Meet Lieneke – a life of dance, passion and inspiration

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“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.

Why you should not give two fucks about people who don’t matter

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I would divide this world population in three categories –

  1. People who are totally unaware of your existence
  2. People who don’t like you, and
  3. People who do like you.

People in category 1 don’t even know you exist and don’t really care about what you do and what happens to you.

Category 2 consists of people who don’t really like you. And there is really nothing you can do to make them like you. They just won’t. The more you try to charm them, the more you will piss them off. And guess what, there will always be some buggers like that.

But you know what; you shouldn’t change yourself for these people. You do what you want to do. It’s okay to stand up for what you believe in. Without caring about what ‘others’ think of it. Cz you know what, ‘others’ already don’t like you.

Let me break this down for you nice and simple – When people don’t like you, what do you think happens. Correct. Nothing at all. Worst case scenario, they may get annoyed by you; which, if you think about it, only gives you more power over them. Right?

So why are you attempting to please them?

But hey, don’t you be feeling lonely already. There are people out there who care about you, and probably only you.

These are your friends, family and loyal customers. These are the people who should matter to you and you should be focusing on (Category 3). And to be honest, these people will support you in whatever you may choose to do anyway.

But keep in mind that relationships are weird. Although we know they are important, we tend to take these people for granted. It’s not just the men who like the chase, we all do. We all like to find new people to impress and once they become a part of category 3, we instantly stop caring about them as much as we should and move on to new targets (in category 1 and 2) to impress. That is the dirty truth.

For a moment, let’s assume that you actually forget about categories that don’t matter (1 and 2) and put all your effort into category 3, towards people who love you and care about you. These are the people you have made memories with. These are the people who stood by you when you fought against something you felt was wrong. These are your cheer leaders, your mentors, your teachers, your loved ones.

How would that feel?

What’s the point of this post, you ask? Well, it’s simple –

If you take your mind off of all the unimportant bullshit, you can have 100% of your heart and mind available to focus on people that are important to you. How liberating is that? Can you feel it?

The crux of this is – Get rid of unimportant horse shit from your life, and focus on what actually matters (to YOU).

Stop doing things to please people who probably have killed you three times in their dreams.

Stop living a life that boo-sayers say you should.

Explore a whole new world– one where anything you choose to do is fine as long as it isn’t seriously hurting you or anyone else.

Act on your dreams. NOW. There is no tomorrow. You have just one life and the time is limited. Don’t waste it doing things that don’t matter for people who don’t matter.

Know that whatever your heart desires you can achieve. The obstacle is inimportant (yes, that’s a word).

I can’t emphasize enough: The only person stopping you from being the best is YOU.

P.S. This sounds very cliched, and probably is a horrible way to end this post, but it is truer than true.

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 🙂

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What are your resolutions for 2013? Care to share?

Have a wonderful, joyous and magnificent year ahead! XOXO

30 Days of Giving Thanks – Day 11 – Laughter

Today… I am thankful for the laughter in my life. I want to thank every person, thing and situation that brought me happiness and laughter. The ability to laugh at trivial things is truly a gift; it makes life more content and enjoyable. Laughter shakes stress off and gets all the negativity out of the human system, at least for the moment.

A reason, a season, a lifetime

Often times I find myself baffled and sometimes hurt by those around me. I am sure you have felt this way too, at least sometime in this lifetime. Despite the fact that we have no control over situations or people around us, we can’t help but worry or get deeply affected by them. While in the moment, there is nothing anyone can say or do to make us feel any better. But after the effect of the sting reduces, we learn to look at the bigger picture. In the grand scheme of things, the hurtful episode is only a small hiccup. No matter how hard it is to breathe in that moment, once we are past it, it serves as a great lesson. Here is something I found on WWW that made me put things in perspective and gave me a better understanding of the purpose of each person touching my life. I’ve come across this poem many times on the web. I don’t know who wrote it and there are different versions of it out there too. Recently I learned how deep this poem is…

People come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime.

When you figure out which one it is, you will know what to do for them.

When someone is in your life for a REASON . . . It is usually to meet a need you have expressed.

They have come to assist you through a difficulty, to provide you with guidance and support, to aid you physically, emotionally, or spiritually.

They may seem god-sent, and they are!

They are there for the reason you need them to be.

Then, without any wrong doing on your part, or at an inconvenient time, this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end.

Sometimes they die.

Sometimes they walk away.

Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand.

What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled, their work is done.

The prayer you sent up has been answered. And now it is time to move on.

Some people come into your life for a SEASON . . .

Because your turn has come to share, grow, or learn.

They bring you an experience of peace, or make you laugh.

They may teach you something you have never done.

They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy.

Believe it!

It is real; but, only for a season.

And like Spring turns to Summer and Summer to Fall, the season eventually ends.

LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons; things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation.

Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person, and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life.

When you allow someone to be a part of your life, take a moment to think why are they there? For a reason, a season or a lifetime. Most of the times, it won’t be until they leave that you know why they were there in the first place. But eventually, you will know…