Female Empowerment Friday

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Art / film / Illustration / music / photography

I am very passionate about female empowerment. I want all humans to be empowered, and I think that equality both contributes to that and comes as a result of it: empowerment brings equality and equality brings empowerment, ultimately. Because of the many gender-related issues I experience, I cheer of joy every time I find anything that contributes to overcoming these issues. To share the joy, today I list three amazing artists and their art pieces that surely empower women. ♥

Emerging filmmaker Helen Plumb made a wonderful short film about female body hair, in which poet Anam Cara is considering whether or not she should embrace her body hair in public. I find this topic very relevant, since I also experience this tension between my and other females’ natural hairy state and the ‘beauty ideal’ of shaved legs. I love everything about this video: Anam is so real and authentic and I experience much intimacy. Watch the short film here on The Barbican Centre and read the short interview with Helen.

Barcelona-based artist and self-called artivist Zinteta makes incredible, colourful art featuring women’s bodies, specifically portraying what is usually not shown. This art consists mostly of illustrations and body-painted women (captured in pictures). I find that her art celebrates women in all of their being and seeing it makes me really happy. Check out Zinteta’s Intragram page here.

Songwriter Marya Stark just released her newest album Lineage. Marya is not only a songwriter, but a mentor in the art of voice and archetypal embodiment. I absolutely love her beautiful voice and the lyric she sings. I am also still not over her previous work in collaboration with Carmen Crow: the album RemembranceListen to Lineage and find Marya’s other work here.

Got something to add? Do it!

Around the World ~artwork~

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Art / Illustration

This will break the silence: a donut-shaped Earth painted on a tea table by my boyfriend and me!

We do believe in a ball-shaped Earth. However there is some sense in the image, since we humans tend to look up from the Earth to the sky and its celestial bodies. It’s an interesting perspective at least.

This month I’ve been very busy with my internship and shipping myself back and forth accross the country. Hopefully the storm will calm and I can get some peace more easily.

Vegetarian satchel bag review

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Today I’ll write something rather silly: a review of the faux-leather satchel bag of the vegan brand Vegetarian Shoes.

Serious background:

☘ Supporting fair brands with a vision = supporting said vision and helping said brands to have a positive impact.

☘ The brand Vegetarian Shoes develops durable/high-quality fake leather materials.

☘ Shopping at Vegetarian Shoes will stimulate further developments.

The experiential part:

I got the satchel bag in red. I remember falling for a similar red bag about 10 years ago. That bag was made of leather and too expensive for me then. This time I had been waiting for a new bag to come along, because my go-to bag is through. So I took a train to the shop Vega-Life in Amsterdam and got it!


I like writing about the bag, because my experiences are a little funny. On the one side the bag is really pretty and a little funky because of the colour, at least I think so. I love the Vegetarian Shoes-label, which has a great function of proving the material is fake leather. The bag weighs very little, which is funny to notice!

The size is just right for me; my basic collection of stuff to carry just fits. (This includes: Dopper water bottle, KeepCup mug, diary, wallet, etc.) A small laptop would also fit, but I don’t like the idea, plus: the laptop would literally take up all space and would not allow the crucial re-usable water bottle to be there too. I like how the bag has a solid shape that can stand on the ground. I am used to more soft and flexible bags, in which my items would mingle around… In this bag everything remains right where I put it!

On the other side, the bag has some funny drawbacks: The buckles are impossible to open and close fast, so one has to learn to be conscious of when to open and close it, of what is in and outside of the bag. If the front pocket is well-exploited, the bag is front-heavy and not able to stand anymore; it will tilt over. I find it funny and a little awkward that this happens! It’s a bag with only one extra pocket and that the pocket ought to be used with care, apparently.

The other funny thing is that Vegetarian Shoes is a little mysterious about the material. The material is called Vegetan Bucky and it is ‘a hard wearing breathable microfibre that looks and feels amazingly like supple leather’ (source). I personally don’t think of that as an explanation of the material. A microfibre? I would want to know where this fibre comes from; is it a plant? Oil? Something else? As far as I’m concerned anything could be a microfibre.

