Tag Archives: musings

The way of the menhir

I have touched the silent menhirs in Carnac, Brittany several years ago and I left with more questions than I came with.

I needed to try my hand again, in Portugal, just outside the beautiful Evora, where the Almendres form one of the most interesting megalithic monuments on the Iberian Peninsula.

I rushed my pace to get to the stones, up the narrow, tormented path, until I thought I heard a whisper…

…ever so soft, almost as if someone was getting ready to say something.

There was no wind. But when I looked around, something fell into place, when my eyes began to delight in the details at the side of the road.

So I spent about one hour on a 15 minutes walk and remember every second…

That soft voice must have been a better self, trying to teach me… Where was I rushing to? The stones had been there for thousands of years, they were not going anywhere and their stories were outside themselves.

They just drew the stories strongly towards them, with their mysterious apparent silence.

But they are shouting for those who can hear: “on the way to the menhir, it is the road, not the destination.”

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Escaping reality in reality

There is something comforting about hotel lobbies. Like being in front of a portal to a world where you are simply a guest. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA No commitments, no expectations, no definite plans. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA I am here just for a while, I don’t need to own this place to enjoy it. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA I take in the scent of overpowering restroom airfreshners – which I would never use at home – and I vibrate with  the expectations of discovering the place. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Why do I feel so good about this blissful uncertainty and change completely once the holiday is over? OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Our whole lives are temporary stop-overs in places we call ‘homes’. Do we really enjoy them better because we give them a permanent status? Because they are full of stuff we call ‘our own?’

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Or we need our homes to have something to escape from? Or it’s me, a constant escapist, somewhere over the rainbow when I’m not behind a photograph? OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Halloween thoughts and autumn feelings

At this time of year I always get asked the question: “Was Dracula real?”

questionGrowing up in Transylvania, in a small town in the mountains, where old traditions are still preserved and even today, people gather and play cards in the graveyards on Easter night, definition of real has so many meanings.

As a child, when my grandmother was telling me that if I don’t come back before dinner time, the ‘strigoi’ will get me. Did I ever see one? Of course, with my imagination’s eyes, I can describe it even now. Was he real? My grandmother said so even if she could not really remember if she ever saw one.

bonesAnd then, as I grew up, there was “Zburatorul,” a being that, if I was not careful enough, would come to torment me at night with the pain of longing, the torture of being away from the loved one…we all know some aspects of this kind of pain and it’s so very real when we feel it.

painBram Stoker deserves the credit for somehow putting all these (and many more) together in one man he named Dracula.

Is there any connection between the literary character and the Romanian voivode, Vlad The Impaler who managed to keep the Ottoman Empire at bay in the sixteenth century? Maybe. They are both very powerful men and Vlad is mentioned even now by people in Romania as a hero, whom we would welcome anytime to come back and put things right in the country.

red castleDuring his time, his reputation as a just and decisive leader was so strong, that public fountains had golden cups (no one would dare to steal them) and no honest person would starve or lack a roof over their head.

blue castleSome described him as “no common man;” “the bravest of sons from the land beyond the forest;” “a mighty brain and an iron resolution.”

dark castleDoes that make him a vampire? Does this make him real?

How do you know something or someone is really real?

magic castleI am looking forward to the talk this Saturday in Dublin, as part of the Bram Stoker Festival, where a variety of people will be trying to search for meanings into one of the most fascinating characters, which have inspired so many people and who, in my opinion, for that reason alone, is as real as one can be.

Note: If you find yourselves in Avignon, France, make sure to go and see the night show at the Pope’s Palace (some of the photos are taken there) … and ask yourselves what is reality?

Learning from the water how to master change

“There is no such thing as “change for the worse.” Change is the process of Life Itself, and that process could be called by the name “evolution.” And evolution moves in only one direction: forward, and toward improvement.

Therefore, when change visits your life, you can be sure things are turning for the better. It may not look that way in the very moment change arrives, but if you will wait a while and have faith in the process, you will see that this is true.” Neale Donald Walsch.

What made me think of this quotation, was my experience of getting a bad kidney infection with the probable cause being: I did not drink enough water.

Now, as I am back to normal, I realize that I could not take for granted water any more. It made me pay more attention to its simple but overwhelming power, to the way change it’s its main state of being… no better teacher than the wisdom in the glass in front me.

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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?”

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.