Category Archives: Togetherhood

Living an inverse life?

Camp life...
Camp life…

“Friction between your true self and conformism might result in trauma and numbness” ~Iwanjka

I passed four days at Luxembourg, a campsite near Berdorf to be more precise.

In my ‘previous life’ (untill 2008, my burnout and transition moment), I had been I guess for about 30 times to this place. The primary focus: Rock climbing.

The normal sequence: Work for about 40 to 60 hours during the week, pack things in the car Friday evening. Drive till about 1 AM. Sleep, and hit the rocks the day after. On Sundays the opposite sequence, hoping not to join a one hour traffic jam somewhere on the road back. And Monday be at work again at -sometimes- 7 AM.

Rock climbing had been my rescuer in a ‘low state’ in my life when I left school and went to university. Using my body, vitalize it, be part of a group system and spent climbing trips in nature gave me new energy. Further on in my life, when I started working as a consultant in banking industry I think it was my main source of energy to survive in these -basically- poisonous environments.

In this trip I went on my own. I could share the ride from the Netherlands with a new dear friend, Niels Baloe. We went with his car. I met Niels at a Transition Towns national day in the Netherlands some years before. He is dedicated in making a off grid gather house, with for example a 12 volts network (solar) and permaculture garden. And facilities for group gatherings. What a quite and nature abundance I experienced. This is his website, he also gives courses in non violent communication and off-grid living.

As being on my own, I did not have a climbing partner who could belay me. I did bring a rope with me though. And I had figured out a plan how I could belay myself once I had my rope through a carabiner above in the rocks ‘toprope solo’. But that required also somebody else to get it there;-)

I arrived Wednesday. It was fairly quite in the rock climbing area. Maybe six people. I decided not to ask them, it felt intrusive. Rock climbers couples can be pretty ‘self focused’. And also I wanted to experience this journey if I changed my attitude to my climbing habit: Was it still an escape and with that, a sort of addiction? Could I stand being with rocks, and not able to climb there?

I enjoyed nature, did some wanderings, did quite some work, which – thanks to mobile internet- could be done anywhere. And I felt not obsessed with climbing;-) So, a next phase on this for me: Climb from a more healthy perspective: Joy and keeping my body vital. Almost forgotten to mention: I also did two barefoot mountain runs, to train for the 2018 Ventoux-Malawi Fund raise project.

My return traject I planned to do by train and bus. For the first time. To put my words and intentions into action: Travel with far less fossil usage (not by a fossil car).

Inverse living…?
And now I come to the core thing I observed: By being able to be in that climbing area during the week it was nice and quite. In the weekend I didn’t want to be there actually.

I had been striving already 20 years ago to tune my life in the direction I could be there during the week.. and now it happened. Whoopy! And it again makes me realise how attached we are to all kinds of obligations and schemes… Work, school, children care, children school, schemes of our partner (climbing normally takes two, etc.).

In addition: I could take the ecological-better travel alternative because I had been able to change my life and do not have a static working schedule. In such I take a whole day for traveling by bus and train (Monday) (by car it is 3,5 to 5 hours driving). And, as migrating to a mostly mobile worker, I could do for about 5 hours work while being on the road.

About changing my life: A burnout made me change my life, I don’t think I would have quit my old working life and mortgage situation, etcetera, without that burnout. I hope that when more and more people make a transition. And share it, more and more people can make a transition without undergoing a deep personal crisis (also having a deep impact on ever one around them!).

Camp life dynamics…
How I love the camp life, in opposite to the living in concrete ‘bricks in the wall’… The freedom to go with the sun. The openness of fields and tenst, why you meet by accidence new people and sit around a fire together. Or ask people you like to join, and spent some days together. And children walking around in their little village (the campsite), making direct new friends at the trampoline and swimming pool. No need for daily journey to sporting clubs, schools, etc. (if we can arrange school at the campsite). As long as things are neither too big, or too small.

These things I miss in nowadays cities.

About camping and season: Camping in winter I don’t like, why do Dutch people have a long summer holiday and go south, instead of doing this in winter?). [Maybe future work, add Tranzhumance link.]

And what a different life we could live if we change the underlying fundamentals. That we organize society in such way being can move, travel, school everywhere, etc. Is this an Utopia? I don’t think so.

Imagine (permaculture) style food facilities around these campsites. In which people work themselves for maintaining them.

And I realize more and more, that it is not my duty (or burden) to help everyone to be able to live like this. I have been struggling too much with this the past 10 years I think. Their part, is a part of their own response-ablity. Everyone has the opportunity to build their own reality untill a certain level. But it takes personal action to start making steps. First for a day. Than three days a year. Than maybe some weeks. Than maybe a month. Etc.

