Sustainable long term solutions vs conflicting short term interests

Should I resolve my shoulder pain with a quick fix operation or should I change my personal behaviour in order to resolve the source of this pain? Should I go on pushing myself or accept a drop in income now in order to create space and time to secure a more suitable and sustainable source of income for the rest of my life?

Even in such crucial topics as our own health short term interests (such as income or defending our trusted assumptions in live) almost always prevail are even when they are counter productive on the long run. And actions focused on realising what is good for us on the longer term are being pushed forward. This is not only true at a individual level but at group level (in organisations, politics etc.). In long and fruitless debates (in our mind or with others) we strongly defend our personal short term interests leaving us with the unsatisfactory feeling of knowing that we harm ourselves in the long run.

Reason for me to bring this up is that when we manage to discuss that very same topic whilst putting our personal short term interest aside for a moment (which is a challenge in itself), it very quickly emerges that we usually hold a very similar or non-conflicting views on the ideal longer term solution….. It then becomes clear that what seamed to be a difference in opinions in fact is no more then our fear of the short term consequences of that solution for our personal interests. This realisation creates room to move our energy from building defence lines to clarifying these very understandable fears and helping each other to resolve these.

Holland village, Singapore, 1996

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4 expressions of ‘connectedness’

I think I hit the bottom of my latest U (around how I will focus my energy in the coming period) somewhere this summer. What emerged were various expressions of ‘connectedness’ as a key component of my quality of life. Over the past few years I have come te realise at the experential level that my degree of connectedness is probably the single most determining contributor to my sense of well-being.

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So it seems QOL will, for the time being, focus on the following four expressions of connectedness:

  1. Social (focus on connectedness between others): conflict resolution, QOL lunch restaurant, promotion of distributed leadership, QOL 154 practice center
  2. Nature (focus on connectedness with what is close-by): 2 year ‘rewild your senses‘ programme, next fase ‘samen gezond’, experimenting with permaculture
  3. Heart (focus on connectedness with oneself): help to remove ‘roadblocks’, observing without judgment, attending to extended family and friends, (at)tensions, vipassana
  4. Personal (focus on connectedness with myself): daily mini-retreats, attending to personal needs, next levels of acceptance, yoga

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Slow down in Utah desert

When I want to move forward on some topic it is much more effective for me to focus on avoiding certain behavior or to clear specific roadblocks than to try very hard to achieve a certain goal.

So when looking to (re)connect to the whole I try to focus on drastic reduction unnatural input levels and to limit myself to observing carefully whatever is around me without any craving or aversion. To make  this somewhat easier I decided to spend some slow (solo) time in the desert around Keg Knoll in Utah …

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… with just a ‘bivy sack’ and some water in between the meandering canyons.

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Embrace your protection mechanisms

 Although I have never considered myself as such, deviating form the standard path, quickly creates the perception of being a ‘free bird’. Some people probably are ‘natural’ free birds but thats not me. Thinking differently came to me as a technique to get love and attention and a result of having to find out about things on my own. Only after so many years it also became a second nature and a productive asset.

Being asked for an interview on this topic by a student almanak around ‘free birds’ (alumni) made me reflect on this once more. After some hesitation (fitting a relatively introvert person) I participated as it might help others to recognize the potential of their own protection mechanisms and to embrace and trust them much earlier than I have done. Below therefor the interview as published in the: Leidsche Studenten Almanak 2015-2016 (sorry for the somewhat inflated introductory paragraph):


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Deep listening

I’m,  by about 5 to 10 years, younger then my 3 older brothers. This age difference was too big to really connect to my brothers when still young. As a consequence I more or less grew up as an only child. Mostly observing what was happening around me with a minimum of communication and interaction.

To still be able to evaluate people and situations I had to develop strong sensing skills. Having difficulty acquiring knowledge through reading (because of dyslexia) also demanded above average  ‘listening’ and ‘guessing’ skills. But only much later, when my self confidence was restored, these various ‘survival techniques’ became real assets from which I now benefit on a daily basis Continue reading