The possibility of experiencing ancient wisdom as meditation-in action-and with a modern medium, expressing the sacredness of life and ordinary beauty as poetic art beyond the cultural parameters of the wisdom of Tibetan Buddhism and Shambhala Buddhism with the modern discipline of photography just made my heart jump of joy!
As a child I had a boundless curiosity about who and what I really am. Around the age of 8 I often wondered why I am 'me' and not someone else. I tried consciously and with great effort to put myself in someone else's shoes, like my mother, classmate, girl next door ;-)
I was an active child, running a lot, climbing the tallest trees, bringing in found animals from the forest and immersed myself in reading, crafts and children's movies. Playing outside with other children was my favorite thing to do: playing marbles and getting really good, playing soccer and getting good at this, running up against walls and getting good at this, and wearing out a pair of roller skates every year.
Being very good at something had my interest early on, I practiced endlessly and enjoyed the progress, the discovery of endless possibilities and the repetition.
In perfect timing I bumped into the Dharma Art teachings of Chögyam Trungpa, and I entered through participating in a Dharma Art workshop in the Shambhala Center Leiden, in the Netherlands in 1997 and consecutively a few more more. Subsequently I started practicing sitting meditation and studying the Shambhala teachings and Tibetan Buddhism. In 2000 I met my Dharma teacher Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, and a week after a retreat and a personal interview, a traffic accident brought an abrupt stop and a major life change.
My recovery was accompanied by participating in multiple contemplative arts, deepening my meditation and immersing in-depth into the studies of Shambhala Buddhism, while relaxing, awakening and healing. I studied with Tibetan meditation teachers and senior students of Chögyam Trungpa in various disciplines of contemplative arts in the Netherlands, France, the US and Canada. In the following years I lived and worked in Shambhala Buddhist centers in France and the US, serving in the following positions: office manager, Head of Office, assistant to Director of Arts at The Great Stupa of Dharmakaya and being a cook, at Shambhala Mountain Center.
After a semi-professional career in speed skating on the ice (allround speed skating) until my twentieth, I studied photography and sculpture for 2.5 years at the Hogeschool voor de Kunsten in Utrecht, Netherlands, and did an intern with sculptor/architect Dries Kreijkamp for a year. From here I developed myself as a self-taught artist and worked on 3D-installations, photo works and various art projects.
Over the years, my dissatisfaction about my artistic development and opportunities within contemporary art grew, and at the same time the need for deepening a meaningful life grew.
Through a 'coincidental' overheard conversation about Dharma Art at my first time visiting the Shambhala Center Amsterdam, a new chapter started: I signed up for a Dharma Art program, and consecutively immersed myself in a series of Dharma Art programs. Through the exercises and the mixture of the playful and serious approach on direct perception and being fully present in the moment I experienced meaningful experiences. I rediscovered my (childlike) joy. This also turned my life upside down for a while, as this new approach on art and the creative process brought forth a mixture of discomfort, feeling excited and inspired.