The Year of the Owl
THE YEAR OF THE OWL:
In The Year of the Owl I describe the remarkable things that happened to me after the death of my father. After an intense mourning period I finally managed to overcome the worst of my sadness and grief. Then I had an intense spiritual experience which marked a paradigm shift in my thinking – both in my personal and professional life. Whereas first I would believe nothing until it was proven, since that enchanting experience I believe everything until proven otherwise. This magical event has transformed me forever.
The book describes how I left the mourning process as a different person, and that my father’s intensely sad death also quite unexpectedly led to beautiful and magical things in my life. My journey from the head to the heart was a major catalyst in my decision to leave the Public Prosecution Service and instead go where my writer’s heart would take me. Readers rate this comforting, hopeful and uplifting true story on Bol.com (the Dutch Amazon.com), with 4.8 out of 5 stars! Curious to see readers’ reviews? Then please scroll down a bit!
Click here to buy the Dutch version:
VIEW THE BOOKTRAILER OF ‘THE YEAR OF THE OWL’!
THE ENGLISH POCKETBOOK IS READY!
On August 7th 2018, the English soft cover pocketbook is ready! So now I’m going to start looking for a wonderful literary agent or publisher who believes in its international potential as much as I do. ‘The year of the owl’ is a true story about love, loss and resilience. It’s a tale that gives consolation, hope and strength. But it’s also a chronicle about the unbreakable father-daughter bond and a miraculous event full of beauty and wonder in which an owl plays a leading role. Thanks to the magical events described in this book, I eventually left my steady job as a public prosecutor to become a writer. So if you are thinking about following your heart but don’t know how or you do not (yet) have the courage, this book will inspire you to take a (first) step in the right direction. Want to see what other readers think about the book? Then please check out the reviews on this website.
THE YEAR OF THE OWL HANDED TO DEEPAK CHOPRA!
Thursday 24 May 2018 Deepak Chopra, MD, bestselling author and spiritual leader, gave a lecture in Afas Live Amsterdam entitled ‘The Healing Self’, based on his latest book. After his most interesting performance it was time for the meet & greet where he would sign his book. During this moment I handed him my book The Year of the Owl in the Dutch as well as the English version (which was ready that same afternoon, so just in time). The English version is still only available in A4 size paper (the search for a foreign publisher can begin only now that the whole manuscript is translated into English) but a milestone nonetheless! Deepak accepted both books gracefully and even thumbed through the English version.
Incidentally, Deepak himself is mentioned several times throughout the book because he has been a great source of inspiration during the whole transformation process. When I told him this, he had to smile.
Now it is up to the universe to decide what happens next. In any case, both books are now with Deepak. Given his busy travel schedule he’ll spend many hours on airplanes, so who knows, maybe he’ll read my book in one go during a flight :-).
I owe many thanks to Wesley Broekhoven of B-en Vertalingen (B-en Translations) in Rotterdam who has made a really wonderful English translation of my book, a great feat. Wesley, no one could have done this better than you, you’re a star!
ROYAL ATTENTION FOR THE YEAR OF THE OWL!
This letter from the Secretary of Her Majesty Queen Máxima and His Majesty King Willem Alexander of the Dutch Royal Family states that the ‘kind gesture of sending the book ‘The Year of the Owl’ to Queen Máxima has been very much appreciated’. I feel honored!
Please click on the picture below to enlarge.
On Bol.com (the Dutch Amazon), my book gets 4.8 out of 5 star (maximum possible score) reviews from 25 readers!
Reviews on Bol.com:
Beautiful book Ingehg: A compelling story, even if you haven’t had to deal with the loss of one of your parents. It makes you think and makes you realize again what really is important in life.
Unexpectedly touching SaraB: ‘The author has experienced a remarkable development. She dares to be really vulnerable in this book and that is very inspiring. It is also very encouraging to read that, even in the most difficult of times, it is always possible to rise above this.’
Gripping! MartinevS: ‘A very candid and compelling story, in which the past intertwines with the present. It describes beautifully the turnaround in the author’s live. This book is proof that there is more between heaven and earth!’
A very special book Jackybrown: ‘Once started I couldn’t stop reading, written in a touching and very beautiful way.’
