Stories of clothes and ourselves – a wardrobe update

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Earlier I shared with you my enthusiasm for the capsule wardrobe: a simplistic method that, when applied correctly, would free you from all wardrobe misery. I set out to play with it, and I already wrote some thoughts about my experiences. Here are a few more of those thoughts & experiences.

A few months ago I had a short period of visiting webshops to browse through pictures of clothing, searching for items I’d consider buying. I then would consider buying them for a bit, to undecidedly leave the matter for later. I repeated this process several time, for fun. Browsing for clothes is kinda fun. You get to create these stories in your head about them and about yourself. But then apparently my attention shifted away towards other activities. I went on doing other stuff and forgot the whole clothing browse. But where did the stories go? Did they stay or leave?

The reason I am writing this out is that it’s a classic story. We want to do something to make us feel happier and we think that looking for clothes, or any other items, and buying the nicest ones does just that. Here, in my example, I liked the activity! But I also love how in the end I just turned away, having enjoyed the ride, without buying. Without buying into some fantasy in which new pretty clothes actually make you happier, or whatever version of the fantasy speaks to you most.

For honesty and amusement’s sake I have to add that earlier this year I did fell for a huge sale on ethically-made clothes and I bought stuff that I hardly wear. I am not sure if I will wear the 30 wears in the end. But I learnt from it, at least some. I aim to not repeat that thing any time soon!

I will spare you the deets of my wardrobe contemplatons, but I do like to share some things. Generally, I still dislike giving clothes away so I keep most of my items and plan to wear ‘em out, I still hardly buy stuff, I did receive some items as presents, so my wardrobe is pretty full and not in capsule-mode. I am reliving old items and trying plenty of new combinations, which is great.

I never committed fully to the capsule wardrobe. I don’t want to force myself into buying clothes in a certain week of time. I prefer to do it when I feel like it, which isn’t too often anyways. (Fun fact: serious capsule-wardrobers were prepping their summer capsules two weeks ago and are rocking them right now.)

However, since I know of the capsule wardrobe, I am observing more structurally which clothing items I would like to have someday; I am collecting these preferences somewhere in my brain for future reference. This is how it’s supposed to be in Capsule Wardrobe Land. Personally, I love how I do not feel as if I need the items I am picturing in the near future. I am fine with waiting a few years – or until someone hires me and gets me a pay check. I’ve been doing without these specific items for 25 years and I’m quite fine. So I surely don’t need them now all of a sudden, because I have seen them somewhere. There’s no need to stress about it.

As it is, enough things are more important to stress about. Like: how do I get someone to hire me and actually write me a pay check?! I’m graduating soonish and I am growing nervous for having to do job interviews. At least I got some new ethically-made shirts to wear! They may be too formal for me to wear casually but they sure are suitable for job interviews.

That’s it for me now.

I love having you around.

Mulching on a Dream: garden harvest mid-June

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Nature

Oogst 21 juni

In the midst of my interning episode, I make a point of contributing to the garden and of enjoying how lovely and peaceful it all it. Back in May, I did get stung by bees twice in two weeks, which is ridiculous and not at all peaceful. I had bad luck being close to aggressive bee hives two times. I found the experience of being attacked like that pretty horrifying! As was the resulting swollen upper lip. Ouch. It took me some time and unnecessary panicking before I could trust bees again, but I think I managed!

Now I’m just showing off this beautiful bunch of plant materials. The flowers on top are being dried. The rhubarb went down as a pie. The kohlrabi – yes, the purple two! – are not supposed to crack in the middle. Today the Courgette Counter proudly reads 19. 🙂

No non-garden updates today. Enjoy the picture and as much as you can!

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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sustainability

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!

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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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Other

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.

Ambitions

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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Insights

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