Katarína Varsiková

Tag - English

Love in Literature and…

 

This blog is mostly meant for fiction and literature lovers. The quotations and thoughts are of Rosa Montero, a Spanish writer and journalist. A special gratefulness to Raquel Ruiz, my teacher, who brings up  contemporary Spanish literature to me. And also to Veronika who pointed out the non-existence of the word mourning in the Slovak and the Czech language.

Rosa Montero has written a book that can be loosely translated as The Funny Idea of Never Seeing You Again. Mourning. The period after losing a close person. The transition to acceptance of the loss. There are languages that have a special word for this experience. El duelo in Spanish. In Slovak, one “wears sadness”. In traditional setting, it is shown to the world by wearing black. Do men wear black, too? Or is it only women?

A year that a human being needs to settle into the idea of never seeing the beloved face again; the well-known smile, smell, voice is gone. The book is neither sad nor pessimistic, on the contrary, it is invigorating, uplifting, tickling curiosity about people and their stories.

These are a few ideas that inspire me a lot. Reading the book is having a conversation with an intimate friend. So, I hope Rosa Monterro would give me permission to translate and share them.

Here they are:

“Creativity is an alchemist intention to transform suffering into beauty.

Art in general, and particularly literature, are strong weapons against Bad and Pain.

We need to narrate ourselves to live. Our memory is in fact imagined. A story we rewrite every day.

When I was younger, I wanted to raise myself as a writer and create a great book about the human condition. Now, I modestly aspire at the freedom… And it is not about raising myself, but the contrary, descending, going down to the bottom of my unconsciousness where I hopefully can hear a piece of the collective song. Because deep in me there are we all. Only in total liberty can one really dance, make love, and write well. And those are the most important activities. And therefore, if you are asking me: Are you completely free in the text you are writing? I respond: Well, not. But I am heading there.

Fictional characters are marionettes of the unconsciousness.

I think there is no good fiction that does not strive at universality, that does not try to understand what it means to be a human.

The more you are nearing the essential, the less you can put it in words.

The marrow of the books lies in the corners of words. In good novels, the important is in the eclipse, in the air that circulates between the characters, in little sentences. Therefore, I cannot say more about Pablo: his place is within the silence.”

 Finally, the last extract that brings up Carl Gustav Jung and the spirituality of being One:

“I have a raising sensation that there is a continuation of human mind. That, in fact, there is a collective consciousness uniting us, that we dance unison without knowing it. And the coincidences form a part of that dance, of that music, common song that we finally do not hear completely, because the wind brings us only isolated notes.”

 The official site of the author:

http://www.rosamontero.es/index.html

 

 

Compassion. Space. Safety. Trust. Gratitude. Autonomy. Breath.

Picture: Message by Jean Michel Folon. The statue is situated in Parc Bruxelles not far from the Metro Parc station. 

These are the key words that I have brought from the Yoga Therapy Network conference in Amsterdam. Packed with the content and the pure joy and the need of connection.

The trees along the canals are releasing their pale pinkish flowers; already dry, soft, they create an uneven carpet on the pavement. What trees are they I do not know, but they are a nice metaphor to the life cycles, the seasons´ coming-going, the acceptance and letting go so natural for the nature and so difficult for the human ego.

The old sages knew the ego so well thousands of years ago, their texts speak clearly… About the need to practice, to keep a constant dialogue, to re-connect all the layers so that the union is established. What is great about the yoga is its evolution and adaptability. These qualities make it a great tool. Not a unique tool, as there are as many roads as people, but a perfect one. The words of Sanskrit, such as dharma, karma find their equivalent in modern languages. It is perfectly possible to combine different therapies and medicines and yoga and create space for: Healing.

Amsterdam on a sunny day in May is buzzing with its energy: All that is not forbidden is permitted. And even more. For some visitors, it means testing the boundaries of the what bodies can take. I have been there. And it is great to observe the people who do not, who just go about their usual days. So much to choose from – we are spoilt. Nevertheless, the choice does not make life easier, that is for sure.

But once I choose well and wisely, I know it. Yoga has taught me that, too. Not that doubts disappear ever completely.

I am walking along the canal that is on the outer edge of the inner city, not so many tourists, more locals sipping an aperitif or walking home from another work day. Cats on window sills, dogs being taking out. Two girls are trying out a dance choreography at the edge of the water. Bare-feet. The presence is growing with conscious breathing, the awareness of the body bringing me to those key words:

Compassion. Space. Safety. Trust. Gratitude. Autonomy. Breath.

Link to The Network Yoga Therapy:

home

 

 

 

 

 

 

Earth. Water. Fire. Air. Space

Picture: Lula connected to the Earth and Fire in the garden of our cottage in Western Slovakia

The elements are parts of nature, therefore parts of us. We connect to them and have all kinds of special relationships with each one.

