Or was it death, that was trying to teach me something…?
It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon and I was travelling back from a few days off.
I often use this time in the car to talk with people and that morning I called my mom to see how she was doing. Or just to hear her voice. With a serious distance between us, I don’t get to see her that often and the pandemic only made that even harder.
During the pandemic I heard a lot from folks living abroad and how they suffered being apart from their family. How hard it was to miss celebrations, let’s forget final goodbye’s.
When I reflected on that, I must admit, I often thought “what is the big deal”? You can call them, videocall even to stay in touch and it’s part of the expat life after all.
As mentioned, I called my mom yet she had (great)grandchildren visiting so we agreed it was better she would enjoy that first and that I’ll call back later that afternoon.
Driving through Italy towards France, I continued my journey and somewhere during the afternoon I received a Whatsapp that ‘something’ happened to my mother. Not long after I got a call which told me that ‘something’ was a huge heart attack and that it was unclear what to expect…
BANG!!! A punch in the stomach. A cold shiver in my heart. A million thoughts crossed my racing mind.
In between somewhere and nowhere I felt the deepest loneliness and very, very far away from what used to be home.
I imagined my mother in the ER where doctors tried to safe her life.
Flashbacks to the day my father passed away, now 35 years ago.
I always thought we’ve said all the words which needed to be spoken. I started wondering if that was true. Complete or not? Was I ready to let her go with a heart at peace…?
Bitter tears I cried. I mourned my mother before she was gone. I felt alone, so alone.
All of a sudden I felt one with all those expats who cried similar tears. All of a sudden I started to see, to feel, that the last time you said goodbye in person never is enough for a final goodbye…
Another lesson in humbleness I had to learn. Another lesson in compassion I had to experience…
A couple of days later I was able to visit my mother in hospital. How precious!
After that visit I wrote these words:
Never longed to see you more
Never held you closer
Never hugged you this intense
Your kisses and whispering meant the world to me
Your eyes lit up when they saw me
You cried when you said my name
I cried when I held your hand
Love filled my heart
My beloved mother
You knocked on heaven’s doors
Almost reunited with my dad
Eternity wasn’t ready for you yet
Thus sent you back
For precious moments to live
To read you your favourite psalm
To be closer than ever before
Whilst we’re trusting the divine
What today’s goodbye really means
© Alex Verlek (July 2021)
More and more parts of the world are enjoying the pandemic being on its return.
And with that claiming life back again.
The question I would love to ask: What is the life we want to create from here?
This pandemic situation wasn’t just bad.
It also taught us many many lessons on how we can live life in a different way. How we can live life in spite of some limitations.
I would love for us to reflect for a moment on how we can use all these lessons learned during the days of pandemic, in the time that is now ahead of us.
This is why today I shot a new 2 min video where I want to share my reflections with you.
Watch it below.
P.S. When you’ve had a chance to watch it, here is my invitation to you: Will you take a moment to reflect on what are the lessons that I want to keep from the pandemic? And include them in the life after the pandemic? And who are the people around me that I still want to give a little bit more time, love and attention? Feel free to leave a comment below and share your thoughts.
Today I just wanted to share chapter 39 – “Self-care” from my audiobook with you.
Listen to it here:
Once you’ve had a chance to listen to it, I’d love to hear from you.
- What is the poison I am drinking?
- Where am I unwilling to forgive others?
- Where am I unwilling to forgive myself?
Leave a comment below and let me know.
P.S. By the way, 20th of May 2021 I will facilitate 2 x half-day brand new online (3,5 hours) Masterclasses for coaches that will help you with stress management & burnout prevention through awareness and self care practices. Just 2 tickets are left. These Masterclasses are also accredited by ICF. Jump in 🙂
If we look at the history of warfare, it has hardly ever brought anything positive.
It was always about bloodshed, destruction and forcing your will upon somebody else’s.
Isn’t it interesting that we still haven’t learned that if we keep repeating the same things over and over again, and expecting different results, that’s INSANITY, according to Einstein.
So it’s time we start to fight with different weapons. That we start to fight a different kind of fight.
Watch my newest video below:
It’s a nice and quiet evening. The fireplace is spreading a comfortable warmth throughout the living room and good smells come from the kitchen. After a long working day it’s good to relax and spend some quality time with the family. The dog is asking for her evening food. The cats installed themselves in a comfortable chair appreciating the fireplace whilst, in all their kindness, accepting that some human beings share the house with them.
Nice music is playing and the candles have been lit. Curtains closed, all nice and cozy.
Just like that the vibe in the house changes from relaxed and comfy into action.
Whatever the plans were, they’ve now changed.
Whatever you were doing, just drop it.
It’s the sound that calls the first responder into action. In no time she changed into her uniform and runs out of the door. In the meantime he pulled her car from the parking, leaving it with the engine running and the door open so she can leave as fast as possible.
Someone is in danger, someone needs help!
When the “Beep-beep! Beep-beep!” calls, it’s time to run, not to ask questions. Then it’s time to act, not to hesitate.
