Parenting: a matter of setting a good example, right?


I am sitting in an office with the owner and his son of 2.5/3 years and a cat. 
The owner tells about personal developments in recent times. 
I'm listening. In the meantime, his son plays with the cat.
"You must come here," the young child says to the cat, "come here."
He commands the cat several times (as his father commands him), but the cat just goes its own way. At a certain moment the child picks up the cat. He holds the cat between his arm and his side. The cat tries to break free, she is not in a panic, she doesn't scratch or meow, but she wants her freedom of movement back. The father intervenes. He says: "The cat doesn't like that, you shouldn't do that, let go of the kitty, come here" (the commands).
Jim lets go of the cat and goes to his father. 
The father takes the child on his lap and says: 'I will let you feel what you are doing with the pussy..., you hurt the pussycat, the cat doesn't like it when you grab her like that'. 
The father clasps his hands around the flanks of his son, around the rib cage and presses forcefully on the rib cage of his son, who starts to cry loudly and says: "That hurts, don't hurt, Daddy." The father continues the movement and says: "Yes, that's how it is for the cat, that's what you do to that kitty, never do that again, have you understood that?" 
The child cries even more violently and in the meantime nods 'yes'. And then Daddy lets go of his son's rib cage. The child pushes the father away and on the other hand he also moves towards the father (mixed feelings). The father puts his arms around his son's waist and comforts him: no more, huh?
When the child stops crying, he leaves his father's lap and the father continues to talk about his experiences to me. Then the phone rings. Father answers the phone. In the meantime I look at the boy and the cat. And then I see the following scene: the boy grabs the cat and puts both hands around the rib cage of the cat and starts squeezing firmly. This time it is serious. 
Where the first time there is an unintentional holding of the cat, now a conscious act is taking place: what does it do to you, kitty, if I press your rib cage together like my father did with me? I see it happen..., and jump up to free the pussy from his hands. The child lets go of the pussycat, because of my unexpected movement and at that moment the telephone conversation of the father also ends.

Yes, that's how it goes. From an early age, we unconsciously copy the behavior, habits and beliefs of our caregivers. As parents, we often don't realize how much impact our actions have on our children. We don't realize that what our children show us (openness, closedness, helpfulness, distrust, violence, etc.) is a mirror we give them by the way we live.

The father commands the child; that is the example he gives the child and the child commands the cat. The father wants to teach the child that it should lovingly interact with other living things (the cat) and uses violence (the opposite) to make this clear. The child copies the behavior of the father and treats the cat with violence. And possibly, at a different time in time, the "child" uses violence against his father or other people. And the father wonders why his son has become so aggressive.

Like father Like Son.

Patterns, customs, beliefs that are passed on from one generation to the next, without us being aware of that. Well, that's how it goes... until our heart opens and a wakening up from our unconscious state of being takes place. Then we can rewrite our history, then we are aware of that what is taking place in us and around us; we see through the beliefs on which our actions are based. Then it is possible to transform patterns and deep imprints of beliefs. Everything starts with 'awareness', with 'seeing'. 

Until that time...
Forgive them, for they don't know what they do.
Forgive us, for we don't know what we do.

To see is to be free.
LinkedIn: Caroline Ootes


Why do others view me so differently than I do myself?

Why do others view me so differently than I do myself?

We have all been given the option (potential) to awaken, to come to Love, to Consciousness. A divine gift, a possibility. Some of us feel a strong call, from the inside, for total liberation: they follow a spiritual path with a master who has awoken, and they practice Vipassana meditation (1), because they realize that Pure Consciousness is the gate to total liberation.

Others do not feel that call, but they do long for liberation from deep, painful basic convictions, which stem from the psychological mind (the "I", the ego). The suffering that comes from those deep imprints can also serve to awaken from the dream state. 

Often liberation does not happen, because Pure Consciousness has not yet been recognized, so the identification with convictions (and the resultant suffering) is so strong that we simply avoid challenging the convictions and allowing the connected pain to melt. It simply feels too painful to enter into, too painful from the perspective: what I feel and think is true (identification with the psychological mind).

Nevertheless, we all do our levels best, we are all on our way and one tulip is blooming in May, the other in July. 

Those who want to come to Love long for liberation from the yoke called "I"  which gives humanity, deep down, such a strong sense of loneliness and alienation. The ‘I’ (ego) which applies everything to itself.
‘I’ means tension and a self-centered attitude, which stems from the fear: Am I welcome?  Do they like me? Am I really a part of the group? Am I good enough? Everything happening around us, in interaction with others, leads to this self-centered attitude, to self-talk. We think about ourselves for hours, because we apply everything to ourselves: he isn’t looking at me is translated to ‘he doesn’t like me’; and if we don’t receive a reply to our e-mail, we are afraid we may have said something wrong etc.

