Lonneke & Wubbo Ockels by Alique

Wubbo Ockels and his Universe of Happy Energy

On May 18th 2014 dutch physicist Wubbo Ockels died. I interviewed Wubbo a few years earlier, on May 21st 2011. I like sharing it with you as Wubbo inspired a lot of people with his stories, achievements and energy. May he rest in Peace. 

Lonneke & Wubbo Ockels by Alique

Prof. Dr. Wubbo J. Ockels (1946) is a brand in itself. His track record is impressive. He was the first Dutchman in Space aboard the last successful trip of the Space Shuttle Challenger before it exploded on its 23rd flight. Wubbo Ockels is a physicist, a professor at TU Delft University of Technology, director of ASSET (Applied Sustainable Science, Engineering and Technology), and not only that: Wubbo Ockels is THE man who has put sustainable energy on the agenda in the Netherlands and beyond. In addition, Wubbo Ockels has survived many life- threatening situations, including an airplane crash and having his heart stop beating for 6 minutes. But that doesn’t stop this optimistic “Energy Hero”. He started many international, power projects including the Superbus, the Ecolution Ship, the Nuon Solar Team Challenge, and his “Happy Energy” project. He does all of this while dancing his way through life and enjoying it fully, and by surrounding himself with the young people of our future, sometimes even at the Supperclub in Amsterdam. It certainly does not seem like he’s going to stop anytime soon.

“Optimism is a responsibility one cannot win without” - Wubbo Ockels

Interview by Lonneke Engel. Pictures by Alique.

Lonneke- Let’s go back to the beginning when it all started. You were the first Dutch person to go into space. Have you always been interested in going to space?

Wubbo: I wasn’t particularly interested in Space in the beginning. In reality, what happened was that one day, I came across an advertisement from the European Space Agency (ESA), looking for people who would want to go “to Space”. I signed up. I think it was a bit of a coincidence. I think I was a difficult student in school. I was even thrown out of High School at some point, but I followed my own talent for Physics, and later on I even graduated Cum Laude from the University, and that got me the chance to go to Space. I think you need a bit of luck in your life, and to be able to catch opportunities when they come your way.

Wubbo Ockels by Alique

 

L: You went to space in a Space Shuttle about 26 years ago, in 1985. can you tell us what it feels Like to travel there, and see things from that perspective?

W: The take off was really intense. But then, you get the first view of the Earth, and it is overwhelming - you feel extraterrestrial. It is something you have to experience to understand. On that note: I have ambivalent feelings about commercial space travel. When you see the Earth like that, you get an even stronger desire to protect our planet. But on the other hand, we travel too much already. It is a consuming activity and one that is bad for the environment. Do we really need to start regular flights into Space? Don’t people just want to escape their environment for something new? That is something we should think about. But the view is amazing, that is for sure.

L: Perhaps there is some inherent risk in flying to space as well? I mean, the flight you were on was the 22nd flight of the Space Shuttle Challenger, flight sts-61a. that was the last successful flight of the Challenger before it exploded mid-flight killing 7 crew members including your roommate Dick Scobee. it was one of the great “challenges” in your life so far. how did you react to it when you heard the news? Did you feel like you escaped a disaster? Will fLying into space always be dangerous?

W: I learned about the Challenger’s disaster when I saw film crews at my house. I asked my wife if there was something wrong with our kids. I was relieved to discover that that was not the case. Then I was told about the explosion and about the death of the 7 crew members, and the passing of my roommate, Dick. I felt really sad. My 2nd emotion later on was that I got angry. As it turned out, there was a design flaw in the solid rocket boosters that could have been prevented. Later, we found out that of the 23 flights of the Challenger, 8 had issues with this problem, including my flight. So this disaster could have struck on any one of those flights. So yes, I feel extremely lucky that I am still here. Later on, I was impressed by NASA - they did some very good and thorough research on the Challenger.

READ MORE: OYL Circle of Five by Wubbo Ockels

L: One of the reasons NASA sends Space Shuttles (although now the program is almost discontinued), is to do experiments. What do you think has been the most important result to come from those experiments?

W: I think the Hubble Telescope has given us so many insights and beautiful images of the Universe. It might have raised more questions than answers. In my flight I was most fascinated by the Human Being experiments, like awareness of state and position, and reflexes, etc. Take the “Gaze Experiment”: When you focus on a spot, and close your eyes, you know where it is when you are on Earth. But in Space, you can’t do it. It has to do with time maybe? It made me think differently the rest of my life, and it made me think differently about our notion of time.

L: what do you think the future of space travel will be?

W: In the next 20 years, commercial Space flights will grow enormously. But we can’t afford the rocket launches since they require large amounts of fuel and are hazardous to our environment. So, I think we are going to use cables to basically “lift” us into Space, using nano tubes made of strong fibers. I think this technique will also be developed more in the coming years. I might go on one of the first commercial flights that will take off from Curaçao, but only on the condition that they use their profits to clean up Curaçao and make it a nicer place.

L: Do you believe in life outside of Earth?

W: I think it is unacceptable that we think we are the only ones who are aware of the “Cosmos”. Extraterrestrial life is all around us. We just see what we know around us: Earth type parts of the Universe. Since Galilei, we have built instruments to learn more about the Universe, but for instance, the Egyptians thought the Earth was the center of the Universe and Galilei thought it is the Sun. Our interpretation of what we see changes when we learn new facts but our eyes still see the same. Now we think we are in a non-specific place in the Galaxy. Suppose you ask the old Egyptians: “Is there another Earth?” They would answer: “wrong question, the Earth is the center!” and when you would ask Galilei:”Is there another Sun?”, he would answer similarly. I compare that to asking today: Is there another Now? Is there another Time? I think others lives have different time and that is why we don’t see them (yet). - everything is related to the present time but I am curious about what we can do with another notion of time.

L: After your work in the field of Aerospace, you shifted your interest towards sustainable engineering and technology. Where did this interest come from?

W: Really, Space is not so unique. But Earth is unique. If you could see it from Space, you’d know what I mean. The Earth has the blue of water, the green of trees, and so on. I learned that the earth is beautiful and that we have to take care of it. I was always an inventor my whole life. I like to think outside of the box, and some say it might also be my handicap. In 1972, I had an eye-opening moment when I read “The Limits to Growth” by the Club of Rome. In 1996, I started inventing again, and in 2004, I got a Professorship in Sustainability at the University of Delft. I enjoy working on different projects, and with a new way of looking at data.

Wubbo Ockels by Alique

L: You Like to travel. what is your favorite place on Earth to travel to?

