The moment the earth started rumbling and our bus had to stop in the middle of the road while we saw buildings crumble before us was probably the biggest change of my life.
When the disaster happened we were on our way to the alternative location of the Universal Religion festival.
After the first shock we managed to inform our parents of our safety, luckily before they read the news and the networks went down for days. We set up camp on the hill while more people arrived, each adding tiny bits of information about the magnitude of what had happened in the city of Kathmandu.
In the days that followed, and the numbers we heard went from 70 to 5000, we became each others family. Each of us had different ways of dealing with their emotions. Some people built shelters out of alcohol banners, a communal kitchen or rainwater collectors, others partied like it was the last time they would. Everything was accepted in our Universal Refugee camp.
Never has the spirit of the trance community been so strong as it was on the Hattiban Hill over the past days. Not knowing what to do, we did what we did best. Together we sang songs around the fires and formed friendships for life. All of us have changed through our travel in Nepal, in a completely different way than anyone could expect.
My seed for change? You are never prepared for what might happen, but with the right people you can make it through everything.
One day I realised that I am in fact very many different people.
For a long time I was searching and thinking to find out which of those personalities was mine. Accepting that I can be all of them made me really happy.
You could use the subculture labels as an example. On the one hand I felt a deep connection to the hippies of the sixties, but on the other hand I loved listening to hardcore. Being quite a bit younger this caused some identity struggle.
Arriving here at Ruigoord for the first time did a lot for me. Here I saw radically different people all together, and I could recognize myself in all of them. A place like this invites people to express themselves in who they feel they are. Everyone expresses differently but everything is accepted.
My seed for change? Look at what will make you happy now, not at what might make you happy in the future. Take life step by step, forget the finish line and enjoy the ride itself.
In India you’re supposed to become either an engineer or a doctor. Defying this by going to Europe to become a professional ice skater is an enormous change.
I come from a big family so mom and dad, uncle and aunt, opa and oma, brother and sister all live together and before such a big change is possible you have to convince every one of them.
I’ve always been an athlete, in India I was rollerskating and that was already a bit odd for the people around me. After winning the national competitions I made a decision for myself that I wanted to push the limits even further. I wanted to go to the olympics, the final frontier for any athlete. As rollersports never made it to the olympics I had to make a choice and I chose for ice skating.
After coming to Europe I felt that I could do everything but the smaller things were the most difficult to adjust to, like doing my own washing, and cooking for example. These things aren’t taught to Indian men, your mother looks after them. Most of my cooking I’ve learnt from my Dutch friends.
My seed for change is a quote of my biggest inspiration Ghandi: Be the change that you wish to see in the world.
The biggest change I've made in my life? That’s a complicated question…
It must have been when I discovered trance music. Up to that point I’d studied classical in the conservatory and I’d studied improvisational jazz in New York.
I went to Goa in “89 and that’s when the change started, up to that point I hadn't heard of this type of music. When I did I thought “Who makes this music, how do they make it and what drugs do they take?”. I then started my detective search to find these people and work with them, to start making psychedelic trance. That was a monstrous change because I had to forget everything I had learned up to then, I started again as a 50 year old virgin.
When we started we never expected to make anything out of it, we wanted to write the music and we did. To finally get to the point where you’re playing your music worldwide to people who really like it, that’s incredibly gratifying. And here we are 25 years later still learning and experimenting. It’s as exciting as it’s ever been now.
This is a great time because It’s happening worldwide at the moment. It’s not about the size of the party, it’s about the spirit of the people. The party’s are only a small piece of it. There’s this communal spirit and underneath there’s all this love and fellowship. It’s never about the money or the fame but about sharing what we have, doing it all together and having a great time. That’s what we’re interested in.
Thanks South Africa for inviting me, I promise you i’ll be back soon!
My seed for change? Just follow your intuition and your heart. I had to travel, I left Australia at the age of 17 when nobody was doing that yet. You have to take risks and get out of your safety zone. Throw yourself into the void and hope it’s going to be ok. It will be!
Going to these trance parties is definitely the biggest change that we’ve made in our lives.
We used to be really conservative you know… One day we told our son that he shouldn’t be going to these parties because they were of the devil. He replied that we should see it for ourselves before we could really judge. So we did, without telling him we bought tickets to have a look what was going on. We were amazed by the love and creative energy that was flowing all around us.
