|there is more...|
I made almost all photos of butterflies in our own garden, a few on the way, the marbled white and the speckled wood in France. Marthe made the photos which are
in vision about life. For me the butterflies are the sign that there is more, maybe they are messengers of people who passed away.|
To make music with much concentration on soft sounding instruments helps people to get in contact and to be able to talk about feelings. I more and more ask the question: do you think there is more. Many people are sure about it and sometimes they have very beautiful stories to tell about it. Below my (and a little bit our) story:
I worked at a school of music and got a burnout in 1994, when I was almost 35 years old. The day I reported sick happened to be the best day
of my life. The best day of my life was the day I was born of course. But to report sick and to decide/admit that I didn't want to go on with my life like this,
became the beginning of a totally new view on (my) life and another/new life.|
On that moment I was already almost sure that I would never come back at the school of music and I would need all time to come to terms with everything I had been trough. I searched for help from two therapists (haptonomy), but I got only extra problems and I came farther and farther away from myself.
I felt myself unhappy as a child at home and at school, but I was never able to say that. I have had a relationship of 7 years from my 23th with Gerda. I teached her violin and because she could talk with me and cry about her sister with whom it didn't go well for years, she fell in love with me. I didn't know what to do and although I said I didn't want a relationship anymore after six months, she didn't accept it. She said it still has to be proved that it's doesn't go well, I had no answer to that. I felt very unhappy in the relationship, but I could never really talk about it. Gerda said she loved me. Then I said let's live together, I didn't see another way to get clarity and to get further.
We bought a house together. After six months Gerda fell in love with a man and she left. I fell in a deep hole then. Gerda gave birth to two children and died of a brain tumour when her children were 1 and 2 years jaar old. I remained with many questions, why does this happen and why does it happen this way. I suffered very much from her being silent and her way of going about with sexuality. I didn't dare to say what I felt from her, nor did I dare to say that this had nothing to do with love.
Nowhere, not at home, not at school or on your work, you learn to talk about what you feel, how you feel in contacts, we live in a culture of silence. Everybody is doing well, nobody has problems. If so, you are weak or less. But why we are out of balance, why we get ill, why we are angry, what we miss in our lives, we don't talk about it. We are afraid to admit that not everything is naturally good anyhow.
All contacts hurted me and gave me a helpless feeling. Social workers (haptonomy) unanimously reacted with: you have difficulties, I don't. Nobody said: you feel it right, there's a lot wrong and there has to change a lot, you can just contribute to that. When I started to talk about what I felt and said what I didn't want anymore and what I should want, friends, familiy and social workers didn't understand me. I felt very lonely 8 years long, what I felt unconscious until my 35th, I felt conscious now.
I started to understand why people started to avoid me, I didn't belief in existing ways. And because I believed less and less in the medical view on problems, I wasn't accepted in educations, nor in alternative educations, because they also want to be be acknowledged within existing social standards. Although I don't wish this to anyone, still I got aware, by not being understood, that I wanted, could and should do something with my pain and loneliness. Slowly I left all existing structures and became aware that there should come something new.
However lonely I felt, I also felt a power to go through and feel this all. I never wanted back to where I came from. I often thought it can only get better. I don't believe in God, but I do believe in love, maybe it's the same, but for me it feels wider. Despite the pain I felt, I had much to be grateful for. When a child in the street smiled at me or said hello, I was very happy, that gave courage and helped me not to harden and choose for softness all the time. Then I didn't know yet that what was going to happen in my life, would surpass al my expectations. If I only would have had a small inkling of it, I would have suffered much less.
I always thought that you would feel better if you share your experiences with each other and speak about problems with each other. By conversations with people around me, I started to understand that most people don't have a want to talk, because they don't see problems. Just when people recognize and avow that there are problems and talk about them, changes are possible.
I got rejected for work on medical grounds, so I got money for myself, but also for society, to develop something new. A doctor who had to examine me in 1999, after 5 years, found it so good what I was engaged on that he wrote that nothing changed. So I got the possibility to continue another five years.