Looking for…Marlie: ‘A surprise, a tear, a smile, a quest, a finding, magical words. Raw mourning, compassion, alone, together. Looking for memories, making memories. Your book takes you on a trip, to your own holy grale, find it and dare to embrace it.’
Wonderful! SandraMrtns: ‘A beautiful personal story that enthralls you from the first until the very last chapter. Definitely highly recommended!’
Highly recommended! IreneFranssen: ‘I recommend this book. Fascinating and open-hearted page-turner. After reading this book you’ll just have to look intently at your own motives.’
‘Your book reads very switfly and easily. Very beautifully written!’
‘I have almost finished your wonderful book. It’s a double feeling; I want to know the end but also find it hard to think of the last page of this so intensely and beautifully written story. That’s the way it is with really good books!’
‘I have finished the book in one go. Unfortunately, because as always with a good book you don’t want to say goodbye to the main characters. Pascale describes all her emotions, her turnaround and shows that an ending can also be the start of something very beautiful. A positive and driven personality with a listening ear for others.’
‘After I had started reading your wonderful book I could not stop. What a beautiful hommage to your father, I recognized so much in your story and was deeply touched by it. You have inspired me to follow your life motto: listen to your feelings and to your heart!’
“I finished your books in three days. Compelling, full of recognition, positive! I admire the steps you have taken and keep on taking!’
‘I have finished the book! Un-put-downable, so beautiful! My friends know what they’ll be getting for their birthdays… Pascale, I keep my fingers crossed for a next book!’
“I have just finished reading your book The year of the owl. So unbelievably Beautiful and touching and especially full of things I recognize. For the most part, it felt as if I had gone through all of this myself. Ever since my mother’s death, there were also owls on my path in all shapes and sites. This summer, I even saw one in the garden of the neighours. Goosebumps! It looks right through you. So wonderful that we were able to witness this. Thank you for all the beautiful hours spent reading and I look forward to your next experiences.’
“I have read your book, it’s wonderful, my great compliments!’
“A surprise, a tear, a smile, a quest, a find, magical words. Raw mourning, compassie, alone, together. Finding memories, making memories. Your book takes you on a journey to your Holy Grail, in order to find and dare to embrace it.’
‘This weekend I have read THE YEAR OF THE OWL and I want to let you know that I think it is a very beautiful book. The book also had a different effect on me, for I have recently also been through the process of saying goodbye to one’s father, which you describe in such a very touching and detailed way. My father died at the end of March and the idea that he is not around anymore finally starts to sink in a little. Reading about your experiences was beautiful and it also surely had a consoling effect on me. Although every life is unique, I did see many similarities, such as for the fact that my dad also was a special man with whom I had a deep connection…In short, I did shed some tears while reading, and that is in itself purifying. So thank you for this reading experience!’
‘I have almost finished the book!! I think it is so beautifully written! Some parts were very sad but how you’ve described the experience with the owl was truly magnificent. I think it is a great feat how you’ve written down all these events in such a wonderful way!’
‘Pascale, I have finished the book. I think a movie should be made out of this story. You are and will be a writer pur sang. Wonderful!’
‘I was totally impressed by your book. Thank you!’
‘Dear Pascale, I have thoroughly enjoyed your book…You have touched me with your story; honest, beautiful, with humor and so pure!i Thank you… I look forward to your next book!’
‘I just wanted to let you know that I really think it’s a wonderful book! So personal, touching and for me – at the end – also very recognizable. Ik have to admit that I am not a die hard reader but I have finished the book almost in one go; you’ve written so beautifully, I see all the places you write about vividly in my mind! Wonderful!’
‘I have read the book with pleasure. It is very beautiful and recognizable, it sometimes touched me extra in my heart.’
‘Compliments for your wonderful book, Pascale. It is beautiful, touching and makes you think deeply!’
‘Dear Pascale, I have just finished your second book… what a brave and vulnerable monument…I recognize a lot and sometimes read sentences that I could have spoken or thougth myself. I am already looking forward to your third book!’
‘Beautiful and impressive!’
