Katarína Varsiková

Autor -Katarina Varsikova

Odkedy a dokedy?

Fotka z uličky v Ixelles nazvanej podľa speváčky Marii Maribran, ktorá tu žila. Neďaleko Flagey a trasy električky 81. Kopcovitý, prekvapivý Ixelles, takmer ako Lisabon.

Pandémia ukončila rôzne zvyky, ktoré v každodennosti chutili ako mondénne, triviálne, nudné, znepokojujúco opakujúce sa. Napríklad cesta do práce električkou 81 takmer každý deň. Opakujúci sa ľudia. Intuitívne o niektorých po čase čo-to viem, neviem, odkiaľ, ale viem. Vysoká žena s okuliarmi a vysokým drdolom každý deň s dcérou na ceste do školy a do práce. Počúvam, ako dcére hovorí, že Mikuláša už zazrela niekde pri svojej robote, takže určite príde a  donesie darčeky Otec dcérky je černoch, to sa nezaprie. Zároveň, som presvedčená o tom, že ony dve žijú samy. Neviem odkiaľ presvedčenie pramení.

Do školy chodí osemdesiatjednotkou androidné stvorenie celé v čiernom a celé čierne, ovešané striebornými šperkami. Jednu celú zimu som sa snažila odhadnúť, či je to chalan alebo baba. Nedalo sa – bolo to presne pol-na-pol. Nádherné stvorenie, pravdaže, s tou všetkou neurčitosťou, pohyblivosťou, šelmovskou eleganciou. Mladistvá babka s vnučkou hrávajú v električke kartové UNO. Usporiadaná belgická rodina, oddaná babka, rozumní rodičia. Neviem, to sú len dohady.

Pandémia pomenila rytmy, električka najskôr nechodila vôbec, potom chodila prázdna a vydezinfikovaná, ja som si zvykla chodiť ešte viac pešo, a keď som občas nasadla na 81, všetko bolo inak, prešlo nie až toľko času, a predsa. To dievča by ste na Mikuláša motajúceho sa okolo roboty už neukecali; chodí si síce občas s matkou – stále vysokou, stále s vysokým drdolom a okuliarmi, ale sadá si ostentatívne ďalej a pozerá sa iným smerom. To nádherné stvorenie s tisícmi chvostíkmi čiernych vlasov schované vo vrecovitých čiernych veciach je: Dievča 😊 Síce v čiernom, ale celkom inom. Dlhé nohy, dlhé prsty a otvorená tvár. A v električke veľa ľudí, ktorých nepoznám. Na zastávke Flagey nastupuje pár s dvoma dcérami: obe v klokankách, čiže veľmi malý vekový rozdiel. Staršiu má vždy on, z nosiča trčia už celkom dlhé nohy v pančuchách a topánkach. Menšie bábätko má matka. Všetci sú pekní, štýloví, každý deň trochu iní. Občas ich zazriem, keď stoja za zastávke rodičia už sami – dcéry odvezené do jasieľ. Ide z nich neuveriteľný pokoj, a len sa dohadujem, čo je za ním. Vypraviť dve malé deti ráno na ten istý čas – to je logistická a psychologická výzva, zároveň rutina, ktorá dokáže spustiť v psychike divy. Idú domov – bez dievčat, asi na home office. Dá sa v tejto rutine udržať v páre intimita? Alebo je intimita práve to zladenie rytmov? Natláča sa otázka: Odkedy, dokedy? Na túto otázku jedna odpoveď: Tu a teraz.

Vždy som sa hrozila predvídateľnosti, opakovanosti, predmestia. Teraz, v centre Bruselu, vychytávam vzorce podobné tým, čo ma desili, ale tu majú pre mňa inú príchuť. Obsahujú oveľa viac zvedavosti, odstup, a tajomno. Niečo tam šípim.

Mondénnosť je ilúzia, lebo všetko sa chveje možnosťami zmeny, drámy, obratu.

Mnohé zo známych tvárí po dvoch rokoch nespoznávam, alebo zmizli celkom.

Letná výstava v galérii Husk sa volá Panta Rei a Janko Valík tam má niekoľko obrazov – možno práve preto, že na Jankových obrazoch postavy a figúry systematicky nie sú, upokojujú ma. Ich mystérium je čistý priestor vytvorený pre hru živlov. Aj pre naše hry. Do jaskýň, hlbín, štrbín, výšin sa vnárame a z nich sa vynárame. Cez fyzické nazeráme do neviditeľného.