That was 13 months ago and we’ve been to 17 of these festivals since then. To think that a man has to become 71 to do the first dance in his life, can you believe that? Someone told us to dance in the middle of the dancefloor, not at the edge, that way you become a part of the energy. Last year at Origin Festival the organizer came up to us on the dancefloor to give us lifelong free entrance. When the other festivals heard of this they said they could not stay behind.
Our whole life we did a lot of giving but we never knew how to receive, this is something the party scene has taught us. We just sold our house to move into a motorhome with which we can stay even closer to the festival scene. It just fits better with our new lifestyle.
Our seed for change is: You’re never to old to try something new.
Johan and Annemarie
Amongst all the changes, the first big one was leaving my job and becoming self sufficient, but that was a long time ago already.
Being self sufficient where you have to rely on your own efforts for yourself and your family to survive, that changes a man’s character.
But the main change is later on in my life, when the kids were out of the house, I sold my businesses and started Trance Dancing. It showed me a different way of life, not just on an emotional level but consciously.
I was at Boom Festival last year. I went there to dance, I’m a passionate dancer, I love dancing, but when I got there it turned out I also went there to learn. I spent most of my time in the luminal village and in the healing area, talking to all the people there, I was camping with a shaman and we were constantly talking about change. Changes are not always dramatic, but when the direction is right, it feeds on itself, it grows. you develop your passion in that direction.
I’m still into all different kinds of music, I play the pan flute in concert, I play pop and even church music. I love classical music and hoompa band music from Germany. It needs to be balanced, whatever we do.
My seed for change is: Go back and have a look at what is your child’s gift, the talent you were born with. Find the talent that makes you work passionately. If you do what you’re passionate about, you’re twice as effective, ten times as efficient and most important, you’re happy!
Many stepping stones led to the concept of our Africa Grows project.
A combination of life changing experiences.You crash, burn and reawaken, phoenix experiences.
Out of the ashes of Africa burns rises the phoenix of Africa Grows. A multi elemental festival, not just fire. Like the burn it also has to do with creative expression, free energy, zero point economy and sharing but ultimately with growth. Not just permaculture principles, green things and trees but a completely green festival. Seeding sustainable communities through celebration.
Instead of using scaffolding and metal structures we’ll lattice structures. We’re going to use vine technology to grow a dancefloor dome. One that doesn’t get broken down at the end of the festival but one that continues to grow and eventually we’ll eat fruit from it. Green architecture can spring up all around that, living sculptures, growing sculptures.
The idea is that it’s actually a gathering where you invest your love to come to the festival. Prior to the festival you receive a seed packet with instructions of how to cultivate these trees from sapling. By the time you arrive six months down the line you’ve already grown one or two small trees that you then bring into the festival. You invest time and love into growing what’s essentially part of yourself. So you’re bringing yourself and planting that.
We want to integrate all the elements. The burn is the masculine, we integrate the feminine by adding water and life. Africa Burn came from America as an offspring of Burning Man, we want to plant this concept in America in return and call it Growing Woman.
Our seed for change: When you feel sad, bad or mad, you need more love, not less. Always send love to your heart. Give more love to yourself so you have more love to give to others.
Maria and Murray
Honestly, becoming a DJ was a huge change,
but shifting my mind to the learning that one doesn’t need to have a day job to survive, that changed my life the most. We can do whatever we want to create that money. We don’t need to worry about ‘the man’, our focus shouldn’t be on working for someone else.
Rather start your own thing, apart from my music I make feather earrings, and jewelry. You only need to earn money to pay your bills, you don’t have to become something like an accountant and take on that whole lifestyle to do that. If you’re an artist, just go out and do what you do best. we live in a time with a lot of freedom, especially here in South Africa. In the trance scene for example you can sell your crafts and be part of our little system within the system.
I believe that anyone can find something that they want to do on their monday morning, not go to their jobs there because they have to. We’re all creative in our own way, I’ve found working with feathers worked for me, others are good with computers or children, others make great food. Do whatever you’re good at. Fuck working for ‘the man’!.
My seed for change? Have courage and believe in yourself. Do what you’re good at and push on, make that change!
Pam / Tune Raider
My biggest change was moving from Eastern Cape to Western Cape.
I left my whole family to go here for a job and stuff like that. Such a solo mission was huge for me. I needed to be on my own for a bit, there’s to many drama going on in the Eastern Cape. So I thought “I love you guys but I’m going to move now, I need to be on my own energy for a while”.
To be personal, I’m more independent now then I was ever before. I used to always ask for help with a lot of things. Now I take care of all the little things myself.
My seed for change? Think about what you really want first before you listen to other people’s advice. Your choices will influence you more than anyone else.
