Katarína Varsiková

Autor -Katarina Varsikova

Advent

Picture: Sunday afternoon at friends. The painting has been traded for pictures. A strategic spot to observe the company.

Curious always, exploring whatever comes across.

On the way to the friend´s house in the canal area of Brussels on Sunday, I pass a church and pop in. A crowded Romanian orthodox church; male voices singing, the priest offering people a spoonful of something – perhaps wine? – and his assistant dabbing the mouths of the people with a piece of cloth. The same spoon and the same cloth for all, that requires a lot of trust in spirit. Rituals are fascinating. It is the first Advent Sunday.

At the spacious loft in the middle of the winter afternoon, the host, a photographer and a writer, tells me:

The ultimate art is the art of a couple. Of course, only a good one.

And which couple is a good one? For sure, the question is provoking and rich and worth pondering.

He, though, defined it for himself, and I like the definition: “In a good couple each one helps the other to grow in liberty, in his/her own unique way.”  No attempts to change, undo, teach, heal, guide the other one, that much I understand, in theory at least. Allow to be – in a trusted space.

The idea of POWER has been coming up these days in different parts of my life: Deepak Chopra offered a meditation round called Self-Empowerment. Power pops up when I am exploring my shadow: I have always feared to assume there is a justified power. I stood aside, withdrew, shut up or tried some avoidance mechanism. Numbing and spiritual bypassing are my favourite ones.

Now, experiencing an ego-death when the man I consider my companion, my twin soul, my yoga co-teacher, my friend, decided suddenly to withdraw. Yes, I see the cumulation of my – and I understand it is an illusion. Such as the ego is an illusion, though a very real one. Through pain, tears, anger I suddenly have gained access to the long-shut dark chambers within me. And I enter, remember – curiosity is stronger that fear. In a sharper-than-a-dagger-blade pain I have no other chance than to surrender and live what I so well know in theory: no other person, no outer circumstance can ever bring a lasting joy. The source is within. I dive into the rabbit hole with no end, finally, the two important aspects merge: the psychological and the spiritual. It is hilarious, liberating, joyful; sadness and sorrow work similarly as a counter point works in music. I have got a key I have been searching for a long time without knowing it.

Sunday evening, on the way from the friends´ place, I pass the less fancy parts of Brussels downtown, cafés with dirty windows and curtains, where dark-skin men sip endless cups of tea and coffee and talk, strange shops with even stranger goods, smelly gas-stations on the ground floor of blocks of flats, the infamous Maximilian park with lots of people without the right papers, the sans papiers, until I come to the shopping zones with glittering lights and a crowd carrying Black-Friday-Weekend bags. Poor, idle, coming from unfavorable places, rich, busy, killing desires with shopping. And who knows about the real power?

Powerful we are, when we dive within.  It is the power of vulnerability, trust, courage to love fully, to love no matter what. I have peeled a layer, one of zillion layers, this one leaving me raw and wounded, but finally, I am conscious of it.

The road does not stop or end, there is always more to understand:

I guy of a huge ego and toxic habits hates me and I cannot avoid him as I see him every working day. I am searching within me again, working with my fears and the wounded pride. Because, yes, part of the shadow is the wounded child we carry within. Mine shouts: Why don´t they love me?

Power. And self-worth. Not the lipstick of self-confidence. Self-worth is empowering. Why do we neglect we are worth? Because we learnt to do so somewhere on the road. A lot psychological pain has accumulated during the thousands´years of human experience. No chance to know all the reasons; no need to undo or change. Rather: grow through and over.

Grateful to all the teachers. I really recommend following the lonerwolf.com web. Rich, wise, sober, encouraging.

Currently, the book Eastern Body, Western Mind, a very detailed chakra explanation, a lot of science in it, though the skeptics would oppose. Carl Jung smiling across the infinity. Some of his quotes seem far-fetched – like discouraging people from yoga. Nevertheless, Jung has a point. Spirit-rituals should not be used as a strategy to avoid one´s wounds. Or we pay for that dearly. The price? Not being whole. And yoga is Wholeness. The shit included. Part of the package.

A new Friday evening ritual – Ashtanga yoga in a half-empty room; a teacher with a singing voice guiding a practice that shuts off the mind. For the first time, my hands join in marichyasana on both sides. That also thanks to a wonderful shiatsu massage with Tatiana. Another reason for gratitude. Friends, supporters, teaches, swell, right?

