Self-love September

September is a month I’m very excited about! As it turns out September is the month of Self Love.

Self Love is my life’s quest.

From pulling my hair when I was not older than 4 or 5 – because I had told myself Tess was a boy’s name – to an eating disorder between the age of 11 and 22. And frankly, everything in between. I’ve always told myself

  • I don’t deserve love
  • I’m not pretty enough
  • nobody likes me, let alone will ever love me
  • I’m too fat, too short, too boring, too weird, too sensitive.

And that is just the top of the list. I have hated myself dearly. Very dearly indeed.

Change came. At some point. The realisation that you can’t search for love outside yourself, if there isn’t any inside of you. Baby step after baby step. But boy, I’ve grown! I’m surely not completely there yet, but I’m on the move. And I know where I’m heading to.

Two years ago I decided to start writing a book about self-love. A journey, literally. I quit, then continued, quit again. But at the start of 2016 I realised this is the journey I want to continue. I’m gonna take my time, it may take some time before you’ll see the result. But I came to realise that I’m an actual expert on this topic, not by study but by experience. So why would I keep telling myself I wasn’t good enough?

It’s gonna be an epic journey, a big part of my quest. I wish that anyone suffering from self-hate and related issues, will find a companion in my book. In due time…

As Self-love September is now upon us, I simply wish that anyone suffering from self-hate in whatever form has someone to reach out to, has the stamina to continue the journey along the bumpy road to Self Love. For me there’s no way back and I know if I can walk this road, so can you. Let’s make this month a powerful one!

If you have any thoughts, if you want to share a piece of your Self Love journey – do feel free to get in touch via the contact-form on the About-page or via social media. Or share this blog, to let more people know about #selfloveseptember!

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For you.

A balance challenge involving some chakras

This is going to be a little write up about a meditation experience. If you’re a meditation-sceptic or don’t believe in chakra energy – keep reading!

Over the last 2 – 3 years my life has been as hectic as can be. Depression, burn-out, months of being ill. It’s a bit of a struggle called ME. I thought I was getting there, getting back on track. But the last 3 months have been roller coasters again, to say the least. Something’s still not right and ME is definitely not helping. Simply put, I have to accept that finding my balance is a long term project.

Anyway, I do yoga. In my own pace – read: half of the class I just lie on my back or in child’s pose. And during my favourite class, Meditate and Breathe, I learn to meditate too. At a very lovely yoga studio in Amsterdam, Yagoy.

During meditation practice this morning the teacher led us through a chakra-meditation. I had done this meditation before, with the same teacher. Basically what you do is stop at and focus on all 7 chakras.
I hear you…what on planet earth are chakras? Chakras are the energy centres in our body. We all have them. Even you, pessimistic lot! As mentioned before, we have a total of 7 chakras. Each chakra represents a certain aspect of our being. If you want to learn more, I advise you to check this article from mindbodygreen. For the time being I’m leaving the theory of the chakras behind and will tell you a bit more about the experience I had this morning.

There we are. Meditation cushions under our bums. Eyes closed. Starting at the first chakra. The colour is red and the chakra represents our foundation and the feeling of being grounded. No matter how hard I try to colour the area of my tailbone red – visualising helps to focus – and concentrate on the first chakra, I’m like a radio that can’t find the right frequency: Kkgggghkghhhggggggggggggggg-redredred-kkkkgggkkkkkgghggghgggh-foundation-kkkkgggkk-focus-please-kkkgghg. Sitting up straight, dividing the weight equally. No no. No such thing. I’m convinced I look like the Tower of Pisa, all my weight comes together in the right side of me. Next stop: chakra number 2. Colour: orange. Same story all over again. This continues and I notice that frustration is starting to boil. However, the frustration is kind and cuddly. It tells me to fire away some questions at my yoga teacher after class. That doesn’t mean I’m not doubting myself. Why is it so hard for me to connect?

