Essay the relationship between my poetry, my drawings, my way of life and the work of druids in general
Yes, there is a real relationship between my poetry, my drawings and my way of life.
Not as separate aspects of expression of myself. No, it is one expression of my inner deep being as myself. Well, my poetry and my drawings are linked to each other as 2 aspects of one expression of my art as a artist of life arts. Because each poem has its own drawing what is related to one another, actually the drawing and the poem are one. The poems and the drawings are reflections of my inner and outer views on life. On this moment I have written 347 poems and I have draw til now about 270 drawings. But 250 of these poems and drawings are together as one and are collected in 5 books of internet. So do I call them. Each digital book it a pdf.file on my own website www.vredeswens.nl (unfortunately are both only in Dutch). The name is in my mother tongue Dutch and it means a wish of peace.
And there is a true relationship between my arts and the work of druids in general, because my arts are reflections of listening to my inner deep being. And that is an universal druid in the outer world. Later more about it.
Before I can tell you about that close entwined relationship of my expressions of myself to druidry. I have first to explain you 4 things, the first thing is about who I am, the second thing is about when my life started, the third thing is about how I developed from baby, child to adulthood and at last the fourth thing is about how my inner being knocked on the door of my consciousness to open my view to a wider perspective of spirituality and life. And after I have explained this all, then I can come at last to the real essence of my essay.
Well to begin with the first thing, I am Edwin Vanmontfort. Then I go further with the second thing, my life started how every life starts at the moment of birth, our first breath in and breath out. I was born in Hamont a little village in north-eastern Kempen of Belgium, in the year 1971. Because of that I always felt me attracted to the legacy of the 60’s and 70s: Love, Peace and Happiness. Neither that my parents where hippies, not at all nor I was reincarnated from a hippie. My first memory of the 70s will always be the music on the radio that I already listened as a little boy. Because of that I know lots of different kinds of music of all time. And I remember me now that in my early young years when we visited each time one uncle of mine that I always listened there to Lp’s of the Beatles with headphones on my ears.
Now we come to the third thing because of my physical disability my life developed in a different way as a child without a disability. My physical development as an infant was more slowly and different as my contemporaries. I was late with my first moves as crawling and my first steps as walking. When my further evolution as child went still slowly my parents went to a doctor at the hospital. And at an age of 7, they made a muscle biopsy and came to the diagnose of a muscular dystrophy type Becker. This disability includes that each piece of muscle decrease slowly in stages over the years. It actually started with my lower limbs. As a small boy I could walk normally. I walked only slower as the other kids and I stumbled a lot of times over my own feet with many ricked ankles as a result. I remember me that when we had at school gymnastics, I had to sit most of the time on a bench and watch how my classmates did the gym. Maybe because of that a seed was sowed then in my heart of a contemplative, reflective and meditative part of myself. There are 4 moments in my life when my muscular dystrophy decrease in a much quicker way then it was usually. The first time was when I got my first wheelchair at my age of 13, because of the decreasing of my lower limbs. The second time was at my age of 29 when my lung muscle decrease, I could not longer properly breath in and breath out by myself. Because of a heavy pneumonia, they brought me in a high speed ambulance with sirens and flashing lights to the nearest hospital. When I arrived there at the first-aid station not long afterwards I lost my consciousness. It was a scary experience to me, because they ask me there in a direct way if I want to live or not?
At that moment I became confused, because I did not really know what was the question or what was the answer anyway. And what was yes or what was no. I did not want to dead now, I wanted go further with life. And on the same moment, I felt myself turned literally away in a spiral out of my body into a state of unconsciousness. And I awoke at the intensive care in a bed with my parents beside it. In a state of half sleepy and half drowsy with an artificial respiration through my mouth. After 3 weeks the pneumonia was defeated and I got an trachea with artificial respiration. After 7 weeks at the intensive care I could go home again. And I could breath again by myself during the day. During the night I went on the artificial respiration. And also in this period the third decreasing came in a rapid way to my upper-limbs. And the fourth time was when my bladder was decreased at my age of 35.
When you are confronted each time with an immensely decease of your own muscle power your life will tremendously turned around and changed totally. But each time when you got a decreasing period, you go literally through a little hell for yourself and with yourself.
And every time was and is music the force and the energy that helps me through it, mostly with loud rock music of Pearl Jam. Because their music has in each songs a different rhythm sometimes very loud and other times slowly. Always after a few days, I think by myself stop this and accept it, because of the fact that there are more people with more serious disabilities such as blindness or ALS or badly diseases such as cancer and HIV.