‘I have finished ‘The year of the owl’. Very beautiful and often also a very touching book. Until page 28 I was able to read with dry eyes, afterwards often not anymore. What a journey through your inner self. And what an honour to be able to cherish your own owl in your own backyard. How many doubts you must have had, being a rationally thinking prosecutor facing the manifestation of these astral signs that there is more between heaven and Earth!’
‘Pascale, I have almost finished your book ‘The year of the owl’ (…). I am impressed. I am also someone who is averse to everything that reeks of woolliness. I also laugh about it and regard people who are more open minded than me as vague human beings who hope for a cosmic intervention in their love lives. Your book has taught me not to judge in such a harsh way. The fact that I cannot observe or experience something does not mean that it doesn’t exist. That is an arrogant thought. That is what your book has taught me so far. Your story really touched me and makes me look differently at the world. Thanks for this!’
‘You are my hero! That you for writing a wonderful book! I enjoy every page! Sometimes I even think it is almost scary how good YOU describe MY experiences!’
‘Oh what a beautiful book you have written. Wonderful use of language, but especially very beautifully written about what you have gone through. It touched me deeply, also because I have experienced the process of my dad’s passing in the same way and it also had led to a transformation in my life. I look forward to your next book :-)’
‘Wowwww I have finished the book breathlessly in two days. Recognition, beautifully written. Some 20 years ago I also went through a transformational process because of experiences on my path, thanks to the book of Shirley Maclaine ‘The Camino’. An enrichment of my life. Your book now also shares a part of my path. Thank you for this. For your hope and strength! I wish you all the best.’
‘I have finished your wonderful second book in one go. Thank you!’
‘Finally the time was there: I took your book from the shelf and went to sit in a corner of my couch with some tea and started reading. Some four hours later I really needed to stop on account of a hungry adolescent. Today after a loooong day at work I rushed home, I ate a simple cup of soup with some bread because I HAD to read on. And now, yes, I have finished it. It is inevitable to let out a deep sigh at the end because you have felt all the emotions a human being is capable of feeling. After the whole range of human emotions that I went through in this book I am convinced that karma is the all encompassing ‘evidence’ that in every experience there is a mirror to be found. When we become older, we also have the privilege to experience all of this as a reward for all our efforts to change the world in a positive manner. Your words could have been mine…Thank you for this book, what a gift!! This all encompassing wonderful book is an absolute must-have. A meaningful Christmas present…xxx’.
‘This morning I finished your book. How wonderful that – thanks to your words – I could be a witness to your revelation and to the fact that you dared to follow your heart. Many people can learn something from your book. Very special and inspiring, thank you.’
‘Dear Pascale, this week I have read your book in almost one go. Very beautiful! Ik will definitely follow you in order to be able to read more of your writings!’ d
‘Dear Pascale, I have thouroughly enjoyed your book. Now I look forward to start reading your other book!’
‘In case you are wondering whether everything seems to be connected, but you cannot pinpoint it preciseer, then now you know for sure that it is indeed that way. This book shows that a human being, independently of his or her place on earth, is capable of a transformation that eventually leads him/her to him/her inner self. To share this realization with the rest of the world is for everyone a great gift because it makes them better persons. And these better persons are what the world urgently needs right now.
This book is a worthy and meaning-ful contribution to our universal need to overcome ourselves and rise to a higher consciousness; following your intuition. A wonderful hommage.’
‘I have read your book with a lot of attention. According to me, it consists of two parts, one before and one after the death of your father. His passing put you in a mourning process that you describe in a deep way. this mourning process, this crisis, has given you the opportunity to let your spiritual being come to the surface. This is also to be considered a gift from your father. The most beautiful part of the book to me was the transformation from the ‘normal’ life to a life that is visibly led by your spiritual motives. Also your change of carreer, the giving up of a seemingly secure job in order to become a writer shows that you have the courage to follow your heart. Such developments make me very happy inside and they warm and uplift my heart. I wish you a lot of success being a writer.’ Ook de verandering van loopbaan, het opgeven van vermeende zekerheden voor een loopbaan als schrijfster laat zien dat je de moed hebt om je hart te volgen. Van zulke ontwikkelingen word ik van binnen blij en het verwarmt mijn hart.
Ik wens je veel succes met je schrijverschap.’
