We live in a world that lets us believe that we’re somebody else. I don’t say that there’s something wrong with this world – we have however, collectively bought into concepts and beliefs that do not reflect the truth of who we really are.
So we go through life pretending we’re somebody else. We can do this for a very long time, for an entire lifetime sometimes, but these concepts and beliefs will no longer serve us when we’re going through difficult times. Suddenly we begin to realize how fake and useless they actually are, and then we become scared, because it seems that we’ve nothing to fall back on. Our ‘virtual reality’ which has become our truth, has been shattered.
“It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.” – Mark Twain
This is usually the moment, when you crave to be more real as you begin to understand that the ‘old self’ is merely a collection of memories, experiences and conditioning. Yes, you’ve lived them and experienced them, but they’re not you of course. This process is often very painful and confrontational, because you begin to question almost everything, and you just can’t believe that this has been your truth for so long.
Blaming others and circumstances only works for a short while (unless you keep fooling yourself), because you begin to see a much larger picture, that isn’t just black and white, but contains a full array of colours. Colours of understanding and (self)compassion. In the more spiritual circles they call this ‘the journey’. Personally, I work with this all the time, when helping those with PTSD – uncovering the truth of who they really are. It can be a difficult process, but it is also the most beautiful and rewarding process you can ever experience.
Your future comes with a new awareness
We are now living in incredible times, and we have the opportunity to witness a global collision of two worlds: The old world that no longer serves us. A world of separation, of mental and physical borders, of religious limitations and spiritual boundaries. And there’s the new world that emerges: A world of freedom, of connection, of personal responsibility and collective power.
Thanks to the many challenges in our lives, we are developing a new awareness that has the capacity to propel us into a new and more meaningful future. We are also blessed with new technology, interconnectivity and personal tools and values, to transcend these challenges. As long as technology doesn’t control our lives, it’s a beautiful development. Through social media for example, people start listening more to each other in stead of to their leaders with their political agenda – we move from separation to a deeper connection.
Even though you probably feel overwhelmed, I personally believe that the secret lies in hitting the brakes, really slowing down and understanding ourselves better. One of my beloved teachers once told me that you can be peaceful and fulfilled only if you are authentic and honest with yourself. And if you are authentically kind, if you are authentically powerful, and hold on to what is your truth, and hold dear, you will be called upon to demonstrate this in action, not only in thought.
For the planet to emerge into a more harmonious place, she needs you. She needs you to be bold and real! No matter what others think of your change in attitude or trajectory in life. Do you have that courage to be truly you?
Maybe you feel inspired to watch a talk I recently gave for Unity of Vancouver: Radiating Care.
Times are changing. Quickly. And while times are changing, it’s time for us to change as well.
In case you didn’t realize that we live in challenging times, you might not have been paying much attention to what is happening around you. Or you have developed creative coping mechanisms in order not to feel it. And you are not alone.
Every day, I meet people who are trying to manage their day-to-day, often busy, schedules while feeling overwhelmed with the stressors they are being exposed to. It seems like most of us have some kind of personal challenge going on these days.
On a global scale, we’re fighting never-ending wars, scandal after scandal is being exposed, racial tensions are growing, the climate is changing quickly, and mass shootings are becoming the new norm.
To me, it feels like we are being drawn into this downward spiral, and most of us feel a victim of their circumstances. But to help you better understand why things happen this way, I like to bring in some very interesting science for you.
The science of interconnectivity
If you have been at one of my events, you might have heard me explain how the earth’s magnetic field has an immediate influence on your personal electromagnetic field, which is mainly generated by your heart. You can also check out my HeartMath page to learn more about this.
There are many global research bodies that are currently looking into scientific data to gain new insights into the interconnectedness of human/animal health and behaviour, and the sun and earth’s magnetic activity. The scientific community is just beginning to appreciate and understand the deeper level of how we are interconnected. We are getting closer to understanding why and how magnetic fields generated by the sun and the earth, affect human health and behaviour – and why it is important to know this.
