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Dancing Between Old and New: Embracing the In-Between ✨

photo credit: Alejandro Contreras

I wrote this 2 years ago in 2022, nice to revisit as I prepare to move countries from Amsterdam, NL to Geneva, Switzerland : a giant leap into the unknown – feeling that in between… Thank you Flamingo spirit for your wisdom of finding balance in change and embracing the in-between.

Lately, I’ve been feeling like a flamingo – one foot still rooted in the old, caught up in my own limiting patterns as well as dysfunctional structures, systems, and beliefs. Not entirely free to fly away from what I may have partly outgrown. And the other foot is up in the air, bravely exploring, feeling into, and reaching out towards the magic of what could be – a vision of a more beautiful world I long for and feel called to co-create alongside others in my humble way.

Some days, I lean into the old; other days, I venture into the unknown. It’s a dance, not always graceful, often uncomfortable or messy. It feels like I’m doing a massive split, falling apart, collapsing, or breaking open – I’m not quite sure.

I long for a world where we move SLOWER, in tune with the rhythms of nature, taking time to simply be, to feel deeply, breathe deeply, and embrace the fullness of being Alive, knowing that it is more than Enough.

A world where values, intentions, and visions guide us rather than deadlines and goals to be achieved. Surrounded by green and wild nature, spending more time outdoors, connecting rather than indoors, sitting in front of multiple screens, surrounded by concrete, consuming things, and mindless entertainment.A world conscious of our interconnectedness, where we act with gratitude and respect for the natural world.

Where we support and empower one another, co-creating and collaborating, not competing or conforming. Celebrating and gathering more in community, singing, dancing, storytelling, using our hands more to feel, create, and make things that bring us joy and meaning.

A world where we reclaim our health and autonomy, remembering the healing properties of Nature and plant wisdom. Where children are born in peace through empowered birthing goddesses who trust their bodies and the power of Life moving through them, not in systems of fear and control.

Where education offers children more freedom, more time outdoors, more creativity, and the space to discover who they are and their unique gifts.A world of unlearning much of what we’ve been taught, discovering our boundless potential as we follow our hearts, our intuition guiding us in every moment. A world where we stop doing anything that doesn’t make sense, that isn’t sustaining Life.

A world in which every cell of our being Vibrates LOVE. Some days, I get glimpses of this more beautiful world I dream of. I embody it, everything flows, and I even get to live it. I see that it’s not utopia, as I used to tell myself, but within reach. I meet many like-minded souls who share this vision. Yet it’s far from my daily reality as a mother of two school-aged girls living in the city. Some days, I feel like fast-forwarding into that reality, taking a giant leap. It’s frustrating that I can see it so clearly, taste it, and yet it isn’t always so.And then it strikes me – embracing the present moment, the stretch, the split, the weaving of old and new, the bridge that I am building into the unknown, the journey yet to be travelled, made with every step, no matter how small, is what it’s all about.

Spiritual Ecology Retreat – Beaumont, Belgium – 28 June to 2 July 2023

Inner Work for Outer Change…
How can we integrate a spiritual response to the ecological, social and political crises we are facing? At this time of great uncertainty in the world, we need to find the strength to put compassion into action.
We welcome you to join us on this 5-day learning journey on the beautiful land of a Buddhist retreat centre, just 30-minute south of Charleroi in Belgium, to explore what compassion means in relationship to yourself, to others and to the natural world.
Together we will move through a spiral of the Work that Reconnects and engage in powerful practices to grow our ecological consciousness and empower our capacity to make a positive difference in today’s world.
We will explore how to manage strong emotions, how to engage with wisdom and how to stay connected to joy in challenging times. We will bring this inner work together with our outer environment, deepening our connection with Mother Earth, with each other, and also sensing into what wants to emerge in the larger system.
Beyond excited to be co-facilitating this retreat with Annick Nevejan.
More detail & registration here