The ultimate teacher is within. My guys – Lucia and Alex – constantly put me in contact with the teacher within. I have been raising them reminding myself to fully respect all they experience, breathe through, try out. Sometimes I am frightened and doubting if I am doing it right, but then, again and again, I get messages: Yes.

Love is not an emotion. Love is a decision. Attitude. Willingness to connect.

A good advent to all.

Prečo? Lebo.

Obrázok je spoločné dielo s Lulou. Dali sme si dnes spolu podvečernú jogu. Ďalšie inšpirácie uvedené pod článkom.

Sedeli sme v A.H.A., v malom divadle v meste neďaleko pyramídy, na konci Fazuľovej ulice v Bratislave. Moje obľúbené miesta, ale to tu nie je podstatné. Pili sme kávu v časoch, keď káva bola presso veľké alebo malé s mliekom či bez. Dievčatá mali šesť-sedem rokov, a chodili do A.H.A. na balet. My matky sme ich čakali, ako inak, pri káve.

„Keď sa začneš pohrávať so subtílnymi energiami, dávaj pozor, otváraš sa niečomu, čo je obrovské, aj nebezpečné.“ Jedna z prítomných hovorila o svojej skúsenosti s akousi vešticou. A o svojom transcendentnom zážitku, ktorý som už dávno pretavila do poviedky. V tomto neváham, príbehy si odchytávam, a oni sa potom napíšu mojím prostredníctvom, možno celkom inak, ako sa odohrali. Pri onom rozhovore som mlčala, a počúvala. Nič som o subtílnych energiách nevedela, telo som považovala za dosť nešikovné a nespoľahlivé zariadenie, hlavu som nepoužívala, ona používala mňa, často ma aj zneužila. Jedno si pamätám, visela som tej osobe na perách, sledovala som niť a kdesi v spodnejšej vrstve som si hovorila, hovor, hovor. Toto chcem zažívať aj ja. Asi nie som hodná takých zážitkov, ale chcela by som. Nič z toho na povrch vedomia vtedy nepreniklo, esencia r ozhovoru so mnou však išla ďalej. A nie oveľa neskôr som sa začala zahrávať aj pohrávať so subtílnymi energiami. Mala pravdu – vstúpila som kamsi, kde sa ilúzia bezpečia rozplýva v holej skutočnosti. Nedávno som to hovorila inej kamarátke, a tá sucho poznamenala, „Niekedy je lepšie nebyť tak celkom zobudený.“

Hej, znásobená zraniteľnosť, znásobená citlivosť, za vyhýbanie skutočnosti dostávam riadne zauchá, ale neľutujem. Cítim korene a patrím všade, testujem odvahu a silu. S bezpečím to nemá veľa spoločného, alebo všetko, ak prijmem, že všetko je skúsenosť, proces učenia, cesta domov.

Kniha Henriho Neuwena, holandského katolíckeho kňaza. Sama by som po nej nesiahla, spadla mi do ruky. Neuwena inšpiroval Rembrandtov obraz Návrat strateného syna. Príbeh maliara a jeho takmer posledného diela. Rembrandt už v tom čase vedel, čo je bolesť, a pokora bolesti. Zažil výslnie, stratil takmer všetkých blízkych, prišiel o uznanie. Originál obrazu je v Petrohrade, a môj kamarát ma rozosmial otázkou, či sa ho Neuwen pokúsil ukradnúť a prepašovať domov. Nie, Neuwen ho použil ako metaforu, jeho kniha je dojímavá, nádherná. O láske, ktorú hľadáme, hoci sme ju nikdy nestratili. Našla som si potom informácie o autorovi, bola som zvedavá, prečo zomrel čosi vyše šesťdesiatročný a nie zaslúžilo oveľa neskôr. (Trochu moja obsesia, na hodinách literatúry a histórie som si vždy rátala, koľko sa autori a králi dožili rokov.) Koľko času im bolo dopriate. Neuwenovi puklo srdce – vracal sa z turné po vydaní knihy. Ak sú v svete tých subtílnych energií skutočne nejaké bytosti, tak by sa zasmiali, a povedali, no big deal, tak čo, prešiel na druhú stranu. Ja tu na tejto strane celkom slušne ľpiem na živote a celkom kvalitne sa viem zľaknúť. Prišlo pre Neuwena posolstvo lásky a sebalásky príliš neskoro na to, aby zahojilo orgán lásky – srdce? Ktovie? Život je mystérium.

