The Path “to Back Awkwardness”

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So, today I decided to write about where I come from. Most of you know Brazil is going through a  grave political, identity, economic, judicial problem. You also know, I always feel much more as an outsider than from here. However this explosion of identity crisis of the inhabitants of Brazil made me go back to my family history. I know, some of you know, the person that I love the most if my grandmother Lucia Andrade Piza.  I live with her and as this crisis started I decided I needed to know what had really happened while her brother Auro Moura Andrade in the 60’s was a Senator.  I should add that he was the vice-president, kind of president of the Senate then.

In 61 my great uncle, who I have never met, accepted the letter of renouncement of Janio Quadros, the Brazilian president at the time. Joao Goulart, know as Jango, took the presidency.  Jango seemed to have socialist inclinations. As you can imagine that concerned the militaries and the US. So while  Jango, was still in Brazil Auro declared the position  of presidency opened on  the 2 of Apirl of 64. And Tancredo Neves screamed in the Senate when the lights were off “Canalha, Canalha, Canalha!”Which is ( scoundrel).  And so a dictatorship started here, Castelo Branco took the presidency.

While I am here I have been going to the commission of Peace and Justice, I have been listening to famous professor Fabio Comparato.  And everyday I get even more disappointed by what I see and hear. My grandmother told me that politics corrupts people. And even her seeing the voting of the impeachment thought it seemed like a joke. We had Eduardo Cunha a man who is accused of several crimes leading the voting of the process and several criminals voting pro impeachment. So many spoke of their wives, children and not of the people. Later we were told also of their whatsapp messages to their lovers who were prostitutes.

I did not vote for Dilma. In fact, I almost never voted since I was usually out of Brasil. And suddenly we are attacked with discourses about the constitution ( by people who have never read it), about ethics on both sides. We see a total disaster in both sides. And what shocks me the most is to see this country becoming a Fundamenlist Evangelical  country. Hearing deputies speaking is so absolutely outrageous that would make you laugh if you were not to think that the only reason something worse has not happened  yet it is because they are still not the government.

It is a way back to stupidity, racism, prejudices, women loosing their rights. Rights that they had fought for years.  I remember of the time of when I was in Turkey. My Turkish friends who were artist, gays, modern were very afraid of the growing of Islam. I could see why it had happened. The muslim neighborhoods were in better situation than the neo-liberal ones. And the artist I met were asking for  the militaries to be back. They wanted Ataturk. I was very intrigued by that at the time.

Now, think Brazil, this enormous growth of Evangelical Churches is  connected to corruption, to manipulation, and to Neo-liberalism. These men are connected to scandals, and they are admiring torturers. My own 91 year old grandmother sees a total growth of backwardness. Every single person who is serious, who is filled by  responsibility is deeply depressed… We do not see a way out.

I felt an outsider, now I see my deep connection to the political history of this country and while I am not a nationalist I declare I will never support this path. This is the path to reduce the rights of those who have few, the rights of women, social movements. It is connected to deep corruption and deep violence of the police, to prostitution. And unfortunately, the hate floats in the streets and once friends now they no longer speak.  Don’t get me wrong. It has nothing to do a specific religion as I have learned from the amazing Muslims, Jews, Christans, Buddhist, Atheist, Hindus  I have met. It has to do with neo-liberalism, with corruption and with the abuse of rhetoric and power.

 

Where are our roots?

I walked the other day caring with me a question. “Why do you need so much to go back to Asia.”. Why do I feel not from Brazil?  I answered thinking about Karmapa and about the Thais I know, the Mekong.  And then I walked kms home and I thought more profoundly about it. It was hard to address the roots. And suddenly it became clear I lost my roots. I had to think I am an “inbetweener” or an outsider.

I pondered about what it really meant to be an inbetweener. And like must of us who feel this feeling we  seem to lack home. I thought about those who had married to someone of some other country. I thought about the children of parents of different countries and cultures.  And though I pondered if it wouldn’t be the same case for couples who had a  blatant difference between social classes I realised that once you throw languages into the equation things become way more complex.