Deep Ecology Retreat Experience

May be an image of 10 people
Throwback to summer 2021 when I attended my first spiritual ecology retreat in Belgium with the beautiful guidance of Annick Nevejan and Maaike Boumans.
On this picture a playful pose of our amazing group after an afternoon of learning & helping in the gorgeous permaculture garden of the Beaumont Buddhist retreat center cared for by Gregory.
This retreat felt like a coming home and brought me a sense of wholeness through deep connection with my core being, oneness with nature & soulful encounters with inspiring people caring for Life in their own unique ways. A sense of an Earth care community that I was thirsty for was born through our time together, filling me with a huge sense of aliveness, hope and the courage to step up increasingly to act on behalf of Life.
This process made so much sense to me, more than anything I had come across. I felt a strong call to deepen and share this deep
ecology work.
In autumn 2021 I trained with Roseaux Dansants (the French arm of the Work that Reconnects) and @transalquimia (Spanish WTR) after experiencing a 5 day retreat with them (The Council of All Beings).
Last Spring I further trained to facilitate Active Hope Circles with Chris Johnstone and Madeleine Young.
Since then I’ve been sharing with passion the Work that Reconnects through retreats & workshops for open groups as well as organisations of change makers & activists: Cityplot, the Transition Network of SW France, Ecofeminist organisation Shelter FR, Extinction Rebellion, Reclaim the Seeds Amsterdam and Climate Action NL (in the making).
This Spring, I started the first Active Hope Circle in Amsterdam which is ongoing & to be continued.
I was intending to assist facilitation for the Beaumont Spiritual Ecology retreat but this weekend I stepped into an unexpected fuller co-facilitation role as dear friend and colleague Flo from @mindful.change has her hands full with the launch of the second edition of the @plumvillagefrance online course “Zen and the Art of Saving the Planet” sharing Thay’s teachings.
Will miss her presence and also honoured for this unexpected opportunity. It feels like a circle coming round.
Our retreat will be held in Beaumont again in Belgium from 28 June to 2 July 2023, join us here

Balancing Being & Doing to Restore Harmony

BALANCING BEING & DOING to restore HARMONY 💫
Started a new mindfulness couMay be an image of 3 peoplerse earlier this month with this intention of restoring this sacred balance between:
being & doing,
yin & yang
feminine & masculine
giving & receiving
Letting go, letting in (we need to let go to make space for the new to emerge, to be empty and receptive)
When this balance exists in our body our health is optimal (homeostasis state)
This balance exists in our breath. I invited us to feel these energies of yin and yang in our breath, deeply feeling one at a time and then noticing how they balance one another.
This balance exists everywhere in us and everywhere in nature, in the seasons, everything rises and falls, begins and ends, works and rests, all of life expands and contracts.
As human beings, we have forgotten about the BEING part. Mindfulness practice helps us remember & tend to our aliveness.
When we do we restore balance within ourselves. And when we restore the balance within it can exist without.
We have brought ourselves completely out of balance with our industrial growth society, only expanding, addicted to growth, profit, efficiency, powered by fossil fuels, evolving in a linear way, forgetting our biosphere is cyclical and cannot sustain these ways.
We have gotten so caught up, so consumed in unbalanced doing that we have forgotten we are held, we are immersed in Mother Earth and us being out of sync with Her has brought our very planet out of balance 🌎
Restoring the balance without begins within. Doing less, being more. Slowing Down. Being present with our doing so that we are doing things with awareness and love and letting go of all that isn’t necessary and doesn’t make sense.
It is simple: what doesn’t regenerate us, doesn’t regenerate Life. Our personal and planetary wellbeing are completely intertwined.
Our minds can get us stuck but our bodies are hardwired to know. Calm the mind and access an infinite source of wisdom
Time to LISTEN, BALANCE, HARMONISE
I feel so passionate about this, I struggle with short posts, thank you if you’ve slowed down enough to make it here. Sending you so much love 💚🌷✨