In essence, the psychological mind knows two modes: attraction or rejection. Attraction means: getting what you think you need or deserve, often through manipulation, from neediness. In other words: life or the other person ought to give us what we can’t give ourselves, because we are not at home in our Heart. 

Rejection means: everything we want to get rid of, everything we perceive as unwanted, everything that inhibits our alleged happiness or sense of well-being, actually everything we say 'no' to: I don’t want to experience, feel, face or acknowledge this. 

And it is these two modes of the psychological mind (attraction and rejection), resulting from identification with an ‘I’, with all convictions connected to that, that make people suffer. The basic tenor of the ‘I’ is fear, in contrast to the basic tenor of Life itself, which is Love.

Some time ago, a client visited my practice with the following question: I feel such a massive difference between the way others view me and the way I feel inside, how is that possible? People see me as an independent and strong person, who can help others with advice and wisdom, but I feel insecure and afraid of rejection, especially falling short and not belonging, and I often feel that way…, like I’m not a part of the group, excluded (for the reader: this is the ‘I’ and the self-centered approach to life, the self-talk, the psychological mind; a collective inclination based on age-old conditioning).

I ask her whether she can show others this insecurity and vulnerability. In many cases, no, she shows the outer world a self-confident attitude.
Then it is not strange that the outer world views you that way, isn’t it? Yes, that is true, she says.
What scares you about showing your vulnerability and insecurity? I ask.
Well, she says, when I show that, I feel like I disappear or dissolve.
What do you mean, disappear or dissolve?
Well…, I have the feeling that I don’t belong, and then I see this image of myself, standing outside the circle.
Do you recognize this from the past? It seems to refer to a family in which there was no room for vulnerability, softness, insecurity…, did you feel like an outsider in your family?

And then the stories start to flow:
She graduated, and some family members were there but her father was absent. After the graduation ceremony they get home, and the family members confront her father: your daughter graduated, shouldn’t you congratulate her? Her father answers: it was no more than her duty. He turns around and walks away.

She goes to gymnastics, it is evening, she has a nasty fall, the teacher calls home and asks her father to pick her up. He tells the teacher: she should just work out a way to get home. That night, she sleeps in the house of her teacher and his wife. When she gets home the following day, her father walks away without greeting her or looking at her.

She falls off her bike in front of the kitchen window. There is blood, grazes, the bike is damaged. Her father says nothing, except: you will pay the damage to the bike yourself.

And there are many similar experiences to share, she says quite composedly (an attitude that relates to her question: showing no vulnerability).

Imagine, I tell her, that mankind incarnates here on earth with a package of convictions that the soul took on to resolve during this lifetime. And the circumstances in which a person is born matches completly with these convictions so that the soul has the possibility to resolve these beliefs…, to reach liberation, to clean up that facet of the diamond. And existence is merciful…, you can take as long as is needed…, one life or hundreds of lives…, it is up to you, existence makes no demands, it is eternally patient and compassionate.

And if we look from the perspective I just outlined: the soul who brings along a package of convictions to work out during this life (or a next one); the soul who attracts those circumstances that match these convictions…, then what is the conviction that ‘your’ soul wants to resolve, I ask?
What is the conviction, that has a deep imprint in you?

I can’t be vulnerable. Showing softness, vulnerability, pain and insecurity leads to lovelessness, rejection and exclusion.
Yes, I say…,  and that is exactly what your soul wants to solve in this life. Do you see the perfection of existence in this? Do you see how these circumstances match with what 'your' soul wants to experience and heal?

And can you see that vulnerability is a great power, which is very disarming, unlike your conviction that showing vulnerability only leads to rejection and lovelessness?

You live on one side of the spectrum, but like light and dark can’t exist without each other, vulnerability can’t exist without the other side of the spectrum: inner strength and independence. Existence is challenging you to unite or outgrow this seeming contradiction. Strength is only truly strength when it carries softness and relaxation within it (and vice versa).

It is up to you whether you face the resolution of this conviction, but if you continue to act (or avoid action) based on this conviction then nothing will change, you will remain the captive of this conviction and you will leave life with unresolved convictions.

Thankfully, existence is merciful and simply gives us another round to work out what has not yet been resolved. The question is whether this is what you want? No, she says, if possible I’d like to heal all in this life, but how?

See (Be Aware) how this pain shapes your actions. See the movements of the mind. The principle of attraction based on neediness/pain: searching for confirmation ‘I belong’ or doubting whether you belong. And the principle of rejection, i.e. avoidance: I don’t want to show vulnerability, because I don’t want to feel the pain of exclusion and lovelessness.

Break the pattern of avoidance: show your insecurity and vulnerability. Realize that you interpret others behavior based on this deep conviction: they will not like me if I am myself, if I also show my vulnerability and insecurity.