These days fake leather can be made from anything: mushrooms (MuSkin), pineapple leaves (Piñatex), seaweed (Ocean Leather), and a lot more is being developed. There’s something to say for not using fake leather. I personally like soft materials, but I live in a rainy climate where water-resistance is an important quality for bags. I do not like black fake leather so much because it reminds me of animal skin, but I am more positive about fake leather in other colours.

All in all I’m pretty happy with my vegetarian satchel! I love how after all these years the bag came to me in the perfect moment. I’m a proud vegan and conscious consumer. 🙂

The (standard) satchel bag is currently available in eight colours (here). In addition, Vegetarian Shoes sells ‘mini satchels’ and ‘cycle satchels’. Check out the UK-based brand here.

Welcome new readers!

Thank you Naoki for adding me to your list of cool Dutch blogs for potential readers to find me.

I found an ‘environmental systems analysis’ internship! I’m really excited and slightly overwhelmed.

My spiritual background

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It’s time for me to write something about my spiritual background! In the last few years I have learnt a lot and I have come to feel more secure about talking and writing about the theme of spirituality or consciousness. Also, recently I promoted my blog a little more and a friend even interviewed me about consciousness and meditation for his website. So now seems a good time to unfold a little, for who is interested.

Some of you may recognize yourself in my story. At least now you’ll know better where me and my writings are coming from. I will attempt to keep it short. Questions can always be asked, and they may be answered.

I did not write about ‘my spiritual background’ before, mostly because I deemed it not so important. I figured readers would get the vibe of my writing and that would be enough. The right stuff would come up in my posts anyways. But now I’ll give you a better picture of my path so far!

Life story

As a child I learnt to suppress my emotions so to survive in this harsh world. I got pretty disconnected from my feelings and emotions. I did not know much about them, really. My choice of studying BSc Biology really came forth of a rejection of things that are man-made. I liked nature because it was not human (except the human body of course). In hindsight I find this very funny, especially because later relationships became my most favorite study subject.

I moved to student houses and into student life, so my environment changed drastically. I have learnt a lot from being with fellow (Biology) students and from (living with) housemates. I learnt a lot about possible ways to be and to live. However, I did not greatly fit in with Biology students, because I was not so much a nature lover as most of them (in their own special ways). The others did inspire me a lot. Most certainly I was drawn there because I yearned to be more in contact with others, myself and with nature. Also, I now see that back then I found the social structures, relationships and the people much more interesting and worthy of my attention than the curriculum of mu studies.

My emotional life got stirred open. I am very thankful for all friends and housemates who were there for me, and with whom I could share my journey.

After my BSc I took a gap year to find out what I wanted to do next. I volunteered, got in touch with tantra, with vegans, with poly-amorous people, with animal rights activists, with do-ers who actually did their best to contribute to a better world. I learnt to meditate. I became vegan. I became an activist. I started this blog to write about veganism, sustainability and spirituality. I found that studying MSc Environmental Sciences would help me contribute to a better world.

Then I continued everything I started. I learnt more. I read books on spirituality. I practiced vipassana meditation and kundalini yoga, and I still do. I found a partner with whom I am in a very valuable romantic relationship. I learn about ‘spiritual sexuality’. I would also call myself a feminist. Over the years I also saw several therapists so to learn about myself and improve my way of being and living.

So that’s how I came here and how our paths came to cross on this page!

Spiritual practices

So my knowledge and insights about spirituality and consciousness are gathered over the years, of course, but I also learnt a lot from: reading books of Eckhart Tolle and Jan Geurtz; of taking the 10-day vipassana medidation course by S.N. Guenka in which you get dhamma, which is the teaching of Gautama Buddha (through here); from taking kundalini yoga classes; and from an introductory course in Buddhism.

I do not generally call myself a Buddhist, mostly because Gautama Buddha never intended to start a religion. Gautama Buddha taught dhamma, which is a way of living and not a religion. I aim to practice dhamma and vipassana meditation, but not necessarily Buddhism.

