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.


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.


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.

Best mindfulness practices that will elevate your life


Ancient, tested mindfulness practices from the east

Meditation can be difficult, too high a hurdle to jump over without collapsing during the time-consuming failing attempts. It reacquires discipline and practice. Most of us give up before its blissful effects can penetrate the body and mind. Even if you have the ideal setting, a noise-free room, there will be days when neighbours will be drilling into the walls, their kids racing on the floors right above you or someone manicuring their impeccable garden with a motorised mower.

Practicing on your own, feelings rather than aligned positions focused form of yoga is much easier and a realistic habit to stick to. For some people it is as much beneficial as sitting still during a deep meditation session. Being in your body, acknowledging the sore muscles from a game of tennis yesterday, the stiff back and tight hips, even a dislocated vertebrae in need of a gentle twist to ‘click’ it back – all that brings awareness of your body’s needs, but at the same time it tunes your mind on a smooth jazzy frequency. Yoga practice can become mindfulness in movement, but it is better to practice on your own. Too many distractions float to the surface of the studio that can make mindfulness practices more challenging.

iaido martial art

Gentle stretches and slow, precise movements of the body are also the main aspects of Tai-Chi and Qi-Gong, far-eastern mindfulness practices when you work with your body’s energy. For Tai-Chi I very much relished in Master William C.C. Chen’s Tai Chi Chuan technique suitable for beginners. His studio os based in New York. Also the resident teacher at the Golden Door in California opened my practice into more flowing, dance-like savouring of the present moment. For Qi-Gong online I recommend Master Fumin Wang Guo.

calligraphy lesson

Martial arts are about mastering focus and guiding the mind beyond fear and other hurdles that could weaken you, potentially cost you life. Personally, I tried the Japanese sword art Iaidō (居合道). Ironically, it is not about violence at all, the weapon is just a tool to fully engage with, to merge with into oneness. So is the traditional practice of calligraphy. Anywhere I grasped the brush, dipping it carefully in the dripping ink, with gentle movement of my arms transferring the writing tool to the paper, I was fully present. Whether it was a formal studio, a temple in Kyoto, a practice after a lunch with a friend in private kaiseki room in Tokyo and even a noisy cafe in the bustling Marrakech Medina, the location did not matter, for it was purely about my mind being set on the activity. Mindfulness practices like these require honing a skill.

Japanese kanji caligraphy

Breathing is a well-known and researched technique indispensable not just for our survival but also aiding with all body & mind connecting practices. The energising flow of an inhale and the releasing power of each exhale, both require enough concentration to distract us from other activities and disturbances. At the same time breath directs the body’s life energy (qi, prana, …) to balancing pace.

Harmony and longevity are terms used often in the eastern world. I wrote about them in my long-life musing. Mindfulness is one of the most potent non-material tools that can help us to live longer and be happier. The key is to let go, while observing. This sounds almost contradictory, but when we free ourselves from intense emotions we have time and space for objective observation. We liberate ourselves from our subjectivity.
Alpes Maritimes in the Nice backcountry


Next to meditation, yoga, qi-gong, tai-chi martial arts and breathing, there are other tools you can implement into your daily life to increase your mindfulness.

I enjoy ikebana, Japanese mindful flower arrangement attuned to the changing seasons in nature.

Radka Beach in Londonikebana
Su-Mei Yu, the author of The Elements of Life advises using your beauty time (not just ladies) to unwind and bring attention to your mind. When making a face mask at home, lie down and relax while it’s nourishing your skin for the recommended 10 to 20 minutes of its penetration. It is an opportunity to clear your head and skin at the same time.

During a massage at a spa, just focus on each part of the body as the therapist touches the skin and become aware of any stiffness, soreness or other signals that our body is expressing.
Being on a quiet beach, the perfect place where nature with its relaxing hiss of the waves, let the sound guide your mindfulness practice. Just close your lids, and feel the sun rays penetrate through your skin. Warmth in itself is calming.

luxury stays in Mexico
Nature rejuvenates our spirit, but a strenuous hike requires our attention being dispersed in the environment, so we do not slip and injure ourselves. Take a break, sit down on a comfortable stone or a bench and savour the clean mountain air, the fragrances of the forest and the meadows or the mineral breeze swooshing refreshingly from the sea.
Music is another marvellous tool that can tune us into the state of deep focus. It depends on the type of music though. Plus, each of us likes different type of music and needs to test what works best. I wrote about the power of sound in my other musings. The piano music composed by my French friend Tom Zaruba that can be played on La Muse Blue’s poetry page works magic. His album tilted Slow Down invites you to do just that with both your body and the mind.

There is no one mindfulness practice that is better than other, it is more about finding and practicing the one or more you like, those that you can realistically include in your every day lifestyle. Consistency becomes mastery. Become strong.

On Control in our Unpredictable Life and the Untamed World

Control is a natural mechanism of survival and wellbeing. Why otherwise would we subject ourselves to restraint? Even the animals do it as they learned from their past experience what works and what does not. Lions wait patiently for their prey to come closer, their lust understands the reward’s allure. A squirrel teases a snack on your park bench luncheon in a shy cum daring series of approaches until it gets what it wants — that crumble of your sandwich. 

Still, control is about more than just a survival necessity, at least for humans. Emotions can derail us and we need to cope. Particularly, the irrational can be rather frustrating when it does not originate from you. If you are the creator of the incomprehensible as is the case in art, then it is magical. When I write poetry, I cease any control whatsoever. That which results might be incomprehensible to the bare eye, but when you ponder it further or life presents you with some challenge, suddenly the light sparks bright.

There is further the question of fragility as opposed to unity. Even though they are not necessarily the opposites and can be present in each other, unity assumes strength while fragility weakness. Therefore, control is about maintaining the strength through unity, not separating from the whole.

Still, we do not always take the lessons from our past mindfully and seriously into the present. Plus, some of us are more inclined to strict control due to our insecurities. These are even sadistic extremists in need of having the guiding force entirely in their own hands. No sharing is possible for such megalomaniacs’ and authoritarian partners’ grip to power. Even in the everyday management of house and people. Being in charge of unpredictable others can breed anxiety in a perfectionist. Awareness and empathy help. When someone does not perform to your expectations, rather try to teach them calmly and patiently first, and if it fails a number of times switch. Nobody has equal standards and we cannot expect for others to be in tune with our demands and even wishes that nobody can see in every aspect of existence. 


Others are more relaxed about wielding influence over their inner and outer reality. These are open creative minds, intuitive individuals, with generous hearts and liberal spirits. The invention, the new, the arts, they rely on ceasing control. Most discoveries, even some ground-breaking findings arrived purely by accident happening usually out of one’s control. My idea of creativity is that there are no rules. This boundlessness opens the gates to infinite possibilities that do not harm because it is just art.

