Flying into Denver I’m reading ‘The meaning of life’ by Viktor Frankl. Diederik and I are on our way to meet Jim in Boulder. We will go into the wilderness together for 10 days. Freeze dried food, 200 liters of water a bivvy bag, tarp, tent and 3 sleeping bags will keep us alive. Since I did a Vision Quest in 2012 (read my book: I am back – with love), I know I can fast for 4 days and be alone on a mountain top. So what will this adventure bring me? Diederik wants to do a vision quest including fasting and solo, Jim wants to read and show us his country and I want to be in nature together with them.
The first day is always hard for me, my mind goes everywhere: What am I doing here? Should I fast for 4 days? I am going to do a three day solo? Why should I do that? How can I get the most out of this? Should I sleep under my tarp or just in my sleeping bag? Internal voices of judgment, cynicism and fear are fighting with each other without a clear winner. My mood deteriorates with the hour. When I am enough fed up with myself after a day, have a good dialogue (name it to tame it!) I decide and things get better: no 4 days of fasting and no long solo. But if I want to, I can decide any day to do it differently.
So I slept every day at another spot, fasted for 2 days and had wonderful dialogues with the 2 of them, sharing our life stories through the eyes of our mothers, writing letters to people who are important, meditating and practicing HeartMath, watching the sun rising at 6.31 and hating the blizzard. Sand everywhere under thick thunderclouds that make me feel afraid for my tarp and rest at night. Sitting alone in the storm for a day without food made me feel pretty annoyed. I ducked with my head between my knees to let the wind pass over me. Then I saw the tiniest of flowers in the sand between my feet. I was amazed by the power of her life force: in the midst of a Blizzard, no water to be seen, sand everywhere, she decided she wanted to be there. And she was. I felt amazed, touched and happy. In the middle of the Blizzard with sand everywhere in my ears, nose and eyes.
The image of the flower stayed with me the rest of the days and made me wonder how important that question ‘What’s the meaning of life?’ actually is. During a dialogue with Jim we reformulated the two questions at the bottom of the U process: ‘Who is my Self’ and ‘What is my Work?’ into ‘Who am I’ and ‘What is my yearning?’ The first question asks for the patterns that I have developed over the years to deal with the (external) world. How beneficial are these still? They have supported you in the past but are they still of value to live your life to the fullest?
The second question asks you what you long for. I have never been able to formulate my own mission or ‘purpose in life’ in a way that was meaningful for me. Next to that your purpose almost starts to become a ‘thing’: something external from your self. We both liked the yearning question better: it’s more active, open and gives direction. I long for being fully present while sailing and working. I love to support people to find new solutions while showing who they really are. I yearn to love and to be loved.