If your daughter-in-law doesn’t return a call, take responsibility for the way you interpret this, do a reality check: is it true that you don’t want to have contact with me? Yes that’s true, she may say, I know that you empathize, but I haven’t recovered from the concussion yet and I need rest. Feel the pain of exclusion when it is triggered, while realizing that the pain says nothing about your daughter-in-law, but everything about the interpretation that you attach to it; it is old pain (exclusion), a residue from this life and others, that is being triggered, that hasn’t healed yet.

What is going on in me, but what I don't say outloud to her: go meditate (Vipassana), so that Pure Awareness can sprout and then the convictions are seen through and gradually extinguish. 

From Pure Awareness it is much easier to clean up your history, because identification with the psychological mind (e.g. convictions) loosen up (or dissolve completly), so that the pattern of avoidance is seen through and the pain can melt, without much effort: it no longer feels so ‘real’ or ‘true’. 

From Pure Awareness rises the possibility of total liberation. 

Liberation is the light of the diamond in its totality and not merely one or a few facets like specific convictions based on karma that you (the 'I', ego) try to change in this life. If you only focus on solving all kind of issues of the psychological mind (the facets), total liberation is not possible, because the psychological mind, the 'I', the ego, stays in charge, you are the one who is working hard to improve your state of being, but it is the identification with the 'I' that causes the suffering in the first place. And the psychological mind will continue to bring up a new problem after you have resolved the previous one. So meditation is a strong medicine to provoke Pure Awareness, to break down the identification with the psychological mind (the 'I'). 

Pure consciousness means transcending the mind; the light is 'on' and it shines: all convictions/problems gradually extinguish naturally in the Light of Awareness; no strong effort or hard work (= the 'I') is necessary. Yes, sometimes we have to descend deeper into certain resistances, but from Pure Awareness it's a totally different experience (less painful) than going deeper into the resistance from the mind. 

So, meditation enables you to break free from the wheel of reincarnation and karma, because you transcend the mind = it is the highway. 

If Pure Awareness is not recognized, you will remain a prisoner of the mind, a prisoner of the 'I' throughout your life, you are working hard on all kind of issues, but liberation will not reviel and then rebirth is a fact.

Time and time again, I am amazed by the strong influence of these deep convictions, which shape the lifespan of a person without their awareness. I listen and hear the strong identification, which goes hand in hand with the thoughts and emotions (that they firmly believe), which emanate from these convictions. And I feel/hear/see the perfection of existence throughout this lifespan: the potential for liberation, for which the soul is longing, liberation from the deep imprints from this life and others, which is the force behind this birth in these circumstances. 

It is this suffering, which is caused by the 'I' with these convictions, that pushes people to start searching for healing. What a beautiful design of existence. 

And I also see the other side: the massive power of maya, the total identification with these convictions which people continue to repeat, an entire life until death follows… and the next life… from which I say: look for a living master, practice self-inquiry, practice Vipassana meditation (1), in order to escape from the hold that the psychological mind has over you (including what I feel and think is ‘true’). 

(1): for more information and an introduction to Vipassana, have a look at http: // 

Boeddha: the best way to stay in samsara is to resist it. Samsara is the wheel of endless birth and death under the influence of delusion and karma which causes suffering. 
Linked-In: Caroline Ootes

I ​​would like to live in the here and now, but I live from one dot on the horizon to the next dot.

I meet a woman in practice. For the sake of convenience I call her Silvia. 
A conversation unfolds. Silvia indicates that in her life she always has a tendency to be 20 steps further than she is now. She finds it difficult to live in the here and now. She actually lives from one dot on the horizon to the next dot on the horizon. And this doesn't only take place in the field of her work (the next step on the career ladder), but also in relation to relationships. 

She says: "I just can't stop it ..., I am always busy with the next step, I constantly make pictures in my head about my work and about a new relationship that started some time ago. My coaching question is how I can be in the here and now."

I invite her to share more. She talks about a new relationship. From the start they went straight into the depths: a totally new experience for her. She indicates that she wants him to come closer, but that she is also afraid of it. Like him. He has let her know that he has fear of commitment through an earlier stifling relationship in his life. At some point she jokingly invites him to join her family on a family weekend. She knows in advance the answer he will give, so she says: "I don't ask you, but I share with you that my brother joked around that this weekend is perhaps the moment to get to know each other." The invitation from the brother of Silvia immediately triggers a feeling of suffocation in Silvia's friend: there is tension on his throat, he feels pressured. "You really don't have to come along, says Silvia to him, I didn't ask you anyway..., I just shared what my brother have said." 

After this meeting, she notices that she is in the grip of her mind. All sorts of thoughts haunted her mind, which makes her doubt whether she should continue the relationship with this man: "Is there a future for us? Not only does he keep the relationship at a distance, me too." 