And each and every time when my muscular dystrophy got a decreasing attack on me, each and every time I got an adaptation for it. For my dysfunction of my lower limbs I got a wheelchair and some years later an electric wheelchair, for my dysfunction of my longs I got a trachea with artificial respiration, for the dysfunction of my upper-limbs I got a lot of adaptations. For using my computer I have a trackball mouse and a special screen keyboard. For using my daily appliances in my room as such putting on the lights, to answer the telephone and to call with it, putting on the tv, the dvd, the radio and the cd-player I got a sort of big remote controller to handle all these things. And I got an adaptation to read a book without a help of a human hand, because this adaptation can turn the page of my book for me by a simple movement of my chin to a joystick. And for my dysfunction of my bladder, I got a catheter through my belly directly in my bladder.
You may think that all this decreasing and dysfunctions of my disability are not liveable for me, no not at all. I see and experience life in the opposite way, how more my body decrease how more my soul, my spirit, my inner being grows. Actually life becomes more purely and I can focus more to the things they really matter in my life and to the surrounding lives and to live more to the call of my heart .
Nowadays we live as a person with a disability in a good era, because for almost every dysfunction there is an real good useful adaptation, god, goddess, thanks bless for this.
And because of this, we can function normally as a human being in our life and in our community.
My parents give me the same upbringing and changes as my sister and I have had a happy and fine childhood. After I first went to the nursery school in the village where my parents live and then I went to a primary school in the city nearby. At an age of 13, I went abroad during the week to a rehabilitation centre near Maastricht in the southern part of the Netherlands. There I got my secondary school. After I had finished it, I went to another school where I got an education to become a worker at a business administration. Because after all these years of being there, I got me totally integrated in the Dutch society and I had made there lots of friends. And therefore I wanted actually to stay permanent to live in the Netherlands. And the only way to stay there was to get a job. And after I had finished that business administration education successful I got a job, god and goddess thanks bless for it. Because of that job I could stay in the Netherlands. And I moved to another village also near Maastricht. Where I still live now together with 18 other persons with a physical disability, each person has his or her own room there. Here I live now happily for almost 16 years. When I look out of my window I look into the nature, I look to a lot of trees. On the left side there are some silverleaf poplar trees with now in the springtime season, little new coming leafs and catkins on them and on the right side a cherry-tree, where the rain and the wind of yesterday took and blow away all the beautiful white blossoms. Oh just in the air over the fresh green May grass with the dandelion, the buttercups and the daisy flowers. And in front of me, I see all the trees are now covered up with new born leafs. In times of winter you can see trough the naked branches of these trees a bit of a distance forest on a hillside. What is now unseen in the distance by the full leafs of spring. Actually we live on one side at the edge of that wood and on the other side at the edge of our village near fields and meadows and there is also nearby a canal and a river. Because of that, I feel me blessed to live near our Mother Earth.
When we arrive now at the heart of the essay at the close side of Mother Earth. We come at the fourth thing to explain, what is really a heart thing from the middle of ourselves came my spiritual awakening to me from the inside to the outside. I said it before that my inner being knocked on the door of my consciousness. Well, to say it more in a correctly way I meet in the outer world a girl called Joyce. What is now a good friend of mine. When I meet Joyce I had meet never before in my life a person that was so open and so honest to me and about herself and to others. In the beginning we were a blank, empty leaf of a tree for each other but after our first meeting it was not blank and empty anymore. She told me about her difficult youth and her bad non-upbringing of her parents. First I was only listening ears to her, but after awhile we became wholesome talking buddies for one another. We talked each time in turn. She told me something and I was listening or I was talking to her and she was listening to me. Her life was full of mentally scars of her bad past and her spirit was full of survival of life. Therefore she looked different to life and reflected on life. For me I was till then not really aware of the fullness of life. And she actually opened my eyes to a view of a wider perspective of spirituality and life. In that period she was interested in Buddhism and in the 60s en 70s way of life and looked as a real true hippy. We had together lots of deep talks about music, philosophy, religion, spirituality, Buddhism, Hinduism, Love, friendship and the life of ourselves. Before I meet her I knew little or less about spirituality in general. I only knew my background and upbringing as a baptized catholic Christian. I did as child the confirmation rite of initiation, but I did not felt me attracted to the way of life of the Rome catholic institution. Because of these talks with her on a deep level with each other it creates a bond for life. And she became my spiritual sister. After a very intensive time of meeting and seeing one another we split. Lots of time went by. Then we united again with each other. The friendship still exist and now and then we meet each other.
