collections are for hoarders

Earlier this year I set myself a goal: to get rid of anything that does not add value or purpose in my life anymore. I envisioned being completely or almost fully clutter-free by the end of the year, keep things that I actually use/like and I motivated myself with a rather fictional possibility of moving-out any time soon. Almost one-third of the year has passed by now, but I feel nowhere nearly my goal yet. I’ve gained so much experience and even gotten better in selecting what I honestly don’t need anymore, it still feels like an endless job. Luckily I’ve been very realistic with my time-plan and I knew I would need more time than most people. I know I tend to be very perfectionistic and the way I approach things are always what I consider the best or most respectful way to handle things: with good care.

I found out now that a good way to completely depart yourself with certain items, is to actually enjoy them for one more/last time. I see this experience as some kind of goodbye. Although Marie Kondo suggested in ‘The Life-changing magic of Tidying-up’ that you should just touch the object (not read it or wear it..) and thank it, in order to say goodbye, but for me that is not enough, especially when it comes to sentimental objects and boy do I have many of those. I honestly couldn’t tell anymore what things aren’t sentimental. I never thought that decluttering would entail such emotional discharge in order to heal myself mentally/spiritually and create physical space in the end. Although I don’t need a long closure-routine with every item I own(ed), when it comes to sentimental items, I try to find a special way to be okay with letting go (unless I don’t want to).

I found out that I have/had the most difficulties with the things that defined me as a younger self. In order to fully embrace the now, I truly need to emotionally say goodbye to the past, thanks to the help of these object. I honestly wasn’t aware that I held on to my Harry Potter collection or my Pokémon collection so tight. Apparently I felt the need to keep identifying myself through my childhood-self by still possessing these tokens of what-seemed-back-then a long period of my lifetime. I wasn’t aware I had so many posters left in that untouched box or other gadgets I held on to like relics and I felt like the right thing to do now is take a picture of every thing that sparked joy back then but doesn’t add value/joy to my life today. Then put these picture online with some information of each product, carefully pack them in their boxes and hopefully come across someone who would actually enjoy these things in her/his life more than I haven’t for years now. When I get to think about it, I believe I’ll still keep a thing or two from that collection after selling most of it and donating the rest. Maybe one day I won’t have anything physically remaining from that time of my life. For now it’s a small step towards minimalism; a giant leap for a (former) hoarder.

zenfood

I can’t agree with most so-called top-chefs out there, who cook without a proper notion of health or nutrition and never question their title and happen to appear everywhere on television and in magazines and get paid for promoting unhealthy lifestyles. As an animal lover and vegan, it’s not appealing for me to watch someone mindlessly prepare dead animal parts, soak it in butter and call it tasty. Therefore I generally tend to stay away from cooking shows and select my food information very carefully. Nevertheless, I came across a documentary series on Netflix about some sophisticated/haute cuisine. Although I wasn’t going to watch this entire documentary series, I still got very intrigued by one specific chef, a strong spiritual aware chef who knows how to feed the body with good intention and pure energy.

Season 3 of The Chef’s Table – Episode 1: This specific episode is inspiring on many levels and I highly recommend you to watch this one. It’s about the life and vision of Jeong Kwan, a Zen Buddhist nun that cooks holy temple food. She prepares her food with calmness, harmony and serenity which makes this food ideal to maintain a zen energy for meditation. Although this documentary focuses upon her exquisite cuisine, for me it mostly depicts her philosophy on peaceful living. She has a way of life that is so calming and she even radiates this energy throughout the documentary. I am not kidding you, I instantly felt peaceful after watching this episode. It was such a delight to get inspired by her divine way of cooking. She made me understand spices as a certain tone of energy, therefore we should be mindful about what kind of energy we put in our system. I already knew as a vegan that staying away form corpses and products that are the result of fear and death is keeping me away from consuming such negative energy. But now I also understand that we don’t always need to season our food for the sake of taste, it matters more what energy we want to attain with this food.

jeong

breastfeeding

On YouTube I came across a few videos where lactating mothers inspire other mums to breastfeed their children (openly). It seemed awkward at first to be exposed to such private content, for me it felt almost inappropriate to be watching this intimate act between mother and child. Despite my initial discomfort, I praised their openness and willingness to broadcast what is the most natural thing in life. I realized how my discomfort has been a learned cultural response, a proof of how our culture alienates us from what is absolutely natural and pushes us father away from our roots. Then again I got very upset to read a huge amount of negative comments/opinions concerning breastfeeding a child that culturally seems old (i.e. older than a newborn baby) to be fed mother’s milk. I cannot grasp how it seem wrong for a mother to decide how long her child needs to be breastfed.

