The bond between us and our non-human friends

Waking up in the morning to the sound of a ‘meow’, to a wet nose, to a lick on your face or hand or to any kind of greeting from your non-human friend can be an amazing way to start the day. The relationship between a person and his or her furry friend goes both ways, it is a relationship of mutual benefit and equal bonding. If you ask me, I also consider that human and non-human animals have equal rights on Earth and should be regarded as having an equal status and the same importance as a human being. Nowadays, domesticated non-human animals rely on their human friends for food, water, shelter and welfare. On the other side, people also gain a wide range of benefits from their companion animals, such as lowering blood pressure, alleviating the overpowering feeling of loneliness, reducing stress, raising blood oxytocin levels and sometimes, even reducing direct physical pain.

How far does the connection between people and their furry companions go? To start with, we know for sure that dogs were domesticated twice, once in Europe, about 16 000 years ago and once in Asia, 14 000 years ago, from two distinct wolf lineages. The purpose of domesticating dogs was for hunting and protection purposes. Another interesting fact that showcases the connection between dogs, cats and humans is that as far back as 12 000 years ago, human and non-human animals were burried together. Approximately 8000 years ago, when humans transitioned from nomadic hunters to settled farmers in the Fertile Crescent of the Middle East, cats became increasingly useful for dealing with rodents and other troublesome pests.

In ancient Greece, dogs were believed to ward off or prevent death and in many cases they were kept around temples and used as co-therapists because of their perceived ability to cure sickness. Pet ownership might go as far back as ancient Egypt, where pharaos were depicted in murals together with their animal companions. Scientific research does not show with certainty when non-human animals started to be kept as pets and became our closest friends and companions.

The truth of the matter is, that non-human animals have always played a significant role in our lives and archaeological findings are proof of that. These days, our furry friends might live in our houses, at farms or gardens, but regardless of their contribution to our society, they mean us no harm and they surround us with love. Thus, we owe them protection and respect.

The most foreward regions of the world to come up with animal protection laws, were Ireland in 1635, that sought to regulate the treatment of sheep, and Massachusetts Bay Colony, which regulated against cruelty towards domestic animals. In 1992, Switzerland becomes the first country that includes the protection of animals in its constitution. Five years later, in 1997, the European Union adds to the European Community Treaty an appendix on the Protocol of Animal Protection. The international law for the treatment and rights of animals has evolved considerably, and even though it varies from country to country, non-human animals have started to be protected against cruel lab experiments, cosmetic testing, direct physical violence, the sale and manufacturing of fur, depriving animals of freedom for shows and touristic purposes, caging and breeding animals, etc. The reality that each and every one of us should acknowledge is that non-human beings are sentient beings that deserve to live amongst us as equal beings, protected and loved.

Now, let’s direct our attention to Romania and to the defective system of animal protection. First of all, the laws are only valid for and refer to abandoned and stray DOGS, without any of mention of other stray animals. Secondly, up until this year, there was no specific authority for the protection of our companions, cases of cruelty and mistreatment of animals being directed to the local police force. Needless to say, fining or punishing the psychopaths or the careless individuals that hurt animals in any way whatsoever, is not a priority or never happens at all. Apparently, a separate Animal Police Force has been officialy established, but until we can rely on them,we should all do our best for the animals on the street and for all the animals that we come in contact with. I mean, how can two veterinarians in the police force manage all cases of animal cruelty and mistreatment in one entire county? That’s if they have the intention of doing their job at all. Meanwhile, stay strong animal lovers! For the others, let’s solve the problem of stray dogs and cats, neuter our furry friends, cooperate with legit NGOs (do your research beforehand), work with fellow animal lovers, be kind to animals and help those in need find a forever home. If you can’t or won’t do any of the above, at least don’t do any harm to non-human animals, who have been our companions for millenia.

Respect and love animals, save animals and in order to decrease the number of stray animals, neuter, neuter, neuter!

Love Metamorphosis

 

Love,

Simple,

Peaceful and fulfilling

For some, for most.

Love,

Multiple personality disorder

Or possibly,

Borderline personality disorder

For me.

