Life is NOT supposed to be comfortable

Deep ✨

As some of you know, I am moving to Dallas, Texas next month. While I am currently pretty excited, I could also be really scared and uncomfortable to leave my safe home in the Netherlands and start a new adventure. So why aren’t I?

Why choose the unknown?!

I have talked about this subject with many friends and family, of course. And while many of them reacted very positive and called this a new adventure for us, some were also quite wary, or didn’t understand why we would choose to turn our comfortable life around for something unknown.

And of course, with a big life change like this one, you can expect the usual struggles. For example, I already know that there are going to be moments where I really miss my friends and family, get really annoyed with American things I probably will never understand, or just feel a plain regret for even moving there in the first place.

But right now, my main mindset about these moments is: they too shall pass. And life isn’t supposed to be comfortable a 100% of the time.

It makes us grow

Because stepping out of our comfort zone, taking chances, and sometimes even being blatantly unhappy makes us grow. These are probably the moments that will make me say ‘I’m so glad we did this’ in the future. Life is supposed to be hard sometimes. And this is no reason to refrain from making changes, or live the life that excites you.

Sometimes I feel like we are used to avoiding pain and discomfort, because we are so used to having the illusion of control. For example, I could stay in the Netherland because I am not willing to take the risk of being unhappy with my decision of moving abroad. But who says life here will stay safe and comfortable? I can become perfectly miserable at home as well! And even then: sometimes life is sitting in your sadness, crying it out, without trying to ‘fix’ it as quickly as possible.

I get it: it doesn’t feel nice. But life isn’t supposed to feel nice all the time. Life sometimes is supposed to feel really, really, shitty. And allowing it to feel that way.

Certain can be shit too

The idea of knowing what we have, but being uncertain about what we could gain is completely false. Or at least – only the second part is true. We indeed don’t know what we could gain by taking chances, but the bright side is: you will know after you try. However, we don’t what we have if we stay the same. Because we can stay the same, but life simply doesn’t.

The reasons you are so happy and comfortable with your current life can change in a heartbeat. What if that colleague you are so close with finds another job? What if your dream home has underlying flaws? I don’t want to scare you, but shit happens all the time in your life too. The main point of your happiness is how you deal with the highs and lows of life itself.

And small reminder: they can be dealt with literally in any place, anywhere, at any time.

xx Coco

We need to talk about privilege

Deep ✨

As you know, I am a big fan of manifestation methods and the law of attraction. I like books like Psycho-Cybernetics, and meditate on my goals daily. But one thing we need to remember is that manifesting doesn’t work for everyone, and this has nothing to do with putting in the work or skill. It has to do with the mere fact that many people don’t have the privileges to ‘just manifest’ a dream job, relationship or home. And we don’t talk about this enough.

‘I just made it happen’

I think this is because we like to think of manifesting as some kind of magic, or control. We love to be able to say that we just made it happen. We often feel like life is hard and we need to struggle to get what we want, so how great would it be if we can just think or meditate certain conditions into being?

I do often point out that certain effort must be put in as well, but overall I whole heartedly embrace the law of attraction and manifestation theories. You know why? Because they work for me.

Why manifesting works for me

But the reason they work for me is not only because I have a ‘go with the flow’ mentality, set and work on my goals daily, and slowly but surely master the art of meditation. The law of attraction also works for me because I am from a pretty wealthy family, I never have to worry about hunger or homelessness, I live in a country with hardly any problems and am born with pretty good looks and a smart-ish brain. Life is simply easier for me than for many, many other people.

And so I’m privileged enough to say ‘I want X, so I’m going to manifest X’. Because to me, it often is this simple. To a woman my age born in Africa, struggling to feed five children and dealing with a lot of disaster and poverty, it is not that simple. She can’t ‘just manifest’ a safe home, healthy children and plenty of food one the table. No matter how hard she works, wishes and meditates.

I am lucky

It makes me think of a comment someone posted as a reaction to a famous inventor of a meditation app. It said something like: ‘Of course this works for you and you are happy, you have everything going for you and nothing to worry about. It would be weird if you weren’t happy.’

The inventor interpreted this as an accusation of not being self made, and replied that she never used her parents money to get where she is, that she used to work 3 jobs to pay her rent, and that she build her whole life and business herself.

