Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A joke

As I check my email rapidly - I don't have much time, I am in the translation booth and the topic is quite technical, no time to waste on Facebook and other timewasting devices... (yet here I am, ok...) Anyways, I open my email and find the strangest email ever. A Catholic group has my name in their mailing list and have been sending regular emails lately. Today I got two, and the last one makes me smile.

They are kindly letting me know that someone died and are now inviting me to messes, I assume, I didn't finish reading the thing before I deleted it. I am not smiling because someone died, although death happens all the time and shouldn't be considered so gravely when you are sure the soul will go to heaven. I guess the possibility of hell is to blame for all the solemnity. Anyway, what was funny was the wording of the email. Apparently the departed was someone's grandfather, someone they call "Consecrated". It was literally something like this: Our consecrated jane doe's grand father has died, please join our prayers, bla, bla bla...

It might not even be funny. I guess what I am laughing at in the end is how completely crazy this sounds to me, personally. And how these crazy things were completely out of my head after just a few months in Europe as a resident of the Pure Land, following my lama with my sangha all over central Europe, and later living in a Buddhist Center in Budapest.

I had forgotten what it was like to live in a country where there is no Church-Government separation (except on paper, somewhere on the Constitution), since the church has the power to collect biology books from all schools because there is chapter speaking of masturbation and homosexuality (the horror!!!), and also condemns AIDS awareness programs if condoms are distributed. Please understand I am not trying to offend anybody, I do not consider these things to be either good or bad, these are simply facts. This is a country where all presentable people are either Catholics or Protestants, where many carry a bible under the arm and are able to accurately quote from it, and where Buddhism is just a word, and not a well understood one.

I am not complaining or condemning. Just stating the fact. To be cool in this country, my young teenage daughter considers it necessary to participate in a Catholic youth group, however in disagreement she may be with the general dogmas of the Catholic church. She is my daughter, and has grown-up watching me meditate and practice Yoga, two practices heavily condemned by the Catholic church. She is inevitably a product of my meditation and has been brought-up to have a broad mind where she can understand and accept others, be empathetic and open. What I wish for her is a culture where you don't need religious affiliations to be cool, where you are free to believe and think what you want.

Freedom is a good thing.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

e=mc2

It's been a while.

Ever since I came home, things have been a bit hectic, emotion-wise, and I have been intensely "with me", meaning I haven't been overly social, actually I must admit, I've rather been behaving a bit hermit-like.I wouldn't say I've been sad, or overly disturbed by the situations unfolding around me, but I haven't been totally indifferent either. Change has been the only constant and I try to ride it with as much detachment as possible, thinking little about problems but feeling them all the same. Many issues coincided, and I was facing purification left and right. My inspiration was the first to suffer, although I had many ideas to share with you all, I just couldn't get myself to actually put them into words.



While I wouldn't say I have suffered, I must admit these past few weeks were difficult. It's not easy when things don't go as you planned. When your well-thought-out, well-organized and prepared projects just don't follow our predictions (projections?). In retrospect, it would seem that this is what the whole lesson was about: Things don't always fit our expectations. Boom! I hear an echo from the summer's teachings: "Don't have expectations!" Our lama keeps repeating to us. It is a stupid waste of our time. Yet I must say it also a good opportunity to look at ourselves more closely.

And everything has not been a loss. I must admit I have never before in my adult life spent as much quality time with my mother. I can feel the improvement, and although we still don't always see eye to eye (I sort of suspect, we'll never actually see eye to eye, in fact, I fear on some issues we will forever remain in well separated corners), we enjoy being with each other. The beginning was tough,  it was as if my mom was very subtly complaining about all my months of absence, and wanted me to make good for lost time in a matter of hours (minutes, please?). But I feel we've finally asserted ourselves in comfortable positions where I am more able and willing to give than ever before, and she is open as she hadn't been in a long time. It's good.

My kids are also on top of things with my self inflicted reclusion. They get to see me ALL the time (probably TOO MUCH time for my adorable teenager, but just perfect for my youngest!). We sleep, eat, play, dream, joke, cook, drink, study, read, and almost bathe together. It's not too much for me either. I'm just fine with it, (although my teenager I would probably like to lock in a closet sometimes, but it's part of the story and I always knew these days would come, just please promise me it won't happen with the other one as well!!!!), so definitely, there are upsides to the whole confinement situation.

However, I have been trying so hard to focus only on the good parts and outperform the misery, that I think I just forgot I am suppose to work on this, to do the magic, to use the methods and turn coal into gold. Or better! into diamonds. As I was meditating one morning, finally lightning struck. I could suddenly understand that I have not managed to ignore ANY of my suffering, that I have actually suffered, am suffering right now, and will probably continue to do so until I acknowledge the fact that the only thing that's hurting is my own expectation of things. That it was stupid of me to actually build and have these expectations. That when you lose something, you're actually NOT losing anything. That all is good in the world (yes!), and that deep inside I have nothing to worry about (yikes! really?)

I remembered that disturbing emotions are not rocks and bumps to be avoided, rather they are truly the fuel on which wisdom runs, and I realized I was quite lucky to be able to burn all this before it did any more harm.  Buddha's present is infinite and unmeasurable. I had forgotten it, but now, I remember. I am suddenly brought back a few months into the past, at a time of great confusion and suffering, when I thought I might have committed an act of folly and that my heart would never heal from its longing. I remember how deeply I felt it then, how profoundly I connected with my pain, and how quickly I allowed for it to heal. That's really what it takes, to accept our shortcomings as what they are, and stop blaming everyone and everything else. Things are the way they are, and that's not so bad if one takes a good look. Everything happens for a reason and we can only accept this and move on.

I decide not too linger on my own flaws, I see them clearly and also move on, little can be learned from self-recrimination.  Eyes wide open it's easy to see the emptiness of phenomena, and how little weight the small tragedies have on the big picture of our lives. Just a few months have passed, and my life has changed drastically, of course not only the areas that I wanted to change changed, some changes I couldn't foresee took place, and I decide to start considering everything as evolution. After all, my life is blessed, full of prosperity, health, love, and blessings, so what if some people stay behind, if some chapters close, if some moves entail some suffering. Success comes to the bold, the dreamers who dare to make their dreams come true, come what may.

After that sad bump in the summer, I found myself at a Phowa course experimenting the wildest of disturbing emotions: desire/attachment. Without seeing it coming I had become slightly obsessed over a handsome stranger that kept locking eyes with me, but who never approached me, for his life.  I wanted him and no other, and could not understand the sad fate that would not bring this man to me. After a couple of days of more and more miserable longing, a cute, funny guy sat next to me in the course. We became fast friends and in a surprising turn of events I found myself one night happily entangled with this young man in Carina's tent. After a most satisfying and entertaining night, we said goodbye, as my new friend was leaving the course early. With a sweet and spontaneous speech, he wished me good luck, may I soon enjoy many nights like the one we had just shared, good-humoured and loving, may this bring me happiness. As you all know, his wishes  worked. I can't complain of the gifts that came my way afterwards, and I think of my good friend with unending gratitude. May all his wishes come true for him as well.

Not only did he teach me that the greatest joy comes from wishing the best for others, he also gave me the ultimate teaching: although we generally believe we know quite well what's best for us, if we release our own projections for a minute and open up to space, the results will be much more than we ever hoped for, even if they surprise us greatly. It's once again a matter of absolute trust.

