Together with Din van Helden, my friend and colleague, we started to collect and write about ‘connectedness’. We are inspired and connected by our shared love for learning and nature. Together we wrote in 2014 an article in Tijdschrift voor on Learning through nature – nature as cathalyst for learning (available at Here are two of my other collections of connectedness.

Going out, is really going in.
John Muir

I am reading ‘The wilderness world of John Muir’. I actually shouldn’t, because it’s better to be in the wilderness than to read about it. John himself said to a friend who helped him with his last book: “To get these glorious works of God into yourself – that’s the thing; not to write about them”. And I agree; being outside in as-wild-as-possible-nature is perfect for connectedness.

John Muir loved wild places. He devoted years of his life to wandering around the untamed American wilderness and documenting its splendor in his writing. He is remembered as one of the foremost defenders of American natural heritage. With his family, Muir immigrated to the United States from Scotland in 1849. He had always loved to tinker with tools and inventions, so he enrolled in the state university to pursue mechanical engineering. He soon felt called to ‘study the inventions of God’, so he left college to devote himself to the appreciation of nature. He became a tireless defender of nature and natural resources and the father of the national park system.

Wilderness can bring you in connection. No longer undiffused, separate and rigidly alone like marbles of polished stone, touching but separate, but in divine harmony. “Only by going alone in the silence, without bagage, can one truly get into the heart of the wilderness. When one is alone at night in the depths of these woods, the stillness is at once awful and sublime. Every leaf seems to speak (p.314).”

I love how he followed his calling and by doing so became a blessing for so many who can enjoy wilderness in the national parks of America. It’s inspiring to me how he felt richer than the railroad magnate Harriman: “I have all the money I want and he hasn’t.” You’re rich when you get to be in forests and mountains and see them as the temple. His approach to all nature was worshipful. He saw everything evolving yet everything the direct handiwork of God.

His message for us is to ‘Let children walk with Nature, let them see the beautiful blendings and communions of death and life, their joyous inseparable unity, as taught in woods and meadows, plains and mountains and streams of our blessed star and they will learn that death is stingless indeed, and as beautiful as life, and that the grave has no victory, for it never fights. All is divine harmony p.90.

“Ok kids, let’s go out, we’re going in. Sure you can take the dog Tommie with you.”


Connectedness in your tree of life

In my training to become an Outdoor LifeCoach, I was introduced to Peter Krijger’s LifeDesign, a book on how to design or restyle aspects of your life in accordance to your soul desires. Soul desires last your whole life and make you happy and enthusiast, every time they come up in your mind.
Krijger is LifeCoach and founder of the Atma Instituut in The Netherlands that since 1989 facilitates training and education. Inspired by the Kelts among others, he uses the symbol of a tree of life to represent different areas in your life. Working with the tree facilitates the discovery of desires and needs and how to make them come about.
I like to work with the tree of life to discover how the different areas in my life are connected and balanced. It’s important to me that my soul desires can come about in every part of my life and moreover, that Gods love and energy can freely flow and bless all spheres of my life.

The tree of life can be divided into four spheres from which four different desires sprout. The interpersonal sphere is our inner relatedness; the area of emotions and mental or physical being. It is symbolized by the roots, the stem and the first branches and leaves and refers to desires of individual well being.

The interpersonal sphere is our external relatedness with others and symbolizes the branches and leaves in the midst of the tree.  On the one side the private sphere and on the other hand the societal sphere. From the private sphere desires like a loving family stem and from the societal sphere people long for a good job, a successful business and appropriate challenges.

The last sphere is the transpersonal sphere. It’s the area of vision, intuition, spirituality visualized by the branches and the leaves on top. From this sphere people search for answers to questions like how can I use my intuitive and creative abilities more and what is the purpose of my life?

Krijger mentions that the spheres are somewhat overlapping each other, just like with trees. There is no seamless separation between the different spheres.
To live a fulfilled, happy and healthy life the spheres should be balanced, otherwise your tree will fall down when the storm comes.That means you have to listen to your natural soul desires that call from the different spheres.
I believe there’s even more to it. Spheres can be highly balanced and strong if I make sure to stay connected to the stream of Gods love and energy that makes me come alive every single day.