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.

 

Wise poet, Su Shi

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During the Song dynasty (960-1279 AD), China experienced a flourishing period in arts, culture and poetry. The wise, multi-talented Su Shi, 蘇軾, (1037-1101 AD) was a poet, calligrapher, painter, writer and politician, who wrote many exquisite poems that deserve attention and close analysis. However, today I want to share with you a small excerpt from one of his articles, that contains the essence of Middle Ages Chinese wisdom on destiny and the infinite beauty of nature.

“In this universe everything has its rightful owner. If something does not belong to you then you shall not even have a bit of it. However, the fresh breeze over the rivers and the bright moon above the mountains are exceptions. If you can hear it, it is a sound for you. If you can see it, it is a sight for you. It never ends and it is never exhausted. It is the infinite treasure that nature has for both of us to enjoy.”

The crib of desires

 

From the moon inside your eyes

Grant me favors!

You, enchantress, with your vibes

Feed me,

Need me,

Lead me!

From the atman of the ancient,

Wise and omniscient

Tree of life,

Roots of power,

Rife…

Flood my being

Drain me whole

Shatter dreams

And tear my hopes

Of futile existence,

Of perishable resistance.

Let me sip the flavors

Escape my role of slaver!

Praised divinity,

Allow me to slumber

In the crib of desires

Allow me to savor

The creation of the saver,

Ayahuasca in the woods

Banish this world’s falsehoods

Crush the incessant routine!

From the war of jungles deep

Fashion this grey, tedious scene

Into magic green!

Bring about the fantasy, the mystery

Free me from the shackles of vanity

Stir the foreseen

The sanity, the profanity

We summon the sacred

To wonder as fated

In a maze of visions painted!

Earthquake Bird. Eeerie

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Earthquake Bird is a movie directed and written by Wash Westmoreland. It has been released at the London Film Festival on the 10th of October this year. It tells the same story as the book Earthquake Bird, written by Susanna Jones.  In spite of its negative reviews and average rating, I found this movie inspiring and unsettling in an artistic manner. Right from the start, a heavy atmosphere, a sense of peculiar and tension floats in the air. The streets of a 1980s Tokyo, the faded colors with a tint of sepia transported me directly into the movie. Alicia Vikander’s character, Lucy Fly, is surrounded by an air of tragedy and guilt that accumulates slowly and stimulates curiosity. Her acting is excellent and throughout the movie she divulges fragments of information and secrets that build up this dramatic aura around her. In one of the scenes, where Lucy is with Teiji, a Japanese photographer that is equally as mysterious as her, she exclaims: ‘Death follows me!’. This proves to be a strong statement that defined her past, but also a prediction about the path of her relationship with Teiji.

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Lucy Fly is a complex character that has definitely not been explored enough. She is an introvert person that carries an overwhelming feeling of guilt. She escaped Sweden to forget, to start anew, but she never managed to do so. Japan was supposed to be her second chance, but bad luck followed on her footsteps to the new, faraway land. Lily, the new girl in town, vibrant, naive in a way, but also a bit mischievous, is the opposite of Lucy. She seems to be quite superficial at the beginning, and Lucy considers her a burden. However, she somehow manages to get under Lucy’s skin. She starts to reveal details about herself, but everything is cut short by a speeded up twist and her being suddenly murdered. Her character is and could have been more complex, but the director chose to keep her as a standard antagonist, a woman who simply betrays her friend in search for intense, momentary passion. During her friendship with Lily, Lucy has an amalgam of mixed emotions towards her. She starts to like her as a friend, she is intrigued by her energy, by her contrasting persona and is at the same time, subconsciously fantasizing about closer, physical touches. All these contradictory emotions are mixed in the end with unbearable envy and Lucy’s desire to kill Lily. The intolerable urge to have Lily removed from her and Teiji’s lives stems from the fact that Lucy considers Teiji to be the only person that saw her for who she really was and Lily is a threat to her connection with the photographer.

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Teiji, the photographer that documents the scenes and objects in the city and nature, maintains that he does not photograph people. He starts taking photos of Lucy and brings her back to his small studio apartment in an old, rusty, rundown building. His creativity, his silent nature, his good looks, his special enjoyment in photographing Lucy charm her. Teiji requires from the beginning that there be no pretense between them. He is a mysterious character that does not reveal much about his life. He definitely does not like small talk and is extremely private about his collection of photography. Lucy seems to be a photographic object for him, not a real person with feelings and desires. He is more stimulated by her images in the dark room, rather than by the real Lucy. He keeps all his photography in a locked drawer, which suggests that he is hiding either some dark secret or puzzle pieces from a traumatic past that he would rather dump in a locked drawer, but also in an imaginary, sealed safebox inside his mind. Teiji is a criminal and his photographs document the transformation of the victims, the paths of the murdered women and their final grimace and body posture after they have been murdered. Teiji murders Lily and only his sudden shift in passion possibly saves Lucy’s life. The movie cuts short any explanations or details of Teiji’s murderous instincts and motives.

 

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The love triangle between Lucy, Lily and Teiji is part of  a plot that blends in several spicy themes: love, shifting passion, twists of life, betrayal, guilt, death, murder, art, bad luck and peculiar circumstances. In spite of the fact that the second half of the film is rushed, and that the characters could have been developed more, the beauty of the scenes, the photographic facial expressions, the passive, faded warm colors, the eerie mystery, the build up of tension sprinkled with random, shocking exposes, the black and white photography collections, the old film camera, the rhythm and sound of the camera clicks, Lucy’s dark, timid and shaky personality, her longing for company, for love, her submissiveness to a tall, dark, mysterious and cold stranger and Lily’s unconstrained nature make up an exquisite, dreamy movie.

 

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!

Linger

 

Words, swords, crowds

Laugh together!

And they mingle.

Drink hot coco

Sniff the roses.

They stain the porcelain cups.

Dive deep in lakes of tea

Emerge spotless.

The journey continues,

This mixture of paraphernalia

Slides down the left ear

Of a grumpy, white cat.

It’s ticklish, it makes me giggle!

Whispered the cat!

As sleepy as I ever was

Just let me linger.

Take your flight!

But it is too late,

A cultural revolution enthralled

This dusty room, this lazy cat.

Let us erase Shakespeare!

Let us forget Keats!

The fate of art is to linger!