A leto vie príjemne preskupiť tie veci, čo nás dokáže opakovaním sploštiť a občas aj pripraviť o zvedavosť odhŕňať nekonečné závesy.

Vďaka za umenie. A jogu, pravdaže.

Space Creation

Around the moving time of moving flats, I realize more than ever that roots are deep, and deeply symbolic. Non-physical, and all so more real. They are mighty energetical threads sprouting from the heart, descending all the way to the centre of the earth. The day after the actual move with a lot of shouts, smells, actions, male energy at its best, I lie down on a sandy beach and let the hot sand absorb whatever it can absorb. Water is pleasantly cool, and I give in to the fact that swimming is only allowed in designated area. More and more rules, restrictions, check-ins in this world, even to the beach area I must make an online reservation. It is vital to keep inner freedom and space. And inner freedom is only possible through acceptance. Between the swims I read an old copy of inspector Maigret crime story and it is refreshingly pre-technological. The dead body of an old marquess is found in a church is transported to the castle in her own car (parked outside the church), without any protocols or codes of conduct. The old marquess is put on her own bed and stripped naked and Maigret roams the castle to get psychological clues that will doubtless lead him to the murderer. I can´t tell you more because I have not yet read further. The afternoon hours at the beach are too short. I am longing for an admin-free world, the more I long, the more admin there is to be done. Very well. Drop longing? Another acceptance-freedom exercise. From above the built-in wall that prevents people to swim further to the lake, I observe the water birds, in their own worlds, do they realize how free they are?

Last week, at a different lake where swimming is prohibited but it was hot and full of kids in an end-of-school year mood, so everybody was in water, rules or not, I had to admit the Belgian obsession to impose rules has advantages. There, with no beach watch, there were cans flying to the water, there was loud music coming from all directions, there was noise, and a fleet of stressed ducklings were sliding around the lake in search for their mother. I left rather sad. Until we mature and gain the inner freedom which involves respect for all and everybody, we need prisons, designated areas, arrays showing directions.

Today, at a quiet embassy, as almost everybody left for a business trip, we had a talk with two young colleagues about the need to find honesty in relationships, to inspire, to be accepted. A cosy moment over a coffee connected beyond words.

The new apartment is what it is: a new space that reflects me back as I reflect myself to it. Boxes, items, known and strange because they are not in their usual setting. A lot of sorting out and getting rid of – as this flat has less storage room. Yes, whatever I do, I play with the elements. Space is the most abstract one, and the most tricky, empty, and full at the same time. The more junk is thrown away, the clearer, calmer the space is. And it is so true about our inner mind-body space.

How do you drop what you do not need when it is a thought, or a feeling?

By dropping it. Again, and again, and again. And what lingers because it wants to stay? Perhaps, carrying still some meaning, some messages? Drop the idea to need know. Just breathe. Breathing transforms. It is the magic of being. Observe, root, perceive, welcome, let go. Again, and again. Yoga leads us home. All roads lead us home. Not be afraid to go in all directions – deep to the symbolic roots all the time. It is the unique rooting we do each for oneself, supporting each other, holding safe space for each other when the descend is particularly scary.

Fear is fog. Mighty, but fog.

I hope the ducklings have found their mother. And I fished a few cans from the lake. Whatever sense and meaning the present moment offer, it is here to seize.

From the new place, the street is named after a tulip flower and the neighbourhood is essentially Brussels. No answers, only questions. And I do not know who killed the poor old marquess. Not yet.

A new inspiration: https://www.jordanbpeterson.com/

Layers, Whites, Colours.

Layer upon layer, was the theme of the recent exhibition by George de Decker at the Husk Gallery. I have a ritual of popping into the gallery, received and accompanied by Ingrid, invited into the creation flow of the artist she currently presents: Here, many whites. White in white. White rice paper, paintings containing space, vertical and horizontal lines are spare, meditative. Anything of colour is even more so intense. Yes, silence is the birth of music, and white is the birth of colour. The search for essence – each of us to pursue for himself/herself. More and more I sense I create myself through letting creation find and flow through me. I have bought the CD by George de Decker connected to the white collection: Goldberg variations revisited. I listen, listen, and listen again. It is always new.  

