Bridge Into The Void

Bridge Into The Void

You are song

Bound to my heart

Every aching night

Your voice of a gong

Connects our paths

Your chest expands

As I breathe along

Shivering trance

Between lips and soul

Anticipating pleasure

Yet I am getting more

So wholly I long

To give myself to dance

With you in my flesh

Lifting my feet off 

The ground, no rush

In oneness we take off

 

Let’s not meet

Let’s dream instead

A dream floats above

Fleeting passion

Brimming with

Finite beginning

Freed only by vision

Of eternal love  

~

Inspired by: “Shri Ha ru ka aham”

This Tibetan tantric mantra means I am the holy cause and void, the original letter and timeless soul nowhere and everywhere.

Miguel Rothschild at Fondation Carmignac

The universe is filled with void

The void is God. The ‘divine’ is all including nothingness. We humans created words to explain everything we can perceive. Yet, we still do not know everything, neither can we perceive all that exists, just peak through the microscope and the telescope, therefore there is still space, a gap, an empty possibility that can become filled with something tangible, at least in our minds. I assume that our souls do not need answers, because they are beyond them, they transcend time/space. Imagination feeds the curiosity for having it, at least potentially knowing. Hence art and the stories in literature fill that void. Like Nietzsche injected science into the discourse of God over a century ago, the contemporary German writer Mokka Müller believes that “the arts became the new religion” in her illuminating book The Last Authority.

Mediterranean nigh sky glimpses into the void The universe is filled with void

The invisible has the power to give us love that we need. If we open our hearts, minds and souls we can receive that nurturing oneness, the union of our physical, mental and spiritual existence. Aren’t you more than your flesh, your thoughts, feelings, dreams and musings?

By more I do not mean above, hierarchically superior, yet equal to all that we know and are yet to get to know or will just never know.

Progress can be wonder-full in the word’s literary sense (that’s why I am splitting it), yet perhaps we shall humbly accept that we are not above everything, but at a level playing field that may at times seem cruel, far from compassionate, rather loveless, but well, we need love to bind us, to survive, to spark our lives with its expansive nature in its purest form. For, love is complicated. As I am portraying in my current novel in progress — there are many forms of love, yet still they are One. May you find and experience as many forms as your limited life span allows. Trust love.


On Imagination

Often, illusion is better than reality. Sometimes it is not.

It depends on the feeling it elicits, the ideas hatched or the cravings it sates.

On Freedom: Epictetus

It is also about acceptance. The embracing of truth. And, we humans have troubles with that. Salman Rushdie‘s literary works connect the real life troubles of one’s expression of their own truth. We make up stories, myths and theories about everything, even and particularly about that which we are not so certain about.

Being in the dark irritates us. We must see the light in everything, even that which is unexplainable. Impossible to prove, not reliant on the so called natural laws we deciphered, still we must word it out somewhat. For long we believed that the moon is source of light. The spacial mirror of the sun is such a marvellous form of alignment that at night it brightens our paths if the sky is clear, as if it were the closest star.

darkness in photography

Curiosity drives human imagination.

So does passion, the uncontrollable pull of something towards itself. Irresistible. As our ancestors understood well, in spite of its vertiginous nature, passion blinds us. Isn’t it wonderful this place of hopeful imagination without boundaries? Those blinders create the lies we tell ourselves about the true nature of something or someone we are passionate about. At least temporarily.

sculptures at the Belvedere in Vienna

Imagination for the bigger picture

The problem with having answers to everything through words, a human invention itself, is that we miss the whole picture. Also the limits of our sensual perception enforce the iron gate of our ignorance. What lies beyond transcends our rational mind, the body and perhaps is what only the soul could ever experience, and that is why we invented the words sprit/soul in the first place, to explain the beyond, the rare glimpses of consciousness into something even supernatural.

I think that the arts like music, visual renderings of the artist’s experience and feelings, physical performance like dance, ritual rites, tell more than words will ever be capable of. These harmonious instinctive even crafts are the tools to comprehending our human nature. They take skills onto the higher plane.

Kis-Lev. street art in Tel AvivHuber Scheibl art

Imagination to reach the depths

When illusion is not good for us is almost a moral question the eastern sages instilled into their practices. From the ancient Vedic scriptures through yogic to Buddhist traditions that inspire us today in our search of the self. Meditation is a tool to still the mind, to eventually remove the veil of emotional colouring from perception. So is mindfulness, regular reflection upon one’s life and how it aligns with one’s values, which may change over the course of a lifespan.

While modern science progresses it also regresses in some findings proving through their own methods set sometimes in the 18th century. Today, neuroscience in particular confirms what was known to work through practice, over centuries and generations of practicing some activity or non activity and the reflection upon that, an acute observation of oneself. The new science also shows that there is still so much we don’t understand.

ancient art in Rome

Hence, imagination comes handy even to the 21st century humanity. The booming sales of infinite work in fiction, fantasy, poetry swelling on social media, movies, with artificial intelligence enhanced coproductions of videos for our entertainment are the proof of our hunger for others’ imagination. Books, canvases, screens, stages, stones, marble, wood, glass and other materials and mediums cast out humanity in a profound breadth of expression. Even your voice, with or without lyrics can channel something beyond the meaning of what mere words are able to capture. I tried to capture that with my mysterious, cross-medium form poem bellow:

Millennial Fairytale ~ a poem(1)

A cupola art in Rome

Imagination to access the magical

Whether it is dragons, fairies or divine superhuman creations of our mind, now also avatars and other digitally transformed formless forms occupy virtual reality, the next level of human entertainment through stirring imagination.

Yet from my experience nothing equals the self-made experience in one’s own mind — the mental act of transforming reality yourself. Being a creative person, for me this activity seems natural. My mind slips into the realms only I fathom. It is magical. The spice of life. Taking that which is there, perhaps around me, surrounding me, and enhance it with the palate only my mind knows well. Sometimes, I feel like it is not even my own invention, it transcends me, dwells beyond me whispering its magic spells.

sculpture art in Rome street art in Rome

Just strolling though a fascinating city can do wonders, surrealities to be invented and told. Some places naturally, as nature herself does in the wild, tease out imaginary stories. For me these were Kyoto, Marrakesh, Paris, Rio, Rome, and many others in a more subtle way. Italo Calvino in his collection of imaginary journeys of Marco Polo captured human emotions through cities so palpably that The Invisible Cities kept Genghis Khan glued to his tellings in this masculine rendering of The One Thousand and One Night transcending east and west. Islands aroused all those living by the sea. The Hawaiians, Bermudans, the Greeks, … Just read the Odyssey and listen to the island myths. The far away, the isolated, all synonyms for the unknown.

nude male sculpture reframed in a contemporary cityart by the Austrian artist Kiki Kogelnik

Imagination like love fills the remaining empty hollows of my heart. The phantom gets you where you want it to go. Hovering the dark corners of the unconscious, entering the blissful with light-filled rooms, out onto the infinite ocean of pleasure we crave. We all crave pleasure in one form or another, don’t we? In some way dreams, those semi-conscious mirrors of something deep in the waters of our mind, answer this call. For the mind’s rational contemplation though the arts do a more clear job, we can connect the snippets of reality better than the filtered interpretations of our irrational dreams.