W: I used to travel a lot, but I have cut down on it recently. I also think there are many beautiful places to visit close to home. I like the “Waddeneilanden” (islands north of the Netherlands), I like Amsterdam, and I also loved Big Band National Park in Texas when I lived there for 4 years. I think many people travel now just to change the scenery, like they escape from their own reality. We might need to restrict our travel because it is not good for the environment.

READ MORE: OYL Checklist by Wubbo Ockels

L: What do you think the situation of Earth is as of now? What do you think we should all do for Earth in the coming years?

W: I think we still have a way of doing business on Earth where profit is the driving force. The Earth has been suffering because of it. I see that we have to make a change in our mindset. We need a different culture... There is also a big potential for recycling products, and we can still improve in capturing heat from existing buildings and products to heat our houses. There is a lot of potential to do better, but we all have to look at ourselves and change our ways. For instance, in my opinion a car using the commonly used fuel is so old-fashioned. I think if you wantto make the world a better place you need to embrace the future. Electric cars will make tremendous progress, and you will see many more on the streets in the coming years as batteries get better and the total production of electric cars becomes more sustainable. And once you realize the true beauty of a car is not the noisy engine, but rather the silence of an electric car, we will have made the right shift. I think we have all gone too far with certain ways of capturing energy, including nuclear energy. It is the arrogance of the Industrial Revolution. This way of getting energy is too big for human kind. That’s also why I started the Happy Energy movement as a new way, a new paradigm in looking for energy, that does not harm people, animals, or the Earth.

Wubbo Ockels by Alique

L: What is your mission with Happy Energy?

W: I want to encourage young people - the people of the future - to think about sustainable energy and to help them set up projects that use renewable energy sources. I embrace new ways of communication like social media to get them excited. 

READ MORE: www.happyenergy.com

L: Can you tell us a bit about the projects you are working on and what you think the world of sustainability will look like?

W: I have been working on a lot of different projects over the past years. They are all in some way related to new ways of using certain types of energy. Some are successful and went into production, others were just ideas. I worked from 1994-1998 on the Euromoon 2000 project from the ESA. We as Europe mark a space in history so this project would have been an extension of that. The idea was that we put an extraterrestrial station on the moon, and use the moon for energy. One idea was putting up solar panels there that would give us year-round solar energy. We would live there through village robots in what is called “telepresence” so, while not actually living there. I also worked on the “LadderMill” concept, that is an attempt to “grab wind energy” high up in the sky. The “Superbus” concept will make a difference for travel over roads, with luxury transportation to wherever the passenger wants to go (usually zipcode to zipcode travel).

L: What can you suggest for someone who wants to become more sustainable? What can he or she do to start?

W: First of all, I encourage people who want to become more sustainable, to go to people who have the knowledge. Education is key. Learn how you can do better. Also, I think solar panels will flood the world in the coming years as they become cheaper. They are a great way of capturing energy that is basically free. So, adding that to your house is a great step forward. Maybe countries should encourage their citizens to use more renewable energy sources. And companies can be more forward in giving suggestions to their buyers.

L: What countries do you think are doing well on that subject and what countries can improve?

W: Germany is doing well. Their government has made a clear decision to promote sustainability. They have about 350,000 people working now in the sustainable sector. My own country, the Netherlands, is really not focusing on green ways at all and I wish they did. As it turns out, doing business with green ethics in the end will be at least as profitable as not thinking about it. So there is no reason not to do it. China will also probably save the world. Their government is different than in the Western world, and they keep a long political strategy. When they open a coalmine, they already plan for its closure in the future. The essence of sustainability is the treasure of the future. Not just thinking: “it’s so far away, let’s only think short- term”.

L: The Mind Shift, what should that be?

W: Right now, society seems to be largely managed by fear. People communicate with prejudgement that has to do with fear, and they use that fear to set up more armies, boundaries, walls, etc. We need to learn howto communicate with each other based on trust. When we all live without fear - and are positive - life becomes more beautiful. And we can all live with happy energy from within ourselves. - May 21st 2011

If the world ends today, I’ll be ok because I am happy with the way I lived my life

- Wubbo Ockels

Wubbo Ockels : Almelo March 26th 1946 - Amsterdam May 18th 2014

READ MORE: Wubbo Ockels: Goodbye with a smile

 

Lonneke & Wubbo Ockels by Alique

All pictures copyright by Organice Your Life® and Alique. First published in Organice Your Life magazine in 2011, and online on February 18th 2012.


How to deal with Cancel Culture

A few years ago I fell ill with a burnout/PTSD and suddenly had time on my hands to rethink everything in my life. So I did. My eyes opened to reality and I could not stay silent anymore, so I didn't. I started following my own path, with Organiceyourlife.com, as well as transitioning into a complete new life. My newly found voice as a "free thinker" came with some resistance, and I also had an encounter with "cancel culture".

Cancel culture

What is that, that "cancel culture" you might ask? Well I made a whole video about it, and how I deal with it. I encourage you to watch it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DEivLTjQBQo&t=3s

Cancel culture is a movement that attacks a person or business, their families, friends, social & professional relationships with the goal to hurt that person's/business' social and/or professional life, hurt them financially and harass them publicly, just because they do not like what that person/business stands for, or what he/she has said. It is a type of censorship encouraging people to join in the activities, the so-called 'mob', to go after people, with the aim to completely 'cancel' that person or company. I used the example of Goya in the video, you can read more about it here:

READ MORE: The story of Boycott Goya

Cancel cancel culture

Even though I am a positive person, and always weigh my words carefully (because words matter) I decided that I was going to make sure nobody could ever threaten me by taking away my job or good name. Here are some tips that helped me a lot:

  • Become an independent and strong thinker. Do your research. Make sure you work on your mental stability to withstand the negativity that will come your way if you do not follow the mainstream. Being an outsider can be lonely, but it can also make you stronger and give you Peace and focus on the important things in life.
  • Think before you talk or act. Realize what the result can be and prepare accordingly.
  • Research the latest tactics of the cancel culture mob. It changes a bit periodically, so it is important to stay up to date of their behavior.
  • Become financially independent, and/or make sure your employer is supportive of you, so the impact of the mob going after your job and livelyhood is minimized.
  • Always be cordial, nice and do not engage in the cancel culture's mob way of communicating.
  • Be calm, but don't be complacent. Be vigilant and prepared.
  • Stay positive!

I hope you will do just fine with these tips.

Stay strong, and never bow to cancel culture!

Love, Lonneke


Lonneke Talks I'M Back Youtube video

Lonneke Talks: I'm Back!

