2015-08-28 08.01.30It’s the last day of the year 2015. An incredibly busy, very challenging, but also very inspiring year is about to end. A year with exciting ups but also with deep downs.

Sand Hearts continues to be my personal blog with no commercial ambitions. Sand Hearts exists because I love writing, and because I love to create art. And creative work also heals the creator’s soul. That’s why I only write about topics I care about for those of you who care about those issues. Sand Hearts is not “mainstream”. It will never be “mainstream”. Of course not. I don’t provide checklists to happiness. Life cannot be lived by checklists. The dynamics of life have to be navigated; they cannot be controlled. There are only a few mechanics we can control: our attitude, our behaviour, our decisions and actions. Depending on life’s dynamics we have to deal with, we may need to adjust our attitude and behaviours, the decisions we make, and the actions we take.

What has happened here at Sand Hearts? A lot, especially regarding the depth of topics I have written about. All posts are based on what I had to go through this year, what I have learned along my way of spiritual leadership, of self-leadership. So far. There is more to come. That’s for sure. So, stay tuned!

In case you are a regular Sand Hearts reader you can easily hold me accountable for what I wanted to focus on. Yes, I shared my 2015 agenda with you in January 2015! You can check out the details here. I defined three focus areas, and the first one was about Sand Hearts: “I will evolve this blog, my personal blog, to a platform for spiritual leadership. I will build on the foundation that has been established over the last years. I will continue to write about my journey on transformation and self-leadership, covering various aspects of my lessons learned and experiences.”

In a nutshell, this is what happened here at Sand Hearts in 2015:

  • My agenda 2015 and my 2015 focus between knowledge, love and truth:
    Beyond Sand Hearts, the other two focus areas were in my professional life (which is covered here) and on what I call spiritual leadership, understanding the purpose of our physical existence, the deep connectedness between all living beings, the need for compassion and non-violence. As I have written here, truth was the driving force of my life in 2015. Truth will remain the driving force in 2016, gently surrounded and supported by love, our intrinsic quality we are all born with, and knowledge, which I will never get tired of acquiring on a daily basis. Having such an agenda for a year is all about spiritual leadership, about self-leadership.
  • Vulnerability was the most important topic for me this year. Oh yes, life has thrown me in situations that challenged my vulnerable soul pretty hard. For those of you who know me in person, it comes as no surprise. My very vulnerable soul is the biggest challenge for me to navigate the dynamics of my life, to grow personally, and to transform vulnerability into creativity. But my vulnerability is also my biggest gift, it is my early sensor, my early warning system, and it allows me to experience things much deeper and more intensive. Obviously, this causes higher ups and deeper downs, which brings us back to the art of navigating our lives, playfully and joyfully. I have addressed the topic from four different perspectives: Vulnerability and creativity, how to master painful situations as a vulnerable soul, how vulnerability can help you to better master your life challenges, and how to embrace vulnerability to drive your personal growth. From today’s perspective, I know that the challenges on vulnerability I had to go through, are a direct consequence of my focus on truth, my truth. I had to go through these often painful situations to get closer to my truth. A journey that will continue!
  • Creativity: Sand Heart’s sister was born in April! The most creative part that was born this year is Sand Heart’s sister: Peaceful Soulfood, currently a Tumblr blog, dedicated to bringing the ideas of compassion, non-violence and animal rights into action, focused on plant-based, peaceful and nutrient-dense vegan food. Pragmatic. Enjoyable. Delicious. To nourish your soul. Peaceful Soulfood is all about tasty, peaceful, nutrient-dense, great food, leveraging the plant-based power of vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds, the gifts of Mother Earth. Peaceful Soulfood also contains useful data and information that support its core message: Ethics. Environment. Health. The announcement was published in April here.
  • Compassion requires to educating your heart. Understanding compassion and its cornerstones connectedness and responsibility for every action you take are the foundations to be able to create compassionate work. Only then, compassion can change your life. Only then, you can create art that’s based on compassion. I have shared my thoughts on compassion and why caring about living beings alone is not enough. That’s how a creative project like Peaceful Soulfood – Your Body Is The Temple Of Your Soul could be born. It needed some work on my side as a foundation. It’s a natural progression of developing compassion, going vegan more than three years ago, and simply living it in a way that others may be inspired by my work. Even though this project created a lot of work for me, I enjoy it very much! It makes me very happy whenever I learn something new; whenever I have created a new recipe that people enjoy, and whenever I find interesting facts and figures that support Peaceful Soulfood’s core message. In 2016, Peaceful Soulfood will get an own website. As you can see, the young sister is growing rapidly!
  • My Father’s life and death: It didn’t happen unexpectedly. My Father’s death at age 93 came slowly and then suddenly. As my experience with his death was a bit different compared to what’s considered to be “normal” in our culture, I needed to write about it. An inner voice told me that over and over again. At the point of his funeral, when I was running out of energy (I had, as usual, to organize a lot of things within the family), I decided to write about it: here and here. I wanted to share my experience to open a space for people who feel in a similar way, who have a broader perspective on life and death, and who deal differently with the situation. The most important part was to forgive him (and myself) for the issues we had to deal with each other. As soon as this forgiveness work was done, I could let him go over the rainbow bridge. In love. In peace.
  • Women’s Day: Yes, I’m also focused on women’s rights and their proper representation in our societies. So, I have taken the women’s day on March 8th as a trigger to write about two outstanding, but very different woman. One was Artemisia Gentileschi, an artist who is considered as the linchpin of the Baroque era. The other one is Fiona Oakes, the most compassionate, dedicated and focused woman I ever met. She is a vegan marathon runner, holding three world records, and the head of Tower Hill Stables Animal Sanctuary. And she is a dear friend of mine. She cares for 400 animals. Alone. Fiona is leading by example, focusing completely on what’s the right thing to do, every single day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Outstanding. A very rare combination of high-performance and compassion.

 

P1130157Change always starts with ourselves. In ourselves. In our hearts. Mind-driven changes that are projected from the outside to you (you should do this or that), or created mind-based only (I should do this), not coming from your heart, are most of the time not sustainable and won’t last until end of January.

So, invest your efforts in developing your future vision, nurturing your soul, listening to your inner voice. Educate your heart, open it up, and never close it again. Discover the love in your heart, the source of everything you create. This is how you are born. With love. With creativity. Not with hate. Then, forgive others for what has happened, what has hurt you (this does not mean that you say it was OK, it only means that it doesn’t control you any longer), and don’t forget to forgive yourself (same principle). Whatever has happened, it is the past. You cannot change it anymore. But you can make every effort NOW to make a difference. To change in the future what was wrong in the past. You can make a difference NOW, and with every new moment of your life going forward.

Make decisions based on this newly discovered love in your heart. Simply be this love. Develop compassion and live this compassion in every aspect of your life. This is my approach: We have to educate people regarding ethical principles, values, moral baselines and on developing a higher level of consciousness. Educating people’s hearts (not only their minds) and developing their compassion is not a luxury; it is a necessity to survive.

That’s why I’m writing here.
That’s my role here.
To be a gatekeeper.
That’s why Sand Hearts exists.
Because it’s the right thing to do.
To make a difference. Now.