I ask Silvia what her pictures (thoughts) are: bring them all into the light, what is haunting through you? "Well, Silvia says, first and foremost, I imagine what this fear of intimity  means for our relationship in the nearby future..." Then I think: "Gee, this man is very damaged..., and I don't want to be his therapist..., but we do have deep exchanges, that is very nice..., and it also comes to me well that he has a form of fear of commitment..., then I don't have to cross the bridge myself..., and... if I'm very honest..., it feels safe that he keeps distance, then it can't go wrong..., because there is a strong thought in me that it will go wrong again." 

She continues: "Yes, I see that the thinking machine is going on, I see that I am completely absorbed by all those pictures, all those thoughts, but I can't resist, the mind just goes on. I would love to live in the here and now. Actually, I myself break what is there now (nice exchanges) by constantly anticipating the nearby future."

"Yes, I say, I feel your energy..., it lacks confidence..., I feel that you want guidance, certainty, clarity... and that isn't possible, because the situation is as it is. And besides that..., life itself is also insecure by nature: you don't know what the next moment brings, so no answer is possible." 

It resonates: there is no trust. She bursts out crying: "If I start to trust now, I'm so afraid to get the lid on my nose." She is crying. I give her the time to feel her grief. After some time I ask her what she means when she says she is so afraid to get the lid on her nose. "That I can be hurt," says Silvia. What does that look like? What are you afraid of? I ask. "I'm afraid he'll pull out the plug." What would be his story to pull out the plug? "Well, I am afraid that he thinks that I am not good enough, that I am not worthy of his love." And then? What are you afraid of? "That I'll stay behind alone." Yes, that's what I feel, I say, you closed your heart at some point in your life, like him, you are so afraid of being hurt..., I feel that you are led by a conviction: love is not there for me, no one who really wants me, I just stay behind.

This remark triggers a flood of grief. I feel compassion for her and invite her to fully allow the old pain. After a while I ask: "Do you realize this is child pain? It seems that in your childhood you picked up the message from your parents that they didn't really love you, which you have translated into: I am not good enough, I am not worth it." 

Again she bursts out crying. She says: "It resonates 100%. As a child I sometimes thought that I had been adopted, despite my birth pictures as proof." Stay with your grief, I say, feel where it is in your body, bring all your attention to this pain and let it melt, don't go to your head, to stories. After the necessary shocks of intense grief, it is quiet again in Silvia. 

Yes, I say, this is the pain you have been carrying with you for a lifetime. And where you act from. This pain has never fully seen the light. And existence is very gracious to you, by bringing this man on your path, giving you the opportunity to melt the pain of the child you were. This pain makes you always take refuge to your head: there is no trust. At some point in your life you have closed yourself: you long for intimacy and openness, that is your heart. Everyone's heart longs for connection, for proximity and contact, but the pain of not being loved is still there." 

I will now return to the question you came in with: "How can I be in the here and now?" There are several ways. First of all: let this pain melt, which has become clear today. Every time when fear and doubt is triggered and a compulsive tendency arises to make pictures (thoughts) about this relationship, turn inside and feel the pain that lies beneath the pictures: everything is uncertain (that's right: life is uncertain), I don't know what to do (that is true, you can't know, the flow of life is not predictable), shall I go on with this relationship (that will naturally become clear in time), I am so afraid that it goes wrong, that no one will be there for me, that I stay behind (the pain of the child and existential pain: a deep sense of loneliness). When you have felt the pain to the root, it evaporates. Then the tendency to make pictures (the thinking machine) can still be triggered, but you will no longer be held hostage by the mind, it is then possible to be present: you see what takes place in the mind. The Self (Consciousness) looks at the self (the mind). You see the story that takes place in your head. And then look total: view everything that is being performed by the mind, from the beginning to the end..., be present..., look at the whole movie that your mind produces..., realizing that you are not the story, but the lamp of awareness, who sees the story. By fully consciously observing the antics of the mind, the pattern is completely illuminated and at a certain moment it goes out. Is it a new situation that triggers you, a situation that you can't let go of (it keeps you busy): look, observe what happens, what do you say, do... and research on a quiet moment what is touched, what convictions (pictures) have been triggered. Don't concern yourself with what the other person did right or wrong. Don't concern yourself with what you did or didn't do well: that is not self-research, that is the mind, that wants to declare the other guilty and/or yourself. Don't go to psychological analysis and explanations. Simply bring everything into the light, that is self-inquiry: let the lamp of Conscious Being shine on the convictions and fears until you reach the pit, the pain point (see previous blog). 

Sometimes seeing through the trigger is enough to see reality as it is, sometimes more work is needed: feeling the original pain as it happened in you today. How does that pain feel? The pain of not being loved, the pain of loneliness. Don't go to statements and stories about your youth. Go to the pain that lies behind the thought that you often feel that you were adopted: no one who loves me, loneliness. Let that pain melt. And then your heart opens and it is possible to really enter into an intimate relationship. 

