peace

This post is really a note/reminder to me, but you are welcome to read it too 🙂

I have been very stressed out lately. Not because my life sucks or things aren’t working out the way I want them to. Actually, my reason is quite the opposite. I have great things happening in life. A lot of them. So many of them that I don’t get any time to stop, and take it all in.

Over time I have learned to cope with stress caused by the modern fast-life. The one thing that always works for me is to take a few minutes every day to reflect on life. The good. The bad. The pretty. The ugly. Everything!

Here are some things that work for me.

  • Breathe
  • Gratitude
  • Stay still and quite for sometime
  • Pet a dog
  • Spend time in nature/Go for a long walk by yourself
  • Blow bubbles
  • Write/Journal
  • Stretch
  • Drink a cup of good,strong coffee and feel the tingle in the toes
  • Hugs
  • Read
  • Lie in the sun
  • Bubble baths
  • Avoid negative people
  • Say a prayer (for someone else)

Meet Lieneke – a life of dance, passion and inspiration

lieneke_1

“Who are you?” I asked. Her reply was “In this life, I primarily go by Lieneke Mous.” At that moment, I knew this interview was going to be an interesting one; full of good advice, love and spirituality.

You know sometimes you come across people and don’t get to spend a lot of time with them; but you feel this bond, a deep connection with them for some unknown reason… that’s what I felt when I met Lieneke for the first time in Norman, Oklahoma. She is an amazing, passionate person and just being around her will lift your spirits a little higher. For a long time I had wanted to know more about her. I couldn’t keep up with her nomadic pursuits, so I decided to do an interview with her (my opportunity to ask her questions I can’t in a normal conversation!). And I feel it’s about time I shared it with the world…

Lieneke is a choreographer, dance teacher, and performer based out of Amsterdam, the Netherlands. In her own words, she is also an aerial yogini, curator, columnist, partner, friend, sister, daughter, meditator, sun gazer, tree-hugger, cyclist, and life lover.

She is a passionate dancer! “The first time I was exposed to it was when I was four years old, I vaguely recall watching ballet on television, and then I knew I wanted to dance. I started dance training when I was 5 and I never quit.” says Lieneke.

Travel

Q. You mentioned that you love to travel. What will be your next destination?

Many and any because I love to travel and I also work internationally so that gets me to travel abroad. I’m returning to Brazil to teach the next Changing Lives Through Dance (CLTD) p
roject in the summer of 2014.

Q. How have you made traveling a part of your life?

I always knew I wanted to do something with dance and theater, and I was looking for my path for a long time until I realized I was walking it already.

In my sophomore year in college, I conducted my first non-profit education project – I taught theater to girls living in a refugee center in the Netherlands. I felt a strong pull toward the ones less privileged than I, and of course the (inter)cultural aspects were fascinating to me. People from Syria, Iran, Iraq, Somalia… all together. Little girls, born and raised in a refugee center.

In my senior year I set up the first dance project in Aimorés, Minas Gerais – Brazil. And the rest is history.

In 2007, I moved to the United States to attend graduate school for dance at the University of Oklahoma and worked there for some time. After that, I traveled to Brazil and India to teach dance to youths for my CLTD education projects. I am grateful that I have been able to turn my hobby into my work.


Charity

Q. Tell us more about Changing Lives Through Dance (CLTD). How do you think this will bring about change in society?

Changing Lives Through Dance (CLTD) includes dance projects for underserved youths in developing nations, such as Brazil and India. Artistic expression proves over and over that people become happier because they have an outlet to express themselves. Through creative expressions they become more in touch with whom they are (or want to be). It is rewarding to me to see others becoming happy because of what I am offering. I see that my students gain self-esteem and confidence from dancing and, in turn, they develop hope for a better, happier future.

Q. Why did you pick Brazil and India as CLTD destinations?

Brazil –

I was 17 when I first traveled to Brazil for a family vacation. I instantly fell in love with the country, the people, and their culture. I got in touch with a family friend in Brazil, who welcomed my dance and theater project for the youth of his rural city of Aimorés in the state of Minas Gerais. There, youths have little to no opportunity for artistic expression. The first time I developed a project there was in 2006, I returned in 2012, which ignited Changing Lives Through Dance.

India –

I had a dream to travel to India for many years. As I have grown older, I prefer traveling to places where I can contribute something to society

In 2012, discovered the Rescue Foundation through its Dutch partner organization Free A Girl and proposed my CLTD project. I then launched a fundraising campaign to meet the needs to travel to India and work with the girls and young women living in the shelter home.

Q. What next after the Brazil-India CLTD Project?

I am looking to further develop CLTD and start an official Changing Lives Through Dance foundation. I am launching a new fundraising campaign and am slowly, but surely establishing a board of directors and am expanding the teaching team. Of course we are open to receive donations 🙂 Additionally, I moved back to my home country the Netherlands and am currently living in Amsterdam. I work as a dance teacher, choreographer, and performer. Last summer I founded the Young Makers Platform, bringing together various performance disciplines in alternative locations for young, talented makers. The harsh economic situation is challenging especially for artists, so I am trying to stay inspired and continue to inspire others, so together we can create a happier world.

Inspirationlieneke_yoga

Q. Where do you find inspiration for your work?

I attempt to remove separations of work, living, etc., so the question could also be “Where do you find inspiration?” Easily answered: inspiration can be found anywhere as long as you’re open to it. A story someone shares about their personal victory after struggle. A dance. Hand-holding. A song. The morning sun. Each morning. A painting. Dripping paint on canvas and seeing the art unfold. Sitting with someone whose language I don’t speak. Being. Pina Bausch. Living. Ash. Love.

