• Daring to be vulnerable gives you power to be

      People are vulnerable as individuals and as a species. And fighting vulnerability is useless. No matter how hard you try. Simply because you can’t control everything and so your life can turn upside down at any moment of any day. You may be the King of the World, the Smartest Woman in the Universe or the Sexiest Man Alive; it won’t help. You can however hide from it. And most of us do. Behind a fancy job title, nice car or house. Interesting friends, a busy agenda, designer clothes or healthy hipster life style, but sooner or later vulnerability will find you. So what can you do? Well, it’s simple.

      Simply face it and embrace it. Because when you embrace it, you no longer need to fight it. You no longer need to run or hide from it, by keeping up appearances and putting energy in this hopeless attempt to avoid the discomfort of feeling it. You can now be as you are, vulnerable, instead of pretending not to be. The way I see it: vulnerability is indestructible. So by letting it in and become a part of you, in a way that makes you indestructible. Daring to be vulnerable gives you power to be.

      Vulnerability becomes a Strength

      Are you alive?

      From time to time it’s good to ask yourself: “Am I alive?” Because it’s not uncommon to just be busy doing what you’re always doing. To be caught up in a routine. And that routine may very well result in hours, days, weeks, months or even years of living, without actually being alive. Because there’s more to living, than just breathing. Imagine someone in a coma and it becomes clear… I recently attended a re-birthing workshop and I experienced the difference between A) normal breathing: a mostly shallow, kind of mechanic and unconscious way of getting the bare minimum of oxygen ‘shots’ and B) breathing with full awareness, in a rich flow, organic and fully open to receive life’s energy in all it’s splendor. It let me experience the meaning of the phrase: “Just because you breathe, doesn’t mean you’re alive”. And so I challenge you, as I challenge myself, to wonder: am I  really alive or mostly just busy breathing?

      Just because you breathe

      Who am I… or rather, what am I?

      I guess you’re familiar with this sensation: one moment you feel great, and the next… well not so great. I sometimes feel like I’m nothing and sometimes I feel as though I’m everything. It’s a really fine line, much like it is with being crazy or brilliant. John Lennon had a nice way of putting it. He said: “Part of me suspects I’m a loser. The other part of me thinks I’m God Almighty”. I wrote a post about that one too. Anyway. A couple of days ago, I stumbled upon the “I, a universe of atoms…” quote by the American physicist Richard P. Feynman (1918 – 1988). And it’s stuck in my head ever since. Because to me his words are both mind blowing and heart warming. The thought of “I” being a tiny, stand alone atom – and an infinite, whole universe at the same time, blows my ego off it’s socks. Because “I” isn’t (only) the ‘earthly me’. “I” is a single atom and an entire universe, completing one another. Think about that when you’re looking at yourself in the mirror. So yes, it’s a quote I gratefully meditate on. It’s so simple and yet so deeply profound. It makes me feel humble and larger than life at the same time – it’s liberating. Look at us humans. Look at you, look at me. We are both nothing and everything. Again. That’s just… wow.

      I, a universe of atoms

      focusNjoy #122: Stop searching, start finding

      Imagine you’re looking for something, but you can’t find it. Annoying. Yes. Very. But then, maybe you’re not supposed to find it. Or maybe you’re just looking in the wrong place. Or maybe… you already found it, but you don’t realize it yet. Whatever the reason is, you might want to stop searching. Why? Well think about it: as long as you’re busy searching – you’re not… finding!

      Stop searching, Start finding

      A fresh start for focusNjoy

      Dear friends, it’s been more than a year since my last post! Honestly, I needed the break but a lot of good things have happened to me in the meantime. Apart from a great time at Eyeworks Netherlands, where I worked as a Senior Creative with some great people at the Program Development Team, it were exciting times for me personally as well. Too much to tell you in one post. But I will share more in the coming months, because it’s been truly transformational.

      I’m planning on a brand new start of focusNjoy at the end of April. And this time, I intend to actually make some money haha – because running an ad-free blog is great, but from a financial point of view it wasn’t a success and one of the reasons for me to get back to television. Later in 2014 I intend to finally start with my workshops in Amsterdam. I’m super excited about that but let’s see how things develop. Anway – I’m back and I’m feeling fresh. Hoping to hear from you – always feel free to send me an email and say hi!