And realize the impact of your process on your partner: everything you clean up has a healing effect on him and on everyone you connect with. That is great, isn't it? 

Another way to get out of the head is: being present in the here and now. And I see/feel that the lamp of awareness is no longer completely veiled by identification with the mind: you see, you notice that you always take refuge in your head, to explanations, to doubts, distrust. Don't judge this tendency, it is not personal, it is collective, we have all been raised in this field of fear and shortage. And it's already a lot that you see the inclination. The majority of mankind doesn't realize that they live continuously from this field, from the mind: in the past or in the future, but not here and now. They are fully identified with the mind, with their thoughts and emotions, which they consider appropriate (my story). 

And change begins with seeing, with awareness. So great that you see the inclination. The exercise I want to give you is: return to the here and now. Every time you notice that you are in your head, bring attention to this moment. This is not easy, because it is a deeply ingrained groove: the head as a survival strategy to prevent hurt, the head that wants grip on a situation (relationship) to prevent disappointment and pain, the head that wants clarity and certainty what is impossible, because life is uncertain and open, so it is not predictable. 

And that reminds me of Nisargadatta, a spiritual teacher who died in 1981. Do you know him? No. He came to liberation by consistently applying a simple instruction from his master. Every time there was identification with the mind (I am the world, this personality, the body, my faith, culture, my thoughts etc.) he brought the attention back to the original principle, to the 'being' principle, the 'I am'. To that which is..., beyond the mind..., beyond all assumptions and beliefs that are claimed by the ego (I am so and so). If that falls away from us..., the identification with the mind..., what is left? That what is: I am. And after I am... it is quiet, no interpretation, no hold on anything: openness, no identification with the mind, that is Life. I am..., there is no more to say. Every time there is a tendency to go into a story, a story about yourself or about the other, a story about the past or about the future: return to I am, to Beingness, to just being. This ends the session. She is very grateful to me. "How is it possible that we came to the core in such a short time," she says. Yes... sometimes it goes like that..., you're a ripe apple. 
LinkedIn: Caroline Ootes

Nothing is certain, learn to love that.


If nothing is certain, everything is possible. 

We (my partner and our daughter) are on holiday in another country, a country where we haven't been before. At some point our daughter shows that she misses her sister, who died last year (summer 2016) around this time. She indicates that during other holidays with the family she was used to go out with her in the evening, that is no longer possible. She is sad. 

Later she let us know that she is in the mood of meeting peers to chill together. She is placing a message on tinder friends and not much later she's receiving a message from a young man of her age, who is 17 km away from our address in a holiday home, together with two other men. She's showing us a picture of the young man, who's indicating that they have rented a spacious holiday home, which is located in a remote spot. 

We are on the beach when this conversation is happening. My partner is a few meters away, he is lying in the shadow and is listening from a distance to the conversation that unfolds between my daughter and me. She wants  an adventure, she says. She wonders how she gets there and how she returns home at night. During the conversation my partner stands up and walks towards us. He makes it clear that he doesn't want her to go: an unknown country, 17 km away from our address, isolated house, 3 men she doesn't know..., what does that all mean..., it is our last evening, he says, I don't want you to go over there. 

In everything I feel that his reaction comes from fear. So afraid to lose another daughter..., he feels that he has no control over the situation... Well, how do you deal with such a situation if your daughter is an adult woman of 26 years and your partner clearly indicates that he doesn't like this trip from his daughter? 

Her father goes into the sea. She resumes the conversation with me. What do you think? What shall I do? No idea, I say, what is going through you now? Well, I don't want to disappoint Dad, and of course it is also nice to end up with a dinner and I also understand that he is afraid, but yes, I am 26 years old... and I feel a pressure when Daddy is talking like that..., it feels like I can't do what I want..., I just love some adventure... 

Okay, and further..., what else is going on in you? Well, I like it to meet people and chill out with each other, but yes, transport is still a problem: how do I get there and how do I get back home? What shall I do? Do what is right for you, I say, even if it is not right for your father. You are not responsible for his feelings, whether that is fear... or disappointment from an expectation that he has about our last night. And of course, your father has every right to express himself, to express his need and to show his fear, but that doesn't mean you have to stick to it. The pressure you experience is not caused by your father, the pressure lives in you, it is the pressure of adaptation, which lives in each of us. It is not easy to be your-Self, to be faithful to the inner voice, especially when the other person has an expectation that doesn't match with what you want. It is up to you to discover what the inner voice is whispering to you, to discover what is right for you. And there are several possibilities: you can first go out for dinner with us and then visit these young men, you can go out for dinner with us and then see what the possibilities are in the immediate environment to meet some peers (café in de neighborhood/ happening on the beach), you can eat out with us and then we walk together to the old city to stroll and have a drink somewhere, you can also decide not to obey the urge to adventure, to experience what that brings about in you, what you meet in yourself if you don't 'go'. 

