How can I be touched by something so traditional which is so alien to me? It touches me to an extent that I have no explanation for it. I have lived my whole life in a foreign country. Majority of my time I have spent outside my own people. My activities never represented any of our cultural elements. I never liked anything traditional. In that regard I have always praised the western way of living over ours. I liked their movies, I liked their music, I liked their way of thinking I admired them whole heartedly.
In short there is not much which binds me to my own roots. I can’t escape the colour of my skin nor my background. But emotionally and mentally I never had any strings attached to the country I was born in. I can’t even write my name in my language anymore. I have never been interested in what was happening there, I never followed any news or participated in any activities relevant or important to my country.
There was even time I used to say to people specially to girls that I was from Italy, I was ashamed of saying the truth.
Even the physical appearances of my country men I never liked. We are short, hairy, dark and with no characteristics which stand out compared to others.
In 30 years I have been back only 3 times and I have no intention of going back there.
Having said all this and yet there is nothing what touches my soul the way our folk music does, nothing brings me to deeper trance of tears then the simple words song in my mother language.
What I find most disturbing is the effort which is put in to disapproving each other with cunning arguments and weak facts.
In religious circle there is a trend to validate religion by scientific studies. It feels like religion has to find shelter under the umbrella of science to feel congruent with what religion is preaching. I find religion such an immense entity that no science need or can shelter it.
Yet in every religion there are very intelligent spokesman to defend the religion from “outsiders”. These people have extra ordinary knowledge, intelligence and power of persuasion. Spokesman can be important to clarify difficulties in misinterpretations and misunderstandings. There explanation most of the time do not add anything to the real message. The scary part is how they can twist and bend arguments to win their case. They have become so efficient in persuading us even before we had the chance to think about what is said.
My personal philosophy is that there are somethings which other people needs to teach us and there are some teachings which come from within. I need to learn mathematics from somebody but I do not need to learn how to love, that is inside me. Religion I hold also at that highest state where everything I need to understand is in me, nobody else need to explain anything to me.
The statements which are being made, that all the answer to science are hidden in the religious books, we just need to decode them and unlock the answers. This is what I mean by misleading arguments, we cannot deny them, because then we become sinners. If we accept them then we are not true to our self.
So what about the scientific community, what are they doing? Scientific community has an arrogance of knowing. For them everything is crystal clear it is just others can’t see it yet.
We feel this relationship with the one that is there. Science may prove it by evolution theory or by mathematics what/why/how we feel what we feel about religion. Despite all the explanations and arguments it will not change anything on that matter, because it is knowing from within. Religion is as much part of me as I am to myself, the one exists for me because I exists.
I have encountered many situations where I had to rethink what a good friendship means. Often we see friendships, like sinking ships. The arise, the promise to be Titanic, and they are destined to become Titanic. Great friendships require a great personality, friendship is an understanding among kings not the beggars.
There is a traditional way of thinking about friendship and there is modern way of thinking about friendship. Traditional way is idealistic of nature modern way of friendship is value oriented. Somehow instinctively we know when a friendship is a good friendship regardless of the area it is in.
Sometime friendship seems like a prostitutional contract between two “people”. During our life we meet many people, we leave and we forget those people. I love this saying in Dutch (uit het oog uit het hart) out of sight out of heart. It implies something about the human nature, and the nature of men is egoistic. If it is not of any use it is not of any interest.
What friendship is not for me, it is not a social club, it is not filling the empty gaps, it is not your psychiatrist, it is not your entertainment plan, it is not extension of your strength, it is not protection from the evil, it is not a door to success, and it is not your personal 911 number.
If I cannot define what friendship is how can I determine what a good friend is then? That is to say if we do not know the variable x we cannot search for the value of y in an equation.
What characterizes a good friend?
- He is authentic
- His actions are louder than his words
- He is trust worthy
- He does not keep a log file of his favours
- He will do anything for you yet he will feel he has not done enough
- He wishes the best for you
- He is a brother to you
- He will support you
- He will stop you
- He will listen to you
- He knows your strength
- He knows your weaknesses
- He is not jealous of you
- He loves you
What is a not a good friend?
- He is not authentic
- His actions are not louder than his words
- He is not trust worthy
- He keeps a log file of his favours
- He always feel that he has done more than enough for you
- He does not wishes the best for you
- He is not a brother to you
- He will not support you
- He will not stop you
- He will not listen to you
- He knows not your strength
- He knows not your weaknesses
- He is jealous of you
- He does not love you
Are there some guidelines which hinder us in creating good friendships?
- Real friendship requires a deep trust in each other and we don’t trust each other.
- Real friendship requires respect for each other and we don’t respect each other.
- Real friendship requires well wishes for each other and we often are jealous of each other.
- Real friendship is adding value we often want to distract value.
- Real friendship is understanding first we often give advice first.
- Real friendship is accepting ones flaws we like to judge our friends.
- Real friendship is sitting silently next to each other we feel awkward in silence.
- Real friendship is being there in need we often chose the fun moments.
- Real friendship requires a great investment first we want to cash out to soon.
