Back to nature

Inspiration Shot May 2023

As spring transforms my olive grove into a sea of flowers, I find myself undergoing a transformation as well. Returning to yourself after a long period of recovery can be quite challenging, especially when you have lost yourself in a disappointing relationship for years. Nevertheless, I am slowly regaining the color in my life. I even purchased a colorful protest sweater, plus I am learning a lot from nature.
It brings me joy to be here in Puglia where I am not only connected to the internet (World Wide Web) but also to the ‘Wood Wide Web’ 🌳 🌳 🌳. In this Inspiration Shot, I will share some insights and tips on how we are all connected; both to each other and to everything around us.

Valuable lessons from trees 🌳

It may come as a surprise, but trees are capable of communicating with each other and even warning their neighbors of potential danger. They work in harmony, and even ‘competitors’ support each other, recognizing that their success is tied to the health of the entire forest. In a way, this is similar to how our social security systems work to support members of society who may be struggling. Trees with an abundance of nutrients share their resources with those who are lacking, ensuring that the entire forest can thrive. In the book ‘The Hidden Life of Trees,’ you can find many more fascinating insights into the interconnected world of trees.

Lessons from my puppy friends

Shortly after experiencing an eye emergency, I found three dogs, abandoned in the countryside 😢. While I took care of them, each dog taught me a valuable lesson. The first one, a small hunting dog that was later adopted and is now called ‘Leo’, appeared to me in a dream. He told me that my feet are ‘anchor points’ connecting me to the earth and the present moment. Since then, I focus on my feet while walking, to help me stay grounded in the present moment and out of my head.
The puppies I found soon after taught me that I could open my heart to them, even though I knew they would be adopted at some point and would thus leave my life. Fortunately, they have been adopted by my Dutch neighbors just a few hundred meters away, and I get to see them often ❤️.

What lessons have you learned from the furry friends in your life? 🐾

esther with dog

Non-violent communication

In addition to reconnecting with nature, we can also learn to communicate in more meaningful ways. Recently, I posted on social media seeking a new caretaker for my father -who has Alzheimer’s- in Miami. This is an exchange that we have been doing for five years. However, to my surprise, this post was met with a barrage of hateful comments, which I had never experienced before. I had no choice but to delete the post and even block some people.
I wrote about this incident on LinkedIn (in Dutch), and this post has garnered almost 300,000 views, thousands of likes, and hundreds of comments 🤩
It is my hope that we can continue to communicate with one another in a respectful manner, even when our opinions differ.

Workshop alert

How do you turn your passion into an income?

By doing what you like, being visible, and not thinking about money. (See 8 more tips)

When I bought my plot of land in Puglia, I did it because I wanted to; I followed my gut feeling. People felt that, liked it and followed my adventures. Then they bought my olive oil, adopted trees and came to visit. This is how and the Workation Village Italy came to life.

It is all about discovering what you are good at, what makes you happy and what your added value can be for others. Want to learn how to turn your passion into a business?

Inspiration bites

The biggest little farm

My all-time favorite feel-good movie, it’s about chasing your dreams and the power of nature to solve life’s problems.

Kiss the ground

Learn more about the fascinating and logical ways we can regenerate our planet…

The hidden life of trees

Did you know that trees help and communicate with each other?
Super interesting!

The island of missing trees

In this beautiful story, a fig tree from Cyprus has its say. Funny to experience how a tree thinks…

Did you know...?

…that you can embark on a unique expedition to an uninhabited island at a discounted rate? I once had the opportunity to participate in the real life show Survivor, spending a month on a deserted island in Malaysia, living a ‘back to basics’ lifestyle. Although I enjoyed the experience, I always wanted to do it again without cameras and with close friends. Recently, I booked an expedition with ‘Desert Island Survival’ which will involve spending ten days on an uninhabited island in Tonga with a survival expert, including the chance to swim with whales. Unfortunately, due to my eye condition, I cannot stay ‘in the middle of nowhere’ for that long, so I am offering my spot at a discount. Let me know if you are interested.

Where is Esther?

I spent nearly the entire month of April in Puglia for the Workation, with nine participants at its peak. It was a great experience with workshops, masterminds, walks, and, most importantly, many espressos on the village square, inspiring lunches, and delicious dinners. You can watch the ‘after movie’ here. Next year, the Workation will take place in May.
I flew to the Netherlands for three days to get a fourth opinion on my eye 👀. This also allowed me to experience King’s Day 🇳🇱 in Amsterdam, which was wonderful. The ophthalmologist’s conclusion was that I should go back to jumping, lifting, running, and doing anything I would normally do. If a part of my retina detaches, it would mean that the situation was unstable and it could have happened anyway. Fortunately, I now have contact with the best eye surgeon in The Netherlands through a Nyenrode University connection, so I feel more confident with this strategy. However, I still find it a bit nerve-wracking to suddenly start working out again, with the risk that something might happen to my eye…
The Tiny Trullo Townhouse in my village is now finished and available for rent. We used it as a clubhouse this month to test everything. Daan van Bergen, who gave a visual Storytelling workshop, made a beautiful virtual tour of the townhouse.
My friends, Debby and Ruud from Curaçao visited and created a beautiful temple near the olive tree they adopted for their deceased friend, Marcel.
I have a private writing retreat guest this week, and my mother will visit next week. It’s wonderful to share all the beauty here with friends, family, and followers.
At the end of May, I will spend two weeks in my other favorite place for the writing retreat in Mallorca. For those who want to work on their book for one week all-inclusive, I still have one spot available. I just realized that I am continuously organizing retreats from March to July. Fortunately, the summer will be relatively quiet after that.

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