Trust the outsider. It seems so simple, but is it? It is a conversation I love to have with animals or nature. In the beginning they didn’t understand what I was talking about or what I meant. The beauty of animals is that they don’t care. You can be any color, size, nationality or speak in whatever language. It is not essential. You are here and you showed up. Let’s play, let’s relax, in any form you are ready for at this moment.
Outside is a word that I feel intense in my core. Outside is a feeling of not belonging, a sense of trying to fit in hard, a feeling of transforming into a human I am not. Talking with animals, trees or other energies is natural as there is no judgment – expect of course from outside. It makes me smile while writing this as it is so contradicting. The feeling deeply rooted within me is always there. Sometimes it is just lingering deep down and will appear without notice and take me out of balance altogether. Sometimes I walk with the feeling through the door for a meeting or just during coffee with a new friend. I know people who meet me in person, online or even only via a podcast don’t feel or sense that at all. It is just me and how I interact with the world.
Sitting outside, connecting with nature and talking to animals has been a peaceful place. As it never truly mattered where I was in the world, they are always there to support. They are part of a pack. Sometimes the pack is their family and sometimes it is outside of their family. Things we struggle with, animals have to work with as well. They may be more comfortable in adjusting as it is not always a choice they have. The world is an ever-changing place.
Communication on an energetic level is so much easier for me than communicating with words. It sounds almost contradictory as I am, of course sharing with you with words at the moment. But being a writer in a second language and being dyslectic is probably feeding all into me feeling like an outsider. For the longest time, I saw them as an immense weight that was holding me back. Sitting on my deck in Australia one day and seeing the little red-back spider work away on his web, he told me: “You want to talk about being an outsider. You humans destroy my work frequently; it doesn’t hold me back to go and create it all over again. I make it better.” Being dissed by this little spider was interesting. It was my journey to learning to be more flexible. I was so uptight and everything had to go the way I thought it needed to be. It was strangling me in my authenticity. I am an open-minded person and being so uptight was taking my air away so I couldn’t grow and express myself. It was taking away my ability to connect with the environment as I read the room and peoples’ energy. It is my way of living on earth. It was my way of surviving my childhood as my life depended on it.
Living in Japan was a time in my life when I was desperate for some peace and quiet. My family life was so busy and so noisy that I could not connect with the energy around me. My feeling of being an outsider created anxiety and my depression was in full swing. To trust my intuition was so deeply hidden that I felt utterly lost in my life. Where could I go with all these emotions that were not serving me at all? I could feel control slipping away from me and before I knew it, I got lost in a sea of emotions. The “should haves,” “could haves,” and “have to’s;” the box to fit into and how to get my roots in the ground to connect to the energy of this place. I had no idea; all my anchors were gone. My friends were not living in this strange place; the people I met were loving this place. I felt like a ping pong ball and other humans were playing the match with no mercy.
Sitting in the woods, being eating alive by mosquitoes, I knew I needed to make a change. Every day a little change. I knew that I needed to ask for help but my voice was gone. I was gone. Watching the birds disappear every time an earthquake was about to happen that day helped me to tune in. What was it in the energy that day that they knew the earth would move? I took small steps. I got help with the kids and got a teaching job, something to call mine. I took myself out of my comfort zone. I created relationships with people I could not communicate with using words. We did have energy and body language; we had nature in common. We had things we could share.
Many years later, in Nigeria, I learned a new way of reading body language and combining this with the energy people had around them. I connected with an old spirit and he was so street smart. I wondered why he was talking to me, a white Dutch woman. Asking about it, he replied: “You’re not human?” I had no reply for that one. Lesson one, don’t create issues; our life lessons will take up more than enough time for us to handle. Being a clear outsider in Africa made me retreat in the beginning, especially as we constantly got bombarded with fear. The energy of fear is paralyzing and as you dive into that energy, more fear will show up. By following my intuition I ended up in strange situations; but I learned to embrace being an outsider there and stubbornly went out of my way to learn and understand others. Having nature’s support around me got me out of some tight situations; but the right people always showed up even when we got stuck on a narrow road on a market in downtown Lagos. With me being an outsider, connecting with the local energy and animals helped me out. So often people would ask me: “How did you get out alive from that place?” I never tapped into the fear; I always tapped into the support – with gratitude of the Nigerian spirit who was teaching me to embrace my outsider place.
Embracing myself as an outsider has been a journey on its own – one I can recommend, as it will introduce you to emotions that will make you stronger and to gifts you didn’t know you had.