The idea that the earth and the sun influence human health and behaviour and, on a larger scale, social unrest and significant global events, has been discussed among scientists for decades. The study of interconnectedness, which is not yet fully embraced in the mainstream scientific community, is still in its infancy.
It is well established though, that the resonant frequencies in the earth’s various magnetic fields directly overlap with those of the human brain, cardiovascular and autonomic nervous systems. Therefore, it should not surprise you that many physiological rhythms in humans and global collective behaviours are not only synchronized with solar and geomagnetic activity, but that disruptions in these fields can have challenging effects on human health and behaviour.
When the earth’s magnetic field environment is disturbed it can cause sleep disturbance, mental confusion, unusual lack of energy or a feeling of being on edge or overwhelmed for no apparent reason. Every cell in your body is bathed in an external and internal environment of fluctuating invisible magnetic forces.
Time to change
Before you start thinking that we are therefore basically powerless victims of this magnetic field, listen to this.
All humans have brain and heart frequencies overlapping the earth’s magnetic field resonances. We not only are receivers of physiologically relevant information, but we also literally create a feedback loop with the earth’s magnetic field and therefore feed information into this global field environment. How cool!
Life therefore is not just about you! We might live in a seemingly egocentric world, where feelings of separation seem to be more common than feelings of being connected, but it’s the healthy human connections that help transform this planet. Emotions such as compassion, care, gratitude and appreciation are not just very healthy for yourself, they support everyone in the global field environment.
I invite you to start tapping into your own truths, values and innate wisdom. It’s time to change! Independent of what you see out there, you have the capacity to transform your own life, and therefore have an impact on the lives of others as well. But you have to start with yourself first. Does that make sense now? You came here with the power and intelligence to shine and not just to survive!
Starting in 2018, I will start a new workshop series about my 5 Insights – Making the Shift from Reacting to Creating. Stay tuned, because this will be a transformative and highly experiential workshop. I rather call it funshop. In the mean time, I would love to stay in touch with you, so feel free to contact me or sign up for my newsletter. I have also created a playlist of very helpful and short heart coherence meditations for you. They will help you stay coherent in challenging times.
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Back in 2013, I had a delightful and inspiring conversation with the world renowned, spiritual teacher Mooji. At some point in the conversation we were talking about “the truth” and as softly spoken as Mooji is, he told me: “Dirk… the truth is simple, but the seeker of truth is often complex.”
Keep it Simple
When I heard him speak these words, I almost jumped up from my chair with happiness! That was so profound what he just said and it was if I was listening to myself. I have to admit to you now, that I used to be very careful sharing my views around the simplicity of life with others, because it had backfired at me before – “I just didn’t understand their current situation” or “that was too simplistic of me to think that way”. And honestly, sometimes I started doubting my own view on life and often pondered the question: “What do they know what I don’t understand?”
These doubts and limiting beliefs stem from my teenage years, when I found out that after going through a full day of career testing, the conclusion of the psychologists was that I wasn’t so smart (I wrote more about it in this blog post). This conclusion by others about my abilities became my truth for more than twenty years, and sometimes, it can still hijack my creative process.
“Do you keep your hand on the stove?”
Yes, I am a sensitive person, and so are you, otherwise you wouldn’t even bother reading my blog posts in the first place. But when you are sensitive doesn’t mean that you always have to live at the mercy of what you see or what others share with you. It doesn’t mean that you will have to keep suffering from the events around you. It also doesn’t mean that you have to follow the most advanced spiritual teachings in order to stay sane.
Keeping your Hand on the Stove
I once heard an analogy from Esther Hicks that really resonated with me. It goes a bit like this.
If you have a stove in your house that’s a perfect and cozy way to give you some extra warmth during chilly winter days and nights, you know that it’s very warm and that you don’t want to touch it with your bare hands for too long. At first it might feel good when your hands touch the cast iron shell, but after a little while it will become too hot and you will burn yourself. You know that it doesn’t feel good to keep your hand on the stove. But why is it sometimes so hard to take your hand off the stove?
