Yesterday, during my meditation, it suddenly occurred to me: ‘That’s why Corona is here!

No, I’m not going to throw yet another conspiracy theory at you. Nor explaining theses, scientifically or otherwise, about the origin of this little organism which manages to bring the whole world out of balance.
And I want to point out, for a good understanding: I don’t really feel guilty. But I can’t ignore it: I have asked for it.

It’s been a long time now that I’ve been telling everyone, that it’s my dream to spend more time in Naxos. That I want to further develop my project here and that I want to enjoy this beautiful place.

Manifesting… I don’t know if you’ve heard of it, but I’m working on it a lot at the moment. I thought, I have to take another course in it. But when I heard that our deepest desires are actually the easiest to realize, he fell – that proverbial coin.

Of course, I have, myself, taken a lot of already. I have asked and received. Just think of the flexibility of the Academy where I teach, offers me. I have dared and done. But this year the cosmos has given me a boost.

Thanks to Corona I have travelled to my island earlier this spring. The lockdown prevented me from going back in June. In September I was able to go to teach and refresh myself with my best friends. But before I had to travel again to the cold, wet Belgium they decided to close the doors again… I doubted for a moment wether I would stay or not. But am I glad I did! Because it was a gift from the cosmos!

No, it’s not all moonlight and roses. Here too, everything is closed and freedom of movement is very limited. But I have the sea and the sun. I can make nice walks and now and then I can go out on my board. I have to work online a lot but I can do it with a nice view. And it challenges me to shape the lessons in a

different way… I missed my groups this summer, but I could feel more and more at home here.
And all of a sudden I am overwhelmed with gratitude. It’s not the way I imagined it, but I did get it, that time here in my little paradise! It works!

I felt blocked to look into the next season. I couldn’t decide on schedules. Do I go for it again, now that everything is so uncertain? But suddenly a door opens… If the cosmos takes such good care of me, I just MUST trust it!

I’m going for it. The next few days I spend most of my time behind the screen, but all free moments I’m going to think, write, visualize, decide!
I’m doing it!
Next year I’m going to have at least six great groups!
Next year I’m going to work at least six weeks with individuals or couples!

That’s my new order to the cosmos. I’ll load it into my virtual shopping cart, along with some other wishes. Wishes that resonate powerfully with my core. It gives me a warm feeling.*


*I apologize in advance if you should experience any disadvantage from the interventions the cosmos will do to fulfill my dreams. That is not my intention.

I couldn’t. I just couldn’t remove the appointment in my digital diary: ’14h: pick up Carine and Jo – bring them to Medusa’. Even their flight had unintentionally gotten into my diary. She had forwarded her flight details and my Gmail does its job.
But not so.
They’re not coming.
That has been decided for a while already. And you’d think I’d gotten used to the idea.
But not so.

So far, my time here has been, sort of ‘extra time’. The first three weeks were really extra: I would actually still be in Belgium at that time. Those were real work weeks too. After, I had planned two weeks of holiday. After all, I had worked hard in Belgium. From the end of April my agenda was open for individual retreats and it was time to prepare my first groups.
The individual retreats did trigger some interest and requests for information, but in the end a pandemic put a stop to actual bookings. So until now I would have been here alone anyway. But Friday my first guests would have arrived. They sounded very pleasant on the phone. I’m sure it would have been an intense and pleasant collaboration.
But not so.

So I didn’t remove the appointment and now that it’s getting closer and closer, I notice that it hurts.
It’s not gonna happen.
My groups won’t take place.
I can’t play, lead, seduce, accompany, surprise, tell, challenge, explain, guide, feed, inspire…
That, into which I’ve been putting all my passion for several years now, wants to floath.
But not so.

And the pain isn’t about the financial impact of all the cancellations. Not nice of course, but I am among the lucky ones who are supported by the Belgian State. So I’m going to survive.
No, it’s about a much more essential thing. It’s about my full potential that I can’t use if I can’t share my passion. It’s about living my mission. After all, that’s what I’m on this island for. Because the energy here provides the perfect soil for the personal growth of the people I’m allowed to feed.

(High-minded words, finds my humble self. But I follow a Deepak Chopra meditation-challenge about Abundance. And in that energy I allow myself to write it anyway.)

There is so much potential that cannot be used now. So it’s looking for another way out. In wood and shells, in paint and canvas, in saw and sandpaper. Time to feed myself, to rest, to play and discover. And to enjoy.

I’ll do it for all of you.
For Carine and Jo, for Ann-Marie, Lesly, Isabelle, Annelies, Krista, Ann, Kristel, Mieke, Mia, Hilde…
And yes, for you, too.
Because maybe you wanted to come.
But not so.

It’s an emo-day. During a meeting I mention that the bad weather is making it hard. It’s cold, it’s raining and it’s so cloudy I can’t even see the island in front of. There is laughter. ‘Haha, and there she is, on her paradise island!’ It’s not meant to be that sharp. But it feels that sharp.
Tears come. I wasn’t expecting them.

