Namasté spiritual friend,
As a child I fell in love with the chaplain. He was talking about realms which not corresponded with the material world I lived in, but the stories he told and the way he told them quietly felt so beautiful and so lovingly. I sat in the front to listen to him and I did my best to answer all the questions he asked during the religious teachings at primary school.
My life went on and the chaplain disappeared out of my life. When I grew up I was a bit dissappointed about life.
I never had an idea of what kind of profession I would like to follow when I would be a grown up person. The only thing I knew was that I wanted to get wise, although I didn’t know – and still don’t know – what I meant by that. In our family we talked about me, as the ‘Professor of Not Knowing Anything’.
I bumped into a lot of experiences and professions. I studied chemistry and theatre sciences. A lot of people inspired me on my way! So many people, living beings, and nature I met in life, gave – and still give – me sparks of wisdom.
Just before my father died in 2004, he gave me one advice: “Find the truth by Beauty”. During his life he mentioned once in a while the poet ‘Ithaka’ from Konstantinos Kavafis (1863-1933). A poet about living a life with no regret. My father and I shared the love for language and poetry.
My mother was a very spiritual gifted woman. She learned me a lot about the beauty of flowers, herbs, love and life. She gave me a glance of how to live a spiritual life.
In 1992 I was looking for a person who could help me to get some answers to vital questions and the person I found, Bernadette Hupperts, was inspired by Buddhism. She combined psychotherapy with Kum Nye and she had a Thangka hanging from the medicine Buddha. That was my first acquaintance with a religion other than Christianity. She introduced me to her Sangha, where we experienced the body and mind by Kum Nye.
In 2006 I found my future spouse Eric and he was also curious and engaged in living a spiritual life. He inspired me to join a Shamatha retreat on Holy Isle by Alan Wallace (formerly a student of the Dalai Lama). I loved the stories, the environment and for the first time I got some blinks of having a clear mind. This retreat inspired us to meditate together at home on a daily base, once a week with a group at the Amsterdam Nyingma Institute and in 2012 we started to follow a drawing course for Thangka’s as a preliminaries for another Shamatha retreat of eight weeks.
Soon after this last retreat I got overstrung, while working in a job that did not meet my deepest soul need. After some though months I decided to resign. It took me about a year to find new ways to really feel the joy coming back into my life. Then my journey began to discover how blessed I am with my highly sensitive, outgoing gifted nature, rather than seeing it as a burden.
In 2021 I bought the book ‘Wise Child’ from Monica Furlong, which I remembered that it touched me as a teenager. Reading it again, I see that I live my life as a ‘Doran’ (the woman who raised Wise Child :)).
Flying on the wings of wisdom and compassion, in the benefit for all sentient beings.
That is how I would like to see this life to unfold.
Warm regards, all blessings to you,
Annette van der Swaluw
The Netherlands, 2023
Atelier Annette van der Swaluw
Gravenborch 56, Houten (near Utrecht, NL)
+31 (0) 6 248 06 487