Joga je nekonečný zdroj, ako obrovský kôš v rozprávke, do ktorého možno kedykoľvek siahnuť a čokoľvek vytiahnuť. Hojí, učí, napráva. Dá sa začať odkiaľkoľvek. Keď to vezmem vertikálne – v strede je energia nášho Ja patriacemu svetu, hľadanie autentickosti, prijatia. Dolu sú tie temné zákutia, dno jazera, tvorivé a plodné bahno, obávané, lebo je tam naozaj všeličo, ale oplatí sa zaboriť doň. A hore? Inšpirácia, svetlo, priestor. Dá sa chodiť hore-dolu, prechádzať cez stred, vlastne, všetko je stred, doma.

Inšpirácie tentoraz: https://lonerwolf.com/what-is-a-soul/

Henri Nouwen Return of the Prodigal Son

A prítomný okamih.

Dušičky v Ardenách

O existencii takýchto dedín a mestečiek som predtým nemala ani potuchy. Sú na Západe, na juh od Bruselu, na ceste do Francúzska, a pritom na mňa pôsobia zabudnutejšie a neskutočnejšie ako dediny v horských údoliach na Slovensku. Domy z tmavosivej bridlice roztrúsené okolo ciest, na návršiach, v údoliach. Rovnako sivé kostolné veže. Za pekného počasia plné cyklistov a rodinných turistov, vodákov, chodcov. Za dažďa, hmly a tmy… patria sebe a bridlica získava zvláštny mokrý lesk. Majú pôvabné mená pripomínajúce keltské mýty či francúzske legendy. Louette St. Denis. Pri ceste do lesa učupená pôvodne chatka s veľkou záhradou. Piecka na drevo. Tri kroky od vchodu do kuchyne, ďalší krok do spálne, malá izba s výhľadom na záhradu s jazierkom, susedia sú na dohľad, ale ďaleký. Bernadette, moja stará priateľka. Cítim, ako mi do svetra vsakuje pach horiaceho dreva, rozprávame sa – nadviažeme na predchádzajúce rozhovory: zmysly, zmysel, ktorý im dávame, muži, ženy, spolupatričnosť. Je to pomalý rozhovor, chvíľami prúdim takmer v hladine alfa. Hodinová prechádzka v daždi, vraciame sa cez starú časť dediny. Dom, ktorý by mohol byť obydlím v Tolkienovej ságe, cez zaprášené okná presvitá žlté svetlo, a v tom sa hýbe žltovlasá hlava. To je miestny sochár, povie Berni a sme vnútri skôr ako zaváhanie. Vyrezáva z dreva Pannu Máriu, hoci to nie je celkom jeho téma, okolo neho sú dokončené, aj polohotové sochy; akt ženy, do hladka opracovaný ovál pri zemi, akoby drevený menhir. Niektoré sochy vyzerajú ako klasické diela dedinských rezbárov, no niektoré sú vyleštené dohladka, napríklad tá nahá žena – chytám ju za okrúhle plece, na ktorom nádherne vyniká kresba dreva. Dokonalé. Ty máš trochu prízvuk, hovorí sochár. Luxemburský? Slovenský. A valónsky sochár v tej chvíli povie niekoľko viet po česky. Hľadaj ženu, pravdaže. Nejaká deva ho motivovala, no potom mu prestala písať. Ale chystá sa do Poľska, aj do Ruska, k Baltickému moru, v decembri more vraj vyplavuje kúsky jantáru. Christof bude mať vernisáž, a tak dokončuje sochy, dlho ho nezdržíme. Bernadette býva v záhradnom domci sama, pokojná, spokojná, odjakživa nesie v sebe auru vyrovnaného smútku, pravdepodobne o tom ani nevie. Predposledný dom pod lesom patrí čudákovi, osamelému, vraj je lepšie sa mu vyhnúť. No ona sa nebojí. Patrí sem, toto si vybrala, takto to chcela. Odišla z Bruselu a z úradníckeho života dávno, začlenila sa do miestnej komunity. Vie byť sama a pritom sama nie je. Skorý novembrový súmrak a cesta späť do mesta. Miniem niekoľko dedinských cintorínov, ľudia nosia kvety, ale sviečky nie. Tak to tu chodí.