At the same time I am interested in other streams of spirituality or spiritual practices. I do kundalini yoga, which is quite different from vipassana meditation, but I find it very interesting (and for me, until now, they go well together).

In addition, I am very passionate about tantra and using sexuality in a spiritual way! I believe that healing our sexuality, healing the shame, frustration and guilt, is very important to mankind. At least for me personally it is! Through these practices our discomfort can be transformed and make space for pleasure. I have not written about this yet, but I’ll definitely do so later.

In case you are, like me, interested in horoscope kinda things, I will list some of my types: My galactic signature in the 13 Moon Calendar is White Crystal Wind (accurate). My Human Design is Projector 2/4 (accurate too). My zodiac sign is Scorpio, but I hardly looked into that (but seems accurate). For readers of The Celestine Prophecy: my go-to method is to be aloof. I also like tantric numerology, but it may not be relevant to share now.


I would like to add something about my current ambitions. I am very determined to continue to develop myself spiritually. Naturally, I don’t know where my path will lead me, but for now I happily use the mentioned practices and traditions.

As I am writing this, I am 25 years old and I am soon to finish my studies Environmental Sciences. I want to work on sustainability on the systems level, using the system approach. With this I mean that I want to see the bigger picture of a problem and to solve it from that understanding. No externalities, no ignorance, no blinds spots. I don’t know how realistic that sounds, but I am certain that I can contribute. (I still like relationships, you see. I like to consider the relationships in a system!)

I think that sustainability and spiritual development (or personal development or consciousness) are pretty related. I think that a certain level of personal development is needed to achieve true sustainability. (In quite the same way in which I think ‘polyamory’ and ‘spirituality’/consciousness are related: they simply have to go together to work well.) This may be on a personal level, but also on a societal level.

That’s it! My life story and spiritual background. After reading you may have a slightly better understanding of me and of yourself and of how we relate to each other. 🙂 If you feel called to reply, please do so!

Picture through Pixabay.

Express and expand yourself through clothing

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Which colours we like to wear may say more about us than we realise. Colours can either hide or reveal parts of us: White is the combination of all colours and it allows all energy or light to shine through. When we wear white, we allow ourselves to shine and others to see us. In turn, when we wear black, we hide our energy, we keep it in, we stay small and invisible.

This has to do with the colours that are associated with the seven chakras; the colours we choose to wear may resonate with certain chakras and thereby enhance their brightness.

I find this fascinating, mostly because these processes generally occur unconsciously. I am naturally drawn to the colour emerald and now I wonder what that says about my energy. How does my aura look? Does this colour bring balance to me? Or does it mostly emphasize what’s already abundant and therefore mostly sustain my current ‘pattern’?

One can use this kind of knowledge to grow. Wearing and surrounding yourself with the colours of chakras that can use a boost can contribute to these chakras becoming more balanced. I suspect that this mostly works when a chakra is under-expressed or has too little energy, not the other way around, but I am not sure. (Check other sources if you wish, like this article.)

I decided to play with it! I will choose more bright colours for clothing in the near future; brighter than the usual black, grey and navy. I do like wearing colours, but I hardly ever wear white clothes, for example. That is mostly so because white fabric tends to be very see-through, which I perceive as difficult. However, if white can help me shine brighter, I may learn to manage the issue!

But there is more to clothing – I think clothing has many tricks. For example, people can also prefer to wear neon colours so to distract others from the darker stuff that actually occurs behind the bright curtains. One can dress professional so to hide their insecurities about being not qualified enough.

Becoming conscious about these processes in us can help us learn about ourselves and grow. We can learn to see our patterns and overcome the underlying insecurities! We can heal ourselves and expand. If we wish and dare to go there, of course.

Maybe you don’t feel like using clothing for these purposes. That is totally fine. I am personally very interested in developing myself and I see possibilities for growth in everything. All difficulties we encounter are possibilities to grow! Every time we confront our inner problems we heal and grow and become more whole. We become more happy and peaceful. So, if you like clothes and dislike other clothes, be welcome to join me in this.