If we are to remove language our fundamental humanity is so obvious. It does not really matter where you are, you can exchange the basic principles of life with anyone if you want. However, when you can speak than the reality of philosophy, religion, and culture become the verbalization of difference.

I pondered and realised that many have lived abroad but that is not what makes you an “inbetweener.”. And I do not even attribute value to this group, I simply pondered about it.  What makes it exist, how can you define  it?  Maybe is the amount of time in transition, through many years, and learning languages. Maybe it is the fact that you start to import parts of what you admire of the outside. And of course, you do not become part  of it. And even more impressive you start to remove some things that come from where you were born. And of course, you do it without realising it.  And then suddenly the solid roots, and nationality that many people carry, we simply don’t. We feel like a human being very similar and different to anyone anywhere.

So, Asia comes to my mind, and there there are many  people  on an eternal quest for home. And the more we search the less of a place we are from. We are always an outsider and we become pleased by that. And it is in Asia that I met people from the west who were like me…. on the road for too long, and they were searching in between lines the reality of that which seemed daily more impossible to be found. So long that none of us could really fix a solid base anywhere, and maybe we do not even know how to. Maybe we can’t, nor want to. Even more profoundly the deepest connections have happened with people you will not see that often, and probably will never see again. But their presence inside of you never seems to disappear. I know that people who have ground tend to fill it is because it is easier than to not deal with something daily. That could be the case, I do not deny, but what I realise is that for whatever reason  there is, we oppose to have a solid ground.  And we probably do not even feel that anyone who is not an inbetweener could really grasp it.

I walked and I thought of Maciek who I met in England, who spent time in Asia, and who is from Poland and now feels it is time to move to a new continent, to learn a different language. I think of Andrey who is from Russia and I met in my Phd in London, he also has been to many places  and now is doing a PhD in Sweden in a new language.  And then I think of Nese who I met  in Amsterdam in a class on conflict resolution,  we spoke in a mix of French, English and basics of Dutch. I met her in her house in Turkey, and now she is in the UK. Then comes to my mind Chi, who was born in Taiwan and crossed China, europe, Africa, mddle East and the Americas. I met him in the UK, years later he came to  Brasil and told me that of all he had seen in more than 3 years on the road he was moved by Iran and Sudan. He was moved by the strength of the people. I think  of my dear friend Leila who lived with me in NY and then floated the world between Lebanon, Europe, Africa,  US  making amazing photos that are now in her institute  and Leila Alaoui is in heaven. Like me she liked to hear the tales of others. So many people come to my mind.

Ironically it is way easier for me to in write in English than to do it in Portuguese or French, the languages of my childhood. It will be filled with flaws in any language I shall attempt to write. I have to recognise the path has made me like that. In a world of violence and wars more and more wondereres there will be.  There will be more people displaced by choice or lack of it. And we all seem to sick a community to which we belong to.

So, I am in Brasil, this country faces a total absurd of a coup. One that can be justified by the process but not for the reasons. People are divided and filled by hate. Lacking roots I see as an outsider. I see a media that is filled with political interest, a judicial system that has no obligation to report to anyone. It judges as they want. My pain comes for the poor because they will pay for this, like they do anywhere. I do not care regret simply because I protested against it. Like I did in the US. I did not support the bombing of Afghanistan, nor Iraq when I was in NY,  I do not support this impeachment. Like I do not believe in pre-emptive attacks, even in my own life I changed doctors because I do not want to throw in my body  infiltrations to prevent the possibilities of an attack. Like I was against the war of Gaza I am against what is happening in Brasil.  In a sense it makes me even more as an outsider. Like I went alone to every continent I realised I missed Asia because  there I stepped next to people like me. None of my friends would ever support a violent police, wars, and would not recognise their privilege to  be able to meet the other. My roots are lacking… and I do not miss them. I am part of a group.  My group are of people who are in between. We are valuing  and working to be  in the path of morality, ethics, and compassion.  We are working, as we can,  for the construction of a better world, we help the person who is next to us in spite of where they come from.