Smiling while in the heart of the Red Buddha, these lessons are quite easy to appreciate. Reconnecting with the blissful nature of space proved a little bit more difficult locked-up in my mother's house in San Salvador, sulking with grief over the idea of lost friends and the resulting disappointment, and worried about the future as to money-issues and the impending separation from my family. Yet, by simply bringing it to my mind, the joy of the Phowa meditation is once again all over me, and I can effortlessly connect with the nature of bliss, and reclaim it as my birth right.


It's all very well to have emotions and to understand them, even better if we let wisdom surge also from the process, yet it's even better to play them down in order to focus on what's real through and through, the nature of my mind. Once again I take ownership of my reactions. This is MY life after all...

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Most Wonderful Adventure

I went to the beach today. Ever since I came back, I hadn't even been near the ocean, and it honestly felt good. It felt more than good. So much so that for a while, I truly thought I was in the Pure Land, or what most people would understand as heaven.

As we were driving to the coast, I could finally remember what it was that I love so much here... It is not the country, which is after all only a name, with unfriendly associations (for me). It is the land... Lush shades of green, high cliffs overlooking the bluest of the bluest, there, where the sky mixes with the ocean...

And trust me, I have been to many beaches in my life. My travels have taken me all the way to the Indian Ocean, which is magnificent, populated with the most colorful and interesting lifeforms, and on whose shores one finds paradisaical spas and jewels of small hotels, where the life of the tourist is, indeed, heavenly. I have also been to the Caribbean, where you can lay in the water all day while pelicans lounge nearby and you just relax while Piña Colada oozes endlessly into your glass, never half-empty... I've swum with sharks and turtles and rays in the blue waters, and as a child, I was a regular at the Cote d'Azur Mediterranean sea, from the shores of Camargues to the small creek at Théoule-sur-Mer, where I spent most of my summers. I even swam in the cold North Sea, while vacationing at the Oléron Peninsula, or in the Atlantic shores of Bretagne summers. I've walked through the Aegean Sea, in Crete, with a group of buddies, fully clothed, (by the way, that is one of the joyful moments of my life that I will never forget). More recently I even crossed the Baltic Sea with a bunch of Dharma friends, and actually scuba dived - without scubas - in the Adriatic Sea with my boyfriend a couple of months ago. So you could say I know a thing or two when it comes to great masses of water...

So, my friends, believe me... The Pacific Ocean is something else entirely!!!

First of all, the name... come on!!! Could it possibly be more enthralling? "Pacific"... that is, of course, the last thing you'd think upon looking at the wild upsurge and breaking of the waves. And yet it is, pacific, in the sense that swimming in these waters transforms you... Today, for example, was magical! As I stood there, staring, in absolute fascination, the Ocean's only witness except for a lone fisherman, some distance away, the waves hit and crashed in almost miraculous ways... I wished I had my camera with me and had been able to catch a special moment, when a tall wall of crystal water rised, fascinating, transparent, only to crash and disappear in the world's largest bubble bath one second later. It was so magnificent, I almost felt like clapping, and although I did not clap, I screamed!  I screamed in glee, in wonder and amazement, in gratitude at being there, and then just stripped and ran to the water.

It was fresh and deep and playful and it opened up to me like a mother to her estranged child. I dived and swam and laughed for a long long time. Both Maïa and Glo came to join me after a while, and we all felt brand new... like somehow the sea had taken all our worries, all our preoccupations, all negativity, all fear to a deep far away abyss, and replaced them with open space... space to be happy, space to be radiant, space to be nothing but to only exist.

We even flew a kite! Maïa brought hers. It's an orange Koi fish, and it flew high over our heads, brilliant against a deep blue sky. After the afternoon nap, in a brightly colored hammock (oh how I have missed those!), I meditated on the beach, while my kid jumped in the waves at low tide. The sun set and ignited the sea with pink,  the sky ablazed... All I could feel was space enveloping me, and time was an illusion, I could only think "If this is not real - and somehow it is not - then mind is truly the most wonderful adventure."

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Mo

"If you go back to El Salvador, it will be bad, you must come back here to Europe"

This was Lama Ole's divination for me, when my doubts attacked me and I asked him whether I should move to Europe or go back to El Salvador.

As always, he was right.

My lama knows me, he knows who I am, and what I am capable of. That's all I need.

The rest, those who also know and hate it, I have no use for.

So hard

Stay in the present moment. 

Wow! That's so hard!!!! It's so hard to stay in the present moment because I miss my boyfriend so much, and I just keep on thinking about the day I'll finally see him again. It is so hard because there are so many things on my mind that worry me, about whether the rain is going to continue pouring down for another week or not. It is so hard because my daughter has a lovely friend who has many problems at home and I'd like to help. It is so hard because coming back to El Salvador I have had to face so many disappointments and I feel out of place. It is so hard because I've ran out of money and need to make so many expenses. It is so hard because the roads in my country are blocked because bridges have fallen and I had a trip planned I can no longer take. It is so hard because my mother's getting older and I find her so vulnerable. It is so hard because once again I find myself without a Sangha to go to just when I need to meditate so hard. It is so hard because I just want to be elsewhere most of the time. It is so hard because if I were elsewhere I would be worried about my family who would have stayed behind. It is so hard because I don't like my here and now. It is so hard because I miss my boyfriend so much and he is so far away, and there's still such a long time before we see each other again. (Did I say that already?) It is hard because of the many choices that mean I will always be leaving someone behind.

It is just so damn hard...

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The struggle

The rain doesn't stop falling down, and it reflects my mood to perfection.

I learned yesterday that the complex and intricate immigration laws of the European Union will not allow me to come back to Hungary until December.

I try to look at the bright side of things and suppose it means I will have more time to spend with my family and also more time to work at my profession, earning good money that I can later use to invest in building my new life in Europe. But... my mood still is as closed and gray as the sky above, where the rain never stops. I could scream.


I try to distract myself and see my friends, take my kids to the movies, and work on a difficult legal translation I'm in the process of doing. I even try to cook. But the rain doesn't stop falling and my efforts to improve my mood just fall with it. I am angry, irritable, and did I mention it, also PMSy. I feel trapped in a golden cage, where everything looks perfect but it is all a bad joke because I can't leave it.

I know I am supposed to be a grown-up about this, and act all mature and wise. Focus on the higher view all the time and smile happily because all is well in my world, when it could actually be going so much worse. Literally much worse. Around me, in the whole of Central America, people are dying, losing their homes and everything they hold dear, and we cannot do much to help. Sure we can donate our clothes, our blankets, even some food or medications, but their predicament is still terrible and unforgiving.

Reflecting on others' misery actually gets me out of my egotistical little world and makes me look at my life in perspective... I am healthy, I am safe, my loved ones are as well, we have a strongly built home, which provides warmth and comfort, and a hot cup of tea is within my reach anytime, heck! even hot chocolate if I want! This should do it.

Yet, ever so human, my ego refuses to let me go. It screams from deep inside to focus on my own petty dramas, it wants me angry and sad. It needs me insecure and weak, trembling with leaky eyes. It thrives on my discomfort, on my craving for attention. This actually pisses me off even more than anything else. Am I really this basic??? Am I really so shallow??? And the sad answer is yes I am.


