Category Archives: Learningexperience

Selfmarriage – Big fat wedding or private ceremony?

A self-marriage is a very private inward process, so having a private ceremony makes sense. At the same time it feels like something I would like to share and celebrate with my family, friends and others as my witness. Sometimes I introduce myself as an introvert with exhibitionist tendencies 😉 so, I decided to do both, something private and something public.

On sunday March 12th, I woke up early and it was one of those early sunny springdays in the Netherlands, that make your heart jump with joy. It felt like the right day for my private ceremony. Also it was a full moon day that added that little extra special to it.

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I took a long shower and put on a little white dress that I had bought last minute on Ibiza the day before. I wore something old (my underware ;-)), something new (my dress and necklace), something borrowed (my earrings and the white flower in my hear – thank you Luna) and something blue (I polished 1 nail blue). I played music and danced, feeling very happy. Then around 11 o’clock I went outside to find a nice spot in the sun, under an old plumtree with my ring in my hand. I got married to myself at 11.11h saying YES to Life, Love and Myself, while putting on my ring. Then I opened up the champagne and celebrated dancing just by myself. It was beautiful.

Three months ago, when this idea came up, I saw an invitation from Parktheatre Eindhoven for speakers during the Dutch Happiness Week (13-17 March 2017). I applied in december with my selfmarriage idea, saying that I wasn’t sure how this experiment was going to end, but that I would like to share my journey and insights. They agreed and said I was welcome. So I invited my family and friends to come to this event, that was also open for others to attend. The local newspaper got hold of my story and published an article about it.

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Thursday March 16th Parktheatre. Because of the Dutch Happiness Week my selfmarriage event was open to the public, so besides my invited family and friends there were about 30% guests that I didn’t know, around 50 people in total.

I shared my three month journey towards my self-marriage and my insights along the way. My weddingvows are a summary of my insights that I fitted into the acronym LIEFDE (which is the dutch word for LOVE). My promise is;

Listen to my body, because my body knows

Invest quality time in myself and my relationships

Emotions (all of them!) are welcome

Focus on the positive (unless something negative calls for serious attention) and Focus on the Now

Dare to be different, to be myself and to show myself

Energy is everything! (I take responsability for my own energy and uplift energy of others where I can)

My (almost 8 year old) daughter Luna wanted to ask me some questions in front of the audience, that she prepared herself without me knowing what they were. She asked me How I felt after I married myself, Why I married myself and How I did it. Great questions!

Finally I asked the audience to think of one thing that if they were to marry themselves, what promise they would want to make to themselves and to write this down on a card to take home.

Then we popped some bottles of champagne and toasted on life, love and ourselves. It felt really heartwarming to receive so many smiles, congratulations and feedback that my story had touched their hearts and made them think about their own lives.


In the evening I took my family and boyfriend out for dinner. My parents gave me a special weddingpresent, a golden necklace from my mother. What a wonderful gesture of love ❤.

I couldn’t think of a better, more perfect way to finish this three month sabbatical playful learning journey. Monday back to work, feeling whole and happy.

Lots of Love

Annemarie

Selfmarriage – Taking a honeymoon before the wedding

The next step in my selfmarriage adventure is writing my weddingvows. In the Netherlands it’s still cold and wet at this time of the year, so when I received an email with cheap flights to Ibiza I didn’t have to think long. I asked a friend who knows Ibiza well, where to go to and she adviced me a little quiet place in the north, Portinatx and a rental car to go around the island. All restaurants but one are closed because the season hasn’t started yet. So I have coffee and lunch in the same place every day, that is filled with workers who are preparing homes, restaurants and constructions to be ready when the tourists come. I have my table outside on the terras overlooking the bay.

The weather is just perfect. Sunny and around 20 degrees celcius. I take a walk in the mornings, have coffee, sit on the beach, have lunch and take the car in the afternoon/evening to discover other places. All beaches have this picture perfect deep blue colour and I truly feel I’m on a honeymoon.