I wrote a lot in that period and one afternoon in 2000 I described the awareness process. Click here to read that page.
What I didn't understand then and what I do understand now, is that I affected pain of other people's lifes, also social workers, by expressing what I didn't like. Nobody said he/she recognized something of what I said, I was even bullied at the haptonomy and naturopathy educations by fellow-students and teachers. (Almost) nobody was aware of pain or discord in his/her life. (Almost always) I happened to be the first who openly dared to say that I felt pain and wanted that it would become different and better.
It took a long time before I started to realize and understood that I wasn't behind the times but walked in front and that it's logic then that nobody understands you or has a new vision on problems. I really want to change something in how we go about with each other and I don't want to look at people medical and scientific, but human and with love.
One time I walked on the station and saw people boarding the train and alighting from the train. I thought: we come into this world and expect that we shall receive love, but we must get to know that we have to give love ourselves. Everyone has that ability and everybody can choose to react on pain with hurting another one or break through the pain, by talking and saying that you have pain and get on, because you expressed it.
Before as a violinist and now on the viola da gamba and the lute, I was and I am always engaged with (tonal) purity and beautiful tones and sounds. When you play together purity and playing all in one is essential to report the music well. Purity and honesty are close to each other. Children also ask for honesty and for me it was and is a logical step to search for honesty in the communication with adults also and that you, when you experience pain, may say that.
I am convinced that you can only help somebody when you have experiences with problems and found a way to solve problems, without a medical view on those problems. You learn to play or build a violin from someone who plays or builds a violin himself/herself. You learn from life experiences by talking about them and the interpretation you give them. We live in a society, wherein intellect, science and diplomas are considered very important and wherein feeling, getting on socially with each other, empathizing ability, love, softness, soft music are hardly appreciated.
We will suffer for it on time, because there's more than intellect and scientific proofs of what should be good for you. We are at work with green energy, we eat biological food, but children of 7 years old already get the 'medicine' Ritalin because they are too restless. Girls and young women are on the pill. Almost every adult takes medicine and almost no one dies without morphine! All those medicines come into our surface water and that troubles everybody. We 'know' about smoking that when someone smokes and you don't smoke yourself, you still smoke passively, of course that's logical and everyone can imagine that, but it has to be scientifically proved at first, before we believe it.
I think many people find we live in a hard society, but they don't start to really do something about it. No time, no ideas how it could be possible. I wanted to get further in contacts and learn how you can still help each other when you don't feel contact, by sharing experiences and thoughts about it.
Why did I look down on my mother, why did I admire my father, why did I feel less than my brothers and sisters. The answer from current ideas was very simple: If you live out of your feeling you are weak and unimportant. Women often have more contact with their feeling and are weak therefore and less important than men, who find intellect and performing more important than being vulnerable and sensitive.
I had much pain and could be off my stride for days, because I didn't know how to hold my own in conversations with family, friends, fellow-students or social workers. I didn't realize that it was new what I did, that no one had experience with talking about how you feel in your contacts and experience how you bring together intellect and feeling, there was/is not yet a beaten road in it.
Meanwhile I talked with my parents and told that I didn't feel happy as a child in the family, at school, in friendships. I didn't want to give them the feeling it was their fault, but that it's a common problem, but that was hard to explain. I was the first of the family and of the people around them, who really wanted to talk. There was no example of how you deal with it, I had to find that by myself. I hardly had any overview myself and insight how processes work. I understood more and more that measuring and judging people on disorders and rewarding high marks is not the way to come to a social world. My brothers and sisters didn't want contact (anymore) with me.
The contact with my parents became totally different. They kept being open and although it was very hard sometimes, I could make room for a new contact. My parents feel much closer now. Because I started to look more positive at my mother, she could show something else as well. Now I find that I've a very sweet mother and I'm very glad that it has become different. I started to contest my father more, through which more balance has come. My father always supported me in the hard years and said he was sure that I would come out of it.