The loose grip does not mean that they seek no leash on our (I shall disclose my own leaning) lives. Some direction is needed to float through life as harmlessly as one can. When the wellbeing of others is concerned, one must consider the consequences of one’s behaviour before it is too late. And this is not an easy feat. The pandemic had taken us through muddy responsibility when our behaviour could cause death or contribute to other’s sanity. Passion blinds us to danger. One must balance the scales between longing for adventure, liberty and mindful selfless consideration. Even liberty-seekers need some sense of control for grounding.

balance and control

In any case, we shall practice mental control. Over millennia many techniques were conjured to curb our racing appetites and minds – fasting, martial arts, yoga, meditation, pranayama, auto-suggestive training, and other modes of desired direction used by top athletes for example. I use multiple disciplines for increasing but also for loosening my control, as I believe it is important to know how to go in either direction, to regulate rather than stipulate only one way. Inflexibility is the most inhuman, robotic behaviour and mindset. I have devised rather unusual control-liberating activity — my analog photography. I refused to learn the technical side. I just allow the results to surprise me. I feel the light in the moment when I decide to snap and all the rest is up to serendipity. I allow for the magic to manifest.

Kyoto leavesanalog photography

Paul Valéry, the Franco-Italian poet, grappled art first with his perfectionist sense of poetry and above all his acceptance of being totally freed from his ambitions. Via inquiry into other arts and science, he found the middle ground through a personal crisis of intellect and sentiment. His further studies of the sciences and integrating them within his poetic form resolved his dilemma. Unity won over fragility. 

Contemporary scuplture

Beyond the rational, there are some outer and inner aspects of being human that are extremely challenging to be tamed. Extremes are clear in their intentions, but the peace keepers, the harmony influencers have the toughest job of all. Psychologically as well physically. Their path can be conflicting.

Suffering and liberty are related beyond their antagonistic aspect. Our desires and dreams can make us suffer as well as express the inner seeking of freedom. It is natural, yet our cultural and social rules and taboos complicate this equation. One’s sense of dignity and pride are affected. Judgement shall be relinquished for the sanity of humanity.

Prague Slavin cemetery

Connecting the invisible with the easily perceivable, control is often beyond our power but mindfulness can guide us to the areas of our life we indeed can influence. Perhaps the most important is that this is meaningful, otherwise ego-driven pursuits of directing events and people our way are unethical. Use control when you can for your and our shared benefit, that is a sum of what I wanted to convey above. This requires deep thought, but sometimes just pure trust in intuition.

How do you feel about bees as nature’s clues about us?

Bees are the symbol of hope, life and vulnerability across many cultures. The symbolism does not end here. The ancient Egyptians, the Greeks, Hindus, Jews, Christians, Muslims, and other mythologically and spiritually oriented groups literally blossomed with divine analogies between the bees and God/s. Infant divinity’s nourishment, the earth’s and even human creation provided answers to fundamental questions about the nature of life that our ancestors asked being as interested as we are. 


Photo of me holding a comb tray by Stanislav, a beekeeper.

Nature created to nurture

What bees do beyond honey, propolis and wax production, pollinating and feeding? Perhaps we need bees not just as major pollinators and beautifying, healthful, useful produce makers, but to teach us and to reflect on something about ourselves and our society. Across cultures, bees used to be cherished and valuable beyond their provisions. Perhaps this was connected with our ancestors’ greater awe, gratitude and respect of nature on a vaster social scale than in industrial and post-industrial eras when our focus had shifted to mass-production of goods for human consumption mainly. Isn’t then the answer to contemporary unsustainable culture a shift towards a greater awareness of natural behaviours?


Holistic life analogies

The Chinese and Daoists were fascinated by the morphing of honey into wax, the products of one entity, the bee. The contained (yang) – honey was made into a container (yin) – hexagonally shaped wax by its creator – the bee. The perpetuity of change in taoist philosophy might had been easily deduced from observing the bees’ behaviour. One substance in different manifestations that hold each other and so form the whole to serve each other’s purpose. 

The Christians find a similar, yet simpler analogy in Christ as “honey in the rock”. The Biblical Psalm 81:16 casts that “soul is to body as honey is to comb — divine essence housed in an earthly vessel”.

Bee keeping is not just traditional, but also a religious pride in Egypt, the Arabian Peninsula, Iran, Israel and Syria. The Koran ascribes divine power to bees as the exemplars of dutiful useful behaviour. The Sûrah XVI revealed at Mecca carries title — The Bee:

“And thy Lord inspired the bee, saying: Choose thou habitations in the hills and in the trees and in that which they thatch; Then eat of all fruits, and follow the ways of thy Lord, made smooth (for thee). There cometh forth from their bellies a drink diverse of hues, wherein is heeling for mankind. Lo! Herein is indeed a portent for people who reflect.”

The spiritual individuals and their society seem to have harnessed a greater respect for such useful gifts of nature. The self’s ego is diminished by the divine force when facing that which shall imbue our hearts with joy and minds with humbleness.

Buzzing bee wild flowers

Blasphemous fraud affecting honey customers

Speaking of God and honey, there is plenty of fraud going on contemporary globalised trade. Much of the honey labeled does not come from the claimed country and the cheapest ones tend to be of “syrup-laced honey from China and other exporters” such as Ukraine, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, and Turkey. The Financial Times reported recently in an article titled: Beekeepers abuzz over ‘honey laundering’ that  the European Commission found “almost half of the honeys surveyed broke EU rules, with ingredients such sugar syrups, colourings and water.” Traceability is also a huge problem in the weak labelling law system not just in the usually rather strict EU. The nutritionally zero value sugar water is incomparable with the enzyme and Vitamin rich nectar of the bees.

local honeyItalian honey


We know they are important, even necessary for life as we know it on this planet, but do you feel admiration, awe, gratitude, or is it fear, worse even ambivalence that affect you when meeting face to face with the sting-ready insect that does more useful work than any other animal does for humanity?

Bees do not just produce honey, propolis and royal gelly for the cosmetic, natural health and food business, their industriousness keeps nature set in its cycles of fertility and the necessary restive dormancy. The life and death cycles necessary for continuity.

How is it so easy for you

To be kind to people he asked

Milk and honey dripped

From my lips as I answered

Cause people have not

Been kind to me

Rupi Kaur

Ever since I was stung by one accidentally when the little me was hiking with my family, I feared these defensive creatures. Encountering the whole truth of wild mother nature was not just a sweet bliss of its ripe produce and transformed alchemy of nectars, it hurt and it swelled. I was afraid. Like a snake rattle, hearing the buzzing sound nearby rises my hair. Around bees I am anxious to jump into any proximate body of water to submerge myself in a self-protecting isolation. Slam the door, the window, get away from this stinging flier! And this reaction came after just one bite. Maybe I need more to fully grasp its harmless pinch, but who volunteers for pain? Only sadists, stoics and psychopaths do.

