Inspired by the Night

Finally dusk turned into night and the sea below her vanished in the evening mist. She was sitting on the edge of a varnish bucket filled with gold paint and lifted by a red balloon she would travel through the sky drawing tiny little stars.

Though Eurus – the wind god – jealous of the silky and starry blanket of the Night, commenced to blow harder till it made the bucket swing and drop all the paint into the water.

Annoyed by the silly prank of envy Eurus the poor girl decided to refer all to Zeus and while flying attached to her red balloon she looked down: “Ohhh!” the girl smiled in surprise. Her drawing was not bad after all: covered in shimmery painting the sea began to play games of reflection with the moon which was now so brilliant that made the all the stars pale.

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Love is a Lucid Dream: The Story of Helen and The Californian Guy

Any lucid dreamers out there? Please I’d be interested to hear your story

Letters From The Clouds

Love.  Many words have been written on the subject, songs produced, films made and artists have been inspired by it for centuries. Love heals and love curse.  Love transforms you or destroys you. It’s like a curious and unexpected guest who knocks at the door of your life without notice: no matter how hard you try to hide from it, love can find you.

But what is it? What is this complex and contradictory feeling that one day makes you reach the stars and the next pushes over the edge?

English writer Jane Austin in her novel, Sense and Sensibility, tells the story of two sisters who reflect the dichotomy between rational thought and emotionalism.  What makes the book interesting it’s not the novel itself, but the fact the story is driven by a question that occupied many of the great thinkers of the 18th century till today: whether…

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The First Night of the Year and The Legend Of a North American Tribe

There is something different about tonight: it’s the night when most people in every angle of the world re-think about their lives, their hopes and they wish upon the brighter star. So I feel one with the universe, one with my brothers and sisters while I type these lines.

I look at the sky and scattered I spot thousands little stars. Their light goes on and off at my sight, like small light bulbs going off in my mind. Memories, dreams, words, ghosts and faces all gather together in this dark room, in the darkest place of my mind. As somebody once said, the darkest place is the only place where we could discover something real.  I love darkness. I find it easier to write at night time as my thoughts, afraid to be caught in day light, take a peek at sunset and one by one all come out tip toe.

Suddenly the giant clock of the world announces loudly the first night of the year and then freezes for a while. I take a sip of that delicious red wine and observe all my pictures framed on the wall: different style, different people and just another vacation. Isn’t it still me?

Perhaps humans have built this giant clock called time not only to keep track of the days and the months, but also to keep note of their dreams, of their achievements afraid that they would lose meaning and fade away in the immensity of space. We all need something to look forward to, that’s what keeps us alive. This is how life operates, this is how change happens. Actually, I’d say how transformation happens. Transformation, I like this word better.

Ring – Ring! The phone interrupts my thoughts.

“I hate to admit this,” a familiar male voice says on the other side of the line. “You were right all along: it’s me that got to change before expecting things to be different (…)”

“Happy New Year to you too,” I reply.

“That’s it, I’ve done it! I’ve booked a ticket Melania. I’m leaving tomorrow.” he says with rather optimism.

“Don’t go,” I was indented to shout, but I chuckled instead.

There’s always a fine line between what it’s right and what you want; what you say and what you think. It’s a real struggle when you think about something that you want, but say otherwise because it’s right. What’s right or wrong in life is very relative, but letting the person that you love to be free is not only a right, it’s sacred.

 “I know you think I’ve probably gone crazy, that I’m not myself recently, though I do need to see you one more time. Are you coming to say goodbye tonight?” He asks.

 I stand still in front of my large window trying to spot the moon, but I could not see it. Mitch Albom in one of his books tells the legend of a North American tribe living in the Artic who believes in reincarnation and thinks that everything on earth has a soul. The author writes that sometimes the moon is so busy with the new souls of the world that it disappears from the sky. That is why we have moonless nights. But in the end the moon always returns in different forms and shape, as do we all.

 “Yes, perhaps you are going a little bit mad,” I smile and nod my head. “Wherever you feel like you’re going, I do hope you feel free…”

Happy 2016 my Fellow Bloggers

Letter From a Solo Traveler in Peru’

Dear Friend,

I’ve finally found a bit of time to write before setting off in my last journey here in Peru’. I’ve managed to get a small room for 40 soles a day: there’s no heating, no hot water and the electricity sometimes goes off. Please do not be worry about me I have a comfortable bed and even a desk where I found a notebook and a pen. Somebody must’ve left them here for the next solo traveller to pour down emotions that we are too afraid to lose on the way. An English writer once said that every great traveller sees more that he can remember and remember more than he sees, so I carry this little book with me jotting down random thoughts and reflections.

