I returned from India with the wish and intention to engage in a more relaxing roadstory, one which would not push me too far out of my comfort zone. I decided to interview a friend of mine called Maja, who, for me personally, embodies that grounded femininity, which makes me feel instantly at home. She is earth and nature loving, studying Art-Pedagogy-Therapy; a florist by nature who comes from a family of musicians.
What makes me happy... I think what makes me happy is the ability, not only to feel or experience life’s ebb and flow, the way in which everything comes together with purpose and reason, but to also consciously allow myself to let life's current lead the way. For this, clarity of mind is very important; being actually present in every new moment and new experience. I am most happy when I am connected and in harmony with myself; when I can sense what my next step is. In this way everything resonates, chance encounters, coincidences and unique moments. Things over which I have no control, like meeting the right person, in the right place, at the right time, also make me happy. Even if these moments are bad, the realisation and awareness that everything happens for a reason and will resolve itself makes me happy. Balance and equilibrium also make me happy. Not in the sense that everything has to be perfect, just the feeling that I can cope with all the challenges which come my way. Finally, very superficial things also make me happy. Well, what does superficial mean? In any case, things such as delicious food, listening to beautiful music, being in the sun and being given flowers, these things too make me happy.
Home for me is not a place, but a feeling, which emerges when everything is right, when I feel present within my own body. Certain situations also carry the meaning of home for me. For example listening to music in the kitchen while I cook, the colour of a wall in combination with a houseplant or simply realising things, which I associate with a happy memory. There are also some places in which I know I will feel at home. Nature is one of these places. In nature I feel that I can totally be myself in combination with being completely present within myself. There are also people who, for me, represent a kind of 'mobile home' because they make me feel secure. I think the feeling of home has a lot to do with security for me.
I think there have been three phases in my life so far, which have helped to form who I am today. The first is the clear direction my parents gave me as a child. This dominating input was not always great, but in retrospect, also nice to have had. Their individual characters and unique qualities as well as their decisions had a direct impact on my life. For example, their decision to separate meant entirely new and different conditions of living for me. 'Home', at this time, adopted a completely different meaning. During this phase it wasn't always my decision as to how my life would evolve and progress, rather that of my parents.
The second phase began after puberty...I reached a point where I suddenly realised: I don't want to belong to anybody anymore! I want to belong to myself. Until this point, I always felt the need to conform, adapt and 'fit in'... the need to be part of the 'cool crowd'. This need was also accompanied with fear. The fear of making a mistake and thus losing my status. One day, however, and perhaps purely out of spite, I decided to do exactly the opposite. I decided to simply be exactly who I am. A decision which I am proud of. A dance teacher once said: Either you drive at full speed or you stop, but never drive with the hand break on. It was at this point I realised that being different is good and that I am unique and that that is the cool thing about it.
My final phase begins with the end of school and the beginning of university, at which point I found myself in a completely new environment with new surroundings and places. For the first time I had the responsibility of managing my own home and the feeling of being totally independent.
I now carry sole responsibility for my decisions. Previously I would do things without really knowing or understanding why, now it is up to me to decide where, why and how I invest my energy. Even if I decide to invest myself in something that is perhaps not necessarily constructive, it is my choice, and I think this freedom is very important.
Jaya Balas question: A tip, how to control anger – how to be peaceful?
I have a theory which is based on my own experience...I think anger is mostly caused by external conditions. The first step is asking oneself, what is my contribution to the situation. What part of me resonates with this external annoyance. For example, if a person irritates me, instead of reacting aggressively, I try to first look into myself and ask myself: How am I reflected in this person? What is it that makes me feel this way?
I think, however, that the second step holds even more importance. The ability to acknowledge or find the source of the problem and to deal with it in a peaceful manner, instead of being aggressive with oneself. In my experience, however, this is very difficult. I believe that the world would be a more peaceful place if people treated themselves with more respect. The ability to say, even in this moment, in which I don't like myself, I can accept and forgive myself. I can still love myself, imperfections and all.
I believe the key is a combination of two things: Being able to treat oneself with respect and being able to create a distance from oneself, which allows you to see things from a different perspective or in a different light (e.g. humour). If you don't take yourself too seriously, you can't hate yourself that much. When this space is lost and you start to be too judgemental with yourself, it helps to step back, laugh at yourself and say: "OK, despite everything, I do love myself and I will honour and remain true to myself..." this could bring calmness and peace.
Maja's question: What is REALLY important to you in your life?