      Love, Stijn.

      focusNjoy back 2014
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  • My personal story
    I’m born and raised in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, father of two kids (a boy 9 and girl 7) and enjoying life to the fullest, including its struggles. Struggles? Oh yes, by all means I’m no guru, all knowing, perfectly balanced success story. In fact, all I really know is that I know nothing. And that’s great because when nothing is certain, everything is possible. As for my struggles, challenges and ‘failures’; they are part of my growth. They make life interesting and colorful. And finally they make me an excellent life coach. I find happiness and balance in daily life, not because I feel certain or know it all; but because I’ve learned to deal well with uncertainty and not knowing it all.

    Random facts…
    I successfully ran 7 marathons and countless half marathons. I see running as a mind game, a meditation and an awesome metaphor for life. I also enjoy the gym and yoga. I’ve done a 10-day Vipassana retreat in South Africa and two 3-day retreats in Belgium: it’s a meditation technique and the noble silence is rigorous, the ultimate mindfulness training. I’m a pianist, but I don’t read notes, I improvise. You can listen to one of my songs (Cabrio) on the Supperclub 10 CD. I never graduated from college. I studied Social Sciences and later Production at The Dutch Film Academy: in both cases traded the class room for the real world. Millions of people saw TV shows I’ve created. And finally, I’m an Angel in Jeans: you can’t see them, but really I have wings and I’m here to help and guide.

    foto stijn bankje

    Background info
    At the age of 17, in response to being heartbroken, I developed a deep interest in personal and spiritual growth. I read authors like Anthony Robbins, Wayne Dyer, Deepak Chopra and learned about NLP, modern psychology, ancient Vedic wisdom and Ayurveda. Later I began studying the works Eckhart Tolle, Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching and Non-Dualism. I’ve always been a romantic: feeling connected to the universe, but for a long time I was in conflict. Desiring spiritual freedom, but seeking it by striving for the ‘ego’ kind of success: working hard, making money, always knowing something wasn’t right.

    As a single I had my share of sex, drugs and… house music. I’ve experimented with expanding the mind and I still do sometimes – although now only in a more ritual context. To numb my growing discomfort with my place in life, (mainly my career) I started drinking more and more. And looking back on it, I can now say I’ve dealt with a severe alcohol problem between the age of 28 and 38. My biggest problem: it never was a problem. On the outside everything seemed fine… My career, social life or even health never seemed to be bothered much. But I always knew something was wrong: I was hiding myself, denying my true potential, destroying myself and keeping myself from the things I desired most. Unable to fundamentally change, it was in this time that paradoxically – I got my degree as a Life Coach. But it took me another 6 years to finally break free.

    My transformation
    August 2013. I was with my ex-wife and kids, enjoying our camper trip in the South of France. It was the last week as we headed to the famous Tour de France, Mt. Ventoux mountain. I was 15 when I first climbed that mountain on a bike and I did it again 4 times, in later years. But I was now 38, smoking a pack of Marlboro Lights a day and drinking… huge amounts of alcohol. Still I wanted to race to the top – I didn’t care I came unprepared. Hungover and with a sore throat from the night before, I started cycling at noon. The sun was burning – but I knew at the top it would be cold. After an amazing start I ultimately found myself fighting my way up.

    I almost quit my attempt 4 times – nearly falling off my bike. I felt like dying, but as if angels were pushing my feet on the pedals I kept on going towards my family waiting at the top. I finally made it – without stopping once. Although I was exhausted, I was so incredibly happy – no euphoric really – to see them there. At 1921 meters, a clear blue sky – I realized my body allowed me to do this. Whether it be in sound, sight, smell, touch or taste: I realized that it is my body through which my spirit can express itself and experience life. And then I asked myself what I could do in return? The answer was to truly honor it. To nourish it and love it. And so I decided to do so. As I was driving back home at night a day later, I decided to quit smoking and drinking. Not much later I decided to quit drinking coffee and limit my sugar intake to an absolute minimum. Why? Because it helps you keep your balance, it limits your dependency of substances and so it contributes to a continuously purifying and profoundly positive transformation. It lets me use my mind, body and soul as an instrument. An instrument in tune with life, through which I can play along with the songs of the universe in a free and effortless way.

    A Glorious Moment
    August 1, 2013. I will never forget it. Magic opened it’s doors and I’m still in awe everyday.

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