fall (minimalism and letting go)


Fall, my favorite season of all and yet, emotionally the most difficult one. As the warm summer evenings fade into crispy foggy mornings and trees  get rid off there leaves my heart bursts of joy and sadness. Fall has always been my favorite! I love its smell and color, I love the abundance of nature treasures it gives us, how it all seems to fall in place again. And at the same time fall has been weighing hard on my heart the last 24 years.  It was that fall we heard my mother had just a few weeks live. The chemo therapy she had been taking was not working any more and doctors had given up on her. Although there are somethings I can’t remember from that time and some other things I remember like the day of yesterday, there has always been a certain feel to the whole situation.  That clear crispy sky, the leaves on the ground, that warm sun high up in the air. Music like Pearl Jam and Nirvana, endless bike rides through Amsterdam and Artis Zoo (where I had art class) always take me back.



This afternoon as I biked through the neighborhood I grew up in I felt that feeling again. A big black hole at the center of my body got covered by a fog of overwhelming sadness. As I biked on I realized that if I would just accept that feeling being there as if it was a visitor passing by my house, I would not have to BE that feeling and letting the feeling take over. It was not mine but just something that passes by. I could just breathe and observe the feeling. … It was hard not to let the feeling take over, but I just continued breathing mindfully and chatted with Isa who was sitting at the back of my bike. After a while the sadness shifted to anger, anger  for all that was taken away from me -a childhood, safety, joy- and again I just kept on breathing not letting the whole roller coaster of emotions taking over.

Tears where running down my cheeks but, I realized that instead of being sad and angry over the past I could better enjoy the now. I am alive and OK now, I am breathing, I am here, here with my daughter and son and a beautiful, loving husband.I can give them that feeling of safety and create joy and happiness for myself and them.

As someone reminded me to think about what was given to you this year, what it was I was thankful for I realized it is exactly this. By becoming a minimalist and trying to live litter less I have the capacity to observe my feelings instead of letting feelings take over . I am able to move forward. I can let go.








minimalism and household (living with rythms)


Minimal and slow living has so many aspects that when you go into it you can feel your whole life shift from one side to the other. Slowly but steady we are moving in to the slow pace and we are getting more mindful about our steps everyday.

With a child that has been having sleeping problems all her life it is essential to keep our days orderly. Both my children (as most of the children do, I think) need things to be predictable and easy to handle. Our days are “boring” and very predictable. As I first read about daily rhythms my thought was that I did not want very day to be the same! “How could one live like that”, I asked myself. And ” specially the spontaneous things in life are what makes it fun”. But then I realized if there is no structure, everything is spontaneous and then spontaneous is just not that fun anymore, it is just running around like a mad men trying to get from one kick to the next.

So a few weeks ago I started to fill in my agenda religiously so I could see a pattern. I noticed that I was always planning way to much and in the end feel like nothing really was done and just very tired. I heard myself walking around the house screaming “how come I never get to do what I want in this house??”

Well this is why: I am not able to plan two coffee dates in a day, work, clean the house, do things with the children AND meditate.

As my meditation teacher told me about the Zen tradition that teaches us to  clean our own mirror (read On minimalism and friendship), I knew that in order to feel liberated I had to look at myself and see what I could do about this situation.

As I do not have a passionate feeling about cleaning but know it is just something that needs to happen (and we can’t afford a cleaning lady) I started with the household chores. I thought why not divide them over the days I am at home instead of trying to do it all in just one day, not feeling like it and then end up not doing anything really and getting pissed with my family members for not helping out. And so I made a schedule.


I left out the days I work outside the house and divided the chores in 5 days so I would have to do max. an hour of work everyday. It feels so good, just  to do a little everyday and because the house is way more empty due to the minimalism I do not have to declutter before cleaning!!! Leaves me time to  write, sow have coffee with a friend and be online….

As the cleaning schedule felt so liberating I thought I gave it a shot with our weekly life as well. And so I have scheduled my whole week. Not on paper though. Becuase that would feel to extreme. But I just have a rhythm now:

mondays and tuesdays are for working,

wednesdays; for cleaning and administration and the afternoon with Isa (baking or crafting, just one activity)

thursdays; are for dolls (and also the evenings I always make sure to have a basket with projects next to the couch 🙂 , and a  visit to the library.

fridays; writting and doll making and for play dates in the afternoon

saturdays; fro working every other week, when free a visit to the farmers market and bulk store.

sundays; fundays! outside inside whatever but best spend with family!



Living with  rhythms makes life predictable and easy going it needs some discipline at first but after a while you will notice how easy your life will get and how much more room it leaves you for the things you like to do best! Key with setting up schedules is first looking into how you organized your life now. Look at your agenda, fill it in with all the appointments you make (even the ones with yourself and  the ones you did not got to), so you can see a pattern after a few weeks.  Are there things you can change? (for example:  does your child really need to attend 3 sports and music class every week??? Just pick one activity that you can all really enjoy and have time for.) Priority, there are “needs” and “wants”. Make a list and choose and last but not least: schedule realistically, there are only 24 hours in a day, of which you really, really need your 8 hours sleep!!!


Thank you for reading,