On the first day I walked to a lighthouse and got some inspiration while I was resting there.

“I do my job, shining my light consistently and quietly, to be seen only for others who are near and looking for guidance to navigate their ship through life. I don’t make too much noise. But still, I’m a beakon of light and hope for those who need it. For others I’m a nice looking tall standing figure. A bit unapproachable at first sight. But it’s nice to sit beside me, to rest and perhaps take a picture while listening to the sounds of the wind and the ocean far below.”

The second day while I was driving my rental fiat500 I visited a place called Sant Miguel, known for a little white church. Next to the church there was a little atelier/ jeweleryshop. Since I’m still looking for a ring, I walked in and met with the designer Natasha Collis. One ring immediately shouted my name and when I tried it on, it looked just like it belonged there. I tried other rings before, also in the Netherlands, but this one felt like the one. So Yey! I found my ring…or did it find me?

Things fall into place like a puzzle and I love it.

Lots of love

Annemarie

Selfmarriage – awakening to wholeness

Do you know these wheels on playgrounds? For me they represent how I experienced life. The wheel is life and I can give it a swing and hop on, enjoying the flow of lif157753_g1_13_t0147e. And I have a choice to hop off to watch others having fun taking a spin. Sometimes life goes too fast and you either fall off or you can’t get on. Or it is so full of other people (having fun, or making noise) that you have to wait for your turn. So in essence, I always experienced life as something outside of myself. Of something that I was IN or OUT. And being out, as the observer, I could feel very lonely, even with having great friends and family around me. Existential loneliness.

On a mental level I understood this vision on life was false. But I couldn’t get to the core feeling of it. Knowing (mentally) and Knowing (gut feeling) are two different things.

Then I went (ofcourse) on a walk. Four days after I finished my walk from my hometown to my birthplace. During this trip I truly had fallen in love with life itself. Now it was February 14th, Valentine’s Day. Maybe it was because this highly commercialized day of love at least makes people focus on love a little more deliberate than usual. Maybe it was my imagination, but I felt a huge vibration of love in the air. I believe that when enough people focus on positive feeling energy, that the energy on a global level will rise.

And then it finally hit me. I felt this huge love for life and an insight came to me: I AM LIFE, so YES ofcourse I love myself. But also I AM the wheel, and I AM the observer, and I  AM the trees, and I AM the air, and I AM Donald Trump (Whahahahahaha).

Then I finally popped the question: Do I really want to marry ME? And the answer came very casual: “Ofcourse, why not, let’s celebrate!” So since Valentine’s Day I’m officially engaged to myself…to life…and that feels great!

Lots of Love,

Annemarie

Selfmarriage – Walking in love

img_3721I like going for a morningwalk on a regular basis (usually around 45min), so it seemed like a nice idea to walk from the house I currently live in, in Veldhoven, to the house that I was born in (where my parents still live) in Soest, Netherlands. So I put on my walking shoes, packed a little bagpack and just started walking on a Mondaymorning. I thought it would be possible to walk the distance of 125km in 5 days. This meant that I was walking 5/6 hours a day. The temperature was around zero. I navigated with google maps and sometimes a compass when I wanted to take a nice route through fields or a forest without roads. It’s funny how food becomes important when you are walking. So I navigated myself to stops for a coffee- or hot chocolate break in the morning, a nice lunch in the afternoon, a late afternoon tea or beer and a place to eat and sleep for the night. I used friends, Airbnb, booking.com and bedandbreakfast.eu for my sleeps.

img_3788I expected the trip to be about going back to my roots. It turned out differently in  a very nice way. I totally loved the experience of walking by myself for such a long time. It was about being present in the moment with all my senses being tickled; seeing, hearing, smelling, feeling, touching. I totally fell in love with LIFE!

