My life started in a cozy bedroom with orange wallpaper in Eindhoven, the Netherlands.
When I was around eight years old I stared at my hands and thought: One day I am going to do something with them. But I didn’t know what at the time. I started to take pictures and wrote my first short story.
My grandfather did some healing and was interested in foot massage. When I did the Dutch state exams, which lasted several days, he came to stay with us in Zwolle, and gave me a foot massage with moxa every night before I went to sleep. I got so relaxed and passed all the exams.
We moved to Paris. There, at the age of eighteen, I started to live on my own. It was wonderful and what an amazing sense of freedom. I ate avocados and pain de chocolat every day. I strolled around in Versailles and along the Seine alone or with friends. I took many pictures, wrote poetry, and did a little theatre. We made a short movie. After that I went to live in Maastricht, in the Netherlands, studying film and scriptwriting at Emerson College for two years. It was an interesting time and I met many nice people. Our group ‘Circle Around the Zero’ made some pretty weird music. I also studied art and literature at VU University in Amsterdam for a year. Then on the wings of romance I went to live with a nice girl in New Orleans.
There were hitch-hiking trips to Scotland to find the monster of Loch Ness, to the South of Turkey to see the desert, and to many other places in Europe.
In 1996 I lived a few months on a kibbutz, a few months in the Sinai, spent a winter in Eindhoven at my father’s house writing a novel, and recorded music with my friend E.S. in Luxembourg. By 1998 I had become really dear friends with C.W. and with her and J.W. I traveled through India for six months. I did my very first meditation ever under the Bodhi tree in Bodh Gaya; what a great place to start meditating! I worked three years at the American Book Center in The Hague. Around 2000 I started to take an introductory course in Zen meditation and sat with my back to the central heating reading ‘Crooked Cucumber,’ the biography of Shunryu Suzuki. I did yoga.
E.S. and I flew to Thailand to attend a friend’s wedding. The wedding was great, we met people and ate great food, the bowl of fish soup was the best I have ever eaten. At the last day of my stay in Thailand I took a Thai massage in one of the many places in Chiang Mai, with a propeller on the ceiling, a nice basic Thai massage.
When I came back to The Hague I transformed my living room to a creative zone where E.S. recorded ‘Nan’. Friends from work and my friend S.K. came over and it was all nice. Life was about to change. My mother, who lived in Ivory Coast at that time, suddenly died, and three weeks later my stepfather died as well. I decided to quit work, gave up the apartment and traveled to Iceland, New York, East Turkey, La Gomera, and made a road trip through Finland with S.K. and I.K. Finally I traveled back to Thailand.
One afternoon in Bangkok, after I put a friend on the plane, I asked myself ‘What the hell am I going to do with my life?’ The answer came: ‘You really enjoyed that Thai massage in Chiang Mai. Maybe you should travel there and study.’
It was February 2002 and soon the wind blew heavenly new breezes in my sails. I had been in Mrs. Nit Thai Massage school for a week when a young woman peered in. She noticed that we were busy and went back outside. Patiently she sat down with her back to the wall, and the sun shone on her face. When class finished she came in and enquired if she could take part in the 5-day course. I knew that she was the one.
One day she, her friend and I walked up to the Buddhist temple Doi Suthep and they sang songs. That evening Annica and I kissed for the first time. We had found each other!
We spent the whole summer traveling in Europe, and that winter we continued studying Thai Massage; me at Mrs. Nit’s school, and Annica at Loi Kroh school and ITM. We also studied Thai foot massage at Wat Pho, Bangkok, and at Loi Kroh school. We became Thai massage practitioners.
In a little village near Chiang Mai we studied Zen Shiatsu with Sati (Oda) with a nice group of students. We spent a few weeks in South Korea and Japan, eating soups and sushi, bathing in onsen, watching waterfalls in Aomori, visiting Sado island, Kyoto and Eihei-ji. In Tokyo we met H.S, the great Zen master, singing karaoke with him, meeting geishas and staying at his temple near mount Fuji. We spent the last day at a hotel in Tokyo, sitting in the window pane like in the movie Lost in Translation. It was wonderful.
We decided to move to Sweden, where Annica is from, and started our practice in Boda Kyrkby. Our first son was born, and a year later another son. It was fantastic! So much Love!
We started another practice, in Falun, and for several years Annica and I studied Shiatsu. I studied Shinzui Shiatsu at Shiatsu Akademien with teachers Philippe Vandenabeele and Lasse Stålnacke. The studies included Chi Nei Tsang, the importance of food, healing, balance, Craniosacral therapy techniques and Traditional Chinese Medicine. We became licensed Shiatsu therapists in accordance with the European Shiatsu Federation in 2010. I also completed a study in Advanced Thai Massage with Itzhak Helman in Skinnskatteberg. I have since completed several other health and massage related courses. I am incredibly thankful to my teachers for their instruction, and to everybody I have given a treatment to over the years.
With the children growing up, laughing, running around, time flew by.
Now our youngest son likes to act, and is very sportive. He loves plants and cultivates different kinds of Habanero chilies. Our eldest son plays the piano, and is very creative. He just bought a completely stripped down Volkswagen Beetle which he will either renovate, make into an art object or sell on. Annica is currently teaching music and composing her own songs.
I meditate daily now and enjoy it a lot. Meditation is something I think everybody should do regardless of religion or belief. Occasionally, I do a longer meditation retreat. I follow my breath, in and out, in and out, Now.
Now it feels as if a new time has started for me, I feel rejuvenated and calm and ready. You somehow have to know where you want to be to get your focus back, your glow. It is important for the Soul to do things you love doing. It is important for me to be in warm beautiful environments and to spend a lot of time with positive and happy people who are interested in health and spirituality and who believe that the world is a place of abundance. I have decided that the things I find most important in my life are being with family and friends, giving treatments everywhere in the world, and writing a novel. Within a few years I envision we have a house in Fiji, and we live most of the year in warm countries.
Everything changes. We have to be open to all possibilities. We have to be calm. Everything vibrates, resonates, connects and reconnects.