The biggest change for me started in 2012 when during the whole end of the world situation,
I was on table mountain that day. Then and there was the first time I meditated and the day I started my yoga practice. I’ve been a vegetarian since two years, actually inspired by my dad who used to be a huge meat eater, he used to braai everyday. For him to go vegetarian was an inspiration for me to do that as well.
I started my Yoga practice that day on the mountain and from there I’ve been carrying on with it. It has brought a lot of peace for me, I’ve learned to be in the Now. I don’t live tomorrow or yesterday, just now and that’s incredible. This doesn’t happen only during meditation or yoga while being stationary, it’s also when I’m moving, wherever I am. During kitesurfing, reiki, music or Kung Fu
My seed for change: Have faith, trust that everything happens in pure perfection. It’s beautiful regardless of the outcome
Four years ago, a friend of us took us to a rock festival.
We ended up finding the trance tent much more interesting than the rock shows. We liked it so much that we decided to go to our first trance party, Vortex. We were hooked, we were sold. From there we haven’t missed parties, we try to go to all of them. Lately we try to go to not go to all of them because there so many.
I was very young when I started working in the corporate business. I always had older people working for me and I was business women of the year twice! Going from the NG church, where tattoos and long hair are a big no, no. To being part of the trance scene, is a big thing but for us this feels more like a church then anything else. You could say I went from businesswomen of the year to hippie woman of the year.
I call myself a soul grower. The universe provided me with the knowledge that I’m a tool, a big tool in the whole spectrum of life. This to me is more rewarding than any money from corporate life will ever be. Some people ask me how do you get payed from this. But you know, the universe provides me with anything I need. I don’t grow the souls, the universe does the work and I’m just working with it.
My seed for change: Stop listening to what people tell you to do. Feel what you want to do and do it, make the change. If you get goosebumps from it, that’s what you should be doing
When a man has too much money he loses his connection to God.
I’ve always been a religious man, but for a while I got distracted by life. Living on the streets has strengthened my relationship with Him.
I came home one day to find my nextdoor neighbor on top of my wife, that’s when my whole life turned upside down. In my anger I shot into the mattress twice with the firearm I carried for work. I was released from prison after six months. Now I catch fish every day to eat, I don’t need much to be satisfied.
My seed for change? Faith small as a mustard seed can move a whole mountain!
I retired about twelve years ago at the age of fiftyfive.
After years of hard work in the family plumbing business I’d had enough. I’ve got no debt, I don’t owe anybody anything. Whatever we own is ours, we worked hard for it and it payed off.
With all the free time we have now, we look after a local park as our retirement project. We do it voluntarily and don’t ask any money for it, my wife and myself love garden work. To say thanks, the major took us out for supper twice already. It was lovely but the only thing I didn’t like was that is was all in black tie. I felt a bit out of place there, I love wearing my shorts.
My seed for change? I won’t say go with the flow, because I don’t always agree with the flow here in South Africa. Money is not everything.
The biggest change for me was the day I could overcome sex.
I used to be a pastor and as a pastor I wasn’t happily married. I would constantly look at other women and subconsciously feel that there was a sexual connection to them. I didn’t feel clean about these feelings.
The other pastors I know don’t talk about this. If you’re happily married it’s fine but a lot of them aren’t and they’re not allowed divorce because then they’ll go to hell, that’s the church philosophy.
After my divorces I would go into relationship after relationship and breakup after breakup. I attracted all these broken people, thousands of them.
Then after an ayahuasca ceremony last Christmas, combined with some deep conversations and insights I’ve been completely released of these feelings. I thought it was impossible, I thought that men will always be men.
Since then I’ve had no perverse thought, no pornography, nothing. I have three lady friends at the moment. Even if we drink some beers and go dancing, its completely cool. All of a sudden I’m okay with not having sex, which always seemed impossible.
It brought me release. If I would find a wife now she would be an add-on to my life because I’m completely okay with myself, it’s no longer a must.
My seed for change? Try to discover the non religious spirituality of love. We are spirit and spirit is love, it’s God an the place that we come from. To seek for god is to seek for yourself.
My aggression is the thing that’s changed the most.
I was a very aggressive youngster, a hooligan. I never started fights but I always finished them.
Back then I was a miner, prospecting for diamonds. That’s a wild life, all you do is drink, there’s nothing else to do. And because there are no women, you fight.
Then I calmed down and took on a more pagan, wiccan way of life. I’m probably one of the oldest pagans in South Africa. I married in ‘66 but only calmed down by ‘74. I guess because I’d matured a bit by then and I’m sure the hippy era with their ‘Make love, not war’ had a lot to do with it.