And of course, this is all true. But I think the point of the comment was to nuance how unlikely the chances are that everyone can benefit from her meditations the way she does. She is her own biggest example of how far these meditations (and of course some necessary work) can bring you in life, but she seems completely blind to how privileged and comfortable you have to be to begin with in order to truly change your life for the better. Because no, her parents aren’t super rich and never gave her money, but she does seem to have had a pretty good basis for life to build on.

Who has time to manifest?

This is probably also why Plato said that many people only start their interest in philosophy and larger life questions from the age of 50. Looking at Maslow’s pyramid – who really has the time and space (and energy) to think about self-development, manifestation, and life in general?

Right: the person who has their most basic needs met. Someone who has the time and money to spend on not much else but their own personal dreams. And who probably also has the brain to comprehend these things and can take a risk because they have the social network to fall back on when things go wrong. Which (surprise!) are indeed people like the app inventor and myself.

What I’m trying to say is: don’t pride yourself or ‘magic’ too much when it comes to how much you are able to meditate, manifest and reach your goals. The truth is that you actually need a lot of privilege, good circumstances and mere luck to be able to ‘just manifest’ something. And not everyone, unfortunately, is in this position. So let’s stop the toxic spirituality and let’s stop telling people that they are completely in charge of their own life and happiness. Life is not that simple.

xx Coco

The God that I know

Deep ✨

Yesterday, I went for breakfast with a friend in Dallas. She is a Christian, and we ended up talking about religion, God, and going to church. I explained to her that I would like to go to church, but didn’t see myself actually going, as I am not a Christian – nor plan to be.

I explained to her that I would feel like a fraud going into church, listening to their psalms and preachings and learning about the Bible, all while knowing I don’t 100% embrace the Christian teachings and don’t plan on ever converting.

A non-Christian believer

I do believe in God, but I was raised an atheist, and I don’t like religious teachings or seeing the Bible as the bearer of truth at all. I have never felt the need for religion to intervene in my relationship with God. Jesus and the Bible have nothing to do with God and being a believer to me.

I have the same feelings towards Christianity as I have towards Islam, Hinduism and every other religion. And I have never felt convicted using the word or concept of God while talking about my spiritual worldview and beliefs.

For everyone?

My friend understood where I was coming from, but said: the God that I know doesn’t care whether you feel like a fraud. The church is a place for everyone, really EVERYONE. Or at least it should be. The focus should be on your relationship with God, not on how good of a Christian you are.

I felt very thankful that she didn’t judge me for not being Christian while talking about my belief in God, and that she didn’t say anything to make me think that I should be. I’m not sure if I’ll ever go to church, but never say never I guess?

It is love

My friend made me hopeful that many churches actually practice what she preaches (a little pun intended 😉 ) – and that if I ever decide to go to church as a non-Christian, I would be welcome there.

This view of Christianity is very much in line with what one of my (also Christian) philosophy teachers once said: If religion isn’t about tolerance, you have nothing left. If religion can’t be loving and accepting, it is completely empty. If religion isn’t love – it is nothing.

xx Coco

Interpretation of Rumi #1

Deep ✨

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing
and rightdoing there is a field
I’ll meet you there
When the soul lies down in that grass
the world is too full to talk about

To me, this poem is about the rush or chaos that is inherent to living. I recognise the ‘ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing’ – the endless discussion about rules, truths or morals, as dispensable once you realize what life and love truly is about.

Once you’ve seen the field beyond ideas and worldly (non-)matters, the soul can rest and you realize that there’s always only been truth in that field.

My interpretation line by line:

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing
Once you’ve overcome the daily, redundant rules and truths of life about what is wrong

and rightdoing there is a field
and what is right, you will find a (mental or spiritual) place that is sacred

I’ll meet you there
I have found it, I hope you find it

When the soul lies down in that grass
It is a place where the soul can rest, where the soul is at home, where all is well

the world is too full to talk about
you will realize that the world is full of unnecessary fuss and chaos, which is not the essence of life and blur it

Do you recognise something in this poem? Does my interpretation makes sense to you? I’d love to know. 🙂

xx Coco

New year, new goals

Deep ✨, Lifestyle 🏃🏼‍♀️

The year of 2022 has finally come. I’m a big fan of reflecting on the past year, and setting goals for the new one. I do it every year, and every year I’m surprised by how many of my goals I actually reach. What are my goals for 2022? I always set many (I actually have 16 this year), so I’ll tell you about the most important ones.

