Moments like these

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There are mornings when the sky is crystal clear, when you open the windows at dawn and you can hear the birds chirping pleasantly. You welcome the first rays of the sun and they delicately caress your face. In moments like those you can feel the peace that floats around you, you can sense that there is purity and gentility inside of a human being, similar to the soft vibrations of nature and its freshness. A cup of coffee, the humid fragrance of last night’s summer storm, the crumbling, yellow pages of a rare, vintage book, your favourite crimson-velvet armchair and all those little things erase the unsolvable complexity of life, and the gigantic questions that can permanently trouble a forever-seeking mind. However, when darkness comes and settles inside the human mind, tension fills the environment, homes, cafes, parks, hearts and entire lives. This overwhelming darkness attempts to let anxiety and fear sneak inside your bones. The serenity of nature that stemmed from your spirit is overtaken by obscurity. In moments like these, the obscurity reveals the rotten and scattered pieces of ego and insecurity that lurk in the tiniest of cells. Darkness seeks to break you. In moments like these, you ponder at everything that led you to where you are right now and you question every choice you have ever made. And sometimes, the voices you hear and the answers you receive are terrifying. They are a proof and a constant reminder that you are failing yourself because you have walked down mistaken paths. More often than not, the whispers that torment you are the fragmented, secret voices of your consciousness that seek to blame you or provide an answer. Either way, the voices are never satisfying enough and regrets appear.

Regrets of things done, of paths taken, of choices made or just the opposite, the bitter, burning taste of ashes in your mouth, the reminder of everything wished and never achieved…glimpses of what could have been, would have been rotate behind closed eyelids. In moments like these, dreams of repressed desires become nightmares and welcome mornings and awakenings with tears and sadness. How do you know you are living the life you are supposed to be living? You often feel trapped in a never-ending routine, an endless cycle of predictable bullshit…eat, sleep, repeat. In moments like these existence seems dull, useless and it keeps spinning inside the same, grim wheel of destiny. The hell of never-ending routine, of isolation, of spontaneity gone awol, of joys and fantastic realms smothered, of unfulfilled purposes and of ardent wishes and desired love lies abandoned at the bottom of the sea. What hurts the most is that regrets or the dire situation of purely surviving and not rejoicing at life’s endless possibilities are entirely of your own doing. You are the only person who is responsible for where you are right now. And sometimes, you just have to take a stance and choose between the roads less travelled by and the beaten track. And yet, you levitate in the ‘Kingdom of Midway’, you struggle and you walk in-between. You play it safe by taking the road that is not predictable, but that it is not entirely unknown either. You are indecisive about your own life and you wait for the winds of change to steer you into the right direction. Two turns to the left, three turns to the right, moving forward for a bit and after, going backwards.

A life full of spontaneity would be intense and risky, but probably worth it. An entirely rational, planned existence would be safe and comfortable. The classical dilemma: Would you rather live an intense and passionate life that is short or a monotonous, long life? I am and I will always be just a kid that can’t decide which cake to choose.

 

P.S: I always had half of my cake and half of one of my parents’ cake!

Existence and Sisyphus

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It seems to me that there has to be more to human existence than the incessant, repetitive pursuit of wild dreams and interminable goals. Regardless of the character, the motivation and the beliefs that fuel the never ending need or desire to achieve certain things, a human being seems to be leading an existence akin to Sisyphus’ punishment.

You set objectives for yourself and you need to climb mountains to reach  your target. Sometimes, the climb is over a low, pastoral hill, but at other times it is over steep and rugged cliffs. Once you have made it to the summit of the mountain, you find yourself right where you started, at the basis of yet, another mountain. Climbing to the top of the mountain by graduating, getting a job, obtaining a good salary, changing to a different job, buying a car, replacing the old car, finding love, forming a family, kids, travelling through the country, then on the continent, after through the whole world – no matter what your desire or goal is, it will always be promptly succeeded by another one. Each human being is a Sisyphus who perpetually climbs mountains until the day she/he draws her/his last breath.

Now, there are those who overcome the climb, who choose to stop on the path and by doing so, they shatter the matrix they are caught in and manage to see behind the veils of mundane existence. They set aside the wild goose chase and they achieve feelings of peacefulness and bliss through their spirit. The place of balance and contentment can be called heaven, nirvana, Valhalla, the field of Yalu, Elysian fields, the Summerland, etc. and opening its gates, ending the repetitive climb equates to escaping samsara. Leaving aside religious branches, the type of beliefs or spirituality you might have, if you can see beyond this earthly, cumbersome existence then you have a belief that is justified because it aided you in transcending your role as Sisyphus.