I live a calm peaceful and happy life now, I don’t have to get cross and aggressive anymore and have a great love for people.
My seed for change: Come visit Uncle John and let him talk.
For me it all started when I had an experience with something called holotropic breathwork,
it shifted my perception of the inner worlds I never knew were possible. Before that my life was a lot more external, my life was outside of myself. Once I discovered there were worlds inside, I started to shift my awareness and my consiousness towards that.
I was reading about neo shamanism by Stanislaf Groff and I read that after LSD pschychotherapy was made illegal, he shifted his research into this breathwork. It didn’t make much sense to me, how could they replace such a strong chemical with breathing?
I started researching and one day I found that they were doing trainings in Mexico, close to my parents house. I decided to go there and the results were enormous. In a way it has taken me to where I am now, it has permitted my profession as a transpersonal psychologist.
Having a glimpse of the mysteries of life and death is a reward on it’s own. Shifting from a normal daily life into a life that is more connected to nature and God has been a school of wisdom. I feel calmer and healthier than ever before, I believe in God now. Well, not believe, I know God now, I don’t have to believe in him. There is abundance and happiness in my life.
We are now in another big transition in life right now. We are uprooting our family home to pursue more depth into these inner worlds. We’re moving to Peru for at least two years.
My seed for change is: Don’t be afraid and start changing yourself by looking inside. It is like alchemy, you transmute yourself. You try to free yourself from the energies that you’re a slave of and try to cultivate the energies that are constructive to you. If you do this your whole world will change around you.
Leaving my country, my home behind and totally immersing into another culture is definitely the biggest change I’ve made so far.
By joining the Peace Corps me and my husband came all the way from Tennesee, USA to Swaziland. We had to Google it to find out it’s this little kingdom between South Africa and Mozambique when we got the assignment.
It seemed like an easy choice at the time. Live in another country, make yourself useful, learn another language, save humanity. It all sounded great! Actually getting there, achieving the changes I wanted to see was a journey I’d never imagined and it’s still happening.
My perspective has changed so much by being here, I’ve learned what Africa really is as opposed to what I’m being told about Africa by watching TV. Being here gave me room to examine my beliefs, it changed the way I think of people and how to treat them.
My seed for change would be: Take the opportunities when they arise. They don’t come by every day and sometimes they don’t even look like opportunities from the outside.
The biggest change within myself is that I’m not being so judgemental anymore when I look out on life and what I see there.
I understand now that all individuals see life from a completely different perspective, that’s why they all act so differently. They live in different realities based on what they’ve gone through in life.
The biggest change for me is becoming a person who is more open and accepting of how people live their life instead of being of a judgemental character, which I used to be. I think that came about through the church environment to be honest. It was always about what was right or wrong, whereas I now realize that there is no right or wrong in life.
I heard people say one thing and do the complete opposite all the time and that got me thinking. To see the bigger picture I had to get out of the place where I was to look at things from a different perspective. I had to go back to the foundation and build my view back up from there.
It brought me freedom and peace. The process didn’t go overnight, it took a lot of self-awareness to stop myself whenever I would catch myself thinking judgemental thoughts.
My seed for change? In order to make a change one has to get to a point where he no longer looks outside of himself but starts looking within. Don’t rely on another person to give an answer or salvation of any kind. Look within, you’ll find the answers there.
I started my study to become a midwife at the age of 27.
This was a complete change of direction, as I had already finished my study anthropology. After highschool I chose something that had my interest, like travel and different cultures. After my graduation I just didn’t really want to do much with it.
During my study I was already working in the smartshop here in Utrecht and I continued doing this. After a year on a farm I returned with the idea of starting a smoothie bar and became managing director of the shop. Although I enjoyed all of this a lot I felt my brain was longing for something more challenging.
My current partner was the one who stimulated me into thinking deeply about what I would really like to do in the long run. All I could feel where obstacles, it would be expensive and a hassle to start another study. Thanks to him I finally came out and admitted that deep inside I wanted to become a midwife.
After some research and planning I started my study in september. Because no one in my environment did anything medical, it took a long time for me to grow the realisation that this is what I want to do.
My seed for change? If something is way out of your frame of reference, but you secretly feel inside that you want to do it anyway, it’s important to look into it anyway. It might just be your next big thing.
The biggest change is the realisation that if you take responsibility and stand by your ideas, you can actually achieve big results and creative force.
