For a revolution of joy

We all do it. We really feel like doing something, and then…. We don’t.

There’s a wonderful song on the radio. That song that takes you back years in your life. You are in public space and feel like singing out loud. The urge is there, something inside sparkles.

Suddenly our thoughts take over. We remember our adult self that tells us it might be weird. We ignore the urge and remain quiet.

But on the inside we are burning.

The spontaneous dance, the sing along, the run to that playground and sliding from that slide that looks pretty awesome, the  hug, the “I LOVE YOU!”, or the complete breakdown in tears.

It doesn’t make me feel ALIVE to hold these urges back. Why live a life of mediocrity if you can live one of full joy, surprise and deep experiences?

Following the urges

This summer’s journey with Grandmother Ayahuasca made very clear to me that I should follow the urges. That I can stop holding back!

An Ayurvedic consult with a doctor in India last Spring told me exactly the same. He said: “Listen, daughter. When you feel you need to cry, cry. When you need to laugh, laugh. When you’re hungry, eat. When you feel like you want to, have sex. When you need to go to the toilet, go. Don’t wait.” Don’t hold back! Doing so causes stagnation in your energy and your body. Let life flow.

Side note. Obviously, when it comes to physical touch, this always needs to go with consent. So I definitely don’t mean: When you see a nice person walking down the street, don’t hold back your urges and harrass her/them/him. The #MeToo campaign shows that actually, a lot of people need to learn how to hold back way more than they currently do. But as for stopping ourselves from doing amazing things, how can we put this advice into practice?

When life becomes a musical

Ever since childhood, musicals like Annie made my fantasy go wild. Day dreams of my life as a child turning into a musical all of the sudden. The daily routine suddenly interrupted by an explosion of joy. People dancing and singing, everyone knowing the steps. My days of getting up early, going to school, going home, eating, going to ballet, going to bed, interrupted by something spectacular. Surely life could be more exciting than this boring routine with not much surprise, right?

Luckily my mother still is a great companion for this little fantasy of mine, as every time we cook a dinner together or set the table, it becomes an opera-meets-ballet-meets-musical. Sometimes our dinner gets cold, because the urge to dance and act crazy is too strong. I am definitely not holding back on those evenings!

But acting crazy is pretty easy in the safety of your own house.

Some summers ago, as I hitchhiked Europe – I stranded in Croatia. I spent my days on the beach reading books, and strolling by the coast during sunset. I passed a beach restaurant with amazing live music.


A huge crowd of tourists just sat there, and nobody moved. Not even a toe.

Except one woman. She danced in front of what must have been around hundred people. Everyone sat and watched. The atmosphere was frozen, quiet and a little awkward.

I badly wanted to dance as well, but I felt too shy to start dancing in front of all these people. So I walked further along the boulevard.

But then I felt disappointed. What hold me back from stepping into this dance? Why couldn’t I do what I clearly wanted, even in front of a hundred people just sitting still and watching me?

I walked a bit further and decided I had to go back. I turned around, got back to the scene and danced in front of everyone. Two women in colourful dresses, dancing their dance unapologetically. Sunset on the background.


I felt glorious. I did it! The music ended and I walked on. I undressed and jumped into the warm sea at the start of a dark night. Stars out. Bare breasts freely out in the ocean. I let myself float on the water. My body becoming weightless.

As I looked at the stars, I imagined how it would feel to fall down into the universe.

There was just my weightless body floating in the water and the dark universe. The only force stopping me from falling into the universe the immense power of Gaia. Pulling me back to her surface.

Quite the experience. It was an amazing evening. I was fully alive. I went back to my room and told myself “I love you” in the mirror. It was spontaneous and unexpected. Something I never told myself before.

But there are so many times I am holding back. And the feeling of limiting myself out of fear, insecurity or shame just does not feel good at all.

The musical that never happened

Last March I was writing in a café in Rishikesh, a beautiful town by the Ganga in India. The song “Rock DJ” by Robbie Williams came on, and it was just so very perfect. I don’t particularly like it, but I hadn’t heard it in such a long time.

I felt like moving, dancing and singing along.

And I started to sing along quietly and moving a little on my chair. I could see my neighboor at the table next to me doing exactly the same, reacting to a familiar song from ages ago, so far away from home. Eyes twinkling.

We could have started that big musical fantasy of mine, and turn the cafe into a big dance party. Involving the people walking past on the street and all the workers in the cafe. But we stayed in our quiet little comfort zone and most definitely held back. We didn’t even dare to look each other in the eyes properly and exchange some words. Held our joy for ourselves and experienced it on the inside.

Just one of those moments of not fully enjoying life and letting go of what I think other people may think of me.

Revolution of joy

Somewhere along the way our society has become too dull, asleep and boring. We barely dare to look each other in the eyes anymore. We take life, our appearances and our reputation extremely serious. We’ve become strangers.

There could be way more laughter, adventure, crazy moments, and living with passion.  Take for example this person who spent their night at the airport dancing with lots of people on “All Night Long”. They could have chosen for a boring night, but instead took the opportunity to have some fun with new people.

There are so many days and nights, in which people have sat by themselves, watching screens. There are so many rides on public transport spent on mobile phones talking to someone miles away, without even starting a conversation with the person right next to us. So many moments worried about things that don’t matter.

Nights that could have end up in a fantastic theater play, community gathering with all neighbours involved, stories told by fires and delicious meals shared. Or anything else you like, it doesn’t have to be your classic “hippie” scenario.

Human connection is incredibly important. When individualism thrives, fear leads the way and we get scared of and disconnected from each other. It becomes easy for some ideologies blaming the Other to gain ground. When boring routines are deemed the norm, creativity is considered worthless, the grey/black/white world of offices, career and money making is dominant, depression wins and energy becomes low.

What we most need is to higher our energy, connect and explore our full potential as human species.

Let’s stop holding back. Let’s start a revolution of joy.

Well, my friends, the time has come
Raise the roof and have some fun
Throw away the work to be done
Let the music play on
Everybody sing, everybody dance
Lose yourself in wild romance, we going to
Parti’, karamu’, fiesta, forever
Come on and sing along

Once you get started you can’t sit down
Come join the fun, it’s a merry-go-round
Everyone’s dancing their troubles away
Come join our party, see how we play

All night long

Lionel Richie

Amsterdam, November 2017

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