If you are a sensitive soul like me, you will be deeply affected by what’s going on in the world. You see the immense beauty and experience the healing properties of nature. You see the miracles of love and compassion that humans are capable of.At the same time you are saddened by the destruction, the carelessness and the loss that is going on around us. The inequality and the suffering.

When I was young I was desperately trying to get through to the people around me. I was so surprised and shocked that they just couldn’t see the things that I was seeing. If only I said it better, more convincing, or could show better evidence. Why did other people feel these things were ok?

In my teens going into early twenties, I was a bit of a hippie preacher. At some point I realized that it’s not that people don’t see it or understand it. They choose not to see it or engage with the wider world.
Some problems really seem too huge, and we can’t imagine a solution. It’s just too overwhelming, and choosing not to engage with it is a coping strategy, if you deny it’s there you don’t have to deal with it. Blocking it out can be more comfortable than choosing to look at the truth. I deeply understand that now and I do it myself too.

If there is too much negativity in my life, I become hopeless and just start to shut down –  I’m unable to do anything useful. Also, people don’t like to be shamed into something, to be made to feel guilty, to feel they have to do something.

I think people value freedom most of all.

But where does that leave us? How can we move forward and go to the beautiful world we know in our hearts is possible, to quote Charles Eisenstein, in my opinion one of the most gifted writers on these themes of our age. Change can maybe only come from a positive YES energy, from vision, from a place where YOU are doing what you LOVE. Every day.

Over the years, I’ve thought long and deeply about how humanity can shift from where we are now to where we want to go. In this post I’m going to share my thoughts with you around this theme, and in the end I will share how I feel creating your own heart-shaped life will not only make you ridiculously happy, but also makes a difference for all beings on this beautiful planet.

First let’s get clear on something ;) I believe our planet doesn’t really need saving. It’s changed many times in the billions of years of its existence. We have had ages dominated by huge reptiles (glad that’s over!) and phases where there were just a bunch of little critters in the water. It’s humanity that needs to save itself from itself. Yes, sadly in our demise we would bring down many of the beautiful creatures around us. But from whoever is left, new life would start again, evolve and flourish. But wouldn’t it be great to be part of that? To become a guardian of the planet? I get very excited about that vision: thriving, happy people doing what they love, living in harmony in beautiful natural surroundings. I think it’s possible!

What we have at the moment is quite different. Survival of the fittest, of the harshest, of the cleverest, of the richest, is the going theme. And as things are starting to get more difficult, we see that there is a part of humanity that starts to move even more towards “us first”. But can we really blame them? After all, most of them are simply motivated by fear, fear of becoming the ones on the lowest rung of the ladder themselves, of being the ones that everyone looks away from, from not having enough. If not everyone can win, then they’d better make sure they are among the winners. So they fight hard to stay on top, using any means. Fear has got us by the throat. It takes courage to dare to share, to be vulnerable, to be the first one to try something else in a survival of the fittest society. So I think it is really important to try to deeply understand this, to open our hearts to everyone with us in this human family, also the ones engaged in things we find really difficult.

Easier said than done! As I write this now, from a beautiful place in nature, a protected dune reserve where many special plant and animal species find a refuge, two motorcyclists arrive. No vehicles are allowed here. I know what they’re coming for. They want to ride their motorcycles across the dunes here, tearing the vegetation to bits. The only reason they are not going for it straight away, is that they’ve spotted me. They are talking to each other about what to do, one of them takes one wild ride through, and then they quickly leave. Hard not to feel angry. Or angry and negative about all the plastic that is lying here at my feet. This is all washed in from the sea. This is what a pristine beach in nature looks like now. The plastic waste is standard wherever you go.

Speaking out about things that aren’t right is super important. And thank God there are people who devote their lives to reporting “from the trenches”. They are out there on the oceans, in the war zones gathering evidence and informing us all. They are saying loud NO’s. But I hope that next to the no’s there can be an equal amount of yes!  To have a vision, and to work on creating that, instead of only trying to fight something we don’t want. Quantum physics shows us, that what we focus our attention on – we help grow so we have to be careful that we focus our thoughts clearly and often on the future, on the kind of world and society we’d like to live in.  When I’m joining in with a protest, I try to also share what I do want. When there’s a protest about planned development in a nature reserve, I carry a sign saying I love nature. I feel it is a small but at the same time huge thing.

I think it is really important to try to open our hearts and to learn to truly listen to each other. Even if our viewpoints differ a lot.  To learn to communicate non-violently about what we feel, what our concerns and desires are. If you start from listening to each other, understanding usually follows, and then there is not so much friction, not so much tension anymore. From this space we can start to explore solutions or compromises that create better solutions for everyone. I have a lot to learn about this myself. But I know it is a super important part of the solution.

I often see heated discussions underneath social media posts where the commentators seem to waste all their energy on attacking each other’s viewpoint instead of trying to find solutions. All this waste of time, and in the process even more negativity forms. And very often these people are trying to achieve exactly the same thing, but they are just coming from different angles with their ideas of what the solution should be. If they would listen to each other, and spend their energy finding solutions, what miracles could start happening?

Maybe we should accept ourselves as an immature, developing society. In human society, we have babies, toddlers, teenagers, pensioners. And they all have had different life experiences, learnt different lessons, and in general the older we get the more we learn and the wiser we become. We are not all developing at the same pace. Maybe some souls have been here many times, and maybe some have just arrived. Human toddlers have a lovely and challenging phase where it’s all about me, me, me. The ego is developing and growing strong, and in those years, and in most cases (luckily!) children learn that it’s much nicer for themselves and everyone else if we also think about others. Sharing and giving feels good for giver and receiver. They grow up understanding that it’s not just about their own needs. Maybe it’s the same with our broader society. From this perspective, how are we to judge? We’re all part of the human family, we’re in this together and we’re all one.