But I am also something else. I am also a deep and profound lake of inner peace, a shining female Buddha, who looks lovingly upon the world around. I am a temple of strength, endurance and trust. I am a mountain, tall and unshakable. I am his student, and a devoted practitioner. I am the music, and I am all joy; and I am true love. Even when I forget about it and let the inner storm rage in the oceans of my mind; underneath the surface, a Buddha is smiling. And I suddenly realize... I am smiling too.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

What the Rain Takes Away

In today's newspaper I read El Salvador is officially classified as the country most vulnerable to the consequences of ill weather and rain-provoked catastrophes. More than surprised, I was angered by this. I just find it shocking that in a country where the President collects sport cars, and all members of congress earn their weight in gold (quite undeservedly), there is yet not enough money in the government's budget to educate its people. Another thing our government still doesn't understand, even after decades of tropical storms and hurricane seasons that come ALWAYS on the same month of the year, is that there is such a thing as a "Weather forecast". Heck! There's even something called "Hurricane's watch". Yet, apparently, the national meteorological institute has better things to do than to issue timely warnings, I mean, like BEFORE people lose their houses and livestock and need to be evacuated with water up to their waist...






A couple of years ago, I had the very interesting task of translating into French a study made by a well known international NGO regarding adaptation to climate change in Cuba. What I found fascinating is that, in spite of it being an island, and in spite of the fact that it is the country with statistically more hurricanes than any other in the Latin America and the Caribbean region, it is also the LESS VULNERABLE to these natural catastrophes. It is even more interesting, because Cuba is, in our region, the "elephant in the room". The one shameful communist country, where everyone is poor, with no industry, no food, no nothing. So how do these poor backward Cubans, who supposedly can't get anything right because of their evil government, manage to survive and actually not lose EVERYTHING (as in: their lives) with so many hurricanes hitting their coasts???


And this NGO was not making anything up, just check this web-site: http://www.cubahurricanes.org/history-hurricanes-chronicles.php where I quote "Hurricanes are the more devastating natural disasters occurred in Cuba during this century and in particular at the cyclone season from October to November. However, only four got a dantesque character because of the human and material lost that it provoked. These four took place before 1959. Four years later, the Cuban government designed and passed a Measure System for Civil Defense of the country. It reduced damages of every type." Yes, four years after 1959, as in "Castro times".

So what's going on here? Am I suggesting we all turn to Fidel Castro and become communists ourselves? Please, give me more credit. I will give you more credit also and assume nobody has yet jumped to such a simplistic and stupid conclusion (yet it seems in El Salvador, whenever someones mentions something about Cuba that seems to work well, in spite of the potent anti-Cuba American propaganda, we immediately become the new encarnation of Trotsky, or someone...)

Well the study actually emphasized the importance of education to prevent the most damaging consequences of natural catastrophes. And this also applies to earthquakes, since this area is also prone to this other sort of cataclysmic entertainment. If people are educated, if they are not only able to read and write, but are also capable of abstract thinking, and of reasoning on their own (something our governments are not too excited about, because, then, if the people actually become smarter, what will they say when they realize who their rulers truly are????) Well, that may well be a drawback of educating people, but come on Politicians, it also means you will be more educated, and then maybe smarter... you'll still be able to nail everyone, it will only imply slightly more complex schemes and machinations. But quite honestly, this is really not about you and your power-addictions. This is about the people whose walls collapse with every tropical storm, who lose their children when the rivers overflow, whose chickens, goats and cows drown and leave them with no livelihood. And I'm not even getting into the Dengue and other epidemics...
Yet, think about it this way... Less money invested in reconstructing these already pitiful villages,($837K according to today's newspaper) more money for your pockets! More sport cars mister President! More bodyguards mister Congressman! More fake nails and liposuction for your trophy mistresses!!!

How horrible... I am sorry for the sarcasm outburst, but this is just how pissed off I am to see that the years go by, looking exactly the same, and yet our authorities apparently learn next to NOTHING about preventing natural catastrophes. It makes me angry to watch the news and see young mothers cry their eyes out because they lost their babies to a stupid flood. This should not be happening. At least not all the time, at least not without learning the lesson. But guess what? As long as people are kept ignorant and stupid, it will. 

And no, I won't make the mistake of coming down on the government without offering solutions. The ones I present here come from the study I mentioned before. It's so simple it makes me want to cry. It's like this:
  • Formal education, specifically on preparation (as in: What to do/Where to go/What to leave behind/What to take with us when an alert comes out)
  • Regular nationwide drills. (Yes, drills. Like the fire drill at school. So simple...)
  • Political will from the highest level of decision-making down to the local communities... Communication, the key to every well functioning relationship. This allows for centralized decision-making as well as decentralized execution.
  • Meteorological forecasts (you'd think everyone knew about this, but...)
It's that simple, and yet apparently it's so hard. Good luck El Salvador... I'm so so soooooo sorry.


















Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Moved

I am not really sure of how to write this post. I just feel it's important to share what I feel now. Maybe because I've seriously never felt this - and please, I'm not talking about "the depth, or breadth, or heights" of my feelings (to paraphrase Elizabeth Barret Browning), since I strongly believe one should never compare one love to the next - I'm talking about feeling loved, not only in love, but actually loved back.

You see, I think there is a big difference between falling in love - which is a rather short period of time, and can sometimes sum up the whole of the relationship - and being in love. The latter is what I am, now. "I am aware" of this, like Alanis says in her beautiful song "Head over feet". A song I've come to identify myself with lately.


As you may remember, I had mixed feeling about leaving Budapest, but ended up trusting, not only the man I love, but also myself, us, our relationship, what we've found in each other, what we're building together. Because I've realized now, we are building something together!!! And that is actually the first time in my life when I've ever had this feeling of joint purpose, of unity, of clan or pack feeling - although we're just two, so maybe these words are not the best choices to describe the situation, but bear with me...

We said goodbye exactly 17 days ago. That's not the end of the world, fortunately (!!!) but still, it's a long time not to sleep on his shoulder, not to tickle him, not to smell him, not to hold him in my arms... And there's still about 28 days, or more, before I can do all that once more. So I miss him. Yet, this distance (come on people, we're talking about 10,235 kilometers here!!!) is absolutely bearable.

This is not the first time I am in love with someone who lives far away. In fact, in the past four years, the distance between me and my beloved has averaged a little over 9,280 kilometers, so you see, I am no beginner at this long-distance thing. The one thing I am discovering though, even if I may know the theory from our Teachings, is that distance is only an illusion. (Thank you Skype!).

My man and I speak to each other everyday, we joke and laugh, we discuss serious business, make decisions, share our little and big everyday things, we send kisses and kiss the camera (real slowly so we can appreciate each other's lips, hihi!), we remind each other how much we love one another, and short of hugging, tickling, smelling and sleeping in each other's arms, we're pretty close to each other all the time.

Whenever I think of the distance between us, I can only measure it in the traveling hours that I will need to cover in order to be in his arms again (let me tell you there are maaaaany); otherwise, we could be next door to each other. I feel as close to him as ever, if not closer. You see, now he has an insight on the part of my life he could only imagine before... My country, my family, my role as a mother, the personality of my kids, even my cat (yes, this last part he probably could do without, but still...).

I am really moved to feel so strongly about him, ABOUT US!!! I am moved by his constancy, by his presence, everyday, in my life. I am moved by the tenderness we show each other in spite of... well... the distance (hehe, didn't I just say it was all just an illusion?).

I am moved by love. :')

Friday, October 7, 2011

I Go for Refuge to the Sangha

Today I had lunch with my friend Lex. Lex lives in San Francisco, and has come to El Salvador for a short time for quite sad reasons. His father just passed away after struggling against an unrelenting cancer. Lex is not the kind of person to get devastated by death. He is a Buddhist as well, and although we have different teachers and schools, he has an understanding of impermanence; he rather spoke to me about his feelings and beliefs. How we are caving in to cancer by living such unhealthy lifestyles, eating every and anything, creating false necessities that drive us to lead such stressful lives, forgetting to honor the necessary balance between nature and modern life, and how this leads more and more people to long sad illnesses.