- Real friendship is to be honest we often like to please.
Why we stop being good friends?
- We grow apart from each other.
- We develop different philosophies from each other.
- We do not see each other equal in friendship.
- We do not add value to friendship.
- We give more importance to our self then to other.
- We are not tolerant.
- We are lazy, great friendship requires high energy level, lazy people in my eyes cannot invest that energy in good friendships.
- Our ego is bigger than our friendship.
- Forcing the other to go against his will.
The question arises, am I a good friend?
- A person who is a friend to all is a friend to none.
- We all want to have the best friend but nobody is willing to become one.
I truly cannot answer for myself if I have been a good friend, all I can say of myself I am trying……..
Hypotheekvrij is a nice read written by a Dutch writer Gerhard Hormann. This book demystifies lot of claims made around the housing market. Claims like house is always a good investment, house is not a debt but an investment, people who are paying off their mortgage are thieves of their own pocket.
If we look around us we see lot of people as victims of those investments. People bought bigger houses then they could afford some even bought bigger second house. Everybody was living in the bubble, the sun was shining 24/7 and suddenly the sun stopped shining. After the burst of the big bubble, the whole housing market collapsed, the value of the houses dropped far below the mortgage value. That meant beside the house being an investment it was an extra debt on top of the mortgage.
Out of this book I was expecting to get a good understanding of the mortgage system and clever tricks to pay off the mortgage as soon as possible.
Instead Gerhard talks little about the technical side of mortgages. His main focus is on increasing ones financial IQ, changing ones way of thinking and the lifestyle one is living. Saving and minimalistic living are the key words in this book. The key strategy is to use the savings to get rid of the mortgages as soon as possible. Living without debt has not only financial benefits but brings in place an experience of authentic freedom. Gerhard argues, “when we live simply, our cost go down, less money is needed, work becomes less importan and our free time increases to enjoy our live”.
Life is a serie of problems at very best challenges which needs to be encountered and solved.
We encounter problems in all shapes and forms. We may have to lose our loved ones, we may have to witness an incurable disease, everything we possess can be taken away from us. The most unconceivable which we never hoped for or never expected to be could happen.
One’s a friend asked me why God was doing all this to him, why he was testing him so severely to the extent that he was losing his fate in God. God can be or is a shelter against hopelessness, but I find introducing god is adding unnecessary complexity to the problem. We can eliminate god from the equation and approach every main problem as any undesirable situation which needs a fix. The better we become in solving problems the better the quality of our life will be.
We may be good at solving one type of problem but very poor at the other. We will be confronted over and over again with the same type of problems till we learn to solve them.
Solving a problem sometime means going through the wall sometime it means taking different direction and sometimes taking few steps aside is enough. A generalization about a good problem solvers is that they approach a situation with the right artillery, they use enough ammunition to kill the rabbit not to blow it away .
First important thing is a proper analysis of the problem. Describing the problem clearly is most of the time half of the solution.
Second we can experience problems as, drowning in the water or looking at the bowl of water. In the first metaphor we experience the problem as a victim in the second metaphor we experience the problem as an observer of an event.
Finally we should put the problem in the right perspective where we don’t make things bigger than they are.
In the previous 35 years or so sins we came to Holland much has changed. We came here not because we were kings among people, but to find the promised paradise. We came here as second class citizens, that is how we felt and that is how we were treated.
What we saw! we saw beautiful streets, we saw spotless roads, we saw fairness and just in the society, we saw respect for life, we saw equal opportunities, we saw an organized state, law and order, we saw non corrupt government, we saw a great medical care, we saw freedom of thinking and speech, we saw independent women, we saw naked women on the beach, we even saw 2 men getting married, we saw people who did not believe in god, we saw nightclubs, we saw people drinking alcohol openly, we saw being direct was more important than being nice, we saw different ethnic groups living to gather, we saw how well the animals were treaded…
Our interpretation of opportunities, we saw opportunities in work, we saw a naive mentality, we saw our rights without the obligations, we saw possibilities to manipulate the system, we saw people getting money without working, we saw by lying we could get even more money out of the system.
What we achieved, as the time passed the children grew older, fathers became stricter especially to their daughters. Education was good as long it did not conflicted with our norms and values. The children grew the marriages were conducted from back home. The connection was stronger with back home than with here, here was just a means to get to our goal.
We achieved respect of a rich man back home, we constructed big houses back home by living poorly here. The ego was ever present among all of us, we bragged about everything we could put our hands on. We were the people who did not have normal sanitary facilities back home, we were the people still using wooden tablets to write on, we were the people still using wood to make fire. We came from a country which could not provide us of the facilities which we enjoyed here. With this poor mentality we still achieved to educate our children to a high degree. Our children started working in high positions, the new generation started losing touch with back home, they started marrying to their own liking. Norm and values from back home become less present among them, they started to become a copy of the original, but copy become blurry and lacked the authenticity of the original.
A brief history of our life’s.
