From Princess to Priceless – By Liza Disselhorst
What is happening in the world? In the news I read about possible nuclear bombs, famous film directors being accused of rape, but also around me people get sexually harassed, burned out or have suicide attempts out of a deep discontentment with life. And yes there are also positive things happening, where I feel much trust in, but I want to stop hiding from the bad news and start slowing down on how I contribute to this.
Which brings me to my princess self. From a young age onwards I’ve wanted to be a princess. Not necessarily one who is being spoiled, is rich, famous and in the spotlights, but more one like Cinderella; one who is a hidden gem, missed by the many but seen by the few and actually very pretty, intelligent, envied, and admired by just the right man. I played with dolls, but not the standard pretty one (I had a bold baby born). I wore hip clothes, but not the tight ones. And I was good in school, but did not boast about any of that.
Still though, I was striving for my own kind of perfection. Going after images of how I wanted to look, how high my grades in school should be, and how I wanted to be perceived by other people. Which was never good enough. When I had a slim waist, I wanted slimmer legs. When I had excellent marks for my bachelors degree in University, I was disappointed by good marks for my master degree. And so on. Right now I question whether that is not the same downfall as Donald Trump has, the same need for more power, more money, more more more.
And is this not also the problem of Woody Allen? Having a beautiful wife, lots of money, excellent movies, but wanting more, more beauty, more attention, more love, or whatever it is. Finding ways to get to things that are difficult to get, which I can relate to in a whole different way. Telling myself I had to work out for example, pushing myself to go out and run, inwardly beating myself up if I did not go or not enough. And when I finally did that run of 10km, instead of being proud I felt that should be the new standard, and still there were many others who could run more than that…
Is it possible to learn to be contented? Or more important; do we want to learn to be contented? I didnt for a long time, as I lived in the beautiful city of Amsterdam, where there was always more; more beautiful people, more hip coffee bars, more amazing festivals, and more more more to discover and live up to! I lived in it for ten years, ten beautiful years of my life, but after that I was done with it. Tired of running and competing, with myself most of all.
Right now I live an opposite lifestyle. From a beautiful apartment in East Amsterdam with lots of light and pretty shops in the same street, to a ‘Tai Chi farm’ with hills, muddy roads and compost toilets. Anyone wants to join? I let go of a good salary as a psychologist, to start washing up for minimum wage in a country I did not know. Why? That is what is so difficult to explain.
But what I have started believing in, and deep down have always believed in, is unconditional loving acceptance. And yes, that is not a new term and easily applied by many therapists. But I question whether that is true unconditional loving acceptance. I used to work as a Child psychologist, ‘helping’ parents and teachers to find out what is ‘wrong’ with their child. Checking them against lists to decide whether they had AD(H)D, attachment problems or maybe low intelligence, or something else. With the best intentions, but based on a belief that something is wrong with the child. In my heart and gut this has never felt right.
Currently I am again seeing children with problems in school, now as a ‘tutor’. One of them is a 15-year old boy, who is amazingly talented on the piano, but also immensely insecure. Beating himself up for not playing good enough on the piano, or having eaten too much candy. At the same time he has this urge to eat lots of candy, this immense inner push and pull, negative and positive. One moment I am running after him because he escapes to buy a coke in the local shop or escapes into the woods, the next moment he grabs my hand as he is in pain, when his mother cleans a little wound on his knee with alcohol.
Opposites, push and pull, control and helplessness, love and hate, all rapidly interchanging in this young boy. As in so many people in the world. And I am just doing my best to see every aspect of him as an aspect of myself, that needs unconditional loving acceptance and forgiveness. And I am loving it 🙂 Never have I felt so close to someone I work with, so close to myself, so involved with my whole being, while at the same time feeling more and more centred and stable. Where before people used to tell me ‘don’t get too caught up in your work’, now I am my work, whatever it is that I’m doing. Learning and teaching go together, effortlessly.
I have found a way of living, of learning, that I believe in. There is no room for blaming in this lifestyle, everything is turned back to look at life as a mirror. So there is an inner Donald Trump, an inner Woody Allen, even an inner compost toilet! ‘A better world starts with yourself’, is a popular Dutch saying, as well as ‘you are never too old to learn’. But are we really willing to take responsibility for our own feelings? Is it possible to stop spreading negatives, even if it is thoughts, and start adding peace, forgiveness and (self)appreciation?
I like to believe it is, and am proud to be part of a group of people that I see is doing their best every day to change the world from within. If you are someone who wants to unlearn, learn and transform the inner princess to become an inner warrior princess, there are plenty of possibilities of following workshops in what I study, Rainbow Tai Chi. Have a look at my facebook page, or feel free to contact me for more info (firstname.lastname@example.org)!
Lots of love, Liza