I believe him. I believe my friend is right. He was also quite articulate discussing how the christian frame of mind makes you 'accept' and 'surrender' to 'bad things' instead of taking the opportunity to better ourselves and let our true selves shine. He feels this even more strongly because his mother is also a cancer victim, although in remission. We all hope she will never relapse, and I wish her the will to get over this sickness, to actually vanquish it completely, and to shine brightly over her world.

This topic also brought back memories from long ago, when my own father died of cancer, and how people came to offer their condolences and told me this was 'God's Will'. I remember the rebellion in my heart against a God whose will it was for my father to wither away and die like that... This actually sort of set the pace for my life in this country, to which I had just arrived, but that's a whole other story.

Lunch with Lex lead to many other interesting conversations. I shared my quasi permanent irritation about being here, and not feeling a part of it anymore, especially in areas close to my heart, and he gave me direct and clear teachings, reminding me how to be compassionate with myself and others, how to truly be useful to others and how to actively embody the values I so strongly advocate.

Listening to my friend talk about the loss of his father, about how he worries about his mother, about his love for this Earth we all need so desperately and constantly forget about, I suddenly felt my strength coming back to me, and was filled with purpose.

Ever so subtly, without seeing it clearly, I had done what needs to be done in times of confusion and disturbances. I went for refuge. And I found it.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Home - landed and grounded

As I walked out of the airplane I realized I was actually sulking, purposely NOT smiling to others. Upon realizing that I was actually avoiding to smile and pouting to other people, who, in the end, had absolutely NOTHING to do with the fact that I was frustrated at having landed in El Salvador (remember... chains and ALL), I had to laugh at myself, however secretly. How old are you? asked a little voice inside my head, and I HAD to smile, at my own childish behavior, and to other people of course. You have to understand I am - almost by definition - a smiler. I cannot help myself, I have always been a smiler. I do it well and I do it often if not always, often throwing people off as a strange person, or a flirt. (Now that is not my intention by the way, just a side effect of being a smiler).

So anyways, here I am, having just considered my life as I knew it coming to an end, and now suddenly feeling quite amused at my own pessimistic mind frame, walking through the Comalapa airport corridors, when I suddenly hear a male voice yell "MAR!" behind me. The surprise made me turn around, who could I possibly know here and now????

My dear friend Foncho was there, waving his arms for me to see him. That was the last straw and my foul mood melted away like it had never been there in the first place. Foncho is a member of my El Salvador Sangha, and the friend who made it possible for me to fly to Europe at all, offering me one of the buddy passes that the airline he works for gives to his employees. And here he was, receiving me right outside the plane. He lets me know other friends are waiting for me outside and slowly a warm homey feeling starts growing in my tummy.

We go through customs together and we get my bags, outside Rosma and Grace are waiting for me. I feel joyful and full of love. Here we are, accross the ocean, and still the Sangha envelops me with love. I am here, I am among my people, my friends, and all is well in the world after all. We hug, we laugh, we are happy to see each other...

Already I am showered with questions, and we laugh and talk all at the same time. It is good to be home... with my friends.

The next thing we do is go to the school to pick up Rosma and my kids, Maïa stayed home, sick, and still doesn't know I'm home, but Sofia is there, and I manage to surprise her. She cannot believe her eyes and jumps into my arms. Our love is whole and intact, and pure. My heart beats faster. I am home, truly home.

We drive to my mother's place. Now that I don't have a house of my own, this is where I'll spend my time here, this is where my daughters live while I am away. The door opens and Maïa sees her mom for the first time. My little girl's eyes fill up with tears that do not flow, instead we hold each other close and laugh. I feel her heart beat faster. I am home, truly, warmly, astonishingly, lovingly home.



And all is well.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Gaol

As the pilot's voice announces our impending landing, i look wearily out of the window at the landscape below. The muddy river undulating amid the emerald green valleys bear witness to the lushness of the rainy season that I just missed, and my mind morbidly wonders, as I incongruently marvel at the same time at the beauty of the "5 de Noviembre" reservoir's artificial lake, how many casualties the rain claimed this year, how many landslides, floodings and other wet catastrophies terrorized the poorest of the Salvadoran population, who, in spite of going through the same cycle of tormenting disasters year after year after year never seem to actually learn the drill and remain perpetually unprepared when the rains come.

I am immediately mortified by my own cynicism and wonder at this state of mind. This is the first time I land in El Salvador with such evident lack of enthusiasm and I feel how numb my spirit has become ever more acutely (again a paradox!) at my utter and complete indifference during the long turbulence the plane experiences while piercing through the largest of gray clouds. When we exit the cottony and unsettling cloud, the green pastures below reappear, although the rivers seem to have disappeared somewhere between the palm trees and the huge Mayan Ceibas and Conacastes, that look so tiny from up here.

On the other side of the airplane, I know the view is on the beaches and ocean front, yet not even that thought seems to have the capacity of cheering me up. I just want this plane to land already, to go through customs, pick-up my bags and be done with the whole thing. Not even the thought of soon hugging my loved ones cheers me up, the best I can aspire to in the near future I think, is sleep.

No, the perspective of spending time in Central America is not appealing to me, and I am not excited. I'd much rather load an airplane with my girls, friends and family and fly them all away to Europe, than to once again face what I today consider the depressive dirty mess of this little country. Even the accent of the people on board, happy to be coming home again, is irritating me and I wish I had brought my earplugs with me, the better to drown their slurry voices.

Please understand I have extremely ambivalent feelings for this country - and I can, like any other normal human being, fully appreciate its generosity, its natural beauty and abundance, and the warmth of its broad smiling people - Just... not now.

As the plane approaches the ground even more, I become able to discern the tin houses with improvised cardboard roofs and the coconut palm trees below. Then in a single mute moment, the plane touches the ground.

That's it, it's over. My adventure is over. I feel awfully like an escaped prisoner being brought back to the gaol  feet chained and all...

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Trust

When I decided to start this blog, I made a commitment with myself that I would always be as honest and transparent as possible, and I have so far been quite faithful in honoring this promise. Sometimes writing has been blissful and I assume reading might then be inspiring. At other times however, my writing comes from my processing difficult emotions and the results are not as hopeful or optimistic, like my last post.

When my man read it he told me pointblank "there isn't any trust reflected. It is sad." Indeed it was, because that is how I felt when writing it. A very easy and honest conversation followed, where he informed me he thought I was probably feeling this way because of a lack of trust in myself regarding our relationship, and that if this was so, it had little to do with me staying or leaving, and would anyway rise again later on. I didn't disagree completely but spoke about the previous experiences I've had with my other "long-distance" loves, where enthusiasm has died a slow or quite rapid death, depending on the conditions. Surely this justified my feeling so discouraged! With the clarity he can so easily summon whenever its called for, my love uttered the words that solved everything,swiftly removing the clouds of doubt. He said, with this mixture of gentleness and firmness he uses when speaking about matter pertaining to us that I like so much because it always settles things constructively; he simply said "Trust us." I couldn't believe how simple it was... Just like that, two simple words... and my heart was at ease.


It is true that our time together has been short. Not even two months have elapsed, but as he eloquently puts it, the time spent together has been intense. We have been sharing a very small space and been in each other's faces basically... all the time! Except when he goes out to work, or to his salsa classes, or if we go out with friends, separately, and also on my daily outings by myself. And this we've done quite well, I think, maintaining our independence while sharing such close proximity.

