Month: March 2014


I’m on a plane to Berlin with a suitcase full of questions. I didn’t pay overweight even though the questions were really heavy.  When I studied veterinary medicine and was treating pets I gauged myself completely irrelevant. I wanted to treat world hunger, not a dog’s flea itch. And then I specialized in livestock parasitology and became a buffalo doctor. And after that I went into the pharma business and brought new medicines to all corners of the planet. Eventually I saw less and less animals of sorts and increasingly more people of sorts. And along the way I solved some of the questions in my bag while adding others to the pile. One specific question posed itself increasingly louder and became increasingly harder to answer.  To stop its nagging and gnawing at me, I decided to travel farther and work harder and meet even more people of sorts. And I met many people who were arguably very important, and then I met many people who were arguably very rich because they had always been arguably so very clever, and then I met arguably happy people. OMG! How arguably  happy these people were and what arguably interesting lives they all had!  Pitiful poor little me! And then I spent sleepless nights and weeks and months trying to be just like them;  I stopped saving the world or anything or whatsoever and focused hard on being very important and having money and happiness and pretending to be oh so clever.

Yet the question lingered.

And here I am sitting on a plane to Berlin. The city where my mother was born on the eve of Crystal night and where my grandfather held her tight,  crouched under the dining table, while bloodthirsty animals of sorts ran havoc in the streets below. And I was thinking how incredibly relevant it was that a grandson would go back there and work and dine and sleep in these very same streets and that a grandson could make his voice be heard in this very same place that had tried so hard to erase us, to deny us, to wipe us from existence.

And two seats away from me  I recognized a young Belgian musician called Stromae, who is famous in my country and well on his way to become famous in the rest of the world too.  And just beside me sat his manager,  Dimitri. They were friendly and easy going fellows and we started talking. So they told me about showbiz and I told them about buffaloes and about pig business and in the end our jobs didn’t seem to be too different.  And we talked about our travels and I had seen more than them but they had been seen more than me. And we talked about our children and I had more than them but they were just starting. And then I thought about Berlin and about my grandfather and I told Dimitri that I was proud of him and proud of  Stromae because they had united Belgians of all races and languages and beliefs. And he thanked me and he brought his hand to his head as if to support an idea that was too heavy for words alone. And suddenly, there it was, leaving his lips and hovering midair between the palm of his hand and his forehead; the question that continued to weigh down my luggage ever since I left school twenty five years ago. Dimitri had almost whispered it, more to himself than to me:” It is all about how to keep the passion!”

And I will continue to travel, searching for relevance and meaning and I will meet people of sorts and new questions will come and some will get solved and most will never. But to know the young and the bright around me sharing this same quest with the same hunger and ambition is just great! It is simply and not at all arguably “Formidable”!

Alors on dance!

Black hole

There are no doors in a black hole

Only nothingness,  blackness and gravity.
It must be very scary to fall into as there is absolutely no way out.
It is like falling into a mirror. Not through it, to the other side of it, but into it, into the inside.

Imagine you would see your friend fall in, reaching out to you while he gets sucked in further, his outstretched arms reaching for your outstretched arms, and all your fingers can touch, is the cold, cold glass.

Black holes scare me much and there are three lessons I’m trying to teach myself so I can steer clear from them.

My first lesson was the hardest but I think I finally have it down! It is “to never chase your shadows”.

The only  useful rear-view mirrors are the ones on a car. Gone is gone, done is done. Cherish the sweet memories and bury the bad ones. The good ones adorn your dreams while the best thing about the bad ones is that they belong to the past.

The second lesson I’m in process of learning right now is “to live from project to project.”

As long as there are new projects to realize there is a future to be had. Yes, I thought I had to build a cathedral so that I would be remembered. Now I understand that even termites are better builders. Their constructions surpass our wildest experiments, we are mere ants compared to them.  Now that I understand that, and I curse myself that it took me this long, I  let you keep your houses and your careers, your titles and your money. I now know that I chased them only for hapiness but that they only bought me comfort. Now I’m going to turn the tables around. I’ll take that bit of comfort I worked so hard for all my life and I’ll use it to to buy me what I really need for my soul: a sun setting over the Marmaris sea, to follow the  condor’s flight over the Golan heights, to greet the giant fish in the blue ocean and to kiss the snowy mountains of the Alps. I haven’t been around much and I am not a great adventurer, I know that, but I feel privileged and grateful for for every chance I get.

Finally, I’m still a long way off but I will learn it, I will learn ” to die a happy man”.

I remember a moment in younger years when I was quite ready. A moment when I realized I had accomplished some childhood dreams. A moment just before the rest of my life caught up with me.
I hurriedly tried to find some new dreams to chase, but what is prepared in  hurry, is mostly shallow and meaningless. At last, I became hungry for real dreams again, and hunger sharpens the mind.

So here I am, on the road again. I have chosen my companions, I have readied my bags, I have mapped the course.
I’m ready and when I die somewhere along this way, I know that I will die a happy man.

Have you never felt it, flying over the snow covered mountain peaks, shining like a thousand suns into the clear blue skies above? Some days are good days to die, even if you live on for another hundred years.

So if you ever walk past big pools of murky water, with surfaces full of dark shadows that mirror nothing but itself;  be weary and stay clear and remember;  there are no doors in a black hole.