Protective gear for beekeepersbee keeping


Collected essence of sunshine

Blossoms nakedly in its obscenity

Of perfumed nectar, an irresistible 

Warmth of contact with the divine

Alchemy venerating waste, transformed

Golden pollen digested in honeyed bliss

Tastes as sweet as the lover’s kiss

A rainbow of awe showered humanity

Praising this animal queendom ruled 

By fertility fed by royal gelly for longevity

Humm, buzzing, fear-rising

In stinging imagination

Threatened by sound

But governed

By fierce protection

Of continuity


Learning from the apian life

Over the recent years I was alerted more urgently to the looming climate disaster, so I kept reading on the irreplaceable value of bees. It does not hurt to study the object of your fear after all. I realised that I must shift my relationship with these magnificent labourers of dedicated love. Curiosity is our greatest teacher and it can introduce highly unexpected knowledge.

Intriguingly, I found an analogy between snake and bee. In the ancient Hindu scriptures the bee humming sound awakens the sleeping Kundalini (energy) serpent. Perhaps, I feared the snake’s awakening inside me each time the fearful buzz approached me. An inner challenge ringing from the outside environment from which we cannot insulate ourselves. This connection with nature can only be cut by lack of awareness (=consciousness) or death, one being most likely synonymous with the other.

bee hives

Next to their luring sound, the aromatic pheromones released and shared by the ruling queen bee bind her tribe in a potent, organised hierarchical society. Any queen bee takes care of all the procreation, while the rest feeds and protects her prolific egg production. So much on the shoulder of one leader!

Maybe it was the bee that inspired autocratic human systems distinguished by exceptionalism.

Bees’ life cycle, while exemplary in their cooperative activity might seem cruel. The female workers kill the male drones by the end of summer. Perhaps that is also why they tend to be more aggressive in this period also towards humans. September can be dreadful for the male bees and myself. Killing the by now useless (not that I am, but naturally I am a threat with my human largesse and they have a weapon to use, be it deadly when used also for themselves) to preserve the food for long winter is the ultimate example of the survival of the fittest in the animal realm. The intuitive protection of the Mother Queen lying as much as 2,000 eggs a day as the securer of continuity is fascinating. Hence her goddess status amongst her kin’s dependants and the ancient symbolic enthusiasm amongst diverse cultures.

In the Aeneid, Sophocles measures human diligence with bees activity.

Such is their toil, and such their busy pains,

As exercise the bees in flowery plains,

When winter past, and summer scarce begun,

Invites them forth to labor in the sun;

Some lead their youth abroad, while some condense

Their liquid store, and some in cells dispense;

Some at the gate stand ready to receive

The golden burthen, and their friends relieve;

All with united force, combine to drive

The lazy drones from the laborious hive:

With envy stung, they view each other’s deeds;

The fragrant work with diligence proceeds.

“Thrice happy you, whose walls already rise!”

I just cannot escape the bees. My cousin hobbies in bee-keeping after work, a husband’s friend’s start-up raised tens of millions to safeguard honey production, and last year the chronicle of my birth-region, who interviewed me challenged me to come to his friend’s “friendly” beehives and hold some trays of combs oozing with the sticky nectar and hundreds if not thousands (!) bees uninterrupted in their work.

I was invited to face my fear — one against the whole tribe. It turned out that the bee keeper was a woman, a rare sight or perhaps it is because bee keepers tend to their hives rather invisibly. What one often sees when traveling through the European countryside are the coloured wooden boxes by the hedges of a forest, in the proximity of a meadow or flowering bushes.

I would not leave anything to chance, therefore I requested a full protective suit. Most hobbyist bee keepers eventually use only the gloves if any. My cousin said casually that he does not use any and if he gets a few stings, alright that is what they do to protect themselves poor things. His compassion moved me. Looking at a few ancient depictions of a figure about to savour the sweet sticky nectar straight from the hive’s buzzing cave, I learned that human desire never ceases us to tempt to danger. One could be allergic without knowing, so a few stings or even just one can be deadly. The ancient jars, cave paintings and papyrus bore witness to risk for a sweet reward.

Apiarists know their flocks. They are aware when they are angry because of the pheromones that smell somewhat like bananas according to some reports. Literally, they go bananas when upset. They group into an attack. In that scenario I was told by most beekeepers one should remain still, almost as if blending with the surrounding nature, calmly let them pass by. 

In my bubble of safety I watched the bees filling the hexagonal wax chambers with honey while holding the tray carefully. I kind of half shut myself down. That is how this first intentional encounter with my fear felt. Yet, unless I move to the Antarctica or in the highest altitude of the Himalayas I have to meet the bees. Even in the polluted urban areas the buzzing pollinators go about their job.

What I realised around this experience was that I must find what we have in common, what interests we share and what we can give to each other, in other words to become friends. If we want to call ourselves evolved like Hippocrates (an avid fan of honey) and not hypocrites, we shall grow above the survival of the fittest law of wild nature and rather judge life based on fairness. Humans feel after all.

Luminesunset in Japan

WHY they matter to humanity?

Sunshine lovers as the bees are like myself managed to find their way into my circle of friends. If you ever want blueberries, cherries or most vegetables, you cannot do without bees as the wind won’t work here. Only technology could, but that would be costly. The buzzcopters are by far the most important pollinators. There are about 20,000 species of bees in the world. Most of them do not make honey, but each pollinates a specific flower, some even have evolved body shapes more suitable to enter some intricately shaped blossoms. 

Extinction of bees would alter ecosystems and human food systems. Fruits would be too expensive to robot-pollinate so without the bees’ assistance, less natural food would be affordably available to nourish the growing global population. While they are resistant to droughts, they are sensitive to cold and large shifts in temperatures. Climate change is disrupting mild climates, fluctuates temperatures in sudden, erratic restlessness. It breaks down regularity of the seasonally shifting qi energy. Their vital role in agriculture as well in the interconnected environment is indisputable.

I read a heartfelt but sad bestselling story of a a Syrian refugee for whom bees were everything in life. It was given to me by my nature-aware dad the last Christmas. They consoled his loss of a beloved only son and his suffering while undergoing a dangerous journey by sea through Greece to England. In The Beekeeper of Aleppo, Christy Lefteri recounts problems across cultures and how bees connect our society with another. The author introduced me to the knowledge of some  bees’ adaptability. For example the British black bees are more resistant in cooler temperatures, she writes. They keep working under 15 degrees Celsius and when compared to most European bees they are more resistant against viruses.

.mind-opening booksBee shaped glass at a gastronomic restaurant

While I am not attempting to explain bee behaviour and keeping scientifically or practically, I want  to illuminate the importance of these buzzing insects to humanity. Beyond producing potentially the first sweetener of our from paradise cast out lives, this supporter of fertility and biodiversity on the only Earth that we know we have, deserves our attention and support. I had to overcome one of my greatest fears for the sake of sustainability, you can do less than that, just use your buzzing consciousness.

