that Jeroen and I “let our hair down” which led to our first kiss on stage in the Roxy club.
Today, on Jeroen’s birthday, I want to reflect on our 27 years together. How he stands with me and supports me in who I am.
Jeroen and I have been together for quite a few years and no, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows ;-). We definitely get on each other’s nerves and we can both get stuck in our own emotions. And together we still have a lot to discover and learn, both from ourselves and from each other.
A few weeks ago, I cried for the first time in ages, it came from such a cavernous place and it felt incredibly intense. It was the first time that I shared my deepest pain with him so openly in his arms. The tears bubbled up from my deepest being, that my contact lenses fell out of my eyes ;-). Which also allowed us to laugh between the tears. It felt like I didn’t have to carry it alone. It was a huge release. So much poured out. Even though he may not have wholeheartedly understood what I was truly going through deep down.
It was healing, powerful and connecting, for both of us.
I also want to express my gratitude to all the men who assist and support the women in their environment. That they see the woman for who she really is. That they step beyond their own ego and see what is needed in that moment. Connecting in love, building together with each other. Women and men need each other. Not in the sense of dependence, but out of love, respect and compassion. We really see each other for who we are.
This power, with which we are able to do so much of what the world needs at this time. This is difficult for many men and women. We still struggle a lot, running around like headless chickens, searching for our soul’s destiny. Deep down we all want to open our hearts, but of course, there lies the pain.
When some men and women come to me as clients, they may initially say: “I’ve already had a lot of experience with life coaches, I’m unsure if this will really help me further”. So much so, they retreat and cancel their first appointment. What I hear them say, from deep within, is their inner, vulnerable child saying: “I have built a hard layer around my heart and actually I feel a lot of pain and sadness, but I don’t know how I got here”.
By not dealing with the pain, we get stuck in our heads and we no longer know how to feel and allow true love. In the book The Power of Real Men, David Deida communicates this very beautifully and clearly, written from both the man’s and the woman’s perspective. In this time of chaos and polarization it is about finding each other again, in love.
Connecting with each other in love is only possible if you recognise and start to feel your own heartfelt pain. We all have to do this. You and me. Taking responsibility, recognising, bearing, expressing and sharing.
As for most of the men that come my way, they are men who are connected to their profound feelings, even if they themselves are unaware of it.
For example, my father is a sensitive man who feels a special connection with the women in his life. Once, my father organised a party and it was hilarious watching those around us when they realised there was a table where there were 5 exes casually chatting to each other. Or that when I was 8, my father, his current girlfriend, my mother and I went skiing together. For me as a child, my father’s girlfriends were like “extra” mothers. I think that says something beautiful about my father, that he still whole heartedly cherishes the relationships he had with these women.
Most of the men I have learned from during my personal and spiritual journey have all been masters of following their hearts on their path to consciousness. Which also happens to be where my passion lies ;-).
In 2005 there was Sanjeev Bhanot, my first yoga teacher. I am grateful to him for how he perceived my strength. This was during a yoga retreat in the Swiss mountains, where Jeroen, myself and our daughter visited. We told him that we had done a chair massage workshop together the previous weekend, and he challenged me and Jeroen to give chair massages to the other participants of the retreat.
Sanjeev indicated during this same retreat that our 2-year-old daughter was welcome to attend a yoga class with us, the only child between the adults, who then decided to run around in the space during the class. This annoyed a number of women, who had specifically come to the retreat to escape children and enjoy the peace and quiet. As a parent, I also felt burdened. He saw through the lessons we all had to learn.
One time, Sanjeev stood next to me during a yoga class and asked me, without introduction, to do the bridge pose (in Sanskrit: urdhva dhanurasana) from a standing position. All he said was, “Go.” I did it without thinking. My ego didn’t have time to intervene.
In complete surrender and trust I fell backwards in the bridge. Ever since, I haven’t done this from a standing position, although the memory is still in my body (from a lying position, this photo will have to do for the moment ?). I am grateful to him for his mastery, guidance, attention and awareness.
In 2006 I came into contact with the Grinberg Method, founded by Avi Grinberg. By experiencing this form of body work I started the course in 2008. It was fascinating, how he understood that the body could heal and this self-healing ability was stimulated by attention and touch. As a bodyworker I have learned a lot about the body and the wonders it is capable of.
In recent years I have learned a lot from these men in the field of consciousness: Eckhart Tolle, Deepak Chopra, Joe Dispenza and Bentinho Massaro, who have all walked the awareness path in their own way and knew that they had to pass this on out of love and passion. I have a deep respect for all men who pass on their knowledge through love and passion.