I have decided to start making videos again! I will post them on my Youtube channel. Hopefully people will enjoy them and if my information can help a few people, that would be great!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EqrnGrVrIqI&t=119s

Why I stopped filming for a while

I took a break for a while due to things that happened in my life the past years. I was forced to spend my time focusing on other things. I will address these one by one in the future. I think if I share my story of what happened to me it can help others in the process. I will do the videos in English or Dutch depending on the subject. I do a lot of research for each video, so you can call them "journalistic" pieces if you want to.

Topics of my Lonneke Talks Youtube videos will include:

  • Healthy Living
  • Animal Welfare
  • My life in NYC
  • Living in the USA under President Trump
  • Things happening in the country I was born and raised: the Netherlands

I finished 100 daily consecutive livestreams during the NYC Lockdown!

Check out my day 100:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rvVT62EZFpw

You can watch old videos and see what I have been working on selflessly the past years, because I felt strongly about these causes. After 20 years of working as model around the World, I took a sabbatical 7(!) years to focus on my health, and give back to my community and work on causes that I love. In my process of healing from a severe stress disorder (PTSD/Burnout/autoimmune disease) and other health issues over these past years I decided together with my therapist that I would spend time on causes that made me happy and did not stress me out. I was not able to take on work, but little projects that I could do whenever I felt good enough, would be the best use of my precious time, and only if I had a good day. So I did :)

These projects included:

OrganiceYour Life.com

Giving people tips on healthy and organized living. I noticed a lot of healthy people sharing information online to stay healthy and live an organized life, but what happens if you fall ill like I did? Not many people who are living with a chronic illness or auto immune disease are open about it or share insights on how to get back to health and stay healthy. In the USA alone it is estimated that 50 million people suffer from one or more autoimmune diseases, so it is important that we help each other to feel our best! And it took me 7 (!) years to start feeling a bit normal again, still with some bad days now and then. It is all about managing my health every second of the day. And stress is definitely a big factor so I do everything to avoid it as much as possible as it is bad for my health! Unfortunately sometimes the stress comes from other people and you need to find ways to deal with it so it does not break you.

I share my tips and tricks on this website!

READ MORE: Organize Your Life: Make your House your Home

READ MORE: Managing your High Performance Life

Videos for Organiceyourlife.com

The past I did a few videos about healthy living in NYC for my website organiceyourlife.com. I liked to go to the farmers market, filmed a few recipes and interviewed a few inspiring people as I like having a good conversation with interesting individuals. You can watch all videos on my youtube channel GetOrganiced

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A3VijUsmWW4&t=2s

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JLjPuj_MYUI&t=1s

 

Advising on laws regarding breed specific legislation in the Netherlands

Animal Welfare: We traveled to the Netherlands because we received an invitation of a dutch representative of the House, and met Dutch minister Schouten who was responsible for Laws regarding dogs in the Netherlands. There was a strong lobby to install a ban on certain breeds and having an American Staffordshire Terrier named Bane myself who is a trained service dog and who saved 2 lives so far, I wanted to introduce them to him so they know who they are targeting. I have experience with Pitbull type dogs and rehabilitating them, and have done extensive research on these bans Worldwide . Therefore I know they do not work, and in many cases they work the opposite way: more bite incidents. Because any dog can bite when in the wrong hands. You need to target the cause, not the result. Knowing the devastating deadly and costly effects of Breed Specific Legislation (BSL), I urged her to not install a Law discriminating against certain breeds but install laws that are equal to all breeds and owners. I brought Bane to the Dutch House of Representatives and met different representatives and the minister herself. The best is when people see for themselves what they are dealing with. Of course the people who lobby for the ban ran away from us and did not want to get introduced. Scared little puppies they were!

Result of my efforts to stop BSL in the Netherlands

I am happy to say that despite the lobby for BSL and previous Secretary of State van Dam who wanted to instal BSL, this minister was so smart to request a research, and the report basically supported my findings as well. Instead, Minister Schouten installed laws that are equal to all breeds and she got rid of a list of 21 so called "High risk" breeds. Even though it cost me money, time and energy to be involved and I did not get paid for my advice I feel very accomplished and happy that Bane and I could do our bit to stop this madness in the Netherlands all the way from the USA. But people need to always be vigilant as at the next election another minister will enter the scene.

Below are 2 videos regarding this subject, in dutch. The first one is explaining what was happening, and the second explaining my visit to the house of representatives.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cMAQ_mZwsAw&t=12s

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SpE5P0qgsSI&t=34s

 

Dutch Politics

I also shared a few videos explaining the political system in the Netherlands. Because I am interested how the system works and how laws are made. I do a lot of research on it and on the judicial system over there and want to explain it to the Americans over here.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wN0nlrziN6c&t=3s

Life in America and the election of President Trump

I predicted Donald Trump to become president and made a few videos about his election and his first weeks. I did these videos in dutch to show the people in the Netherlands what is truly happening here as many Mainstream media outlets did not show the Truth. It seems that not much has changed and I might have to do more videos on this subject.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F232UIvJ4Ug&t=15s

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NkCU5TmbXJo&t=26s

And of course I like to talk about supporting good work by people and charitable organizations! This video is one that is special as I went to visit Animal Haven shelter in my neighborhood. They saved my dog Bane from death row and cared for him for 10 months before I adopted him.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TyQtRSaiNOo

Court case of my abused dressage horse U2

This case has been going on for more than 6 years believe it or not! On May 20th, 2020 we will have to go to Court again in the Netherlands to have this case examined by 3 judges in the Appeal. The issue is that my horses were not treated with respect and care. They were abused. I do not condone any abuse, especially not when you have paid a lot of money for good care and training of your horses. I have found a great place for my horses to retire and spend the rest of their lives in harmony. You will hear more about it all of course!

READ MORE: 10 Charities to Give to this Year

End of my update

That is a little update on the things I have been doing the past years while trying to heal myself and deal with things from the past.

Youtube

I promise you my videos will be different than any other Youtube channel on Youtube, simply because I am not interested in any of the extreme entertainment, celebrity, and showing off mentality that most of them expose. I want to show real stories, and aim for fair and balanced videos to give you a balanced view so you can form your own opinion. I will also write more in-depth articles for organiceyourlife.com based on these videos.

Hope to see you soon, and subscribe to my Youtube Channel so you get a notification when a new thing comes online!

Love,

Lonneke

 


10 favorite healthy NYC restaurants

I love eating healthy food and I prefer to visit affordable restaurants! This is the list of my 10 favorite healthy NYC restaurants, where you can find healthy food any time of the day. I have stated which ones have good gluten-free options, and all restaurants are in different price categories as well as locations on Manhattan (where I live) My first choice would always going for an organic restaurant, and most of them in my list do focus on offering organic food, except for a few. These are easy going restaurants the bring-your-friends-or-family kind ( no reason to overdress), with a good take-out and delivery selections.