We've also been quite transparent with each other, sharing points of views, opinions, bad moods, as well as joys, happiness and relaxation. I even had the brilliant idea of getting sick, to add some stress to the situation (he - of course - took me to the doctor, ever so kindly, in his "lets-solve-this" no non-sense way of facing difficulties). We've both had our spouts of anger, although not directed at each other, so far. Fortunately. One angry person isn't optimal, but if both are, then everything is doomed. I think it's actually been educating. And a good way of getting to know each other, after all it's not rosy petals all the time, is it?

In fact, when, in the past few weeks spent in Budapest, I've had the opportunity of chatting with girls, and everyone knows that friendly girly conversations cover mainly the topic of boyfriends and love, this lack of rosy-petal relationships has become evident. They all eventually end up sharing some or other disastrous relationship they have manage to walk out of, and I've felt quite happy to see that although of course I have my own share of "ex-boyfriends from hell" stories to share, they actually go back quite far in time, and that from my recent experiences I can only speak of good relationships, with good men, who actually were also my good friends.

I am delighted to see how I have passed from the dissatisfying and hurtful relationships of the past to comfortable, loving and respectful ones, where the emphasis has been placed on love and happiness and not on resentments coming from unsatisfying relationships, or power struggles and manipulations or straight out disrespect, falsehood and deceit, as is unfortunately so often the case.

During the recent Kuchary course in late June, Lama Ole answered the question of an unhappy lady who was disappointed about the relationships in her life, he said "Become a better partner". The idea strikes me then that I have become a better partner, and that in fact, I am a quite good partner. That I have learned to love without all the troubling expectations that so cloud our feelings, and to argue or not argue but only listen to what the other has to say (depending on the situation) without taking anything personally. I have learned to express myself and my feelings directly, without shame or fear or added drama. I have learned to become sensitive to the other's emotions and state of mind, instead of listening only to my own mind and seeing only my perception of the situation at hand.

I realize I am completely open to the present moment and what it can bring and therefore not overly attached to my own plans. This gives me a freedom I couldn't enjoy before, the freedom of deciding how to act and even feel at every moment, with everybody. And the freedom of living every second of my life as it comes, without holding on to the past, regardless how recent, or to the future, regardless how brilliant... Of course I realize I've come a long way, but that is exactly my purpose as a Buddhist, as a mature woman... To leave behind all self-hindrances and self-sabotage strategies, to see beyond old and rancid ideas, patterns and opinions, to grow and develop everyday, and to be of benefit to others, especially to those closer to me, those whom I love the most, who incidentally are those who have the strongest impact on me.

It is clear to me then, I have better partners because I am a better partner myself.

I look at the man next to me, so busy in his own computer world of work, salsa and news while I dwell in my own computer world, writing my blog and checking facebook and I feel positively elated... He is interesting, and smart, and kind, and funny, and gentle, yet firm, and strong, and beautiful, and reliable; and I love him, and I trust him, and I most definitely trust us.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

I know...

Because experience is something that I always take into account, and not something I try to uncomfortably hide when I don't like what happens, I know time and space affect every single one of us. The energies present today aren't the energies present tomorrow. Like the waters flowing under the Chain bridge here in Budapest are never the same waters, like the clouds passing over us change with every second, like the weather, like the rain, like my hair in the wind, like hunger, and thirst, and everything else, so also feelings change.


So I know when I leave Budapest I am truly leaving. And this is not an easy knowledge to behold, because, of course, in the absurdity of our little and big hearts, we just want things that make us happy to stay the same. But they don't.  And I know, because of what life has already taught me, not least of all this very summer, that when we let go of something, space in its vast generosity always rushes to bring us more, and we are never without what we need, inevitably receiving what we have earned through our thoughts, words and actions, since beginless times...


That doesn't mean I am not coming back. I am. This I also know for certain. But I know that in taking that plane I am weaving new conditions, new circumstances for my life that will mark it, dent it, for better or for worse, because every single step we take has a cause and a consequence. And although I do not know any of what will happen even this very afternoon, I know for a fact that one month away from here is one month spent creating something else, something entirely foreign to Budapest, to Gergő, to this "home", to this sangha, to this world that I've come to like so much.


I know that I will be happy surrounded by all my beloved ones, that I haven't seen, hugged, kissed in so long. I know I need to go home like one needs to breathe and drink and love, because I love my family, because I miss my friends, because I need to work and earn good money, and I know I will enjoy everything. Looking in the eyes of my beloved family, laughing with my girlfriends, eating the familiar food, driving again on the familiar streets, feeling again like a professional, dealing with my clients and colleagues, coming back to everything that is familiar, that is easy, that I know by heart...


I also know I will miss Europe, the proximity with the teachers, the stupas and the dharma energetic activities, I will miss Budapest's Gompa, where I feel so at home and so inspired, and the kind, lovely friends that I have met and made. But of course the worse will be missing Gergőand the life we've made and shared. I know...


So knowing everything I know about how water flows under bridges, about how fast clouds move in the sky and about how even the strongest personal energies change, I know it is sadness, and not trust, that I feel today.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Placement of the Letter "R"

Today my boyfriend and I had an argument. The reasons behind it are not important, as it happens generally. In fact the conflict arose from such a stupid thing, that it would embarrass the both of us if I described it here, so let's just go to the core of things and say we had a conflict.

When two people argue, they use words. These words are supposed to explain our perspective and to give strength to our arguments. Sometimes however, we let words slip through our lips without thinking really of the weight they carry, and they come out and they take up space and they deliver a message, and like this, sometimes, they hurt.

I am standing in the door, and my beloved opens his lips and boom! out come these thoughtless words... I feel wounded. I do not react. I take the blow and feel it. I realize this is not who he is. I also decide he didn't realize what he was saying and most likely didn't mean it. But the words are there.

We continue to argue and then, I give up. I decide to make the bed instead and not to go to the supermarket. (This all happens before a shopping trip). He knows this and decides to come to me, as eager to mend this as I am. He doesn't walk away... I love him for that. As I explain to him how I feel, my eyes are teary, but I know this is just a physical reaction to my emotional state, so I don't cry, it is unnecessary.

All this time, I listen to him, and I think before speaking. I am trying very hard not to fall in the habitual patterns of interrupting, of saying anything to prove a point, of manipulating the situation by way of words or feelings, of using rhetorics to make the other look bad. I don't want my man to look bad. I don't want to win anything here. I want to explain and to understand.

He is also receptive and assertive. We talk. We see how different we truly are in some aspects. We also see the best in each other. He acknowledges the words that he let slip out too quickly and says "I'm sorry". I feel so relieved. We hold each other close and breathe. We think a little and talk about important things, mainly the differences between us, and how they don't separate us. I feel how important he has become to me, how good he truly is and how much I like him and my life with him. He holds me in his arms. We both feel the relief. Relief that this drama could be seen through dharma.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

About the Future and Other Uncertainties

As I ride the tram on my way home, this word strikes me... "home" I am thinking of going back to the Budapest Buddhist center, where I have been staying for over a week now, in Gergö's apartment and my mind just automatically said "home". The thought doesn't scare me, and that is in itself scary.

As I reflect on the summer I've spent travelling I see how many unexpected things have happened along the way. I never, for example, planned on going to Kuchary. It sort of happened spontaneously, like Tenovice, like Prague and Vienna, like Denmark, like Mangutovo... It would seem I am becoming a professional artist in Spontaneity. My relationship with Gergö is also like that. A work of Spontaneous Art.