I also feel a deep gratitude for all the men and women who haven’t grasped it yet, but who know that they have to face themselves. If only because your loved ones, friends, your partner and your children challenge and trigger you to this. That you are so touched, that you realise that the only way you can go, is within. To then, step by step, move outward in love.
Thank you Jeroen for being here.
Thank you for the adventures we are having together.
And I look forward to the adventures to come!
On our adventure together in love, Jessica
PS. Down below, you can read about some of our adventures…
When we first consciously met was when I was in the choir, in a performance of Strindberg’s Ghost Sonata, dressed as a ghost ?
Jeroen joined, with a bunch of mutual friends. Later it turned out that our lives and paths had crossed several times. For example, I had a friend at primary school, whose older brother was good friends with Jeroen. Another example was that there was a time when I would go out to ‘Dansen bij Jansen’ about once a week (translation: Dancing at Jansen’s, but now known as Disco Dolly, where Zoë sometimes goes ;-)), and Jeroen would visit this place regularly too.
Sparks flew and in that first phase of love that I regularly spoke to Jeroen, I never wanted this feeling to stop. Of course, that was a control thing… Looking back, I can say that somewhere inside I already knew, that with him by my side I was willing to face my deepest and darkest parts. I therefore feel enormous gratitude for his support and the space he gives me to develop myself.
His adventurous drive has also encouraged me to face my own adventurous desires.
His wanderlust has made us visit the most incredible places in the world. And often not just as tourists, but we would dive a little deeper into the wilderness and connect with the locals. This actually exposed us to the locals’ perspectives and the pain that was felt behind the scenes, where tourism was actually harming the local people.
For example, we didn’t just end up in Belize in a hut with a hammock on a tropical beach, but we also saw the flipside in a back street, where we got chatting with the locals. A woman mentioned that she was often harassed by drunken men. Together we drank home-brewed rum and we were taught how to open coconuts with a cleaver.
When in Mexico, we swam at a beautiful, idyllic blue lagoon waterfall and decided to sleep (it was just us) in a primitive hut in the jungle. That night we were surprised by ferocious rain and thunderstorms with lightning right above us. That same night a snake or a mouse (we both have different recollections of which one) found our bag of Dutch licorice and decided to inspect it. And the moment we wanted to see what kind of creature it was, we switched on the light, the electricity went out, exactly when lightning struck.
The fear raced through my body and I could no longer sleep. And because it was dark and the creature (or critter) wanted to master the bag of licorice again, Jeroen, who was still a smoker at the time, being our only source of light, threw the lighter on the animal. We then decided to move the bag of licorice to the toilet, where we could shut the door on it.
At the first rays of sunlight, we packed our backpacks to leave this perilous place. When we opened the door of our cabin on departure, a dog was sleeping in front of our door. We suddenly felt love for this watchdog, who may have kept us company all night.
We decided to walk past the beautiful waterfall, and we saw that several trees had fallen over onto the huts next to us. The river and the lake of the waterfall were also completely polluted by brown mud and broken branches. Later we realised that these were the first signs of the various natural phenomena of the El Niño.
Another adventure was when spontaneously arrived on Easter Island on Christmas Eve during our trip in Chile. We had previously read through a lonely planet guide about a Finnish backpacker who had stayed at someone’s home, a woman named Rosa. When we knocked on her door, she welcomed us with open arms, as if she was already expecting us, she said: “I have already made your bed” and we looked at each other in surprise. A little later she told us that she knew we were coming, because she had dropped a fork on the floor that day, which was the sign that visitors were coming.
We stayed with her and her family for 5 days. We bought a ginormous fresh tuna at a market, from which they prepared the most delicious dishes for the whole family, daily, from tuna tartare with coriander to freshly grilled steak.
Rosa showed us the whole island, using a family member who had an old car, which did break down en route. We hiked with her to caves and she got us to eat a certain berry and said, if you eat this berry, then you will come back to this island one more time. She told us how the Chileans have the whole island and the local population under control and how erosion has made it almost impossible for the island to grow food itself and so they have become dependent on the import of goods.
We crossed the whole island through hills that seemed to go on forever, where we encountered a distant herd of wild horses rushing towards us, eventually quenching their thirst by a small lake whilst we watched in amazement from under a mega eucalyptus tree. This trip made a deep impression on us. Partly because of this, our daughter Zoë owes her second name to this island, Yorana, which means ‘welcome’ in the Rapa Nui language. Zoe means “life” in Greek. And this is what I want to end this blog with for now: