It was a Saturday morning, I just taught my Yoga Dance class in Amsterdam. After the class, while enjoying a hot tea, Willemijn Welten from House of Awareness asked me where it all began… . How and when I started my journey into self-development, dance, and energy work. And this is the short version of my answer. While writing I found out that it has a lot to do with self-love….
The original post was published in Dutch on House of Awareness.
I was 17 when I got accepted at the Theatre Acadamy. I was young and had zero experience in acting. Still, I managed to pass the auditions. A whole new world opened up for me.
At the theater academy in ‘the big city,’ I was asked to use my talents I had put away with care.
Suddenly I was encouraged to use my imagination, to move my body freely and to honor my emotions and express them.
It wasn’t easy. I ran into a lot of blockages and walls.
And I was determined to break the walls. It was the beginning of my path.
After 4 years of acting, 4 Years of dancing
After four years of theater, I wasn’t done yet; I discovered while playing that I wanted to dance and move. And at the age of 23, I attended the Dance Academy in Amsterdam. Old for a dancer, full of ambition, I dedicated myself to contemporary dance, choreography and classical ballet. After that, I started my own dance company; L’amove Danscompany.
I added yoga and meditation to my practices. I took lessons Qigong and Tai Chi Chuan. I noticed that the spiritual practices helped me to be a better dancer, a better artist.
An unexpected change
I was happily working with my dance company. We danced across the country, and beyond, we toured through Mexico and Singapore. We got our own rehearsal space in a theater in Amsterdam. Meantime I lived with my boyfriend in a gorgeous apartment at the canals of Amsterdam. Everything seemed to fall into place.
Everything turned out differently. My boyfriend broke up with me, and it hit me hard. It was the moment where I thought that I exactly knew where I came from and what my destination was.
Suddenly I was alone in my beautiful apartment I felt that I wasn’t really happy. I could barely bear energy to do my work, or to write creative proposals, as I had always done with so much inspiration.
I found out that bottom line, I didn’t know how to live with myself. I realized that I was missing a key element: self-love. And I decided to find out how to fill that gap.
A month Bali…
It seemed like a good idea to go on a holiday. I planned a Tai Chi Chuan training in Malaysia, and after that, I booked a ticket to Bali. Bali was good to me; I rested, slept and got massages. I got an offer to be a dance and yoga teacher in one of the yoga schools in Ubud.
I liked Bali so much that I stayed almost for two and a half years. I returned to the Netherlands to dance my perforamces, but after that, I kept going back to Bali. There I taught yoga, Qigong and Contemporary Dance lessons. I flew once per month to Singapore to teach dancing lessons at T.H.E Dance Company.
‘It all starts with me’, and what that truly means
In the years in Bali, I immersed myself in yoga, healing, massages, and self-care. And I experienced that how I felt, affected the world.
It’s a cliché, but so true; if you don’t love yourself, there is no foundation. When my world collapsed, I discovered how hard it was to live with myself. . And that was exactly the lesson I wanted to learn.
I’ve learned what true self-love is and why it is the foundation of everything. And not unimportant: What the way is to return to love and flow when I lost track of the situation. And for me is it via the body – out of the head and into the body.
And continuing the path of self-development, I became not only a better dancer, choreographer, and teacher, but the most important thing is; I removed the layers of protection. I became a better Relinde, a better version of myself. That’s what it is about eventually. That translates in every aspect of my life.
This is how I translate these insights in my teachings
In the classes and sessions I teach, I see the same development. I followed a lot of different methods and now I make my own mix of it. For example, I teach yoga dance, where I combine modern dance with yoga. And within I process all different kinds of somatic technics and energizing principles from Qigong. Everything seems falls into place again. I enjoy the freedom to teach lessons in different kinds of ‘arts’ (dance, theater, yoga, Tai Chi) and also connect them, bring them together.
As a rule of thumb, I want to pass on what I experienced myself, where I had an embodied experience. Not from a book, or because someone else said that. But I experienced it and I can share the way to it.
Self-love isn’t a cliché
Recently a student told me after my lesson: ‘You know, I always read in magazines about self-love etcetera, and then it sounds like a cliché. I always wondered what she meant. But in your lessons, I experience it: self-love. That’s true your lesson go before me.’
And that was when I knew it: this is what I must do. Even without mentioning it in my lessons, she’d experienced what I found for myself: self-love. And what is more beautiful than giving the world a way to find love, self-love, appreciation, and compassion.