 

UPDATE 2020: Due to Covid-19 many Manhattan restaurants are severely impacted, and even went out of business. Therefore it is very important to support your local businesses so they have a better chance to survive!

READ MORE: 5 Reasons to Shop locally

MY Top 10 favorite healthy NYC restaurants of the moment:

  1. le Pain Quotidien (LPQ): This is a staple place to visit whenever you need a good breakfast or lunch. As a true dutchie, I love bread. Since I stick to a gluten-free diet, I am so happy that they have THE BEST GLUTENFREE BREAD IN THE WORLD! There, I said it. LPQ also has great salads, breakfast items, many vegan and vegetarian options (a leaf sign on the menu means the dish is plant based), and most of what they serve is organic. This also counts for their coffee and decaf coffee. My favorites are the different tartines, the chia seed pudding, the lentil avocado salad. LPQ is take out and sit down. Multiple locations around the city. $ www.lepainquotidien.com 
  2. HU Kitchen: This is a great place with paleo dishes and take out treats and juices. That means everything is gluten-free, no dairy, and organic. They serve organic meat, chicken and vegetarian plates.  My favorite is the chicken burger. Every weekday they have a special, sometimes that is a vegan and gluten-free pizza (love it!) One location on 5th avenue between 13th and 14th $$ www.hukitchen.com  Out of business due to coronavirus :(. Try Banter NYC instead!

    HU Kitchen NYC
    The Paleo Chicken Burger at HU Kitchen
  3. Dr. Smood: a chain with restaurants all over the city, this place calls itself "probably the healthiest cafe in town. They have a philosophy that people should spend their money on organic healthy food (the real healthcare as they say) and not on doctors. I love getting chocolate treats here, and the strawberry shake is delicious. www.drsmood.com
  4. Caravan of Dreams: A hole in the wall, this eclectic restaurant is dark and cosy, and a perfect place to take your friends for a vegan meal. Everything is vegan, organic and even kosher. They also serve a lot of raw food dishes. They have live music almost every night of the week. Favorites: all salads are amazing! I like the house salad dressing a lot, and the mediterranean salad. I love their seitan. Also the smoothies are great, and i like the ravioli of the day with sautéed greens, garlic tomato sauce and avocado. The raw brownie for desert is delicious. $   www.CaravanofDreams.net
  5. Spring Natural: Formerly Spring Street Natural restaurant, I order from here a lot as well, as they have daily changing menus, with a lot of vegan and vegetarian options. On top of that they try to get organic and local ingredients where they can. Think of this place as an American healthy diner. The salads are huge and their stir fry with veggies and rice can never go wrong. After 40+ years they moved from Spring street to a location just around the corner on Kenmare street. $    www.SpringStreetNatural.com  UPDATE: The location on Kenmare street has recently closed after 47 years of service, and the uptown one has been taken over by the new restaurant Thyme & Tonic. End of an era! Now instead maybe check out the different locations of Jack Wife's Freda!
  6. Bare Burger: Yes it is an organic restaurant and serve juicy and calorie-rich burgers and milkshakes, they also have a big selection of tasty salads and even many vegan and vegetarian options for a burger. I LOVE the black bean burger, and the fava bean falafel. $ www.bareburger.com

    Bare Burger dinner
    turkey burger with gluten free bun and sweet potato fries at Bare Burger
  7. Cafe Clover: This restaurant has a very beautiful look, and I love their out-of-the-box healthy salads and dishes. Sometimes a bit small, and maybe sometimes pricey, it is a nice place to have a nice date with a friend or lover. You can sit outside on the nice terrace too! By the way if you go here, also check out the Clover Grocery next door, as it has delicious organic treats! $$ www.CafeClover.comCafe Clover Salad
  8. Eataly: This inside market across the street from Madison Park gives you a chance to eat the most delicious local dishes. Everything is divided in categories. Of course I like to sit in the vegetable section, and sometimes in the fish section. It is worth a visit even if you don't sit down for food. $$ www.eataly.com
  9. Candle Cafe: I am always amazed by the warm filling nurturing delicious dishes they come up with. Full of many veggies, they are a treat and I keep coming back. The restaurants are completely vegan restaurants and located uptown in the Upper East and Upper West side.  Favorites: anything really. I am drooling just thinking about it. And especially the dishes with seitan. $$ www.Candlecafe.com .
    Candle Cafe
    2 of the yummy vegan Candle Cafe dishes that change daily.

     

  10. Westville. Probably not organic, but they have the biggest selection of vegetables. I love to order the market vegetables plate with a choice of four vegetables on the market vegetable list. they also have other nice options, I also like the veggie burger. Nice ambiance to hang out with friends.  Multiple locations $ www.westvillenyc.com

Love, Lonneke

All pictures by Organice Your Life®

Curious to know what changed in my list of 10 best healthy NYC restaurants since my last top 10 list? Check out my previous 10 favorite restaurants HERE!

Last tip: If you suffer from celiac disease you should be careful with these restaurants even if I state they have gluten-free options. There is no guarantee that there is no cross-contamination.


Sunset NYC

The Art of Letting Go

I am going to talk about something personal with you. I love making memories, but I have a hard time of letting go. When I like something, I don't want to lose it. And when it is time to say goodbye, it is pretty hard for me to let go. Sounds familiar?

The simple things in life

I like simple things in life. I love my marriage, my dog, my apartment, my life. I don't need or crave much else. My life is all about creating memories with the ones I love, and inspiring others while doing so. I wish everything could stay the way it is now, but life is not like that. Life is constantly changing, good and bad things will happen. Good times will pass, but Bad Times will pass too. Experiencing deep lows, will make you appreciate the high times in your life. Life is about dealing with everything that comes at you, every single day of your life. It is very hard and especially for a Highly Sensitive Person or HS Person like myself.

DO THE TEST: Are you a Highly Sensitive Person? 

Keeping things the way they are

You can't keep everything the same even if you want to. Kids grow up, your favorite pets die, people break up and so on. And if you stay stagnant, you do not grow either. You have to move on, and let go of some things to be able to enjoy these new things that come your way. Step by step, day by day. If you have to make changes in your life, do it slowly and start with one project and move on to the next after the first one is moving along. That's what I try to do. Every day I try to tackle one thing, especially when they can cause an emotional reaction within me. As a PTSD sufferer, I need to really process and digest every stressful thing that comes my way.

The Art of Letting Go

One thing I work on everyday through Organice Your Life  is getting better at letting go.  I really think it is an Art if you can do it without causing too much emotional distress. I want all the things that made for happy memories stay the way they are forever. I can think for hours about good memories from the past. I really appreciate the good things that happened in my life, still regularly visit the sweet places I once was part of, and stay in contact with the nice people who have been such a big part of my life at one point in my life. I don't want them to change, but they do. And if we deal with changes in a good way, we can be stronger and enjoy and grow with them.