She lets it all sink in for a moment. At some point she says: I am not going,  I don't know how to get there and also the return journey is a problem. Can't you pick me up? No, I say, I don't feel like that. I want to bring you as long as it is light, nice to explore the area by car, but you have to arrange the return journey differently. Okay, she says, I'm not going, too complicated. 

Some time later the young man appt, he is ready to pick her up, but since he wants to drink some alcoholic drinks himself, he can't bring her back to the address where we are staying. His reaction changes her thoughts: she indicates that she wants to go to the invitation and asks if he can arrange a taxi for the return journey. Not much later, a name and telephone number of a taxi driver who is willing to bring her home, even if it is in the middle of the night, follows. She says: I am going..., first I am going to eat with you and Dad and then I will let him pick me up from our address. Okay, I say, then it seems nice to meet him at the moment he comes to pick you up and I want the address where he stays, his name and phone number. Can you show me the picture of this young man again? I look once more and feel the energy of the young man on the photo: good energy, confidence-inspiring. The situation as it unfolds feels right for me.
My daughter says: Do I have to tell it to daddy? 
We'll see how it unfolds..., I don't know that yet either. In any case, you can borrow the money for the taxi and it's nice that we're going out for dinner together, your father will like that. 

After eating, she is picked up from our residence address. We walk outside and say hello to the young man. He gets out of the car, introduces himself. I share with him our thought: we are in an unfamiliar environment, we don't know you and our daughter is dear to us. He reacts with understanding: I can imagine, he says, very well to keep an eye on her. After the short acquaintance my partner is reassured. She steps in and promises to send an app. I lived on the assumption that she would send the address of the young men's stay. The next day it turned out that she had already mentioned the location prior to her appointment, which I hadn't registered properly. 

Three quarters of an hour later I go to bed, there hasn't yet been an app with the address. She's probably forgotten that..., well, it's okay..., I'm going to sleep. After a few hours I go to the toilet and then look at the phone. No message. It's a pity, I don't know how things are going with her and the address where she is staying is not known (I thought). I am in the zone of 'uncertainty'. And yet there is no movement to send her an app. 

I get back in bed. It is warm, I can't sleep. I see one scenario after the other scenario for my mind's eye appearing, unmoved I look at the possibilities: she can be raped, she can be murdered, she can experience a great evening and get back home somewhere in the night, she can have a great time and decide to stay asleep, she can have so much fun that she decides to stay with them for another week. I see the possibilities and I am calm under it. 

But behind the scenarios there is a different deep tone, a tone that is related to fear: the tone of the uncertain, the tone of not knowing, of the unknown, of total openness, what Life itself is: unknown, fresh, new, an adventure. It feels frightening... that total openness. 
Around three o'clock I visit the toilet again and look again on the phone: no message. I'll call her. She picks up, she has fun and is now waiting for the taxi to come home. I am glad that she likes it, that she enjoys, without her sister, who can't be there anymore. And for us..., for me... another test of Life itself: surrender to existence itself, that's what it's about..., without any reserve..., surrender to total openness..., not knowing what the next moment brings, not knowing what the outcome is, not knowing how this situation will unfold..., which is always the case..., even though we live under the assumption that we can control existence and/or situations... 
The reality is that we have no control at all, that is the actual situation what we prefer to avoid as long as we view ourselves as separate from existence: "I" and the world. 

And what does the world mean to us? Is there confidence in us? Or do we experience the world as threatening and hostile? What is our perspective? The "I" (ego) knows no trust, the "I" is a creation of the mind through which we experience ourselves separately from Life itself. The 'I' wants certainty and clarity, wants to know what and when, but the reality is that nothing is certain, there is no hold, there is nothing to cling to, even if we think so, even though we try to create all kinds of certainties (home, partner, work, health, etc.). 

And then I hear my teacher say: nothing is certain, learn to love that. Yes, that is what we experienced to the fullest in the summer of 2016: the death of our daughter. I feel that a deep process of release is going on in me..., a slow dismantling of the 'I', of the identity, of the self-image (this is me). 

Nothing is certain anymore..., that realization is going on, a process of demolition is taking place... And if nothing is certain, all answers are possible, all scenarios..., because that is Life. Trust in existence, that's what it's all about..., which, incidentally, doesn't mean naive stepping into a situation. 
In this situation it meant for me the following aspects: viewing of the photo, getting acquainted, name and phone number of the young man and the address of their stay. 

And so the universe regularly carries out unforeseen tests like the above situation with our daughter. And the consciousness in me is watching: What does this situation bring about in me? How do I react? From fear and being worried or trust? No address of the young man's stay (I thought) + no movement to send an app to ask for the address... In the past I would have contacted directly from fear in such situations... Well, that's Life. 

