P N C O

Mostly photography, with the occasional philosophical contemplation

7: Vulnerable

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With eyes wide open looking into the world
I can feel depths i have never felt before
Emotional states of being come and go
The variety of feelings seems never ending

Pain, joy, sadness and laughter
All blended together in the stomach
The head is full of profound thoughts
While it tries to think no thoughts at all

How can i bare all of life’s bombarding
The senses in continuous overdrive
To keep up with this exhausting rhythm
Though i never felt his much aliveness

As the cocoon slowly breaks and opens up
Life touches and tickles in many ways
This new found sensitivity is very special
It just requires time to learn how to play

6: Winter, Spring and everything in between

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In the Netherlands the climate is moderate. The winters are not too harsh and the summers are not too hot. Because of this, i’m not always aware of the changing of the season. There is just a constant flow of the seasons coming and passing. Right now it’s summer and in a few months autumn will be here again. The cyclic nature of the seasons has always been there, but the way i see this cycle has changed a lot since i was young. When i was young, there was the expectation of hot summers at the beach and snow at Christmastime. It was all about enjoying the possibilities each season held.

Now i observe the seasons from a different perspective. Spring means i can start going out again with the camera more easily, do some work in the garden or just sit and relax outside. Winter triggers me to go inside. Both on an external and internal level. Like the bears who go into hibernation, i tend to become a little more seclusive and contemplative during wintertime. And springtime brings the much needed sunshine. After all the long dark nights, it takes some time to recharge the batteries and start enjoying the arrival of spring.

The most important thing i’ve learned to observe is that everything is impermanent. Although things may seem solid and build to last hundreds or thousands of years, in the end everything which is made will eventually break down again. Glasses and cups fall to the ground and break, flowers grow until they fade away, and grandparents are there until they pass away.
At first i was quite intimidated by impermanence. With my youthful enthusiasm i thought that life would last forever and that i would always be healthy and sporty no matter what. But when a good friend and also former roommate suddenly passed away at the age of 28, i realized after going through a lot of denial, pain and frustration, that i am going to die one day too.

And that’s why it has become important for me to recognize and acknowledge impermanence. Not to be nihilistic, but more in a sense that i become more sensitive to the changing which is happening all the time. Every moment is impermanent. Everything changes, although we might not recognize this. Some things we can easily learn to deal with, as they are mostly on a mental level. Take for instance cold and hot. We suffer a lot because of these two. In the office, a colleague might think it’s too hot and open the window. Then another colleague will start complaining that it’s cold. So why would i bother with this? If it’s warm, then it’s ok. If it’s cold, that’s also ok. I can dress accordingly. Accepting the inevitable change of the weather makes life so much easier. It helped me to actually enjoy the rain instead of feeling sorry for myself for becoming wet. By seeing the larger picture, i can now see the benefit the rain brings to farmers and the land.

To come back to the image. This young fern was at the start of its life and now a few months later i’m sure it has grown a lot bigger. And at the end of the year all of it will be gone again, after the seeds have been spread onto the earth. In the end it doesn’t really matter that the fern grows or dies. What matters is its relationship with everything else. Without the earth, without the rain, without the shade of the trees, without the sunshine, there would be no ground for the fern to grow. And the same goes for us. We tend to cling so much to what we want and who we are, but we tend to forget that we can only be in relationship to everything. Not to mention that there is just one me and 7 billion other humans. Pretty presumptuous to say to myself that i’m the most important one huh?

For me the journey is now about honoring the relationship, the interdependence of things. It’s about the act, the doing. Not the subject or object, but the verb. Cause everything changes, everything flows. We are all part of this flow, we can not be separated from this flow even if we think we can. And even if we separate ourselves by living our illusory dreams and thoughts in our minds, we’re still one with the flow. So i’ve decided that i will just let go. As said in the movie Waking Life: “Go with the flow. The sea refuses no river”

4: Vulnerable

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Vulnerable

To allow myself to open up
To finally show what is hidden
To express what really moves me
How come it is so scary?

Yet the prospect of having to live
With all the pain locked inside
Emotional blockades ruining me
Can only lead to depression

So the urgency is very clear
I have to allow myself to open up
Fear of rejection and failure
Will surely be my guide for some time

Yet many have walked this path before
Teaching that in being vulnerable
Seeing the others are no other than we
We can share our most precious gifts

From this moment onwards
I let the free heart speak
With its shaky unstable voice
Stepping into an unknown world

Cause the world needs me to be
Vulnerable opening all senses
To the suffering and pain
Of the world in which we live

Instead of looking away again
I feel that this time i can stay
Let life run through my veins
As the heart cries out its song of hurt

3: Butterflying my life

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I´m always amazed by all the beautiful butterflies. So delicately build and yet so agile in flight. They´re in our stomach for a reason. Tingling, joyful, exciting, almost too much too bear. And yet also very gentle, colorful and peaceful. They call to me in a way i can´t describe.