From Sunrise to Sunset: nonfigurative poem on fission and fusion ∀ for all

Today is the International Yoga Day (becoming one is its ultimate quest), the Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year when the sun’s light graces our human existence on the Earth with the most open gate to connecting within the solar system, so the ancients in many diverse cultures believed. Stonehenge gets the most packed with curious souls on this day. It is also our ninth wedding anniversary. ‘Love conquers all’ was written on my friend’s wedding gown this past weekend. This latin proverb remains timelessly chiming in our consciousness. Love is about union and that is this fusion of separate entities is a higher level of shared existence humanity is capable of. Well, with some effort.

naturalist artbest sculpturesLove quotes

Connecting this opportunity, the sun with my soul, I meditated this morning. Soon once again realising how wonderful is this simple tool accessible to all of us patient enough to find their inner space through breath, focus and giving ourselves a meaningful snippet of time from our day. This non-activity is creativity, ideas and soul-nurturing opportunity to squeeze into our packed schedules.

In the soulful moment of connection with my environment, when my nervous system was calmed, relaxed from its tensed activity of thinking, I opened the dam within. That unconscious content released into a flow of writing, which I am publishing unedited bellow. I was never afraid to make mistakes or to expose myself raw, uncensored, natural — simply how I am, but writing poetry brought me somewhere else. This is not me, most of my poems go beyond me, they transcend my ego and the self, they come from another plane and I cannot name it, is it the Muse knocking on my mind’s open door?

best female artistsbest female artists

NOW through character: From Sunrise to Sunset

What’s that we are unwinding 

in the evolutionary path

of life and death cycles

Is it a motion towards oneness?


A revolving setback

Towards our only Earth

the home we were born in

all equal, but for geography

To unite we must become selfless,

simpler, unpolluted, user-friendly

unblemished mass of flesh,

freed minds, irreducible hearts

that breathe as one existence

concurring in this unique place

in time filled with space

But, this is not humanity

diverse like the infinite

realm of the universe

So what are we doing now

in our intent extinction

of diversity — we annihilate possibility

of individual souls to colour this world

abundant with dispersion,

unfastened choices,

branched out multitudes

gagged by homogeneity!?

While there is always something

good in any bad thing and in reverse

the only difference being their relative quantity

the measure of evil against divine equanimity

Who builds the dam to protect us

from the upcoming sun-setting flood

that won’t soak into the dried up soil

we depleted, disrespected, exploited

in our blasphemy to shared existence?


best female artists

Grand Ocean: Anna-Eva Bergman

Symbol key:

≈ almost equal to

≅ approximately equal to

~ similar to

≠ not equal to

∩ intersection

∈ element of

∀ for all

Parisian architecture

From Sunrise to Sunset

This existential call rings up from our collective unconscious mind. In the current political, ecological, spiritual and technological turmoil, can the arts summon our strength, illuminate our conscience more effectively than conventional activism does? The arts have for some, liberated time by now expressed truths we must face — like the fission of our common existence. Through a multiform message system the participants communicate something important through shared awareness. I wrote about the importance of spiritual art already, but here I mean to stress the arts’ social role. Beyond beauty, concepts, selfish expression, there are questions in some great art tickling our conscience. We must engage.

Mountain in one line by Anna-Eva Bergman:

spiritual artminimalism

Like Georgia O’Keefe and Anna-Eva Bergman, the later Norwegian-born artist, known more during her lifetime as being the wife (twice) of abstract German-French painter Hans Hartung, I am fascinated by mountains, pebbles and stones. Something dwells on their peaks. Is it the key, the solution to our current existential problems? I devour observing a nearby mountain horizon, so proximate that I can trace all of its curves, creases, riffs, it’s rocky flesh sometimes covered by trees, the lungs of the Earth. Its body is close, yet not suffocating. The mountain’s inviting distance inspires intimacy without claiming my space. Tall enough still to glimpse the pinks and purples before the sunset.

Currently, I am leafing through a fascinating biography of this challenged artist who lived through two world wards while suffering in hospitals due to her fragile health. Luminous Lives by Thomas Schlesser, the director of the Hartung-Bergman foundation in Antibes, is an account of her artistic, personal and spiritual journey towards her nonfigurative naturalist depictions that I was smitten by at this spring retrospective at the Musée d’Art Moderne de Paris (MAM).


This poem was inspired by an incense. The plant mass of burning ash I often light when writing indoors. Older than a candle and spread east to west, this smoky device has been used in spiritual ceremonies, in tribal rites, to commemorate the deceased and to clear the surroundings of bad spirits. Today it is more widely spread in the western meditation practice, in more intimate yoga studios, in wholesome tea rooms that I love to ground myself in, but the more in the zeitgeist concept stores I come by, the more incenses I find. Its scent thickens the atmosphere with grounding presence.

teatimeincense burner


Sage dilates my nostrils burning flesh to ashes

 penetrates me viscerally, 

  cheeks swell like a blushing cherry,

  the smoking air strong pulls the lace

 around my breasts for the lungs to embrace

the longing heart’s shivering body of nerves


        this oxygen-bound, dried mist of a blaze

travels through my aching body filled with life

reminding me to cede all useless strife

by breath alone come out of the maze

you were caught in weak like a mice

lost in the vain mind throwing dice

Oh, this delicate life seeming at ease

dependent on timely contraction and release

on what goes in and what comes out as I float

above I see clear, it’s joy that makes it count!


The shape of this poem is intentionally mimicking the fuming incense first from the left and further down from its right side border.

incense burner incense burner

My use the incense  is purely practical. The smoke relaxes me, it helps me to focus, it eases any lingering anxiety, plus it smells so nice. While I have never inhaled a draw from a cigarette (it just smells terrible, how could I?), I shared some bonding rounds of scented hookah lounging on divans from Abu Dhabi, through Istanbul, Marrakech to London. My one and only puff of marijuana concluded in ceaseless raptures of irrational laughter I puzzlingly did not enjoy. The fake effect of joy from it put me off.

The only smoke I truly relish is that of the 6000 years old ceremonial tool that was the very first fragrant material used by humans. The ancient Chinese and the Egyptians burned plants to induce the specific smell bound in them. It is like liberating the aroma’s spirit dwelling inside. I spent much of my 20s living in Asia where burning incense accompanied many of my adventures. In the Buddhist temples on the Kumano Kodo in Japan, the stupas scattered around the bustling Bangkok, the tranquil Luang Prabang, the hindu divinities shrines in Nepal and India, taoist edifices around Hong Kong, Shanghai and Taipei. The Japanese refined the ritualistic incense ceremony into kōdō that similarly to tea ceremony chadō induces the zen tranquility of the mind. Recently, I was drown to the Earth element made of vetiver, cypress and patchouli stirred in the area of an ancient rainforest in Guatemala of the Nippon Kodo incense maker that has been in business in Tokyo since 1575. The infatuation with incense has never ceased to work on us.

From the lonely mountain chapels to the urban hustle, the incense scent’s omnipresence fills me with calm, an indescribable energy that works its magic anywhere, one does not need to burn it in a dedicated sacred place but anywhere – from your bathroom to your desk.