Then we arrive at chakra number 6. The third eye. Right in the middle, where your eyebrows would (or maybe do) connect. This chakra represents our ability to focus on and see the bigger picture, it’s the energy of our intuition and imagination. The moment my attention moves to this indigo spot, it explodes. It feels like an enormous beam of light and warmth coming out of my forehead. Travelling faster than light. A high pressure water jet. Coming right out of that tiny little place. It flows like a fountain. My whole body, head to toe, heats up. In a nice way. I realise that’s exactly how a radiator must feel when it’s on full heating-speed. Equally warm, throughout my whole body. This explosion, this fountain continues when I focus on the seventh – or crown – chakra where our ability to connect to spirituality lies. The sensation of overflowing, of energy and warmth. It just doesn’t stop.

To help you visualise (and because in November I focus on drawing) I made a little sketch of the experience:

Me and my chakras.

Me and my chakras.

The experience beautiful, the feeling of warmth and energy so comforting! Despite the feeling of failure at the start I felt rather good after the meditation. So good even, that somehow I knew I would be able to do the bridge pose again. Which I haven’t done for at least 10 years and which physically is just a no-go at the moment. However, it does show how good I felt. Yet I knew that there was a serious disbalance. How else can you explain that chakras 1 – 5 hardly do anything whereas when we get to number six and seven all I have to do is sit back and they do their magic for me? The chat with my teacher confirmed this. The energy of all 7 chakras ideally should be the same, a balance of freely flowing energy. In my case, the foundational energy seems like it’s nowhere to be found.

Whether you believe it or not, in everyday life this blocked energy in our chakras can lead to illness, emotional distress and such. A general feeling of being unbalanced and unhappy. And truthfully, it seems to me that this could be one of the underlying factors causing the disorder in my life.

Here’s to a new challenge. Namasté!

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A nearly finished project

I can’t help giggling. Big smile on my face. Giggle-giggle-giggle-giggle-giggle. Yeah! On the streets people look at me as if I’m a mad woman.

What happened? The printer happened! Paper everywhere. All different colours and structures. Oh joy! As if you let a little girl on the loose in a candy shop. And they are making test prints of my work as we speak. What’s not to giggle? Let’s just say I’m mildly enthusiastic. This is the first time I have something I made professionally printed. And it is wowzers!

Viaviavia I ended up at a really lovely printer just outside of Amsterdam, Pantheon. René and René (jaja) both have the patience of a saint, take a layman like me by the hand and make it a party. So helpful! Pantheon also prints stuff (books, brochures, stationary  and such) for pretty big names, so the first time I walked in it was kind of beyond daunting. However, the second time the excitement took over. I draw the old-fashioned way. Paper, pencil, fine liner. You know. And then…they scan! All of a sudden my work appears massively on their computer screens. STOP ME! But I mean, really: STOP ME! I could dance in the streets. And I haven’t even seen the test prints yet.

Testing some paper at the printer

Testing some paper at the printer

But yes, I draw. And from there a little project developed. No way!? Yes way. I know, more projects. Surprisingly this is a project – beginning to ending, all stages – of which I can almost say it’s a wrap. Who knew!

Not keeping you in suspense longer than necessary: I’ve designed a couple of Christmas cards. And other cards. But taking it slow I’m first tackling this Christmas project. The cards are supposed to be fun, keep you busy and creative. Whether you’re 3 or 97. That’s all I’m giving away. It took a lot of drawing. And the drawing took a lot of time. And pain. After half an hour my hands and arms are finished, you see. For the rest of the day. From the idea all the way to the final drawing that is ready to be scanned and printed…it’s not really a piece of cake for me to finish. Not done and dusted in an hour or two. However, it’s worth it – I love it. I absolutely do!

A sneak peek

Now it’s onto the next stage. The actual printing. My very own designed and hand drawn cards *giggles a bit more* being printed! The moment my Christmas cards are finished you’ll be the first to know. And of course the first to buy them from me, too. Honestly, the best Christmas cards are underway. For now we’ll just have to wait. Patiently.

I’m going to love and leave you and continue being overwhelmed and excited. Frankly, scared too. Why did I do this again? What if I’m the only person in the world to like them? Only time will tell…but already this experience is mine forever.