There are examples of countries where things appear to be working quite well. But you can see that gaps are widening, inequality is rising on the local and country level, and if we look even further, at the global level, things have never been very good.

I’m from the Netherlands, one of the wealthiest countries in the world. We have the welfare state, where the government tries to create equal opportunities and quality of life for all. It is a wonderful concept, and my home country is seen by many as one of the best places to live in the world. But how can the Netherlands make this happen? We have a past of exploitation; we had colonies in the past that started us off ahead in the race. Nowadays we have big multinationals, and we buy cheap consumer goods from developing countries that are less powerful. The waste we produce, such as plastic and greenhouse gases, and the consumer choices we make, are affecting others and their living environments around the world. As the word is globalizing, and becoming connected on every level, it becomes increasingly difficult to ignore your neighbours, and how what you do affects their lives. As a country, have evolved to some degree at our local country level, but since the world is increasingly becoming one place, we have to extent our scope of what is “us” if we want to feel our society is fair and we’re looking after everyone.

Lessons we are increasingly learning as parents, that unconditional love, respect, freedom, listening and cooperation creates happier families and well-rounded beautiful people, are probably equally applicable to society. Don’t get me wrong, doing parenting well is can be a challenge and often doesn’t come naturally or easily. I’m in no way feeling that I’m doing this very well. But I know it is what I’m aiming for, and maybe we could try the same when thinking about solutions for our society.

More dialogue, more understanding, more listening, more open hearts.

Everyone has their own path, and we don’t know where it will lead. Someone may be the biggest polluter on the planet, and suddenly have an epiphany and devote the rest of their life to doing good. Someone may be engaged in damaging activities, and as part of that suddenly have a huge insight, making a discovery that changes the course of humanity.

Some people want to change the world by creating high tech clean energy devices. Others want to go back to a simpler life, using as little as possible, using only natural materials. Some people eat meat from locally reared grazing animals that are part of conservation schemes to help endangered species flourish. Others are vegan and don’t want to use any animal based products at all, because of how these animals are treated. Some feel we should only use natural materials including wool because they biodegrade, others point out the animal welfare issues to do with the wool industry. Again others point out that synthetic fibres are generally plastics and that waste from disposal and washing is causing huge problems in our oceans.

And on and on the story goes…

I think all of these viewpoints are valid, and it is wonderful that people follow their passion and their heart, making something the mission of their lives and sharing about it. Someone else doesn’t have to be wrong for you to be right about doing your thing. And I think we all hold pieces of the puzzle.

So what can we do?

How can we lead happy fulfilled lives, knowing we are moving towards a better world for all, focusing on the positive, while at the same time not ignoring the plight of the planet and of other beings? Especially if we don’t want to finger-point, because it creates negative vibes and doesn’t have much result?

I believe you can only make a difference following YOUR passion from a place of feeling good. When you passionately and enthusiastically share about your vision, what you love doing,  what you want to change, how you see yourself making a difference,  that is inspiring and motivating. There will be a gleam in your eyes and a spark of light in your heart, and people are attracted to that.  You can’t help others if you are feeling depressed, exhausted, or on the brink of a nervous breakdown.

I believe you help yourself and the world by becoming free. Free from “the system” of working nine to five doing a job you don’t really like, and then numbing yourself in the evening with television and foods that comfort you. When you start working towards creating your dream life, and through doing what you love, you find a way to make a small difference in the world too, magic will happen.

Maybe through the work you do you help those around you make healthier choices. Or you show them the possibilities of healing with natural remedies. Maybe you help them move on from past experiences. Maybe you want to sell healthy foods, or you create art that inspires others and tells a story that needs to be heard. There are so many ways to serve and make a difference in the life of others, doing what excites you, doing what you love. And even if your passion isn’t immediately serving others or making a difference, there are small things you can do to make a statement. Do you design and sell clothing? Could your packaging material be biodegradable? Could your website be solar powered? Could you gift a percentage of your profits to charity? All these little things make a huge statement. Especially if what you do is not immediately thought of as making a difference, these small things give a powerful message, a little signal, to an audience that may not otherwise come across that very often. It will become more and more mainstream to create win win situations, for you, for your clients and all other beings. I hope this is where business is going.

I believe the universe wants us to evolve and grow into something very beautiful. That if you align your business purpose and ideals with this energy, the only way is up and you will fly. And others will fly with you. As you start doing what you love, growing a beautiful business that is making a difference, you will experience abundance, and from that abundance you can make even more conscious choices that will benefit you, your family and all other beings. It grows and grows and grows. What could be more beautiful?

With the heart-shaped life , I want to help you create a life you love and through that make a difference. You will find here:

 

  • Create your vision: techniques and resources to help you create a clear, positive and inspiring vision for yourself of what you’d like your life and the world you live in to be like.
  • Make it happen: Tips, techniques and inspiration to start you on your journey to free yourself and move towards a heart-shaped life – doing what you love and through that making a difference
  • Get inspired and feel good: A source of positive uplifting messages, visions, and images, and effective techniques to help you come back to feeling good. There will always be moments when we feel less sure, are overwhelmed or lose confidence. We all lose heart regularly, and these tools will help you come back into feeling good and being aligned with your vision as quickly as possible.
  • Spread the love: Send uplifting, inspiring images, messages and little gifts of attention and love to friends or family who need it.

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