Going on solo (day)trips

I’m a very social person and I like to experience life with my friends, family and husband. But I’m also an only child, a scorpio and a very spiritual being – so I need my quiet time. Exploring new places or going into nature by myself is something I really enjoy, but don’t do too often.

It always humbles and excites me at the same time, so in 2022, I’m planning on doing more trips my myself. Even if it’s just for a day.

Dry January

My relationship with alcohol has always been a difficult one. I wouldn’t say my usage is problematic, but I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with it, and therefore find it hard to find that sweet spot or balance.

Last year, I tried dry January for the first time and I loved it. It was a very spiritual and powerful month for me, that I extended to six weeks. I learned a lot about myself and felt a lot healthier afterwards, so I’m looking forwards to the same benefits this year.

Reading at least six books

I know reading six books in a year doesn’t seem like a lot to some people. I’ve heard people say they wanted to read 20 or even 50 books this year. But I am not much of a reader, I don’t find it relaxing and I have not yet found the genre that I really love.

So my goal for 2022 is to at least read one book every two months. And even though this sounds doable, I know I will still have to try hard and commit as reading is not in my system yet. For Christmas, I got a Kindle so hopefully this helps me with my goal. If you have any tips on how to make reading more easy, let me know! 🙂

Making money online

I am quite hesitant to share this goal with you, as it seems like such a big goal and kind of ‘out there’ to me. Since I started this blog last year, I’ve been wanting to extent my entrepreneurial goals and actually make some money from online projects. As I want to keep this blog as pure and real as I can, I’m not actively striving to make money of off this blog.

I am, however, planning on two different projects for 2022. One has to do with meditation, and one has to do with making videos. But as Anna Bey taught me not to overshare before success, I’m going to say any more on this topic other than: stay tuned!

What are some of your goals for 2022? I’m curious to know. 🙂

xx Coco

My favorite ‘poem’

Deep ✨

Only the passion that touches its abyss can light the tinder of your utmost truth.
Only to him who loses his whole self will self be given.
For only by catching fire will you learn to know the world deep inside you.
Only where mystery works does life begin.

A while ago, I heard this poem in the movie A Promise. The rest of the movie, I haven’t remembered and didn’t bother me at all. But this poem somehow stuck with me, and I have felt the need to share it multiple times since.

In the movie, it is read to an audience by a pastor (or something) in a church. I assume it’s supposed to be Christian, or at least religious. And yes, I do read God somewhere in there. But more so, it is an exceptional metaphor of life to me.

These lines somehow contain the real depth of life to me. They explain how I experience the mere fact of living, but also the secret to why this living is worthwhile and meaningful. There’s an essential paradox in every single one of these lines, that each explain an essential lesson. The messages are very similar but have subtle nuances, which makes it hard for me to pick a favorite. I’ll try to explain line by line:

My interpretation

Only the passion that touches its abyss can light the tinder of your utmost truth.
My translation: Only when you see the end and darkness of every joy, you can see real truths.

Only to him who loses his whole self will self be given.
My translation: Only when you completely give up your ego and surrender to a higher purpose, will you know who you really are.

For only by catching fire will you learn to know the world deep inside you.
My translation: Only when you’ve been through hardship and have surrendered to pain and chaos, will you know what you truly have to offer (to yourself and the world).

Only where mystery works does life begin.
My translation: Only when you accept that there are many things you will never know, and you surrender these things to a higher power, can you really live the way you’re supposed to.

I don’t know if I interpret these lines the way they were intended, and I don’t know if that really matters. I recently received a poetry collection by Rumi, and I was told that many of his poems are actually mistranslated. When I told my friend about this, she rightly said: ‘Who cares? I think Rumi would be very happy with any mistranslation that helps you or makes you feel good.’ And I think that makes sense.

The lines from A Promise remind me of Meister Eckhart’s interpretation of Gelassenheit. He says that only when you’ve completely emptied yourself of any hope, identity, longing, expectation and ideas, you can receive and love God.