The main question here is this: Do you dress a certain way to hide your discomfort from yourself and others? Read More

Capsule wardrobe + me

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Other / sustainability

My approach to clothing is changing! I started to use the principles of the capsule wardrobe. Many bloggers have gone before me, but now is my time to join in. Simply put, I want pretty, sustainable and ethically made clothes; I want to be happy with my clothes; I want to buy less miss-buys (that make me unhappy); and I want my clothes to go together better so to more easily make stunning outfits. Also, I want to have proper clothes for all occasions and, you know, for me.

My old approach

For some years I’ve been aware of the many ethical problems in the fashion industry. However, I used to simply withdraw from the conversation, because I hardly bought new clothes. I just set out to ‘use up’ the clothes I already owned (mostly gathered in my teen years and early 20s – I’m 25 years-old now) and supplement with new-to-me second-hand items. And okay, I would get some new organic cotton or otherwise okay basics occasionally. And sometimes something else new when I felt that it would help me look okay and deal with my wardrobe situation, but rarely.

All went fine for a while, but now comes the time when I want to dress well. This has to do with me transitioning from girl into woman and from student into working adult. I simply want to dress my age and express myself as I am. Not as my clothes from my teenage years. And of course, second-hand items can be anything and that’s great, but I also just want to allow myself to look good – without feeling guilty about it.

At this point I feel as if something has to change. Many of my old clothes trigger feelings of guilt in me. I can feel guilty or bad about not being able to successfully choose clothes for myself, about making bad decisions. This current closet situation reminds me of all my miss-buys, of the money I spent on it, of the resources used to produce and transport them, of the energy I personally spent and spend on my appearance and on how often I am not satisfied. I have a full closet but most items I don’t like to wear (anymore) yet don’t dare to throw out because of ethical reasons and my personal story. Maybe I can wear them again some time and be happy. Maybe I can learn to be less insecure and vain and just be happy with what I have and how I look.

I now realise that I can do something about this! I think that the capsule wardrobe approach can help me to manage my wardrobe.

Previously I wasn’t interested in the capsule wardrobe approach. It occurred to me as if following it would mean that I’d have to throw out a lot of clothes, because they do not fit the criteria. This does not strike me as sustainable at all. Even if you donate your clothes, changes are that no one will use them again – but you if you decide to keep them and take ownership. This can be done through combining the non-perfect items smartly, right?

Now I see that the capsule wardrobe approach helps with exactly that! It helps you to gain more clarity on your style, on which items go well together and on which new items would make a great contribution to your current collection of clothes, so to prevent miss-buys. It also helps you to get a better overview of the clothes you own and of outfit possibilities, helping you to pick awesome outfits more easily. This can save quite some hassle and confusion in the morning.

The capsule wardrobe

The capsule wardrobe is explained in books and on loads of weblogs. I got my information from several weblogs (mostly UnFancy), which works fine. This means that I do not have all the deets so I will not tell you all. As always, I will just share my own findings.

clean wardrobe

The general idea of the capsule wardrobe is this: for each season of three months one uses a capsule wardrobe existing of a limited number of clothing items. The number of 37 items appears to be used by many people. These items are chosen before the season starts, meaning that the capsule wardrobe and its outfits are thoroughly planned.

During the season one uses only the clothes of the capsule wardrobe. This allows for: having a clear overview of the clothes one can wear; having a neat, well-organised closet; being aware of which items go well with which items; being creative with your clothes! Using only a small amount of clothing items challenges you to get creative. You are less likely to get overwhelmed from all the options and more likely to actually find new combos that work well! Or so I am imagine.

The clothes that are not in your capsule wardrobe of the current season one keeps in storage. These clothes can be used in other seasons. Also, the capsule wardrobe does not have to include underwear, accessories, pyjamas, lounge wear and sports wear. These items don’t count as one of the # items and you are free to use what you like. This is convenient, since use of accessories works well to get more variation in your outfits.