In making music with others I wasn't happy, because it only was about how you play and not how you get on with each other. In the lonely period I didn't touch my violin for four years (anymore). It seemed that the more beautiful I played, the more lonely I felt. Conservatory educates people to become virtuoso and show what you can. But that music can contribute to social awareness, service, gratitude, that's not what the education is about.
From my 18th until I had a burnout, I teached violin to children and adults, and learned much from that. I found that when a pupil didn't understand something it was my 'fault', and therefore I should think of something by what the other could understand it. When I was at home having a burnout often children came along. However a hard time I had, I wanted to be there for them at those moments and that did me very good.
Nowhere, nor in the alternative world, I heard that it's important to share experiences, to cooperate, to talk with each other, to stimulate each other. Nobody asks whether you are behind it what you do, whether you would want it different, not in the family, not at school, not in your work, nowhere there is the question: What do you really want and does it look like how it goes now.
I wanted almost everything totally different. I understand now that I wanted to be released, out of my own experiences, from existing ideas about family, children, sexuality, school, educations, money, status, free time, health, faith, music, getting older and about what is really important in life. Because there was no example I had to have the experience myself to be able to give my life another turn. And to start living like I already wanted and wished for a very long time.
In 2002 I started with my own practice for haptonomy and music. When I started to talk with people, I found out that I got on with them in a totally different than I was treated. I took two hours time and liked it when it went on longer than expected. When it suddenly was four hours later, the other was also surprised that the time passed by so quickly. That evoked more wishes again.
In the meantime there were 10 people I supported 3 years with talking about their lives and enter into conservation with the people around them. I worked a whole day with almost everybody and in the evening often somebody else came. I also started to bring the people together in the evening who I supported in small groups of three or four people.
6 years earlier I took the initiative to get in touch with my eldest sister Jeannette, because I found it unbearable that she did't want to see me 8 years long, while I was having very hard times. It appeared not to go well with her, she was at home having a burnout for the fifth time. Not one social worker has been able to give her something she really could use. Apparently I was the only one who could help her. It was very heavy and it took years before she was happy that I got her out of a negative pattern. We often talked talked till far into the night. I started to draw her also into the little groups which came together in the evening.
At a given moment one of the 10 people I supported said: I like that one day (you support me), but I hardly get through the other days. Then I called everyone on a sunday evening and proposed to get together the next day at 10 o'clock and work the whole week with each other. Everyone was there and almost everybody even was there 5 days. The most were at home being 'ill'. We talked, made music and ate together. We had to hurry in the evening to catch the last train or bus.
After 6 weeks I said: I supported you almost 3 years, we have been through a lot with each other. What are we going to do with this now in our lives? Then it went very fast at once. In that weekend 7 of the 10 people walked away. To my surprise I got very happy of it.
That was in April 2006, a few people came back and left again, in the meantime we came together 7 days. Ultimately we remained with the four of us: Marthe, my sister Jeannette, Erik and I. We went on holiday with each other in August. When we came back I proposed to start living with the four of us in my house. There just started a rebuilding, which we have been able to adapt, so that we were able to have built another room.
How Marthe found me is a special story: When I wanted to start with my practise I wanted to put a leaflet down in the Centrale Bibliotheek (Central Library) in Utrecht. But it didn't work, I kept on getting the answer, we don't do it, if you earn money with it. I saw other leaflets lying there from courses and thought that doesn't fit, so I asked it again, but again the answer was no. I asked it several times and suddenly there was someone else behind the counter who said: but of course that's good and so it happened that my leaflet was lying there. Marthe found that leaflet and called me.
Marthe was totally sick of her work in an accountants office and wanted to talk with someone one time who really took her seriously. I liked to do that very much and so I started to help her. Slowly I started to tell her how I have been solving the problems with my parents and with other people. And I also told more about my sister Jeannette and about other people I was helping. Marthe later told that she'd never experienced that and found it very nice that I spoke out of my own experience.
