Obiter Dictum

Notes on the adventure of life.

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Op slot.

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In een stal achter een hekken met een groot zwart slot erop. Daar zit de kat nu al bijna vier maanden terwijl zijn baasje in het ziekenhuis ligt. 

Het slot kwam er op 6 december. Toen vonden Mevrouw De Verre Familie en Mevrouw De Buurvrouw dat het welletjes was geweest dat ik elke dag langs ging om Rocco wat snoepjes en een knuffel te geven. Ik had het zijn baasje nochtans beloofd, lang voor zijn 86ste verjaardag, op een zomerse dag nadat hij zich had ingeschreven in het rusthuis en met tranen in de ogen aan onze voordeur stond om het te vertellen en vroeg “Maar wat gaat er met Rocco gebeuren?” en ik antwoorde “Ik ga voor hem zorgen, beloofd. Hij mag bij ons komen wonen als je naar het rusthuis gaat.”

Maar het leven loopt niet altijd zoals gehoopt en het rusthuis werd een onverwachte spoedopname in het ziekenhuis. Een week werden er twee, oktober werd november en uiteindelijk 6 december. Het oude mannetje en de roste kater die achter hem aanwaggelde waren uit het straatbeeld verdwenen. Rocco bleef alleen achter.

Mevrouw De Buurvrouw zorgt voor Rocco. Elke dag gaat ze een keer langs, geeft hem korreltjes en ververst af en toe zijn kommetje water. “ ’T es n kat en ie heeft al dat ie nuedig heeft,” vertelde ze me in november toen ik zei hoe jammer ik het vond dat hij daar al weken alleen zat. 

Rocco zat de afgelopen weken vaak aan het hekken, hoor ik ook van andere buren die er passeerden op dagelijkse corona-wandeling. Hij slaapt in de zolder van de stal, in een mandarijnenkistje met een krant erin. Ik bouwde het om tot een warm nestje met oude wollen dekens en afgedankte fleecekes, vond een stuk isomo en schoof het eronder om de nachtkou tegen te houden. Elke dag ging ik langs, babbelde ik ermee, legde ik zijn dekentjes terug goed en nam hem op mijn schoot voor een knuffel. Af en toe stonden er aan het hekken nog schaaltjes met restjes. Ik was blijkbaar niet de enige die Rocco wat wou verwennen.

Voor Sinterklaas kreeg Rocco een groot, zwart slot op het hekken. Mijn plastieken schaaltje stond netjes ervoor op het voetpad. De boodschap van Mevrouw De Buurvrouw was duidelijk: Jij hebt hier niets te zoeken. Rocco is jouw zaak niet. 

Aan de andere kant van het hekken schuurde Rocco miauwend om aandacht. Ik duwde er wat snoepjes onder door en stak twee vingers door de draad om zijn kopje te wrijven. Mijn keel trok dicht. Wie ging Rocco nu knuffelen? Ik kneep mijn leeg snoepjeszakje dicht, verbeet mijn tranen en draaide om, terug naar huis. 

Uren later voor de kachel dacht ik steeds aan Rocco, vroeger 24/7 bij zijn baasje, nu 24/7 alleen in de stal en ik vroeg me af: wat is er nu eigenlijk gewonnen met dat slot voor een eenzame kat op een verloederd boerenhof? 

Ondertussen is het midden januari. De eerste sneeuw is gevallen. ‘S nachts vriest het. Rocco zit er nog steeds. In november snauwde Mevrouw De Verre Familie me toe dat er een ‘oplossing’ kwam, maar dat het ‘nog een tijdje gaat duren’. Een kat vier maanden alleen laten zitten, daar ziet ze geen graten in.

En ik? Ik blijf elke dag even staan aan het hekken om zijn kopje te wrijven. Dan denk ik ook telkens aan De Dames die vinden dat Rocco niets tekort komt en ik er niets te zoeken heb, en wens ik hun – en ons allen – een warm hart zonder groot, zwart slot erop in deze donkere, rare tijden. 

Written by sabineclappaert

December 11, 2020 at 5:25 pm

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is the conversation between what we love to do and how we love to be.

Rest is the essence of giving and receiving; an act of remembering, imaginatively and intellectually but also physiologically and physically. To rest is to give up on the already exhausted will as the prime motivator of endeavor, with its endless outward need to reward itself through established goals. To rest is to give up on worrying and fretting and the sense that there is something wrong with the world unless we are there to put it right; to rest is to fall back literally or figuratively from outer targets and shift the goal not to an inner static bull’s eye, an imagined state of perfect stillness, but to an inner state of natural exchange.