I love this period of the year, it allows me to assess my hard work during the year. When we set goals we are in an orgasmic state. In that state there are no limits and everything is possible. It feels like the summer but when the winter comes with it’s hardships, every next step becomes havier and one falls down into the post orgasmic state. In which the fire and the desire are extinguished. We have to train our self to survive the winter with the knowledge that the summer is coming.
I would like to go through my own goals of 2015 and evaluate them goal by goal. It is interesting to see what mistakes I have made and what improvement can be done for 2016 goals.
I use the word SMART which stands for (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant,Time-bound)
1. MCSE certification (not achieved), no clear study material from Microsoft to learn from.
Webb & app Development (not achieved), with my new job and the amount of time needed to learn this, it was not realistic to achieve this in 2015.
Read 12 books (partially achieved) I read 8 books this year, I was not specific enough which books to read, there is a big difference in reading Karl Marx or Harry Potter.
Write 12 tiger philosophies (partially achieved), because I want them to be really good, I get into the never start syndrome.
Finish the book IQ challenge (not achieved), takes too much time and not really a relevant goal.
Run the Marathon of Amsterdam 42km (achieved), it was hard work.
Train at least 2 times fitness and 2 times kickboxing every week, (partially achieved), this is not a SMART goal.
Weight 70kg and body fat of 10% (not achieved), I was not disciplined enough to stick to my diet.
Help my wife to pass her exams (not achieved), she hasn’t passed her exams yet.
Send my wife to Pakistan for holiday (achieved).
Keep visiting my family ones a week (partially achieved), not a SMART goal.
Make my wife happiest women (partially achieved), not a SMART goal, difficult to measure 🙂
Find a job as a Business intelligence developer (achieved).
Earn salary of 5000 euro net (not achieved), I am confident I will next year.
Start my own coaching company (not achieved), I have parked this goal, it is too much work at the moment in this period of my life.
Start a start-up with friends (not achieved), although we made a good effort to do so.
Help friends to find a job (not achieved), although most of them are working now.
Pray 5 times a day (partially achieved), not disciplined enough.
Go for 10 days to Vipassana mediation Kamp (not achieved), with the baby it was difficult to do that this year.
Pay of 10.000 euro of my 50.000 euro debt (achieved)
Save 10.000 euro (achieved), I don’t have direct access to the money but it’s there.
Help my wife to start a company (not achieved), not SMART enough.
I can look at this year and say, “so many goal not achieved”, or I can say, “I have run the full marathon, I have paid of 10000 euro of my debt, I have great job with good perspectives and I am full of fire to achieve my 2016 goals”.
The question that arises, what is success?
Stress = one of bodily or mental tension resulting from factors that tend to alter an existent equilibrium.
Stress happens when we feel things are out of our control. “Everybody” feels stress one time or another.I am shocked to have experienced the effects of stress on me during the recent years, how it affected my physiology and psychology.
Here are few indicators when I experience stress and how they affect me.
- 1st of all I notice stress clearly in my body as amplified sensations at center of my chest area, this focus of sensations can move to different body parts.
- 2nd my breathing becomes shallow, I cannot take deep breaths out of my belly.
- 3rd my awareness of my surrounding diminishes, I don’t notice things clearly anymore, I feel like a walking zombie.
- 4th I am always thinking of the problem or the negative outcome of it.
- 5th during my sleep I cannot turn off the thought process.
- 6th I do not feel sensational pleasures in eating or interacting with others.
- 7th I become more emotional.
- 8th my problem solving capacity diminishes.
- 9th I cannot see the problem in its proportion, every things is blown out of proportion, here a fly becomes an elephant.
- 10th I don’t see that I have a problem but I am the problem is my experience.
These are certain indicators for me when I am experiencing stress. During the years I have developed techniques to create an immune systems against stress. It is not to say that I am not affected by it, but I can resist stress in a manner that it does not disturbs my daily balance of life to easily. I can recognize the signals as soon as they starts to emerge.
Few methods which have worked for me in decreasing my stress level during the years.
- 1st I start to focus on my breath, I take deep breath as often as possible during the day.
- 2nd I try to be aware of my thought process.
- 3rd I sit in silent places and observe everything which is happening in the body.
- 4th My most valuable jewel is to keep on doing physical exercise even when I feel stressed, stress is a form of undesired energy, which can be exhausted through intensive physical exercise , the more intense and long the exercise the better.
- 5th Experimenting with breath, holding the breath, berating in fast ritthem, hyperventilating, looking for a way which helps me in that moment.
- 6th squeezing the muscle in my body as intense and long as possible, focusing specially on the eyes, jaws, hands and feet’s, after squeezing releasing the tension.
- 7th taking long cold showers, you may find it funny, but during those shock moment of the body you have to regulate your berating in that stress moment.
- 8th describing the stress and anxiety in detail, it gives a good insight into the cause of stress.
- 9th having good hard conversation with your stress, treat it as you are talking to a person.
- 10th talking to friends, describing your stress to them, creating this vulnerability, opening up yourself, has a very power full healing effect.
These are few examples, what can help in stressful situations, stress can come from time to time, but it should never become our life ally.