The more I learn, the less I know

It’s fascinating to see your own intuition coming to live. First you feel you’re right. Then you hope you’re wrong. And in the end the reality shows you the answer. The final truth about your guesses.

Some how I knew in the beginning which direction we should take to make the Netherlands a little bit more clean. I don’t know how I knew. Maybe it was my brain, filled with theories and observations of social sciences. Maybe it was experience that was grounded in my system. Maybe it was fate that helped me moving on. And maybe it was just luck. I don’t know. And more  important: It doesn’t matter. The reason is just a guiding system, a tool on your road. But it never will be the answer to our stories. Our stories matter. They create our world. And so the story of Cleaning Up the Netherlands is telling herself. We are just puppets. Thankful to play a part, and learn by living the story.

I recently learned that everything I felt about my culture is true. I don’t know the answers. Or how to change it. I just try to live my life the way that I think is best. But remember – Also I can be wrong. The only thing I want. The humble wish. Is to clean our country on the 21th of September 2012 – Together. That’s my wish. For now.

I want to do this together. As one voice. One word from Western Europe. And partially this last part of doing it together, seems to be pretty hard in our Dutch landscape. People have the urge to speak their own voice. To show their own logo. Their own name. They want to clean – of course they want to clean. Who doesn’t want this green and beautiful earth to live on. But they want to do it in their own way. Instead for once, doing it together. Yes! This is truly happening!

A few weeks ago a regional team wanted to change the logo of KeepItCleanDay! because they wanted to feel more connected to the local community. The interesting thing was, this happened in the region of Amsterdam. So, myself and the other core-team members were pretty close on the discussion. We opened up. We listened. We bend  and we thought about solutions. Even if it would cost us a lot of time – our graphic designer was willing to create a regional – stamp for all the municipalities in the country, so they all could be ‘unique’. This would be 415 municipalities. But hey, if it would help to make our country more clean – We’d do anything!

The stamp wasn’t necessary any more in the end. And the region of Amsterdam is now free as a bird to fly in the direction that suits her best. Our core-team had free lessons in team-building. We were ONE. Immediately after it happened. And I felt blessed. Little by little we see the strength and weaknesses of our Dutch culture coming to live. We are a country that is able to unite. Tremendously! There’s no person in our country without an orange t-shirt to support our national football-team these days. When it’s Queensday on the 30th of April – we all love our day off, and celebrate together. But we’re also extreme fighters willing to be unique. Wanting to do it on our own ways.

Call it historical, put sociology on the table and grab every intuition you have. I learned to smile about this. And – of course, I’m Dutch – so I also understand. But I don’t agree anymore. I’ve changed. I’ve learned to be unique and look at the collective energy at the same time. To see the bigger picture and dance with the dream that’s been giving.

It’s ridiculous, but since we’ve started we made up some rules for KeepItCleanDay! Like an old-fashion institute. When I set the first rule,  already in February, I knew this needed to be done. I also knew it would be a discussion, but if we would hold on, we would succeed in it. It’s the only way to show the people we are truly stronger if we Unite. If we all make a consensus and participate in the world’s biggest action of Cleaning Waste.

After the first rule, the second rule followed quickly. As the third, the fourth and the fifth. We have a sixth rule also, but that’s an inner-joke of the core-team and we only use it when necessary. ;) These 5 principles are the only guiding line we set. It’s only thing you must commit to if you want to join the KeepItCleanDay! on the 21th of September. We thought they are pretty basic. But … All the rules are proven already …

  1. The name of the CleanUp action is KeepItCleanDay!
  2. The date is on Friday the 21th of September
  3. You use the logo of KeepItCleanDay!
  4. It’s for every person in the Netherlands
  5. It’s about cleaning up illegal waste
  6. (There’s no commercial interest)

Luckily this goes pretty well, and 90% of the people adjust and cheer for our strength and the way we focus! The participants grow each day, companies find us now and we have a sponsored press-conference in the newest film museum of Amsterdam near the river IJ! And 90% of the time we are proud and happy!

But in those tiny moments of silence I wonder about the exceptions. About the people who judge us for focussing, and who tell us we use the same method as the old-fashion institutes. Of course it’s an option to ignore them. Most of the time I do. I learned to smile about it. To embrace the obstacles and succeed in the way we work. But in the moments of silence I wonder, and I think of what I should have said but didn’t say.

That Cleaning Up is important. But being ONE voice in this world. ONE human mankind. ONE collective, embracing all the diversity we have. ONE view for the bigger picture. Is our future. And if there’s ONE thing I wish for the Netherlands and the whole Western Europe – This realization would be it.

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