I look back at the last days with joy and fulfillment. The congress has been overwhelming, inspiring, and the travel to Armenia worth it. Especially because my wife and I have had a vacation before, the congress. For me, the first time I have been travelling outside of Europe and I had to rediscover myself in the encounter with a completely unknown culture and language.
For the ones who had to miss my presentation, I recorded it, and you can find it here!
Please react, post questions, or give your feedback. I really appreciate that! So, thanks in front.
Here you find the paper that I submitted for the conference.
In this blog, I want to share a more personal experience in living my questions.
In the autumn of 2021, I have done a Heart ritual. Trigger for this ritual was my felt disconnection with some of the important people around me. I had the feeling that by doing this ritual, I could come to a deeper acceptance of some of my patterns that run within my family. Being related to others and using the natural connections in life has been a central theme and existential question for a long period in my life. In the first step of the heart ritual, I got a heart of baked stone. And in the first session I was asked to hold the heart, connect to it, and listen in my body for resonance. I got a picture of the house where my parent have been divorced. I felt that this was the place where the next activity of the heart ritual should take place. That was breaking the heart. But that took another two months before that happened. First, I spent more time in relating to my heart. I painted the heart with leaves and flowers that I took out of my garden. After that, I rubbed the heart with olive oil. And it became deep green with colours of brown and orange. It felt more and more difficult to break my heart, as it had become really part of me.
It also soon became clear how I wanted to break my heart. I still had a stone that I found as a child in the woods around Wageningen. I wrote “break” at one side of the stone and “open” on the other side. One word related to the pain and the sorrow in my life, the other one more to the openness in live and joy. When connecting both together, I feel life becomes alive and thriving.
At the beginning of December I went with Katrien to Randwijk, where the house stood where my parents were divorced. It was amazing to discover that the people who bought the house from my parent still lived there. We where friendly welcomed and they could give me a picture of how they had experienced my parents during the divorce. That helped me to get a better understanding of the divorce and of my parents at that period of their lives. After talking and showing the bouse and sharing memories, the moment had come that I had to break my heart. I broke it at the gravel path besides the house. I felt the fear of having to break it, also the relief afterwards. I hit the heart quite hard and had many pieces.
This was the moment the next phase of the ritual started. The bonding of the pieces together with glue and I got gold powder to sprinkle over the glue. I felt an urge to start immediately. In half a day, te heart was whole again, but some pieces where pulverised and I could not restore them, so the heart remained open at two sides.
I was completely satisfied with the result. In the last session with the facilitator of the ritual, the question arose: How can I keep my heart open despite the pain? This question is still alive. During the past year it has become visible how entangled I am with this question. If feelings arise that are hard for me to let flow, I return to my question. Not always immediately of course. I also find myself eating too much in trying not to feel. At the same time, this question gives me a direction of development which goes on, consciously and unconsciously.
On this site, I will write about the developments of my PhD project that aims to create space within higher education for students to live their existential questions. This project will last for three more years at the bachelor Interdisciplinary Social Science.
I hope this project can work as a best practice within education. And can boost the transition towards forms of education where where students are taken seriously and stimulated to build a genuine relationship to the educational content and the world around them.
Furthermore, I want to collect stories within (higher) education about the space for existential questions. So If you want to share a story, you can react on this post. Or write an email to daan dot buijs ad wur dot nl.