Create your own heavens
I can try to find and make the places where I can settle and be there for a while, with like minded people if possible. I started to name this instant community. And keeping a harmonic balance with my biological family, and children care taking. Make -and contribute to- my own little heavens. Maybe this is what the ‘easy little quite valley’ stands for in my name poem. [maybe future work: add link]

And maybe you can find or make your little heavens too. Or maybe we can join in this;-)

And I can share experiences to the world (like writing this article), and hope to inspire those who deeply inside feel the desire for this way of life in their soul burning. Who feel sick about daily routine of going to work, feeling too deprivation and isolated where they live. And I can-and do- contribute to create interconnecting facilities to connect places and people. But I cannot do this on my own. Together we can make it work.

Tear down the walls, that hold us inside…

And I realize that I can do this now, by the grace of two mothers taking care of my children in the Netherlands. But I would like to -and do partly- also facilitate them that they can live this life.

And I realize there is a reason for me still living part time in the city (Amersfoort). I feel we can transform cities into more social vital places too. [Maybe future work, add link to vision paper on housing]. Although this might take some decennia to manifest. And I am happy to have found one of the ‘more social cohesive’ neighbors settings I have seen in cities. I am thankful for this and those people!

If you want to read more, the ‘Flowtowns’ [Maybe future work, add link] word is about this, and how we define ‘work’ [Maybe future work, add link] is about this. And you can read more in my Personal Transition Plan on how try to make steps in this direction.

And in such we might live more with each other… again.

And, and, not every one needs to life like this. If you are in a more stationary phase in your life: It is perfectly fine to remain where you are. But I think the life described above is not too strange for many people: Thousands of eldery people in the Netherlands stay in the warmth in southern areas already in winter. About a hundred of thousand Dutch campers and caravans drive south in summer, like a sort of human migration already being there, mostly aiming for… camp life

~ Iwanjka, may 2018

Barking dogs enter my consciousness…

No… this isn’t a part of some kind of a thriller tale. Well, maybe it is…

It is 2 december 2016, I am at Lanzarote for a 11 day stay. I wake up early in the morning due to barking dogs outside. I wonder on the phenomenon on which I have been wondering many times: why do I hear so often dogs bark, and what does it mean to me? I look at the clock 4:44AM. Feels like time to get up and write down the wonderings which I find within.

No animals behind fences
I asked a good friend of mine, who stayed at Findhorn, on the policy the people there have on animals. If I remember correctly he said ‘no animals behind fences’. I like that statement: short, clear and simple. And since then I try to live it my self.

Signs…
For me the barking dogs expresses a not-good situation. And off course, there are historic reasons why the dogs are kept ‘in prison’: to protect a house or owner, I am told. Sounds logical.
But is that in ‘modern times’ a good reason? So, for me harshly saying, and many will say they do not agree: for me keeping dogs behind walls can be considered as animal mis treatment.

But…
But… at the other hand, I don’t think it is a good idea to unleash all those ‘domestic’ animals: they don’t know anymore how to survive in nature. So, for there lifetime maybe let things as they are. And yes, many animals which where ‘taken’ as a ‘pet’ and after abandoned are better of in the care of some good care takers. But, maybe, it wasn’t a good thing to create baby dogs in a not-natural situation at all?

I believe…
I believe – for now, opinions might change- that in general:

“It is not a good thing to keep animals ‘behind fences’ for animation or feeding of humans”

And for me feeding pets with meat from the ‘meat industry’ also feels highly strange…

Quantum field or spirilogical reciprocity
And if the above is ‘true’… I also feel it is logical from ‘spiritual’ perspective that if we do harm to living creatures, harm will be done to us.

Why?
Another harsh statement… I often wonder why people ‘need’ to have a pet. I am fond of animals, but free. I cannot deny that when I wonder on this, I feel a connection with a deprived society. And I cannot ‘blame’ these people, because there feelings are logical and true towards the wish of companionship… if this is a reason. If these words are true. Many ‘ifs’…

Babies and pets
And… there is another feeling which raises to my mind: that people often seem to treat their pets as their babies (and babies as pets). And, another observation: when do people ‘take a child’ to fill ‘a (emotional) void’ (which also, as a parent, forces me to look in that mirror). When is creating a child a good thing?

Sharing and social connecting
I believe touching these ‘taboos’ and let all the feeling be, and express and flow, form the keys to a more good society. In many aspects, whether it is achieving a healthy human -stable- population on earth (less baby-birth), or less wars and animal and people abuse. And I feel that a more affective society, whether it is parent-child affection, or affection in ‘mini societies’ and more sharing, can lead to far more peace.

