Finally I feel room again and am glad to share what happened within the last few weeks at our journey.
The moment that I started writing this post, we were standing right outside Siena. At that moment, we felt quite discouraged, insecure, directionless. Right now we are next to Castiglione della Pescaia, standing on a campsite just a few meters next to the beautiful ocean. How we ended up here, I will tell you in this blog.
OUR LESSON TO STAY HONEST WITH OURSELVES
The last few weeks were intense for us. When we arrived at our last community destination, an ecovillage project called Reggioli in Tuscany, we were confronted with being really honest with ourselves. From the moment we arrived, we did not feel at ease there. Even though the location and place was breath-taking and precisely (or even more than) what we imagined it to be, and even though the ideas, future plans and the potential of that land was huge and beautiful, something that’s essential for us was clearly missing. Next to the fact that (as we knew before) the process of community building was in an early state, we had difficulty to connect with the owner (who was, for the first few days, the only one present there).
One reason we consciously want to investigate a living in community is that we learned how much we can grow individually from contact. Especially, when there is irritation or an allergy towards another AND the space (and of course a whole lot of braveness!) to be honest and respectful about what is going on. Bram and I were reflecting on ourselves the first days, and how we want to deal with the contact with the owner. Bram asked him for a few words to investigate together what is going on and to lift his heart, but the owner did not make space for it or offered another time to him. After a few trials, our irritation was increasing, and the moments that we did not feel heard, seen or being valued as well. Here, we realized that for us, the very basis and nourishing source of creating whatsoever together is mutual openness and the will to look at and reflect on yourself. Because we (and the owner) expected to stay at this place for over a month, we honestly felt scared to say no. Saying no, with the risk of disappointing the other and making him angry, being rejected. But we felt in our heart that we would lie to ourselves staying there, swallow in our irritation. And we thought that this also wasn’t what the project deserves.
One beautiful and inspiring philosophy that we learned in our last community (BiBa) was that rather than working as hard and as much as possible, what really nourishes the place and the people is our honesty, and feeling and communicating our own borders. Only when we get energy from what we do, we can share it.
So eventually we put all our strengths together and decided to leave and share our reasons before going if possible. Even if we did not experience that our words were taken for granted and the conversation ended up in a clash, our heart felt lighter when we drove away, having shared what we wanted to share.
TAKING TIME TO REST (OUR BODY AND MIND)
Somewhat ironically, we both got ill the following days. Being bombarded with the topic of corona since one and a half year, we experienced it at first hand. Next to being ill of course, with similar symptoms as having a heavy flue, we feared that this would have consequences for our travel and we felt responsibility towards others. For nearly about two weeks, we isolated ourselves in nature and an empty but beautiful campsite in the midst of a forest. These were really odd two weeks, where Bram and I cared for one another and where we started to reflect on what we were doing. Many insecurities arose in us, if we were at the right spot, in the right country, if this journey had some value at all. When we physically felt better, we tried to catch the core of our motivation for this mission again. We developed a mind map where we tried to put into words how (and where) we imagined to live in the near future. We imagined a land in either Germany or the Netherlands, where we would create a beautiful and natural accommodating space for people striving to live in greater harmony with nature, themselves and others, or where people share their own talents and help in the project as volunteers. A place where we could accommodate workshops, coaching sessions, gluten-free wonderful food (mainly directly harvested in our own permaculture garden). And a place where we could set up a tiny house and have enough space for others wanting to join this project. And, and, and …
We were starting to look for land prices, thinking about the steps that would be necessary for all those ideas… Ultimately, we started to feel a lot of pressure on us, and loads of questions: how could we possibly finance such a huge project? Can we gain enough experience? What if it fails…?
And then, breathing in, breathing out… I realized that I was busy with this beautiful dream of ours from a place of contraction instead giving myself and us room to let it sink. For me, it is such a learning process that, when I want something in life, I can allow myself to take small steps that I am able to go, that I can digest. Rather than jumping into the ice-cold water, slowly putting my big toe in it and feel what it does to me, where my boundaries are.
In line with this realization, our bodies told us the same message. To our big disappointment, after a few days of feeling better, we felt worse again. Our lungs began to hurt again. A feeling of having run a marathon, even if we did not move at all. We were just preparing to start a hike after two weeks of recovery time, but, listening to our bodies, decided against it. We need to take into account that our lungs need rest for a few more weeks, possibly even months. Our idea of working for accommodation and traveling low budget, gaining practical experiences and gather inspirations, does not work out right now. We are now on the road again for over a month, and time will tell when and if we can visit and work in a community again during this journey.
Yesterday, we decided to drive from Firenze to a beautiful beach, treating our lungs with fresh, salty air and allowing us (despite the costs) to stand on a campsite beneath pine trees, with hot showers and fresh water. We made the decision to rest here for another week and have a look how we feel then and what will be our next step.
Life cannot be planned, we decide to trust!
Warm greetings from the windy Tyrrhenian sea,