Life is about Birth and Death and everything in between - Lonneke Engel

Saying goodbye

In my life I had to say goodbye to so many People and things. And a lot of times I had no say in it at all.  I had a good relationship with my father. Then one day my father died. I had a good relationship with my Grand mother, and one day my grand mother died. I had friends die on me, I had acquaintances die on me. My horse Key West was in my life for 18 years. I did not want him to die ever. But one day he died. My dogs Kenya and Vito died. Because the only bad thing about dogs is that they don't live forever. And one day my favorite cat Sushi did not come home. You get the picture: good things in my life disappeared.

The older you get, the more you will deal with Death and be forced to say goodbye. Only when you are all grown up you realize this concept is true. So the sooner you learn the Art of letting go of anything in life in a peaceful way, the better you can deal with these intense life events.

My horse Key West

Breaking up is a mourning process

Besides the ones who died,  I also had to say goodbye to some people as well during my life. Because we did not match, did not get along, or wanted different things. When you break up with someone you have to go your separate ways. And you can't be best friends with all of then. For instance with your exes. That would be weird.  Every break up it felt like something was dying on me, and it is the same mourning process as when someone close to you dies.

Letting go of friends

Friendships come and go. I am lucky that I have a few friendships that have lasted for decades, but there were moments in my life I was super close with someone for a few years, and then something happened and we weren't friends anymore. Again, that feels like a mourning process.

with my lovely besties since high school, Maruja & Lianne!

READ MORE: Organize Your Relationships

Proper closure

Either way, I am happy to see when all the people who I had a close bond with in my past are doing well and are happily married or something. If I have to say goodbye to them because we are going in a different direction, I really need the separation to go well, otherwise I suffer and can't deal with it. It has to be a smooth break-up, and I have to be on good terms, otherwise it bothers me too much for the rest of my life. I spend a lot of time on closures of different things.

And sometimes I go back to these people after decades if I feel that there wasn't a proper, rightful closure. When that finally happens, I feel closure.

Changing careers

The one thing I surprisingly had no issue with saying goodbye to, was my successful modeling career. Looking back I think it is because the industry had changed while I had stayed the same, and it made the experience less fun for me. In my opinion, I had achieved everything I could dream of regarding modeling. Due to hard work of myself and the people I worked with, I experienced the exclusive contracts for makeup, skincare and clothing brands, the beautiful shoots and wonderful trips, as well as that Vogue Cover. It was time to move on, and work on projects that were more about using my brain, than my looks.

Ralph Lauren by Regan Cameron

Making Memories

We inevitably die one day, we can not take anything physically with us. The only thing we can take with us are the memories we made, so make them worthwhile. Enjoy people, animals, things, places and happy emotions once they are present, because it all ends on day.

The one thing we can be sure of is that tomorrow the Sun will come up in the morning, and in the evening the Sun will go down. The rest is all one big surprise.

Mental Picture

My husband told me a story of a little 5 year old boy he met. And this stuck with me. The little boy said when he liked something and he had to leave it behind, he would take a "mental picture" of it (with the actual hand gestures of holding a imaginary camera and taking.a picture) so he could take with him forever. And I have been using this technique ever since I heard that boy do it. When I have to let go of something, I make sure I spend time consciously taking it in, taking that "mental picture". I noticed once I do it more consciously, the memories stay with me in a stronger way. We can learn a lot from kids if we are open to it.

Love, Lonneke


My 100 days of the NYC Lockdown

I made it to 100 consecutive days of the NYC lockdown! From Covid 19 to Chaos, I am sharing it all with you.

NYC Lockdown

This was my message at the beginning of the NYC Lockdown:

"I am a homebody by heart, so I have been preparing for this NYC lockdown all my life it feels like! It feels NYC has finally adjusted to my lifestyle. I am going to keep you posted on what is really going on in NYC and what I have to deal with as a resident of this amazing city. So subscribe to my channel  and chat with me daily at 3.30pm!"

100 days of livestreams

So I did 100 days of every day doing research and live chatting with my viewers. It was so much fun! I learned a lot along the way. I fine-tuned my research & speaking skills, and the routine every day definitely kept me sane. I had some anxiety the first time going live, but the breathing technique I learnt from my girlfriend Maruja in a live video we did, helped me A LOT. I encourage you watching that video and trying it too if you suffer from anxiety or panic attacks once a while!

Now I have finished the 100 days and I am proud of myself that I made it. I am going to do more livestreams in the future, but first I am going to take a bit of time to recover from it, and focus on other tasks I have to do. I hope it was informative for you and that you enjoyed it as well! Please Subscribe to my Youtube Channel and you will get a notification when I am online again!

READ MORE: Be prepared for the Coronavirus

And see all the other daily videos HERE: LONNEKE ENGEL YOUTUBE NYC LOCKDOWN UPDATE.

This is how I started:

My first video during the NYC lockdown:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lvxmpRJh0Sc

.... and this was the last one with all videos and photos my husband and I took over the past 100 days. Watch it and enjoy!

Day 100 video of the NYC lockdown

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rvVT62EZFpw

 

Love, Lonneke


That time I did an 1 day juice cleanse

I once did an one day juice cleanse. All the way with the cheesy "I kiss my juice" pictures as proof.  I had a bit hangover from just drinking 2 bellinis at the Operation Smile Ball the day before. So when you don't feel so great, what do you do? Exactly you take care of yourself! Eating really healthy is your own medicine. So I decided to visit Organic Avenue.

About Organic Avenue

Organic Avenue was a vegan and rawfood chain in New York City. It was founded by Denise Mari, and back in the day I did an interview with her. There were so many new Organic Avenue Locations popping up around town at one point. To me it seemed they had a lot of success, but they also seemed to grow too fast. After a few years Denise sold the company, and from what I've read, she came back on board to run the company.  OA incorporated different foods into the menu besides cleanses (the vegan chicken and waffles was great!) but eventually they went out of business :( . Sad story of a vegan health food store I enjoyed so much in NYC! I notice many of my favorite restaurants have gone out of business, it is just part of doing business in New York City.

Organic Avenue Soho location
Organic Avenue Soho location before it closed

Now back to the juice cleanse story: There used to be an Organic Avenue Location in Soho, close to where I live, and I decided to do their one day cleanses.

The 1 day juice cleanse

I received 7 bottles of juice. 1 small one to start the day with chlorophyll, and 6 juices.  You were told to drink water in between..