It also felt great that I could shamelessly burb, fart, talk to myself, sing and sometimes make funny dancemoves to motivate myself when I got tired or bored. A good friend recently told me that if his daughter (who’s now 6 years old) ever wants his parental advice on her boyfriend, he has two questions for her. 1. Does he make you feel good about yourself? And 2. Does he make you laugh? I learned during this trip that I can make myself feel good about myself and that I can actually make img_3785myself laugh. I’m surprisingly funny when I get bored 😉 And because I was feeling good, I met nice people, had nice conversations and ended up in very nice places. (you receive what you radiate).

On Day 3 I started having pain in my left knee. My knee was obviously less happy than I was. At the end of day 4, it really hurt badly. I ended up in a nice cosy gardenhouse, with an old dutch ‘bedstee’ and a fireplace. I asked myself the question: “What would a person who really loves herself do?” (a question I often asked myself during this selfmarriage journey, inspired by spiritual teacher Teal Swan) and I answered myself that it was totally ok to quit the next morning if my knee wasn’t feeling better. This trip wasn’t about reaching the endgoal, it was about falling in love with LIFE. And I already did accomplish that. I called my mother who planned to walk the last day with me. We decided that my parents would come the next morning and that I would decide then to walk or to ride home with them.

img_3806The next morning, after a cosy nights rest in the ‘bedstee’ with a warm water bottle (‘kruik’) my knee felt much better. My mother had brought an elastic kneeband and a walking stick. My father took my backpack home. We decided to call him if it didn’t work out and off we went. My mother is 70 years old, but very active and sporty (rows 3 times a week). She has a new hip that works perfectly. And ofcourse we started catching up while we were walking. It was funny to notice the big difference in experience of walking by myself or with someone else. After 1,5 hours I suggested to stop talking and enjoy and appreciate the nature around us.

img_3815After 5 hours of walking (with a big lunchbreak) we arrived at my parental house in Soest, where I was born 45 years ago. I made it! Feeling happy and proud.

My main insights of this trip;

Love LIFE, talk less, stretch yourself but not too much (also take care), the Netherlands are beautiful, connect to nature, spend time alone, allow yourself to get bored, do things that make you feel good, happy people connect easily to others, appreciate little things.

Lots of Love,

Annemarie

 

Selfmarriage – dance with my shadowside

A funny thing happened on my morning walk a few weeks ago. It was a cold and sunny winterday in the Netherlands. At one moment the img_3664sun was behind me and I was walking along my own shadow for at least 1o minutes, the stream of water seeming to separate us into two. I waved at myself. Even tried some shadowy dancemoves and taking shadow selfies :-).

An #insight came to me. If I want to marry myself, I need to invite and welcome my shadowside as well. What I see as my shadowside are the thoughts, feelings and behaviors that I have put away into my subconscious, pretending not to be there. At some point in my (early) life, I have decided these thoughts, feelings and behaviors were not ok, and thus I was not ok unless I burried them deep. It is probably why so many people feel they’re not good enough. How can you believe you’re worthy and good enough if you hide parts of yourself out of fear, shame or guilt…

Shadowwork is about inviting your shadows to come out of the dark into your awareness and welcome them with your presence. Not an easy thing to do, because it can feel overwhelming and very vulnerable. I totally get my ego now, trying to ‘safe’ me by pulling me away from these strong emotions.  A thought that helps me is; nothing will come up unless I’m ready and able to deal with it. Although at times it felt like I almost died, I’m still here, alive and kicking. Maybe aspects of me actually did die. The ones that serve me no longer. What remains is a feeling of trust that I can be there for myself, even if things feel very painful. I know now that these strong ‘negative’ feelings will not kill me but flow through me like waves and make place for positive feelings once I allow and accept them fully.

I am a believer in the Law of Attraction (that which you focus your attention on grows), so I’ve always tried to keep a positive focus. That works very well, unless you’re using this positive focus to avoid something negative, because then it will only (subconsciously) fuel the negativity that you resist. And that will eventually show up in all kinds of ‘unwanted’ life circomstances. Untill you finally get it.

