Multi-Disciplinary Artist & Futures Designer

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Let's make reality real again

Why I choose to open up and share the bumpy ride of life

Zephyr INS 6

Shepherd Lad KY 216

I would love to hide myself behind anything I do. But I really can't. I'm naked.

I have been throwing away many pairs of old shoes in the past years. I have gone through failures and feelings of guilt, grief and depression to finally realize the influence of my inner peace on my outer success. I'm 29 now, and I feel like failing every day. I started a business when I was 23 and became a master of pretenses. Pitching became my language, traction data determined my self-value. Prizes and awards scattered around the web and made me feel like a VIP. But under the veil of outside success my life was empty. The vision I sent out to the world became my identity.

I could hide behind it and let it serve as a wall to cover my broken self-esteem. Until it burned me down. I felt imprisoned by the identity I created for myself and didn't see a way out but to sell my business and fly into the world. That what I left was not who I was, and I knew it. I failed and my identity died. But really, I knew there was more to life and was prepared to give up everything to find out what it was.

As a child me and my dad watched 'Keeping up Appearances' on BBC together. Harriet Bucket loved to show off with beauty that wasn't real. As many shimmering cups of tea and fluffy cakes she served her guests, it was clear that all of that was unreal. I could laugh about it, even feel a slight bit of compassion for the transparency of her apparent failure to make of life what she had set out to do. Everything that was left to see was a result of her control to disguise her losses.

Failing feels like drowning in your own eye - realizing you have never known a deeper truth than this fading reality.

Laconic, 1987

Failure and success are sides of the same coin

This is how I see our world now. A constant repetition of seeming success that eventually dies into failure. We live in a world of pretenses. Everything beautiful around us is merely the ugly in disguise, and vice versa. I love beauty. I love beautiful design. I love to buy beauty. I love to be beauty. And yet what I really crave is the real, the raw, the pure and the honest. I crave the purposeful and the meaningful. And I find out that is the hardest thing to find, also in myself. Even though I make personal growth my priority, I each day find out that everything I thought about myself is untrue. Who am I? Is the only question I can ask myself every second to get a new answer. I'm not what I thought I was yesterday. The only thing I know is that I have to learn how to live in a constant embrace with failure and constantly update my perception to see beauty in everything.

Embracing failure seems to be the only way forward. Life appears to be a process of constant trial and error.

Failing forward - imagining UTOPIA - art by Wenzel Hablik - Crystal Utopias

What's left to admire? Just the courage to keep trying

Last year I spent thousands of euros on workshops, coaches and therapies to find out who I am. The year before that I travelled around the world solo to answer the same question. I twisted out my soul and my wallet to get a mirror of my deepest fears and desires. It helped and still, I was unsure. Above all I experienced how unreal life can become if you're not in this world, but you're floating above it. If your head is in the clouds exploring all mystical traditions and alternative medicines out there, visiting healers and expanding your awareness in the non-dual realms of cosmic truth. It becomes lucid and multi-dimensional. But most of all the real world becomes a scary swampy marsh.

As I walked this inner path, I came to find out that being a bliss junkie doesn't fulfill me. Eating twenty raw chocolate balls in a row on some spacy raw food festival isn't going to make me happy long-term, only nauseous now. What is truly fulfilling is to express myself as a human and connect from there with other humans. To add depth to my relationships and to live in honesty and truth. To embrace resistance as it comes up and to trust there's something beyond my deepest fears and those of others.

To work with others on making beautiful things, failing forward, without losing ourselves in the process, that gives me meaning.

A revolution of making reality real again

I'm sick and tired of keeping up appearances and giving myself fancy titles to impress people. But as my most recent coach told me: people like to believe in bullshit, you need to have a vision. A vision that is bold and mentally challenging, so that it becomes aspiring as it seems far-out and thus interesting.

So this is my vision: let's make reality real again

You say you want a revolution / Well, you know / We all want to change the world… But when you talk about destruction / Don’t you know that you can count me out… If you want money for people with minds that hate / All I can tell you is brother you have to wait.