‘So special but also very recognizable. Especially the vulnerability and daring to show this more and more, touch me deep inside (…).’
‘I have read your book. What struck me in the beginning was in how much detail you described your youth. There you are still the prosecutor who pays attention to the smallest details. Then, when you go deep down into your grief, I become engulfed with emotions. There I needed tissues. For your grief and because it reminded me of the mourning process for my mother (…). Then it became clear to me that you cannot run from your grief. Afterwards, a whole different Pascale comes to the surface and that was probably also meant to be this way. Almost a guru and maybe you want to be one. To let people know that there are more things in life than a carreer…(…). Beautiful how you described how a life can change, can tip over, how a transformation can develop.’
‘Your wonderful book: the year of the owl. I have read it yesterday in one go. It exceeded my expectations. After I had finished the book I put on the tv. The first thing I saw was an owl! Special, hopeful and supportive in this time of deep mourning that I go through. Your openness and vulnerability help me to take the next step. Many thanks! ‘
‘Pascale has taken me as a reader on a journey through her story, emotions and experience. She beautifully describes what you go through when you are confronted with the loss of a beloved to whom you feel connected on a deep soul level. I’d like to add to the words wonder, loss and resilience the words magical, goosebumps and admiration. Especially the last one, because I admire Pascale for the way that she has put her feelings in an easy to read book and for the way in which she made a drassig carreerchange and has set a different course for her life. HAT’S OFF TO YOU! Highly recommended to read this book.’
‘I just finished your book. What a wonderful and powerful story. I have read it with a tear and a smile. Thank you.’
After finishing the first book of Pascale Bruinen, Fortunately my first corpse is fresh, I now have read her second book. Both books are very different. In the first, she describes her job as a public prosecutor. In that time, she was very down-to-earth and needed hard evidence before she believed anything. This second book with an owl as the main character is about the spiritual eye-opening that Pascale went through after the death of her father. The intensely sad Pascale breaks down completely. A very special experience involving an owl made her whole again and made her into a person that follows her feelings. Now she believes everything until proven wrong…I have finished this book in one night, in one go. From the beginning until the end I was totally under the spell of Pascale’s wonderful, sad and impressive story. During almost the whole book, I had a lump in my throat. I felt a lot of compassion for Pascale who was so intensely sad after her father passed away that she had a breakdown. And the special spiritual events – first small ones, later a very big one – in which the owl plays a major part, gave me a very warm feeling inside.
How beautifully has Pascale written this story, I got the feeling that I knew her because of this very personal story. So candid, so brave, so wonderful…
This touching story about loss, mourning and spirituality had really touched me deeply! And doesn’t the book look lovely? ’m in love!
Special note: I read the book in a hotel where my husband and I were staying for one night. When I tried to make a picture of the book, we suddenly saw an owl wall!’
‘I have followed you for a while on coolcolumns.com and appreciate a lot what you write and do. I have bought the book The year of the owl as a gift to myself. It is a wonderful story, beautifully written! Especially the chapters about how you experienced living with your parents. You take us, the readers, with you in your life. We look over your schouder. Very well done!’
‘I am very proud of you. And that is putting it mildly. You wrote that the book was about love and loss, grief and resilience, hope and wonder. That is all true. but what has especially touched me is the describing and sharing of your vulnerability of that what would eventually become your great strength and your bridge to a new existence.’
‘Pascale I have read your book in one go. Impressive, candid, emotional, full of humor and recognition and wisdom. So Beautiful! Thank you.’
‘Just finished your book! What a beautiful and powerful story! I’ve read it with a smile and a tear. Thank you!’
‘The year of the owl’ is a very beautiful and compelling book that you’ll want to read in one go!’
‘Wonderful book! Soon, I’ll be reading it for the second time!’