It was funny to realize that deeply connecting to myself resulted in deep existential feelings of loneliness. At least I understand now why I have a fear and a longing for connecting at the same time.

I also understand now, that; If we place the light outside of ourselves, in others, in circomstances to make us happy, to make us feel whole..our shadowside will silently walk with us. The moment this other person or the circumstance doesn’t give us what we want from them, our shadow starts to scream with pain, disguised in all kinds of weird behavior (anger, withdrawal, victimhood, selfhate).

The good news is; when we decide to turn inward and look at our own shadow(s) and accept them, that we put our own light on them and they will dissolve.

I’m a work in progress and that’s ok. Learning to dance with my shadows.img_3663

playfully yours,

Annemarie

 

Selfmarriage: letting go of exes

11096_868755353172332_8616407902183525552_nToday Facebook came with this memory of two years ago. The post got 78 likes and 15 positive comments. This is probably the most SAD picture of my life!  Seriously! It was taken on Blue Monday, on a ski-holiday with a group of friends, including my (now Ex-) boyfriend and father of our daughter. Behind my broad and seemingly happy smile, there is huge Confusion, Panic and Sadness. It was taken a few days after M told me he was unhappy in our relationship and had thoughts about ending it. What amazes me most is that I’m able to put on this happy (together) face, while at nights I totally panicked and cried my eyes out. Nobody noticed. Two months later, we broke up.

What makes me SAD now is not so much the brake-up itself. Like anything in life, there is always positive in negative. But the way how I neglected my own feelings and needs in that moment. Hiding like a shot animal in my cave, while my outer me played happy surface. That feels like a break up with myself, a self-betrayal. Definately not a loving thing. I totally onderstand now why I have difficulty in saying a wholehearted YES to myself. Deep down I don’t trust myself  for not leaving me again.

I have become and am still learning to be more open and welcoming to my emotions, either good or bad. This is slowly building trust in my heart that I will be there for me in the future. And being honest about them with others is still very scary. Taking one babystep at a time.

I’m very grateful for having a good relationship with my Ex. Last week he even brought me flowers (for buying his half of the house) and selfmade chocolates. He’s a great father to our daughter and co-parenting has brought me more freedom and personal growth. Sounds almost like the ideal Ex…;-)

Lots of Love,

Annemarie

 

 

Selfmarriage – Who’s marrying whom?

In my last post about the proposal, I stumbled upon the question: Who’s marrying whom in a selfmarriage? In my case there are several options;

zelfliefde-spiegelIs Hanneke getting married to Annemarie?

At birth, my parents gave me two names, Hanneke and Annemarie, with the intention of using the first Hanneke as my callingname. However, my mother thought a few days after I was born, that Annemarie suited me better and started naming me Annemarie. My father, not very good at adaptability, stayed with naming me Hanneke. And so I grew up having two callingnames. Annemarie for my mothers side of the family and at school and sports that she subscribed me to. Hanneke for my fathers side of the family and at tennis, which was my fathers favorite sports. Whenever we had visitors to our house, I introduced myself either as Hanneke, if they were acquintances from my father, or as Annemarie, if I sensed a link to my mother. If it was unclear to me who these new people were and how they were connected to my parents, I said “my name is Hanneke Annemarie, you may choose.” Since more people knew me by the name of Annemarie, I would pick up the phone with “Annemarie” and sometimes it happened that I was asked if “Hanneke” was there? I waited a few seconds and responded with “Hello, it’s Hanneke”. So marrying myself and integrating these two personalities might be a good choice. Maybe even with a new name.

Is my Adult Self marrying my Inner Child?

I’m 45 years old, a mother of a 7 year old daughter, owner of a house, a car, a camper and many memories, having created great work as a selfemployed speaker and trainer and being financially independent, so you could say I’m a grown-up woman. Like anyone else, I carry a little inner child in me. This little one communicates with emotion, but has learned that these emotions were not always appreciated, validated or understood in early childhood. So my little one is very shy and doesn’t feel safe to express emotions openly. What I have learned is that by suppressing what we call negative emotions, like anger, sadness, lonelyness, etc. you also suppress the good ones like love, joy and connectedness.