Ešte jedna fotka, kamenný dom, hruška pri dome:

Mind in Flux

(Photo courtesy to Lula)

An ordinary Wednesday

The first call in the morning I take is from an elderly lady who wants to talk to the consulate. She lost her son, a sailor, many years ago in Belgium. His body was found without the head two weeks after he had disappeared. Now, as every year, she only wants to deliver flowers to his grave in a village in Wallonia. (Mind you, the villages of Wallonia are the strangest places. They have this on-another-planet feeling, somehow disconnected from the rest of the world.) And there, in one, with a name containing an X, as it often goes, a sailor from a Slovak village is buried. Nobody knows how his life ended and why was the body not transported to Slovakia.

His mother, even after 13 years, wants to talk – about the case, about her feelings, about her story. And I listen, as I am in a sympathetic mood and the moment is quiet. When we hang up, I glance at my phone: a missed call. A few minutes later I learn my son did not come to school. He does not pick up the phone. Anxiety. I have all tools for grasping it: breathing techniques, observing the emotional surge technique, etc. Walk, move, do what is necessary, use the common sense to calm the frightened voice. An hour or so later I know Alex is alive, skipping school is his way of reacting to pressure. So, the day continues, and a sunny one. I sit in the patch of sunshine and observe another emotional state: the body flooded with adrenaline and who knows what else, slowly working on recuperating the neutral.

The barista chef at my daughter´s course says something like: “What sells the coffee is the story. People come back to my place because they get the story and they are listened to.”

So, yes, good and clean expresso machine, good coffee and cake. And stories. Here we are.

My teachers say there is a way out of suffering: through letting the moment be. I practice the way of kriya yoga: with a steady practice body, mind, soul unite.  

One essential ingredient is accepting oneself completely. Also, the unlovable parts. Accepting my clinging tendency, power games and wounds is a way of letting them dissolve. Surrender. Accept not being able to surrender sometimes. And again, and again. Mind is a swell instrument, only needs constant polishing, tuning and maintenance. Like any quality device. Like the expresso machine: barista lesson No. 1 – clean the filter every day to get good coffee.

A few links, because we are not alone on the path. We set alone on the road and keep meeting our folks on the way:

Recently has come to me:

 https://lonerwolf.com/lone-wolf

Not yet tasted, but rumor has it is the coffee place in Brussels:

https://www.mylittlecup.be/

The film – the metaphor of a troubled mind and unwelcome self and urban alienation. Brilliant:

Hranice, sloboda, motýle

Foto: Lula

Najobľúbenejšie hodiny jogy sú tie, na ktoré prídem na neistých nohách, s tisícimi bláznivo poletujúcimi motýľmi v bruchu, ktoré akoby sa nevedeli dosť von, na svetlo a vzduch, akoby dokázali len to jediné – búšiť do stien a skúšať to znova a znova. Postavím sa na podložku a  zázrakom sa steny rozostúpia a motýle začnú voľne poletovať. Je to metafora, lepšiu som nevymyslela.

Tieto dni najviac meditujem o vzťahu medzi hranicami a slobodou. Čosi mi došlo: potrebujem mať zdravé hranice, aby som si slobodu vychutnala. Je to pre mňa nové, lebo jedna vec je niečo tisíc ráz prečítať a pochopiť intelektom, a iná – zažiť. Dlho-dlho sa moja sloboda prejavovala v rebélii. A ešte viac vo veľmi prísne stráženom území, kam sa nikto nedostal. No pasaron.

Postarať sa o svoje potreby. A niekedy je to aj o prekonaní obyčajnej lenivosti: nechce sa mi do konfliktu, nechce sa mi vylaďovať na vyššie frekvencie, aby to, čo si naozaj myslím, prešlo čisto k energii druhého. Nechávam sa potom ťahať aj vliecť a uzatváram sa.

Kúpila som si teda náhrdelník s troma kamienkami sodalitu – pomáha pri prejavení emócií. Modrá je farba krčnej čakry, vyjadrenia.

Život, ani drevo sa niekedy nedajú ohnúť tak, ako by človek chcel,“ citát z nového prekladu, je vzácnym kontrapunktom sodalitu: právo na slobodné vyjadrenie, no nik a nič sa podľa neho ohnúť nemá a nemusí. Sloboda cítiť smútok a prejaviť ho, cítiť hnev a prejaviť ho. A čo s láskou? Tá práve cez tie pomyselné hranice vylieta na svetlo. Ako motýle a nočné mory, tie nádherné hanblivé verzie pestrofarebných motýľov.

Jeseň je čas plodov, dokončenia, aj keď nikdy nie je hotovo. Dôverovať, že v správnom okamihu sa uvoľní, čo sa môže – je joga. Trpezlivosť v asáne, vo vzťahu, v práci.