Peter R. de Vries, crime reporter, true crime author and international Emmy-awardwinner:
“I have read your wonderful book The year of the owl in one go. From the very first page, I was grabbed by this touching story. I just had to finish it! It is a beautiful, loving and well written book that captures the special relationship between father and daughter terrifically. I am not ashamed to say that there were quite some passages that moved me. It is wonderful to see how, out of such a sad experience, you managed to make a beautiful and lasting tribute from which we can all learn something! On the other side of fear, lies freedom…”
Jessica Villerius, film- and documentarymaker:
“I read this book in one go. Big tears of emotion and recognition. For me it confirmed that you can spend many years working and living in the tough world of facts and evidence, but feelings and intuition will take you where you need to be in the end. Inspiring! I have seldom read such a beautiful, honest book full of vulnerability. Therefore I think that everyone deserves to read this wonderful book with so much food for thought.”
Marc Rieu, art painter and son of worldfamous André Rieu (Johann Strauss Orchestra):
‘I could read this wonderful book every year, such a jewel, or rather, a diamant that shines again and again in all its facets!!! Words cannot describe what I feel, the story gets so close to you because it was written in such a personal fashion. What an evocative, exquisite tribute! A great deal of praise to you!!!‘
Roy op het Veld, chief editor of regional newspaper De Limburger:
‘ I’ve read your book. Well done. Beautiful story!’
Egbert Brons, coach/trainer/investigator of the art of creation:
“In this masterfully written book the Law of Attraction plays a significant part. Small pieces of the puzzle are carefully wrapped into the story so the reader remains curious until the very end. The story has different layers and is not only a family saga. It is also a story about two journeys of transformation. One is that which we all will go through sooner or later, the other is a journey that is only open to those who dare to open themselves up to the incorporeal and the intangible. In this book Pascale shows you a reality that also exists, but that remains hidden for many. She writes in a style that sometimes touches you straight in your heart. She takes you on a journey through her life and seduces you to keep on reading. In a playful manner she connects the everyday with spirituality. She knows how to bring tension and expectation into the story. The book is a testimony of a remarkable spiritual experience, of deeply experiencing how the Law of Attraction can transfer a life and how a totally new reality can be created. It’s highly recommended for everyone who wants to peek behind the screens of everyday reality.”
Vreneli Stadelmaier, author of the bestselling book ‘Sure she can’ and winner of the Joke Smit-award 2015:
“The year of the owl is a beautiful spiritual requiem for a father. Bruinen describes wonderfully how saying goodbye can lead to reconsideration and transformation. An encouragement for everyone who wants to reinvent oneself.”
Isabel Beije, editor ‘Mijn Geheim’:
“I very much enjoyed reading your book! What a beautiful journey you have described, from the head to the heart! And such special examples of so many so-called ‘coincidences’ that have led to big changes in your life.”
Marga Miltenburg, director speaker’s Agency ZijSpreekt:
“The title of Pascale Bruinen’s new book ‘The year of the owl'(Kosmos Editors) made me curious. In the book she describes the love she felt for her father, being the youngest daughter. He was her counselor, she learned a lot from him. Her father was like a wise owl. For that reason, Pascale’s mother had given him – many years before his demise – a statue of a wooden owl, a gift that had visibly touched him. When her father dies at the age of 89, she goes through a deep crisis. Pascale: ‘Age doesn’t count, the feeling of absence is overwhelming. Mourning is very hard work. All feelings of sorrow, pain and despair have a function.’ During this mourning period she was taken om a search for her ‘authentic self’, the personal nucleus that finally remains when all superfluous layers have disappeared. Pascale: ‘Showing vulnerability is not a sign of weakness, but of strength, daring and courage.’ After she has come out of this crisis, she has an intense spiritual experience in which an owl plays an important part. The book shares with us that ‘when you wish something deeply enough en then can release your wish, it comes true, even though it may take a while.’Thinking power influences and creaties. All that gets conscious attention, grows. The Law of Attraction, she calls it. Because of her experience with the owl she makes a 180 degrees turn. As of that moment, she believes everything biforehand until it’s clear that it cannot possibly be true. In ‘The year of the owl’ we see this process of awakening. Her father’s death brought her a lot of good, in the end. Pascale felt that this special story had to be told. I fully agree with her. Read it and let this book touch you! The story of a public prosecutor becoming the writer and motivational speaker she is now.”
Reviews of other readers:
“I have almost finished your wonderful book. I want to know the end but I also think it’s a shame when I think of the very last page of this story that you have written in an intensely beautiful way. But that’s just the way it is when you read a really good book!!”