I learned in an interview with a contemporary LA-based young artist that I am not a lone goose in this incense sway. Some use it while painting, others when taking their meditative break or sipping tea to keep their spirits high in the creation unique to their own kind.

incense ceremony in ThailandMayan incense burner

An incense does not have to be shaped into a stick. Bound or ground dried plants like holy basil and sage packs or even resinous materials like the oliban of the boswellia tree family found in Northern Africa are used for scent releasing by burning. Any decent Arabic market sells them, I bought my first such incense in Marrakech. One needs a coin-shaped charcoal and a lidded censer pierced with openings for the smoke to come out and to burn it safely. The last tool I only got recently. While traveling from Northern Italy through the mountain pass into the Swiss Engadine, we stopped at since 1983 UNESCO protected with century convent dedicated to St.John, where next to jams, digestive liquors and cookies made by nuns, herbal tisanes, they also sold packets of blended incense. Their Paradise mix intrigued me so I grabbed it together with a gold-leaf censer small enough for travelling and ease to put on an even surface anywhere. Our wintery month-long mountain stay smelled divine.

At the Met on Manhattan I saw quite some artwork of incense burners. The bronze sculpture were inspired by animals like a bull and cat. Imagine the fumes coming off their eyes and nostrils!

Fragrant incense sticksOrthodox Churchincense burner

Large, suspended from the ceiling or handheld censers are still being used during religious ceremonies. In the West from orthodox churches, mosques to catholic cathedrals, they penetrated into the everyday presence in Mexico as their scent accompanies the soul to a reflective realm necessary for our wellness. We need the spiritual in life, it does not have to be religious, but it must be present to comfort us in the turmoil that existence is.

Replacing anxiety: Coffee substitutes and caffeine-free alternatives

Either for health reasons, sustainable performance for athletes, during pregnancy and breast feeding for women, coffee substitutes intrigue these mindful of their consumption. The side effect of caffeine brings about nervousness, anxiety, and even panic attacks, for women it can also upset estrogen levels.

In spring, a healthy detox is always a wise choice to reset the body and mind into a relaxed pattern at first and then gain more energy for the year’s festivities. During detoxification the body has plenty to do and you better rest to aid the intense process affecting most organs. From liver, kidneys, the digestive system, pancreas, gall bladder to heart. Therefore, all serious health retreats I have been to cross of caffeine out their cleansing menus. 

Cichorium Intybus

The new vice for the global world on speed

Not only the health conscious skip caffeine or at least try to reduce it, but Europe did not have caffeine in any form – coffee or tea until 17th century. On Vice I read that up until 1616, London had no caffeine because of the global trade had not improved it yet. I love the post’s author (Jamie Steidle) lips lifting confession:

“I don’t like the feeling when you have one too many espresso shots and you’re moving so fast that you might phase through the space-time continuum like a quantum particle.” And I cannot be more in sync with him grasping that “Caffeine, it turns out, is not the soul of coffee; trust me. It’s more about the ritual and the mood, not just a jolt of energy and heart palpitations.”  

They especially entertain our mind as if you once were a genuine coffee lover, not just the caffeine kick seeker, but a connoisseur of the deep expression of the Earth’s divers terroirs. For with coffee like the real tea (Camelia Sinensis) and wine, in different soils, elevations, exposures to the sun and other elements, the beans’ expression changes. The human intervention also counts as with tea and wine. Selecting the beans and then gently roasting it can support or break the quality.

Healthy coffee replacements

My coffee appreciation yielded a casual poem once. While I was sipping a frothy cappuccino brewed by a Japanese barista in Le Marais, Paris, I was elated that finally, Paris has a good quality, perfectly brewed coffee.

No lid to screen my eager lips

Dipping like silky petals of tulips

Wet with a dew diving down

Into the soiled brew I now own 

Touching the frothy pleasure 

My nose elates beyond measure

Warmth under the milky cloud

Caresses my mouth, teases joy out


coffee alternatives

Health reasons to quit coffee and switch to an alternative

About six months ago I had to stop drinking normal coffee for health reasons. The bad headaches and dizziness were enough to warn me that something isn’t alright. Later, blood tests showing serious anaemia confirmed my body’s blinking orange light. Listen to your body as it has that red flag capacity to prevent further damage. Tannins in coffee, black tea, chocolate and wine are the major interferences with the absorption of iron from the food we consume into the blood. One needs to consume these at least an hour apart from iron-rich foods and supplements.

As there always is a bright side to any misfortune, I embarked on a research journey seeking what else with a similar taste profile is out there on the market. Still, I could have one cup of decaf coffee per day without the headaches, but the tannins were still in.

Like the 15th centuries spice traders I voyaged to America where most hotel’s serve a terrible decaf coffee. I try a sip, but mostly the experience is so bad that I advise to rather skip it altogether. As my desperation and curiosity grew, I asked around and  rejoice I got plenty of tips on artisan coffee roasters from LA to Brooklyn making delightful, by natural method decaffeinated beans. All used more mild method of water washing to rid the praised coffee berries off the for some unwelcome caffeine.

From spring mountain water soaring with bright flavours to sugar sweetened water, it works very well but takes more work than the harsh chemical treatments used commonly. The majority of chemical decaffeination washes away not just the unwanted but also some desired flavour. More often than not, lesser quality of beans were being used for this purpose. Not any more, and how lucky for me. The hardness of the water used is also a key to success. Even the world’s best barista at Mame, residing like currently myself in Zurich, also adopted his decaffeinating method to using local Swiss water.

Healthy coffee alternatives

My recommended decaf coffees: Alana’s sugar H2O decaf Colombian beans in Los Angeles; Mexican brew by Devocion in Brooklyn; the trophies winning Mame in Zurich has with Swiss water decaf blend; Henauer Kaffee (in business since 1896) another Swiss roaster uses high altitude Veracruz arabica washed with mountain water.

Sometimes, my body is cheated into believing that I am drinking the real thing, I get a slight buzz from it for a couple of minutes, but then as if the brain found out the fraud, suddenly I am at ease and no headache comes. How intriguing is observing closely the reaction of your own body, especially when you are impartial, knowing that what you bought came from the decaf bag. 

Perhaps it is not caffeine, the illusion of comfort and pick me up before setting out to work, but the warm brew, the fragrance of which you can inhale joyfully. Indeed, any beverage with a pleasant deep aroma, unique to you, can step in the place of coffee. 

coffee alternatives

The best coffee substitutes for your health

Don’t just sip any herbal infusion. For a chamomile, fennel, ginger or any other plant tisane won’t satisfy these who seek the specific chocolaty, nutty, perhaps even bitter, sometimes tobacco leaves reminding aromas. Some herbal and grain substitutes supply important minerals, vitamins and other potentially beneficial nutrients, often alkaline and better than the body acidifying coffee. Further, some are more suitable for mixing with coffee in order to lower the caffeine content in your daily consumption.

Barley is perhaps the most common. In Italy any gas station offers orzo. The roasted barley can unfortunately tasted as if burned so I am usually dissatisfied either with the espresso or cappuccino form of it. Plus if gluten bothers you, barley is not your friend. Yet, there are some cafes and restaurants that source more elegantly roasted barley so you might prefer it to my further suggestions. In Japan, I tasted Mugi-cha or Barley tea which is essentially the same but not ground into fine grains as the coffee substitute would be. 