Active Hope Circle – Honouring our Pain

Grateful for a beautiful, connecting and heart-opening Active Hope Gathering.✨
Feeling cracked open and so nourished by the deep ecology practices we engaged in with a beautiful group of change-makers, regenerating the land, transforming education, leading the energy transition, healers, artists and activists.
I’ve been looking for fertile ground to share this work and finally these intentions are manifesting, the work is magically finding the right people, moving to where it’s most needed.
Honored to initiate and guide this process and co-create together. Grateful to my many teachers, soul connections, support along the way allowing me to align to this new path I have been called to. 🙏
Yesterday after opening with a gratitude prayer “The Words that come before All Else” from the Haudosenee people (their gift to the world supporting us to remember what is sacred), we moved into the second stage of the Spiral 🌀 Honouring our Pain with an inquiry, a circle dance, a profound grief ritual with such touching sharing of our pain for the world. We ended the evening singing, my heart is full with all the beautiful songs shared honouring the Earth and our wild nature, so healing to sing together with intention, simple and powerful ❤️🙏✨
One particularly touching moment was hearing a man in the circle voice how it was time perhaps for men to pause and listen to the women, he recognized the deep connection of women with the land. It was such a gift beyond words to receive his words.
And totally aligned with my path of harmonizing with the Earth and diving deeper into the feminine.
Enjoying the journey and all the places it is taking me.
You can join our last gatherings before the summer or autumn circles, please email me marjorie@experiencemindfulness.nl for more details.

Self-love : The Mindful Circle

SELF-LOVE ❤️🌷
In the mindful circle, I regularly share powerful self-compassion practices because I feel these are so essential to feeling vital, joyful and empowered. Join our next circles online or outdoors in warmer months, sign up here 
When we can really hold ourselves with unconditional love, we realize our wholeness.
All our wounds, past and present are healed through this loving presence. They don’t disappear but when we can hold them in this way, they become a source of wisdom, empowerment and purpose.
🌷
When we really have our best interest at heart, we almost magically break away from all the patterns which aren’t serving our highest good. ✨
It all starts with the most intimate relationship we will ever have – with ourselves. 💕
When we heal the relationship with ourselves, we can transform our relationship with others, the environment, our world. 🦋
We operate not from a place of lack, fear or scarcity but from a place of overflowing abundant LOVE which is the essence that nourishes our creativity. ☀️
The source of being of service and contributing to a more compassionate world is beginning to accept and love yourself just as you are ❤️
Join the mindful circle to empower your self-love

 

Summer in an Ecofeminist Retreat : a suprisingly liberating experience

This summer I had the joy of co-facilitating a Work that Reconnects retreat for Shelter, a French ecofeminist association. While I was familiar with the concept of ecofeminism and what I had read about it made a lot of sense to me, I was definitely in for a surprise being immersed in a 100% ecofeminist gathering for 2 weeks …

Ecofeminism is a movement linking the oppression of women, minority groups & indigenous culture & the degradation of the environment as consequences of capitalist patriarchy. 

It is impossible to describe in words and in a short post my experience but let me begin by saying it was intense and I came back from it a changed woman.

The ecofeminist gathering was in beautiful nature in the middle of nowhere, a hidden refuge nestled in the hilltops of the Aude region, the landscape a mix of pine forest and what they call “la guarrigue” locally. The place we met is a sanctuary for women, men aren’t welcome there. Initially I had quite some resistance to this, it felt really polarising to exclude men. If we want to build a more harmonious future, surely we need to do this together.

But I had signed up for this experiment, co-hosting with my dear soul sisters, so I just let go and saw it as an exploration of something new. And I certainly wasn’t disappointed, what an experiment in letting go of layers and layers of conditioning…

It was special to be in a land that had only been touched and walked upon by women and witness how little had been done to the land. There were a few wooden cabins, built by lesbian women who had lived there from the 70s onwards, completely crooked, imperfect and absolutely charming. There was no electricity, no source of water and “the shitter” wasn’t the place you want to hang around. We would collect water from a source at the village nearby, we needed to drive there and carry it by foot for the last meters up a hill during the summer heatwave. The whole symbolic of women carrying the water was special and the appreciation that stemmed from enjoying it for drinking or a rudimentary shower was immense.