So let the mind graze on the green sprouting grass of your fertile heart. The more I do that, the more I allow the chest organ we assigned love to gallop all over me, beyond the chest, beyond the body, borderless, spreading the wings in free flight. We assume love’s residency, but is it ever at home at some specific place? Isn’t love essential in you, something driving human survival through the harsh life beyond procreation? Assuring the next of our kin does not make one’s life bearable, love does.


One Thousand And One Bed

Looking for some bedroom inspiration?

Whether you are remaking your home or contemplate how your dream bed would look like, then you may find inspiration here in my photo gallery bellow. The setting is also important, so I am including some entire bedrooms in the luxurious five star hotels and boutique bed and breakfasts from California, Miami, Rio, east through London, Paris, Marrakech, Bangkok, Japan down to Tasmania where I lodged. I noticed that the beds spur memories and so do I. The comfort lies imprinted deep in my mind.

luxury hotel designluxury hotel design

When writing an essay on the benefits and traps of luxury lifestyle recently, I searched through my photo library for my favourite beds while traveling. The amusing and somewhat nostalgic findings in its vast pockets were rather abundant, so instead of overloading the essay with visual distractions, I share the bounty of cosy slumber here.

I split them by colour palate. Starting with light-toned design.

Being quite a globetrotter, I realised that I have probably slept in well over a thousand different beds so far. Perhaps even a couple of thousand!

I have bedded across five continents over the two decades traveling the world. I have not photographed all the beds, but these rather diverse bed and bedroom styles brought up memories of some of the most sound sleeps I was blessed to luxuriate in.

Like your bedroom darker or with some spark of colour, here we go.

Of course, my bed at home is the best, most comfortable one. Developed by a Greek physical therapist, it is made from all natural materials like coconut fibre for the ultra layered mattress, it is called Coco Mat. The frame made by Giorgetti binds Japanese touch with Italian knowhow in a high quality walnut wood and leather.

Grand Hotel du Cap Ferrat

It is not pictured above, simply because it is mine and my secret, unless you get invited. Just imagine your own ideal bed and make it happen in your own bedroom. Floating in the cloud of dreams.

Bavarian bed

A nugget at the end. The above Bavarian bed nests you in the first class lounge at the Munich airport. Some lounges think of anything, even a nap before your long flight.


My Favourite Books: The Stars of My Library

You reveal a bit of yourself through the books you read, I do too.

I wrote on Books: the mirror of your mind and soul with the perspectives on how we tend to choose books we read and what these selections reveal about our character. Books are the window into your nature. Here, I offer my personal choices and journey to my library that may inspire your next reads.

Tel Aviv book store

How books pull me to themselves and when not

With each detour into an indie book store displaying a mind-grabbing title in its window, when a good review tickles my curiosity or a theme I am currently interested in or a thoughtful friend gifts me plenty of amusement bound in paper — my physical library keeps expanding. I rarely order online. I don’t use e-readers. I don’t like the semi-tactile, cold experience, plus I am unapologetically writing in the page margins my own reflections. You wouldn’t want to read a book I owned, unless it was a rare vintage pursuit. Pencil, highlighter and pen draw my creative self over bland typing on screen.

Well, there was one, attention worthy classic that I read in its entire page count on Kindle, Nabokov’s Lolita. Often reading while traveling, this ubiquitous gadget’s design allows for an incognito mode saving some disapproving or curious looks.

 

Sometimes at airports and train stations, I swoosh through the books on offer. Checking out local bestsellers, I rarely succumb to popular trends. These “hits”, whatever their star promises on the cover exclaim, rarely become those attitude or mind shifting reads that alter my life view or connect on a deep level. They are just page turners like thousands of others. I am into the brainy books, those heart and mind stirring metaphors of life.

Jean Cockteau wall drawings On Freedom: Epictetus

Diving into the Poetic Depths of Humanity

On the tactile side of reality we live through our actions, and not just in our imagination. The American poet Emily Dickinson wrote a beautiful poem about hope that during strenuous years, a prolonged illness, an injury, a broken heart or being caught in the screeching claws of war lifts us up: “Hope is that thing with feathers…” this line lightens harsh reality with fleeting optimism. I think it is more realistic to recognise the fragility of positive mindset whatever the situation. What makes the difference is what we do about the situation, how we get out of it safely and if possible unwounded. Be practical, not a dreamer when the stakes are high. Always stick up to your values.

Victor Hugo in Pauca Meæ comforted me in time when it seemed that my father would depart from this world prematurely. The beauty of the French language sensually sparks in poetry.

Baudelaire in Les Fleurs du Mal showed off the dark side of human soul and I praise him for his fearless honesty. Would love to talk to that man!

French poetry

The Senegalese contemporary poet Amadou Lamine Saul in his exemplary French reminded me of the beauty and strains of love. I adore his catholic school learned elegant form of speech. His voice elicits such an avowing, sensual experience.

I read French poetry in its original, which is the best experience one can have. Poetry is the most sensitive literary genre to be flipped into another tongue. Perhaps it is its sometimes irrational, emotional charge and the contact with the unconscious realm that burden its translation. It can also be the metaphors culturally charged with meaning that in some other language could not find the same resonance.

bookshelf

On the similar sphere of human feelings, but rather spiritually Rumi connected love with the divine as nobody else did for me. I was inspired by his poems for my own. Asking my Persian friends how different his poetry sounds in English, I was told that it seems to them the essence did not get lost trough translation.

My countryman Rainer Maria Rilke, struck the spiritual accord with me in his masterpiece The Duino Elegies. Yet it was the English translation of his Poems from the Book of Hours [Das Stundenbuch] by Babette Deutsch next to the German originals when I realised that even Rilke cannot stir my love for that harshly strung language that German is (I wield a survival mode level of Deutsch).

It is the opposite with Shakespeare. Even the most profane translations into Czech did not do what his mother tongue does in his Sonnets.

Who brought me closer to the rainbow of human suffering alleviated by nature’s vibrations is Mary Oliver. In her collection A Thousand Mornings, her poem Hum, Hum connects the hard collective effort of bees and nature in its wholeness, good and bad, ever changing with one’s work on accepting the past’s wounds, facing them, not letting them to stop you through fear and denial from pursuing life.

best contemporary poetry

Books that inspired action, comforting reassurance

A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf has paved the literary path for many female authors of the 20th century. Published posthumously by her husband, the co-founder of Hogarth Press in London, her essay on women’s emancipation and the repression of creative expression of the other half of humanity over millennia enriched the literary world in understanding. Part a memoir but mainly an illuminating feminist crescendo of I want to be heart as well, and I can do it skilfully!

Virginia Woolf A Room on My Own

Circe by Madeline Miller empowered me as an intellectual woman. The author took Ancient Greek classics and retold them from women’s perspective. Miller thus heralds our equalising century by flipping the past fictive accounts through the neglected gender’s perspective in focusing on female characters. Currently, there are more books in her growing stable and also by other authors, including male who switched the masculine focus to a feminine point of view.

female reader of woman writerFrench poetry

The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas is a memoir by Gertrude Stein, the Paris-based American confidante of the greatest artists of the first half of the 20th century. The stories are weaved around this close friend of Picasso, Matisse, Braques, Apollinaire, Derain and other geniuses congregating at her Rue de Fleurs house. Stein not only inspired some iconic portraits, but also wrote portraits herself.