 

 

A Great Gift is a Path.

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As usual I feel I must share because all that I encountered belongs to all of us. The greatest gift of life is life itself. And our human life is deeply connected to our minds. It is so heard and complicated to talk about a mind. So, I will not be technical because I could not be. I will not speak of synapses I will simply give you  the gift that was given to me. Meditation.

No, you do not need to close yourself for months in a monastery, nor do a ritual, or go to Asia… Every single one of us needs to learn how to calm down our minds. It does not matter in which situation we are in nor where we are. we must  practice this great path. It is not dependent on you believing or not believing in it. It is a practice. I will post it here a site where you can do a 15 minutes meditation.

There are a few possibilities.  They are all important. There are many forms. Here I post audios and the site. RAIN means Recognise, Accept, Investigate and not get Involved in it. It is a great tool to use when you suddenly notice something is very hard. Allow yourself 15 minutes of peace, of meditation and you will notice deeper thoughts about your feelings and more peace will come. This does not mean you will become alienated from what is happening around you. It means you will be able to deal with what is around you. I guess you should do the one you want. You just need to touch the link  below and the name of the meditation… you will hear someone telling you what to do. I truly hope this can help you.

Choose one of the audio file which is in the website

http://www.shambhala.com/MindfulnessPrescription

  1. Mindful Breathing
  2. Sound, Breath, and Body
  3. Body Scan
  4. Mindful Walking
  5. Mind Like a Sky
  6. RAIN
  7. Loving Kindness
  8. Mindful Presence

 

http://www.shambhala.com/MindfulnessPrescription

 

 

The strength of life

  
I had never planted a tree. I did it last year. It is called Grumixama and I baptised it Vovó Lucia Grumixama.  I loved planting so much that I planted four others.

It is in Ubatuba. I planted and gave them names. Jambo Vovô  Ze Luis, Ipê Cucuru ( which is the nick name I invented for Andre), Araçá Helo ( for my mom) and Juju Manacá da Serra. 

I come often here so the following weak I planted Juju, she was not there. It had been robbed. I was sad and bought another one and that one simply never had flowers. And then three Weeks ago I went to hospital. Got out and went to the mountains seeing many Manacas with many flowers.

Came here last weekend and when I looked Juju Manacá it was dry. There were no leaves. I was so sad that I did not tell my grandma.

I came back yesterday and today I told her. ” Vovó Lucia Grumixama is like you. Alive , green , growing . And Juju Manacá is like me. It is dead.”

“Julieta do not say that. ”

” it is true ”

“Let buy a new one and ask the gardener to plant it.”

This week I spent time thinking about how many times I have wished for death. I started doing mindfulness with the help of Dra Euthymia. And I have decided to work consistently in being in peace. To choose life and not methods of prevention of disease by reducing my immune system. In giving real value of life.

The  shop of trees was closed so I decided to come home and to water the trees that were alive. Suddenly I saw a new tree growing. I was happy and said to Andre:

“Look someone planted a tree here..” Andre came by and knowing way more of gardens said:

“Ju, no one planted this tree. She was still alive under the earth.”

I was so moved by it. It was not the Manacá, it was a tree that once dried, but the strength of life is enormous. I decided I would not ask anyone to plant. I want to be Ju, Jules, Jewels, Chu, Chouchou, Coucou Unknown tree. Maybe it is a lemon tree, maybe a Mexirica . I really have no idea.

The strength of this plant moves me. It does not give up, nor any gardener gave fertiliser to it. It simply appeared filled with green lives from a dead small piece of an old tree. This tree is connected to the life of nature. It fills me with faith for live, gods, nature.