The template of natural exchange is the breath, the autonomic giving and receiving that forms the basis and the measure of life itself. We are rested when we are a living exchange between what lies inside and what lies outside, when we are an intriguing conversation between the potential that lies in our imagination and the possibilities for making that internal image real in the world; we are rested when we let things alone and let ourselves alone, to do what we do best, breathe as the body intended us to breathe, to walk as we were meant to walk, to live with the rhythm of a house and a home, giving and taking through cooking and cleaning. When we give and take in an easy foundational way we are closest to the authentic self, and closest to that self when we are most rested. To rest is not self indulgent, to rest is to prepare to give the best of ourselves, and to perhaps, most importantly, arrive at a place where we are able to understand what we have already been given.

In the first state of rest is the sense of stopping, of giving up on what we have been doing or how we have been being. In the second, is the sense of slowly coming home, the physical journey into the body’s un-coerced and un-bullied self, as if trying to remember the way or even the destination itself. In the third state is a sense of healing and self-forgiveness and of arrival. In the fourth state, deep in the primal exchange of the breath, is the give and the take, the blessing and the being blessed and the ability to delight in both. The fifth stage of deep rest is a sense of absolute readiness and presence, a delight in and an anticipation of the world and all its forms; a sense of being the meeting itself between inner and outer, and that receiving and responding occur in one spontaneous movement.

A deep experience of rest is the template of perfection in the human imagination, a perspective from which we gain that most difficult of human virtues: patience, that is, we are able to perceive the outer specific forms of our work and our relationships whilst being nourished by the shared foundational gift of the breath itself. From this perspective we can be rested while putting together an elaborate meal for an arriving crowd, whilst climbing the highest mountain, moving a herd of sheep along a Cumbrian country lane or sitting at home, surrounded by the chaos of a loving family.

Rested, we are ready for the world but not held hostage by it, rested we care again for the right things and the right people in the right way. In rest we reestablish the goals that make us more generous, more courageous, more of an invitation, someone we want to remember, and someone others would want to remember too.

Written by sabineclappaert

February 6, 2018 at 8:04 am

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Slaves of Speed

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Speed in work has compensations. Speed gets noticed. Speed is praised by others. Speed is self-important. Speed absolves us. Speed means we don’t really belong to any particular thing or person we are visiting and thus appears to elevate us above the ground of our labors.

When it becomes all-consuming, speed is the ultimate defense, the antidote to stopping and really looking. If we really saw what we were doing and who we had become, we feel we might not survive the stopping and the accompanying self-appraisal. So we don’t stop, and the faster we go, the harder it becomes to stop. We keep moving on whenever any form of true commitment seems to surface.

Speed is also warning, a throbbing, insistent indicator that some cliff edge or other is very near, a sure diagnostic sign that we are living someone else’s life and doing someone else’s work. But speed saves us the pain of all that stopping; speed can be such a balm, a saving grace, a way we tell ourselves, in unconscious ways, that we are really not participating.

The great tragedy of speed as an answer to the complexities and responsibilities of existence is that very soon we cannot recognize anything or anyone who is not traveling at the same velocity as we are. We see only those moving in the same whirling orbit and only those moving with the same urgency. Soon we begin to suffer a form of amnesia, caused by the blurred vision of velocity itself, where those germane to our humanity are dropped from our minds one by one. We start to lose sight of any colleagues who are moving at a slower pace, and we start to lose sight of the bigger, slower cycles that underlie our work. We especially lose sight of the big, unfolding wave form passing through our lives that is indicative of our larger, more generous existence.

On the personal side, as slaves to speed, we start to lose sight of family members, especially children, or those who are ill or infirm, who are not flying through the world as quickly and determinedly as we are. Just as seriously, we begin to leave behind the parts of our own selves that limp a little, the vulnerabilities that actually give us color and character. We forget that our sanity is dependent on a relationship with longer, more patient cycles extending beyond the urgencies and madness of the everyday office. – David Whyte 

Written by sabineclappaert

January 16, 2018 at 7:44 am

Facing the future

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Jupiter in Scorpio 2017-2018

On October 10th 2017 Jupiter, the biggest planet in our Solar System shifted signs from the air sign Libra into the water sign of Scorpio.

When a big planet like Jupiter shifts into a whole new zodiac sign, we all feel it. A big planet can’t make a significant shift like this without sending out waves into the cosmos.

Jupiter is considered the lucky planet by many astrologers for it has the ability to expand and bring light to whatever it touches. When Jupiter is around, we see new potentials and are able to become more aware of the cosmic energy on offer to us.

Scorpio is actually the last sign that Jupiter visits before it returns to its ruling constellation of Sagittarius. This means that Jupiter’s journey through Scorpio is really going to be guiding us to transform and to wrap up any lessons that we have been working with over the last 12 years.

The last time Jupiter was in Scorpio was back in 2005-2006, so for clues on what cycle you are building or wrapping up on, think back to this time to see if anything significant was unfolding in your life. It is important to remember however, that just because you went through certain events during this time period does not mean that they are going to be repeated. It is not really the events that are significant, instead it is the things that you learnt and the spiritual growth that you achieved.