From the Nobel Prize awarded authors I was caught by Jon Fosse. A Shining is a tiny, but potent story of an archetypal journey of the author through life’s most challenging moment. Here, Jungian psychology, mythology, and universal struggle with life echo in a brilliant simple telling pregnant with metaphoric magic. Like a contemporary Le Petit Prince by Exupéry for grown-ups, but only an initiated reader can comprehend its abundant nuances.

Jon Fosse A Shining

Learning and Natural Sciences

From science-leaning publications Diane Ackerman’s A Natural History of the Senses shifted poetically my attention to the instinctual feelings through which I engage with the outside world.

I am sumptuously enjoying an ornamental rendering of the story of human perception and connection with the natural world in The Spell of the Sensuous by David Abram. His take employs more ethnographical focus.

These urgent calls for humanity to open our senses to the magic there is between us and the crying nature of our era, strike the heart and open the mind to bliss in perception.

books on nature

The Italian theorist of the loop quantum gravity Carlo Rovelli taught me about the subject I reviled the most in school though his brilliant Seven Brief Lessons on Physics. Without abstract numerical calculations, he drew from a person’s perception and that connection with experience is what lends his language a more humane lustre.

Eco-minded eye-openers were The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben. I gave a Czech version to my dad, who loves trees as it rendered trees alive.

Satish Kumar enlightened my moral self on the importance of caring and the cultivation of the natural environment, personal wellbeing and values in Soil•Soul•Society.

Connecting human health and happiness with nature is the object of Forest Bathing, a popular tradition in the animist Japan that cropped across different continents. I bathed in the forest of Los Angeles Arboretum discovering some profound truths, in the Dolomites as well as around my Czech hometown. Artfully and systematically, Dr. Qing Li seduces under his wings a mindful experience within nature. He chairs the Japanese Society for Forest Medicine.

Greatest public libraries in the world

World Connecting Philosophy

Philosophy has always drawn my attention deep within and out into the universal mind world. The most influential and thought stirring were On Freedom by Epictetus, Cicero’s On the Good Life, The Stranger by Camus and Confessions of a Sinner by St Augustine from the western pool of thought. The last two you may object to as belonging to the philosophy window, yet their detailed and honest exploration of dark ideas were life-changing for millions and this for me personally is philosophy expressed at its greatest.

Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching grounds me through millennia-proved wisdom in this classic poetic foundation of Chinese philosophy. Creativity and Taoism by Chuang-yuan Chang brought art and poetry from east to west on board.

spiritual literature

Carl Gustav Jung’s Red Book shook me through the pandemic, yet it was not until the events around me started to follow an invisible string only synchronicity could explain. I did not get mad only thanks to timely rereading this strange work between fantasy, dream, mythology, spirituality, psychology and art. Published posthumously, the decades-spanning oeuvre is accompanied by Jung’s personal paintings of fascinating mandalas pregnant with symbolism. I own also the XL copy where this mind-boggling art received the space it deserved.

Carl Gustav Jung bookhome office ideas

I need yet to find a contemporary travel writer who will rock me up or knock me down my chair yet. I welcome any suggestions!

I have not specifically reviewed most of the books I read here at La Muse Blue. I tend to include the references while working with some of their concepts within an essay, musing or alongside a poem. Were I regularly posting my favourite books reviews, I would have to write an entire book with commentaries myself. For the gems I mention in this post enriched my knowledge so generously that I glimmer over each line as my eyes mindfully consumes the profound nonmaterial pleasure. My relationship with such books transcends me onto another plane of being. The mentions here are brief, you must discover their value yourself.


Unconditional Friends Make Us Happier

Good relationships make us healthier and happier. Cultivate warm interactions for blossoming happiness, a thriving wellbeing. This is the most recent conclusion of the over eight decades lasting, broadest longitudinal study on happiness by the Harvard University of which even the future US president John Kennedy was part of. The Good Life, a self-help book by the current directors of the research Robert Waldinger and Marc Schulz, sums up the complex results through cross-study evaluation, but a simple common sense would lead to the same revelation. Holy joy!

A good friend is like your favourite gelato spooned out in bed. They both make you happy in their presence, you want to devour the entire bucket of them, and you miss them once they are gone for too long. As with pets, we bond with these agreeable companions easily. Offering pure presence, yet unlike animals we keep as companions, the real friends fill the gap of unconditional affection. Los amigos, les amis, die Freunde, pravy kamaradi get deep with you without judging!

Friendship boundaries liberated

I am writing from a female perspective as an insight into the female approach to friendship. A friend can be better than just a boyfriend. Women naturally share more, and I love that we are unafraid to be vulnerable with each other. Men are too often cowards in communication. Flexing their muscles, professing control, but what you really need is an emotionally involved being.

wine with friends

I have an abundant dating history, good or bad I do not count, knowledge adds up. There was ever only one man I could talk almost about everything — my husband. Still, some things felt more alright to be shared only between women. Sorry, man! When I discuss something with a woman she gets me, feels me immediately, the empathy is there, no games if we are friends, not just social pals. With men it is a fine line, something needs to be withheld, so the fence between let’s be friends and let’s get intimate is not crossed. What a fine border that is, like grains of sand on a windy path! Plus, what kind of a man would spilt a burger with you?

 

Still, I like to have male friends for they show me a different perspective, restraint sometimes, encouraging me to express pure joy and go strongly for my dreams. I love the male spirit force. My first friend ever, when I was just able to walk was a boy. We had so much fun riding our tricycles, pretending to drive a car, playing Indian hunters with a bow and arrow (my favourite toys) and his family making videos of the two of us reminds me of those long passed, silly joyous times of little me before I became the big me. I have not changed much to be honest. It feels natural maintaining male friendships despite the challenge of a potential jealousy from my dating partner.

We need the yin and yang and a perspective away from our everyday coupling. I find the most evolved and strong the couples in an open relationship when spending time with others is never making you feel guilty and they do not try to make you feel so.

friendship

Yes, it happened, a friend fell for me. Being wise, knowing how valuable we were to each other as friends when crossing the border by kissing wound change and potentially kill it between us forever was worth being aware in that crucial moment. So beautiful that two decades later we spoke about it and it was not me who remembered, it was him and he was very grateful that I stopped him and explained myself for he can always turn to me like a sister. Once you kiss, you are not mere friends. The most tempting of cravings, to kiss another when you feel the confusing affection is the most fragile event for me. It can crush me and I cannot take it back. If we do not work as a romantic couple, then I cannot take you back as anything. What a shame. I was unexpectedly kissed by a woman in Singapore once as far as I remember and never saw her again. So it goes cross-gender.

friends

Growing and coping together

Your relationship with any friend changes as you both go through various life events, distressing or jolly, affectionate or downing. A new job, marriage, children, moving to another country, continent, a new mind, pandemic, all affect how you talk, and what is friendship about then communicating? Well, sharing meaningful, illuminating moments together, inspiring each other, showing affection and a good hug frequently do magic to your heart and mind! This is love, one of its myriad, beautiful forms, that inclusive feeling of caring about another being, shape, idea, something in the real or even imagined existence.

friendship

Unconditional support is what makes the greatest friendships last. If our egos are hurt or when we just lose it in the momentous tsunami of life, we are vulnerable to making mistakes, and hurting a friend might be one of them. As with romantic partners, friends are to an extent sensitive to our behaviour towards them. Naturally, it depends on your personality, innate character and maturity, as well as on your past wounds, the baggage we emotionally carry along our lifespan unless we work hard on releasing it. We are unique beings, but we share some universal needs like wanting to be loved as we are.