I didn’t miss any of the comforts of modern life though during my time there. I discovered the joy of sleeping under the stars every night, of seeing the sun and moon rising and setting. I became really connected with these rhythms, it felt like all was in place and after a few days and would not miss one. I discovered what it was like to be in total darkness in the forest and how surprisingly safe and comfortable I felt especially knowing there was not any male presence or dangerous animals around, I didn’t feel like prey. It was so magical not to have artificial light for those weeks and no sign of civilisation anywhere close, how precious to see the night sky clearly, to experience and enjoy the darkness. I enjoyed sisterhood like seldom before, in profound and deep sharing in circles filled with words of wisdom and truth, hugging, tears, love, softness, fierceness, pain, power and rage. It was raw, moving, intense, peeling of layer after layer.

We were naked in every way, also physically, it was so hot and there were no men, so clothes were mostly superfluous. Initially as a retreat co-facilitator, I had some resistance being half naked but after so much intimacy and depth in our sharing, I felt totally comfortable in that nakedness. I never thought I would be facilitating a grief circle in my underwear with 18 women but it just happened and I completely surrendered…

I discovered what it was like to walk through my days without the male gaze, how suddenly it was totally safe to be completely naked. Being around this special group of women and without men gave me so much more space to be, so much freedom to express my sensuality, all of me. I experienced a freedom I had seldom experienced. It was blissful…

We had long walks under the moonlight in nature, walks in silence, singing songs, telling stories, laughing and howling with the wind in our hair and on our bare skin. I treasure images of our half nude bodies walking for hours in the moonlight and bathing and singing in the river down below.

I experienced the wild woman in me I had longed for, dreamt of, had glimpses of here and there. And the whole experience felt so sensual, playful, soft and powerful, with ann intense, feeling of aliveness and intimacy with nature. It was so liberating to be me so fully in this magical place surrounded by beautiful women and a couple of my dear soul sisters to share this experience with. Most of these women were healers, mothers, massage therapists, dancers, writers, artists, activists, etc.

It gave me a glimpse of what it feels like to be completely safe to be free, to be in a symbiotic state with the Earth and with a community of women. I carry this experience preciously in my heart and it motivates me to create and contribute to safe places for women to show up in their full power.

 

Living in Harmony with the Seasons

There was a time when our ancestors lived much closer to nature and honoured the seasons … They honoured the Wheel of the Year connected to celebrations bringing together spirituality and nature.

After the establishment of Christianity in the Roman Empire, these traditions and beliefs were persecuted and largely disappeared (my 12 year old daughter is currently learning about this in her history class).

Regardless of whether you practice Christianity, our Western European calendar today is significantly influenced by Christian celebrations be it Christmas, Easter, All Saints Day, Ascension day, often public holidays with specific traditions.

Most of these celebrations originated from ancient Celtic celebrations that have been banned or strategically transformed to fit the dogma of Christianity.

Nowadays these pagan celebrations are re-emerging as feminine wisdom is on the a rise and there is an increased awareness of the importance to live in harmony with nature for our own survival as a species. We can draw on this ancient wisdom and the powerful energetic portals of the seasons to navigate life today in a more grounded, balanced and wise way.

Regardless of labels, what is particularly interesting with Celtic celebrations, is how connected they are to nature, to the rhythm of the seasons, to agriculture and the trajectory of the Sun and the Moon which is echoed in our biorhythms.

Celtic Wheel of the Year – Kristen Fox

In the Northern hemisphere, the Celtic or pagan calendar (of which the New Year starts on 1st November, the day after Samhain) marks 8 key celebrations or sabbaths : Samhain (between 31 Oct to 2 Nov) that has become Halloween/All Saints Day, Yule / Winter Solstice (between 19 and 23 December) becoming Christmas, Imbolc (1 0r 2 February becoming Candlemas), Ostara / Spring Equinox (between 20 and 23 March) becoming Easter, Beltane (1st May), Litha / Summer Solstice (19 to 23 June) , Lugmasadh (1 and 2 August) and Mabon / Autumn Equinox (between 19 to 23 September). Days differ depending on the year and the inclination of the Earth.