And I try to get myself together again. Some others have it much harder than me. Although I’m the first to tell others that ‘burden’ is incomparable. But I can’t help it.
And the tears keep coming.
I bust my head over my ‘bad feeling’. What’s so bad? Maybe, secretly, I’m more scared than I think, but I’m suppressing it. And this is how that fear shows itself? Maybe it’s…

All kinds of hypotheses. Sometimes I’m so tired of being a therapist. I always have to analyze myself like this!

I’m sending a message to my soul mate. She reads between the lines. Luckily. She calls.
What’s going on?
I don’t know. I feel sad. Actually, nothing’s wrong. Actually, everything’s fine. Only the weather is bad. I can’t even walk down to the beach. But what a luxury problem, I still have a beautiful view… So I think there’s something else, something I don’t see.
And I share all my analyses, my twists and turns, my thoughts.
And she listens.
Only that…
And I ask her if she has any idea what I’m holding down so much that it shows up like this. And she says, ‘Yeah, well, it’s just not fun!’

And the tension calms. All those tears flow to the sea. All those words rolling out, create space. All the silence of listening fills me with warmth.
And all of a sudden I see everything that can help me.
When I’m IN it, I don’t see.
Even if I would make a list of it, I wouldn’t look at it at that moment.
‘No,’ she says, ‘it only helps to call a friend and moan’.

Spot on.

So yes to yoga and meditation, to stress-reducing techniques and breathing, yes to creativity and physical exercise. But especially yes to a friend to whom you can just tell your story without advice, solutions or judgments.

I hereby issue a new Corona measure: the right to moan!


(*) moaning: to make a complaint in an unhappy voice, usually about something that does not seem important to other people. – or: sharing things that bother you, while your inner critic thinks you’re exaggerating.

Day 5 of my quarantine. A day of rest, finally.

Everywhere I hear / read about ‘silencing’ and ‘repentance, ‘escape from the jigg’. So I think, “Euh?!” I’ve never been so busy here before.

Normally, when I arrive in Naxos, I arrive in a different time zone. Not only literally (we’re an hour ahead), but especially when it comes to the pace. Here it is ‘siga siga’! We take a siesta and let ourselves be guided by nature and the wind.
But now it is as if I have brought my Belgian time. In the night from Tuesday to Wednesday I got off the boat around half past one and 13 hours later I hadn’t unpacked everything yet, but I was already supervising behind my computer. And in the evening I had another meeting. And on it went the following days: online meetings, consultation, therapy, supervision, teaching …
And in between, of course, catching up with some friends and colleagues…

It seems everyone has suddenly discovered online contact. Because of my long stays here I really learned to appreciate skype or facetime. Often it is the icing on the cake of my fine life here: staying in paradise and still being able to keep in touch with a few special friends. But all of a sudden everyone seems to be into skype – or zoom, whereby, webex, whatsapp and so on…

Great, of course, but… a lot / too much.

So all my plans to slow down, do yoga, meditate with Genpo Roshi and finally watch those sessions of Tara Brach,… For now they have to wait a while.

It makes me restless and even a bit unhappy. But then I think of that African story:

Once upon a time, there was a man who had the guts to travel to the inhospitable parts of Africa. His only companions were the porters. Each of them held a machete and fought his way through the dense vegetation. Their goal was to continue at all costs.
When facing a river, they used as little time as possible to cross it. When a hill appeared, they accelerated their steps so as not to waste a single minute. But suddenly the porters stopped. The explorer reacted in surprise. For they had only been walking for a few hours.
So he asked them, “Why are you stopping? Are you tired already? We’ve only been walking for a few hours.”
Then one of the porters looked at him and said, “No sir, we are not tired. It’s just that we moved on so quickly that we left our souls behind. Now we must wait until our souls have caught up with us again.”

Yeah, that’s it, my soul still has to catch up with me.

So I accept I’m still living on Belgian time. I’ll take time to wait for my soul. Use my quarantine for that purpose. And after, the peace and quiet can come. When I’ll be able to walk to the sea – which I can’t allow myself to do for the time being. There I will find it.

I look forward to it, to that other time zone and especially to the arrival of my soul.

I’m in quarantine, like a lot of people. Some because they’re showing “mild symptoms” and they need to take it easy. Others because they came into contact with someone. Me because I came into the country. Yeah, I’m quarantined here in Naxos. But being ‘locked-up’ with my sea view doesn’t really feel like a punishment.

But how did I get here?

I was working hard in Belgium when everything started to get out of hand. Suddenly it’s raining cancellations: training sessions are cancelled (to be honest, at first I was reacting: ‘Now, don’t exaggerate!’ – maybe I wasn’t the only one!), performances are postponed. On Friday I still teach in EA (School for Integrative Psychotherapy), on Saturday we’re not allowed to teach anymore… Right away we install an online platform and I teach in front of the camera while 18 students are projected on screen in front of me…
In the back of my mind there’s a concern: will I still be able to go home? I was supposed to leave for Naxos beginning of April and stay there quite a while. But will the still let me out and in?

