Tag Archives: trust

55 – The age of Freedom

I am 55 years old and I feel like my life just started.

When I was a child and a young girl I had such dreams but I was also extremely shy and insecure, so the dreams stayed just that – dreams, my fears were very effective. The few times I voiced my dreams, I was told to forget it. “That’s ridiculous”, they said, “You can never do that. What if you fail?” Does this sound familiar? Fear of failure became the name of the game. And I was scared.

I grew up and had children, 4 of them, and became a full time mother for the next 30 years. I used the time wisely by educating myself and getting to know ME. It forced me to face my fears, to acknowledge that I had taken the easy way out by listening to the negative voices in and around me INSTEAD of just going for that dream, even if I would fail.

One day the children were all adult and had left home, I had only myself to answer to and I realised that now, NOW is the time, this is my chance to dust off those dreams and make them come true!

The world around me says that I am too old, but this time I am not believing anybody but myself. I’m old enough to not care. The only voice I am listening to is MY inner voice. And she tells me it’s time to rock’n roll!

One of my most attractive dreams as a child was to be part of a circus. I wanted to ride ponies and do funky stuff.

Well, guess what? Now I am doing just that; I am part of a troupe that do pony-shows and fire-shows. I do mounted archery; shooting arrows from a galloping horse. If you can’t join a circus – create one!

I also want to do acrobatics in the air, I feel passionate about it. And though I am fit as a fiddle it is far from enough. Besides which, I have a fear of heights. Am I going to let this stop me? HELL NO! Aerial acrobatics? Sure it will take time, who cares? I have all the time in the world and I am on this exciting life journey.

The most important thing I did to this point was bringing up the children. Was I a good mother? I have no idea, but I was the best mother I could be and this goes for everything else I have ever done and will do. This releases me from those oh so painful regrets that I struggled with all the time, I was the master of regret.

So to all you people, young and old; life is an ongoing journey and you never really know where it will take you. Don’t let anybody dictate your rules. And don’t for a minute believe that age is an issue: On the contrary, the older you get, the more freedom and choices you have.

Here some pictures of what I did this magical 55th year of my life

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The difference between letting go and running away

The one thing I learned in my turbulent life was to let go – of everything. I was moved between countries, between homes, between schools and every time all was lost; not only friends and places but also things. My magic boxes full of little insignificant treasures, my clothes, my toys. The first time I was displaced I also lost the person I loved the most, she who was peace and security to me, I never saw her again. I was just about to turn seven.

That was the first time I was displaced; I found myself in a new country without any of my belongings except a teddy-bear and a school-book. I struggled to understand, to fit in, to learn the language, to not be afraid. I locked myself in a shell and lived in a fantasy-world in my head. I was beaten, mocked and un-loved, waiting for the day when I could go “home”, to a place that didn’t exist anymore. A place which it would take another 35 years before I saw again.

The same scenario happened over and over again, albeit in the same country. I went to 14 different schools and never graduated. I collected new treasures and every time there was a move, an upheaval, the treasures were lost. Finally this became my reality. I stopped having treasure-boxes.

I learned to trust nobody, I learned to not get attached, I learned to live in my head and I learned to be safe in insecurity. It formed me and how I would live my life. I watched but didn’t join in.

When, as an adult woman with children, I finally settled down into a safe place I was happy. I thought I was settled – for real. But then the upheaval came again and I left for another country, another life. I couldn’t stay. In my new country I spent years waiting, unknowingly, for the day of yet another departure, because that was all I knew. Keep going, leaving, letting go. I am an expert at letting go.

One day I realised that I didn’t want to do it again. I didn’t want to be a displaced person. I wanted to form attachments, I wanted to watch the future unfold around me, in one place. I just wanted peace. I wanted to build something that was mine, create a small niche in the universe where I co-existed.

I made a decision to stay and form that future right where I am. It was scary, it still is. I am not sure how long it will take before I find peace in my decision, but it has to be done.

There is a lot of talk about the importance of letting go, and it is important to know how to let go. But it is also important to learn to stop and be part. To accept and take responsibility for that. Because if you are an expert let-go’er, you never catch up with yourself. You end up living your life on the bylines, watching life rather than living it, never fighting for anything because it’s easier to walk away. Peace comes from within and no matter where you are, it is there.