The exhibition has evoked also a theatre play that I once saw in Brussels: Yasmina Reza: Art. It is a conversation between three friends heated by the fact that one of them has bought a painting: a white one. With white stripes. The dialogues are crispy and add all the colours of emotions to the white.

Much time we spend unconsciously protecting, creating shields against the wounds never visited, embraced. Vacant eyes darting, buzz and chatters, numbed, separated by illusions. There is art bringing us to the core. There is breath whispering all is fine. There is curiosity overcoming anxiety. Yes, we have been conditioned, all of us. We all feel all. Words are strong – uttered or written. Once we realize that the shields may get thinner, more transparent, or gone completely, the experience of life is direct and deep. No avoiding, no suppressing, no fighting. Lot of energy then transforms into creating. Being a channel of creative force is the perfect way of being.

From the books currently/recently read: Deborah Levy: Cost of Living. A short novel about the first post-divorce year – intense, empowering, without a single critical word towards the guy who once was there – the co-creator of home. This has given me enormous flux of gratitude. And the very amusing side-effect of divorcing the author points out: instead of slow degradation, the body fills with the energy of new beginnings – it becomes strong and vibrant. Hm, I am not advertising divorce, only yielding to life with its surprises and open possibilities.

The other one: Jhumpa Lahiri: Whereabouts. The author I have been following faithfully. She is a stunning story-teller, pure and precise. What both books have in common, and in common with Georges de Deckers perhaps, is the individual pursue, steady inquiry into the essence. Each of us unique.

Animus. Anima.

And here is a link to a video from the theatre play at Wolubilis ten years ago:

https://www.rtbf.be/info/regions/detail_art-de-yasmina-reza-a-wolubilis?id=6322363

Husk Gallery blog: https://www.huskgallery.com/blog/33/

Learning, Unlearning, Grounding

Many years of studies, many exams, pre-exam anxiety moments and… For what? The question pops up when, decades later, washing a water jar and changing the filter, I rate it the highlight of my working day in terms of joy and contentment. There are emails, phone calls, office discussions and more; still, performing a simple manual task feels the best.

I am not denying anything: all the years of studying are the underpinning structure. I also know I can write, translate, prepare a yoga class, do a yoga class, I can choose what to read, meditate and much more in freedom. Be the creative flow I have unconsciously searched all my life. Knowing it, changing a water filter feels so neat and satisfying.

Also, clearly, I am doing a lot of unlearning – sorting out, letting go what I have learnt but does not serve (any more). An example: a sentence I heard almost daily in my childhood: Do not go barefeet. Put on slippers. Put on shoes. Walking barefeet is my adult freedom and joy, and if you look up the word “groundig”, you will find a lot on importance of earth touch.

Here from the Chopra web: https://chopra.com/articles/grounding-the-human-body-the-healing-benefits-of-earthing

Belgium has a lake area in the northeast of the country. Some are classic – beach – boat – fishing – ones, the ones adapted to the needs and pleasures of humans. Some are truly wild, impossible to get close to through marshes and soft dark wet soil. Home to herons and other birds. Eerie, seemingly far from human world. Spare in colours, and the few tones are striking.

A girl who is in the morning meditation group joins us these days from her walking trip from the west end to the east end of Slovakia (though not a big country, Slovakia is rather long). She does not walk the mountains in the centre, which is quite a famous ridge trip, she takes the southern route, through towns and villages, along roads and rivers. The project is for the thesis and has a working title Search for Love.

One more question:

How has it occurred to people to think we are somehow more important or wiser than other species?

This premise is being correcting itself these days, I guess. In the process, through experience, through clear signs, through rediscovering humbleness, through grounding. Leading us no one knows where to. It is all right not to know.

Perá a joga

Z močiarov, z rozčítaných a nedávno prečítaných kníh: Emmanuel Carrère: Yoga Elif Shaffak: 40 pravidiel lásky (v slovenskom preklade vydal Slovart).