- The Beatles

Whilst Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was erecting the pillars of nonviolence on the other side of the world, the Beatles sang about the same revolution of love. Now, almost fifty years later, this revolution seems further away than ever. However patiently the tone of their voices, the guys must be disappointed about our progress. It appears as if we’re collectively floating about in cubicles, bored, sick and breathless, not of beauty but of disappointment. Through the loophole of our modern crises, ranging from the devastation of our planet to daunting financial inequality and the decay of our democracy, the question that remains is: what is still real anyway?

We have some idea about reality which is not quite true. Without having anything whatever against Cadillacs, refrigerators or all the paraphernalia of American life, I yet suspect that there is something much more important and much more real which produces the Cadillac, refrigerator, atom bomb, and what produces it, after all, is something which we don’t seem to want to look at, and that is the person.

- James Baldwin

As Baldwin's clarion call for the individual's role in societal change says: these times offer an opportunity for us that is greater than ever. In the darkness we recognize the monster that we have created. Our shadow side now has a face and a name, and it suddenly finds itself very vulnerable in the open. If power is in the hands of forces we don’t desire, we can feed our counter action on the waves of our resistance. And beyond that, we clearly see the space we can fill with our light, our talents, our accumulated knowledge and experience, to let our resistance vanish and be empowered to make a change. But most of all, we finally stand together. As brothers and sisters we are breathing under the same sky, sharing the same joy that makes us live and die. It is in these times that we seem to be looking at the world through the eyes of one soul that chooses to see a crack in everything and follow the light. Maybe for the first time since ages, we feel united as one people with one point of direction.

This is what we call a revolution, an evolution that is reuniting in its nature, one that is giving us the opportunity to dissolve the separation in and between us and work towards a common goal. That goal is the journey of obtaining happiness, freedom, abundance and peace for all. It is a journey of acceptance of reality as it is, and that directly makes it real again.

As it should lead us to a point in time that opens the door to a world without restrictions, without the limitations that we have unknowingly set for ourselves. And that point is already contained in the NOW. Getting real about what is and act from there, this is all we have.

So, what's your role in this?

First a warning: this vision is not leading us anywhere. It doesn't give us the support we may find in mental frameworks of working towards a point in the future. It requires us to be bold and reckless, starting now. To be the catalyst for cultural change we are. It invites you and me to be non-conformists, to lose our vested interest in the status quo and perceive only opportunity with continuous curiosity. It invites us to be bold in our dreams, yet be humble and take incremental steps towards progress that makes things better than they were and includes our common purpose. This is the Hummingbird effect that Steven Johnson famously invented, referring to the charm of the one bird that seems to be both bold in its beauty and humble in its nature.

This means we have to unlearn our conditioning and tune into our intuition to guide our every step. To ask our deepest intentions to come to the surface and anchor them in our bodies. We are creating a collective I, or as Harold Rosenberg says, a herd of independent minds, who hold the power to transform reality because they are detached enough to express themselves without boundaries and come up with the technologies that give us a greater sense of humanity.

True innovators throughout the ages have downloaded blueprints of products and systems lightyears ahead of the rest of society. We have always considered them as superhumans, but what if we could become as connected to the future as them? We could innovate to give people an experience of our collective deepest intentions, a sense of the superhuman potential in us, right here, right now. We slowly forget what we know, and we start to become conscious of our constant failure and endless limitations. But, as Nicholas Tesla, one of the greatest inventors of all times told us, this is how it goes. This is how life looks when it gets real. And it is in our own hands to be part of this.


"It is paradoxical, yet true, to say, that the more we know, the more ignorant we become in the absolute sense, for it is only through enlightenment that we become conscious of our limitations. Precisely one of the most gratifying results of intellectual evolution is the continuous opening up of new and greater prospects."

- Nicholas Tesla

Lisanne Buik, 2018
1015HC, Amsterdam, The Netherlands