“Your book reads very fast and easily, it’s very beautifully written!!”
“I have read your book in no time. Unfortunately, because – as always when reading a good book – you don’t want to say goodbye to the main characters. Pascale describes all her emotions, her transformation and shows that a painful goodbye can also be the beginning of something very beautiful. Pascale is a positive and driven person with a listening ear for others.”
“After I had started reading this beautiful book I could not stop. What a wonderful homage to your father, I recognised so much in your story and was deeply touched by it. You have inspired me to follow your motto: listen to your feelings and your heart.”
“I finished reading your book in three days. Immersive, recognisable, positive.”
“I bought Pascale’s book and finished reading it the very same day. I went through the book on an emotional rollercoaster. Pascale’s manner of writing is unparalleled. In a subtiel way, she knows how to describe emotions. There’s no way of escaping them. On earth, there exists more than rational thinking, tangible things and running after success in business. In the book, the owl plays a strategic part. For Pascale, it is the catalyst to five her feelings an explicit role. Without giving too much away, the catalpa tree, the tree that gets a second life, is a symbol for a new (different) life. I can absolutely recommend this book. It reads in a lovely way, but don’t be afraid of strong emotions because there are plenty of those. Compliments for having written this little masterpiece, Pascale.”
“I have just read your book ‘The year of the owl’. So incredibly beautiful and touching and especially recognisable, It overall felt as if I had gone through all this myself. Since my mother’s death, there also have been owls that came into my life in all kinds of forms, this summer even one in the neighbours’ garden. Goosebumps! It looked right through me. So beautiful that we have the privilege to experience this. Thanks for the beautiful hours of reading time and I look forward to your next experiences.”
“I’ve finished reading your book! Un-put-awayably beautiful! All my friends know what they are going to get as a present for their upcoming birthdays…Pascale, I keep my fingers crossen for your next book…”
“Just finished reading your book, it’s a very fine book, big compliments!”
“This weekend I finished reading THE YEAR OF THE OWL and I wanted to let you know that I think it’s a very beautiful book. But the book also had a different effect on me personally, because the process of having to say goodbye to your father – that you have described in details and in a very touching way – is something that I also had to go through recently. My father died last March and the idea that he is not here anymore is just sinking in. To read about your experiences was not only beautiful but also very comforting. Although every life is unique, I surely saw similarities, if only because my father was also a very special man with whom I had a deep connection. So, I shed some tears while reading your book, and that in itself is cathartic. So thank you for this reading experience!”
“Pascale I have just read your book. It doesn’t happen often but I had tears in my eyes. What a beautiful book. Straight from the heart…and so close to my own emotions. It is as if you have been trying to tell me something…You have got me thinking…Thank you!”
“Almost finished your book!!! Beautifully written! Some parts were pretty sad but the part where you described the experience with the owl afterwards was really stunningly beautiful. Very impressive!”
“Pascale, I have finished your book. I think it should be made into a movie. You were meant to be a writer!! Great.”
“I was completely impressed by your book. Thanks!”
“Dear Pascale, I have enjoyed your book. You’ve touched me with your story; honest, beautiful, with humour and so pure! Thank you so much…I’m looking forward to your next book!”
“I wanted to tell you that I really think your book is wonderful! So personal, touching, and – in the end – also very recognisable. I have to confess I am not a die-hard book reader but I finished your book in no time; you’ve described it so beautifully, in my imagination I see all the places you write about very clearly. It’s great!”
“I have enjoyed reading your book. It is very beautiful and recognisable, it has really moved me.”
DIGITAL EXCERPT OF ‘THE YEAR OF THE OWL’:
For all those people who cannot wait until the book is actually in their possession, you can read the first 18 pages (in Dutch) by clicking on this link:
FOREWORD OF ‘THE YEAR OF THE OWL’ IN ENGLISH:
Although the name might suggest otherwise, this book is not an ornithological description of the strigidae family, better known as owls in plain English. It does not provide instructions on how to mourn responsibly, nor does it detail how I suddenly woke up one beautiful morning and exclaimed: ‘Yes! I feel enlightened!’ Not in the slightest. And no, after reading the very last page you will not have found an answer to the age-old question on the existence of reincarnation or divine beings.