The most amazing part of the butterfly is its capability to transform. Starting as a small caterpillar, they morph into pupa before the final metamorphosis is completed. I often feel the same. One day someone said to me i was not yet showing who i really was and he compared me to a butterfly in pupa stage. Funny enough i sometimes feel like that. Knowing that it’s me who prevents the final transformation. Luckily every night i sleep under a blanket filled with butterflies.. and i’m working on transforming myself. I’ve come to realize it’s all about letting go. Letting go of my expectations, of thoughts, feelings and ideas about who i should or should not be.

In this way the butterfly becomes a powerful reminder to wake up to what’s actually here. Dealing with everything as it is, is so useful. At this moment there is no need to improve anything. Once the moment is here, it is all here. Nothing is left out. So i can rest and just enjoy whatever arises. If i make the transition or not is not even the point, cause everything i need is already here. I just need to recognize. Clearing my thoughts, creating space by being mindful and meditating, accepting.. all are part of the ongoing process of self(less) inquiry.

Searching for the truth has always led me to the same conclusion, whatever angle i used to tackle it. See the ego for what it really is. For me it’s the cocoon. It has its purpose and is very useful in my every day life, but it is not who i really am. The first time i recognized i was identifying myself as the cocoon, it was wild. I could feel the space which lay beyond. But also there was fear and anxiety. What would happen, once i let go of this cocoon, of this protection i had been carrying for so many years?

I’m still learning to let go of the cocoon. Every now and then i get the change to see through the holes which are now there and see the wild open spaciousness which lies ahead. The experiences have shown me that this spaciousness is my true home. Pure from the beginning, simple and full of love, wisdom and understanding. Which gives me the breathing space i need to deal with the cocoon which is still here. No longer it is necessary to fight it. As the caterpillar´s instinct tells it to create the cocoon, so i now know from deep down inside that everything is ok. I know it´s safe to let go. With the cracks appearing in the cocoon, i can taste more and more of the freedom which lies ahead of me. And with that i´ve learned that death too is another transformation.

Am i ready to let go?

2: Follow the Heart

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As you take your first few steps
Know mother´s always there
Right behind you helping you out
She guides you along the way

Be brave my little one
Let go of fears and doubts
In this sacred dance of life
Go beyond all suffering

Be strong my little child
Just enjoy the ride
Trust and follow your own heart
Then nothing’s left behind

We were all young one day
Learning from mistakes
So if you fall to the ground
We help you to stand up

There will be pain and tears
And joy and happiness
So whatever you become
Don´t take life too serious

Listen to your own heart
It´s the wisest thing to do
All you need to know is there
Just follow it right through

Trust and just let it all go
The loving heart will flow
Trust and follow your own heart
There’s nothing else to do

The heart, she waits for you
Are you coming soon?

The heart, she calls for you
Can you hear her too?

© PNCO 2017


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The lessons in life
Inspire to struggle and learn
Challenging everything familiar
To go and look beyond what I know

Pushing me to let go more and more
Of what once was considered important
Opening up new possibilities
To help others without a regret

As life becomes transparent and simple
The need to cling and grasp subsides
Life points the way
Gratitude is my companion
Compassion is her shield

Being fully open to the present
Is all that life requires

The last Lion King

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They once called me the king of the world
The whole animal kingdom was mine to rule
I was respected and all who were wise feared me

Once I was a king living the wild life
Now all that remains are distant memories
The waters of my dreams all but dried up

Today I’m still a king
But what respect does a king get
If he’s locked behind bars?

The Autumnal

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the-shed

The air is pregnant with a colorful vibe
Hibernating and emerging go side by side
The trees paint everything in bright colors
As they’re busy shedding their leavy skin
Meanwhile earth is filled with infinite veins
Invisible threads form a neural network
Leaves provide the power which it drains
On ground level many mushrooms thrive
Everything is recycled in the circle of life

Dreamlands

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kade-forest

Dreamlands

Being on the other side as the magic slowly comes alive
Dream of lands full of mystical places long forgotten
Fairy tales escape from the minds of their creators
And find their dwelling in this land of in between
Playing on the land, in the water and flying through the sky
Nature performs her dance right in front of my very eyes

 

Orange Country C(h)oppers

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IMG_4135-3-1

Dutch police officers waiting just for the start of the prologue of the Giro d’Italia back in June of this year. Every rider had a police officer on bike as an escort.
But before the start, it was time to relax and have a chat with each other


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“The clock is running. Make the most of today. Time waits for no man. Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That’s why it is called the present.”
ALICE MORSE EARLE

first heard this quote in the movie Kungfu Panda. Today could be replaced by this very moment.. is there any other moment than this present one? 

wish you all a lovely weekend 🙂