What is included in your capsule wardrobe? Tops, bottoms, dresses, shoes, jackets and coats. An example of 37 items, as given here by Caroline of UnFancy, is: 9 pairs of shoes, 9 bottoms, and 15 tops, 2 dresses and 2 jackets/coats. She adds: ‘To me it feels generous yet minimal.’ Read More

Battle of the bloggers: quantity vs. quality

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Here’s an observation: Is it so that media, including bloggers and vloggers, are more about quantity than quality? Meaning the quantity of updates, blogs, vlogs, articles, references and most of all: the quantity of readers and the money that can be made through these readers. This is quite a negative view, but I am seriously concerned about it.

I get it: in order to be financially independent one needs to generate income. Writers and vloggers would like to earn money through doing what they love. My problem is that I don’t see the big picture anymore. I wonder: how many people are writers, social media managers, bloggers and vloggers these days? And how many people are willingly reading or viewing their products and for how many people does this actually contribute to their well-being?

The mentioned ‘producers’ aim to contribute to the lives of their users, but it occurs to me as if that aim easily becomes secondary to the aim of gaining readers and followers and obtaining personal benefits like money, certain privileges and ego-boosts. This results in more and more rather empty posts and updates and less high quality content.

Is it okay to feed followers irrelevant or empty content?

This disturbs me because I regard time and energy as valuable. Many ‘producers’ seem to assume that it’s okay to feed their followers very irrelevant or empty posts. Doesn’t this lead to an internet full of junk? And to worn-out and numb followers with a mind full of irrelevant stuff? (Often posts are about physical stuff one can buy but does not need. There posts generally contribute to feeding our cravings and making us unhappy, really.)

And doesn’t this lead to worn-out bloggers and vloggers?! I learnt that 2018 will be the year of the vlogger burn out. They get burnt out because of the high pressure they sense from YouTube. Seriously.

I know that I am very critical and a little cynical, but it is a simple observation. Do you observe the same? Do you regard this as a problem?

Moreover, are there solutions to this? Can a solution be to group together and produce content from communities instead of per individual? So instead of having personal blogs, to have community blogs – or blog communities? This way there’s less pressure on individual writers! (Kinda like good old newspapers and magazines!)

With so many bloggers around, it would be great to have blog communities!

I think that readers and followers can also be more conscious of how they spend their time and of what they expect from bloggers. No? I personally do not follow blogs, but I used to when I was a teenager. I remember to like it when bloggers posted often. But now that there are so many bloggers and blogs around, much more than ten years ago, maybe it would be quite easy and nice to have ‘rotation systems’ or so.

This would totally lead to and require a different mindset, though. Which would be great too! Less competition and more community, hooray!

About my blog: it has the general purpose of contributing to increasing reader’s consciousness and well-being. Most of my blog posts are written with this clear intention! I prefer to not pressure myself into writing or posting stuff regularly, but instead to let it come naturally. However, I do sense some pressure to post at least monthly. Also, I regard writing here as a good practice for my writing skills and general personal development.

Share your blogs!
Here’s a request: Please – if you dare!- share your own blogs and the ones you follow! It’d be great if you could write why you like certain blogs, or what you seek in a blog. I’d like to learn more about readers and bloggers and to get to know more like-minded people’s blogs! Maybe we can start a blog community. 🙂

Also, I just used the hashtag #consciousblogging. I may just have invented it!

Too much stuff? De-stuffing needs conscious consumption

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Featured / sustainability

In my surroundings many people have become aware of the impact of ‘stuff‘. This awareness was raised by among others the documentary Minimalism (available on Netflix) and recent research in which was found that the role of stuff in causing climate change is very large. Simply put, the production and transportation of stuff contributes to climate change and other environmental problems, like pollution. Moreover, to produce stuff, many people work in unhealthy working environments for too little money. Very simply put: a lot is wrong in the world.

