When you relax into life, it may feel as if life is challenging you even more. Are you really able to keep going? Are you strong enough to let go?

I know I got a lot of car trouble since the first time it broke (5km away from an important meeting 200km away from home) and I took it with a smile (‘Wow, I’m being towed! How cool is that?’). It almost set itself on fire a few times (of which one time I was wearing a very tight a short dress to challenge myself if I dared to go dancing like that – the guy who came for help never stopped talking. I never made it to dance but I did get myself out of my comfort zone. And the next week I went dancing in that dress 🙂 )

When I’m calm and relaxed, my kids go wild. Can I stay calm? (most of the times I’m not able to stay as zen as I wish to)

I love to follow the flow that’s in me, without holding myself back, without planning my behaviour and actions in advance, while respecting myself and others.

This weekend I was at an amazing festival for young, conscious people (by http://www.playdanceparty.nl). I allowed myself to take the freedom to connect with people just as I felt would serve the situation. No holding back. The first day I found myself having issues with myself. I was a bit tensed. there were so many stories in my mind about how people might see me, how I wanted them to see me, whether I was at the right place at the right moment, whether I was being too much or not enough. In the afternoon Sebastiaan and I gave a lecture about non-monogamous relationship, about 40 people came to listen. It was wonderful to create an open-minded space to share and to ask questions. But only in the evening, when we gave a cuddle-workshop, I could relax into the flow of things. The workshop took place in a tent where we could also sleep. I fell asleep intertwined with two persons, Sebas lying closeby connecting with two others. I didn’t sleep much as I was enjoying the presence of people and was listening to the red deer bellowing their ritual mating sounds.

The next day I could really relax into things and deeply enjoy what was happening. The morning gathering in the forest with dance, shaking and a lot of laughter. A massage workshop that extended in a very long cuddle session with a lovely guy. I just love it when I feel in advance there is ‘something to explore’. I have no clue what and how and why, but in those moments I can surrender to that feeling of curiosity. And it was lovely – well worth nearly missing lunch for.

On the first day I took part in an icy workshop. The aim was to learn to control your autonomic nervous system, boost resilience and the immune system, and to have control over your reactions (both physical and mental). To me it was a beautiful representation of acceptance in life. As we started with bearting exercises, I felt extremely calm and grounded. My breath slowed down, I felt complete acceptance in my body. The second part of the workshop was stepping into a tub filled with water and ice and sit there. It’s possible to do this without getting too cold (here’s more: http://youtu.be/L9Cgaa8U4eY).

I have trouble getting into a warm swimming pool, but I felt that I wanted to try this. I knew I got through extreme situations by focussing on my breath (like childbirth without pain killers), so I must be able to do this without too much trouble I thought. I took of my clothes, waited until the moment that I felt it was my turn, stepped in, and my body started to hyperventilate heavily. The only thought was to get out as quickly as possible.

But I decided to stay there, to try to relax into this. Alan, instructor of the workshop, was there to coach.“Breathe out, completely breathe out. Breathing in activates the ‘fight or flight-response’, that’s what causes people to go into shock. Breathe out, you are in control over your body.”

I sat down until I could feel my body relax in the icy water.

As I got out my body was red and started to tremble. It felt great. To me this was such a physical depiction of the lessons life brings:

– be determined
– go for it
– relax, even when it gets tough.