Lama Ole urges us continuously to live more in the present, to be more here and now, and stop wasting our time reflecting upon the past and anticipating the future. Of course, he means it this way: "wasting our time". Because spending time wondering why I did this, or said that, is useless, and spending idle time wondering what might happen if, or worrying about what will be is also useless. However learning from our past and planning the future are not useless forms of entertaining ourselves, in fact these are very significant ways of growing, developing and reaching our goals.

Therefore, resting in here and now I've come to be where I am, no over-analysis, no counter-balancing decisions, just flowing with what's right in front of my nose, and it's worked quite well so far. I call this Meditation In Action. Knowing effortlessly what to do next, trusting space absolutely and giving in to what feels right. This is my Art of Spontaneity.

Now however, I must  look forward a bit, a strange thing lingers on the near horizon. It's called "deadline". Just the word is enough to feel chills in your back... DEAD and LINE. There is not much escape from those two words, no spontaneous flow to liberate me... I am stuck and grounded by this forecast. There is a LINE in my near future and it's DEAD!!!

I entered the European Union on June 11th and got the longest stay permit available for any non-Schengen national: 90 days. So this basically means I must either leave Europe on September 11 (although, as Gari puts it, 90 days is actually September 9th, thank you very much), or find a solution. Being the very fortunate girl that I am, I found myself a very active boyfriend, who has been dedicating loads of time and energy to finding a solution for this terrible predicament we're in. I can never convey with words the gratefulness I feel as I see him working so hard to extend my stay. MY stay. And my heart literally overflows with love for him for his diligent efforts to help ME. ♥ ♥ ♥ <3 <3 <3 ad infinitum...

Yet so far, we still find ourselves in the same plight. Our friends give advise and we make a decision that apparently has worked for others, albeit being a bit risky. We will leave the Schengen treaty area and come back, hoping for another 90 days permit. The idea sounds brilliant! Especially since our destination of choice is Croatia the beautiful, the beach is not so far and already we are happy and careless tourists in our minds. But the drawback of this apparently flawless plan is, if I'm unlucky, I could not be allowed back in Hungary and therefore would have to find creative ways of returning to El Salvador, and maybe face worse consequences when trying to return.

Those who know me know I rarely dwell on inauspicious thoughts.

Instead I tell Gari, wearing a smile that only has space for thoughts of beautiful Croatia, that with the amount of blessings that we both carry, how could ANYTHING go wrong??? Our lama is making wishes, our friends are making wishes, we are making wishes... It's a no-brainer!

So we make plans for Croatia, and for the Salzburg Stupa inauguration later this month. After that, it will be time for me to take a big plane and fly back to El Salvador, to work a bit for one month and earn some dough, to help me start my new life in Hungary - Oh, that's right, you don't know...

Well... about the future and stuff... We've decided I should come back here, to Budapest, and give love a chance.

Prague is not going anywhere anyways...


Monday, August 29, 2011

On the Power of Wishes

After spending over two months on the road, sleeping in tents, bathing in public showers which rarely had any hot water, eating what's available, when it's available, focusing and concentrating on meditations and teachings, going to bed at odd hours and waking up too early for leisure; the past week in Budapest has been more than a welcome time to relax, recovering lost sleep and indulging in the luxuries we normally take for granted, such as bed, hot food and tea or coffee on demand, as well as hot private showers.

It has also been a time of discoveries, discovering this time not a new city or retreat center, but a man, and my relationship to him. I must confess that my silence over the past week is also a reflection of all the emotions that have been revealing themselves and that I've hesitated to share because of their intrinsic intimate nature. But a writer's job is to expose and disclose feelings and emotions in ways that helps readers to identify with them, and to recognize themselves in the tribulations experienced by the writer, and to maybe understand themselves better, or ever so hopefully, to learn something new, to have a spark of recognition and feel somehow wiser because of what the writer dared to share. So in spite of much hesitation, I've decided to come clean, and to continue to write with honesty and candor about my perceptions of life as it evolves within.

Now I must take a step back, back to the days before my trip, back to San Salvador and the times when I was only wishing for all this adventure to unfold. And well, my ticket was purchased, my itinerary somewhat organized, and my relationship with Waldo finished. Whatever remnants of love were in my heart still, attached as it was to a loving, kind and funny lover, the relationship per se was gone and I basically held no real hopes of recovering it. Whatever little wisdom my mind had gathered in the past had taught me to understand and accept that when things are over, we must let go. And although my heart still beat quite strongly for him, my mind knew better than to restrict hopes of happiness to him.

So here I am, planning my trip, dreaming of the Lama, of the Karma Guen mountains, and of the Hungarian retreat center (the only two places I was supposed to visit at that time), talking to my friends about my plans, hopes and expectations, and besides the main absolute wish of settling down in Europe and build a life for myself and my family, there was one other very clear wish. I wished for love. For a tender, gentle, honest love with a man who would share my values and vision of the world, a man on the Way, on my Way, on the Diamond Way.

All along this trip that has taken me to 9 different countries: Belgium, Spain, Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic, Austria, Denmark, Germany and Slovakia my mind has been set on making wishes. At the circunambulation of every single Stupa that I have been in these past 2 and half months, my mind has focused on making wishes. At the Gompas in every center, my mind has made wishes.

Most of my wishes have been directed to the benefit and welfare of others, such as we've seen in previous posts, wishing for Waldo to find love and happiness, wishing for Sofía's father to be liberated from all suffering and being happy, wishing for my friend's happiness, for my mother's health and my children's well being, as well as for my lama's long life and strong health, and for those who still long for a loving partner.

But I have also made more selfish wishes. At every step along the path I have wished for my move to Europe to happen without obstacles, and for me to have the conditions of moving here unhindered, and to settle down to a good, stable life. I have wished for work and prosperity, in order to create the conditions for this European life I so desire, and to bring my children to me as soon as possible. And, of course, I have also wished for love.

Wishing for love has been the hardest. I found it strange to not have any specific man to focus on, but also quite liberating, since I was then free to request all the qualities I deemed important. And I did. I asked for a man to love who would love me in return. I asked for this man to be young, but mature; I asked for this man to be a Buddhist, and an inspired student of Lama Ole; I asked for him to have a job, and to be the kind of man who works; I asked for him to be good looking, reliable, sensitive and funny, and kind to me and other people, I asked for a man who would be friendly and whose friends I'd like, I asked for a man who would desire me, and with whom there would be sparks all the time, but he would also be sweet and tender to me, and would love me in the ways I like being loved, I asked for an uncomplicated relationship, but a committed one as well. I asked for this and probably much more, and it all came down not so much to the man, but to the good, happy, stable relationship we'd have.

Then in Lolland, after the weddings, I came to Lama Ole and spontaneously asked for his blessing "so that I can find a partner to share my life with" I almost spoke without thinking, the yearning of my heart came forward, and my Lama knew it came from a deep, deep place. A place that knew of fear and disappointment, but that still believed. He held me in his arms ever so strongly and as he put the Gao on my head and over my back, on the heart center, I could feel the strongest blessing until then. My eyes filled with tears and I could barely speak. He then asked me quite seriously "Do you like the Nordic type" and I manage to babble "I am not choosy" to which he quickly replied "You should be! You are a magnificent woman, you should be choosy!" I then gathered enough wits to respond "I am Lama, but with qualities, not nationalities" and we smiled at each other, content.


I often went to the Lama again, at E.C. and Mangutovo, but this time, my request was different "Please Lama make wishes that I can stay in Europe, make wishes that my visa is extended." and every time, the same loving certainty in my Lama's eyes told me I shouldn't worry about anything. The Buddhas are on it ;) The last time I saw Lama Ole, I wasn't alone anymore. I had found myself a man (as the lama himself told me smiling). The last time we both saw and spoke to Ole, he gave the both of us together a very strong blessing.