Scorpio is a very spiritual sign. In fact, it is often one of the most misunderstood out of all the zodiac signs. This is because Scorpio energy has many layers.

At its highest evolution, Scorpio is all about higher consciousness and bringing the spiritual world into the material world. It is about reaching enlightenment and finding the meaning in both the darkness and light.

When Scorpio energy is vibrating at its highest expression, it is also extremely powerful and can help all of us to manifest our true heart’s desire. Reaching this place however, takes a lot of work and perhaps even lifetimes.

When Scorpio is operating at its lowest vibration, it can create issues with power struggles, obsessions and addictions – but Scorpio energy always has the potential to move out of these lower states and to transform into a higher level of consciousness.

As Jupiter moves through Scorpio, it is going to be highlighting this Scorpio energy in whatever state it exists within you. Even though you may not be a Scorpio, you still have Scorpio energy somewhere in your natal astrology chart and this energy is what is going to be highlighted.

Over the coming year, pay attention to what areas of your life are being illuminated and try to remain aware of any shadows you are being asked to let go of. The more you use this energy to release and surrender, the lighter and more awakened you are going to feel.

Jupiter in Scorpio is really going to help all of us to bring more light and awareness into the untapped areas of our shadow. In fact on a global level, Jupiter’s shift into Scorpio is going to help accelerate the awakening process, and more and more people will be guided to shed the old and open up to higher levels of consciousness.

This will help the consciousness of the planet to shift to even higher vibrations, and will help all of us to find that higher octave of Scorpio energy.

Jupiter will finally leave Scorpio on November 8, 2018 where it will then enter Sagittarius. This is a very, very abundant and prosperous place for Jupiter to be and the energy is going to be extremely harmonious.

In the meantime, try to pay attention to what Jupiter in Scorpio may be guiding you to learn, so you can blossom into the highest vibration of your own life.

Written by sabineclappaert

October 14, 2017 at 11:55 am

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Resurfacing memories

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The 38 year old Indian founder of said: “It is not so much about having goals, it’s about having a purpose. You only really need to know one thing in life: what is your true north? Know it, and don’t loose sight of it.”

Written by sabineclappaert

October 14, 2017 at 11:52 am

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Choosing a path

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journey with a heart

Photo by Sho Hatakeyama on Unsplash

“This question is one that only a very old man asks. Does this path have a heart? All paths are the same: they lead nowhere. They are paths going through the bush, or into the bush. In my own life I could say I have traversed long long paths, but I am not anywhere. Does this path have a heart? If it does, the path is good; if it doesn’t, it is of no use. Both paths lead nowhere; but one has a heart, the other doesn’t. One makes for a joyful journey; as long as you follow it, you are one with it. The other will make you curse your life. One makes you strong; the other weakens you.” – Carlos Castaneda, the teachings of Don Juan

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September 21, 2017 at 5:37 pm

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The smell of starlight

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the smell of stars

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September 15, 2017 at 5:07 pm


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Break in me whatever needs to be broken.

Fix my hope of ever being fixed.

Use me. Draw every ounce of creativity out of me. Help me live a radically unique life, forever forging a never-before-trodden path in the forest.

Show me how to love more deeply than I ever thought possible.

Whatever I am still turning away from, keep shoving in my face.

Whatever I am still at war with, help me soften towards, relax into, fully embrace.

Where my heart is still closed, show me a way to open it without violence.

Where I am still holding on, help me let go.

Give me challenges and struggles and seemingly insurmountable obstacles, if that will bring an even deeper humility and trust in the intelligence of life.

Help me laugh at my own seriousness.

Allow me to find the humour in the dark places.

Show me a profound sense of rest in the midst of the storm.

Don’t spare me from the truth. Ever.

Let gratitude be my guide.

Let forgiveness be my mantra.

Let this moment be a constant companion.

Let me see your face in every face.

Let me feel your warm presence in my own presence.

Hold me when I stumble.

Breathe me when I cannot breathe.

Let me die living, not live dying.


– Jeff Foster

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July 18, 2017 at 6:57 pm

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July 13, 2017 at 8:03 pm

Note to self

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Everything is energy. You have felt that all along. What makes you sad is that people so often deny the existence of that energy. That we are taught the importance of the stuff on top of the energy. That we are taught to find the truth there.

Coaches coach symptoms. The stuff “on top”. Not the energy. We seldom acknowledge the energy.

Today I rediscovered my truth. What I knew all along: the truth lies in the energy.

(Notes from Alan Seale’s TPLC course, March 2017)

frances-gunn-80824 copy

Photo: Frances Dunn

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June 17, 2017 at 4:59 pm

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