friendship

Seeing there people: being sensitive with each other

One does not have to be an extrovert to have a close friend. Introverts tend to keep a very small group of friends, but their pals are submitted to a much more rigorous trust screening. Such close friendships last longer than the superficial — let’s fill my available time — relationships. Even an outgoing person though needs to establish boundaries, because our time here is limited. And a good friend understands it, a great friend gives you space in solitude when you need it, and ideally you must ask for it.

friendship

Sometimes making a new friend is irrational like falling in love, at least with me. My intuition drives me to keep communicating with some person and I do not know why, perhaps a lesson I shall and need to learn from them, their personality, life situation? I am like a sponge. While we both might have a limited lifespan, the one of the myriad of differences between us is that unlike the brainless sponge I select how I fill my time. What attracts me to this person? We might share something and that is an easy glue, but what about when our opinions on many matters differ? 

friendship

I like challenges and perhaps that is why I am inclusive of anyone who seems to have good intentions, values, something I deeply care about myself or they truly struggle at that point in life. Perhaps it is feminine caring trait, but I cannot let someone just drown in the mud, fall down the cliff, for I feel it my humane duty to somehow offer my help or at least virtual support if nothing else is possible in the moment.

Perhaps that not knowing, that mystery of a stranger in a mess pulls me in. A curious being, I might be an outlier, but if we all had opened ourselves a bit, gave a bite of our time to the service of others, we would create a better world though every embracing action we manifest. Of course, there is a limit, and we need to draw the line when the other is too needy. What we shall inspire is something that took me decades to figure out myself – to accept and love ourselves so we can give ourselves in healthy amounts to others. Not to just keep giving or receiving love, it is about extrapolating the feeling, liberating others from their unwelcome burdens. Similar to collaborators at work, exchanging experience and knowledge is part of the deal between friends.

friendship

I cannot limit myself just to my immediate family, sometimes I am being called somewhere else and I cannot explain why I do it. I am simply not a calculative person, manipulative games and strategies put me off, they feel so inauthentic. I like to play, and with friends, well anyone, it is fun to join in a play, to be kids for the time being, but there are rules we all understand. Of course if a family member needs me, I am all in if I know my presence can make a difference. I am a responsible adult and that makes the difference. Life is tough, but the balance of friendships can ease it off.

Not always a smooth ride, challenging freindships

Friendship can thrive between siblings, even with our parents, but that can be the most difficult friendship of all. There is just too much baggage and social conditioning attached to family relationships that complicates our feelings. Expectations tint relationships with the potential of disappointment and certain pressure conditions the bond between two people. But what we all crave is unconditional acknowledgement that we matter, love, and being supported through our hard work. Motivation, purpose, values, sharing.

Opera evening at La Scala Milano

I lovingly offer my poem on friendship here: 

Dear Free Friend

We are scattered star dust 

On this selfist lone pole 

Of love combusted by separation

— pristine loyalty

Is a rare glimpse of divinity 

Illuminating from your heart’s heat 

Filling my cold hands in January

With genuine care shared 

Tenderly, volunteering humanity

In this world of scarcity

— the lack of unconditional love

 

Affection is our saviour

Our Buddha, Jesus, Mohammed, the Sun

Like Abraham the father of us all myth-makers

— in oneness

We need more of your shared joy

We want more of your embraces

We crave pleasure, while we kill

Seeking approval through annihilated nil

But we thrive when you believe in our will

Carving through life a patient dedication to skill

— unique yet bonding

 

Pristine awareness of selfless love

Delightful co-existence between friends

Who respect each other’s private realms

Only then the balance is just right, not skewing

Enough liberty to harbour love given generously

Without feeling oppressive, wrapped away in itself

 

Some friendships end bitterly though

And it is sad to see you go, cutting the bond

Of potential caring for another human soul

How whole we would all feel! 

~Joy

friendship

I found this wonderful awareness building interaction in Evolving Wisdom.

Essential Matters: A Quantum Practice

This is a simple practice to help you focus on your “essential matters” and the “essential matters” of those around you, consciously creating deeper connections in your life.

I’d like you to choose someone—it can be a friend, a colleague, or a stranger—and I challenge you to talk to them face to face, and do not allow the conversation to simply float upon the surface; push it deeper by asking questions that matter and that inspire compelling and passionate responses.

Ask about their favorite places in the world or in their homes and yards. Ask about the best things that ever happened to them. Ask about the objects they possess that mean the most to them, the books and movies they love and that have changed and formed them.

But don’t be satisfied with the simple answers to these questions; ask them why these things matter. Ask them to tell you the stories behind their answers.

And be prepared to answer those same questions yourself, and to tell your stories.

When we share our stories with one another, that is when we truly connect and recognize ourselves and the Universe in one another.

That is when we move beyond separation and opposition and into partnership and power and possibility.

~

I encourage you to try this practice every chance you get, and with everyone you know and meet.

I think you’ll find the experience to be profoundly elevating and inspiring every time you do it.                                                       


Sometimes we do the above without thinking, it is just natural to ask such bonding questions to show people they matter. With friends we need to keep such conversation going, for we all evolve and change. I don’t like to just scratch the surface, it is the depth that fills me with meaning.


Musing on Darkness that is Beautiful
Art celebrates darkness in its own obscure way and perhaps this is why we need it. Great art mirrors humanity better than reason does. The entire colour palette of emotional being is accepted and used. Focusing on the desire to be happy, I wrote much about light. Yet, in this challenging year globally and internally, it’s urgent to unwrap and accept the other side of the spectrum.
The polarity was made by our culture. Therefore, here I would like to cast some light on the darkness we perceive as bad. In the West, we misunderstood because of our mental divisionism by duality. It is not just the cartesian separation of body and mind that is flawed in the view of the tricky to obtain evidence by our limiting scientific methods. It is that persistent antagonism cannot inherently find the middle ground. I learned by living in the east and reading much of the ancient wisdom from China, India, Nepal, Laos, Japan to the peaks of Tibet that acceptance, inner calm and awareness guide us from the gloomiest days out on to the bright sunshine.
” Beautiful days do not come to you. You must walk towards them.” Rumi
sun photography

Clear vision: adjusting your inner eye

It is the attitude, the point of view we adopt when looking at the world and our selves, that determine the proportion of joy or sadness we feel. The more we give up on the light, we spiral into depression. The more we lie to ourselves by ignoring the pains of reality and naively believe in a just goodness, painting all in golden curls of the great life that is not wholly that, the further we get from truth.
Proportions matter.
Manic-depressive individuals go through the peaks and deepest gorges of emotions.
The super-rich if not vigilant might be robbed of their wealth, betrayed.
The poor giving up, blaming their unhappiness on their destiny, won’t see the joys in their simple life.
darkness in photography

The Known Unknown

The law of change helps to comprehend the potential of the dark and so does art. The gloom can push us, it is an appeal. Fight! Take the weapon of your inner strength, resolved in your control. Find the villain within your mind, name it, face it and defy it. Is it anger, fear, guilt, injustice, …?
These emotions are trapping you, they strand your joy, suffocating instead of expanding your inhales with oxygenating freedom. You are larger than this. Pursue the life in love. Trust your instinct, and not necessarily what others tell you is best, because you might not open up yourself wholly to those outside whisperers.
Make music out of it, paint it (as I did bellow), write it (journaling is as good as poetry) or put effort into fixing something we selfishly ravaged like nature, it feels liberating.
Before the fire ravaged the paradise
You have a choice even in the starkest situations. These can be excruciating choices that will haunt you later, but whatever you see as the greater, more positive option in the moment shall be held in your heart as the right decision if that was taken in good faith. You cannot think and feel for others, it is their responsibility, but children are still innocent, so they always must assume the greatest weight in any decision one takes.