This idea reminds me of meditation in general, but especially the words of dr. Joe Dispenza, who says that you have to become ‘no oneno thing, no where and in no time’ in order to ‘unfold as pure consciousness into the unified field’. And I know this sounds kinda woo woo, but maybe this experience could be what Meister Eckhart meant by receiving God. And what I mean by all the processes described above.

Just something to think about. Thanks for reading!

xx Coco

Memoires #1

Deep ✨

As I drove towards the south I was scared to do something stupid. It had been so long since I went somewhere by myself that I forgot how to be dependent on just me. In the two years since Covid, me and my husband had been together almost everyday. I had gotten used to being guided by him, and having him to fall back on in any situation that went wrong. Now that he was in the US, I finally had time to live on my own again, to entertain myself, to break down by myself – and to pick myself up again. And though it felt scary and new all over, I had missed the adventure of following my own impulses and intuition, without having to conform to someone else.

I decided to park the car in a small village near the water. I knew there was a small harbour and café at the end of the small village road. I walked past the small shops and bakery, climbed up a small dam towards the water, and felt the wind that smelled like water on my face. I walked into the harbour and tried to come closer to the open water.

I longed for that nostalgic feeling of being on the water. When I was younger, my parents owned a boat that we sometimes sailed these waters with in summer. I had loved the floaty moments, the smell of sweet water and wet ropes in the harbours. I loved the sounds of sails flapping, and waves crashing against our hull. I missed sailing altogether.

In the small harbour, a father and son where working on their boat. It was November, a cold and misty day. I didn’t understand why they would choose such a frosty day to spend outside on the water. I decided that they must have had no other choice or where used to the cold, living in this rural area. I smiled at them – they didn’t see me. For a short moment I wondered if I was really there, or was actually watching this scenery from a different dimension. That’s how disconnected I was with this place, like it was just a nostalgic daydream.

After watching the open water and quite surely catching a cold, I walked back to the café at the base of the harbour. The Christmas decoration was already up, and when I entered the dark and cosy room, the place was empty but warm. There were only two couples having lunch, so I decided to not be a bother and chose a small table near the entrance of the room. To be honest, I decided on this table because it was near a window where I could watch the harbour. I ordered a cappuccino, started writing and repeatedly stared out the window beside me.

I wasn’t ready to leave this place. But I only had 30 minutes left on my parking ticket, was out of beverages that I felt like ordering, and the cold from outside that was now stuck in my clothes started to reach my bones. Besides that, I didn’t fit in here. There were no hard looks or words towards me, the people were welcoming and acted normal. Yet from the moment I arrived I felt like I was on a time limit not merely set by my parking ticket. It was like the boats, the water, the candles on the table were saying: take it all in, you’ll soon be gone.

So I did. I spent my last minutes in the café appreciating the boats outside, the outdated interior of the café, and the smell of fries and merlots enjoyed by the other guests. I reminded myself that places like these were worth visiting, and I prayed that would not soon be gone like other authenticities I missed in the suburbs.

When I arrived back home and took a hot bath, I laughed at the implausibility that I was actually in the village that day. All of a sudden it seemed so random for me to go there by myself. I didn’t tell anyone. I never really planned to go. Luckily I took pictures of that quiet place. And tomorrow, I would try and find another.

I didn’t know I was a perfectionist

Deep ✨

Ever since I can remember, I have been a ‘6-type’ of person. In the dutch scholar system, a six is a very average grade, that is just about enough to pass. Sixes-people aren’t outstanding people. They settle for less or are kinda simple. They don’t excel in anything. They’re fine. Content. And probably lazy.

I thought I was lazy

And I always took pride in this identity. As a student, I was fine getting graded a six, because I did very little to pass my classes. I took pride in this six, because I hardly even worked for it and it still worked out. That must’ve meant I was kinda smart right?! I always started studying or working on assignments the night before the deadline. I didn’t even try to start before that moment. I agreed that I was lazy, and I didn’t mind it.

I even felt like people with higher grades were just wasting time. Why work for a nine, if you only need a six to pass? In the special occasion I got a higher grade, I even sighed and said: I worked too hard again. I wanted time for myself, so bothered as little as possible for schoolwork and just made sprints out of my deadlines.

