February 21, 2017
Dorine Smilde of smileconnects asked if we would like to shed light on 2016 for her newsletter readers. Well, that’s something we wanted to do. It was a very special year. In one word: magical! Curious about our reflection? Well then, read on quickly.
What have you done over the past year?
We, Jeroen, Sandra and our dog Floyd, left in December 2015 with our campervan to travel through Europe for an indefinite time. In doing so, a deep craving for freedom was fulfilled: the time for each other; space to take unexpected and unknown turns. Indefinite became nine months. We ourselves, quite unexpectedly, became the new tenants we were looking for in September for our apartment in Amsterdam.
How was the journey?
The first months was kicking the habit of work, Jeroen sighs. Already tasting ‘the outdoor life’ and still panting while searching for the Internet. Ingrained patterns are not easily polished. Trailing through the enormous mountain ranges of Emburn, the Spanish Pyrenees, Sierra Nevada and the eucalyptus-scented hills of Portugal created a balance between the left and right hemisphere in our brain. The value of feeling rain, wind, hail, snow, bright sun on you face. Sandra nods in agreement and adds: the journey felt small, living on twelve square metres. Cosy, because of the smell of homemade bread. Confrontations brought up questions: Who are you? Who am I? Our paths meandered towards freedom.
What has brought it us?
Our starting point: from a dozed off relationship. Both too busy, busy, busy with helping others tap to their strengths through trainings, coaching, yoga and meditation. After fighting, crying, laughing, talking, dancing, and singing, we are wide awake in front of each other. Our foundation has been set in stone. From here on, we can give each other the space to pave away our own, new path. Your own relationship and every person you meet are your direction indicators. Does someone’s behaviour frustrate you? Do you judge people? Look in the mirror. Examine yourself.
What kind of impact has it had on your personal growth?
Jeroen laughs. I sometimes thought Sandra was cool, aloof, rigid—not realising my own corporate mind catered for this. During every trip or stroll, I saw places where Sandra or I could organise a retreat. I said I’ll arrange it. Until she burst and stomped off. Back off! I even knew the itinerary for the day very well, but didn’t share this. If Sandra wanted to take an unexpected exit, my face would turn sour. Now I take my time to share my plans, feelings and emotions. Let it be. Sandra accepts them like a warm bath.
And I, Sandra, was deeply annoyed by Jeroen’s ‘laziness’. What a joke, when I look at how I approached the trail running. Every day more challenges. Follow three training camps to be able to attend the Tour Monte Rosa (in three days, 116 km with 8,500 altimeters) last September. I was tense from the start. Can I do this? Jeroen, much less trained, was extremely relaxed. Guess who flew over the trails light-footed? On the second day of this race, a light turned on brightly; why do I always have to fight so hard? Why do I have to raise the bar higher every time? The story of my life. After arriving home in the Netherlands, that is when I finally really ‘did nothing’ for three months.
What insights have you had?
The most important insight for both is that you need distance, time and courage to permanently cross out all your ‘taught me’s’. Don’t do a hundred things half-way, but do ten things well. A great example are these questions you posed, Dorine. Last year, you received several fleeting answers from us. Now we have let our hearts speak by taking ten minutes per question to write intuitively. Reading it out to each other was emotional. Tears of happiness and loving hugs. Wow! What a wonderful gift it was to travel through the inner and outer landscape. Thankful for everything! And being towed away for a second time because the camper had given up. We had to sleep in the garage. The burglary. Without troughs, no peaks.
What are the new plans?
Back in the Netherlands, I, Jeroen, notice that I am already replanting new woods in my shrunken commercial forest. Which swathes of forest do I still sell? Where do I want space for new bushes and flowers? The question: ‘Will the forest provide the same if I furnish it differently?’, still causes a lot of fear and the need to hold on. In the following year, I would like to pioneer in the combination of TAO and golf. And I would like to guide others on their path ‘back to your true nature’ by using my leadership programme in the mountains.
And, what is your ideal goal, Sandra? During the week, the vibrant city life. Getting others to move with yoga, yoga&run and personal coaching. Organise yoga retreats abroad. Make music. Sing. Go to a different coffee shop every day to write. Meet people. Jump in the camper in the weekends for trail events, the nature, silence. Until our cheeks are full, relish the best of all these worlds.
Together we build on the first floor of our rock-solid foundation. We train ourselves in ‘deep listening’ through Non-Violent Communication. And at least one evening per week, we practice tantric exercises focused on a deeper, energetic connection with each other. We have drastically cut down on our costs last year. Smaller house, smaller car, etc. This gives us more leeway to leave in the months of June, July and August. The idea is to go to Scandinavia, but don’t quote me on this. We are wide open to the unexpected.