If you ask my family and friends they will pretty much agree that I am a positive person. I prefer the sunny side of the street, focus on what I like about a person and preferably wear my pink shades. But there is another side to me that comes out now and then and can feel overwhelming.
You see, injustice in any shape or form has me fuming within minutes. Stupidity, thoughtless response, repeating other people’s opinions without giving them a second thought is on top of my frustrations list. Ignorance on social media, people joining in discussions that only contribute to division and hatred, drawing simplistic conclusions without wanting to know the story behind the news. At times I question superficiality and usually get as a response that they don’t care or have time to look beyond what they see. A black and white vision is apparently easier to uphold, to defend and to share.

The sad thing is that we live in a system of political world order which is fortified by simplistic thinking. Bij division. By just accepting things as they are. By not questioning the underlying flaws in our food system, in our sick care, our assumption that economic growth is the only way forward. By not addressing the need for preventing rather than curing economic, social and personal imbalance. By not contributing to solutions which are for the general good.

Why? Because the financial returns of the real structural solutions are, well, let’s say they are not as lucrative. We live in an economy which thrives on oil leaks, war and on sickness. How is that for a wake up call? I know, I couldn’t get my head around this either and it almost breaks my heart.

Almost. Because I also know there is an increasing movement of people Changing the Conversation and making a difference. Thousands of small movements started by people with an idea, a vision of how we can live meaningful lives. Of spreading sparks of innovation, creative living and organic farming. They are not demotivated by cynics and system holders. They are committed to walking on the sunny side of the street and inviting others to cross over.

This insight usually sets in after a 20 minute walk. As I wonder at the beauty and the magic of the trees and the grass. The effortless flight of geese in perfect formation. The sun on my face peeking through the clouds. Of the river flowing, no matter what. It reminds me of Joanna Macy’s words in her interview with Joanna Tippett; “if your mother is dying of cancer next door, would you just let her die there on her own??”

In the same way we can’t detach ourselves from the world or from life around us and move into another room. In fact, it is the love for all life that brings out the commitment and passion of joyful living. I would want to spend every precious moment with her and hold her hand, talk, listen to music, laugh, read poetry, eat good food and drink wine. Right until the end.

So that is what I will do.

In the words of the poet Jack Gilbert,“We must have the stubbornness to accept our gladness in the ruthless furnace of this world“.


  • Marina de Boer

    Wellbeing activist, author & teacher

    Marina runs a natural retreat in Malaga, Southern Spain, with her artist partner Paul. It is at Back to La Tierra where they intend to bring together everything that constitutes well being from a permaculture garden, eco conscious choices in everything they offer their guests and yoga and art on site. Marina (1967) was born in The Netherlands but grew up trilingual (Dutch, Spanish, English) in an international environment in Spain. Her University Degree in European Studies initially led to marketing positions at various 5* Hotel Chains such as Marriott International. In 2011 Marina moved back to the Netherlands with her family and started writing columns relating to wellbeing and social change, a selection of which she turned into a book and which was published in 2017. Her writing and workshops inspire people to look at daily choices through a different lens so that life can truly become a reflection of the world you want to live in. Her Soul Flow Yoga is a part of the process as without movement you can't make space. Marina is always searching for the right balance. Curious to go beyond the surface of your idea of wellbeing? Look no further