The Calm Beauty of Darkness

Ironically think of a bustling metropolis, where beyond a soundproof apartment and a deep basement do you find most calm? It is at a cemetery. I am drawn to these oases of silence in cities from Geneva, Paris to Tokyo. I am not afraid of death’s presence on these fields of eternal rest. Somewhat it feels relaxing. I just sit on a bench there, shaded by a tree in summer, and I exist, flowing with the moment encountering dark truth. I appreciate my being while sitting next to death, an abundance of changing reality in the form of graveyards. This nothingness embalms my soul with comfort.
contemporary photography
Also inside a chapel, church, even a cathedral, all those temples made for the spirit to cosy in and find a safe connection between one’s humble meaninglessness and the infinitely aspiring grandness above us. I must admit though that my favourite, most uplifting church in the world also contains abundant natural light. The Grundtvigs Church in Copenhagen is an astonishing work of architecture and understanding of human needs.
Visiting monasteries in the European countryside grounds me like a deep meditation.
most beautiful religious architecturemost beautiful religious architecture
Modern church interior
These are places that accepted darkness, can you see that? The shrines to dark necessities of life and death cycles perpetually ticking their divine clock on their own terms. Some healthy people are killed by a car, a plane crash, on a bicycle, while some unhealthy lifestyles still keep you springing well into your 80s.
Life is not fair. All we have is the potency of now. The present is all we have. While we know this, we hang on the tight ropes of our past, even when we thought that we had forgotten long time ago, we do not wipe out the wounds inflicted upon our heart. We cannot choose our mother, father, the place we were born in, but our suffering can empower us. One can live with scars, and I learned to love mine, for each means something. Unlike a tattoo that was chosen, I fell prey to circumstances, but I smile at the memory of how it happened. These accidents were amusing. They did not kill me, they taught me something profound about myself, my personality’s tendencies and the need to slow down and yes, do not carry a sharp knife to slice an apple at school! Today it would be even impossible! My intention was innocent though, no killing of my teachers and the students I did not like for some silly reason, most likely an irrational whim.
self intimacy

Fair Judgement

I’ve no doubts I’m a very good person. My core is light, I relish in helping others in need. Yet, I also must be honest and admit some dark feelings and ideas when the storm crushes in. As it did literally from the Barjac fields this autumn. The olive orchard swayed under the Mistral’s vicious pull, the vines humbly bent to the earth as if hiding from the wrath of the gods out there in the air. I was in a small french country hotel in the midsts of all of this ceaseless ramble. Naturally, I could not sleep.
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Fiercely, It screamed for truth loudly all dark night long.
After a couple for hours of frustrated ceiling gazing I felt a sudden impulse. A good sign for a poet. So, I lit up the bedside table lamp, grasped my notebook and penned a poem. It had to be in French with no regards to grammar, just free flow, unhinged.

Mon identité blessée

Ne peux pas s’endormir

Ca tempête d’automne m’embarrassé

La nature vivant me pousse a fléchir

Sur tout que n’est pas vrai 

L’enfant chercherait de l’amour caché

Devant ou derrière des mes rêves?

The present is the inner storm only, the dreams are of the past or future, not now.

~Joy

American abstractionism

Self-wounding

Ever so many layers to peel off
Until I can ever get even closer
To my very true core – who is this
Woman in men’s clothes stuck in her past
A thinker so profound that her sleep
Disturbs her stream of creation?
I take a sharp knife to help my self
To cut the peel off — stabbed, I’m bleeding
From the forgotten wound, asking 
Why have I stored that pain away
From the light of my days? Why is it hiding
In the dustiest corners beyond
My disturbed mind’s sweeping reach?
Clean up, it’s time, the dark corners of dust
My suffering burst through my flesh into the world
I just can-not go ahead whole without
Looking back again, whether I want or not
I am good, so good a person in fact
That I must admit the rotten part of me.
~ Joy
I am attracted to darkness in music and poetry in particular. Sometimes in nature, even in certain dilapidated architecture that mysteriously lurks at my curious mind. In people it’s the mystery that’s the darkness I am drawn to, not them being mean or vile towards others who don’t deserve to be treated unfairly or painfully.
Ocean sunrise of hope beyond darkness

Here we are in winter 2023, the winter solstice just marked the shortest days in our annual calendar. We might well be at our gloomiest, most nostalgic state of being. The options are to either invite the dark in or to resist its natural pull to cave in to our deep selves. That conflict and indecisiveness causes trouble. Should we not face ourselves during the darker months of winter? Far less distractions outdoors lure us into contemplation, self-discovery. An adventure through fears we must meet, greet and defy.

“The cure for the pain is in the pain.” Rumi 

contemporary photography contemporary photography

Summer solstice was the day I got married to a good man who loves me unconditionally more than anyone else. This initially happy distraction blinded me to some of my old truths and what I was genuinely seeking in life. I was not able to appreciate his attachment. Yet, once I followed my intuition, magic happened and I slowly, gruesomely, flourished into a full bloom. It is still exhausting, painful and it aien’t over yet honey, but I am resolved to push, to savour my inner spark, that love within me I can never lose and can only give. Joseph Conrad wrote in his Heart of Darkness: “The reaches opened before us and closed behind, as in the forest had stepped leisurely across the water to bar the way for our return. We penetrated deeper and deeper into the heart of darkness.” The future depends on that journey through the dark forest. Just go.

Dark Necessities

A poison is the origin of life

And it can kill you all the same

For,

Without one the other couldn’t live

Could not exist, nor feel full

— beauty and pain —

Like wine that eases my intoxicated mind

But kills my brain cells over time.

contemporary African art

I read that Saturn’s icy moon

Enceladus evaporates hydrogen cyanide

From under its frozen surface

So, maybe one day the snake bite

Becomes my soul and flesh

An animated DNA transforms death to life

Ice to water like our great friend

— the Sun — the grand destroyer

Protecting us from cosmic radiation

In its spare time.

dark necessitieswildlife photography

I trust the Sun — space is existence

And it must be freed for the new

To come away from the filling being

This persistent antagonism

Creates magic in the universe

And within me as I struggle

I tear my skin into shredded atoms

So joy can spur from my bones

Renewed through self-destruction.

I invite the beast, devour me as you please

I won’t resist your ravenous pull, eat my lips

Blackness fills my veins, my face erupts

Into boiling lava rocks splurging, rushing

Over the landscape of my skin

The Earth’s core shaken through

Every part of me, every part of you — We become one in the savage space

The beast and me, sublimated into the aether.