 

A voice that speaks sublime,

That chants his name to the sky

But suddenly, a makeover!

The lucky clover turns to ash

And belladonna comes to crush

Fragile, the soul exposed

You flush!

Fragile, naked to the eye,

Your essence unveiled

Free and available

To users and abusers.

The skin, so soft, translucent

Trembles under his fingertips

And then it cracks.

You blush!

Passion is a rush

Take the stash

Of distorted voices, of conflicting emotions

And make a run for it

Never to come back!

Earthquake Bird. Eeerie

eqbavvp

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.

21115730-7694697-image-a-65_1573989075932

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.

8e164f9769da76dbed9563c2fc7f59af5250efd2

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.

 

1311589_earthquakebird_471231

 

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.

 

The fault in our relationships

Today’s topic of reflection is relationships. Relationships are basic components of our lives as highly social beings. Probably most of us are part of several relationships at the same time, but it can often be hard to glimpse behind their thick layers. Frequently, relationships are extremely complex and can easily become a source of great pain. I was wondering how people unconsciously cross this invisible bridge between happiness and the point where their relationships are mostly filled with heavy feelings of sadness, anger, frustration and shame. Any kind of relationship, either with family members, friends or with a partner can, at any given moment in life, seem like an inescapable labyrinth that weighs down on you. You can, all of a sudden, find yourself in a relationship that seems absolutely broken, in a lonely place where the person who used to bring the most joy to you is now floating on the parallel bank of the same river. If in the past you used to walk hand in hand, in the same direction, reaching for the same goals, now you feel alone and misunderstood. Or worse still, you feel like you are not being cared for or listened to attentively. It is a strange situation dominated by feelings of isolation and disconnection even though you might be sitting right next to other people. At this point, any attempt at communication is a complete failure because you and the other person in the relationship are on different frequencies. It is almost like you both want to transmit a message and receive a message and you do your best to put together a concise message that can communicate your feelings. However, you fail because you are using distinct communication mediums. Say, it is similar to one using a phone and the other using an email. It ends in a connection error.

I started to brood over relationships after watching a few Romanian short films (available on http://www.cinepub.ro with English subtitles, if you are interested). These shorts portrayed exactly a tangled spiderweb of painful and damaged relationships that suddenly explode and discharge cruel words and agonizing sounds. We can all agree that this type of extreme communication is damaging, but once in a while it sweeps over us, almost like a cold taking us by surprise each autumn. Sometimes, humans reach their limits and they need to release all the anger, the frustration, the anxiety, the shame, the bitterness, the despair, the jealousy, all the feelings that have been piling up inside of them. When we arrive at the point of utter fragility and desperation, our relationships become so dramatic that the tiniest of things can set us on fire. It is not about what has been said or what has been done, it is just the last blow, the icing on the cake or a mere raindrop added to a violent inner storm.

Dramatic portrayals of characters and relationships in the short films: a woman choosing solitude over attending a New Year’s Eve party because her friends invited her in the last moment and she felt betrayed (ask: what are your expectations of a friendship?; what is your conception of friendship?); a couple blaming each other for tiny mistakes or sudden actions during tense external occurrences; siblings fighting because of an unequal distribution of responsibilities in the family; an overprotective father and his daughter keeping secrets and fighting for her freedom; disagreements and shouts between spouses on how to treat their child; a man expressing his anger over the fact that he feels unsupported by his wife, daughter, brother and parents; a woman being ignored by a husband who is so taken with reading a newspaper and feeling invisible in her own house , etc. All these intense portrayals of relationships and the feelings that arise inside them illustrate examples of thwarted communication. We could argue that they are intensified or dramatized in order to create more artistic films. However, I suspect that the shorts can have such a strong impact on the viewers exactly because they feel so real. I can identify the intricate details inside my own relationships and in the relationships of people that surround me. The ultimate feeling that arguments, fights and miscommunication bring to an individual is that of isolation. Imagine being in a dark cave, completely alone! You are withdrawn from the world at that moment. It is as if your partner, friend or family member is not concerned with your feelings at all. You feel as if no one listens to you, or rather that they appear to be listening, but your words do not reach them.