So what is this book about? It is a true story about love, loss and grief. About resilience and amazement, humour and hope, even during the saddest of times. About how you can use that sadness as a springboard for rediscovering yourself after hitting rock bottom. It is a book about being vulnerable, which is not a sign of weakness but of courage, boldness and strength. In short, this book touches on universal themes, in a very personal and comforting way.
But, it also describes how I have personally witnessed the Law of Attraction at work. It flipped the world as I knew it completely upside-down.
Up until that point, I had spent my entire professional career doing legal work. First as a lawyer, and then as a public prosecutor. A legal environment is an extremely interesting and meaningful one. An environment which, with my logical and analytical skills, showed the best of my talents.
As a lawyer of the claimant party, I was forever trying to prove that what was being claimed. There is this lofty Latin saying that goes: ‘Affirmanti incumbit probatio!’ [‘The claimant bears the proof’]. Following my switch to the Public Prosecution Office, that professional urge to prove this, that and the other was roused even further. After all, as a public prosecutor it was my core business to deliver lawful and compelling evidence for the punishable acts that I attributed to a suspect. There was no room for doubt or error, or else the criminal proceedings would end in acquittal.
For more than a quarter century, day in and day out, I searched tirelessly for cold-hard and irrefutable facts to show something definitely happened in a certain way. So is it surprising when I tell you I refused to believe anything unless I had conclusive, objective reasons for it?
Imagine, then, the shock I felt when something so deeply special occurred in my personal life that it overturned my paradigm of a trusted and orderly world and changed me forever. Before this experience, I didn’t believe anything until it was absolutely and solidly proven. Ever since, I believe everything until proven wrong. Eventually, this life-changing event led to my decision in 2016 to switch careers and give up my job as a public prosecutor and become a writer.
With that down-to-earth lawyer persona inside of me, I have struggled with my decision to present this amazing but true story to a wide audience. Even though there is an increasing interest in mindfulness, meditation and finding meaning; spiritual experiences that cannot be logically and rationally explained are still a massive taboo in our western society. That uncomfortable feeling around everything that is labelled ‘woolly’ is as widespread as ever. This is especially true in the legal world that I inhabited for so long.
Nonetheless, the urge to tell my story to others ultimately proved stronger than the fear to lose my professional credibility. After all, if there is one thing I have learned, it is that a professional attitude and being vulnerable – even in that stubborn legal reality – are not mutually exclusive, but complementary. I have several reasons to tell this story. Firstly because, no matter how astounding, it has occurred exactly as described in this book. Something that merely starts out as a deeply cherished desire in your mind’s eye can manifest exactly in day-to-day sensory reality.
But this book is also a tribute to daring to be vulnerable, showing yourself who you really are. Do this and you will create a sense of recognition and connectedness. And those moments of connectedness are what really matter in one’s life. Thirdly, this book aims to show that you really can climb up from rock-bottom so long as you accept your grief. I hope that this provides some comfort. In this respect, I can only wish on you what this Indian’s verse captures so very elegantly:
May the stars carry your sadness away
May the flowers fill your heart with beauty
May hope forever wipe away your tears, and, above all
May silence make you strong.
Finally, I am sharing this story because I want you to have that same magical experience in your life. If you keep an open mind and try not to be (too) judgmental, you open yourself to so many beautiful events that you would otherwise miss.
So, next time you catch yourself thinking: No way that can be true!, I challenge you to question if the opposite might actually be true or even more true. Miracles do happen, so stay alert. If it can happen to me, it can happen to anyone.
IMPRESSION OF MY BOOKPRESENTATION OF ‘THE YEAR OF THE OWL’ .
On October 30th 2016 the book was presented at Boekhandel Dominicanen in Maastricht where Han, my significant other, surprised me with three live owls…
When I got home, I saw this sight in the bathroom. Please check the shadow on the ground, when you look at it upside down, it resembles…the head of an owl!
SIGNING OF BOOKCONTRACT:
On 29 March 2016, I signed my second bookcontract with Kosmos Publishers, a festive moment. Below you can see me with Annelies Nijboer, acquiring editor at Kosmos.