I stumbled upon this beautiful artwork by Aristotle Roufanis, titled ‘Alone together’. This image struck me so deeply. Vulnerable. Fragile.
‘Alone together’ is a paradox. A paradox that is a reality for most, if not all of us. Certainly in death, together, we are all alone. As depressing as this may sound, this is in fact an opportunity for ‘hartelijkheid’. Directly translated from Dutch it means ‘heartiness.’
Heartiness – (noun) active strength of body or mind. Synonyms : dynamism , vigor , vigour. (noun) the quality of hearty sincerity. Synonyms : wholeheartedness.
I had been given a tip by Ronald to read the book ‘Hartcore’. During the Christmas break I found some time to finally sit down and read it. This little gem is a powerful book striving for more ‘hartelijkheid’ in the world. For oneself as well as for fellow human beings.
The author, Geertje Couwenbergh, repeats this mantra throughout the book:
Moge jij gelukkig zijn (may you be happy)
Moge je gezond zijn (may you be healthy)
Moge je vrede kennen (may you know joy)
Moge je vreugde kennen (may you know peace)
Moge je vrij zijn van lijden (may you be free from suffering)
Moge je vrij zijn van stress (may you be free from stress)
Moge je vrij zijn van fysieke pijn (may you be free from physical pain)
Moge je vrij zijn van geestelijke pijn (may you be free from mental pain)
As difficult as it may be to wish this mantra upon the guy who cut you off on the highway and gave you the finger – how amazing would it be if everyone took the few seconds between action and reaction to recite it and most importantly, mean it?
Our primal urge to view strangers as some form of potential threat and with disconnect is what amplifies the ‘alone together’ syndrome.
I’m going to try to take a moment each day to repeat this mantra for myself –because we are also often so hard on ourselves – and for others. Will you join me?