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Foto: footsteps in the sand

This was the most shocking experience in the last twenty years for sure. I was sitting on the floor, had just fallen of the stairs and saw my ankle broken. My greatest fear was staring at me: I couldn’t stand up, I couldn’t walk on, I couldn’t run away.

I was in shock, but also I knew this was my challenge and my chance to change forever, to finally go there, go to the deep, changing myself. I’d been longing for it and trying to reach it, to do it, to change myself for so many years. I had no map, no idea of the route, but here it was, into my face. Don’t worry. Be open. Be wise. Do what you have to do.

And so my 100 days of healing tour started.

Icons, I didn’t know anything about them, when I was just eighteen and visited Greece for the first time. I didn’t know anything about Greece, that had just opened up after the dark years. I saw a photo and wanted to go there and so I did. I was a young blond girl and didn’t understand any Greek, but it felt like home. Years later I took lessons to learn to speak and write New Greek.

During the years I visited many places on the mainland and many islands. Going to Greece changed me fundamentally. I lived under a tree on Gavdos for awhile, because by then there was nothing else, except some locals. No tourism and no rooms to rent, nothing there and because of that I loved it. In those days every church, big or small or far away on a mountain top, was open. To my amaze there was always an oillamp burning, when there seemed to be no one around.

Those churches were places of comfort and the only cool spots  after a long walk. I’ve spend many hours in there. Extraordinary acoustics, so I’ve enjoyed singing in those far away places, just on my own, no one listening, except some goats and sheeps.

Fascinating icons & fresco’s

There I found frescos, some were hundreds of years old, faded by the time, and fascinating ikones. I knew I could do it myself and that one day I would learn the technique and do it. I’ve been drawing and painting a lot when I was a child. Some years ago I started lessons in the technique of iconography. Actually this word means icon writing and not icon painting, because pictures where used as writing before we had the alphabeth.

Recently I was in Anilio on Mount Pilion, where we met Dimitrios, who opened the church for us and showed the damage and what was saved after the fire they had in the little church

I like to make stuff; portraits, collages, furniture, clothes, toys and practical stuff. I see it in my mind and find a way to make it. Icons have a tradition of copying, but I see them different and give my own twist to them.

Although I love the art in churches, I’m not a fan of the institute, no matter what religion they practice. I also love to sing (choir) music by composers who where obviously inspired by their spirituality and/or what they believe in.

My own style icons

I’ve been giving icons to my loved ones and then people started to ask me to sell them, which I did as well. After breaking my lankle in 2017, I was forced to sit for weeks and not able to do the work I did, so my focus shifted to painting icons. It’s a blessing!

Singing, I’ve done it since very young. My grandmother sang or whistled a lot and she taught me so many songs, of all kinds, in different languages. And I sang them long before I understood the words.

Singing is just a natural habit and I never paid attention to how I really did it, nor thought it was something special, until my boyfriend told me to do something with that voice. And he arranged lessons for me, when I was about 25 years old. Until now, once in a while I take some lessons.

Singing feels good

I’ve been singing all my life, just because it feels good, to express myself, to entertain, just on my own or for an audience. In choirs, solo, as leadsinger in a band, at home, in the bathroom (of course!), at the beach, in the mountains, in churches, at parties, weddings and funerals. I sing with great joy and love to give it all (whatever it is) in a song.

Raoul Boesten, sing, singing, healthy, it's good for you
Singing with Raoul in a monastery

From August 2015 until the end of May 2019 I sing in Chamber choir Lux, founded by my favorite conductor and friend Raoul. I’ve been participating in many of his choirs and projects since he started his first choir many years ago

Getting used to it

Through the years my neighbours and colleagues got used to it and they have been (positively) commenting on my singing. Many times I’m not even really aware that I am singing, I just do it, often, everywhere, not really consciously.

Health benefits of singing

At first I tried to cancel it, but finally I showed up in a wheelchair in april 2017, just after I had broken my ankle. And although it was weird, I’m happy I did it.

singing, kamerkoorlux.nl, kamerkoor lux den haag, wheelchair, singing in a chair, sitting position when singing

I was well supported by the choir, they took care of me, lifted me up (literally as well, to get me there). It took me a year to stand, walk and feel fit enough to get back to the rehearsals.

After training all muscles, especially on the left part of my body, for months I wasn’t too busy with the fact that vocal cords are muscles as well.

That’s the next thing to do. Get it all back and sing on the level I was used to do. Or better.

It never took so much effort. Now it does, but I appreciate it a lot to be back. I mean, just every Wednesday evening I have the joy to listen to 16 men singing. Or only the sopranos, the tenors, the bass. Or only us. And singing together, improving and playing with the tones and our voices. It’s good!

Just focus on WHAT WORKS, to creation and to bringing more joy into the world. Find your way, a way, any way to EXPRESS yourself, to breath deep and to enjoy life. Singing had, by the way, a good influence on my breathing and using my voice, which is good for public speaking and for training groups.

I sing …  just because.

kamerkoor lux, singing, chamberchoir lux, jeannettevanuffelen.com
Lux in 2018

Mijn moeder heeft, zolang ik leef, ieder jaar een kerstboom staan. En er hangen nog enkele ballen of dingetjes in, die ik al ken uit mijn kindertijd. Een knutsel, die ik maakte op de basisschool van mooie dikke glimmende folie, vouwde ik ieder jaar weer een beetje terug in model. Zelf heb ik al jaren weinig of niets met kerst en ik heb nooit een kerstboom. Toen mijn kind klein was heb ik dat wel eens gedaan, maar ik vind het zo lullig voor de bomen. Met kluit heb ik geprobeerd, maar de boom overleefde de zomer niet.

Hij liet er zijn baard voor staan

Mijn broer houdt wel van kerst en viert ieder jaar de Heiligen Abend. En ieder jaar haalt hij ook de boom voor mijn moeder. Dit jaar bracht hij de boom niet zelf naar binnen, maar gaf hem aan de buurvrouw mee, die net naar binnen ging. “Wil je die even bij mijn moeder zetten?” Naderhand zei mijn moeder dat ze dat al vreemd vond. Mijn broer voelde zich niet zo goed.

Op 30 december zaten we met z’n allen bij een hele grote kerstboom in de aula van het uitvaartcentrum Haagse Duinen. Naast de boom stond de kist, waarin het lichaam van mijn broertje lag.

Schrijven helpt mij vaak, maar ik vrees dat dit vandaag niet het geval is.