This is what I love the most about travelling, especially travelling alone: nothing is taken for granted. We’re more aware of the surrounding and even another church or park looks different in that context and we feel the urge to take a picture. Talking to strangers does not feel dangerous at all, your instinct is more alert and acute; something is telling you that person is to trust.

We’ve all travelled long distance for diverse reasons: love, money, sightseeing, volunteering, sweet escape. But we all had one reason in common: life experience. You know what’s funny? I barely remember the names of some of the people I’ve met, but I can tell you all the details of their personal stories. When you meet another traveller they don’t formally ask for your name they wonder: “Hey man what’s your story?” “What have brought you here?”  “What have you seen?” And it’s incredible how sometimes a stranger can sees you more than you see yourself. You share your story, and then you take a different path.

A few weeks ago I’ve read somewhere that The Director Alfred Hitchcock had a morning ritual to remind himself of the precariousness of life: after drinking tea he would throw behind him his cup letting it crush on the floor. Well I have not experimented that yet, but I only now understand the point of this bizarre idea.

My friend, I’ve hiked hours to reach the top of a temple to watch a breathtaking sunset only to spend the same amount of hours to go back. I’ve travelled 10 hours on a bus on a bumpy road to see crocodiles under the starry sky of the Amazon forest. I’ve shared intimate moments with someone special to then say goodbye. I’ve stood still under the fresh rain because I could not stop staring at the Machu Pichu mountain and then I rushed down to see that nature had found peace and painted a rainbow.

I have not made peace with myself though. I’m still travelling and now more than ever I feel the need to free myself from old taboos and mental schemes that keep me slave of the illusion of permanence.

“Life is the train, not the station” Paulo Coelho once wrote. We should all get on that train, no matter what your destination is, real fulfilment comes only when we tune into our inner direction.

From Peru’ with Love,

Melania

Isn’t It Just Faith?

As if in disharmony with the grey weather I get up in a great mood to meet my Chinese friend Yan who have been asking me in days to go with her to the Buddhist temple.

As we get there we find out that the temple is closed on week days. We knock on the door of a little wood house where apparently monks gather to meditate. The door slips open and in the room in front of the narrow hall a monk, a man with shaved head wearing an orange coloured robe, is sitting on the floor in a profound state of meditation. He stays stood there in silence observing us. He blinks several times, as if focusing and trying to read inside us. I feel uneasy. I leave before he could read too much of me and let Yan do the talk. That image of him meditating stirs up something in me that have been dormant for a long time: faith.

It could be routine, it could be apathy. “What am I doing in front of a Buddhist temple? I thought. Although I haven’t attended services in years, I’ve always considered myself Christian. Why do we even need to give things name? In the end, isn’t it just faith?

Suddenly hit me what Rodney Smith once explained. Naming occurs because of our attachment to knowing, our fear of not knowing or our desire to know. We are afraid of the terrible implications of the unknown and we feel the need to protect us and to always have an answer. What we don’t understand is that our world becomes narrowed around what we think and by doing so we creating dualism and divisionism. When left wordless, all things assume their natural order and open beyond themselves into an inexplicable force and union. Even some of the greater thinkers and philosophers such as K. Marx and A. Schopenauer were ready to admit that perhaps life is kept going by our ignorance of its fundamental meaning.

I take a look at the garden, scattered along dead leaves we find miniature of sacred statues representing diverse religions: Chinese, Hindu and Buddhism. Under a slim tree Buddha is sitting in his favourite position with his torso upright and his legs crossed. He’s wearing a crucifix necklace. Somebody must have put it around his neck. I shiver. I half expect him to open his eyes and smile at me, showing his big white teeth.

 “We should see the unity, not the differences,” says my friend. “Humans are funny and contradictory creatures: they gather together either to make war or peace.”

Along the wet and mouldy path back to the gate a sign catches my attention: “Though one may conquer a thousand men in a battle, the one who conquer himself is the greater warrior.”

Letter To A Friend: A Brand New Ending

Dear Friend,

That’s it, you’re leaving.

Yesterday I saw you standing in the rain staring at the gate of your house like an irresolute traveler, merely waiting for the drizzle to pass, perhaps a little bit afraid of what might lie ahead. I recognized that look in your face: that thoughtful expression of a lost human being whose path gets slowed down by the weight of that little picture-book carried in her heart.

I know how you feel when no longer know what you want or wish for, but time will show you where your path leads. Things seemed easier before when you lie to yourself and live a life dictated by your intellect and family’s expectations, neither embracing the concept of dreamy, magic and aimless wandering.