Taste-wise and health-wise, I find a better option in chicory. This roasted previously dehydrated root from chicory plant (Cichorium Intybus) has a deep flavour like coffee, nutty, woody, not bitter, and is an ideal morning partner to your breakfast. Not irritating your bowels as coffee does, plus it does not acidify the gut more than it already is. In my native Czechia, chicory is still very popular as it was commercially made for two centuries. From health stand for hypertension, therefore older people tend to sip on it instead of coffee that rises your blood pressure rather fast. It is a wonderful paring with milk and milk alternatives such as almond, oat or soy to whip up a frothy cappuccino or macchiato.

coffee alternativesHealthy coffee alternatives

Less common alternatives to your daily coffee

Creatively and historically, the resourceful Czechs have also used oak (Quercus Alba) acorns blended with other substances such as rosehip. The acorns contain tannic acid, which for some sensitive individuals may not work. For example if you suffer from anemia, the tannins interfere with the absorption of iron into the blood, so you better have your iron and this brew separately.

Spelt is a less common ancient grain brew, but roasted and blended with chicory it tastes close to black coffee.

Rye can be also roasted and then ground into more breakfast porridge kind of meal rather than delightful coffee alternative.

Lupins (Lupinus Lutens) can also be ground to a powdery consistence for warm cuppa, yet many people have allergy to these leguminous beans and the taste is nothing close to coffee, rather a beverage on its own merit.

In Japan, particularly around Kyoto I was impressed by the deep roast of KuromamechaBlack Soybean brew served often by monasteries and temples.

Healthy coffee alternativesRoasted tea

Economising choices of tasty beverages

I remember that particularly wide spread was a blend of chicory, sugar beet, barley and rye still available in Czechia today. Sold under the brand name Melta it was fortified with additional vitamins (iron, B6, potassium) and minerals (magnesium), yet cheaper than coffee and vastly popular during economically harsh times like wars and the occupation by Soviet Union. With inflation striking high, banks collapsing once again, we are well into the economically sober cycle, therefore cheaper and healthier alternatives to coffee become handy. In hard times, some rather puzzling ingredients were used to balance the cost of coffee, by adding dried and pounded figs, carrots, grape seeds, even potatoes into the imported coffees.

Dandelion plantcoffee alternativestasting of coffee alternatives in Czechia

Herbal remedies as coffee replacements

The root of dandelion is beyond its European staple status now frequently on the shelves of health food stores in the US. It is more like a herbal infusion with the bitter taste wanted for its bile production inducing effect. The inulin in it supports immunity.

Burdock is popular in the West Arctium lappa as well as in Asia. In TCM this berberine and inuline containing herb is known as blood purifier and tonic, overall it supports liver by promoting the flow of bile, increases circulation to the skin, and is a mild diuretic. The Japanese adore the health benefits and the slightly sweet flavour of the burdock root that is also used in cooking.

Healthy coffee alternatives

The superfood adaptogenic coffee is a blend of medicinal mushrooms (Chaga, Cordyceps, Lion’s mane and Reishi are most common), and herbs like Ashwagandha that help the body to fend off stress. Basically the opposite effects of caffeine, you get an energy boost without the jittery crust. In the eastern traditional medicine these ingredients were used for millennia and I also like the taste of some of the blends broadly available in the US and UK organic shops such as Moon Juice, Chagaccino (made with there chaga mushroom), reishi mushroom blends as well as Maccacino based on the libido and stamina-increasing South American powdered maca root.  With chaga you need to be alert before any surgery or if you take blood thinners since it increases bleeding.

I like to buy it pure, organic and then experiment with blending other ingredients in for the best taste and effect on the specific day. For example I splash in a pinch of maca, houjicha powder (very low caffeine roasted green tea twigs now available at Blue Bottle coffee across the US and Kettl tea in New York) and even some cacao, plus oat milk for creamy texture. Get creative with your healthier cup of morning delight and also in touch with what your body and mind need, mindfully, not just robotically brewing a pick me up, but reflect first how do you feel and why?

roasted teabest tea in Paris

If you like something spicy without the caffeine then the alternative to chai is turmeric latte. The blend of sunshine-hued turmeric root with its inflammation effect enhancing black pepper and other spices like cardamom, cloves and sweet touch of honey, maple, brown or coconut sugar is brewed in hot milk for a cosy warm cold day remedy.

The most comforting forms of trust we need beyond political rhetoric

Humanity thrives on trust, and crumbles into ashes of burning violence when our security is breached. 

We must build more certainty in innocent, well-intended, harmless behaviour through the bridge between vulnerable, influenceable, even traumatised memory and future-oriented hope. We associate past experiences with present occurrences to simplify thinking, to organise our perception of the world into clearly defined shelves. Unfortunately, this can skew the reality as it is now in this very moment. Judgement based on distant past, on someone’s family or racial background is fundamentally unfair. Expectation corrupts thinking and behaviour, therefore we better shed the weight of prejudice, high hopes, any skewed preconceived ideas to open our minds.

contemporary photography Lee Ufan art Arles, France

Trust means that you open the gate of your confidence towards the outside world

By joining forces we accelerate, reciprocating success in an inclusive, equal measure that espouses a more sustainable success. Within a trusting environment we feel good. Mutual aid benefits not just the needy but the world as a whole. I do not promote freebees like unlimited social support on the disproportionate and demotivating account of some hard working fortunate few. While greed is bad, stripping one’s wealth involuntarily more often than we like to admit seeds in anger and not much gratitude from the beneficiaries who expect to be given without effort. Look at the tensions within the US today. Mutual means cooperative, either side working towards a common goal, prosperity, progress, learning, inventing, existing together in a more fruitful environment as well as inner comfort. Utopia it is not, it works in Switzerland. Everybody is motivated to work.

Swiss nature

It seems to me that religiously inspired charity has more beneficial effect on the believer’s psyche than socially enforced giving away. Further, the recipient of voluntary support may be more motivated to contribute, to grow personally when they know that the alms were given intently to stir creativity, industriousness and reciprocity. Of course, some level of checks and balances is useful in building any trusteeship. Naivety does not pay off.

To whom will you give your mandate? Not politically, even though one of the dirty tricks of politics is stirring dissent by cutting off the tightrope of trust in anyone/thing that competes against ambitious authoritarian leadership. Yet, collaboration, working together openly rather than undercutting each other is what advances society in a more balanced way. As if some of us did not share the same body, mind and fate in meeting death at some point in our life curve, scavenging for victory over the weak people at any cost. Humanity can be as cruel as it can be loving. Yet, in synergy we thrive as a genuine, beautiful joy is only free to expand through our chests when we feel trust.

Mao and Lenin

American art

Through random recent occasions I faced the delicate question of trust. In a high altitude yoga room with other mindful beings, during an intimate sauna conversation, all the while witnessing contemporary distrust in those in power as well as in the media, I realised that our relationship with others can be cracked into an open leak if we do not address openly our feelings of confusion, even betrayal. We need to talk, as individuals, as well as a society.