We didn't know yet how much we would know were we are with each other and how we would cooperate and help each other to create a whole new way of life, living and working with each other and how much we would need each other to get Jeannette and Erik on our side in searching for openness and honesty in the contact. Marthe and I never met somebody in our lives who was open for our wish to talk and to search for improvements in our lives.
Marthe is very happy with me, because she could always talk to me about everything. I said to her that she talked much too little, while Marthe only heard from people that she talked too much and too much about herself. And I never met somebody who wanted so much to do something with her life and like me searched for change and improvement. She'd never thought of very many things, but she was very glad to hear new things and now she sees modesty and service as valuable goods.
After that we quickly started with making music. Marthe had a cello, she always had pain when she played, at the school of music there wasn't paid attention to that. I had helped her to start to be more at work with relaxation. I learned myself to play cello a bit. I used an underhand bow hold, without understanding why. At once I remembered that I played the fiddle, a stringed instrument from the middle ages, as a child. Then I came to the idea of the viola da gamba (viol), a soft stringed instrument from the renaissance, the predecessor of the violin and the cello. I bought a bass viola da gamba via marktplaats (a website in second hand goods) and learned myself playing viola da gamba. Very fast after it I started to teach it to Marthe and after that to Jeannette and Erik.
In the mean time we also played the guitar, Marthe and Erik could play that a little bit. I learned myself playing the guitar a bit. We bought four guitars. When we played a piece from the 16th century, I said this sounds very beautiful on a lute, a very beautiful and soft plucked instrument from the renaissance. Fortunately we still could sell the guitars and we bought a lute via marktplaats and I started to learn myself to play the lute and after it I teached it the others. I found out that I could convey the technique of playing the violin to the viola da gamba and the lute.
I said I would like to buy the instruments from a professional, so that I got some information too about how you have to play, that happened and always all wishes I had came true. What happened in the past 5 years we never thought possible. By the cooperation I always got new ideas and slowly we became a viola da gamba quartet and a lute quartet. I thought it would be beautiful when we would sing 4 part. I started with it then.
Nelly, a friend, came with the leaflet of the bamboo flute society which existed 70 years. We shortly played recorder, but the sound of bamboo flutes is much softer and warmer. We started to make bamboo flutes with holes. When Marthe made the first hole in her bass flute, she was unhappy that the sound became less beautiful. When we'd played for disabled people, I already had the idea to build bamboo flutes with one tone. Everybody gets a bamboo flute with one tone and together we can play a melody then. This was the moment to start building one tone bamboo flutes, and Erik continued it.
By living together I got an enormous chance to share all knowledge and experience and ideas I had about music and music lessons. The most important was to find forms to get on well with each other. It was new for everybody to talk about that and to find out how you want to get on with each other. That appears to be much more difficult, than learning to play an instrument.
Marthe had clear opinions about what she found beautiful and nice and what not. For example she didn't like classical music and when there was an opera at radio 4, she was disappointed, because she had no music to listen to for three hours. When she heared me singing, she did find it beautiful, just natural and without ways of doing it. Also about the music we play she had a very clear opinion, which I was always happy with. I felt enormously supported by her in the search for simplicity, softness and the developing of a natural way of playing and singing.
It was a question for me whether I could bring together three people, teach them music and play together. It hasn't been easy, but one thing keeps being clear: nobody wants to go away. Each of us went through a lot. It cost us an effort to find a way in it, to come to terms with negative experiences and to give a positive turn to them.
We feel responsible for each other and by working together so intensively we all have the feeling we are engaged with something essential. That's why it was clear at a given moment that our name had to become Contact & muziek: first contact and then music.
I started to think of a method to teach children to read music with coloured notes. Jeannette began to draw that. We started to play for elderly people, because my mother found the music we play nice soft and calm and said elderly people would also find it nice to hear.
So it came that we now have musical encounters in residential homes for the elderly and that we get more and more acknowledgement, publicity and subsidy. I also teach children music at home and at schools, Marthe helps with the contact and makes photos and films, Jeannette and Erik help and join in with playing.