You know what Hermann Hesse once wrote? The fact that the blind one knew nothing of his own blindness made things easier only for himself. Oh, you should’ve heard that dark melody coming out from the deep well of your soul. It was begging you to listen to your innermost and irrational forces that made you forgotten who you really are. We’ve talked about this, we know people are half awake if not completely put asleep by society.

Why do we do this to ourselves? Why do we stop believing in fairy, ghosts and star dust? “Magic is not about what you see,” a gypsy once told me. “it’s about hope.  Most people think fairy tales are just for little girls wishing one day to be saved by prince charming. Well I can tell you, my dear, it’s more to that: those tales are for everyone who believes that anything in life is possible.”

So my friend, believe in magic again, like we did when we were kids. We believed we could fly, we wished on stars and casted magic spells in front a mirror thinking it could turn us into whatever we wanted to be.  Well, we both know that did not work, so it’s on you to decide who you want to become.

Set off in this new adventure and don’t look back. I hope it’ll make you see things differently and make you change your mind a thousand times a day. I hope it’ll bring you new challenges and the strength to overcome them. Accept the inexplicable despite the fear. And if the word “beginning “scares you, I hope you’ll have the courage to make a brand new ending…

With Love,

Melania

Mirror Mirror On The Wall…

Last night I had a strange dream. I was looking at myself in the mirror, but my image appeared distorted and confused.  And when I took a closer look I could see nothing.  As in hope an answer would come out of it, I began to shake the mirror back and forth – back and forth holding it from both sides.

“What the hell are you doing?” The mirror asks in an angry tone.

 “Don’t you see?” I reply annoyed by the question as if it would look obvious to anyone. “I’m trying to get to look at myself clearly but every time I try I see someone else. I’m tired mirror on the wall, it’s been weeks since this has happened and I want to understand why. I must find a solution.”

“Silly little girl,” the mirror says. “Don’t you know that the word “must” last only three days? The magic sentence is Mirror, Mirror on the wall I’ll do my best to accomplish and to resolve.”

See, what sounds like a distorted version of Snow White’s fairy tale it was actually for me a point of reflection.  The mind often creates negative images: too many thoughts could lead to a life of illusion. Better to stick to the old good formula: one day at time. We look for answers in others, in places we visit, on the web or in books. Do we ever sit down and listen to ourselves?

We don’t meet people by chance: we are all like mirrors reflecting each other’s goods and faults. If we pay enough attention we’ll see a bit of us in every person we like, hate, love, admire or criticize. Every relationship, good or bad, can always help us understanding more about ourselves.

“Now close your eyes,” the Mirror says.

“But how am I going to see myself with my eyes closed?” I ask

“Ohhh, find strength in your heart! Anxiety is part of mankind. Learn to live with it, but do not let it control you.” It says rising its voice. “Obsession can easily enslave us.”

“Can I avoid pain?” I whispered

“ Yes, you can. But you will never learn anything.”

Waking up from my dream I stayed in bed jotting down the things that the mirror had told me. I experienced again terrible feelings of anxiety thinking about situations I don’t seem to be able to change. Gradually this obsession gave way to meditation and I let my fear and thoughts come along without fighting them. I was determined to stay in bed and contemplate for a few more minutes. Then minutes turned into hours.

I slowly learned to accept the inexplicable despite the fear. I understood that wisdom does not lie in the answers we find, but in the secrecy of the questions we asked when we listen to our soul.

I suppose this is what the mirror was suggesting. We need to learn to let go, like a flowing river, without any power or control. Happiness is an inside job.

Narcissus & Goldmund: The Illusion Of Completness

Have you ever felt like there are two souls inside you? The sun and the moon; the sea and the land. But there’s still only one world and nature needs its opposite to follow its cycle.

“It’s the mind and the heart arguing inside the one beautiful body,” he said once provocatively.

But then why couldn’t we be one? I thought. We shared the laughs, the bed, thoughts, books and experiences, but there was something missing, something didn’t feel right.

Perhaps it’s because, as James Redfield once wrote, we are all walking around like a circle half complete, like the letter C. We are all wandering through life waiting for a person, some other circle half complete, to join us in our emptiness and giving us a burst of love and energy along with an illusion of completeness. This one whole person though, this O, we think we have reached has two heads, two hearts and too much ego to survive. It’s a power struggle, it’s a beautiful obsession, it’s a fairy tale with no happy ending.

“Who would want to settle these days anyway?” I said out loud lying in a whisper.

