Goodbye ‘feeling lost’ in the world.

The 5 Keys to find Meaning and Healing

So many people feel lost, inadequate, depressed, burned out or not adapted to the apparent needs of society around them. What schools forgot to teach them, let alone tell them, is how to find meaning and healing. Well here’s is the lesson many seem to have missed out on.

Don’t take your depression and burn out personal!

The current rise of depression and feeling lost seems to surprise governments. That happens when you think it befalls individuals. But when you look at the larger system, the reason why is common sense. We live in a society that puts measuring, your adequacy through normative tests at the center of education. All that is not measured doesn’t seem to count. Exactly the bits that make you human! We live in a society that offers pills to those too unruly and or too little energized. Because schools educate you to perform in jobs with clear demands. And everyone outside that box, people born to be artists, clowns, outsiders, slow thinkers and playful pioneers get told they are failures to the system. And too few of them find ways to trust their inner voices and act on them. Because only successful clowns and artists get appreciated, often after years of struggling to make it work. I wonder: who is trained to see and acknowledge the silent outsider that raises essential questions about the madness of the system as it is?

These ‘inadequate’ sensitive souls, our outsiders are like the little birds in mines that were used to warn miners of gas clouds forming in the mine. They were the alarm system. In monkey communities outsiders also literally function as guardians to outside dangers. And we tell our own sensitive guardians or souls they should learn to adapt and perform, while they signal loud and clear, something is terribly wrong. “There’s danger to society!” Predators that kill for profit are in our midst. But since our leaders live in bubble, safe from these dangers, or are those predators our outsiders warn against, few are willing to truly listen. I say: Let’s learn to listen to and appreciate these sensitive outsiders in our midst!

So for all who feel less lost in their essential role for society as a whole, for all those that want to listen better to these people and for every official and educator seeking to improve the whole: here’s some keys to unfold the talents of the sensitive souls.

NOTE: Yes, many people that seem to lack sensitivity are actually extremely sensitive. ADHD means an overdose of input and seeking to go with every impuls present or at the least expressing them for release. Autism also means extreme focus, because so much is way too overwhelming. Depression is often an overload of pain and sense of emptiness around you, that isn’t acknowledged. It is not for nothing that among indigenous tribes these overly sensitive people often became shamans or were seen as healers. We medicate our healers out of their gifts, and blame them for being who they are. So who is really crazy and out of their minds here? And one step further we choose too often people with too little sensitivity as leaders. I wrote about the psychopath problem in this blogpost before.

How to be Part of the Solution?

These are the keys for me (at this moment) to be part of the solution(s) we need: Play is the key to learning. Acceptance and Awareness are the keys to change and presence. Love is the key to existence. Being in/of service is the key to help the world grow. Use these keys and healing and meaning will follow. 🙂

Play is the Key to Learning.

I’ve written a lot about this topic before. Play is how nature invented learning. Here’s the link to a whole list to the power of play, on social, biological and mind & soul level. To play is to express joy of existence and integral learning that involves body, mind and soul. So education should invite way more of it in!

Acceptance and Awareness are the Keys to Change and Presence.

Only when we can truly accept who we are, can we grow. Only when we are aware what’s happening can we decide how to act on it. Depression can become meaningful when it stops being a personal problem. Suddenly you may find you have good reasons to be withdrawn. From there you can see what happens to others. By accepting this role, you can acquire a gift. Being aware you are seeking for what is wrong now becomes a task of helping your community. And expressing the wrongness may lead to your profession. Many great writers suffered depressions, yet gave the world beautiful gifts because they were able to transform it into art or philosophy.

Love is the Key to Existence.

Love is so much more than the biological drive to love (and not only in a sexual way), which helps us build relationships and care for our families and communities. Love is also the universe exploding. It is what turns nothing into something. It is the experiment willing to experience life and death more than stay in nothingness. Love makes us act, reach, hope, develop, care, cry and surrender. I remember times after a break up, that made me feel next to the anguish, so much feeling of aliveness; so happy to even experience that. And if we are allowed to act on that love we have, how ridiculous it may seem to others, we become experts at that which we love. I know an artist who worked for over 20 years on one 10 minute act. He now travels the world with it. Yet it’s back to acceptance and awareness for all those who experience jealousy as love. Because love doesn’t seek to own.

Service is the Key to help the World Grow.