You might say: “My mother had her hand on the stove. Her mother had her hand on the stove. Our family puts its hand on the stove all the time. It’s just what we all do. The day I was born, they put my hand on the stove!” And now you get to decide how you like it and you find it hard: “Do I dare take my hand from the stove?” When you risk it and try it, you realize that it is sweet relief. But then you might think: “My mother still has her hand on the stove, and my government still has its hand on the stove. They’ve all got their hand on the stove! Who am I to find the relief of not putting my hand on the stove?” All right, put your hand back on the stove if you want to, but understand that it’s you who gets to allow or not allow. These are your choices.
Does the analogy make any sense to you? It all boils down to the knowing that you do have the ability and the capacity to make conscious choices. You don’t need to have Ph.D. behind your name, or be a spiritual expert to understand and embrace this concept.
During the last 5 years of interviewing authors, spiritual teachers, scientists and musicians, I often looked up to people having so much experience and wisdom – “If I could be like them, then my life would be so great and I would feel so much more fulfilled” is what I often thought.
But one day, when I was hiking with my dogs in the pristine nature near my house, just after I did an interview with don Miguel Ruiz, I stopped because I was in awe with the incredible intelligence and simplicity of life. It was so quiet here. “The trees never seem to worry and the creek flows with so much grace” I thought. I also knew that the same intelligence that keeps the trees growing and the birds singing, is exactly the same force that keeps my heart beating. All life is deeply connected to the same universal intelligence. “And if that’s true, then all of Mooji’s or Miguel’s wisdom lies within me as well!” I thought. The truth is that simple, but I was often too complex. I wanted to keep my hand on the hot stove, just because I was living an old pattern, over and over again. I wasn’t present. I wasn’t connected to my heart and therefore not connected to the intelligent cosmic heart. Wow, that was such an insight for me!
Since that experience out in the forest, my life has never been the same again – I read less and less self-help books. I rarely listen to people’s well meant advices anymore, and I absolutely don’t care what others think of me. Why would I? I AM all that I have been searching for! I get it now!
When I become still, especially out in nature, I start feeling a deep connection with myself, with the intelligence that I am part of, and also with you. I deeply realize that life is not about me. Life’s about us. And that’s when I feel I want to reach out to others in need. That’s when I want to remain in silence for even longer periods, and that’s when I am just grateful for being alive and being connected to you, because I deeply feel (as Rumi used to say) that I am not just a drop in the ocean. I am the entire ocean in a drop.
I am interested to learn in what ways you are able to embrace the simplicity of life and how you make choices to live in the present moment in stead of the past. Maybe you even resonate with what I just shared with you and you want to try this for yourself.
Keep it simple and have fun!
In case you want to work with me to start living in the present moment, so you’re no longer have to live in the past, send me an email and I will forward you some helpful information on how to get started.
Why are so many people looking for the ultimate happiness? Why is this so important to us? Is it because we lack happiness in our lives or is it because we are always seeking for more? I’m sure that we don’t think that happy living is obtained by doing extraordinary things or looking for that ‘magical dream’, but by becoming too obsessed about reaching a state of happiness, we become too attached and start feeling anxious. This will make us rigid and causes us to forget our deepest wishes and desires.
Common Sense As many of you know, I am a down-to-earth guy, living a life inspired by simplicity. When I am present, I can just feel the gratitude for being alive, I am curious about what is, and feel compassion towards others.
I decided to write the 7 Principles of Happy Living, a simple little book, and I suggest the readers to just be humble and using your common sense. Hang out with the people that are doing healthy things. Focus on healthy relationships, full of love. When you learn to trust your inner voice (your heart), then you will know that it’s all good. This feeling will generate all the peace and happiness that you are craving for.