So I took a test

But when I started by fulltime job, I was offered a workshop on changing habits. I wanted to change my lazy procrastination habits and explained the situation to my coach. He asked me if I had ever been tested for performance anxiety. ‘Of course not!’ I replied. I was the opposite of that! I was lazy, cared more for my free time and hobbies than for achieving things and being successful.

Yet he insisted and asked me to take a perfectionism-test. This test didn’t ask me to explain my habits and actions, but analysed my habits and actions to see which fears and cravings were beneath them. The result? I am a hardcore perfectionist. I crave achievement and success. Failure and being average terrifies me. So why did I choose for these things on purpose for so long?

How I covered my fears

Turns out, I tried to cover the fear of being a failure or being average, by purposely showing that behaviour. As long as I didn’t try hard to reach my goals, I didn’t have to conclude that I was failing if I didn’t reach them. If I failed, or performed just average, it wasn’t too hard for me because I never really tried anyway. Moreover, I was applauding myself for not trying and still being somewhat successful!

Of course I wanted the high grades, but I never dared to see what happened if I actually studied for a 10. Being a smart girl has always been my identity, so what would happen if I studied for a 10, but still only got a 7 or 8? I much rather was the girl who was smart for not studying and still getting that 6.

I soon realised that this underachieving was applicable to many more situations in my life. I never set goals for myself or shared them with others, out of fear for not reaching them and having to conclude that I’m a failure. And because I never really tried the hard stuff, I didn’t gain any self-confidence on these matters either. Because if you don’t try, sure you cannot fail – but you cannot succeed either. And you never prove your insecurities wrong.

I learned to try

But I knew that that was no way to live. Deep down, I am not that lazy or average girl, and more important: I do have goals and dreams! So I took one year to actually try for what I wanted. I promised myself to actually write down work for my goals, and also share them with the world.

Within 5 months, I had reached all of the goals I had set for the year. I was flabbergasted, but also really thankful to hear a new voice that was now clear in my head, saying: you knew you could do this all along. You were just too scared.

I remember the moment I was going for my first try at my drivers license. I said to my friend that I was really afraid to fail. She understood, but also reality-checked me and said: Have you ever really tried at something you wanted and failed? And she was right. If I really want something, I always get it. And if I’m scared? I’ll do it scared.

Do it scared

Because being perfect is impossible. Everybody fails at times. And that can be scary, and it can hurt. But being lazy is not an option in this life that has so much to offer. ‘Life starts at the end of your comfort zone’ has been a motto since I took that test. And I challenge everyone reading this to please: face the fears that are holding you back from what you deserve.

Life is too short to be comfortable (or average).

xx Coco

The only way out is in

Deep ✨

A few days ago I posted a quote on my Instagram saying: ‘The only way out is in’, and how this was true for many situations. Today I will explain you what I mean by these words.

Happiness isn’t external

Spreading this word is kind of my life-mission. I really believe that happiness can only be found inside of yourself, and cannot be provided by anything or anyone external. 

Of course, there are people and material things that can bring you joy, comfort, safety or health that can add to your happiness. And they can provide you with a higher or deeper level of happiness, as opposed to what you can bring yourself.

Think of meaningful relationships or valuable insights that you simply can’t manifest all by yourself.

But at the bottom of this all needs to be an established sense of happiness that can only be found and manifested by ourselves. A kind of happiness that is independent of any external factors, and that cannot be shook by time and space. 

This kind of happiness is hard to find (in the conceptual and spiritual sense), but once found cannot be lost. If you’re still searching, I advise you to start a journey of self love (from worthiness, not ego) and spirituality.

Escaping reality 

And it is worth finding this happiness. Because a few months ago, I realised that once you have found inner happiness (in life) and peace (through meditation and the like), there is really nothing that can be taken from you to make you unhappy.

In that sense, whatever in your life is compromised, you can always escape your situation. There is always a way out, by going in. And then there is actually a lot that can be taken from you, without your happiness being compromised.

And of course, there is an exception for situations in which you are suffering so badly that there is no internal consolation. In some situations, you actually have to practically get out in order to be released from them.

But I would argue that in most cases, the actual confinement (and thus freedom) is internal. I hope you know the story about the man in prison who was truly unhappy for being locked-up, until he read a spiritual book of some sorts (I don’t remember the guru) and his whole mind opened up. From that moment, he had a way to happiness and freedom, even within just a few square meters. 