Well, a couple of nights ago, after spending yet another perfect day in beautiful Budapest, I looked into the eyes of this man I found, who's the only reason I am here at all now, I looked into his eyes and was amazed to realize he is everything I ever wanted, even if I never expected it. I realized he has the qualities I was searching for, and he treats me lovingly, as lovingly as I could ever wished to be treated, and that our relationship gives me as much joy and warmth as I could hope for, and that - as I've said before -  in his arms, I feel safe.

I cannot know what the future holds for us, I don't even know if I will be able to stay in Europe after September 11 (yes, the date is dramatic as well, adding to the intensity of the situation), but he is doing his best to help me, and that is beyond anything I could hope for. I know everything to be impermanent, and I know the time we've spent together so far is short. But I know my heart, and he knows his, and, as he whispered to me the other night, "Maybe the Lama's wishes were not only for the visa... Maybe they were also for love and happiness..."

And most likely... they were.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Mangutovo, Mangutovo, Mangutovo

Dharma is about being here and now, fully in the present moment, and I have truly been living like that this summer. A clear example is our decision (Carina and myself) to travel to Mangutovo. As I return from Schwarzenberg, she tells me she has had an idea, but I am off for coffee and a chat with my beloved friend Joan Paul, so this has to wait. Finally, at 22:00 with a few other friends, the decision is made, we rent a car and head to Mangutovo tomorrow morning.

To say that the trip was a good one would be a lie, I was uncomfortable, hot, I ate too much and felt generally irritable, although happy to be soon again in the Lama's power field. Let's just say this sort of experience is oddly and perversely reassuring: I am still human, haha!

Finally, after an extremely long drive for our poor Georg, we made it to the wild forests surrounding Mangutovo. At that point I was repeating like a mantra "mangutovo, mangutovo, mangutovo..." And we were suddenly there!!!! Already the lecture was over, but our friends were at the Cafeteria having a drink and making bonds. I was immediately amazed by all the friendly faces from all past courses, and at least 10 people from Latin America were present!!! What a great development that we are able to come to these remote retreat centers. We decided to sleep in the Gompa and wait til the morning to set up our tent.
The morning after was spectacular, since it was night time when we arrived, it is just now that I am really able to appreciate the beauty of this place. We are in the Slovak mountains, and the view is magnificent! The sky is the bluest shade of blue and the sun shines on us, it is a true summer and you can almost grasp at the joy in the air. In the showers I meet Magda, from Poland, who sat next to me in the EC Gompa. We rejoice in meeting again and she exclaims joyfully "All the homeless people!!!" After all, she is right, we have been on the road for over two months, sleeping in tents, traveling by accident or mere chance, meeting over and again the same friends who also live on the road. We joke at the fact that the both of us are indeed homeless and basically country-less. She might move to Germany and my heart is set on Prague.


I later move to the Gompa, I am more motivated than ever to practice. I feel an ocean of peace inside of me and all I want to do is ride the wave of motivation and meditate. This place is full of good impressions, it moves me to practice and I open my booklet and relax on the Purification Buddha's image that I build over my head. I AM COMPLETELY HAPPY HERE AND NOW.
Soon we'll see Lama Ole and the thought almost makes my heart jump inside my chest. I focus on the crystal Buddha and let thoughts go. Suddenly I feel the urge to get up and put my things on the Blessing table. I quickly understand this is just another distraction, and I should just let it go. I return to the meditation and peacefully enjoy it.

As soon as we arrived I started to ask all of the Hungarians on how to arrange a ride to Budapest on Monday, but space is scarse and my only sure thing is driving out Sunday afternoon with Adam, but I say no. I want to be with the Lama, the Sangha, and I trust Space. I will go to Budapest on Monday.

The lectures start... I am so happy to see my lama again. I feel so different than I ever felt before, I feel the unlimited field of possibilities opening to me, to really be of benefit for others. Suddenly a smile is no longer just a smile, it is much more: appreciation, openness, willingness to be useful and help. I see how I have moved from having a very small life to living a large life that commands inspiration to finish my Ngöndro and to be of service.
I meditate again the day after, I want to be worthy of my teacher, of my friends on the way, of Buddha's teachings, therefore I must purify my mind of all laziness, stiffness and rigid opinions and structures. I want to be open, like sunshine,and thus be useful.

Lama Ole says: "It is always a practice of what is possible"

That night, I have a beautiful surprise. G. comes to me. I am happiest. I knew I would get to Budapest on Monday, but didn't expect it would be like this. Space is again generous beyond measure. Although I had decided to go see him in Budapest since my stay in Schwarzenberg, I must confess a subtle hesitation inside of me, it is not an easy step to take, but here he is meeting me half-way and all things fall into place. Again, he makes me feel safe.

Monday comes finally and we must leave. Mangutovo is all over my heart, I don't want to go. We go into the Lama House to visit the Gompa which will be inaugurated tonight. Latzi gives us the tour, showing us all the beautiful statues and tsa-tsas. As we come down the stairs I see Lama Ole is having dinner on the terrace and decide to say goodbye. He takes me in his arms, more gently than ever. His tenderness numbs me, and G., who is with me, also feels the same, we get an amazing blessing, he talks to us, tells us to always be friends and enjoy life, he holds our heads tightly to his forehead and speaks to us gently, no matter how hard we try, we cannot remember afterwards what he said.

As we walk towards the flags, G. whispers "I am still shaking from the blessing". So am I...



Thursday, August 18, 2011

Getting better

Most often than not, we meet new people and immediately let the engine of our concepts and fixed ideas run, categorizing our new acquaintances without really stopping to think about it. We believe we understand things, when actually it is simply our mind making constant judgments on everything, based on our imprints from the past. With men it goes something like this:

1) Possible/potential lover (green/yellow light)
2) Possible/potential stalker (red alarm)
3) Friend (green light)

Once a man is on a girl´s list, the category will very rarely change, except for the worse in the cases where a man falls down from list n°1 to list n°2, but list n°3 is usually comfortably stable.

Much has been said on the subject that men and women cannot be friends, yet throughout my life, from my earliest childhood memories to the latest happenings and occurrances in my recent travelings, I´ve found the opposite to be true. Men have always been an important part of my mandala, and I don´t mean romantically.

From my earliest friend Philip, with whom I walked home from school and escalated parked cars pretending they were mountains, to David, my best friend roaming together the streets of Paris, and Arnoldo, my highschool very best buddy, hours on the phone, laughing like crazy and sharing all my secrets, to the many more than came to my life as time passed: Ota, Polo, Gilles, Joan Paul and others, more recently during this trip: Kuba, Szabi, Peter, Stephan, and others I´ve already wrote about in previous posts... Male energies have always been friendly to me, have helped maintain the balance when there is no special person in my life, and have given me good times and patience, and have helped me analyze the men I am interested in as category n°1, while I have also imparted some feminine wisdom for their benefit.

I have always been quite strict on not disturbing the categories. It always helps to be well organized, to know what to expect and to keep at least some things predictable. If you know that this man is your friend, then you somehow feel safe around him, safe from inappropriate flirting (on both parts!) and safe because a man is such a wonderful energy to surround ourselves with. Strong, protective, gentle and kind, these male friends have made my life better for as long I can remember, and I am a strong believer and supporter of the male-female friendship bond.