Conclusion: Affinity-full living settings and healing
That is why I find the concept of social ‘affinity’  in creating housing architecture so important. And ‘healing’ of the ‘wounded parts’ in us. And avoid wounding children into wounded adults which start wounding their children on their turn, etc.

And remember: guilt is a useless and sense less concept.

References:
Sarah Morton wrote an important book on how the ‘wounded’ parent and ‘wounded’ child connects. The title and availability in Dutch (click the link): Wat je niet verteld is…

Note
I try to express my self in a non violent communication way. My intention is not to offend anyone…

Comments later on (newest first):

  • February 2018: On pets and cats… being at a Spanish campsite we put up our tent. We notice a lot of cats, I guess at least twenty. Already within some hours we smell cats urine… we inspect the tent, and we notice multiple spots of cat urine. Some studying on the Internet mentions cats start to do so if they are in distress. ‘In distress?’ I think… ‘Why?’. Than I realize that the cats have been dominated, domesticated. Taken from their wild nature. And now live a life of distress, partly lost their nature. And humans did so, and I think it was not their choice… Than I thought, what would be the most good respons to do now? For them, for us… If they keep on procreating, the place will be filled more and more with cats who are confused and -maybe- suffering. People told us some cats got already castrated, and that it has been far worse. I feel reluctant on this: I would not like to be castrated, so it feels not good to do it to another life fife form. But after some more wondering and outweighing pro’s and cons, I start to share the viewpoint that castrating might be the best option. And try to give them a good as possible cat life. And then, theoretically, this animal -maybe- abuse will fade away out of it self. At least as people do not continue breeding new domesticated cats for their animation or pleasure. At the same campsite there are at least 30 dogs. And there are signs that dogs are only allowed at a line. Quite some barking and ‘dog bosses’ pulling at the ropes and shouting and the dogs. ‘Poor dogs’, I think… same story. Crazy animals, those humans.

Transhumance and Global Warming

3 degrees celsius in Holland. I brought Maireall to school, and wanted to do some barefoot running training after. In about a week I intend to do a barefoot marathon in France (Mont Ventoux) to raise money and attention for the orphans and possible solutions for them in Malawi.

After seeing the temperature on a sign along the road I thought ‘Well, not today! Far too cold for me!’.

And that made me wonder -again- on why I am at a geographical location where it is too cold to walk barefoot. And the cold hurts me, yes it really does.

“Transhumance: seasonal trekking of the livestock – Wikipedia EN”

Already a long time I am wondering why people remain in the cold, often complaining, getting winter depressed, etc. Before my crash (2008) I sort of accepted that this was the way it was: you have to work locally, children are attached to a local school, limiting traveling to school hollidays. 1 or two times a short to the sun, if we are lucky we can affort it.

After my crash I decided to devote myself and years I had left on Earth to try to make this dream real. Why not?

And than, more and more people I meet having the same wish. The only thing that lacks is a fitting social architecture for this, and a sort of migration infrastructure. In which we can do our work, create food, meet nice people (family/friends) and arrange education for our children.

And… maybe another important aspect… In the North in winter people use a tremendous amount of fossil energy to heat that houses. Causing pollution, health problems and as it seems a global warming issue. An issue which is so big, that if we continue like this our children might encounter a dying earth, and dying and suffering people (hunger, weather catastrophes, breaking dykes (Netherlands), etc.)…

Cain and Abel
Wondering over this subject, and how we could manifest and infrastructure with bot would surf migrating people and static people, for some reason I had to think about the Cain and Abel tale. I looked it up. To my surprise I found this quote [wikipedia www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cain_and_Abel]:

Some scholars suggest the pericope may have been based on a Sumerian story representing the conflict between nomadic shepherds and settled farmers.[11] Modern scholars typically view the stories of Adam and Eve and Cain and Abel to be about the development of civilization during the age of agriculture; not the beginnings of man, but when people first learned agriculture, replacing the ways of the hunter-gatherer.[12]

I can imagine vegetable farms not to be happy with nomadic people driving their cattle over their fields, destroying their crops. But now a new opportunity entered my consciousness: Imagine we stop eating animal related products (I still eat quite some cheese this will be difficult for me too). In that case nomadic people don’t have to carry around with cattle. Hey can help the people who act als ‘place holders’ (guardians) to develop and maintain the cities / villages, or flowtowns as I started to call this concept. And than, via the transhumance concept we can finalize an already thousands years during human conflict. Which resonates with the essence of the tale of Cain and Abel.

More you can soon read in the book named Flowtowns. For Dutch readers: you can find it here online:  www.transitieportaal.nl/boeken/flowtowns

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