You might want to use The 7 Principles of Happy Living as a guide. One principle at a time. Always make sure you are relaxed about it and try to feel the impact in your body. And if you don’t feel it right away, don’t worry. Just be quiet and listen a little longer.
When you have received this article via your email subscription, you have also received a link to download the free ebook The 7 Principles of Happy Living. In case you don’t receive my emails yet, please sign up below and you will receive the link by email after you have signed up. Below is also an introduction to the 7 principles of happy living.
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1. Our Essential Nature
Our essential nature is pure consciousness, perfect balance, simplicity and bliss. The universe is a movement of energy and information and is there to guide us, so that we can live in perfect harmony. We often perceive the world as being harsh and complicated. Well, it’s not the world but the people who make it complicated. And I think it’s for no real reason.
We have probably all heard it before, how a simple act of giving can improve our health, our relationships, our happiness and more… It is something we already know in our heart – that giving is a key part of every person’s life. Did you also know that being open to ‘receiving’ is equally important? And why?
3. Conscious Choice Making
We’ve all been provided with a number of incredible and irrevocable gifts that are oftentimes overlooked or taken for granted. Although we’re well aware of the conscious choices, it’s often the unconscious choices that lead to producing our less than desired results, regardless of how badly we may ‘want’ something.
4. Least Effort
This is a principle we can directly learn from nature. Every day, the sun rises without effort, and the birds start to sing. They don’t really try hard, they just sing. This is also human nature, so that we can manifest our deepest dreams in just a perfect and balanced way.
5. Fulfill any Dream
With intention, you can fulfill any dream or desire you might have. You can apply this in your thoughts, feelings, emotions and desires. You are part of this mighty universe, which is a movement of energy and information. Attention energizes, but intention transforms and this is the true power behind your desires.
6. Step into the Unknown
Do you also have things lined up and your life pretty much planned for the next year(s)? Most of us have. It feels good, doesn’t it! It’s our need for security. But what if something suddenly changes? Panic! Here is why it’s helpful to embrace uncertainty. If you’re open to things, they walk through the door and you’ll find yourself at places you never imagined to be.
7. Our Purpose
Have you ever sat down and thought, “What is my purpose in life? What is my passion? Where do I go from here?” The true goal behind what we pursue is often internal – and most of the time, this internal goal is simply to be happy. We like to think that this is too simple. But really, it is enough. Don’t you think so?
Feel free to leave a comment or to send me a message. I also organize events and one-on-one trainings and coaching. Feel free to contact me if you have questions.
After a busy week of hosting beautiful events and personal coaching here in the Okanagan Valley, I can only be in awe about how these events fill me with gratitude. And this is only the beginning…
I meet people all the time. They’re busy living their lives. Managing their daily chores and simultaneously trying to find meaning, and sometimes working on overcoming old pains or even trauma. That’s quite a challenge, because we’re often stuck in old patterns. But we only have 24 hours a day to manage our activities.
When we feel overwhelmed with life, we have the tendency to just push through, and forget about what really bothers us, because we don’t know how to make lasting changes. But there’s a little voice inside, that wants to connect us with our true purpose. We listen sometimes, but it’s just too far out of our comfort zone to truly take the time, listen and act. So we choose to focus on something that makes us feel good — a bucket list for example, because we know that the clock is ticking, and at least we’re focused on some of our deeper desires.
What’s on your bucket list?
I bet that several exotic destinations are on it. And maybe skydiving? Or climbing a specific mountain? Driving that one car? Buying a dream home with a pool?
I have to admit something to you—I am boring. I don’t have a bucket list. I am so boring, that I even don’t know what I would change, if I were to win the lottery today.
I might be boring, but in general, I am very happy and grateful. I like to think of myself as a ‘happy kid’, because I still see myself as a little child. No, I don’t see myself like that, I really feel it.
Maybe it’s because life has taught me to be grateful for what I have – right now. I have known losses in my family, illness, insecurities and sadness. These events have taught me that there’s only one moment that you can be alive. That’s now!
