailand
 
My next destination is Brazil. When I returned to Holland in July I first went to Brazil (three weeks work) before staying longer in Holland. Now I make the opposite move. Next Saturday, December the 9th, I fly to Brazil for a week to attend a conference on Urban Mobility and do some networking for my company Interface for Cycling Expertise. A nice job and good to earn some real money before heading back to Thailand.
Then with two days in Holland I fly on to Thailand for 2 and a half months (till early March) for holiday, meditation, a two week taoist course and time for reflection to figure out what I am going to do after coming back from Thailand.
The spiritual journey towards a new life and, possibly, work. I'll keep you posted.
 
Best regards,
 
Jeroen
Lees meer...   (2 reacties)
Where: Leiden
When:  October - November 2006
 
Working as a postman
 
Dear reader,
 
One thing I experienced in Leiden was 'real work', physical work. In the last 5 weeks I worked part-time as a postman and one week as a cleaner. Real physical work, but particulary walking through nice leavy neighbourhoods to deliver the mail in the surroundings of Leiden was a pleasant experience. The main drawback? The pay. Working via a job agency the pay was miserable: some 50 euros net a day. Even if I'd do it full-time I would only just be able to live off it. Let alone save of it. But it was good to experience what it is again to do simple work. No computer use (which I like), being outside (which I like as well), but maybe a bit boring if you'd do it full-time every day. Anyway, for me postman has always be a bit of a romantic job. Maybe it is because of the film Il postino, but of course towns around Leiden are not like rural Italy. But still. Those times that someone just opens the door and you hand the mail and greet. I like it.
 
I think postman is a good job to learn to enjoy the simple pleasures of life. To practice to be in the here and now. In a state of no-mind. I appreciated that. Walking, which is, when focussing on the feet and tan tien (or hara) in itself a meditation. Then observing. Watching the beautiful trees with their coloured autumn leaves. The many different houses. In Noordwijkerhout and Oegstgeest where I worked there are many historic and beautiful houses. And then the elements. Fortunately it was not cold and there was little or no rain most days. But a fresh breeze, a bit of sunsine......nice! A bird singing.....
No, there are definitely worse things than getting payed for walking outside.
 
All the best,
 
Jeroen
Lees meer...   (6 reacties)
Welcome to Jeroen's Journey
Welkom / Welcome!
 
From the 23rd of December 2005 till the 4th of July 2006 I was on a spiritual journey through Southeast Asia. After the end of my relationship, I decided to leave everything behind to focus entirely on my own personal development. I was back in Holland for 10 days, then three weeks in Brazil for work, and now back in Holland again. My inner, and outer, journey continue. I will keep you informed.
 
On my weblog you'll find very personal stories, my experiences with meditation, taoist healing and more. I also write about Buddhism, the local culture and my travel adventures in Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and Japan.
 
I hope you enjoy this site. If you want to contact me leave a message (in het Nederlands, in English, en Español, em Português) on the site or e-mail to journeyjeroen@yahoo.com. I hope to hear from you.
 
All the best,
 
Jeroen
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