The night that I met G., instead of opening up to him impartially and getting to know him, I quickly decided he looked the flirting type and fell therefore in the category of men with whom I should thread carefully. But I also noticed how friendly and kind he was, and the following day, he remembered my name and greeted me in a friendly way, so after a few more conversations I decided he was a really nice guy (although a flirt) and warmed up to him. Let it be known that I was going through strong purifications, as you might know if you're a faithful reader ;). When we met again upon my arrival at the E.C. I was totally happy to see him. I was also charged with all the blessed energy from Lolland and the recent events in my private life and my heart was open, I could open up to him on a new level: friendship.

I also got the feeling that his energy had also changed a bit, he seemed more relaxed, happier, and therefore kinder and fresher. From the very first day/night at EC he treated me with an absolute generosity, and I could appreciate his qualities and simply fell into trusting him. From that very moment, his presence felt like a balm of safety whenever he was around. His readiness to smile, to share his stories, our talks in fluent French, my native language, his gentle attention... well, he won my heart over in record time. But we were friends.

I mean like good friends. Friends you just know you can count on, friends to share secrets with, honestly, shamelessly even... very quickly my appreciation of his many qualities grew. Talking to him came naturally, and his company became comfortable happiness. He is a friend I feel safe around. A good friend. A noble and trustworthy friend, and this opinion I have of him has only increased after he moved into another category in my heart. He is still my friend, my comfortable, natural, happy friend. But now he also is the man I am falling in love with.

Ever so subtly one night we both knew things had changed. And now they´re only getting better.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Alchemy

Yesterday was a day for many adjustments, standing up from my wounded pride and facing my disturbing emotions, and realizing that I myself planted the seeds of the cactus that I was sitting on, then quite happily understanding that there was a great protection allowing me to see this purification happen so fast, and then making a conscious effort to ensure the link remains purified of all negative imprints from now on.

I also opened a door that brought me to new horizons and opportunities. I remembered my Lama´s words "A Buddhist doesn´t believe, a Buddhist has confidence". And I did. I never knew what was behind that door, but I acted on pure confidence. My reward was much more than I can understand right now. But this comes later.

As for today, we had the White Tara Initiation. She is also called the Wishfulfilling Wheel. Rinpoche said that if we practiced this meditation, we´d be able to avert all obstacles in our lives.Very seldom have I experienced such profound meditation. Rinpoche is just wonderful, his laughter melts my heart and makes my eyes wet. I feel his kindness is limitless and an energy field of pure love surround all of us in his presence.

In yesterday's initiation I remember a moment in which all wars and struggles were pacified, I fervently made wishes for my heart to be pacify, and today, during my meditation I am White Tara, and am surrounded by thousands of White Taras, and even this man I was angry with yesterday is Perfection in White Tara. We are all Buddhas, and I smile at the beauty and perfections that surround me.

I know we shouldn´t discuss our meditation experiences, and it truly is not my intention to do so, but this was so strong and powerful that I cannot remain silent. I need to share.

With my eyes closed I let Sheralb Gyatsen´s words guide me and became the beautiful and pacifying form of the White Liberatrice, after a few breaths, everyone around me was also White Tara emanations and we all radiated with love and kindness. There was nothing to hold on to, nothing to achieve. Simply white loving light and the energy of four thousand friends on the way absorbing the power of the loving female Buddha.

I made strong wishes to pacify my heart and simply melted in the joy that so many could share this bliss, that so many of us enjoy the beauty of the Dharma gifts, the motherly Liberatrices, the red Dakini in powerful posture, Mahakala´s protection, dwelving in the Pure Land, melting in Loving Eyes, and expanding overflowing love in the Mandala Offerings... Yes! We are so many... and yet we are one.


Alchemy is the art of transforming something quite ordinary into something quite precious. In this case, the joy and the unconditional love experienced by my teachers filled me like a vase being filled with crystal water. I cannot hold on to negative thoughts, I can only surrender to the highest view, I am the highest view. I am the highest love.

And that´s how the most amazing thing happens. I fall in love.

Friday, August 12, 2011

In the Lab

Very good. So I am now starting where the chapter called "Butterflies" left off, there I spoke of a blooming connection and of being open to whatever opportunities and gifts life would decide to bestow upon me.

Well it didn't take long to manifest. (I am actually smiling inwardly because today is the Long Life Buddha Initiation, and I see that I always undergo strong purifications when an Initiation takes place. It's interesting, that's all.)

Anyway I committed myself to not shy away from the experience and I didn't. I gave it my all, my best, being who I am, and feeling gratefulness and generosity towards a special man. I realize that through countless lives I've interacted with countless beings and therefore sowed countless karmic seeds that were sometimes positive and sometimes (I imagine most of the time) negative. I cannot doubt the intensity of this encounter, since it shook my ground quite deeply. So much so that I was, since the beginning, struggling against very subtle feelings of fear, so subtle as to be difficult to detect, but they were there all the same.

I see the need to work on my intuition, that I still don't trust, and which told me from the very first moment that this man was a bit funny, and that it might be good not to come too close, in spite of the strong attraction I felt. But things being the way they are, I couldn't resist myself and although I knew better than approach him and go directly looking for trouble, I was totally incapable of resisting him approaching me.

So once you make this decision, once you open a door to someone, there is simply not going back, because if you inwardly say "Ok! I'll trust you", then you've made up your mind about letting somebody in and allowing him to see you. And that's what I did. The connection was profound and quite beautiful, honestly. I cannot pretend to have had anything as strong in the near past, or before Waldo. I found him kind, gentle, funny, delicate even. Concerned about me, my thoughts, my friends, and I opened up.

Until suddenly, he himself turned on the lights, and I had to rub my eyes strongly, eager to protest for the brutality of the wake-up call. He did so himself, in a way that I still have problems with and that I'll just call "Very Bad Style". I was quite angry at him last night, when it happened. And could feel all my disturbing emotions coming to the surface. But I am no longer theirs to play with at will. I am stronger than that and can actually stand the rain while I move to distance myself and look at what is really going on.

Last night, in the blur of anger, I focused on everything he was doing wrong, the confusion, the lack of wisdom and compassion, the lack of awareness, and indeed all that is there, inside him, no doubt, but it is of no interest to me, or anyone else but him, if he ever wakes up and decides to look at it.

Now I am ready to look inside of me. And as I do, I recognize my wounded pride, which limps pitifully before me. I can see attachment and jealousy don't play such a strong role in this tragedy. I thought I saw them for a while last night, but this morning they were gone. Bam!!! I am proud!!! Wow!!! I must confess I did not see that coming! I thought I was all about desire and attachment, and anger and confusion, surely, with the occasional spurts of greed and jealousy, but... pride??? seriously????

Well here it is, showing its ugly face. Here I am, wounded in my ego. Thinking of how bad I look now to the whole wide world (quite realistically, I don't think the world gives a damn, but you know how it is). I am still quite angry and cannot stand it when I feel his eyes on me, I could pluck them out (just kidding!!! well... sort of anyways). I refuse to look at him because I would then see his sardonic smile, and that would get me even madder. "I don't want to smile at you mister!!! And in spite of what you think, I don't find your story funny!!"
Grrrrrr!!! I am angry, aren't I? (I say this with a wondering surprised little smile, it is actually quite fun to examine one's emotions!).

As I grimly chew on all the things I could say to him if I were given the chance, I realize that the last one would probably be "Thank you". Not in a friendly, forgiving, bridge-building kind of way, of course, but simply quite matter of factly... This is definitely one interesting opportunity for development!

And the discoveries in the lab continue...