My Reverse Bucket List
Being grateful for all of who I am, and for all that I have, made me think of a drawing up a reverse bucket list. It was so easy, and some of the experiences that came up are these:
– Travelling in the Alps with my family when I was a little boy – Riding my red (first) bike – Making fires after school – Sleepovers at my grandma’s – Driving my first car — a red beetle – Meeting my love at high school – Traveling all over the world – The decision to emigrate to Canada – Realizing my childhood dream — becoming a ski patroller – Unconditional friendships with so many amazing people – Hiking the West Coast Trail – Stroll the beaches, and surf on Maui – Permanently living in nature – Every day doing the things that I love to do
I feel myself glowing after writing down my reverse bucket list. It makes me realize that I am very grateful for all that I have experienced so far. You have probably read a lot about the health effects of gratitude. It has an enormous positive impact on our immune system for example.
But it’s often fairly easy to be grateful when things are going our way. Did you realize that expressing gratitude during challenging times is even more powerful and helps us transcend our limited self. We now begin to experience that the true purpose of life is much grander than our physical self and our personal desires. We feel that we came here on purpose and not just by accident. This is beautiful because we’re making a shift in our own pattern – from reacting to the circumstances in our life, to beginning to understand the true message that we’ve been given. It’s moving us from our head to our heart.
One of the most effective ways to make this shift is to start practicing HeartMath on a regular basis. By repatterining your hard wired internal processes a tremendous shift starts taking place. If you live in the Okanagan Valley you can join me for a 3-hour HeartMath class on April 29. I also train people HeartMath online.
I would love to stay in touch with you because I care about others’ wellbeing. Please leave any comments below or just privately contact me.
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Recently, I was speaking with a friend of mine about bringing out the child in us. We joked and pretended that we were young children again. There were lots of “what if….” and “just pretend that…”, but then I was being confronted with a huge surprise. “Thank you so much Dirk”, she told me after a while. “For what?” I asked. “For reviving me, and bringing out the child in me again. I am in awe.”
The child in you is always alive
Although my friend somehow knew that this little child was not completely forgotten, she could have never envisioned that it could be coming alive so quickly though. It took her completely off guard and woke her up, from years and years of being in some kind of sleepy state. Not feeling fully alive. Not feeling playful and light. This seriousness and sense of responsibility had crept into her life over the years, without even realizing it. But by being playful, something was triggered inside her—her inner child woke up!
From personal experience, I know that many grownups prefer to ignore to listen to the child within them. Many of us often feel that it’s childish to think that way: “What can a child offer us?” But they forget that this child is who they really are. This child once was in awe when watching the first snow flakes coming down. This same child loved to play outside all day long. Wasn’t hungry when mum called for dinner and wasn’t tired during the 3-day school trip. We were fully alive!
So what has happened then?
We are expected to grow up. School suddenly becomes more serious, and high marks make our teachers and parents happy. We apply for admission to a respected university. Mostly, not because it’s our passion, but because our parents think this is the best choice to secure a good future career. Do I need to go on? You get it, right?
I will share a secret with you that I kept completely to myself up to a year ago or so. When I was fourteen and in high school, I had to choose the subjects I wanted to focus on. I had no clue what I wanted to do after school, I was only fourteen. My dad was getting concerned and had me sign up for a career test. I was not motivated at the time, but went through almost a full day of psychological tests. The end-result was not very helpful to me – I could listen well and I was very creative, and some career options were being presented. I was not impressed. But about a month or so later, I found the official test results somewhere on my dad’s desk and started reading. I was in shock! They basically concluded that I wasn’t very smart and they found it hard to come up with a good advise for Dirk.
I had always been a happy kid and I was doing pretty well at school, but reading this report changed my life for the next twenty years. I started believing that I was stupid and school became a struggle. At some point, I felt so bad about it that I wanted to prove I wasn’t stupid. About twenty years later, I was working as a CEO for American Express. I had built an amazing career and was very successful in what I did. But I wasn’t happy… I just wanted to prove to myself and to my family that I wasn’t stupid. How sad.