Then, there are those who graciously enjoy the mountain climbs, who overpower obstacles along the tracks and who enjoy brief moments of respite. They are the ones who breathe in until saturation the fresh mountain air and the ones to whom the constant climbing is not about conquering a final peak, but about the adventurous journey. This arduous journey offers gifts clad in small bites of happiness.

And then, there are the rest, who suffer and who are subdued by the burdens they carry up the mountain.

Thus, during our existence on Earth, we have a few choices. We can surpass our roles as Sisyphus and open the gates to a new realm, where contentment, balance and peace reign. We can also acknowledge our roles as Sishyphus, but perceive the stones we bear as light and revel in the little things along our path and in the climb itself on various mountain ranges. Or we can, as a last resort, pity ourselves in our roles of Sisyphus and succumb to the weight of the bundle and to the strenuous climb.

 

The panic wave

 

Hear, hear

The king of panic and fear!

it’s Monday

or Sunday

or maybe Friday

the days have departed

a mighty routine started

hours and hours,

and weeks,

a month of bacteria

no cafeteria

a deserted city

there isn’t even a kitty

a bleak soul,

Disinfect each and every bowl

breathe in, breathe out

the virus outside!

This auspicious year

has spread only fear!

Hear, hear

only time can heal.

The elusive Chronos…

he, alone, knows

how itchy is the nose.

The mask speaks

the skin’s so dry

bleach, wash, sanitize

don’t forget your eyes!

Did you order pies?

you better have some spies

if there is fever

you become a receiver.

The apocalypse, sci-fi

ghost towns, the future

Like in the movies

It’s almost quarantine

except it really is…

in Wuhan.

There’s no one around

no peace of mind to be found

Tell me, seer

all these folks

with all their jokes

were they to eat an iris

would it kill the coronavirus?

Fancy Pantsy and Company!

 

 

 

Bubble wrap,

Wrap your head

In tin foil and fish oil!

Cook your smile

For a little while

In scented candles

Cinnamon sticks,

And all that crap!

Bourgeois baloney.

Swim in a whim

Become a shark’s fin!

4D, 10D, 107 million D

Immerse yourself,

Forget the spirit.

5G and a pumped-up

Steroids-full, plastic-looking geezer.

His name is Deezer

Just swallowed

A few dozen of Hello-Kitty

Fig-wine flavoured Xanax.

The Rhythm of ‘Requiem for a dream’

Causes anxiety

Women wanna be equal

But women wanna be slim.

Your grandma’s underwear,

VR, trendy HR

Neurotic creatures, empty-headed ghosts

All those highly functional

Individuals.

Zombies, feeding on residuals.

Ingesting, digesting, dependent on

Life coaches, hogwash success stories

Drown in consumption.

Too much information,

The pace is the race!

Forget the assumption

That life is deduction.

Goods and goals

Kill our souls!

New Year’s resolutions or how I lost myself

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This is a story of regression and confusion. This is a story of lost paths, mistakes and blind choices. This is a story that does not have a happy end or an end at all.

01.01.2019: I woke up startled that morning and I knew that 2019 is just an illusion. Measuring time was invented by human beings and thus, 8 changed to 9. Because I was conditioned to live by the rules of society my brain acknowledged the coming of the new year. However, I wasn’t about to start making an interminable list of crap with what I want to achieve in the new year or add new fantasies to the all too popular bucket list. It is absolutely unrealistic because you just don’t know what life throws at you everyday. I used to believe that the unpredictability of life is awesome because it does not allow you to settle into routine. I was ,thus, convinced that all you have to do in life is adapt, be flexible and go with the flow. Just see what happens, and go with it, a bit like in Daoism, or a lesson we might have learned from Don Quixote. Do not fight the windmills, do not go against dao, against the path! Just flow with the river ,and nature in the direction they dictate. That sounds about right, nope?