Above that it disturbs me even more to witness how we as a society have been conditioned into believing it is normal for a grownup (wo)man to be drinking the mothers’ milk of another species. We as humans are the only species on earth to be drinking milk as an adult. This phenomenon does not occur in nature. Milk can only be produced when a mammal is pregnant, to feed her child. Let that sink in.

drinking milk

beste gemeente, beste overheid

Toen mij gevraagd werd een enquête over mijn gemeente of ons overheid in te vullen, heb ik maar eens mijn werk van gemaakt om aan te duiden wat er duidelijk moest gemaakt worden en ook toen mij gevraagd werd als laatst of ik nog een opmerking had, heb ik maar eens mijn mening uitgewerkt. Ik weet niet of het enige invloed kan hebben, maar ik vermoed dat minstens 1 persoon het ergens als job ga krijgen om die te lezen, en hopelijk kan ik die ene persoon beroeren en aanzetten tot meer, tot verbetering, tot bewustwording. Zo luidt het:

“Graag meer pesticide vrije landbouw, een diervriendelijke samenleving en een ecologisch beleid met oog voor een gezonde toekomst voor alle aardbewoners. Dat wil zeggen ook correcte informatie verspreiden over de oorzaak en grootste aandeelhouders in de aardeopwarming, lucht- en watervervuiling, de industrieën die het meest schade berokken aan het milieu, dat is met name de veeteelt-industrie die bovendien inefficiënt gebruikt maakt van landoppervlakte en hiermee contribueert aan wereldhonger, daarbij is een zuivel, ei, vis en vlees-arme dieet veel gezonder voor de mens (en dieren) en zouden de dokters hier ook meer van op de hoogte gebracht mogen worden i.p.v. geïndoctrineerd door misleidende reclame en multinationals die met oog op winst en geld, ten nadele van de gewone onwetende mens, schade aandoet aan alle partijen buiten de winsthebbers zelf. Onze samenleving moet meer gefocust zijn naar hernieuwbare energieën, beter leren sorteren van recycleerbaar materialen, het verminderen van afval en verpakkingen door ook het fiscaal stimuleren van verpakkingsvrije winkels. Een gemeente en een overheid zou voor haar inwoners goede intenties moeten vertonen, en een voorbeeld mogen zijn op grote schaal, op wereldvlak. wij mogen vooruitgang maken en dan pas kan ik trots zijn over onze samenleving, onze gemeente, overheid of land.”

sell your dusty guitar, keep the memories

I can only depart with this item if I receive money for it instead. Although I don’t like money just for the sake of owning money, because unused money for me is worth nothing. I prefer to exchange money for new possibilities. Such as selling something old and buying something new instead, investing in something that is worth it today. The idea to exchange something old for something new is how I like to change my life around.

For instance, I own a guitar and it’s quite a sentimental object to me. It has its own guitar-bag, guitar-stand, a footrest and some music books that go along with that one year I took music lessons beside (art-)school. I hated school and needed something to distract me and it worked wonderfully. I gained a new best friend that way and I had an awesome guitar teacher that looked like Johnny Depp.

I don’t know why I was good at it playing music at that time, I heard the teachers gave me one of the highest scores that year and I was shocked knowing that because for me I knew in my heart I wasn’t a natural musician. Everything felt unnatural and awkward (or maybe that was just me); holding the guitar, carrying it, reading the music score, taking care of my nails to a point of reaching perfection. I was obsessed with playing everything immaculately because for me music was black on white and needed to be played as it was written out. I didn’t enjoy rehearsing, I didn’t enjoy playing, I just had to play it right. I was lucky to have a teacher whom I loved very much, if it wasn’t for him I think I would have quit a lot sooner. Anyway, the year after that I moved place and I needed a new music teacher. The new teacher wasn’t my kind of teacher and I didn’t feel at ease with him because the way he taught music wasn’t as I had learned it so I had to basically learn everything from square one. Sadly for my guitar although luckily for me, I had a good excuse to focus upon my photography (at school) entirely and give up on the guitar.

Fast-forward a few years: I can’t read music anymore nor can I play the guitar. Everything I learned at that time is completely lost to me now. Although I want to believe that my subconscious will pick it up quite fast once I refocus upon that skill, I can’t prove it nor do I want to try it out. Because for me it ain’t worth it anymore. It is painful to admit that everything I once put much time, money and effort into, I completely missed memorizing a thing. And it’s quite embarrassing to come across a guitar and know I can’t play anything at all. On the other hand, I am very grateful it gave me the right distraction I needed at that time.

Today I look at this beautiful crafted peace of art and it pains me to let go of it. And every time I decide put the guitar somewhere else away, it procures a small wonderful warm tone that leaves me feeling quite sad about the person I once was. Honestly I know I’m not interested in learning how to play the guitar anymore.

But I can only separate with this item if I can get some money from instead, hopefully meet the new owner in person, exchange the goods, and for me it means I can invest that money in a hobby that is relevant for me today, instead of holding on to the past.