Električka 81 cestou z práce. Nastúpime s kolegom, a nájdeme si miesto na sedenie, lebo na tejto trati jazdia staré vozne a brzdí sa každú chvíľu. Ráno mi to nevadí, popoludní ma to znervózňuje. Vedieme unavený rozhovor, po mnohých stimuloch dňa by dobre padlo aj ticho, ale akosi sme naučení vrhať sa na slová a vrhať slovami. Poza Andrejovu hlavu ma zaujme tvár – je to žena, mladá, a niečo je na nej zvláštne. Úsmev, jamky v lícach. Až po pár zastávkach mi doklikne – je bez rúška. Nikto si to hádam ani nevšimol, je taká prirodzene zvláštna, trochu ako z iného sveta (asi ako všetci, ostatne).

Osvojila som si tento trik– v doprave nie, ale vonku chodím s holou tvárou, a vysielam signál, že toto je normálne. Víťazstvo či rebélia? Je to jedno.

Ráno si v električke prečítam pár strán – sú to sladké čerstvé chvíle, ako croissant a káva cez víkend.

Ku knihám:

Emmanuel Carrère sa  po desiatich rokoch dennodenného cvičenia jogy chystal literárne spracovať svoj život s jogou. Všetky tie úžasné účinky: plný dych, radostný pocit, doma vo svojom tele, atď. Lenže sa prepadol znenazdajky do stavu akútnej depresie, nie po prvý raz, dôverne to poznal. Úspešný francúzsky románopisec a táto kniha je delikatesa, a zďaleka nielen o joge. Emmanuel nehovorí veľa o svojom cvičení, viac o písaní, o meditácii, o ženách, snoch, o pobyte na psychiatrickej klinike, o ceste na grécky ostrov, do centra pre migrantov. Vycibrené pozorovanie a presné pomenovanie – kombinácia spisovateľského umenia a umenia jogy. Nepotrebujem vidieť jedinú asánu v jeho prevedení, a aj tak viem, že je jogín. Podľa toho, ako sa slovami dotýka miest a ľudí. Hassan a Atiq, mladí chlapci, ktorých príbuzní zaplatili tisíce dolárov, aby ich dostali do Západnej a Severnej Európy, sa stávajú súčasťou autorovho príbehu.

40 pravidiel lásky je kniha, na základe ktorej som si nanovo definovala, čo je láska: Ochota vytvoriť v sebe priestor pre všetko, čo vnímam, cítim, pociťujem, a tento priestor potom ponúknuť iným bytostiam. Láska rovná sa bezpečie byť sama sebou.

Citát zo 40 pravidiel lásky od tureckej autorky, dokonalej rozprávačky príbehov:

„Východ, Západ, Juh či Sever, nie je v tom žiaden rozdiel. Nech je cieľ akýkoľvek, podstatné je, aby to bola cesta dovnútra, pri nej cestujete zároveň po celom svete.“

Korán, Biblia, Patanjaliho sútry… všetky inšpirujúce knihy majú silu aj ohybnosť, s akou ich interpretujeme, dávame im významy. A 40 pravidiel lásky je pre mňa o vnútornej slobode. O slobode milovať, nech čokoľvek.

Emmanuel píše:

„Na začiatku cesty, hovorí istý zenový básnik, hora v diaľke vyzerá ako hora. Počas cesty sa neustále mení. Človek ju nespoznáva, horu nahradí predstava, nevieš ani, kam to vlastne mieriš. A na konci je to znova ona, hora, úplne iná ako tá, ktorú predtým, na začiatku pozoroval z diaľky. Je to naozaj hora. Konečne ju vidím. Prišiel som. Som tu.“

Emmanuel hovorí aj o kurze tai tchi a cvičení, ktoré sa nazýva krájanie mrakov. Na prvý pohľad pomalá gymnastika pre starých Číňanov v parku. Raz však príde na kurz jedna členka s očami prilepenými na vrchu hlavy; Chceli ju v metre okradnúť. Napadli ju, nerozmýšľajúc, poslúžila si „krájaním mrakov“. Zložila útočníkov, ani nevedela ako. Majster na to vraví: „Nedajte sa mýliť, toto je bojové umenie, toto je smrtiaca zbraň.”

Vybrala som sa skontrolovať bociany, ktoré hniezdia okolo ZOO v Plankendael. Slobodne lietajú, kým supy vo voliére depresívne sedia na bydlách, kusy mäsa rozhádzané okolo. 