1 day cleanse from Organic Avenue
1 day cleanse by Organic Avenue

8.30 am

Let's start this juice cleanse! I woke up tired and had my first juice at this time. A chlorophyll shot that made my tongue green! It has a specific taste, but it is not bad. Chlorophyll comes from plants and is an "extremely important bio molecule, critical in photosynthesis, which allows plants to absorb energy from light."- Quote from Wikipedia  

chlorophyll shot
chlorophyll shot

10 am

My first real juice is a nice simple orange juice. A great way to start a morning with some sweet citrus fruit juice.

orange juice
orange juice

12 pm

Green Love juice. Cucumber, celery, chard, spinach, pear, collard greens, kale, romaine, parsley, lemon juice. This one is a bit hard to drink due to the large amount of greens in this juice. So it took me a bit longer to drink this juice!

Green Love juice
Green Love juice

2.30 pm

Turmeric Tonic,  lemon juice, ginger juice, purified alkaline water, coconut sugar, turmeric, cayenne pepper, black pepper, cardamom, himalayan salt. This one was spicy but I actually liked this juice! It tasted a bit like something from the Middle East because of the spices. I drank it quite fast.

Turmeric Tonic
Turmeric Tonic
Lonneke & Turmeric Tonic
Lonneke & Turmeric Tonic

4.30pm

Veggie Vibe: carrot, cucumber, beet, celery, chard, spinach, ginger, parsley, lemon. This one is hard again! Took me longer time to drink. But you feel really healthy drinking it.

At this point I felt really energized and fit! Getting so many minerals and vitamins in, plus water is really doing good for your body, right?

6.30 pm

Spicy Avocado Soup: avocado, purified alkaline water, spinach, lime juice, celery, cilantro, garlic, Himalayan salt, jalapeño, cumin. This is my least favorite. maybe because of the garlic and that it is thicker. It took me some effort to drink it.

Lonneke & Spicy Avocado Soup
Lonneke & Spicy Avocado Soup

8pm

Last juice of the day! Fresh, sweet coconut juice. I love ending a day like this with something super yummy!

Although some people do cleanses a few days in a row, I think it was nice to just do a one day cleanse. This way it does not "shock" your body while still replenishing your body with the essential nutrients. It is also a great that for that day you have a plan, and the 7 juices keep you on track. You don't have to think what you are gonna eat or what's for dinner at night. The cleanse is telling you that already so it relieves stress that way as well!

Why a one day juice cleanse might be good for you

Because you drink the whole day so you are very much hydrated.  And you don't have much time to feel hungry. Right when you feel hungry, you have the thicker Spicy Avocado soup that is filling. I think anyone can do a 1 day cleanse to just feel better and get rid of toxins or indigestion, if you don't get tempted by any food! So do this during a rainy day when you are likely to stay at home, or if you are stuck at the office with no food in sight, that's my recommendation.

You start to appreciate food more while on a cleanse, that is for sure!

Why juicing might not so good for you

You notice there is a lot of parsley added to the juices. This is because parsley contains lots of Vitamin K, a lot of antioxidants, which helps our bones and strengthens our nervous system.(that's good!) But I only learnt later that Parsley, other green leafy vegetables and beets contain a lot of oxalates and goitrogens. I will go into that some other time why that is actually not so good for some people like myself (oxalates can form crystals in your body and can cause kidney stones, goitrogens slow down a thyroid). Not to mention the high sugar intake which research suggests due to the lack of fiber that helps release sugar slowly into the blood system, a juice is causing a sugar spike. And juices that are not pasteurized, can bring harmful bacteria to your gut which can cause a whole other range of issues.

Maybe, just maybe, juice cleansing was a hype from 2006-2016, and now people just have one juice once a while and are onto another fad, like Keto or Paleo?

Related: Why no one does juice cleanses anymore

Organic Avenue used to offer their juices in glass bottles, but they were more expensive as there was a fee for returning the bottles. Now they serve the juices in BPA- free plastic, I thought that was a nice thing! Of course with the demise of Organic Avenue, their bottles are gone too. (I just kept one as a souvenir).

If you want to do a cleanse, there are many places in New York City and beyond to get a juice from, including Juice Press, Pressed Juicery ,Blueprint and Juice Generation

Related: 5 cleanses that get delivered to your door in the USA

p.s. for my readers in the Netherlands: you can order from Sapmeesters.

Final thought on cleanses: You should decide yourself what works for you! I will now enjoy a small juice once a while!

Love, Lonneke

First Published on May 6th 2012, Updated with new insights in 2019

 


la Pause, Marrakech, Morocco

My job has taken me to amazing places, and I want to go back to one of my favorite memories.

One time, I spent at week in an oasis, in the desert about an half hour outside Marrakech. I shot there again for Scapa, this time in between horses, hills, desert and camels. And yes, I rode my first camel!

Although I did not get to see the beauty that Marrakech offers, I got a lot of serenity & beauty at La Pause. La Pause - the name says it all- makes the time stop, makes you chill out. This resort is as I mentioned before, located in an oasis, hidden in hills ,in the middle of nowhere.

La Pause Marrakech

Image courtesy of La Pause

You could either sleep in bedouin tents, or in the cubical houses, made of clay and hay. Inside you light candles to actually see a thing, because there is no electricity. The women who take care of this place, light dozens of them before you arrive back after your dinner. It is so romantic! There are working toilets ( I am still figuring out where the pipes go to...)and a shower gives a bit of hot water.

La Pause Marrakech 2

Image courtesy of La Pause

For a few days I was basically out of touch with everyone and I couldn't reach anyone, and that was kind of great actually. Be in the moment.  They had 2 super sweet dogs that would come keep me company when I was laying down in the sand on the hill, gazing at the thousands of stars in the midnight sky...

La Pause Marrakech 3

Image courtesy of La Pause

The food was great, a lot of fresh vegetables ( I mean A LOT) so for vegetarians it's heaven! Talking about fresh rucola that was still in the ground about half an hour before lunch... so nice!

But I think the meat and chicken are organic, so meat eaters, there is something for you too. Only problem?: You eat too much. Good thing: It is all pretty low calories,as cheese and fatty sauces are not used. I mean, where are they supposed to keep those things cooled? There is no electricity!

And phone service, if you are lucky , is only working on top of the mountain. And there is a generator, that once a day, will be turned on to clean the pool ( yes there is a tiny cute pool!) Plug in your phone charger if there is an outlet left!

And my favorite thing: we could go on a horse riding trip, by sunset for instance. What was great is that the foals of the horses you ride, actually go with you on the trip. This way it feels like you are in a wild group of horses, as they are running around while you are enjoying the view!

Besides that you can rent quads, ride the camels or use the homemade sauna.

Owner Frederic, arrived there years ago, and made la Pause a wonderful place to find tranquility, good food and wonderful nature.

