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


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


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...