At a small dairy farm …


A story in pictures. The English text will follow shortly.

Een fotoverhaal over een kleinschalige zuivelboerderij in Zuid-Holland. De foto’s zijn gemaakt tijdens een workshop Storytelling op 18 september 2021, met Bart van Engeldorp Gastelaars als docent (PhotoUnited, Picturing Wildlife).

Wat voor kaas wordt hier precies gemaakt, en wat doen de koeien daarvoor?

Allereerst: zonder kalfjes geen melk.

In september knorren de magen van de koeien al voor zonsopgang. De brokken en het hooi worden zeer gewaardeerd en de camera wordt scherp in de gaten gehouden.

Op deze mistige morgen komt het polderlandschap langzaam in beeld.

Opstellen in rijen van drie voor het melken.

De deugd staat in het midden.

Na het melken volgt de gang naar de wei van vandaag.

Op het land begint een dag vol vers gras.

Dit alles gaat vooraf aan de bereiding van boter, karnemelk en Boeren Leidse met Sleutels …

… die later zijn karakteristieke roodbruine coating krijgt.


Kijk, op weg naar de wei kwam ze nog even langs, met haar lieve ogen en verwonderde uitdrukking.

Being human

Woman & Earth

To me, “being human” means “being a part of the all-encompassing consciousness, a part that incarnated into a human body on the planet Earth”. This implies:

  • We have a physical body, rather than being a physical body and nothing else besides that.
  • We can experience emotions and we have a mind that we can use to analyse things. (The mind is “just an analytical tool in the attic” in Lucia René‘s words, by which she indicates that our mind is just a tool, rather than the part of us that has to direct all of our lives – which it cannot possibly do, because we are so much more than a body, emotions and a mind).
  • We can experience our body as our own physical density AND we can become aware of more refined frequencies of consciousness while living life in a physical body.
  • In essence, we are our own particular part of consciousness (which you might call your “Universal Self” or “soul”), which is incarnated in our physical body and which is interconnected with all other parts of consciousness. We are “embodied consciousness”.
  • This means that all life forms around us – including other human beings, other animals, plants, the Earth, the other planets – all of these may seem to be separate from us, but they are not: this is just an illusion that we have been conditioned to believe in (see the note * below).
    Indigenous cultures from around the globe still reflect in their way of life that humans are not separate from the rest of nature and the Earth.
    Once you become aware of and acccustomed to more and more refined frequencies of consciousness, the illusion of separation falls away and you actually experience that everything comes from the same Source.
  • This also means that death is a transition. The Universal Self leaves its embodiment and returns to this Source – and it may or may not reincarnate into another body for another round of experiences later on.
    Once you understand this, grieving for loved ones who died may still be painful and you may miss them a lot in your day-to-day physical world, but at least you know their souls are still following their own path.

To live is to create your life

That is to say: my Universal Self is carefully attracting my life circumstances, so that it can experience and learn from them. We are co-creating our lives with other souls around us. To the extent we aware of this, we may use the ‘outside world’ as a mirror that reflects back to us what is still in our unconscious and ready to be brought into the light.

Ehm, does that mean that any experience in my life that I judge to be ‘negative’ is my own fault, and that I am ‘guilty’ of attracting it into my life? For instance, does that mean that I am guilty of being made redundant or fired from my job? No. It seems to me that the idea of ‘guilt’ or the idea of ‘being bad’ is very much a part of our patriarchical conditioning (see the note * below).

However, I do feel that I am responsible for how I perceive such experiences, and for my reaction or response to them. Please note: responsibility is NOT the same as guilt.
If I am willing to become aware of what a particular situation is about, I can become aware of the unconscious beliefs and conditioning that shape my response; they are part of my Personal Self or ‘ego’. I can then change my point of view, so that next time around my response will be different. That is what I mean by taking responsibility for your own reactions and learning from them.

You can transform your own perception if you are ruthlessly honest with yourself. Or you can ask someone to help you gain insight into your blind spots and help you heal. I definitely needed some people along the way, to point things out to me and help me remember other ways of living my life.

After more and more healing, emotional processing and/or resolving cultural conditioning, this particular kind of experience will not have to appear into my life anymore (see for instance the ‘processing instructions’ on Lucia René’s website, and the book by Leslie Temple-Thurston mentioned in the post ‘Inspirations‘).

* – Note
Especially in the Western world:

(1) we have been conditioned to believe the ‘scientific’ worldview that we are nothing more than our bodies, separated from everything else, and that our mind/ our ratio is all-important to running our lives (“Don’t listen to your gut, your intuition or your heart, just think things through and make the rational decision!”).
(2) or for those of us in the West who were raised within a religious framework, we have roughly been conditioned to believe that we have a body and a soul and we have but this one life to live, and so we must behave as the church-fathers tell us to, to have a pleasant eternal afterlife in heaven.