Which tests of the universe do you encounter? Do you see them? And what do these tests bring about in you? Is there resistance? Are you stuck? Or are you moving? Are you investigating for yourself what this test is showing you? 

Every test has the potential for growth, for consciousness. And then I am very grateful to our daughter for her adventurous spirit, her trust in humanity, a mirror for us, even though she sometimes makes a mistake. 

The next day I read the blog to her and I ask her if it's okay if I publish it? Yes, she says, it's okay. What is the hitch that I hear, I say. I am afraid that people will fall over me again, that I haven't taken you and Dad into account, while Simone died about this time a year ago. Well, I say, I'll put that in the blog..., maybe they'll also understand the other side of the coin..., that you serve us in our growth..., it's not always easy..., I have to admit, but I am grateful to you..., very grateful for who you are...
LinkedIn: Caroline Ootes

Everything in my life is a 'must'... and I am so tired already.

Self-inquiry: The wires.
What do I mean by 'wires'? Sometimes we are placed before a situation and we experience different thoughts/emotions (the mind/the ego) from which we find it difficult to make a choice or to be completely open to ourselves and to others. In the latter case (open to ourselves and to others) there is a tendency to share some wires (thoughts/emotions) and omit other threads. Why is that? Do you have any idea?

Before you read on, examine this question: what keeps me away from revealing all wires (emotions/thoughts) about myself and in relation to the other person? See if you can answer the question. What is it why I don't want to reveal myself totally?

This is the answer I have discovered: we have a judgement about the wires. We label some wires as good and condemn other wires: I don't want to acknowledge these emotions/thoughts about myself, I'm not like that (jealous etc.) and certainly I'm not going to reveal all what I think or feel to someone close to me, I am afraid they will reject me, because I reject this emotions and thought in myself.

We prefer to suppress all nasty, annoying thoughts and emotions (or eat away, or drink away etc.), because we have labeled them. It is the mind/ego that judges and condemns.

Our essence, our true nature is free, knows no judgments, can't be hurt and doesn't hurt either..., because it IS..., like the sun that IS: always and always shining. It doesn't have an opinion or feeling like the mind: today I don't feel like shining, I am in a bad mood, I feel rejected, so I don't shine today. No, the sun, our essence shines always. Our nature is non-judgmental and compassionate. Out of the heart it looks at what appears on the scene. It has no opinions about the wires, no label in the sense of good or bad emotions/thoughts, it looks at the wires for what they are, nothing more, nothing less.

The suffering we experience in our lives has to do with the fact that we believe what the mind is telling us. We believe all those wires and therefore we don't want to acknowledge the 'bad' wires: we feel blamed, but we don't share it; we feel jealous or not good enough, but suppress those emotions etc. Who wants to feel jealous? Nobody, right?

There is nothing wrong with all those judgments and convictions were it not that we value it so much. We believe  what the mind mirrows us and that is the cause of our suffering: the identification with the mind. We are not at home in the sun, in our heart, but a prisoner of our mind, a prisoner of our emotions and thoughts, which we accept as true. And if we accept them as true, then we don't want to look to all those nasty emotions. It is just too painful.

If we want to escape from the prison of mind (suffering), then self-inquiry is an important tool, an instrument that is regularly used during the sessions of awareness coaching. And self-examination is only possible if we allow ourselves to bring everything to light: to observe without judgment (sun) what happens in us. And if there are judgments... (and there are plenty of them), then that is what we observe. It's about loosening faith in all those judgments, getting out of the mind, you're not the mind, but the light (sun) where the thoughts and emotions appear in.

At some point I discovered in my process and in my work with clients how important it is to reveil and investigate all the threads: the so-called 'beautiful', 'pleasant','horrible','ugly' thoughts and emotions.
Even though the critical voice labels the wires as good or bad, realize that the wires are only wires, they are not true or false or contradictory: they are. In other words, shift the attention of the mind to Awareness (our essence), to the space that you are in which the wires (emotions and thoughts) appear.

Okay..., after the theory, now an example: a while ago a client came in where the research of the wires stood central. The client, I call her for the readability Yvon, had agreed with girlfriend Tineke to participate in a certain contest, because 'we do this every year' (= pattern). She noticed that during the making of the appointment a movement in her body was going on, indicating that she didn't really felt like it, so tired, but yes, the actual date was a bit further away, and who knows…, maybe by then she would like to go, because it is nice to be outside, the race would take place in the nature what she loves, and they went together every year, so she had said 'yes' to her friend. 