While humanity does not come short of flaws and vanities, one does not need to have high expectations of others and oneself to value trust. It is an assurance of allegiance, of good hearted manners and integrity.

interfaith wedding

True love is trust

To me trust is connected with commitment, faith and fidelity, all active components of a grown up, mature adult living in a healthy human society. This form of security in relationships is dependent on behavioural history, current signals of dispersed interest in others than the person in the mutually trusting relationship, and on clearly communicated boundaries of what telling truth means to you individually and how seriously lying disrupts trust in the liar. I just read a praised debut novel by a playwright Julia May Jonas that touches upon trust. Her Vladimir is about a more complex relationship and desire, and I recommend anyone intrigued by today’s wokeness and perhaps excessive caution, even discouragement from trusting others, read it. Trust features in many best-selling stories. Verity by Colleen Hoover topped the fiction charts for months for a reason, it topples trust in a most shocking way.

It is not just a cultural phenomenon or a religious cliche, but faith is important to humans in close-knit relationships. Usually, we trust more those we know well, for long enough than a random stranger hyping you to bungee jump off the cliff. Relationships are constructed of solid building blocks of small events that in their total sum make a strong foundation for stable edifice of certainty. Who likes uncertainty in relationships? Only extreme adrenalin lovers, perhaps.

Caring about other person is a display of safe-keeping. We are protective of our kin and those we love. They can count on us when in need. An independent and strong adult does not need a guardian, but cooperation is a binder that makes us feel that we are not alone in all what we do. It makes us stronger together.

How does the one who was being lied to feel? Betrayed.

A friend who always promises but rarely sticks by their word is not a genuine friend. 

A parent shall consider being being the most trusting example to their offspring.

black artist

The mental safety belt of trust

Insecure people hardly let anybody else into their inner life. Safety concerns can uproot trust in strangers. This attitude stirs enmities, discord, racism, violence, wars. In fighting more than one side are involved, so mistrust rusts on either line of unsafe existence. Therefore to prevent conflict we must focus on ensuring safety of all parts. Nobody should be left out when personal security is concerned. Anxiety rises in our mental state of distrust.

Individual insecurity can fog one’s perception of others, trustworthiness including. Past behaviour and experience gauge our trust sensors either to a more open, allowing attitude or a wary state of constant alert. Relay on yourself, yet do not refuse others care if you really need help.

Trust is like the winter road, it can be snowed in, but deep under we know it is there as the map and signs above the ground show.


Beyond hope and assumptions: trust your healthy gut

Trust in others is something quite different from trust in oneself, otherwise known as confidence. Beyond skewed ideas about others, insecurity is a complicated symptom of something deeper, like self love. If you value yourself you are free of self-harming. Relate to your emotions with warmth, not incessant self-criticism, as well as try your best so perfectionism does not swallow your heart but encourages you to improve upon previous achievements.

Gratitude never harmed anyone. Trust in oneself is believing in your capabilities and conviction of the value of your existence by contributing somehow to the greater whole.

A wise mind once said: “What you focus on grows, what you think about expands, and what you dwell upon determines your destiny.” In the context of trust this rings bright and sharp. If you are suspicious, afraid of losing someone, the anxiety will nest in the dark corners of your mind and rust into the remaining light inner space. If you judge yourself unworthy of others’ attention, your self-worth won’t expand. Flipped, if you demand too much, nobody can sustain that pressure. Selfishness never built happy relationships.

Life symbols

Trust is more than the Self

Intuition can become an adventurous guide in our life. Trusting it as a companion to reason, a complementary force to a more whole truth. Something beyond the puzzle just fitting together. Memory often helps us to solve puzzles, but there are also riddles requiring a different kind of intellect. That type we call imagination. As the poet and renowned engraver William Blake wrote: “Man by reasoning can only compare & judge of what he has already perceived. From a perception of only 3 senses or 3 elements none could deduce a fourth or fifth.” Indeed, the next, the new, the invented was beyond our common knowledge, until it was created or discovered it was hidden from our awareness. Blake concluded: “If it were not for the Poetic or Prophetic Character, the Philosophic & Experimental would soon be at the ratio of all things & stand still, unable to do other than repeat the same dull round over again.” We need imagination as its span expands beyond rational science. The spiritual element deepens the meaning of human life. Without creativity, science cannot progress. Reason alone is stale. Art can assume indefinite forms of expression and reality, and in so lifting the marine layer of ignorance.

French sculpture

These various forms of trust can be related and do not have to be. What is important though is that one is aware of one’s own shortcomings in terms of self-love and clear about others’ intentions. The later is perhaps the most challenging aspect of any committed relationship. An open discussion is healthy. However intense, honesty shall not harm a worthwhile relationship because if you really care about the other person you listen to them and accept their breadth. Good and bad.

“Let’s talk” is the most direct remedy for clarifying potential misunderstandings. Uncovering emotionally immature personality unaware of the effect their behaviour has on others, discussion allows for getting to know the other more and deeper.

Chelsea galleries

Trust may feel like vulnerability, so does love. Are all the great things doomed to make us feel unsafe? They do not have to if you are not attached to them. Rather, open your arms when you are offered theirs. At he same time focus on building your inner strength independently on the giver of pleasure. On your own, you are able to generate joy. You are your only sustainable well of happiness. Coexisting means equality, thus do not ever devalue yourself through the wand of a selfish lover not worth loving.

Like sun playing music through its light on the surface of the land, caressing warmly even the steepest mountains and deep gorges, move the hearts of others. Stand by them genuinely, so they can trust to embrace you with the bright comforting blanket that feels good. Your liability is up to your faith in trust.

Liberating guided meditation to release tension

Daily, we need to release the emotions we have accumulated from the first seconds since the awakened awareness collects in the mind and the body everything we experience. Psychic emotions often translate in the body into physical tensions. Fortunately, humanity has been around for some ages and we learned through suffering and pleasure that there are different ways to recuperate balance.


Once you were a cub, then a lion and later respected leader of the pack

For each of us something else works in different periods of our changing life. What helped a teenage you, most likely does not work as well for a forty-something or septuagenarian you. Yet, acceptance of change in our reality is not easy to swallow. Yet, once it is in, you will digest it anyway. So chew on!

meditationconnect with nature

One can run it out, box away the stress from others and work, torture oneself during a HIIT or CrossFit, sweat it into the water while swimming laps as if it was a race, in short actively channel the negativity out. If you don’t injure yourself from these physically intense activities, and you feel that at night you sleep peacefully freed from whatever you needed to shed, that is wonderful.

I must add, not just in my experience, more body stress in the long way does not release mental stress. How more tension can reduce tension? By bursting. Physical laws are such.