Each of us have been, are or will be at some point in a situation where the way we communicate is not functional anymore. Our desires, needs, wants, goals, feelings and thoughts dissipate in the air and the person near to us seems so distant, so removed from ourselves. Maybe communication is not the problem, but rather our connection. The fact is that maybe we need more time to look within ourselves to find solutions, to listen more attentively to our feelings  instead of looking to the other person for solutions and advice. In a way, we are very self-absorbed and everything is about we, we, we…how we feel, how we suffer, how overwhelming the feeling of loneliness is, how bad was our day, our week, our entire year. Maybe it is better to start taking small steps for improving the connection in the relationship by doing pleasurable things together and by actively listening to the other. I believe that we have, in general, become so selfish that we don’t really know how to actively listen to people with an open mind and heart. We listen in order to reply and to advance our points of view. Let’s direct our attention towards our inner selves! Let’s listen and understand more!Let’s identify our painful feelings at the incipient stages and express them in a thoughtful and loving way! Let’s try to deal effectively with the fault in our relationships!

 

 

My greatest love: The sea

Roman Payne, extract: 

 

“O, wandress, wandress

When did you feel your

most euphoric kiss?

Was I the source

of your greatest bliss?”

Sanya 2

 My greatest love and my most euphoric kiss has been and I think it will always be with the sea. 

My (old style) response to Roman Payne:

 

O, my beloved, my dearest

I shall never love another,

Such devotion is impossible

The way I love thee!

 

I drown my sorrows

Mingle my depths with yours.

Cleanse my body! 

Take my spirit!

All I am

And will ever be.

 

To the waves of your eternity

I lose my boundaries

I tremble at the sight of you

I bid my farewells in silence.

With each return I feel anew

With longing, passion, love

At the sight of you.

 

Caress me, the returning wandress

O, my bewitcher, the sea! 

 

Sanya 3

 

Drunken Love

 

Close your eyes and whisper:

If red wine ran through your veins

You would be Dionysus’ muse

The lover of gods

The inspiration for legends

The nymph of dreams

The vineyard of hungry lips

The grape of thirsty souls.

 

If red wine streamed from your breasts

You would be the fountain of life

The eternal source of happiness

The discord of drunken lovers

The refuge of aching spirits

The companion of starry nights

The healer of the tormented

And my everlasting glass of rapture.

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

 

that_s_all_folks__by_surrimugge-d6rfav1

For now!

 

 

 

 

At the Movies

 

Chamomile is my cup of tea

Old notes, the purple lilies of the field

The dusty, rigid, oak tree chairs

The spirit of the past, dim lights

And oldies music set the scene.

The sounds of life, a child’s energy

Blonde heads and quiet dreams

All captured in the room

In the entirety of its sea

Across the stage of hopes and screens

There is a writer

Creation and impression,

Spontaneous intention.

Last winter’s cold day, the coming of spring

There is a stranger caught in my string.

Timid glances and loud laughs

Our nervous moves on Milli Vanilli are delirious

Chamomile is my cup of tea!

His is syrup from the pine tree.

Have you ever been at the movies?

Animal Kingdom!

 

Life Goal: Open an amazing animal sanctuary for rescued buddies in need called ‘Animal Sanctuary’

 

Do we all love furry, fluffy, small softies? A pupper, a kitty, a bunny, any living, breathing animal that is naturally adorable and in comparison to fellow human beings does not talk gibberish, is sincere and lacks complications. As a companion or as a free being roaming about  our surrounding habitats, animals represent for me the ultimate sacred thing: I respect them, love them and wish to protect them at any cost. Thus, I am a strong supporter of animal rights and I believe that each country should have laws that protect animals, should have proper shelters for abandoned souls and animals in need, should have a police force encharged with the safety of animals  (like ASPCA  in the U.S.) and education for children and adults alike on how to treat and respect our lovely friends who give us nothing but love.

