The Gift…. Our Gift :)

nepal

The gift  according to Marcel Mauss is the foundation of reciprocity. We give gifts to create an eternal relation of dependence to the other. There is a whole book and thought on the idea of gift exchange. But that is not what my post is truly about. It is about the gift  that we chose for our wedding.

We realised we needed little. Andre was kind enough to accept to live in the house of my grandmother. It is a huge privilege to all of us. I want to be here always.  He agreed and therefore luckily we did not need anything else material today. So we both agreed immediately, we do not need a gift.

Others did not understand this idea so well. They thought they needed to give us something. And so we created our gift. People’s presence in our party which was in another town to 99% of the invited people. That was our gift. Their presence. And again that was not good enough. So we created another gift. A donation to Nepal.

I forgot to tell people why. Many people thought it was a hippie idea. Some thought it was not nationalistic to give money away. And here I am to explain why Nepal.

We are aware there are tragedies all over the world. And we are aware we could never give that much money. Not even for one cause.  So we chose only one cause: Nepal. To give at least a little.

Andre nor I have ever been to Nepal. But we love mountains. And we were together when there was a huge tragedy there. Not a political one. Those have always many sides to them. It was a climatic one. To those who do not know, Nepal it is located in the Himalayas. Bordered by Tibet/China and India. Nepal has eight of the world’s ten tallest mountains  there. The highest point on Earth is there. So yes, you got the idea…. it gets cold. To those who do not know… it is not a buddhist country. It is  a country populated by Hindus, Buddhists and some other religions. It is populated by people like us… human beings.

Their economy depends a lot  on money that comes from tourism. So yes, a climactic tragedy in Nepal has destroyed not only houses,  temples, trees, people but the tourism industry. That is very serious for them. They depend on that money. And as mentioned before crossing these borders led them to places that are overpopulated and have their own political problems.

So we chose Nepal. And I chose an institution that my friend Denise told me about. She said it was a good one. I met Denise in front of HH Dalai Lama in India. Then she took me to meet in her private meeting HH Karmapa. Then she asked me whether I could bring to London Lama’s clothes to Lama Lobsang. He became my friend. The tibetan Lama teaching Buddhism in Europe came many times to my house, and I came to his. After that Denise also introduced me to Lingtrul Rinpoche. So, yes, I trust her. The name of the institution is ajudanepal.org. It is a Brazilian institution and that way we could make deposits here in Brazil.

So in the day of our wedding I received many envelopes with cash and checks. So, back in Sao Paulo I deposited the money that was with me in the bank account of Ajudanepal.org

And then two things happened….some more money appeared here, other people gave, Andre had gifts of others, my grandmother and I did not know what to do now.

I decided before giving more money there I should contact the people. Had yet not spoken to anyone there. Since I could not yet reach anyone in the ajudanepal I decided I would make a donation here in Brazil. I could not keep that money with me. I asked Nininha, the cleaning lady, where did she recommend. CCA a school in Capao Redondo. Capao Redondo is a violent neighborhood and it is where Nininha, the cleaning lady, lives and it is where her child goes to school.

Being the honest woman that she is. She asked me to talk to people in the school first. So I did. They thanked me a lot. Some of this money has been given to a school in a poor  and violent region to buy food for children.

Just now, I managed to speak to someone from ajudanepal.org . He was great. He knew Denise, he told me people were going now to Nepal. They would send me info.  I was happy because anyone who has studied conflicts, like me, knows that in the beginning of a tragedy lost of people give money. It is always complicated because there is still no structure for the use of that money, there is waste and easy robbery of the money. And finally when they are no longer in such a complicated stage, they are also no longer in the News. So when people most need and can use properly the money they rarely receive it. They are distracted by a new tragedy in the News.

So we chose Nepal. Things are calmer now. They still need help. Now, however, few people help. So we decided it. This would be our gift. The gift of all of those who left them with us. They gave to Nepal and to a school in Capao Redondo. The receivers on both ends have now spoken to me.