I had a great time! I would definitely recommend going to this place on vacation. Or even go for lunch when in Marrakech. It is worth it! ( For instance, when I was there, ex-professional cyclist Richard Virenque visited La Pause for lunch with friends & family)

Below is a compilation of my favorite pictures from the photo shoot. I think it turned out great and captured the feeling of this magical place. Photos are by Paul Bellaart 

www.lapause-marrakech.com

Love, Lonneke

P.s.: Everything was great but I was a bit upset about the many dogs , donkeys and horses I saw on my way to La Pause, that are trying to survive by themselves. A lot of people in Morocco see these animals sometimes just as means for survival themselves. If you want to do something, visit the websites of a few great charities below, that do their best to help animals around the world not suffer.

www.wspa-international.org


Legalize Gay

Gay Pride NYC

This year was going to be the 50th anniversary of the NYC Gay Pride, but due to the covid-19 crisis, it had to be cancelled :( A good moment to take a trip down memory lane to share with you my experience of gay pride in 2012, to make up for this cancellation. I hope we will have a wonderful gay pride in 2021!

Summer 2012, NYC Gay Pride

New York City was full of gay men and lesbians who were partying like their life depended on it. for good reason: It was the annual Gay Pride Parade! I love to be in NYC when this parade is happening. Everybody is so happy and smiling! The streets are a big mess (but the City cleans up perfectly at night).

Gay Pride NYC 2012
Gay Pride NYC 2012

For me growing up in a liberal country like the Netherlands, I do not even see the difference between straight people and gay people as a human being. They are all equal and I don't even think twice. Unfortunately in some places in the world they still think gay people are not equal which I think is insane.  Nobody should tell you who you can or cannot love.

 

Legalize Gay
American Apparel understands it! "Legalize Gay"

I even have 2 older men in my life who I call my "Gay Dads": George & David. Since my real dad passed away 10 years ago, they are my adopted surrogate parents. They are always there for me. whether it is to talk about my love life, or important decisions I should make, or just to hang out. I love them! And I have to say, the best remedy to get over a heartache as a girl is to hang out with gay men! They cheer you up right away!

George & David
George, David and I.

Creativity is rampant during NYC Gay Pride

Many people come out and wear the most creative outfits during this day! And some wear almost nothing... This day is all about fun, music, dance and people enjoying themselves. For years I have been going with my friends and enjoying it a lot, also because usually it is a wonderful Sunny Summer day.

 

Dress up at Gay Pride 2012
A lot of people did dress up at Gay Pride NYC 2012!

Lots of nakedness

It is a very fun time for many people in NYC, although I want to add that for some young children in NYC they are exposed to very naked men and women, which maybe is not great for them. Hopefully the people taking part in Gay Pride will be thoughtful around children, and the parents of these children avoid the route of the gay pride. Problem solved!

A car at Gay Pride 2012
Always safe sex of course!

If you want to read a touching story about what it is like to be gay and trying to be accepted, read Joey Holthaus' story: Proud to be Gay.

Love, Lonneke

First published in 2012, updated to today's reality in 2020

 


Lonneke Engel BMW I

My story of working for the BMW i3 & i8

One of my first steps into promoting a Greener lifestyle, was to tell my agent IMG I wanted to only work with companies that are trying to do their share to make today's life & energy demand more sustainable. I am not interested in modeling just for money, I only want to try to connect my face and image with a brand that is doing good. When BMW said they were coming out with electrical cars,  the BMW i3 and i8, and needed to make promotional videos, of course I wanted to do this!

BMW going green

BMW, although they always were on the forefront with their cars already, started thinking how they can make their business more sustainable. They believe in hydrogen, and tried to use this technology in a BMW 7, but now it was time to make an all electrical car.

The BMW i3 is made more for everyday city life, while the i8 is a true sports car. Since I have always had a love for design, I get excited when I see totally new concepts like these ones! Although at the time of the shoot I did not see the actual cars, as they were not present, I know I will soon.

Shooting for BMW

I shot the campaign shots in a studio in NYC, and for the video I travelled all the way to Munich. The shoots were really well arranged and I had a lot of fun doing it. It was my first time to Munich also. I did 2 campaign images and 5 shots for the video:

modeling for green and good brands

When I decided for myself I did not want to model anymore for brands that are known to be not so healthy or good (think junk food like cheap chocolate, alcohol or cheap clothing brands that are known to produce their clothing not in a good way) of course this shrunk all the possible collaborations for me and possible ways to make a living. But I was adamant I wanted to only work with companies that were trying to make a difference.

I always loved BMW's and wanted to promote Green initiatives, I wanted to do this campaign! So I asked my agent Peter from IMG models NYC to push for me, and I got the job! As I was very picky the past years with jobs, I was happy I would also make some money doing something good, so I could support myself. I just want to try to make it the right way.

Learning about BMW

At the shoot, I also learned a lot about BMW's new way of thinking. They told me that besides producing the BMW i3 and i8, they were also looking at ways to make all their factories carbon neutral, and they said even small and simple changes that are sometimes overlooked, saved so much energy (and money) that now they claim their factory is indeed the World's most Sustainable factory.

This is the commercial:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yQap4ot5wpI

Love, Lonneke

video & pictures by BMW

First published in 2012, updated in 2019


Lonneke wearing Minitials

YouBeauty's Green Lifestyle Columnist

A nice little memory I want to share with you: Once upon a time I was green lifestyle columnist of the website YouBeauty by Dr. Oz & Dr. Roizen!  I really loved being part of such a powerful team. I met the people behind the website a few times in NYC, and I thought it was very inspiring to be involved.

YouBeauty Articles

Below are a few of my articles that I submitted to them.The website has changed, and many of my articles have a changed look, but you can still read them, and over all of those years, my message has stayed the same. Enjoy!

You Beauty old logo

The old logo of YouBeauty when I actively submitted articles

and then it became this logo
the latest logo

 

Lonneke for Youbeauty

My articles for Youbeauty:

On avoiding stress in your body & mind: When your Body says 'NO': avoiding a Burnout"

On simple rules to eat a healthy diet: What should I eat?

On how to Organice Your Home: Clean up your life.

4 tricks for a Summer body: 5 simple tricks for looking great!

How to stay beautiful during stressful times

A peek into my life: introducing Organice Your Life to readers of Youbeauty.

Tips to: stick to your New Years Resolutions.

Motivation to start living your life the way you want to: Who says you can't follow your dreams?

Organice Your Relationships: Invest in your relationships

Introduction to myself: Lonneke Engel

 

Love, Lonneke

First published in 2013, update in 2020

 


In My Memory: My family Home

 Bringing you a personal story this time, I want to take you through some fond moments I have in my memory.