Whilst she jumps in the car, he shouts “Go and make a difference” to encourage her. The adrenaline pumps through her veins, fair chance she doesn’t even hear it. Off she goes, decisive into the unknown, prepared for the unexpected.
He slowly walks back to the house. Clueless when she’ll be back. Clueless how she’ll be back because, some of the incidents she’s been called to, made a deep impact on her. Like when holding that crying girl who watched her way too young mother die. Or when 3 youngsters had to be pulled out of a car after it crashed.
Sometimes he even wonders if she’ll come back. Since some who go for the rescue, become a victim themselves…
Nevertheless they run! All these first responders they run from their homes into the unknown yet on a mission. The mission is to save lives and reduce suffering. Don’t you think that deserves tons of respect from society? In many cases these first responders are even volunteers who felt a calling. The calling to save lives.
Yet sometimes, society isn’t able to give the respect the heroes in ambulances and firetrucks deserve. Let’s not forget the heroes from the police!
They deserve respect and all the space to do their work. It’s absurd some people think it’s a good idea to hinder their work. To offend or even threaten them. In extreme cases, the ones coming for the rescue become the victims because of violence from the public.
When these thoughts cross his mind both sadness, anger and fear fill his heart. He turns around to just see the red lights of her car disappearing into the night.
He whispers, “Go and make a difference”. Now he adds “Come home safely”.
I know this story very well. Because “she” is my wife.
© 2021 Alex Verlek van Tienhoven
Today on my morning hike I got this annoying feeling: “Bummer. I’m kind of stuck here. For months I’m not getting any further than 10 kilometers from my house. Either for a walk or to buy groceries.”
Whilst I was thinking about that all of the sudden a little tune got back into my head.
A tune sang by a cartoon figure named Alf from the late 80’s which shifted my perspective in no time.
Watch it below. Feel free to join me for the singing part 😉
P.S. Here is my invitation for you today: Will you think of a cartoon figure or an animal or anything that inspires you that will help you to find a different perspective on how you look at this current situation? I’m really curious to hear what you will come up with. Feel free to leave a comment below.
I started my 2020 with climbing the 2000 meters high mountain near my house.
I have to admit it took a lot of effort, but I got up there. And the moment I got up there was a moment of victory, a victory mainly over myself.
Who knew back then that just a few of months later, I would end up in hospital with a seriously herniated disc, very little strength in the right leg and foot, unable to walk.
From an active man, that day mowing the lawn, to being taken to hospital by ambulance and wheeled into the Intensive Care.
Due to Covid, no visits possible. So here I was, alone, afraid and fragile…with my legs not moving. To top it off, my doctor told me that I’d never garden nor hike as I was used to AGAIN..
Long story short, last weekend and only 10 months later I was BACK UP that mountain!
The way up there?
On my knees, in the ambulance; intensive care; by the hand of the physiotherapist, behind a walker, on crutches, 500 meter, 5 km, a few hours, ups & downs and that day, step by step all the way up. Tears of gratitude and so f*cking happy!!
P.S. If you are curious about my journey, here it is:
I was not allowed to have an argument or fight with my siblings when I grew up.
My mom’s words: “Kids, don’t fight!” are sometimes still echoing in my head.
I get it when one is raising 4 small children that this can be a real pain and it takes a lot to keep things under control.
Yet what I’ve noticed is how these words are influencing me being in conflicts in my relationships. With my friends, family, also in my romantic relationship.
As we are talking about romantic relationships..
A lot has changed in 2021. Many of us are locked up in a little box called ‘our house’. It’s almost inevitable that more conflict than ever before is happening in your house.
You’re locked up with your loved ones. Yet everybody is lacking space and breathing time as they are trying to do their best to re-adjust to the new reality.
If you then have an idea that you can not be in a conflict, this can lead to additional challenges & frustrations.
My point is that we have to learn how to be in a conflict. Especially in our romantic relationships. With the conflict being a healthy & inevitable part of our relationships.
I share my reflections with you in the short video below:
P.S. By the way, the brand new, specially designed ‘Conflict Transformation Model’ is one of the coaching tools I will be presenting during my online masterclass held on the 19th of February 2021. Just 3 tickets are left. This Masterclass is also accredited by ICF (3,5 CCEU´s).
Today I’d like to speak with you about a really cool paradox. Paradox between two words: NOW and HISTORY.
For a long time I thought that these words have nothing in common. That they were maybe even excluding each other.
Whilst reflecting on it, I realized that these words have a lot to do with each other. They are like family!
We coaches like to speak about being in the NOW. The intriguing part here is that what happens in the NOW actually is writing our history.
Yes, history is something that happened in the past. Yet when we wrote history, that was a NOW back then.
The moment where you decided, for instance, to say YES to somebody or NO to something, that exact moment you took a decision which wrote part of YOUR history.
The more conscious we are in the NOW, the more we would like the story that we create. The story that at some point in our lives we will call our history.
So here is my invitation: when you want to write history, take a moment to reflect on how you want to show up in the HERE and NOW.
I share my reflections with you in my new short video.
Watch it below.
P.S. When you’ve had a chance to watch it, I’d love to hear from you what the story is you want to write through your choices right here, right now. Leave a comment below and let me know.
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