Well, not really. Not for me, at least. I was startled on the first morning of January 2019 because I was lost, and I started to analyze myself and view my entire life under a microscope. I had a great life so far, full of exceptional, happy moments, intense emotions and various experiences that included both gratifying, but also extremely hard and challenging occasions. So far, so good! I lived my 27 years of life by, somehow, following this principle of ‘the path’, following a kind of invisible line that life opened up for me. But all of a sudden, it just didn’t work anymore. It took me places that I didn’t want to be at, it made me travel dark routes outside and inside of myself. After graduating from my master in Belgium, my journey as a responsible adult was supposed to start. Taking into consideration that my family invested financially and emotionally in transforming my being into a succesful and happy adult, I believed I was somehow guaranteed to get there. I mean, I did very well in school, university, master, I managed to be by myself and organize everything in various foreign countries, I had amazing, smart friends, I was creative, clever enough ,and I got involved in the occasional volunteering or other artsy projects. I considered myself motivated enough to achieve what I wanted, I believed I deserved it because I was a good, kind and empathic person that somehow decided that she wants to contribute to other people’s wellbeing. But who was about to contribute to my own wellbeing? Well, everything started to spiral downwards. I just couldn’t find my way, I was struggling in the dark, I was lost at sea. Choices to make, career goals, what job to pursue, where to live, who do I wanna be, what are my desires and most of all, how do I balance what makes me smile and feel good inside with this new-found responsibility to sustain myself financially, and be responsible for myself and my adopted dog? I just couldn’t find any answers at all, and life was crushing me.

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I wish I could say I found what I was looking for. But I didn’t. I can just say that I struggled with being an English teacher in Shanghai, a tourism lecturer in a university in a 3rd tier city in China and a tour guide in Turkey. Now I am back in Shanghai, doing a second master because I still haven’t found my path or I don’t have the courage to wander in the dark aimlessly. I don’t have resolutions for 2019 because I need to learn how to function again as a human being in society. I need to start again, by being a baby, a child, a teenager ,and finally an adult.

I lost my motivation ,and determination to fight and achieve what I want in life.

I am lost at sea, I am just floating endlessly, I am reading too much, watching too many movies, reflecting too much and feeling like a wreck, a failure. I keep wondering where did I go wrong? I mean, where did I lose my real self?

The self that desired to travel the world for a year or two and discover, discover, discover ….without plans or too much money? Well, I am afraid to let go and just travel. I am afraid that I will lose out on precious work experience to add on my CV when I am away on my year travel. I am afraid that I won’t have enough money and I will get stuck in the middle of nowhere, broke and vulnerable. I am afraid that I will spend money that otherwise I could have used to do something else with, like saving to be more financially secure.

I want to become a writer and publish my poetry ,and maybe in the future, short stories or a novel. Am I doing anything to achieve that? No. I am afraid to send any of my work to any publication or contest. I am not confident enough that I have what it takes ,and I am so scared to get rejected.
Where do I want to be? In a middle-sized European picturesque city where I could draw inspiration for my life, and poems just by walking on the streets and breathing in the spirit of history. I want to be able to admire the exquisite, old buildings touched by lives lost and lives yet to come. Where am I? In Shanghai, a giant glass-like city, full of impersonal skyscrapers, commercial shopping malls and ugliness.
I want to be economically independent, and have a job that fulfills me. What am I doing? Well, after a year of looking for jobs in various places and not finding anything suitable, getting rejected too many times and not even discovering what exactly I should be doing, I am now doing a second master in political theory. Gosh, I don’t even wanna do that, but I am too scared of not having anything to do at all. And I am so disillusioned with politics and leaders. I have always been. It is a pain for me to analyze and learn about political systems because I can only see failures in them, just like I see myself now.

I lack self-discipline and motivation, I eat too much and I even put on 10 kilograms since I have come back to Shanghai. I am highly disappointed with myself and it is hard to admit that ,by my own standards, I have become a failure. How can I say that? It is painful and I don’t know where it all went wrong. The hardest thing right now is to start addressing all these issues. And sadder than everything else is that I am clueless.

doors

There are too many doors, and choices in front of me or maybe not enough. I remain numb, and unable to open any of them. I have this recurring dream where I have to run away from this terrible, bulky man, who wants to hurt me and touch me. I am in a fancy mansion that has never-ending rooms and doors. I always open too many doors and I see theatre-like scenes full of everything that one can imagine. The horrible man can never catch me because we always choose different doors. What to choose now? In my dream, I never stop opening doors and exploring rooms until it’s time to wake up. I would appreciate any comments with advice or suggestions!

Word Doodling

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A canvas is the rationalizing, patronizing 

Tool of a tool of an artist of his hands

Of his form as artist, of his copy of the copy

Of the fake of the fake

As Plato might say, of something real 

In heaven.

But what would a canvas look like

In heaven? 

 

Ideas, just ideas of thoughts, of randomness

Ideas of questions, never answered

Forever questioning philosophy

Ideas that give rise to things big and small. 

What is a chair? 

I am philosophizing in class

But the world outside 

Is full of reproach. 