Máme to všetci jasné, sloboda je tisíc ráz lepšia ako väzenie, len už nie celkom jasné, čo tá sloboda vlastne je a čo potom so zodpovednosťou, ku ktorej nás vyzve. A tie neviditeľné mreže, ktoré stavia myseľ, a ak ich aj zbadáme, myseľ rýchlo povie, že kľúč neexistuje, ani dvere. A pritom dvere sú dokorán, hovorí Rumi, a opakujem sa, viem to. Cestou za bocianmi som objavila močiar a v ňom sediacu postavu človeka – má ženské prsia, opradené chaluhami, výraz tváre pokojného bojovníka. Buď sa z močiaru vynára, alebo doň klesá, ako to chcem vidieť. Tie prsia nepozývajú prisať sa, neponúkajú útechu, lebo netreba. Tam, kde je nádej, je aj zúfalstvo. Cesta z duality je dostať sa za obe, vydať sa na neprebádané chodníky, za plot, tam, kam sa obyčajne nechodí, tam, kde niet sprievodcu. Alebo áno – sprievodca sa volá prijatie a ďalší sprievodcovia sú zväčša nevidení bežným okom. Močiar je symbol tvorivosti, a táto postava v ňom symbol znovuzrodenia.  

A Hope in Diest

We are just people, and this is just a town, a hope.

The main square in a Flemish town called Diest in the middle of this tiny country called Belgium. The square has all the classic features: old and pretty 17th and 18th century houses, a béguinage court with its medieval calm, a park, and a nature reserve. Diest also sports a citadel.

Weekend day trips saturate my thirst for travel and new places. A quiet Sunday, a few people stroll or talk in the streets. Pubs and restaurants are closed, but a place called Margherita in one of the townhouses is open. It suggests pizza to take-away, what else?

When I enter, the place looks sad – tables put aside, chairs over them, lights dimmed, decorations dusty. Two kids are playing in the spacious empty restaurant and a man of Moroccan origin comes to greet me and to take the order. He speaks perfect Dutch to his kids, scolds them off – a preventive parental measure. They are 4 and 5 and shy at the beginning in the presence of a stranger. The shyness is quickly dissipated by a few smiles, as it goes with most of the kids anywhere. I sit and wait and observe. Moroccan lanterns are hanging from a ceiling still speaking of ancient Flemish craft, classic pizza selection on the menu. The kids´ shyness is gone for good; the girl starts to give piggy rides to her younger brother checking vehemently if I look. I look and I am happy I can say a few sentences and be understood: How are you? Your sister is strong. The little boy agrees with this remark, he is in the age when the admiration for his older sister is spontaneous. Their father is making the pizzas I ordered, he has relaxed as he sees I am not bothered by the children. I spent a quiet moment after a long walk, sipping a coke, content and tired. Another trip to a newly discovered town that still holds some promises and is worth coming back to. The world we are witnessing nowadays is a fusion. A fusion perhaps cures us from the illusion of separation, of building identities on shutting away and refusing the different. These two kids speak Dutch among themselves, what will they identity be once they are adult? Their tiny childhood is witnessing masked people and deserted towns. But kids are good at being absorbed in their own inner world. Kids are also good as absorbing all the conditioning they are exposed to.

All right, let´s take it all, we are on a healing path, we are becoming healers. At least, there is a good chance of it. A good chance we are paving the world for lighter, more connected, less frightened humans to walk it. A chance, right? Because I see discarded face masks on the pavements, yellow nationalist flags are hanging from a townhouse. Bottled emotions simmer to the surface everywhere, the thin layer of general ego-gratification is breaking. Good. Good. Let´s trust the process. The guy brings the pizzas, they smell deliciously, a margherita and a parmigiana – the form is oblong, neither round, nor square. Fusion has made its way to classic carton boxes. I pay, say good-bye to the children and receive two tiramisu desserts as a gift.

Outside, a sudden cold rain presents itself, so I hurry up the hill towards the citadel and the car parked under it. From the top of the hill, the town is tiny, it can be held in an open hand; a poem of a local poet is displayed on a panel. The view offers a few church towers, marshes and lowlands spreading towards the horizon.

A few slices of pizza eaten in the car before I hit the road. Strangely happy alone and not.

ESPERANCE We zijn maar mensen, en dit is maar een stad, een hoop.

HOPE We are just people, and this is just a town, a hope.

(from a poem by Thomas Gayvaerts, Diest)

Info and photos on béguinage in Diest:

https://www.werelderfgoedfotos.nl/en/photos/261-flemish-beguinage-diest.html