This is an extreme example, but it can inspire us to trust that our internal happiness can be something sacred and eternal. Self-reliant. Independent of what our actual daily life looks like. 

The only way is through AND inward 

Even when it comes to trauma, (mental) health issues or more practical life problems – in order to fix the situation, you have to deal with it. In modern times, we are very used to ‘quick fixes’ through medicine, delegation or distraction. 

However, not dealing with a problem only makes it bigger, or at least stick around. Nothing ever goes away until it teaches us what we need to know.  This can either be a very conscious (sad feelings, stress) or subconscious (long term health issues) case. Long story short: the only real way is through.

And I have an even more radical, and more spiritual view on dealing with problems. Because working through a problem is not always sufficient in living a happy and healthy life. Sometimes, a situation also requires us to work on ourselves, or in other words: go in.

Remember my blog on the three different worlds? Especially when your problem exists not only in the real world (1) but also in the emotional (2) and conceptual (3) world, going in to deal with a problem can be a real life changer. So do the shadow work. Deal with your soul as well as your body and mind.

If you wonder how, I invite you again to start your own self love + spiritual journey by reading my blogs (or do a simple Google-search 😉 )

xx Coco

Opening the door

Deep ✨

I keep thinking about the links between mind-altering substances, reality and the afterlife. In honour of dr. Bruce Greyson, who is actually doing research on the similarities between near-death experiences and psychedelics, I want to raise the question: are these drugs really ‘altering’ the way our brain works, or are they ‘opening’ the spectrum of what we can perceive? 

Mind-altering or mind-expanding?

In the dutch language, we call psychedelics ‘mind-expanding’ substances, translated literally. This assumes that they don’t mislead us, but open up our brain to another world, different concepts, or maybe another dimension. Are the dutch up to something, or are we just disagreeing on semantics here?

Dr. Bruce Greyson seems to suspect the former. Because in his studies, he already has proven that people who go through near-death experiences, all talk about some of the same places or concepts when they come back alive. He differentiates the interpretations of what they saw according to different cultures, i.e. a Christian may describe what he saw as God or the heavens, while an atheist describes ‘a light, warming presence’ or ‘the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen’. 

You can easily argue, as dr. Bruce Greyson does, that they actually saw a very similar thing, but their cultivated minds interpreted and explained the same concepts differently – inevitably matching their current world views- once back in their human form.

Another reality

The curiosity of his research on psychedelics is this: could the place we see, and the things we feel when we take these substances, in (this or another) reality be the same place and things we experience when we die? And this question really, really does keep me up at night.

Especially when I hear friends seeing the same ‘imaginary’ things while using substances, without being able to communicate with each other. Could these be the same similarities that different people who survived near-death experiences describe? Could they all somehow have opened a (the same?) door that normally stays closed? I once asked my friend (as I have never used psychedelics before) whether it feels like you’re being deceived, or whether it feels like you’re actually seeing stuff that is always there, but you’re only now seeing. She whole-heartedly said the latter. For example, people often claim to see how everything in nature is connected – which matches my worldview even sober.

I think this possibility plays on my mind a lot because it’s such a bold suggestion. But, if we one day prove this to be true, it has far-reaching consequences. Not only then have we proven that there is something called an afterlife, but we can also then suggest that this place and experience is not only granted after death, but we can also ‘visit’ this ‘place’ while still being alive – through the use of psychedelics!

Un-learning to see

There is one thing I want to add to this thought experiment. The things that substance users or the survivors of near-death experiences try to describe, I sometimes recognise in children. Young children often claim to see things that we cannot see. They talk to lost relatives, see imaginary friends and sometimes describe the reality of a simple house or street completely different from adults. 

When we remember the dutch description of psychedelics as ‘mind-expanding’, could it be that this expansive state is actually our natural state, and that we narrow our mind down as we grow older (for obvious reasons such as saving brain energy, order in the chaos, focus on survival)? Could it be that we unlearn to see the abundance of the world, the fullness of reality, the extravagance of the universe as adults? And could the afterlife and psychedelics be a remedy for this all? 

If yes, I would love to learn to do this in the now, without any substance. Could that be a part of the future? I’d love to hear your opinion. 

xx Coco