So let’s hope we have made  in Mauss’s terms and act of reciprocity. Solidarity is reciprocity  in my mind. It is not in that “negative” term I feel reading Mauss. To me it is in the thought that we as human beings and all that exists is made of atoms. So we are reciprocal to all, after all they are just as connected to me as anything else. So our gift go far, I have not seen these people but we know  we carry the same matter. They need them way more than we do. A gift is always a gift to all of us.

Our Wedding- André and I

beijo

I have been asked by some dear friends from abroad whether I got married . I guess they have seen my pictures on Facebook and they were very surprised about it. Some of them had spoken to me when I did not even have a boyfriend in the beginning of this January 🙂 So I feel I must tell. I know, many people do not feel like they have to do so but since my life has been too public for very long, why not tell. And mostly I am too thankful to too many people all over the world.

This tale carries two thoughts. One is that there is no perfection in any life. There is no fairy tale but in any tale there is possibility to find happiness again. It does not matter how broke you have been. How hurt you were. How abandoned. How close to death and how many people told you there was no total chance to not recover. There is always a possibility. Life is TAO, it is a path. A path of possible total change.  The impermanence, as the buddhist say is a reality. It is not a threat. It is your acknowledgment of this that is your greatest friend of all.

I write first to thank many of you. Friends from destructed countries. Tortured people. And people who are carers. Doctors, and cooks. Those who are friends. I write to express that my total happiness now does not come without the fear of it being suddenly taken away. I write to avoid the fear and to thank happiness of today. Today is where you always are.

Here goes the tale. My tale. It is one more in my path.

I miraculously healed. Not without help. Not without friends, doctors, and family. I lost many neurons, and no one knew how that had really happened. But even in silence I knew I had not lost the ability to have new synapses. I was suddenly visited by hatred. And then by nothingness. I accepted the total and complete life without trusting anything deeply. And so came to help my deepest recovery Tibetans. The teachings I have met. And suddenly I drove alone. I went to the beach driving alone. Without really telling anyone about it.I knew I did not remember the path, but I trusted my body would.

And why should I really care then? I was not afraid of death. I was not afraid of people. I expected nothing. I hoped for death.  And so I met in the internet in a dating site Andre. He was nice but to my perception he did not like me, nor did I like him. Yet we both liked mountains. And so we started to walk together. Under the rain. And that day I realised I liked him.

jungle

“ Who cares, I thought. I need a friend. I cannot kiss this guy. It was not for puritanism it was because he liked mountains like I did. I thought if I would kiss him, I would forget him the following day. I did not trust anyone. I did not mind that but I was selfish and thought I needed a friend who was a mountaineer, someone who also wanted to climb Pico do Corcovado.”

uba 2

But then on the third day we kissed. And he invited me to visit his friend Thiago and as he drove… I could not believe it. He had slept in my house two nights… and nothing had happened…. but the day we kissed he took me to meet his friend in another beach. And as he drove, and as I heard the wonderful music he had put…. The sun touched my face as I looked at the sea around and I felt TOTAL joy. I was in shock. I was actually afraid of it.

carro

“Can I really still feel that much joy? How dangerous could that be?”  But somehow I dismissed the fear and took the path.. Not without hesitancy

pegada

And we never left each other. And we were together. We climbed Roraima and spent 45 days in Venezuela. He who had abandoned masters and job. Me who had abandoned marriage, love, Phd, and almost life. We spent about 6 months 24 hours a day together.

paint

pauli

Of course, I tried to run away. after all, I am the courageous who is the ultimate afraid person.  Not afraid of Slums, but afraid of those who are really inside of your soul. Who is not afraid of full trust? But when I ran away he held me. And we travelled and spent time with friends, and family. He took care of my grandma and her friend Sonia who is 89.

roraima

Then he became adored by my grandmother. And me, being me,  I wanted to go to India. It took me a week to convince him to go India. I eventually did. And in the same day…. He is offered an interview. And he is hired. Most people would think. “WOW that is great!” I am not most people… so I though “We can’t go to India anymore.”

vovo e andre e eu

Andre is an electric engineer. A man of actions and not of words like me, and those who do little 🙂  So he said. I ll work  and next year we will have more money and we will go.  He fixed things in our houses too 🙂 And me, being my selfish me said jokingly  “Oh… I cannot believe it, you are stollen from me for a job?!?!? We will not be together all the time! To compensate this loss let’s get married 🙂 “

And he said yes. And I said

“ Then let’s  do it secretly!” I was still thinking it was a joke.