When I reconnected with my inner child about 14 years ago, I rediscovered my playful side and the power of play in this process. What I didn’t realize back then is that I only invited the fun and playful little one, but didn’t know how to deal with the sad one. Since I’m a mother myself, I got better at that. I’m taking time and space to feel more and to welcome all emotions, however painful. I learned that they come and go like waves when you sit with them. But when you turn your back and try to ignore, suppress or to belittle them, they eventually come back as a tsunami. So me and my little me are definately an important duo for the rest of my life. Marrying a child however doesn’t feel ok. A child doesn’t need a spouse, but a safe and loving space to grow.

feminin-masculinIs my Feminin side marrying my Masculin side?

Somehow I always felt a bit more in touch with my masculin side than my feminin side. Choosing jeans over dresses and monkeys over dolls and sports over make-up. I’m a very practical, goal and solutionfocussed person. I feel more comfortable talking with men (as long as they don’t show any sexual interest) than with women. Also here, a lot has changed for me since becoming a mother. I’ve become more relaxed and allowing for things to emerge, rather than pushing and working hard to achieve my goals. I think all humans have both sides in them and it’s good to develop and know both. Marrying (integrating) these two sides into a loving relationship of growth could be interesting. It makes me curious about the (brain-)childs it will bring forward…

Is my Ego-self marrying my Higher-self?

My ego-self doesn’t believe in unconditional love. It is calculating where I am on the emotional bankaccount with others and makes sure I keep the balance ok. My ego-self likes to be liked by others, so it checks my facebookposts for likes on a regular basis. Also my ego-self is very good at adapting my behaviour to any kind of environment, like a chameleon, to fit in easily. My ego-self doesn’t like pain, conflict and vulnerability, so it tries to distract me by looking for short shots of feelgood emotions. My ego-self is a high achiever and not easy to satisfy. There is no good enough, because there is always room for improvement. My ego-self doesn’t like the idea of self-marriage because it fears I make a total fool out of myself. On the other side, my ego-self loves it when my actions bring me positive attention and the idea of having some sort of impact on the lives of others. My higher-self doesn’t really care about what I do and what others might think of it. It is patient and loving and without judgement. I do believe my higher-self has some sort of intention of what it would like to experience (in this life). When I’m taking actions in allignment with this intention they feel good and exciting and often weird coincidental opportunities (synchronicities) knock on my door. People often describe this as being in flow. I don’t think the ego-self would like to get married to the higher-self, because the moment I’ll start listening to my higher-self in an equal way, I feel the ego-self will eventually dissolve and ofcourse it doesn’t like that.

Is my positive self marrying my negative self?

It is easy to accept my positive sides and when I think of those I truly can say that I like myself and even sometimes that I’m proud of myself. The other negative side however is more difficult to accept. My whole life I tried to hide this other side. I told myself I have nothing to be ashamed of, nothing to regret, nothing to hate, and I fooled myself into believing this to be true. Self-marriage would be about getting to know and accepting all my sides, good and bad, and still feeling that I deserve a happy and good life. Saying YES to my whole being.

self-illusionWhat if there is no Self?

When I was sixteen I loved to lie on the deck of my parents’ sailingboat with my head over the edge, looking at the splashing water. I saw the little drops of water being released from the ocean, flying through the air and falling back into the ocean. I thought, we are exactly like that, little drops of ocean, flying through the air during our lives, before returning to the same big ocean where we came from. This means that our idea of a separate Self is an illusion. We are separate, yet at the same time we are still the ocean. So if there is no Self…it’s not possible to marry My Self. I believe this quest has something to do with wanting to see, feel and be the whole. So selfmarriage in this context is saying “I DO” to everything and everyone…

Lots of Love,

Annemarie