Most reactions simmer below the surface

Repressed feelings morph into pain

My body an ocean of organic matter

Always available to become

Something else, some body else,

A karmic evolution through transformation

Shaped by emotions and the soul

~ Joy

I am a huge fan of Baudelaire and Rimbaud. I can sense their presence in my unique poetic ears. The French poets whisper their desires, unafraid of darkness, yet I am freed from verse and gender in my era. By inserting structure only where it feels right, it is the vast, incalculable depth of meaning that matters to me, beyond rhythm and measure, accompanied by silence. Here, I intended to transform data into something more meaningful than physical possibility in some far-thrust time. The necessity of the life-death cycles on this Earth centre this poem in a positive message yielded from its gloomy opposite.

contemporary art Miami

This dark poem was inspired by music, low visibility winter mornings and this NYT science article:

“A poison is the starting point for most theories on the origin of life on Earth and it seems that Saturn’s icy moon Enceladus hydrogen cyanide – vapor (gas) can be combined in different ways to produce amino acids, which are precursors for proteins as well as nuclear bases and sugars which are needed to make RNA and DNA. Enceladus has a subsurface ocean that makes it among the most promising places to look for life elsewhere in the solar system.”

Even wine could potentially find life there since scientists found “the presence of an alcohol like methanol, organic molecules like acetylene, propene and ethane that could power chemical reactions to provide energy for microorganisms living in the Enceladus ocean.

Initial analysis identified not only water but also carbon dioxide, methane, hydrogen and ammonia. The eruptions pointed to hydrothermal reactions below the surface, where hot rocks meet liquid water.

Enceladus is an intriguing place but not the only place. Other moons like Europa, which orbits Jupiter, also have under-ice oceans. All ocean worlds are extremely exciting,” Dr. Craft said. “They all have a little bit of differences from one another, but they have a lot of similarities.”

Fascinating. Now, Mr Musk, can you X-fly me there? In a couple of millions of years perhaps? But first someone needs to craft the elixir of youth, plus an immortal suit to power me through the ages.


Divine Aspirations

I love sunshine. Who does not? Sun gives us joy, plus we have had divine aspirations under its powerful rule. Beyond mere observation, just feel it, modern science proved that the less natural light (sun) we get, the lower our mood sinks. The seasonal mood disorder troubles the sensitive minds of Nordic natives, hence their compensatory high consumption of alcohol particularly during the winter months, fancily marketed as hygge. Here, in Central Europe as well as in Northern America we are not immune to the lack of daylight and so therapeutic lamps and Vitamin D drops come to aid our low altitude sinking down further.

divine aspirations

I am beyond needy for sunlight, I thrive on it, I seek it. I am more addicted on its sublime touch on my skin in late spring and early autumn, nakedly caressing my body than anything else on our wonderful lively planet. Nature cannot subsist without the sun’s proportionate giving, and I am nature, you are Her too. I have divine aspirations. These offer me not just hope, they fill me with joy. A book I read recently The Spell of the Sensuous by David Abram cannot more eloquently express my own intuitive experience of engaging with the natural world.

books on nature

Him and her, the Sun and Nature, the most wonderful couple on and beyond the Earth. I envy their liberal yet reciprocal love. Either gives so much pleasure to us.

Our ancestors appreciated those mundane, ever available gifts, with more gratitude than our tech-savvy society does. Urban distractions and the smog hinder the sun, other stars and nature. The artificial parks are not enough, the wilderness offers more. Just read Walden by Henry David Thoreau and other sublime hymns to wilderness to feel that magic pull. I am an animal and you are too, just slightly different species from the wolves. Yet we share so much with them. It is just our ego that alienates us from the wild as something primitive.

divine aspirations

But how comes that our “developed” society is less happy than people in those natural lands like Bhutan, as those further from the wild tend to suffer more. It is not just about longevity, quantity, but about the quality of joy, not just life overabundant materially. For all we need is safety, shelter, clean water and food to subsist and genuine relationships. Doesn’t power, influence, money hinder exactly that truth, that genuine expression of camaraderie, no class boundaries, no racial profiling, just pure connection. Alright, enough wine for now.

Atlantic sunrise

Back to rationality. Perhaps only those wary of its dangerous rays and age creasing marks on the skin shy away from his reach. Sun is masculine for some reason, perhaps because the moon, luna was symbolically viewed as feminine, not the source of light and heat, a mere reflection in the paternalist society’s parade of order, we created gender even of that which is genderless.

Enough politics and feminism, below is my sun-charged poem on Divine Aspirations.

A glaring faraway fire

A ball thrust high and falling

Below the horizon at winter’s five

Running further on the leash of summer

Ruled by a divine routine of life’s calling

The hauty clock guarding time

Order for the mind’s wild vast fields 

The artists roam so free, but in strife

Like van Gogh’s Arlesien life

Lucky, never lonely, always

In the company of other stars

So one feels a ravenous desire

Burning the wanting soul alive

Ripped apart flesh into hopeless ash

The heart is a thorn, you fool

Imprisoned by your own gloom

But I swoon to climb high

reaching beyond the clouds

through pains, sorrows, feeling nigh

Flapping my wounded wings

Towards the sun with the birds

~Joy

There are countless songs on burning (Ludovico Einaudi In a Time Lapse, in Georgia Cecile’s sensuous voice or Elvis, the greatest of greats in music) for some reason or no reason, we associate passion, desire, love’s initial fire even with that of incineration of a firm substance into the finite ashes. The speeding up of decay, closer to death or nothingness. As dark this may seem, it is beautiful, which a dimmed light is more than a bright sharp day, isn’t it visually? Like a poem by Beaudelaire, the angst of Rimbaud’s unrequited love, there is beauty in this necessity of life and death cycles going on and on.


Books: the mirror of your mind and soul before and now

What are you reading now and what books attracted you, literally, lured your heart like the mythic sirens over the past months? Analysing the books we have read recently, unless they were listed for for research or work, tells us wonders about our current mental state. From the emotions we suffocate inside instead of letting them out the fire pit of the heart, the dilemmas faced and now one must reconcile with and the ‘inappropriate’ thoughts polluting the inner judgemental moralist ego, the ambitions motivating the social climber — in short that desired, yet unacceptable part of you that cannot be spelled out. Is it fear or anxiety about the current state of the world affairs, is it safety of your loved ones, is it your own legacy, anything meaningful? Our subconscious and unconscious choices puzzle psychoanalysts.

what you read

What the books you read tell about you

Generally, if you are a keen reader not just for entertainment but out of following your sheer curiosity, the key to you may dwell in your library. Recent research by psychologists concluded that “your story choice tells a story about you“, wrote Wendy L. Patrick, JD, Ph.D. in Psychology Today.

Just scan the titles and connect with what they call out from your inner self. You might be surprised that the books you read point like a therapist to your real desires, unfulfilled dreams, life philosophy and overall connection with the intellect, the spirit and the world. I asked a few friends what book/s have changed their life and got quite fascinating, rapid replies. My question was inspired by the board pictured bellow at a Los Angeles book festival.

best books

Books you read by choice are not what you had to read

The books you read were either chosen by you, for you or forced upon you. Which ones do you finish the fastest? What ideas do you memorise for longer? It get even more complicated, what I read for pleasure differs from what I gulp out of sheer intellectual curiosity. Free will is still involved anyway in the choice making and the pursuit of the text until its end.