But, unfortunately the should I mentioned above is more like a best case scenario. In reality, society is overflowed with cases of mistreated animals, with human beings who hate animals, who don’t understand them or who are scared of them. It is all around us. Directly in the media or in the invisible web of information that flows through a city’s veins in poor, developing countries that care not for our furry friends, but for the development of their economy at any cost.  In veiled, isolated cases and in subtle informational layers of connoisseurs groups in well off countries. It is distressing to see that happening.

A few weeks back I had a revelation concerning my future goals. I would like to make my own start-up, a shelter that will function as a social enterprise. It will be a safe haven for rescued dogs, cats, bunnies, mini pigs, hamsters and so on. I imagine it to be an amazing colorful space full of pillows, shelves, books, toys, bones, snacks, small obstacle courses for animals. They will sleep comfortably there on soft mattresses, play, enjoy life and have a huge adjacent garden or forest to wander through and run around. Of course, the end purpose of the shelter will be to find loving families to adopt the animals. In order to raise the funds to feed the animals, buy toys, vaccinate them and take them to the vet I will offer animal training services, I will run a small animal cafe, produce handmade animal themed objects, offer day visits to people who want to play and caress animals for a certain cost and sell toys and food for animals. All the ensuing profit will go to rescuing animals and creating an excellent huge common shelter home for them.

How did I realize I want to do this? First of all, I love animals so much that I become miserable when I see them lonely, unloved or mistreated. And the more I live the more I see this happening all around me. In Romania, dog shelters are vile. They barely have any space, dogs are infested with ticks, flees and suffer from various health problems. On top of that they have no toys, they hardly get fed and when they do, the food is some leftover dry bread crust soaked in water. To top that they get no affection and no space to play or to enjoy their lives.

In Shanghai there is no actual physical shelter so all the rescued animals go to individuals who are willing to them for some limited time. Thus, a lot of them are left on the street, in bushes, in garbage collection areas because there aren’t enough people who are good-hearted enough or who wish to ‘burden themselves’ with these poor souls in need of help. Another problem are the so-called animal cafes in Shanghai.  I visited one recently and I was shocked. Why? Because these animals (dogs, cats, hamsters, one bunny, birds) were exploited for the sake of making private profits and they utterly were neglected. They were extremely dirty and they lived in small confined spaces. These animals are used and they have no say in it. After I felt sorry for a small Corgie who had accumulated  ear fulls of cerumen, I offered to clean his ears to the waiters/ animal caretakers of the cafe. My proposition was refused.

Two years ago in Shanghai I faced a situation when I thought that my anger would burst and I would punch a man in the face. Why? Because he was using a monkey on a tight rope leash to make money out of passersby who were allowed to touch or play with the monkey for a few yuan.

Another stomach churning instance was finding out that some pet shops in Shanghai offer boarding for animals for the ridiculous amount of 10 euros per night for caging your companion in a space where he or she doesn’t have any other option then to sleep. These spaces are horrendous and they look like insanitary basements with animal excrements flowing on the floor, disgusting smells and defecation in cages or trolleys where they leave some of the animals awaiting assistance. What is more, they also sell some pets such as dogs, cats, fish, hamsters and Guinea pigs. When I was inspecting the place I noticed 4 small white hamsters and a dead one lying belly up with an open raw wound in a terrarium. It looked like it had been there for at least one day. The puppies were begging to be touched and played with and their eyes said: ‘Take me home, take me out of this hell’. I am crying out loud…what does it take to put in an extra bit of effort and make sure these animals live a comfortable life and enjoy it? But well, in China, in Romania and in many other places on Planet Earth people care more about making money and they would do anything for it, even exploiting and mistreating animals to reach their objectives. I feel like shouting and protesting, but it might be in vain. It is a battle I would lose on a global scale, but I can start my own initiative in the future and make sure I contribute to a lot of animals being rescued and treated properly at least on one point on the world map.

P.S: Let’s all fight together and do everything in our power to improve the livelihoods of animals and our friendly companions. Let’s treat them as we would our friends, family and other human beings…..with compassion, empathy, love, kindness, care and support.

And here’s my beloved Osho, pampered by being called at times: Oshi Boshi.

Oshi