It occurs to me as if many people find ‘de-stuffing‘ to be the answer: throwing away stuff you do not want or use anymore. The benefits include that your house gets more spacious, which allows for a clearer mind also. Less stuff equals less distractions from whatever you want to be doing or not be doing. I can totally see that.

The stuff you throw away can be given away to second-hand shops or charity, so that others may use it. That way, others can get your stuff for free or for little and they will be happy. Also, they do not have to buy new stuff, because they got it second-hand already, which spares the environment!

So by giving away your stuff you create more happiness for yourself, others and the environment! Win-win-win!

Who uses your old stuff?

Now I wouldn’t be writing this if I did not have some comments.

I’d like to use this beautiful quote:

“There is no away.”

The phrase ‘throwing stuff away’ is way too simple. Where your stuff goes when throwing it away depends on multiple things: Is it in good shape? Can it still be used? Can it be repaired or improved? Does someone want it? Will your stuff get to the person who wants it? If not, can it be recycled? Will that actually happen?

It’s too easy to think that other people will be happy with your stuff. In our stuff-filled culture, most people are used to choosing what they want – as opposed to accepting what is available in some second-hand store.

In my town many people go to second-hand stores, however, at the same time many people do not hesitate to buy cheap stuff in cheap stores. This often concerns stuff that is not regarded as important to begin with. The rationale is something like: ‘I want this irrelevant thing so I’ll just get it quickly and cheaply.’ People tend to not want to put more money or effort into stuff they do not value high anyway. However, apparently they value the stuff enough to still get it – for a few bucks.

Conscious consumption: it takes two to re-use

I regard being or becoming a conscious consumer as more important than getting rid of the stuff you already have.

For the stuff you already have, most of the impacts (positive and negative) have already occurred. Natural resources are extracted and transported, the items are put together in factories or else, the items are transported to re-sellers and finally to you. The use stage of a product generally omits less negative environmental impacts than the production stage.

Thus, when stuff is in your house, the environmental impacts are already in the past. Stuff sitting in your house likely has no impact anymore or only very little.

Everything you buy or obtain has been produced and has impacted the world. By buying or accepting free stuff, you encourage the producers to produce more of it. This goes for about anything, for low-value one-time-use stuff and for high-value sustainable stuff.

Every time you buy something you vote with your money. This is why I think that being a conscious consumer is far more important than engaging in ‘de-stuffing your house’.

Of course, re-using and recycling are important, but I think there should be more emphasize on the other end. There’s a total of six Rs to keep in mind:

  • Rethink
  • Reduce
  • Refuse
  • Repair
  • Re-use
  • Recycle

First, rethink what you (want to) buy, then reduce the amount of stuff you buy and refuse to buy stuff you do not actually need or want or stuff with a large negative impact. Repair stuff that’s broken so that you can use it still. Here you can drastically reduce the negative impacts of your consumption, through consuming less products, preferring high-quality products that will last longer, preferring products that can be recycled (avoid plastic) and choosing for products that are made in a better way: that have less negative or even positive effects on the local environment, on the global climate, on the producers (land and factory workers) and their living environments and livelihoods, and on animals.

Consumers have to engage in re-using and recycling through buying second-hand and recycled materials.

Re-use the stuff that’s already there and in the end recycle stuff that cannot be used in its current form anymore. The last two Rs are not only post-consumer Rs in which you let others re-use and recycle your stuff. As a consumer you can engage in re-using and recycling through buying second-hand and buying items that are made from recycled materials. This way you vote for re-using and recycling!

Re-use and recycling require conscious consumers.

I think this part of re-using and recycling needs to be emphasized. The ‘trend’ of ‘throwing stuff away’ may assume that others will do the re-using and recycling for you. I am afraid that this throwing-away rationale leads to people thinking that as long as they get rid of their old stuff, they don’t have tot take further responsibility.

Please take your responsibility as a consumer seriously. Use your money to vote for better production systems and for a sustainable future.

How to de-stuff properly

To wrap up, I’ll spend some words on properly ‘throwing’ your unwanted stuff away. Read More