When I was given Goethe in high school, I did not get why the teacher was so obsessed with the The Sorrows of Young Werther. We were fed the theoretical analysis, but life’s experiences have not yet provide enough in order to grasp the meaning fully. I did not see the in-between the lines nuances. It only came to me in my thirties. Paradoxically, Goethe’s title did not equip in itself the youth with the hindsight necessary for lowering one’s emotional clouding of the breadth of the situation Young Werther lived through. Read a book too young and you might not fully comprehend the weight of the story. I missed the core message which even the mature author only later, more distanced from the semi-autobiographical story was himself able to recognise: “It must be bad, if not everybody was to have a time in his life, when he felt as though Werther had been written exclusively for him.”

For the greatest books are not just about the story, that is a cover up for something deeper, meaningful and important to transmit through the written record. Enriching for the literary world, Goethe did not kill himself because of unrequited love, but overcame his suffering through personal development while writing poems, plays and novels. Struggle with an unrequited love was a popular theme int he Italian opera, and while the book was banned in the birth country of the opera as it was in Denmark and some parts of today’s Germany, it inspired other authors like Mary Shelley and Thomas Mann.

I inclined to very different books in my teens, twenties, thirties, let’s see where I veer in my 40s. With life’s progression towards its certain end at some point, prematurely or timely, and with more languages acquired, I am able to broaden the scope of literature passing through my brain.

I have ripened enough to feel the breadth of Shakespeare, to engage rapturously with Rimbaud, to get Karel Capek beyond his humour into the serious implications for the future – well a century later now, the current world, understand the passion of Neruda (the Chilean Pablo, while the Czech Jan was even more nationalistic) and take Proust more deeply than his memory game with a madeleine, the French pastry I love the most just hot out of the oven. Being able to read Milan Kundera‘s original Czech titles and his later originals in French encouraged my acquired language self to become more confident in my own literary output. So did Nabokov, the Russia-born in English writing maestro.

traditional pastryGreatest Czech authors

How we choose what to read

I read a lot, not digitally as much for I relish in writing in the margins, colourfully highlighting what grips me, bookmarking physically the pages that I want to return to. It just does not work on the Kindle or iPad. I tried, but the only book I finished on these electronic devices was, not surprisingly Nabokov’s Lolita, which was rather practical when reading in public spaces. Something does not connect with my brain as tactilely as a printed book does.

It is not enough to buy a book, to put that gift on the shelf, just to touch the bound typed paper, to download the e-book into you virtual library. All this hasty acquiring of content just does not sit within you. Just the catchy title might not tell what the story really is about, how good is the writing, how it flows, and for that one musts use the experience and one’s own brain, leaf through in a bookstore. An intention is not action. Books fill us up only when we pour the content mindfully in.

A book lent from a public library still can have a greater impact on your life than owned copies piled in your closet. Impact and reading is about the process, and maybe that inner necessity to underline, to highlight what touches you, what you want to memorise, sometimes scribed over in personal notebooks.

Therefore, audio books are not for me. I listen to them occasionally, while taking a bath and just want to soak without scribbling, while driving or commuting, but still, during these necessary activities I prefer to unwind with music. To cancel the noise of the urban life, rather than filling my mind with more chatter.

poetic life

Further, you are more limited while traveling than when you are studying at the education centre’s library or clinging to your home library. While e-books solved the length, weight and extra space in your luggage issue, they are only good if you get as much from the reading as from a printed edition.

Ponder, why you picked this book for this journey or the destination you are carrying it along? The reason why you travel somewhere might be that book or whatever you are longing to escape. An emotion, the past, some life situation you are not ready or do not want to face?

What book changed your life?

When I discover something myself coded into the story, it feels like a grand discovery, firing my passion and connecting me more with my true self. Then, to those book lovers like myself I know I nudge: “you must read this book, so ahead of its time, brilliant, life-changing!” Such a line hints on the greatest review that a broad reader can share.

reading

What I read recently were a curious blend of essays, classics, women’s memoirs, ancient and folk myths, contemporary neuroscience, eastern and western philosophy, poetry, psychological and spiritually leaning fiction and psycho-somatic nonfiction. Some I enjoyed, with others struggled through. The later were either poorly written, did not connect with me or I had to read them for work. Not all were connected with real life experiences. Imagination still casts spells over us, mystery, sci-fi, fairy tales keep us wondering and wandering away from real life. While not my genres of choice, I savour most the authors’s tales where relatable life lines along with the imaginary through metaphorical renderings.

Reading is not just escapism, entering the fictive story, but for me it musts be connected with the reality even if just through a feathery touch, with the productive not just seductive desires, conscious emotions and experiences of not only of the author, but also of the reader.

reading roomStudy room ideas

Books: the mirror of your mind and soul

The books you read mirror your state of mind and the stage of personal development you are currently in. They inspire action or at least a whiff of awareness into our now more connected life.

Peak at your bedside table or your kindle library, scan the titles and reflect upon the content of these books. Take a free day or a Sunday afternoon to graze on these hand-picked snippets of yourself. More than a curated cv, these stacks of printed papers may whisper important insights about what you seek in life. Your mind is savvy, subconsciously the brain signalled you what book to choose.

On the tactile side of reality we live through our actions, and not just in our imagination. We learn about ourselves the most profound lessons only when aware of our actions and mindful about our reactions.

Adventurers tend to be impatient, and I am too sometimes. Practicing calligraphy as much as meditation, yin yoga, ikebana, pottery or other crafts requiring your full attention, pulls the muscles of my patience into their stronger core, and so does reading.

open readerMen without Women

Global bookshelves

Traveling also inspires my bookish selections. It intrigues me to read a book about the location I am visiting. Such as Men Without Women by Murakami awakened my sensibility about Tokyo’s quiet residential neighbourhoods and the mystery of yakuza’s tentacles in the polished Japanese life. On a similar note is Murakami’s South of the Border, West of the Sun.

Traveling to Asia for most of the past two decades, eastern ancient knowledge has appealed to me since my teenage curiosity spat me around the world dozen times.

If you are curious to discover more, check my next post in which I reveal a bit of myself through the books that enriched me, either changed my perception, view of life, or challenged my preconceived ideas.

Artistic inspirationLao Tzu

As much as the library at your home, your personal journal is the gateway to your true, perhaps outwardly masked self. Rereading your thoughts illuminates the deep scars in the soul, highlights your strengths and weaknesses to learn from.

My final question is: are we what we read or more how we read?

The books you read are just clues and you only have the answers. Nobody else can analyse that for you.


Offline In My Secret Garden

Please, consider doing this revealing self-pampering trick for your wellbeing and to open your awareness to truth. Once again I went offline for a week. My phone locked in some other place than I am leaving me physically and virtually disconnected from the social chatter and media. I turned the portable device off. What a relief this simple act of allowing oneself to be with oneself brings! It was just me and nature, books, pen, paper, well and the basic survival stuff like a warm room to stay in, food and water. After a long time I felt I had a full control of my being, my days and nights were directed by what I set to do and consciously work on.

pure presence offline

I light up an incense, gaze onto the rippling lake, yes, I found It ∼ heaven on Earth — an absolute presence.

Being with oneself is not a sweet talk, but can be nice

I would love to stay virtually disconnected for longer, but commitments and responsibilities do not allow for such a luxury in today’s hyper-connected world. I have an emergency set up. Someone close knows where I am and there is a phone to reach me on.