When you become disconnected from your heart, you’re not living. But when you’re connected to your heart, you become like a child. You’re a spark of divine energy. I can tell you, that I am deeply connected to my heart now, and I am very grateful for this traumatic experience. It was my teacher! The medieval mystic Mechthild von Magdeburg said it beautifully: “A fish cannot drown in water, and a bird does not fall from the sky. Each creature must find its God given element.”
I was therefore touched by Paulo Coelho’s words in the movie The Power of The Heart – The child says: “Hello I am here.” But we are grown up now and not going to listen to this child, because this child has childish dreams, and so we forget the child. The moment we forget the child, we think that the child is going to forget us. But the child is not going to forget us. This child will always be here and says again: “Hello, I am here. I am talking to you. Can you listen?” You will then say: “Shut up, I don’t want to listen to you.”
But the day that you’re facing death, this child will be there again, and will ask you: “Why didn’t you listen to me?” You then have to answer. And your answer will be your hell, or your heaven.
3 simple ways to connect with the child in you
It would be easy for me to tell you just to do fun stuff. Things that you are really passionate about. Although that is definitely important, I believe there’s something more to this. Below are three simple ways of teaching yourself to connect with the child in you.
1. Becoming aware of now Science shows us that we are pure energy systems. We are for over 99% energy and the remaining 1% is matter. Hard to imagine, isn’t it? So if we are virtually pure energy, we need to make sure that we tap into this energy, if we want to connect to our deepest self, our soul, the child in you. There’s a law in science that says: “Where the attention goes, is where the energy flows.” So, in stead of always being focused on everything outside of you, which will cause you to disconnect you from yourself, start becoming aware of what you are doing in this very moment — feel what you feel right now, become aware of the flavours of the food you put into your mouth, truly enjoy the sounds of the instruments and voice when you listen to your favourite music and take in all the beautiful elements of nature when you go outside. And when thoughts do come up, just ignore them and ask yourself: “What is it that I feel right now?”
You’ll start noticing that the many thoughts that go through your head on a continuous basis, won’t be so intense anymore. You literally start creating space in between all of your thoughts, and it’s exactly in that void, between your thoughts, where your creativity (your inner child) can be accessed.
2. A picture of you One of my favourite things to do is to grab an old picture from when I was 4, 5 or 6 years old. Then, just sit down at a place where you won’t be disturbed, and just look at this picture. Can you still feel how you felt at that moment? Excited, silly, happy, curious? What did your days look like? What kind of fantasies and dreams did you have? What did you like the most? Whatever comes up, and without thinking or using any judgements, write this down on a piece of paper. Now just look at yourself, sitting in the chair, 20, 30 or 40-something years later. You’re still this same child. Your body might have changed, and you might have accumulated more experiences, but this little child, with exciting dreams and passions is still there.
3. Heart focused breathing This is the most powerful step – the heart focused breathing. The healing power of breath has been used over thousands of years already, but seems almost insignificant in our fast paced life with continuous, external stimuli. In this exercise, you will shift your attention (and therefore your energy) to your heart, energetically the most powerful organ in your body.
STEP 1: Focus your attention in the area of your heart. Feel your breath flowing in and out through your lungs, and just breathe a little slower than you normally would. STEP 2: With each breath, draw in the feelings from your childhood memories and feel them in your heart while breathing. STEP 3: Set a genuine intent to anchor these memories throughout your day, and use them while working on new ideas and projects.
Please let me know how much fun you had in trying the exercises, and how it changed your perception on your current life. I would love to hear from you. Feel free to follow me on Facebook or on Twitter.
Perfect moment to learn and connect 🌀This Sunday: We can use the body as an instrument for changing our subconscious loops – shifting from knowledge to understanding and real-time applications for change.