Eggs of being

Those traveling to the remote area of Gweedore, in the Donegal Gaeltacht, sometimes wonder what is there to do. That’s what I wondered myself when I first came here, several years ago. But there was something drawing me to the place, something I still muse about as it is not as specific as I encountered in other places – it is not a beach, an edge of forest or a certain ancient site. It’s more as if the land calls upon one to get closed to it and thus come out of oneself.

So, I got a dog and went for walks as if with a purpose, but aimlessly. Or to just get closed to the land in an accidental kind of way…

Nest of rock eggs in the wilds of Donegal

On one of these strolls I found this small treasure – a vision of a possible answer about why these lands are so attractive to the soul. A sudden perspective of ‘new beginnings,’ of ‘new possibilities,’ all waiting like eggs in a nest to be hatched and let fly. I believe that here, in these parts, battered so often by the strongest winds, we are supposed to BE, rather than DO. Here, the richness of the mystical history emanates from every rock on the beach helping us to remember who we are… or want to be. Here, we are taken by the hand and shown the pictures of ‘being,’ in all its simplicity.

Norman Douglas, the writer, said, “that they who are all things to their neighbors cease to be anything to themselves.” And too many times we are put in the position to try to be so many things just to ‘succeed.’ And that’s why you might cry when coming to Donegal – just like a friend of mine did when she visited here for the first time. And she told me it was the most comforting hour she has had in many years, as she allowed herself to be… non-judgmental. Or you might want to stay awhile, and simply be.

I am sure that the eggs of our individuality are dormant in each of us but we forget sometimes to hatch them tenderly, in the rush of every day ‘doing.’ But how are we supposed to remember who we are? Someone asked me once “who are you?” And after trying several times to describe what I do or what I like or where I come from I realized that I had no answer.

That’s one of the reasons I answered the call of the wild Bloody Foreland, in the northwest of Donegal – to try and hatch the eggs of being… as I am still learning how to put that into words…or in images.

As we slowly come out of this tormenting winter, I offer this image of a fresh beginning set in stone and I welcome all thoughts on how does one answer the question: “Who are you?”

Caressing Creation

I have tried three times today to light the fire. Tried the usual methods – paper, sticks, a little turf and wood. Added coal. Nothing. Change position of sticks, blew in it, covered it with paper. Nothing. I kept staring at it, poke it, shoved it, trying to understand what I was doing wrong. It would not come alive. Then I just let it be and went for a walk.

When I came back, my fire was smiling at me, small flames, but strong enough for me to know I would have a fire that night.

Caressing creation

I began working on my photos, content with my fire. That’s when the spark just hit me, a thought just sank in while I found this photograph, that I had taken several years ago in Kerala, India. I remember watching the simplicity of the man whose hands were molding this clay, sitting on the floor, his big smile on his face encouraging me to try. He was not staring at this work, not forcing it into shape, but merely caressing it into finding its own form. He did not speak English and I did not speak Hindu and I did not get his message until today, while trying to light a simple fire. ‘Hands on’ had a different meaning.

I have been trying to boost a project since the beginning of the year. Worked on it for hours, conventional methods and less conventional ones. And I was staring at the plans last night and could not understand why it was not taking off.

I still don’t know, but I think I will just go for a walk on it, for a while, and see if I can find a way of ‘caressing’ it rather than ‘manage’ it. Just like my fire, maybe it needs a break from my demanding energy to find its own course.

Neale Donald Walsch said “…that trust is not necessary when you don’t want or
need anything
.” But we always do, don’t we? That’s the fun part. So we need to trust and then we may feel the detachment necessary to release the creation. But then here is the question: how can one be detached and still remain passionate?

I really want to light the fire under this project. Deep down, I trust it will work, but, just like any of my generation peers, I want it all and I want it now.

Many a walks I might need to go on to, until I learn that it takes time for a caress to gain meaning, until I learn to detach myself but retain the passion.

How do I caress creation without controlling it?

Birds do it

Growing up in communist Romania we never had Valentine’s Day. We had Dragobete and Martisor and it never really meant a shopping spree – it wasn’t too much one can shop for, even chocolate was something one dreamed of and rarely tasted.

As a recovering shopaholic though, I would still take any opportunity to visit the shops, but I wonder whether we are not missing the point. Isn’t Valentine’s Day a celebration of love in all its most romantic form? But, you might ask, what is romantic? Is it a candlelight dinner, is it that piece of jewelry or the holiday in the sun? Does romantic mean we need to put our hands in our pockets to prove that we love our soul mate?

Valentine's Day in Paris
Valentine’s Day in Paris

I don’t find it that easy to define what romantic means for me, but again, maybe that’s what it’s all about – the thought we put in redefining ‘romantic’ each year. Remembering at least one day that we are blessed with the ability to love. All we have to do is learn how to express it. And we continually change, so the meaning changes with us.

It’s funny sometimes how we show our love by offering exactly the kind of gift we would like to receive. And many times we don’t even realize it and inevitably are disappointed that we don’t get the reaction we expect.

Buy maybe that’s why is so complicated to be romantic, because it means leaving yourself out of the equation, keeping only the love you have for the other and then start discovering who your soul mate is and what they really want.

In the metro-boulot-dodo world we live in, how many of us ‘have the time’ to do that? Or how many of us have the courage to go on a search like that? You never know what we might find… And will we like it?

And that’s where every commercial venue comes to ‘rescue,’ at this time of year, from restaurants to travel agencies to jewelry shops and, of course, flower shops. So much, that if I presume for a moment that we still live in a pagan society, I guess Valentine is a pagan saint of commercial venues – that’s where many of us might go to pay our homage when this Friday comes.

Or we might just try to simply find out what romantic is all about.

Birds do it… surely so can we.

Where there is a will…

Imbolc came draped in a white coat of snow, the first of this year, as if Brigid, the Celtic fire Goddess wanted to give us a last instant perspective or simply bless the dormant seeds in the ground.

The snow was gone completely by morning, swept away by Southern winds. They brought with them a myriad of questions. Those thoughts dressed in ‘beginning of a new year’ kind of clothes.

They come like tiny speckles of dust and they set on one’s mind, so you don’t even realize when you feel heavy with a layer as hard as rock.

Nature showing us the way
Nature showing us the way

And with the hopes of spring upon you, you start digging out old ideas and new ones, airing the soil and weeding away, preparing for the oaks that will grow out of your will, to make this year a significant one.

I always loved oaks. No wonder the Celts respected them so much and all their major ceremonies conducted by the Druids took place under an old oak. There is a certain comfort one feels near it, a sort of ‘everything is going to be fine’ energy.

So digging away in my mind’s garden while sorting through photographs, I recalled the strong sensation of invincibility I experienced when I came upon this majestic oak tree growing out of a rock. It almost symbolizes the whole island of Corsica – a magic land of scents and vistas on top of a rock in the sea. Could there be a better illustration of determination?

It’s funny how nature never fails to be the parent showing us the way…. I am not afraid of ideas falling on hard rock any more – preconception, social norms and resistance to change. If the seed of an oak is contained in them, it will grow no matter what.