What this offline time in space allowed me was to dive deep again into my mind, the heart, soul and some wholesome writing work. Brutal honesty, if you allow me. We all need to remind ourselves from time to time of who we are, what we need to do and what we want now in this point in life. This changes and sometimes we forget what we wanted initially. We disconnected from our purpose and worse, our values. A chapel, a church or a temple of any faith used to provide us this mindful shelter. We could go outside of the religious service to clear our heads from the everyday clutter, stress, worries. We still can, but so many of us non-religiously affiliated ban ourselves from such sacred places. These refuges, unless blocked by the religious authorities, are open to anyone and everyone. We all can do our inner cleaning there.

spiritual artArchitecture of Goa

We can also do it elsewhere. Nature is my god, so I go to her. Forest bathing or a pilgrimage of sorts. One can create a small ritual corner in one’s home, many artists do it also in their studios. The space for emptying and reflection can exist anywhere where the noise of civilisation does not distract and disrupt the precious flowing stream of consciousness. What I call the sacred. For me it is also intuitive. I seek this emptying regularly and it helps my wavering emotional self to harmonise.

I have done a weeklong phone detox during the first lockdown of the pandemic, because it was possible as I was not meeting anyone outside. Just think about that. How do you schedule your life? It is all on the portable device – the calendar, time, diary, health, notepad, notifications, safety alerts, step measuring, virtually most of our communication (except for those postcards I still send to and receive from some friends willing to do the work; to actually physically walk to the post box or office to buy stamps to mail the painterly greeting and note from one heart to another, plus I still write occasional letters). A card or a letter feel immeasurably more valuable than any text message or email will ever be capable of.

polaroid postcardsconnect

The hurdles of contemporary offline lifestyles

The first thing I missed were strangely not people (I nourished myself socially during the preceding there weeks to the brim anyway, called my parents and sister just before my time off), but music. I stream most of the songs I love from my phone app. My home vinyl player is not portable, so I had no other source of music than, voila! My laptop. Hello YouTube, long time no see. Alright, here I am still having my slice of tech with me, but one can do without. Use something from back then when we were not yet plugged in online. From a portable radio or dig out the iPod player, a disc-man or walkman baby, let’s roller blade!

Portuguese architecture

The money mind loves distractions

I planned to focus on writing my novel, so I had to bring my computer along. It haloed a post-it note: No email, no social media, only my book-related research! I had to add the exclamation mark to alert myself promptly. Curiosity was banned, unless relevant. Uff! I had the door of my monkey mind shut.

One week, after all is not that bad. Well, I forgot to take my watch, and that kind of left me in a limbo, totally lost in the absolute void of time. Not entirely though. The light outside and the darkness of the setting evening notified me along with the local village church bells. How liberating and calming at the same time. Suddenly, all time was really my time. I kept writing, ate some healthy food, drank tea and water, I slept and swam or walked every day. And you can do just nothing, no guilt, just be.

Wonders for the mind and the body! Trust me, disconnecting, you will have the silent space to connect with your deeper layers, with the lurking needs you had perhaps neglected for a very long time. Awareness requires space and as little distraction as there can be. Keep a journal at hand.

Chinese female artist

Higher awareness needs even more void in the daily routine. Perhaps, stop playing the music and let the music play itself. Bellow is my poetic way:

My Secret Garden

I hope She remains my secret garden, serene simplicity painted with a smooth stroke of peace.

Tranquility, only natural teeter of the birds singing to their soulmates. A random whizz of bees, a cuckoo — I wonder, what is all the music about?

As if competing with each other whose instrument reached a more fine-tuned sound. Nature’s delight.

Or

Is it a sailboat on the flowing curls of the sea that they sing about or to; or is it and?

— a reciprocal connectivity 

I let them to their business and turn inside my own.

My head — what is It telling? Is It shouting or whispering to me? The skull’s gutter constantly flushing thoughts, doubts, happy pondering, wandering and wondering in all that rattle that goes on inside when I am surrounded by the craze of cities. The space suffocating human activity goes on, engines, honks and squeaks. The sirens’ calls to the bound Odysseus and his deaf crew. More trees, we need more lungs that provide, not take. We need to hear, too.

Noise, noise, clacking, clicking, snapping, jetting, shuffling, huffing, puffing, whizzing, volume up to blasting away life that once was peaceful, maybe.

It amazes me how what we do disturbs more than most noises of the natural world. Save for thundery storm, it is human activity now that kicks us out of balance. We tremble, waver and wobble in the hurricane of manmade sounds.

The vibrations of portable phones, snake hissing in your pocket or a bag. Forget to take it onto a yoga mat! Its venom does not let the mind go its own way. Rushing into my head; is it urgent? I might ask, sometimes. Do I really have to leave what I am doing right now?

I silence the beast, but I have already abandoned my stream of thoughts. I do not like to pick up calls, my whole privy world already knows.

I like to keep time in my space, so the mind can go on like the wild ocean’s waves.

Like the moon controls the tides, consciousness manages our heads.

~R

Being with ourselves is human

What I gained during my time offline was not just the focus on what I needed and wanted to do at the same time, the undistracted week allowed for a revealing observation of others. When you are without a smartphone, you notice even more how others are addicted on these relatively recent devices. Their virtually present, but locally void faces are glued on the tiny screens continually absorbing the invisible heavy metals into their bodies. Alone or with some other person in flesh, while eating in and out, traveling, walking — oh, do we really hate being with ourselves? Just for some time go offline and be with nature, our nurturing planet that we have disconnected from so profoundly.

We do not seem to care enough and know where the in plastic wrapped food is grown and that oranges are just not good in summer and autumn, no matter what the altered breed might deliver. We eat unhealthy, nutrient-poor food, drink polluted water, have chronic pain and ADD in the so called ‘developed’ world. Sometimes, I think back about the village kids in the Himalayas that impressed me with their genuine joy almost two decades ago. Look at the city children, are the majority of them as sparkly? They are the future of potential unhappiness. 

meditation is being offline

I wrote more about how are being changed by the digital culture in this linked musing.

My first phone detox was simply within a rented apartment, I just locked it in the safe. This time I decided to wholly detox at the Chenot Palace in Weggis. While most guests kept browsing, calling, chatting in the robes even inside the treatment rooms, some while taking their bath tubs. I went for a full detox — offline. Cleansing goes beyond the food and what we drink, the mud wraps and hot baths, the heavy metals from the polluted environment as well as our devices keep accumulating in our bodies and we shall regularly disconnect from their luring company.

During my retreat I received the results of my heavy metal load as well as acupuncture during which I meditated so deeply that I felt rush of heat in my veins. My body and mind vibrated with energy, with something primordial. I walked in a nearby forest and wondered at every, by the dog walkers usually unnoticed, cushion of moss here, a lichen-clad boulder, a solitary tree skeleton speaking on a grass carpet with snowed peaks of the Alps in the background. It was pure magic and I did not take a photo. It’s alright, because, you know, I will carry this special image in my heart. I will use my memory, instead of giving this agency to my tech device, which is not making me any smarter, but rather, shall I say it? You know what I mean, the smart phones take something from us and we only realise it once we disconnect for some time. Please, keep this in mind. Others won’t miss you for a week and if you need to communicate, write a letter or postcard, anyone will appreciate that rather special act of attention.

If a week is impossible, then consider one day, weekend perhaps, I call that my day of nothingness and try to regularly include it into my schedule. It is much harder while traveling (depending on where one goes), but it can be done. Certainly this act of awareness will benefit your sense of wellbeing.


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