In this period I started a spiritual journey by myself. I remember me now, it was Christmas Eve. I was at home with my parents. Actually on that evening my journey really started because of 2 things. The first thing was because of my dissatisfied belief in the catholic dogmatic belief. I had lots of questions, but catholic believers by themselves know hardly answers by themselves. Only priests knew answers. And that is just the stumbling block. In my point of view everybody, each human being most ask and find answers by themselves.
And the second thing was because of a inner feelings of not becoming cynical of this world. I wanted to stay positive and more connected to the outer and inner world as one. I first read lots of books on Buddhism. And in Buddhism I found a satisfied way that you may ask and answer questions by yourself through experience of life and meditation. When you approach it on this way you really can and do what Buddha himself experienced through his meditation. After I had read books of Tibetan and Zen Buddhism and I did a course in the 3 grades of Reiki without initiation. Then I found surprisingly Jesus back not as a half god, what they made of him. No, I found him more as a human being who listened and acted what his heart gives in. I always believed more as a Christian in Jesus as a person and in the spirit of Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus was a heart listener in a tradition of truly heart listeners such as Buddha, Francis of Assisi, Muhammad, Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., myself and lots of others. And not much time later, when I got back home of my spiritual journey. I made the greatest discovered of my life. I found the spirituality what belongs to me and what had waited all these years to be found by myself. That was Nature and her seasons and Druidism in the way what Obod (The order of bard, ovates and druids) offers in a course of 3 grades in a bardic, a ovatic and a druidic grade. It felt really as coming home in my heart and in the world that surrounds me.
First I always thought that I was a half Native American Indian because of my inner images of Mother Earth and Father Cosmos or Father Sky. But now after all the previous years of bardic and ovatic study I know better. These images actually come from a deep unconscious collective memory of us all as European ones. Because our progenitor roots lay much deeper back in time then you may think. The most people think that Christianity and the Greeks with there great thinkers and philosophers are our ancestors, but actually it goes much further back in time. It goes truly back til the last ice-age about 150.000 years ago. After the ice was melted the level of the sea changed. The water float back til what is now the coast of Belgium and The Netherlands and the North Sea was a fact. When the sea draw back, more and more land came dry. Then came the hunters and collectors from the higher parts of the continent of Europe to the new received and fertile land to hunt and collect. And about 5.000 years ago our hunters and collectors progenitors they gradually changed there nomadic livelihood of hunting and collecting in a livelihood of farming and staying more in villages. So far a little history lesson of our European roots.
Well, now I have explained to you all the 4 things. To remember it was about who I am, about when and where my life started, about how I developed from baby, child to adulthood and at last about how my inner being came in contact with a wider perspective of spirituality and life.
Now we come finally to the essence not only of this essay. But also we come to the essence of my whole being inside and outside. What I early mentioned at the beginning of this essay that my art and life expression is truly druidic of its kind.
Because it is only a true inner thing whether you are a druid or not. And my inner deep self of me says that I’m a druid. In my case an universal druid. That means that I’m not only a druid for Celtic or pagan people. No, I want to be a druid for the whole of mankind. And I’m not only a druid of the Celtic or the pagan spirituality. No, I want to be a druid who gets inspired of all the good things of all the spiritualities of and on Mother Earth.
I live my life connected to the earth with all of her living creations and to the world with all there people on it. In druidry is everything entwine with each other in life and Nature. And so it is with my art and life expression that they are entwined with each other in a close relation with my druidic work as myself as a druid. My poems with the belonging drawings are therefore truly druidic, because on one side of there imagines of Mother Earth or Mother Nature or the goddess of life and the imagines of Father Cosmos or Father Sky or the god of life. The further subjects of my arts are about the wholeness and oneness in life such as the Yin/Yang principle, the sun, the moon and the stars, Love, friendship, lots of trees of course, the close relationship with Nature and not to forget peace.
And on the other side I write a lot of poetry for special human occasions such as births of kids of friends, of acquaintances and of family or the death of dear ones of friends, of acquaintances and of family. At cases of birth, you can express and share your feelings of joy and happiness with the new parents and give them some guidance of where we come from or that we are part of the Nature or, or. At cases of death, you can express and share your feelings of grief and pain with the relatives who stayed behind and give them some guidance of where we go to or that life goes further or, or.
You can say that is the work of druids in general.