I might be displaced again in the future, but today it is no longer part of my plan. I am thawing inside, unlocking my heart to let life in. I am still expert at letting go, but now I do allow and  fight for that which is important to me. I am starting a new magic box of treasures. Almost 50 years have passed since that first little death of trust and I am re-structuring my soul, having dreams, taking part and being there.cropped-hagen.jpg

The magic pony

One day, 13 years ago, while driving through the countryside I saw a small black pony on a hill and I knew we belonged together…don’t ask me how or why. There were horses all around, but this one…he caught me. I spoke to the owners and they allowed me to buy him. I hadn’t ridden for 20 years, I had no money for a pony nor did I have a stable but I had some nice fields at home and a shed. It was crazy but there was no doubt in me. Now this pony was rather aggressive and I was a bit scared of him but we figured it out over time and became friends. More than friends, he protected me. Together we hung out on the fields and in the forest. I learned so much from him, not only about horses but about myself, movement and communication, about slowing down and silencing my inner chatter. Every morning when I woke up he would stand outside my window waiting for me.

The day came when I decided to leave Sweden. Everything was a bit chaotic and though he knew I was leaving, he didn’t know if I would bring him because I forgot to tell him. He fell ill for the first time in his life. I sat with him and told him that he would come with me. He healed and then came to Luxembourg after I was settled in my house. The first summer he lived in my garden until I found a stable. For the first time in his entire life he was in a bustling village with traffic, people and noise. He enjoyed it. After a few years I realized that I couldn’t keep him. I didn’t have the money to pay his rent every month nor did I have time enough since my life had changed so much. With a heavy heart I gave him up and he went to a family with children, he loves children. A friend of mine kept tabs on him and I made the family promise to contact me first if they ever decided not to keep him. I was seriously heartbroken, I would wake up at night dreaming about him, us, playing in the field and I cried. I hated myself for having to do this, but It was the only choice possible, I couldn’t give him what he needed. Still I had this feeling that we were not done, that I would see him again. My friend kept me updated on his whereabouts and how he was doing.

A couple of years later the people didn’t want him anymore. He was sick and sad. I had no possibility to take him back so a friend of mine took him, as sick as he was, to her riding stable (riding school). I am forever grateful to her. I treated him with oils and sat with him, promising that I would never again abandon him. but he didn’t want to either look or “talk”  to me. When he was young we created a game; he would take off my hat and wave it in the air and one day when I was sitting in his box, he came over to me, bent his head, took my cap and waved it in the air; I was forgiven. He healed quickly then and became his own happy self again. Now he works for his living, he has a wonderful life and a little girl that cares for him. I go visit him and ride him sometimes. We are friends and we’ll stay friends. Twice we were separated, twice he was ill…

Now he is 16 years old, he has turned all white, my little magical pony. He is in love with a pretty  mare. When he has holidays he spends his time on the field and I can see him more often then.

I am not surprised that he came back into my life. We are friends and connected in a very deep way. We don’t spend much time together as he lives in the other end of the country, but the moments we have together are wonderful and fulfilling. He doesn’t need me, he just wants to know that I am there, in his life. And I continue learning from this wonderfully clever and brave little pony.

A story from the road

After dancing 3 days in Amsterdam my body was tired, seriously tired, though my head was going full force. I got in the car to drive to south Sweden, thinking it would be like 7 hours or so…The GPS told me 12 hours! Since I had planned to arrive in the evening I decided to make the whole route in one go. After a few hours I hit the border to Germany and there stood two forlorn young men with backpacks, hitchhiking. I picked them up, overjoyed for some company and they rode with me for 4 hours, bless them boys for their excellent company. This is their story:

They are 2 Spanish brothers, 30 and 23 years old from Madrid where they have always lived. For some time  they had felt uncomfortable there, the city is aggressive and they felt they were looking for something they couldn’t find there. Early this year they decided to leave. They collected their salaries, quit their jobs, kissed their parents goodbye and started their road-trip to Finland…Hitchhiking, that is. They told me how difficult it was to leave Madrid, no matter how much they wanted to go, things kept happening that kept them there so they decided first to go to Santiago de Compostela.

