When we think of bad ass eco warriors, it's men like Florian who come to mind. Florian inspires many on his quest to have more people switch to a plant based diet. He makes it as far as to your kitchen and stomach, with his new brand of organic lupine tempeh: BUMI.
How do you unfuck the world? On the one hand, I unfuck the world by unfucking myself. After all, when I regularly feel unhappy, inferior or lifeless, I have relatively little to offer to myself and to the world. I’d like to investigate and learn from the patterns and actions in which I fuck myself; things that I (unconsciously and consciously) do that limit my quality of life.
A very helpful realization that I came across during my personal unfuck process was the following: I am not my thoughts, emotions and body, I just have them (experience them).
I always believed that ‘I’ consisted of my mind (with its thoughts), emotions and physical body, and that there is a world in which I live together with all beings. So it’s ‘me’ and the outside world. Since I was a kid I found it extremely important what others thought of me, as I wanted to be liked by them in order to feel loved, happy and fulfilled. Therefore I always tried to be as intelligent, friendly and good looking as possible (all related to my mind, emotions and body). It was a stressful and unsatisfying way of living, as I constantly had to keep up with my unrealistic perception of how to be, act and look in order to be liked.
A few years back, meditation crossed my path. I started reading about it and got interested by the concept. One of the books that I’ve read was written by a Dutch author, Jan Geurtz. He explained that there’s ‘awareness’, which is completely independent of your mind, your emotions and your body. To illustrate this: you are currently reading this article. You use your visual sense to capture the words, your mind and memory to process these words while the rest of your body sits on a chair or lays on the couch. Become aware that you are doing this. Become conscious about the fact that you’re reading and that your body is in this specific posture. Then my next question is: who is aware of this all? Who is able to observe your reading mind and sitting/laying body from a helicopter view? Might it be that it’s actually you that is this awareness? And that all those other aspects (mind/emotions/body) are manifestations in this awareness? Like an ocean (awareness) in which waves (thoughts/emotions/bodily sensations) rise and dissolve. Wild waves or calm rippling waves; it doesn’t affect the ocean. If this is true, then it would mean that it’s never you that’s negatively or positively affected by others or by your own doing. It’s either the mind or body that’s temporary affected. Which can still be experienced as pleasant or unpleasant, but it can be seen for what it is, a temporary manifestation. I invite you to investigate this. Try not to blindly acknowledge this as truth, or directly call it nonsense :)
On the one hand, I unfuck the world by unfucking myself. After all, when I regularly feel unhappy, inferior or lifeless, I have relatively little to offer to myself and to the world.
For me this de-identification from my mind, emotions and body has a big positive impact. I can still experience sadness, misfortune and uncertainty, as well as joy and happiness, but I am not as much affected by it. It still happens everyday that I get carried away by my mind with it’s thoughts and by my emotions (both positive and negative). But the fact that I am increasingly aware of this and can subsequently observe and desidentificate the thought / emotion, proves to me the truth of this realization.
It has also caused me to take a different view on others. If in essence I am pure, formless awareness, then everything and everyone is. 99% of the people, however, are not aware of this and are completely intertwined with their thoughts and emotions and act accordingly. Because of this realization I deal with the actions of others differently. I condemn less, have more patience and am more loving. I do not approve negative / destructive behavior of others, but I no longer try to respond from my thoughts and emotions. This often has a positive effect on (the behavior of) the other.
This topic of un-fucking myself currently plays such a big role in my life that I could write about it for hours. But in summary: because I develop myself, I become more loving towards myself and notice that this results in a better capability of being loving towards others / the world.
Wow Florian, that's inspiring. How does this convey to your professional life?
Through my company BUMI, I try to contribute to unfucking the world by developing and offering organic, plant-based food products for consumers and businesses. BUMI's mission is to enrich the range of plant-based, protein-rich products, making it attractive for consumers to cook a vegetable meal more often. It is no longer a secret that animal products (in the scale on which they are consumed) generally have a greater negative impact on the environment than plant-based alternatives. However, meat/dairy replacers are not necessarily nutritious, tasty and easy to prepare. Often a product is either nutritious, or flavorful and easy to prepare. Within our product development we strive for a good balance between taste, ease of use and the nutritional value. It can be challenging to find this balance, but certainly not impossible. We develop our products based on a number of core values: organic, plant-based, protein-rich, low in salt and the ingredients, production and packaging should not have an unnecessary negative impact on the environment. Our products are available at Dutch supermarket chains Ekoplaza and Marqt and will be available throughout Germany early 2020.