Each of these celebrations were associated to rituals practiced at home or in community. Celtic traditions are closest to home but many traditions honoured and continue to honour this cyclical wisdom. Native Americans live by the Wheel of the Year in harmony with the seasons, each associated to a direction representing the stages of human Life (Winter is North, Spring is East, Summer is South, Autumn is West). I find it fascinating to discover more about these different traditions anchored in nature and use this wisdom as a navigation compass for life as it unfolds.

Becoming aware and honouring the rhythms of the Earth is healing and beneficial at many levels. Living with the wheel of the seasons and the year supports our awakening and connects us to Life. It invites us to live more in harmony with nature, to bring appreciation to each moment of the year and its gifts. To become aware of how these processes mirror our own evolution. Through the wheel of the seasons, we honour the cyclical nature of all Life, including our own cyclical nature, we too are cyclical beings. Everything is in balance through this year wheel: day and night, light and darkness, life and death, woman and man.

To bring balance to how we evolve on this planet today as human beings, it is wise to draw inspiration from this cyclical rhythm. It is impossible for us to disregard it, as we evolve on a planet that revolves around these cycles and that means we need to be in sync with these rhythms to ensure our own survival. This is such a simple truth. It is an illusion that we can disregard this fundamental physiological fact. And we’ve been living in this illusion for quite some years, major blind spot. Modern society has evolved in a linear and accelerated way since the industrial age and it is clear nowadays that this is no longer sustainable without great threats to existence. It is time to start to integrate the wisdom of nature’s circularity into our daily lives be it intimately or professionally.

It’s certainly a long way to go towards that transition and it can be daunting even where to begin. This involves gradually changing our belief system, our routines, our relationships, our behaviours, ….

Being out in nature, listening and feeling into these rhythms and how they are echoed in our bodies, honouring these cycles of Life and drawing wisdom from them is a wonderful and joyful place to start.

I will continue to offer gatherings and ceremonies to support us to remember, integrate and embody this natural and seasonal wisdom.  Join me on that journey for a Spring Equinox ceremony and morning walk on 20th March.

LOVE FLOWS THROUGH ME

This poem flowed out of me today as I connected to the LOVER in me.

LOVE FLOWS THROUGH ME

In every breath, in every heartbeat, in every moment, in every second of every day,

Love flows through me

Love within & Love without

I feel the sweet nectar of Love filling & softening all of my body, inviting me to open to Life, to Love it all,

I feel myself shining, sparkling within, tingling, pleasurable sensations rushing through my body simply by connecting to the Lover in me,

What a bliss to be alive in this body, what a gift

Love from Above & Love from Below,

From the light of the stars, enlightening our darkest nights, inviting us to remember where we came from

To the warmth of the sun, brightening up our days, its soft warmth joyfully melting our hard edges, teasing our hearts to open,

Love form the Earth, our mother, our home, the great womb of Life,

gently cradling us within her protective arms, creating a membrane of Love for life to emerge,

Our great mother providing, nurturing, generously nourishing us with all of her gifts,

Pure Air, Water, Soil, the foundations for Life in its multitude of forms to flourish,

Love from the fresh, pure air,

We are surrounded with life giving substance,

A substance that awakens and infuses all of our cells with love,

Life force pouring through us, the ultimate energy of love.

Opening up like a rose to receive the gifts of love, of Life

Every breath is a blessing, every moment, a miracle, an opportunity to feel deeply the bliss of being alive in this living, breathing, dancing body,

An ocean of love flows through me, pure crystalline waters, inviting me to love all the parts of me, the light and the darkness, the shame, the fear dissipating as it is seen, felt and Loved,

Taking it all in, Feeling it all, embracing it all, loving it all,  

Every moment an opportunity to embody Love,

Love is abundant, Love is for sharing,

Love wants to speak, to express, to create beauty all around,

Love has no end, love overflows, love pours from me

Love opens my eyes and heart as I breathe in the world around me,

Love sees the beauty in everything and everyone, the universe in every being, and all that connects us into this wondrous Web of Life that is Love’s expression,