Why? Forever questioning, forever wondering

The mental issue of the privileged

The higher concern of those…

“Distinct from animals”

My philosophy professor said:

– Without critical thinking

Constant questioning, a.k.a philosophy 

We are like animals!

Or dead, not worth living. 

I beg to disagree

I wish to disagree. 

An animal is not a lesser being.

People concerned with the material

Might do so to survive.

It is a choice, 

to do philosophy or not 

to see the purpose of philosophy or not.

A dog is a dog of the shape of the copy

Of a painting of the absurd of a dog of a question

Philosophy is a 

privileged person’s CONCERN. 

P.S: I, too, philosophize. 

 

Melancholic romance

An early spring morning

With a taste of soy milk latte

The crispy chilly air and the rays of sun

Smiles and Edith Piaf music

French brings back the old, the past, the adolescence

Romance,melancholy

Waiting and observing

Bonding with memories

The Portugese stage of my life,

Fado gives spirit

To the old communist blocks

First loves, first lessons, first embraces

First deceptions, first tears,first falls

The love of life, the life of love

Comes alive

On Greek island music now

Oh melancholic romance,

Thou art so sweet!

Thoughts of wisdom

 

I love people’s diversity and their inner resources of wisdom. Hence, a few years ago I decided to collect the thoughts and ideas of my friends, of acquaintances and travellers I came into contact with. Unfortunately, I got caught up with other things and I stopped doing it. However, I promised myself I will collect fragments of wisdom again. Here’s what I got so far: 

 

” A poetic vision comes from observing a creative landscape, then act upon it. The key is to realize what the action will be, or will do to you and others. “  By Julien Pearly from France

 

” A man is but a product of his thoughts. What he thinks he becomes!” Adam Barnett citing Gandhi from Edinburgh

 

“I wish I was                                                                                                                                  

Where I was                                                                                                                                          

When I was wishing                                                                                                                            

To be here. ”                                                                                                                                          

By Cristina Grigore from Pitesti

 

“Words I spill on paper,                                                                                                                        

Ideas trapped in blue ink.                                                                                                                    

My thoughts are fireflies in flight;                                                                                                      

They lose their light when                                                                                                                  

With clumsy hands                                                                                                                              

I catch them.”                                                                                                                                          

By Ana from Brazil

 

“If you give a warm enough rope to hang itself it’ll turn around and bite the hand that feeds it.”  By Ivan Rochford from Ireland 

 

“O ramurica pe o stea –                                                                                                                    

 uite, a incoltit luna!                                                                                                                              

Cine scutura mugurii                                                                                                                          

lucitori noaptea pe cer?                                                                                                                    

A intunecat un gnom noaptea!                                                                                                         

Si ce a facut gnomitza?”                

By Elena Daniela Smoke from Pitesti

 

“A smile and a pleasant turn of phrase.                                                                                          

Take pleasure in the mine of life. Happiness is a choice” Anonymous

 

“If we are attached to smaller joy, then it is impossible to attain bigger joy.” By Tashi from Tibet

 

“Words are not enough to describe reality” By Lawrence Pedregosa from the Philippines 

 

“No smart quotes from me, my mind, thoughts, ideas change with every encounter.”      By Ahmed Ismail from Egypt

 

“El medio es la actitud.” By Carlos Brown from Canary Islands 

 

“It’s safer to believe in religion than not to believe. If at the end of time it’s proven that there is no religion , I guess we have nothing to lose.” By Immanuel from Nigeria

 

 “Life short                                                                                                                                              

suffering tall                                                                                                                                          

 plenty of water                                                                                                                                      

 no fish                                                                                                                                                    

no fish at all.

“By Kokothett from Myanmar 

 

“In summer the trees are full                                                                                                              

In winter they are bare                                                                                                                      

No leaf falls in the wrong place.”                                                                                                    

By Stan from Ireland            

 

“It’s interesting to see how a combination of different perspectives can enrich or change someone’s outlook on life.” By Jeroen from Leuven

 

“Knowledge opens several doors, but you close the one you want to open. That will make the difference in your life. Which one is the right door? Nobody knows. Just make sure the way to happiness doesn’t become harder.” By David from Czeck Republic 

 

“Confused? At loss at what to do? Don’t worry, you’re only human. Happiness is a state of mind.” By Florian Piron from Belgium

 

“All the small things matter!” By Julio Rodriguez from Ecuador 

 

“Travel to unknown places will be nourishment for your soul. It’s about learning to leave friends behind , but gain so many new friends on the way.” By Lukas from Lausanne

 

“Every action should bring you more freedom!” By Sebastien from Lausanne

 

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For now!