Being happy to see others grow and shine is maturity. That’s why many relationships fail, because one is jealous of the light of the other, and fears to be outgrown. That fear keeps then both partners small. That same fear rules some governments, businesses and powers in charge. They fear their own people or students. #sad. We have to allow others to surpass our own light or shine in places where we can’t see. That, I think is true strength and love. To see the world and others as flowers unfolding. When being present with such wonder is often already enough for such flowers to feel seen and develop trust in self. Being with that growth or helping to make it happen in the way the flower wants to, that’s love and the highest form of service. Rather than stay and focus on my own shit, I turn it into understanding of and compassion for the difficulties of others. And expressing my sense of the world can help heal others and the whole. Not my will needs to be done. I only water and shine light on (state of) the flower. Thus real growth is happening from the inside out. Even my own. 🙂

Apply these Keys & Meaning and Healing Happen.

My own life as example.

I had a terrible time during my secondary education. My father fought me as I was, because I needed to be something else in his vision for me. School was boring. Too many fellow students were aggressive and abusive. Only a few teachers and a few friends were bright lights. These were the years I went into hiding, not feeling accepted for who I was. I started to find the way to the light, when I dared choose a school that put play at its core. I dared to play again and in playing I experimented with many ways to be me. Through play I discovered joy and unexpected talents, that no previous school would accept as measurable, yet valuable to me and fellow students.

I have had a lot of fits of depression. But through training of acceptance (my body wants rest and so I stop working,) and awareness (..while my mind shouts, “but you should be doing stuff! If you don’t, you’re weak!”) I found that it’s okay to not always be super performing. That is a work myth (f#*k productivity ninja’s!) made to raise profits. Our biology needs ups and downs and rest at times. Our system works through things we aren’t aware of, and we need to give that space too. The line “A depression is the worst moment for self evaluation.” helped me wake up to this. I now find, I can let go, every time my mind wants to self evaluate, when I feel down. I now rather start watching movies, until inspiration starts to flow again. I now follow more my nature, than believe words such as ‘should’ and ‘must’. What a relief.

Already very young I had my experience of ‘Love is All’. I once, at 14 I think, had that feeling flow through my whole body in an overwhelming way. My mind didn’t understand. I couldn’t tell anyone as it seemed too weird to mention and nobody I knew spoke of similar stuff. Years later I learned it probably was a Kundalini experience. I now often, even alone at home can feel love all around me. It is everywhere and I don’t have to ‘do something’ for it. It just is. This makes me feel gratitude. And at the same time it helps me feeling part of something bigger I can help flourish. I too am love, I too have love to offer and transform it into workshops, projects, inventions and texts like this one. One of these workshops being “The Magic of Life” where participants share magical stories that happened to them outside all boxes they know. And when we give the ‘unexplainable’ a place, I find love and sense of being human grows.

A beautiful moment, after having been asked to lead, together with a very fun person, the opening and closing ceremony of a festival, because we seemed to be the ‘right’ people. Have been doing that for three years now! Love it.

And I find I love to be of service. I loved to be asked to offer workshops, be invited to work with people and on groups and being able to make my living through that. I find being who I am is of value to others (still can’t believe it always, yet lovely people help remind me quite often). By following my inner compass I find I often add things others seek. By expressing ever more clearly what I am about, I find I get hired to be me, not for a method I share with many others. Thus from feeling inadequate and rejected for playfulness, ADHD moments, depressions and laziness I’ve gone to feel my being different is a gift. And I’ve seen, know, experienced the same to be true for many people with similar feelings. To recognize this in people and support their growth to this, is what way too many schools are missing. It hurts many people, who are full of gifts that stay unrecognized, because our economical and educational model claims we have no use for it. To be of service to the whole or to love, is to help these unrecognized flowers unfold.

Thus by applying these keys I found my meaning, which helped me heal myself and others. And I’ve seen many of my students apply these keys to themselves and others and grow because of it. I’ve seen them become a singer song writer (at a business school, haha), a facilitator of unfolding processes in groups or organic gardener. Because these were they area’s that held the most love and meaning for them. And the healing happens when you follow that path of the expression of the way you love life. Thus true education is not helping people meet a standard, but helping them to find their own form of expression of how they love life. Thus if you didn’t get educated on this before, start seeking ways to express your love, including your personal struggles , and you’ll find that there’s people in this world waiting exactly for that. Because you deepest you is part of the unfolding and part of the answer.

Note: the school referred to in the post is Knowmads, an international alternative business school in Amsterdam, for people roughly between 20–36. We put personal development at the center and seek to help you transform, who you are into a job or business that fits you, to live your dream, while being of service to the world.

This great blogpost by Christopher Chase deepens how and why the spirit was crushed out of education.

Link to “Lost Connections” review

note march 2018: This just released book too, goes into the fact that depressions are not only personal diseases, but have to do with our collective lost connections. If we really agree I don’t know (yet) but the revelation that it’s a collective problem that we mistakenly treat individually with pills has gained weight. But for sure we agree that human solutions should rule over medicines sold to you by Big Pharma.