Love flows through me as it flows through you and every Living Being,

Love want to play, to savour, to wrap itself around and merge with all of LIfe,

Love feels the winds though all directions, Love from the West, Love from the North, Love from The East and the Love from the South, caressing my face, whispering love songs from distant places, uniting us through time and space. Love hears the sweetest bird songs inviting my heart to sing along, Love tickles the soft grass on my bare feet and charms me into dancing to the beat of my own song,

My love song resonates in harmony with the Earth and all beings partaking in this endless dance of Life, that has no end and no beginning, that is boundless and eternal, soft and fierce, powerful beyond measure, as is LOVE.

The LOVER in me embraces all that is with nurturing arms and invites the magic of Life to Flow,

The magic is LOVE

The Power of Intention & Attention

Our intention creates our reality.

– Wayne Dyer

Every action originates in the mind, it starts with a thought. If we are on autopilot, this process can be largely unconscious, we just run off habits of mind. However, when we become conscious of an unmet need and feel a desire for change to meet this need, that thought becomes what we refer to as an intention.

Etymology of intention : to stretch towards

From Latin in- “toward” (from PIE root *en “in”) + tendere “to stretch,” from PIE root *ten- “to stretch.”

Old French entencion “intent, purpose, aspiration; will; thought” (12c.)

Every transformative process starts with an intention. This intention often arises from a need, a longing. Something in our life isn’t aligned with who we are and what we believe in, our values and needs. When we notice this, there’s the intention to move ourselves towards what we long for, to stretch or extend towards it. To bring about change so we can experience more well-being, balance and alignment. Setting an intention can be like a course correct : noticing you are aren’t heading in a helpful place and reorientating yourself towards where you want to be, where you intend to go, what feels right for you.

An intention can be very specific such as landing your dream job or finding as soul mate and it can be more linked to qualities you want to embody, what matters to you, your purpose.

For instance: I intend to be kinder towards myself, I intend to bring more presence into my day, I wish to bring more peace in my household.

An intention holds in itself immense potential for positive transformation. It is nothing less than the voice of your soul emerging to remind you who you are and what you are here to do. An intention when nurtured, has the potential to expand well beyond what we think is possible (our minds are limited in many ways).

And how do we nurture intention? By bringing our attention, bringing our focus to it. We bring our mental energy to the intention, and more importantly, we bring our heart to it, we take care of it.

When we keeping our minds focused, our vision clear, our heart open and really embody the qualities of our intention, it starts to unfold and become our reality as we walk through life.

Intention + Attention = Transformation   

I like to think of it as Magic because it is a process that involves a lot of trust. Sometimes the outcome may surprise you, be different to what you expect. Because it is not a process of control, it is a co-creation with Life. By focusing on your intention, you begin to embody it and attract that reality. Your environment responds to the energy you emit sometimes in very creative ways, remember everything is vibration. We attract what we emit, our beliefs become our reality to an extent. Our reality is in large part constructed by how we view the world, whether through thoughts or conscious intentions.

Nature is always a great mirror to illustrate this principle. Think of the potential that there is in one tiny seed. With the right conditions (fertile soil, water, sunshine, etc.) and the right care, a tiny acorn can become a great oak!

 

“An intention is the budding flower given life by all of the underlying thoughts, words, and actions in the rich soil below the surface. Intention gains its true power through the focus of your attention on what you may do in the present moment to bring your intention into physical manifestation. Attention energizes and intention transforms… Whatever you put your attention on will grow stronger in your life. Whatever you take your attention away from will wither, disintegrate and disappear.” – Deepak Chopra

 

Whereas an intention describes something that you desire to take place in the future, your attention is what you can do right now to make that intention a reality.

 

It can first help to formulate an intention, reflect or journal on why this is really important for you and visualise it manifested to embody its energy. To empower your intention, you can take a few moments to focus on it in your daily practice. And also at the end of the day perhaps notice moments in which you honoured it.