Dlho predlho som trénovala širšásanu, stojku na hlave, so stenou, s pomocou, až raz, na jar, uprostred lúky, prišiel čas stáť na hlave. Do stojky ma nechcel pustiť strach. No potrebovala som aj aktívne hlboké brušné svaly, a tie sa vytvárajú  tou každodennou prácou na podložke. Disciplína, aktívna praktika má v sanskrite meno tapas, súvisí s ohňom, to oheň dokáže spáliť nepotrebné, dať energiu tvorivosti.

Ešte jedna metafora, bruselská, a tiež sa mi hodí k jeseni. Bruselskí tkáči tkali svoje tapisérie obrátené rubom hore. Hotové dielo videli, až keď ho sňali zo stavu. Dovtedy sa spoliehali na vedomosti, intuíciu, mali zámer a pozornosť, čarovnú kombináciu.

Červené listy, motýle poletujúce v jesennom slnku, gaštany vo vlhkej tráve. Nová sezóna.

Rozpracovaný preklad: André Aciman: Variácie záhad

Román o bruselských tkáčoch: Dáma a jednorožec

Change (of Seasons) and Fishnet Bag

Twist of seasons, Virgo time, new beginnings.

Went to pick up blackberries on my birthday; found very few. They had dried in the strong heat and I came home legs full of scratches because I rarely give up an endeavour. Went for a walk a few weeks later, in a perfect rain-shine mixture and in a totally different place. What a surprise – ripe black blackberries popping up at the field edges. Plus, there are walnut trees along the road, most of the nuts still on the trees but some already dropped to the ground.

Yes, our intention often come out differently. Nevertheless, intention is crucial in human life: it dances in a loose embrace with desire.

Last holiday weekend, final days of August, in Berlin it is hot, not even nights get cool, at least not in the small hotel room. But Berlin never tires me, it is a city of bonding. So walkable and sending many messages. Arriving from the Schonenfeld airport we switched metros at the Tiergarten station. I went to the public toilet where the toilet lady pointed to my fishnet bag (this summer hipster-oldies acquisition) and asked me in a thick eastern-European accent:

“From where the bag is?”

I smile. I understand her interest. In my childhood, this was the quit-essential shopping bag; women carried them in their handbags and took them out at the cashier in the times when plastic was a scarce and admired and not a shameful material.

Well, if the toilet lady made it to the hipster Mitte neighbourhood now, she would find this accessory in many boutiques. But she most próbably never goes there.

True, most of the people one sees in Mitte are young, white, good-looking; enjoying life with their babies and kids around, they take late breakfasts in coffee places offering raw, gluten-free, sugar-free, vegan… Other parts of town are surely different and more colourful, but we somehow stayed around Mitte this time. Also because of the heat – it slows me down incredibly.

We pass the Zion church regularly on our walks. On Sunday, the church door is wide open, and people hang around strange arty objects splurged on the lawns. We enter. An androgyny-looking being at the door wearing a pink suit offers visitors an oracle and reads it aloud in a mysterious voice. A woman dances in ropes in front of the altar, exposition includes scary, funny, erotic. And messages, of course. Revolution gone, Love gone, spaghetti cold.

This would never be possible in a church in Slovakia; this would cause a scandal. Still, nothing is dishonouring the sacred place, on the contrary, the church somehow feels more alive and real.

Cheap flights are tedious, perhaps flights in general are nowadays, airports are stuffy and ecological aspect of city trips stirs my consciousness. Still, traveling uplifts and opens me. Plus, I run by intuition to tell me what is right, and visiting friends is one of the best motives. Close friends moving to Berlin are a possibility to discover the town I for many years longed for. I remember once saying as a joke that I would prefer going skiing to Berlin. It was a quite desperate way of saying I never liked skiing which is an almost compulsory leisure activity in my country. I had no idea I would even go to Berlin one. So? Life is a constant shift. Such as Western Berlin feels shabbier and more outdated (well, in parts) than the previously grey communist Eastern part. Who would say that in 1985?

Drop expectations. They are often a source of suffering; connect to intuition, let desire and intention match and then observe the surprises that come along.

For sure we are entitled to what is essential.

Granted to us are many rights:

To breathe deeply in any situation.

To create every day.

To choose acceptance of what is.

To live and speak once´s truth.

To admit errors and mistakes.

To observe without judgment.

To be responsible.