It struck me that Tineke (her friend) had not asked her, but that she automatically assumed that they would go together again this year (conditioned pattern), and yes, according to Yvon...Tineke had it not so easy..., so to say 'no' to her..., that was a bit too far..., because I am still that support for her to train... When I am going, then she goes and that motivates her to train..., and yes, appointment is appointment, I have said 'yes' to Tineke, so I have to fulfill my appointment with her (= conviction/rule), I just push myself to do what we have agreed. This is a learned pattern of the family: come on, don't complain, do it for her, give her the support she needs, it's not a big problem, don't worry about it... and you know that the match gives you energy and it is in nature, so just turn the knob. 

Recognizable to the reader? This kind of stories (wires) that go through us? 

I asked the client the following questions: Can you come back to an appointment? What would it be like if you were to wait for the moment itself (for example, one day before the race) to check how the flag stands for you internally? How is it for you to communicate all the wires with Tineke in all openness? And why is it not oké for you when Tineke may react disappointed? It is a normal reaction, right?

During our exchange it became clear to Yvon that she had to call Tineke to indicate that she didn't want to participate in this contest at the moment, that she would rather cancel the appointment, because she was so tired…, maybe her mood and energylevel changed during the coming period and possibly she would still participate in the competition, but at the moment she didn't know if that would be the case. 
Yvon also indicated that she was worried that Tineke would be disappointed and that she felt she couldn't say 'no', because Yvon was a support for her to train, but she also had to be honest with herself: I am so tired and I find it difficult to take care for myself.

Initially, Yvon was afraid to enter into this conversation with Tineke. Very understandable, because it also requires a lot: breaking several patterns and learned behavior: we do this match every year, the other needs my support, I can't abandon her like that, I am not used to be open and vulnerable to others. 

And it also meant that she had to break with several convictions: an appointment is an appointment, be nice and supportive to others, don't make a problem out of nothing. Yvon didn't want to disappoint Tineke, because Tineke counts on her (that is what Yvon thinks = conviction) and Tineke 'needs' her support (conviction). This is the way Yvon looks at her friend..., that is not the reality..., but her coloring of the reality caused by all the programs of the mind/ego based on childhoodexperiences, society etc. It is a picture Yvon puts on Tineke: she needs me. The picture vanished on the moment that Yvon discovers that she herself has missed that support in her childhood and that she transfers that pain (no one to support me) on her friend. She doesn't want her friend to come across the same pain: that she had to figure it out all alone.

So an unconscious belief determines her behavior (taking care for her friend) without knowing it (blind spot): she can't share all the wires in all openness with Tineke, she is afraid that Tineke will feel abandoned (what is the unknown pain of Yvon herself). 

The next consultation I asked about the exchange with Tineke. Yvon indicate that Tineke had responded positively, not according to the wires of Yvon (that she needed her support, that she would be disappointed). Then I asked how the flag actually stood for a few days prior to the match and which decision she had finally taken? 

She indicated that the following wires had gone through her: Shall I cancel..., I really don't feel like it..., I get already tired at the thought, but yes, it's nice outside, in nature, I get energy from it and Tineke appreciates it so much, and once I'm in the contest, it will work out well for me etc.

What do you think she has decided?

She decided to go running. 
I asked Yvon if she sometimes responded to another important wire she had mentioned several times: that she didn't feel like it, that she is often so tired. Yvon said: No, I always go on. 
Then I asked the following question: And what would it be like to listen to that first voice, which indicates that you really don't feel like it, that you are tired? Yvon said: If I give in to that, then I am actually afraid that I will sink deep, that I will lose control of myself, that I will come to nothing, that I will become depressed…
My answer: Interesting..., and is that true? How do you know that? Have you ever tried it out? No, Yvon said.

How would it be for you to take this experiment? To listen to the voice that says: I really don't feel like it, I'm tired.
And could it also give you something if you would respond to that voice? Yvon: Yes, rest..., relaxation..., which I really long for..., everything in my life is 'work', is 'must' and I always anticipate what has to be done, I can't just sit still on the couch.

Yvon started the experiment. We have walked together for a while. After an x-number of sessions she indicates what a relief it is that the eternal must and care for others (instead of care for herself) is out of her system. She now recognizes the inner voice (instead of the voice of parents/society), she doesn't always act on it, but experiences it as a gift that she sees from where she moves, that there is consciousness, because without consciousness (awareness) you are simply lived by your patterns and beliefs. 
She is happy that she has learned to speak out and show vulnerability to others and experiences it as a blessing that so many learned patterns and beliefs evaporate. 
She thanks me for the transformation that has taken place. She says: 'If I hadn't come to you, I was now in the sick-law with a burn-out..., I have learned, felt and discovered so much through our exchanges and the 'homework assignments' that I received, I am extremely grateful to you.'

And I am grateful to Yvon for having given me the trust and that we were allowed to make this trip together. There is nothing more fulfilling than 'going open'... and coming home to your-Self.
LinkedIn: Caroline Ootes