We shutter at life’s instability and we escape into lust or platonic relationships. Some types of romantic encounters have a way of attaching themselves, but they are not to be taken seriously. So we find another way to run away and we set out in journeys around the world searching for treasures and answers because this is what makes life interesting: searching for meaning hoping to make one dream last.

So we escape. Right. But do we ever really come back?

Hernann Hesse tells the story of two characters, Narcissus and Goldmund, with opposite personalities whose lives are interdependent. Narcissus is a scholar who searches for meaning in abstractions, whereas Goldmund is a sensualist who seeks meaning in the world of the senses.

“We are sun and moon, dear friend; we are sea and land.” says Narcissus to Goldmund. “It is not our purpose to become each other; it is to recognize each other, to learn to see the other and honor him for what he is: each the other’s opposite and complement.”  

Do you believe in the other half? He asked interrupping my thoughts.

I hesitated. I was intended to stay still feeling the grass, the warm sun, inhaling the fresh breeze while listening to the waving sound of the river. I recognized all of them. See, you don’t always have to choose: make a circle on your own and go find another circle to share life with.

“No,” I replied noticing he was lying on the grass beside me with his eyes fixed in the sky.

I smiled and remained still. Then I simply reached for his hand.

…And Move The Fuck On!

Shoulda, coulda, woulda. How many times have we spent days, weeks and months over thinking about a situation we don’t seem to be able to change? Last night I could not sleep experiencing small feelings of anxiety so I texted my friend.

“Do not over analyze” she simply suggested.

The next day I went to see her. She lives in the country side, near a field of lavender. Her mum gathers fresh flowers every two days and places them in a small Murano glass vase that I brought her from my trip to Venice.

I lifted it to admire the game of lights the sun was playing with those tiny colourful glasses, the flowers smelled wonderful. Then suddenly something touched my bare leg, I screamed and let the vase slip down my hands.

SMASH! The vase crashed on the floor in a thousand pieces.

“Oh my God,” I said still surprised. “You have a cat!”

“Yup, and you have just broken my mum’s favourite vase,” my friend replied in an ironic tone of voice.

“Great, now I feel even worse,” I murmured while bending in order to clean up the shattered vase

“You see Melania, you came here to find an answer,” She said smiling. “That vase is broken or even if we could try our best to attach those little pieces together it would never look the same again”

I took a deep breath and smiled back.

“Now leave that mess on the floor…” She said out loud. “And move the fuck on!”

(Oh life! I couldn’t have asked for a more simple and more understandable sign…)

Letter to a Friend: New Paths to Run On

Dear Friend,

I hear that same voice in my head too. It whispers always the same thing “No, I cannot carry on like this…”

It usually happens when I lie to myself, when I pretend that I’m 100% satisfied with my job, when I tell myself that things are actually not too bad with him.

“No, I cannot carry on like this…”I heard it say again this morning. So in order to clear my mind I went jogging in the park. It was warm outside, but I felt cold inside. I stopped running for a few minutes to catch my breath. What I needed though was not oxygen, but a bigger vision, a goal, an real aim to run to. I took a look around and I saw the trees, the bushes, the houses, the same old cafe. I spotted John sitting outside the cafe drinking his American coffee: he was there again at the exact same time. In brief, I saw that little angle of world where I live and I feel comfortable in. Too comfortable I guess.

One of the books by S. Beckett tells the story of a character who decides to make a journey on a bicycle. He had read somewhere that when somebody gets lost in a wood he thinks he’s going straight, but he’s actually walking in circle. So he decides to walk in circle, hoping to go straight.

Does that work? Mmmh…I’m not so sure, but trust me when I say I do understand Mr. Molloy’s bizarre idea.  See most people think that the all point in life is to prevent bad things from happening.  We get so obsessed in controlling events and avoid changes and then we hide behind the excuse that we are just doing it in order to feel safe.

I’m not afraid of change – it’s part of life- I’m more scared of the unknown, of uncertainty.Perhaps we should all try to do something different every day: instead of your usual latte, get a hazelnut latte, wear blue instead of black, change route on your way back home.

Paulo Coelho once said: “If you think adventure is dangerous, try routine. It’s lethal.” By routine, he does not mean a 9-5 job or having a regular life; he means getting caught up in certain habits and ways of thinking that make us miss new things that could actually enrich our life. So I decided to change route: this morning I did not run across the park in order to reach the tennis field, I run up the hill all the way down and across the small bridge where I discovered a river and a new cafe. I ordered hazelnut latte and sat on the grass. I loved the warm sun touching my skin. I felt free. So my friend I suggest you do the same: every time you hear that voice inside your head, put your trainers on and go out: find new paths to run on. With Love, Melania (Thanks to my friend Giuseppe for inspiring this post)