2020 is the year in which many of my multi-year 'projects' come to a close. Some of them are happy projects, some are harder ones . One of these projects was to say goodbye to my family home, the place I hold dear and where I have made so many lovely memories.

Modeling career

In 1998 I was 17 years old and my family and I had lived for years in an urban neighborhood close to my elementary school. Since a few years I had started modeling and my career took off. At my young age, I had become the breadwinner of the household. My father became my manager and started to travel with me. Modeling went so well that we could look for a farm house so my dream of having our horses stabled at home could become a reality. On the front page of the local real estate paper my sister saw a picture of a cute white farmhouse in a little village I had never heard of before: 'Soerendonk'. We went there for a showing, and on the spot we all decided to buy this farmhouse with the money I had earned from my contracts with Guess, Covergirl and Ralph Lauren. The little village of Soerendonk became our new home.

Over the years I did a few photoshoots there, like this one for Dutch Marie Claire by Roger Neve, and once Reinout Oerlemans visited me for his TV show Heart Break Hotel. The pictures you see in this article are from the shoot with Roger.

 

in front of our house on the street overlooking the meadows. With our neighbor's baby piglet

My horses at home

Eventually our horses Key West and  my sister's pony Jitmar moved in the little stables in the back. We had chicken, an aggressive rooster who would literally pick on me once a while, and we even had 2 goats. My father built in a swimming pool, and added a little wooden house and a blue worker's shack on our land ( I don't know why, because we really did not need more space). And we had an apple orchard. We had some other ponies live there as well over the years. We leased land next door to make a dressage ring and have a few acres of meadow for the horses. I had a bedroom to the front of the house next to the street. Every day our cats - which we adopted from a local farmer - would climb onto the roof and even get into my bedroom and sleep with me on the bed. When we would arrive home from grocery shopping, it was such a cute sight all those cats on the roof welcoming us home. And when I would call "poes poes poes!" They would run towards me from all over the place, hoping it was time for dinner. At night all cats, chicken and horses would all go to the barn to sleep and I would tell them good night each day.

 

on the land we leased from our neighbor. You can see the dressage ring in the back.

 

Every early morning the Sun would shine into my bedroom, and the farmers would wake me up by driving their tractors so close to my bedroom. I would open a side window and check on the horses, they would whinny and I would go open their stable doors, and give them their breakfast. Afterwards I would have breakfast, bring the horses to the field, clean the stables, do homework and in afternoon ride my horse Key West either in the dressage ring or outdoors in the nearby forest or through the village. This daily rhythm made me perfectly content and happy. And many days I would take my horse Key West, walk him onto our trailer by myself, and the 2 of us would go to a dressage lesson or local competition.

Our house looked out onto a meadow of our neighbors, and the house therefore truly had the most beautiful Sunset every day. To me this place was Heaven on Earth. Whenever I traveled far away, it was always nice to come back home.

 

In the living room of our home in Soerendonk

 

In the hallway to the front door in our home.

 

In the hammock in our garden, and in the blue worker's shack on our property.

Good memories

So many specific memories I have from this place. I remember especially the 3 boys living next door peeking over the fence when we moved in. They turned out to be always friendly and helpful, especially when there was danger they would help out or check on our house. Like that one time my horses Key West and Jitmar escaped and ran through the village towards the highway. My neighbors jumped in a car and chased after them with me, catching them just in time. The Weekend after I won 1st price at a dressage competition. My dressage teacher joked that "I should let them escape more often". (No thank you!) That's what is so nice about living in a small community: everybody helps each other. So this city girl became part of the local activities, joined the carnaval club "De Herrieschoppers" and really morphed into the country girl lifestyle. I made friends, many of which I am still in contact with to this day.

My sister's pony Jitmar  (RIP) and I for dutch Marie Claire by Roger Neve in the apple orchard at home.

 

Looking happy up to my father on the balcony after Key West (RIP) and I won a competition. in background you see our chicken run.

Losing it all

My dad and I during a job for Covergirl in NYC in the 90s.

 

Many years I lived there with no worries, until 2001 came along. Not only did we lose the famous Twin Towers on 9/11, I also lost my father Rob on 10/18 after 6 months of battling cancer. His last days he truly enjoyed the Sunset every night from the living room. After he passed away, my life changed, for the worse. I can tell you so much about it, but in short I was forced to say goodbye to that lovely life I had right there, lost everything in my life except my horse Key West. I took him with me to another stable. We had to move on, and I moved to NYC, away from it all.

 

With our dog Winka (RIP) and our dog Kenya (RIP) in our garden in Soerendonk.

I want to honor the lovely animals I have spent time with there, including our dogs Kenya & Winka, cats Alaïa, Dani, Moya, Baer, Sushi, Pepsi, Eddy & Henkie, My horse Key West, my sister's pony Jitmar, our fearless rooster and chicken, goats and more animals who lived there at one moment in time, some of who I wasn't able to say goodbye to, for one reason or another.

My horse Key West died suddenly in 2016 at the age of 24. I was devastated as I loved him so much, he was with me 18 years of my life. I felt he was the last link I had to my dad and previous life.

They will all be in my heart forever.

Live consciously

In the end, the message I want to share with you is that you really need to live in the moment and consciously enjoy the good times, because you never know when it might end. It may end when you least expect it. Enjoy it while you can! I did not think it would be over so fast for me. Memories are all that you take with you in the afterlife. Make sure you make some good ones that you can cherish forever.

READ MORE: The art of letting go

This month, it was an end of an era, finally I can close a chapter. My family house has been sold to another family, and I hope the new owners will make beautiful memories there. This property in Soerendonk has given me much happiness in the years I lived there when my father Rob was still alive. Unfortunately I don't have that many private pictures of this time, my father, my animals, but these pictures by Roger Neve as well as the memories no one can take from me. They are always in my heart.

I have made it my mission in life to make more of these wonderful memories, but now with my husband Dirk and my dog Bane.

Don't cry because it is over, smile because it happened - dr. Seuss

In My Memory by Tiesto

Lastly, I want to share this music with you called "In my memory" by Tiësto released in the year 2001, the year my father passed. Not only because of that fact, and that I talk about something that is in my memory, but also because after my father had passed I became friends with (the team behind) Tiësto and even appeared in his video for Love Comes Again. This music helped me through a tough time in my life. It is still one of my favorite pieces of music.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9KqGmwi_Z5w

Love, Lonneke

pictures by Roger Neve for Marie Claire, and Rob Engel.

also Thanks to Sanja and her wonderful website dedicated to my modeling work where I found these pictures. You can find more pictures of this photoshoot and other work here.