Swiss summer

Remember one of the rules of all life: Wear and tear. Runners knees, tennis elbows, footballers ankles. Look at the top athletes. Most of them are forced to retire in their 30s. That is young. Despite all the progress in athletic performance enhancements and  tools, their bodies cannot handle the pressure for much longer. Even the greatest must retire. While some rare bulldozers make professional competition into their 40s, most ballet dancers, tennis pros, soccer stars, need to slow the pace, the wearing down of their bodies. Roger Federer is still a history making, incredible player, but the daily intensity he forced upon his body to perform finally coughed with him. He had to admit that if he is to enjoy the rest of his life and his family while doing what he loves, he must take a step back.

Como Lake inspirationEngadine winter sports

We need to move and maintain our body’s strength, yet when emotions are involved we can mindlessly  and permanently harm ourselves while angrily boxing though emotional pain. The great news is that there is a more sustainable, ancient practice that is risk-free (unless you do it in the wrong place like driving or doing something else, you cannot do anything else when practicing this form of release).

A deeper release happens through calm, rest, soft focus, patient attention, when you connect with your breath, inhale, exhale fully, slow it down. Shortly, through meditation. It is about getting to know the unknown inside of you. While slow-paced, meditation is an adventure of self-discovery.


Now, many of you may find this super simple tool challenging. Still, you can do it almost anywhere once you know through experience the path to it. Like a missing key that slides easily into the lock. It is indeed not easy for the always thinking, running, monkey mind to stop and just flow. I have been practicing yoga for a quarter of a century (ha, that makes me feel like a well rooted tree), still meditation was the next step. I had not achieved the real flow state of oneness. While I mastered all the asanas to advanced head stands and impossible twists I injured myself when I let my ego controlling the competitive side of me.

All bad is for something good, I say when life’s hurdles present themselves in plain pain. Let’s turn to the positives.

Become water, a gentle stream, rippling glacier lake in meditation

I learned that one best starts with breathing control, known as pranayama. Breath is our always available friend, alive, always here to guide you, to connect your mind with your body.

Further, a great teacher with vipasana (silent retreat) meditation experience is your ideal guide. I was lucky to find one just when I need her most. My Indian teacher is constantly reminding me of the simple truths like discipline – you must stick to meditation daily, no matter for how long, just pacify your mind every single day. It is like running in terms of habit creation. Also, her experience is so profoundly part of her expression, that she almost feels what I feel. We mainly meditate over phone since an ocean separates our physical co-presence, and this does not disrupt the depth of the freeing vibrations we share.

From her well of wisdom and my own practice, I am sharing 12 minutes short, daily doable and enjoyable meditation. Ideally, wear loose fitting clothes and situate yourself in a quiet, warm room. Outdoors sounds wonderful, but not for beginners since there are too many uncontrollable distractions possible – from insects to uninvited loud hikers. Once you settle yourself in the regular practice, do challenge yourself by meditating outdoors or in noisier environment such as airplane.


You do not have to sit crosslegged if it creates more tension or if you have bad blood circulation. In any case it’s better to elevate your sit bones, so use meditation cushion or any medium to hard pillow for support under your pelvis. You can lean on a wall or a chair, it is important though to have your spine erect. Bolster your knees with pillows or blanket if it makes it more comfortable. Do this at least once the day you meditate. If you do it twice then, especially before sleeping, either put your legs up against your bed or cosy under your sheets comfortably warm in the savasana pose (simply lying on your back with your arms softly stretched alongside your body. This assist rest, but will not elevate your consciousness.

This mindful release can help with managing pain, blood pressure, anxiety, restlessness, anger and any negative emotion that is about to swallow you. Watch the darkness coming, but do not let it control you. Stop, sit down comfortably and start:

I recorded it this Sunday morning in silence without any background music or sound. I prefer to leave the additional ambience up to you since each of us has not just different music preferences but also a different level of sensitivity to sound. Most advanced meditators prefer silence. If your neighbours are just too loud or the street noise, ambulances et al are difficult to manage, play some ambient music without lyrics. I like the 528 hz frequency of the so called Alpha waves. On YouTube find a wide choice.

Light a candle if that helps to centre you before you start. Close your eyes during the entire meditation though. A blanket next to you can help in case you feel cold not moving.

NOTE: I did not edit the recording, there are no major disruptions anyway (besides gentle faraway birds and church bells), but I wanted to simulate a natural guidance by a real person. Excuse my signature accent, imperfections, I rather show them than faking it. My pace is slow, but not too much as I am aware that the length of your breath is shorter in the early practice. Any time I say inhale and exhale do not follow it forcefully, just do it at your pace, but follow the guidance in terms of visualisation and the movement of attention as I am taking you on this fairy journey of your inner self.Be kind and true with yourself! That is what meditation is about.

Being with yourself in contemplation is essential for sustainable growth

Sometimes, and especially on the first day of yet another with curious thinking mind-blessed year ahead, it is beyond worthwhile asking yourself and your instinct, intellect, the heart:

Why was a waterlily created to float on the still pond contained in one spot?

Perhaps, consult Monet and Joan Mitchell (together at the Paris Louis Vuitton Foundation until end of February 2023) through their visual renderings of these beautifully arresting nymphaea.

Why do we humans build bridges across split depths sunken deep in daunting darkness?

Observing the moon reflecting the sun at night might shine some wisdom on that.

Why some instead dive deep fearless becoming adventurers, uncensored artists or heroes?

Contemplation at the Venice Biennale

Why does the mind in stillness expand instead of shrink into an animal primitiveness?

Would a fully focused being do more on a single path than an unstoppable mover and shaker of everything that comes across their highway of hyperactivity?

I can only ask because I think and perceive, I can just be and not necessarily a man or woman, but a rock, a worm, a sunflower or a clock. Yet what is intellect for when assumptions and judgement can deceive?

Truth shall be discerned, yet truth is fluid, relative to the genius, space and time in which it was conceived.

Still, time’s knot burns through life’s fire unconcerned if one is ignorant, self-absorbed instead of open to breathe in all as it comes, more oxygen, wind blowing, storms, floods, quakes, eventually peace.

Change rules.

More, one can only hope to be well received amongst the kin, a gamble, luck, or we call it aptitude.

All swelling like tides high and low, joy is not outside of us but in daily expression of gratitude.

Affinity, reality check, blurred boundaries of truth are being infinitely (perhaps?) shared between our naïveté and the spirit of the times.

Yet, the imaginative minds’ games can fool even the rationalising one of our many kinds. So who has the key to truth?

Contemplation of a yogi in Provence  contemplation on calm Sundays

Being with yourself in contemplation is essential for sustainable growth.

What life is for beyond procreation, success, renown, indulgence and pain?

IN MEANING-ABUNDANT QUESTIONS we find solutions to satisfactory life. I ask them on each first day of any commencing calendar year. Resolve is not enough for a profound shift you desire deep inside. One needs connection with purpose. Whether it is unique to each of us or universal does not matter, what is important is that you have an honest conversation with yourself regularly to stay on the right track for you.

Therefore, ask today and keep asking until you find your own answers.

So much individual and collective conditioning hinders the attainment of your goals. Liberate yourself to go and fly unbound!

Contemplation is a human need, not just a religious invention.

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