“Ju, are you trying to hide it?

I was amazed  actually and said: ” Let’s consult my grandma.”

And she said “Great Idea. Obviously we should do a party, what a silly idea to hide it!

And I was happy. Very happy.

“ Andre, let’s do it this year in september the 26th. My grandmother will be 91. And it will be spring”

Being a practical man he is, he said…. but that will be in less than 3 months… we have a short time.

“ Yes, but my grandmother will be well and healthy!  Next year is monday. And we should do it in Ubatuba in the beach house. We don’t care about rules and typical weddings.”

“ Yes. Ubatuba is the place. Let’s do it.”

Karmapa

And so we did. Asking the blessings of Tibetans, nature, and all who were there. And it was a wonderful party. It was on my grandmother’s 91 birthday.  It was on the beach. There were friends from all over. Dear friends. People from our family that we love. The ceremony was made by Laura, who is a great friend  and who is a neurologist and from the religion called “espiritismo”. And she actually knows my brain 🙂 And she met Andre to know him. Being a doctor she is a specialist to look at a person and make a quick judgement.  When she met him she said:

“ I have something to say.”

I was afraid…..

“ Jules, you are super egoistic but this is the first time you actually really love someone. And this man is someone of few words and profound perception of reality. I would love to do the ceremony.”

11954613_10153046886860723_7088019168144860039_n

And together we created the ceremony. We had dates for the blessing of the middle east and north Africa, we had something like a tibetan ceremony but made in south america. We are in South America. Which means we mix it all. We respect many religions. At least Laura, Andre and I do.

11224315_10153046886115723_9021698656091145802_n

Rather than tea in a teapot like some Tibetans do. We had a colombian hand made work of art in homage to the sea, the tea inside was cold, it was Flor de Jamaica ( hibiscus) and it was what we drank in Venezuela. The tea pot ( vinera) was brought by hand in the path in front of the sea by my friend Alondra who came from Mexico. The dates were carried by my friend Leila who is Moroccan but lives in Lebanon. And there was the music played by my friend Cibele while that happened. That was Jacob do Bandolim.

alondra

There was a judge. And the great film maker, and great friend Fellipe Barbosa made last minute a little film of the civil ceremony.

And the blessing were made by all. In many little acts. I obviously talked a lot to explain who we were considering most people did not know us together. And I explained there was nothing like a fairy tale, nor was I pregnant. There was simple joy of being together for months 24 hours a day. There was me explaining that I had never expected happiness could knock on my door again. And then there were blessings from our parents caring dates to Andre and me. I chose  to have two best man and one bride woman and  Andre had two bride women and one best man. They carried the glass filled with red Flor de Jamaica tea. They passed hand to hand wishing blessing to us. We drank them. Laura told us it was our path so we gave the tea to each other and we drank.

drink

vinho-eu

Than we asked blessings from all. Our ceremony was made by all. The blessing of thoughts was made under the silence of voices, the music of the sea and the  flute.

flauta

Of course, after all that non typical ceremony there was wonderful live music. Choro and Samba played by people who I know and drove hours to get there..

banda

The party started at 11 am and finished to some the following day. I went to bed around 3 am. We danced, we ate, we climbed trees. Children even went to the sea. There was a little drizzle of drops of rain which we took to be blessings.

arvore

Laura as a neurologist said  many wise words…. and said she would quote a self help book “ Love is not an emotion, emotions are fleeting. Love is a daily practice.”

So now, let’s hope…. let’s all attempt to practice it daily. Thanks a lot for all of you who have asked me about it. Thanks a lot for all of you who came. All of you who still write me.

flag

Love,

Jules