They had no real reason for leaving, they couldn’t tell me why this came so strongly to them, they just knew they had to go. When they arrived in Santiago de Compostela the skies were heavily clouded and the air was cold. They wanted to start their journey with a cleansing but it was so cold. At this point they asked the heavens to give them a window of sunshine so they could wash themselves in the sea and dry in the sun. At once a hole opened in the clouds and let the sunlight stream down on them for exactly as long as it took to cleanse and dry. At that moment they realized that they were doing a spiritual life-journey.

When I met them they had been on the road for 2 months. They had had no money for at least a month. They had met people and gone places they could only have dreamed of, working here and there for a meal and a bed. Everything they needed somehow materialized. One story went like this: They had found themselves in the middle of nowhere, but there was a bus going to a town. The fare of the bus was exactly what they had and the question was; “Do we take the bus for our last money or do we hope for a ride and keep the money for food?” They decided on the bus. Once in town, they stepped of the bus and there, on the pavement at their feet, was a €50 bill. This kind of thing occured all the time and no matter how bad things looked, something always happened to fix it.

The Spanish Brothers started their journey with no preparations, no real money, some maps and a feeling of urgency to JUST DO IT! I am deeply touched by these boys with their courage, trust and belief. I don’t know how long it will take them to reach Finland, or if they even will. It doesn’t matter because these boys have learned the greatest gift of all: Trust.

So did the car hold up for the entire trip (4 000 km)? No, she made it all the way till the return trip though. In Denmark she had a small breakdown in the middle of nowhere, the engine-belt (?) broke. As it was early in the day, things went really smoothly. I called my automobile club and they sent a tow truck that took us to a garage within an hour. I LOVE automobile club!!! The guys in the garage needed some time to find the right belt and 4 hours after the breakdown we were back on the road again. Much was due to the fact that I have a very simple mechanic car which is easy to fix anywhere and not expensive. So as usual; even when I am unlucky, I am lucky 🙂

RIGHTS – all kinds of rights

Over the last days the notion of “rights” have been popping up in different ways and I have thought long and hard on it. Today I read about Obama speaking of the right to same-sex marriage. I think he is a brave man to do this before election, it will cost him votes. Still he does it because it is right, and he doesn’t hold out until he’s (maybe) safe after voting day. Respect!

Yesterday a mother violated the right of her daughter by accessing her Facebook account and deleting some of her friends, me being one of them. It will not change the friendship the girl and I have, but it will change the relationship between mother and daughter and the girl will have learned distrust.

I grew up with a very strict mother who had hard and unrelenting rules. This was not always easy but she could be trusted in that she never violated my privacy; she didn’t search my room, read my diary or go through my pockets, even when she had (rightly) suspicions of rule-breaking such as smoking or alcohol. She allowed us children the sanctuary of our own space. Respect! More than that, she showed me a trust that I brought into my own motherhood and there is trust between my children and myself. Thank you Mother.

The Facebook affair had me thinking; Why is it that parents feel that they have the right to violate their children’s privacy? And demand that the child accepts and respects this? Would they accept any such thing from the child? Of course not, one unauthorized riffle through the jewellery-box and the child is told how bad it is…

The right to make choices without explaining ourselves…what about that one? For example if you say no to somebody, they might demand an explanation as to why. It’s none of their business, they should respect your right to say no. But maybe you are the kind of person that demands explanations? When we make personal choices, we are not accountable to others. If the choice is a bad one, we will have to live with the consequences – accountability is always to the self.

We violate the rights of others in so many little ways every day without thinking about it; by parking in the handicap-place, leaving the lunchroom dirty, demanding attention, cutting ahead in a queue, telling a lie… We all do it, unintentionally, because we take the right. But when somebody does that to us, we get upset and indignantly exclaim: “Who gave him/her the right!” or “You have no right to…”

Moral: If we can’t live within an arena of equal rights in our personal sphere, how on earth can we expect equal rights in a larger arena such as workplace, sexuality, gender, colour. Everything starts at home and it starts at a very early age.