When you talk about making a change, you talk about actively taking control over your situation, I think realising that possibility is the biggest change one can make in their life. There are some things we can influence in life that are worth focussing on, others are out of our control and are better accepted.
I used to always have loads of ideas about how things should be done, about organisation and how people co-create. I stayed on the sideline with my ideas for a long time, until I realised that if I wanted things to happen in a certain way, it would be up to me to make them happen. From that moment on I started creating the way I do now, by bringing people together and trying to be the spark that encourages people.
As soon as you have a plan you can start by getting people on board, that’s also how our musical collective Knalland started. Often it’s as simple as picking up the phone and making a few calls. Along the way a few others joined in and before we knew it we were on the tv talk show DWDD.
My seed for change? Find your inspiration in the wonderment of the little things around you.
When I became seriously ill, that’s when I really started listening to my own instincts.
My gut feeling told me that my diagnosis, and the second opinion, were both wrong. The third examination confirmed me that my gut was right. If I would have gone with the first diagnose, I would have had a wrong surgery and I might not have lived to tell this story.
After the surgery I decided to follow my heart and start for myself as a social entrepreneur, documentary maker and TV host. This is now three and a half years ago and in that time I have grown to become a real ambassador for the neighbourhood Kanaleneiland.
I have never in my life been so close to my own true being as I am today. Back in the days I found it difficult to truly be myself. As the only dark girl in most of my schools I found the ignorant questions annoying and tiring. I now realise that often I presented myself different than I really felt. Being your true self is so important, it’s something I try to teach my children every day.
My seed for change? Follow your heart. Sometimes you might be afraid that you will hurt people by being who you really are. In the end you will hurt yourself more than those others by pretending to be something you’re not.
Starting my own business is the best thing I’ve done. Not workin for a boss or a chef anymore is such a relief.
It all happened with a bit of luck and me daring to take the big jump. That’s now about five years ago.
I give Djembe lessons and workshops, I sell them and do repairs. Almost everything there is possible with a drum really. The Djembe has been my savior, in a way.
My seed for change? If you think you can do it, you should at least try it. You can always go back to doing whatever you did before.
The passing away of my sister, and the birth of my daughter, have substantially changed me as a person.
It transformed the way I look at life, I value things differently now. Even though I have lost my sister, I also gained through the experience of losing. There is always something that develops.
When my daughter was born and I walked in the streets I found it absurd that all the other people were still going about their daily business, didn’t they realise what had happened? After some time you get used to these feelings and you start to fall back into the trivial stuff. It is so important to bring back that special feeling once in a while, that is what life is about.
My seed for change? Stay close to your emotions when life gets difficult and don’t chase distraction too much. If you focus on your process you will resurface stronger and more developed.
To accept my fear as a part of myself, that must’ve been the biggest change.
I’ve gone through two periods where I stayed at home for a year because of depression, I was even hospitalized for a while to try and cope with all the fear and anxiety I was feeling.
The first time I was treated with traditional medicine, but that didn’t take away the core of the problem. The second time I walked the alternative path and was treated with body-oriented psychotherapy and mindfulness training. My body was reconnected with my mind and the physical practice released deep feelings.
When you fight your own fear, that same fear grows bigger and bigger. Accepting death as a part of life was an important step for me. As an answer to my fears I asked myself: ‘What’s the worst that could happen?’. When I got that death is the worst that could happen, I had to work on not being afraid of it anymore.
My seed for change? Accept all the emotions that arise in you, but be very critical, not all of them are equally genuine. Feelings are always good and shouldn’t be pushed aside but also should never just be accepted as reality.
Around my thirtieth a whole world opened up for me, one I previously didn’t know existed, when I started choosing for myself.
As a biologist with a PhD I had always found myself in an environment where study was of great importance but I had never felt that I was living the life of my choice. I then ended a long relationship and made the decision to travel, to reinvent myself and answer the question: ‘Why am I here.’
This eventually spawned our companies ‘Mountain Child Care’ in Nepal and its sister ‘My Quest’ in The Netherlands. These aim at young people, helping them to make life choices for their future, like I had to do then. We guide them in finding their core values and their true essence.
My partner and I give great importance to making our decisions the way we want them, not the way society tells us to. A good example of this is that we walked the Camino de Santiago with our nine months old daughter. This sparked something beautiful in the people who thought this was not what should be done with a baby. It is important not to let fear guide you, for me this entails that I choose not to follow the news.
My seed for change? Start with finding out who you are. You probably already know what you like and what gives you energy. Take that seriously, follow the way your energy flows instead of repeating dead ends.
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