Thanks to the practice, I can spot the imbalance or prevalence of an element in my body quite easily. Reaching for a second cake, though my stomach does not need it at all, unable to cut off procrastination and get down to work… It is the dominance of the earth with its force to attach, to lock me in passivity. Having a day of several superficial conversations, hopping from place to place, being active but not really getting anything done… the vata, the wind takes the leadership. Coming home after a long summer day on a beach, driving on a swelteringly hot highway, the fire is just way too much.  I seek shade, semidarkness, a cold yoghurt for supper. A stretch of Brussels´ cold and rainy days can make me long for a dry, hot day at our cottage in the mountains of Slovakia. I picture myself sitting on the warm stone of the terrace, watching the orchard absorbing the heat, plums growing in front of my eyes. And I know that water is the essential one for me. I can deeply long for rain. I jump with joy when the first drops fall on town and the air tastes like metal  – it is the water meeting the dryness.

The elements are in a constant flux, in a playful motion. And yoga can provide connection with all of them.

Root yourself in the mountain pose, feel your feet firmly touching the ground and the nourishing earthy energy entering into the body.

Do a sequence of deep launches and feel the flow, the fluidity representing the power of water.

In a triangle pose it is the lower body that provides firm grounding so that the upper body can move deep into the asana. The linking element here is the centre, the core, the home to our fire. The principle of transformation.

Throw a warrior pose on a meadow or a mountain, ground yourself deeply and offer the upper body to the air and space, these are the lighter energies that invite us to grow, to expand and to explore, to evolve.

Gratitude is the ingredience changing the practice into a spiritual experience.

Gratitude for being whole and being the part of the Game of Elements.

Pick up your favorite one in this moment…

Namasté.

No Demons in Meditation

Photo: Lily Flying with the Seagulls

I guess many practitioners know this from retreats, as well as from their daily practice of yoga: During a session (asana-pranayama-relaxation) there comes a moment or two of sheer bliss, connectedness to everything that is: Life in its pure form. It lasts for some time…then we land back – into our bodies and to the world full of opposites, hopes and fears. We experience a heavy traffic on the way back home, a partner in sullen mood opens the door and…

Where the heck is the feeling of bliss and connectedness? Cries…who? Who is it crying here? Well, he/she/it is a part of us, but not entirely us. A reminder of Let´s get back to the present moment, to the acceptance of what is.  As if we have chosen the situation, the feelings. (Eckhard Tolle, The Power of Now). A reminder that we are on the road, and not yet fully awaken and enlightened as not to be touched and disturbed by the circumstances.

Beware of the ego, the inspired texts convey us the message in thousands of stories, parables, and sometimes in direct orders. The Ego tries to get a hold of the happiness and the joy experienced, not knowing that these are our natural states provided that we reach beyond – The Ego.

We, people, would love to convert our surrounding and circumstances so that they adapt to our desires. Exactly the weather we need for the Sunday trip, and that´s still quite a simple wish to twist reality into our shape. We need the sunny day and the neighbor wishes for a good rain for his garden…Whose wish is there to be fulfilled by the Universe? Where is the openness to the unknown, the trust in life unfolding according to a plan The Ego has no clue about?

The trust (in sanskrit Shradda).  A trustworthy teacher who walks the road is a great help. And a steady practice, of course.

There is no demon in meditation practice, that´s the mind labeling again.

The fact is: the deeper we go in our practice, the more unknown doors to our deep selves are open, or… the famous endless onion is being peeled. And we stare into the darkness suddenly lit and full of long forgotten objects and emotions. Or the current peel goes off with a great amount of suffering. And it is scary, and we need somebody to hold our hand and say, Hey, everything´s fine, you´re secure. But a partner or a friend are usually not of a help in those moments. The teacher we have chosen yes. An inspired text as well. Or… As the yoga is also a road to autonomy: connecting to the breath, taking a long exhale and embrace those feelings, looking at the objects that are on display in the cellar reminding ourselves that they are precisely that: Objects. Memories. Feelings. Accept the pain.  Embraced shadows usually change into smoke and disappear.

And we continue…the deeper we dive into the practice, the more is happening. The part of the happening is also The Ego´s fight for its unique position of a holder, a decision-maker. All that It, in fact, isn´t. The Ego fears it´ll be unmasked and put in its proper place. And as all that is in fear, it needs love and embrace and to be ensured: You will be fine in the place where you belong, my dear. More than that, you will be of great use, yourself, you will have more fun when you leave space for the unknown to unfold at every instant. At the very instant.

Trust. Teacher. Text.

The fiction literature, for book lovers, can play a role here as well. Ursula Le Guinn’s The Wizard of the Middle Earth comes to my mind.

Happy to share the road, happy to be here and now.