Sunday: I meet my godchild for a photo shoot for his communion. We stay at a safe distance. No kisses (the children don’t mind ;-)). His dad, assumes Belgium will close down completely on Wednesday or Thursday… I get overloaded with information, statistics, … “It’s serious, Suzanne!”.
I have to act now!
A good friend, kicks my ass:
– “Why would you stay?”
– “I have clients on Wednesday. I can’t just cancel them!”
– “Yeah, but if you wait till after Wednesday, to take care of them, you may not be able to leave. And possibly by then they will cancel themselves and it turns out there was no need for you to stay…”
So after another phone call with my sister (because I wouldn’t be able to take care of our mother either) it’s decided in my head: I’m leaving as soon as I can. This is on Tuesday.
Sunday evening I re-book my flights. (Thank you Aegean Airlines for giving the opportunity to reschedule without extra costs).

Monday: I email my clients, tidy my house, bring stuff to the container park, take my car to Aarschot and say goodbye to my mom. Until late in the evening I am packing. What to take? I’m leaving for two and a half months. At least. And normally I have two groups before I come back. Do I have everything? …

Tuesday: A friend takes me to the airport. Tense. Yesterday Greece announced that everyone entering the country must be quarantined for 14 days. How’s that going to be? Can I fly to Naxos? I’ve booked a ridiculously expensive hotel for one night and a flight the next day. Maybe I will have to stay in that hotel for 14 days? I can’t afford that! What if…
The reaction of people around me are diverse. One totally understands, supports, thinks along or wants to send Reiki. The other points out the dangers. What if I get sick there? Health care is much better in Belgium. There is not even Intensive Care on the island!
I also feel different voices inside me. One full of confidence: ‘If something like this is going on, a human being just wants to go home and for you it’s Naxos!’. The other a bit scared: is this the right decision?

At the check-in desk I find a very dear hostess. She spontaneously gives me a ‘priority label’, so my suitcases will come first. Suddenly that opens possibilities. I enter a ‘creative thinking mode’. I call my taxi driver in Athens and tell him to wait for me, that I might not use his services, but that I will pay him anyway. I e-mail the hotel to check whether, given the circumstances, I can get an extension of the cancellation period. Normally I have to cancel before noon, otherwise I will lose my money. I ask if I can wait until 4pm.
Plan B (taking the boat) becomes plan A. Plan A (a flight tomorrow) becomes plan B – because today we are sure of today, not tomorrow.

During the flight nothing is reported. On arrival we have to fill in a form before we can get off. I’m rather quick to fill it out (and ‘coincidentally’ got a seat in row 6!) so I am among the first on the bus that takes us to the gate. With 20 people on it, it leaves already. I expect to have a fever check or an interview, but I can just keep going. When I arrive at the luggage belt, my suitcase already slides by. George is waiting for me. He checks while driving if everything’s okay with the ferry. I call the hotel to cancel my room. I get on the boat without any problems. Re-book my flight to just any date. I can cancel later.
I message several people that I succeeded, I find a seat far away from everyone (there are not that many people on the boat) and get installed for the next hours. We sail along Syros so it is almost one hour in the night when I get home. Tired but happy.



Wednesday: it is wonderful to wake up with a sea view. Blue sky. The wind blowing. You’d almost forget what’s going on in the world.



So yes, I’m lucky.
I hear stories which are very different.
Of people who don’t get home.
People who have to be quarantined because so many colleagues are infected.
People working overtime.
People who wanted to go to another country because their daughter is giving birth but they can’t leave.
People who work in care and are not allowed to stay at home.
People who feel lonely.
People who are completely in fear.
People who feel abandoned.
People who no longer get the care they normally need.
People who have to manage and take decisions with great impact, both humanly and economically.
People who are watching over their son, who is in bed with a fever. Is it the virus? There’s no more testing, so all you can do is wait and hope it doesn’t get worse.
People who had prepared their goodbyes with care and now can’t even get a proper funeral.
People who are suffering.
People dying.

And I’m sitting here. On my island. I’m so lucky.

So lucky I’m ashamed. Or even feel guilty. As if I could have done more if I’d stayed in Belgium. As if I’d run away from my responsibilities. I only took myself in consideration.
But then there’s that other voice: “That’s not true. You’ve thought about the impact on other people. Only you chose for yourself.
And let that be the message I want to declare. That people choose for themselves. And that means something different for everyone. (If I were a doctor or a nurse, I would make very different choices now).
And from that genuine choice for yourself, you can connect. Really connect.
And real connection is possible in different ways.
I think of sharing stories, pictures, some light energy. I’m going to meditate and send compassion. That’s not action in the front line, but I hope it can contribute to a psychological and energetic support.

Even in these times, can I just share my happiness?!

Thursday 19.03.20