Message

Q. If you could say one thing to the world, what would it be?

I feel I’m bringing peace by finding peace within myself, by sending healing love to myself, by helping an animal cross the street, by carrying an older person’s bags… Living in the moment, for I’d be wasting time pondering over the past and contemplating the future. I try to eat healthy, raise my awareness, live from my center, and share love. And dance a cosmic dance.

Find Lieneke at her website or connect with her on LinkedIn.

I will not mourn your death; I will instead celebrate your life!

My grandfather, my dad’s dad, was a strong, confident, self-made man. He lost his father when he was still in school; and lost everything else he had, the house, money etc., during the India-Pakistan partition in 1947. He was forced to move to India, empty-handed, only with the responsibility to take care of his sick mother. And when he passed away, he was a lawyer, had a full family, a house and a lot of fans; including me. He was my coffee buddy, a foodie and my friend.

Over the past few years, he had been fading. He was diagnosed with the Parkinson’s disease, which not only took over his brain, but his entire body. His organs started to shut down one by one and he had multiple tubes in his body to breathe, take in food and take the wastes out. Slowly he had lost the ability to do even his daily tasks and was completely bed-ridden. Among other things, he also lost his speech. We all could see that he was suffering and was in a lot of pain.

On Feb 20th this year, I met him after year and a half and I was in shock to see him like that. But I was overwhelmed that he still recognized me. He looked right in my eyes, held my hand, so tight, and we both teared-up. The night I was leaving, it happened again. Except this time when I looked into his eyes, I had a feeling that this might be the last time I was doing this. I had a feeling that we might never meet again, at least in this lifetime. I took his blessings and said the final goodbye.

I reached home safely, and the very next day I got a call from my mom telling me that my grandfather, my dada, passed away. In that moment, I felt a deep connection with him. I felt that maybe he was hanging in there, dealing with all the pain and suffering just to see me for one last time. I can’t be grateful enough to have a chance to spend the last three weeks of his life with him.

This phone call changed my life; it changed the person I was; and it changed the way I looked at life. My grandfather taught me many things when I was a child, but what he taught me when he died, I will never forget.

He taught me that taking care of your body is important. Because your body is the only thing that you really own. And it decides how happy (or sad) your life will be when you get old.

That living simply gives you more time to focus on things that really matter to you, like family, friends and yourself.

That every action you do or every word you say affects people around you. So why not live a loving life; people will remember you for who you were and how you made them feel.

That you should never give up.

That you should never take anything for granted. Enjoy and be mindful of every little action of yours, breathing, eating, sitting, talking, and be grateful for it, you don’t know what tomorrow will bring with it.

Don’t complain about the difficulties in life, they don’t really matter at all in the big picture.

That if you are alive, your purpose is not over yet.

That death is inevitable; appreciate the people who are here whilst they are here. Spend more time with them. Talk to them more often. Make good memories while you still can.

I miss my grandfather greatly. I remember him when I sip my first coffee every morning. I am very proud of him for his love, for being a great man and for fighting so bravely till his last breath.  And for the same reasons, today I decide that I will not mourn his death; I will instead, celebrate his life!

RIP Grandfather. I love you, always.

 

2013 resolution – Smile and be happy. That’s it.

After much thought and anticipation, I have come up with my final resolution list for 2013. Yes, about time.

I declare 2013 as the year of happiness! This year, I pledge to do anything and everything to make me a happy girl (Cz happy girls are the prettiest *Batting Eyelashes*).

Here is the first ever manifesto I made. I call it the happiness manifesto. If you too relate to this, feel free to print/download/link-back to it 🙂

2013MANIFESTO-color

What are your resolutions for 2013? Care to share?

Have a wonderful, joyous and magnificent year ahead! XOXO

30 Days of Giving Thanks – Day 18-30

http://goodwolve.blogs.com/.a/6a00d83427794753ef017744b38949970d-800wi

Day 18 – Beautiful lyrics – they resonate with my feelings and describe them in a way nothing else can.

Day 19 – Free will and the capability to make my own choices in life.

Day 20 – Love – just the plain simple feeling of unconditional love is truly out of this world; love of parents, siblings, friends, children, pets and the lover; love of life, traveling, passions 🙂 Life would be incomplete without this feeling.

Day 21 – Diego – My life has changed 180 degrees after this little gentleman walked into my life. I am a very different person from what I was before I met him; a much happier one that is. My life is not complete without him. No its not.

Day 22 – Coffee – You might call it addiction, but I call it bliss. There is nothing like starting the morning with a warm cup of coffee and feeling the tingle in the toes when you take the first sip of the day.

Day 23 – My spiritual journey. It made me a better person. There is a long way to go, but I am enjoying the journey very much 🙂

Day 24 – Guitars – My favorite musical instrument, hands down. Sweet sound of the guitar strings can bring up emotions I never knew existed.

Day 25 – Internet – I truly appreciate that now I can sit in the comfort of my bed and communicate with anyone in the world. It made blogging possible (du’h!). I supports four of my favorite things – music, talking, writing and reading. Can’t thank it enough.

Day 26 – Movies – Escape from reality for few moments. Great work of art.

Day 27 – Colors – World would be a very boring without them.

Day 28 – Cool breeze in your hair when you reach the end of your hike.

Day 29 – Languages – It made ordering coffee easier. And blogging too 😛

Day 30 – You – Really. I want to thank you not only for reading my blog, but also for being who you are. Always remember that you add meaning to this universe just by being truly who you are. And I am grateful that I got to know you in this lifetime. Know that just by being you, you have touched my life (and many more) and made me who I am today. So… Thank you very much.