This patriarchical conditioning was and is intended to cut humans off from experiencing the awareness of our Universal Self (our own consciousness or ‘soul’) and the interconnectedness of all consciousness. It is intended to spread fear and division among humans and to teach us to subject ourselves to an authority outside of themselves (government, church, educational institutions, medical industry et cetera), so that we can be controlled into obedience.

Elements of this conditioning that you may recognise are: “human beings are superior to all other life forms, including the Earth herself”; “women should be subjected to men”; “some groups of people are superior to other groups of people” (think of e.g. skin colour, abilities/disabilities, social circumstances); “you are guilty of XYZ and therefore you do not deserve to …”; “there is not enough of this (money, natural resources etc), so you have to feel guilty for enjoying it while others do not”; “life is about killing or being killed”; “humans are a warring species”; “nature has to be controlled” et cetera.

The good news is, you can free yourself from all these limiting beliefs – that is, if you want to take responsibility for your own life and learn how to clear your perception from those limitations.


Woman & Earth

Monique van der Velde – holistic coach, teacher, healer. I am very grateful for Monique’s guidance and healings in the past few years and in the present. Without them, I would not be where I am today in my awareness of how my ego tries to protect me by creating lots of distractions, and in my awareness of Mother Earth.

Lucia René – mystic. Her work in liberating the Earth from the energetic chains of the rather painful patriarchical period we are leaving behind now is described in her book Unplugging the Patriarchy (2009). I highly recommend reading it. It’s both a great story and a course in mysticism.
On her website you can find great work study courses (paid) and a lot of other audio files that are accessible by donation, as well as interviews with women whom she cooperated with or who inspired her.

Elizabeth Wood – seeer, anthropologist, mystic. Elizabeth was and is a student of Lucia René.
Check out her website for accessible webinars on – among others – cultural conditioning, DNA, Empaths & Entities.

Leslie Temple-Thurston – in her book The Marriage of Spirit. Enlightened Living in Today’s World (2003), she explains in clear terms how we can become aware of our unconscious patterns, so that they need no longer control our life.
Click here for an extensive interview with Leslie Temple-Thurston.

TreeSisters & Clare DuboisTreeSisters was founded by Clare Dubois, and started in 2011. She did not know how she would be able to achieve what she set out to do, but at some point she took the first step, and then the next, and the next. She committed to inviting women from all over the world to support each other and rediscover our power (letting go of our patriarchal conditioning that one is better than the other, that women are inferior to men), to rediscover our intimate relationship with nature and our planet and with our own nature, and to support Mother Earth in healing herself by planting a huge amount of trees to reforest the tropics.
I am moved by her speeches and the powerful work that unfolded since she took that first step.

Birds of prey – workshop

Wing of a Siberian uhu

We human beings are on a journey evolving (back) into unconditional love, or unconditional acceptance. Animals (other than human beings) help us on our journey – if we are willing to be aware of this, and are willing to be taught by them.* They are far more intelligent and conscious than we have been led to believe, and this includes our pets and livestock. Even some ‘wild’ animals agree (at some level of consciousness) to be tamed and be dependent on humans.

The day before yesterday I did a workshop photographing birds of prey. I felt a little ambivalent about meeting these birds, because these were not animals in the wild – yet if they had been, I would not have been able to observe them up-close.

To me, birds of prey represent a fierce concentration, and a keen sense of timing. They observe, wait for the right moment, and then strike with a swift kill.

Barn owl

I’m grateful to the people at Fotovillage and Valkenvlucht for organising a workshop with these magnificent birds. It was quite funny to see all these men – and two women including myself – prostrating in the grass or on their knees in front of the birds, admiring them and aiming for the best shot. Not with bullets, spears or nets, fortunately, but with our cameras.

It was great to see these beautiful animals fly. Taking pictures, I concentrated on enjoying their beauty up-close when they were sitting on their perch. I used my Canon 700D camera & Sigma 105mm F2:8 OS DG Macro HSM lens. Follow the links in the list below to a few portraits, and/or scroll down for some other impressions.

Thank you, magnificent birds of prey.

Barn owl
Bald eagle
Harris’s hawk

*) Do animals really teach us anything? For instance, check out this video. It is an extract from a longer documentary that you can buy here, and that covers work by Anna Breitenbach (click here for her website

Barn owl

Chestnut buds


Chestnut buds opening up fill me with wonder. The leaves enclose the flower buds like little hands, unfolding one by one. How cherished these flower buds must feel.

Finally, just before the flowers open, the tree show off its leaves like lovely drapes of fresh green cloth.

Arboretum Poort-Bulten, De Lutte (NL) – April 7, 2020.
The last picture was made on April 21, 2021.

Pretty in Pink


April 2020. These cherry blossoms were photographed during a lovely walk in Arboretum Poort-Bulten (De Lutte, NL) with my niece. They remind me of the movie ‘Pretty in Pink’.

The full blossoms are light pink, but the flower buds that come first have a much darker tone of pink. Below a picture of the same tree in April 2021, this time with green grass in the background. In this cluster of flower and leave buds, the leaves are just about to show themselves and point towards us.