BUMI is not a brand for the masses - our range is (currently) too "exotic" and (mainly because of our organic ingredients) relatively expensive. Solely with BUMI we do not unfuck the world. But we believe in the power of collaboration. If 100 parties together ensure that a broad consumer group is served, we will achieve so much more. Through our mission and assortment, we hope to be an inspiration for established brands and start-ups, so that they also realize that developing nutritious ánd delicious products is perfectly possible.
What was the moment for you to decide to be the best human you can be?
It’s an interesting question. I guess I never made a conscious choice to be (or become) the best human that I can be. I definitely had moments where I decided that I didn’t want to continue a certain path or habit, but it hasn’t been a goal that encompassed my whole life or everything that I do. I assume that it might be motivating to set an intention for yourself to be the best human you can be, but on the other hand it can easily result in disappointment. It’s just so damn hard to keep being the best version of yourself ;) It’s interesting to find a balance between actively working towards this goal, versus trusting that it might happen by staying close to yourself and consciously living your life. As said, I have set intentions to change certain habits or ways of thinking, but these intentions come and go. It’s a continuous process for me.
What would your advice for other people be on how to start living more consciously? Where to start?
Slow down and observe. It might sound vague, but it’s actually applicable to everything that you do and can have such a positive effect on your life.
Observe your day to day actions, decisions, needs, irritations, insecurities, pleasant emotions and reflect on them (without judgement!). You’ll see that by being more self-aware, you automatically become more conscious about other beings and the environment.
To illustrate: decisions are often made in a state of haste, or out of habit. Taking the car because you’re too late to take the train, or the station isn’t around the corner of your home.
Buying a plastic water bottle, or a take-away coffee in a single-use cup because you’re not used to bring water or a reusable cup from home. Throwing away your plastic waste in the normal garbage bin because the plastic waste container is two blocks away, and you never have time to go there when hurrying for work in the morning. Buying that steak because you never actually took the time to look for a tasty plant-based alternative recipe. Heading to Bali once a year for a well-deserved yoga retreat, not knowing that you might enjoy a similar experience at a yoga retreat in the south of France. I’m speaking out of personal experience and do not judge about any of these decisions or habits. It’s just to show that by taking a little bit more time to reflect on them, you might realize that there are other, more sustainable or conscious alternatives.
What's your unsustainable guilty pleasure?
I still have many ways in which I fuck the world. Although they are becoming less enjoyable since I became more conscious about them. I still buy a pair of shoes that aren’t 100% sustainable, just because they look good. I still fly to Lisbon because I love being there and I eat cheese now and then because it’s so freaking tasty. There are probably 1000 other things that I do which are suboptimal from a sustainability point of view. But by becoming more conscious about them, I do see a change in my decision making process. I’m more mindful about taking the plane to all parts of the world, even though I would love to visit them. I buy less clothes in general, and more often second hand or from a sustainable brand. I don't eat meat anymore - not because I don’t like it, but because I took the effort of searching for enough plant-based alternatives to enjoy a healthy, well-balanced diet. I don’t know if my personal process goes fast enough to accommodate the necessary changes that we, as consumers, need to make on the short term. But I do know that until now, I never had to rewind any of the changes I made because of the fact that they were too much, too intense or too unsatisfying. In other words; the changes that I made are durable and probably long-lasting. Let’s hope that that’s worth something :)
Which superhero do you think the world needs to really turn things around?
I would suggest a superhero formation, consisting of:
A giant mirror that confronts the world with a non-concealing reflection of their actions
A genius interpreter that can subtract the positive essence out of all religions and political movements and translate it into a universal language that’s equal and understandable for everyone
The baby-faced sun of the teletubbies; the world can use some warmth, lightness, positiveness and purity :)