Tibetans Compassion and Laughter

dalai lama

“Whether you believe in God or not does not matter much, whether you believe in Buddha or not does not matter so much; as a Buddhist, whether you believe in reincarnation or not does not matter so much. You must lead a good life.”  HH Dalai Lama

Sometimes I wonder why, I need to write. I no longer play, I no longer have the craving of the world to keep going without an end. I no longer am afraid of death. But I write, because inexplicably the people I have encountered in my journey have kept me going, have kept me living, have kept me believing and they wrote back.

I even wonder why I start with HH Dalai Lama, and without a question it is because HH touches my soul. I once did not believe in anything,  and even thought HH was a simple  political  figure that was  in the middle of the west and the east. The Us X China figure.

That what, before I sat in front of HH Dalai Lama. I was taken aback by his presence. Yet I thought that that was natural. He was  a political figure.

HH Dalai Lama started his speech by asking people to remain believing in what they did, He was a simple monk, a Tibetan Buddhist monk simply because he had been born in Tibet. Had he been anywhere else, he would have been raised believing in other gods.

“Keep what you believe in, it is too much work to change, keep from Buddhism what makes sense to you.”

How could one, not admire such a religious leader?  That was the first time I had been in front of a lama, and it was HH Dalai Lama. After that, in my path I encountered several Tulkus and Lamas. They always spoke of compassion. That really resonated with me. Simply because I loved Alyosha, the religious son of Fyodor Karamzov.  Till this day I take that book,  Dostoyevski’s last book as a sacred one.

And so my path followed, I searched so much. My father used to say I was in the quest of the Holy grail. And in that quest I got sick several times without much explanation. The last one,  I was taken into a coma, and I almost died. I did not remember much of anything once I woke up.

Dr. Getulio Rabello, my neurologist,  told me to write. And I worked so hard to attempt to do the impossible. To translated my thoughts so trapped in my mind into words. In the beginning it was a daily battle aggravated by the fact that I understood my brain, all that was said, and that I trusted someone very much that I shouldn’t.

For a while, all I could do was play music. Listen to music. Hallucinating  with songs I no longer knew the name of. It was a daily battle not knowing who I could trust or not.

HH Dalai Lama once said  ““The enemy is a very good teacher”

And it took me a while to fully understand that. So first I felt pain, then hatred, till nothing really mattered anymore.

And little by little came another sentence by HH

““Learn the rules so you know how to break them properly.”

And I did, I learned all rules, yet I broke them wrongly feeling inexplicably sad. The fact that I understood the rules helped me in understanding that my brain was healed. Yet there was so much pain. What can you do, when you understand, when your brain is capable but the pain does not stop existing?

Time went by and HH came to me one more time

“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.”  HH Dalai Lama

I knew that. I have always known that. Yet, I could not feel it. I sincerely thought I was somehow dad inside. Without any possibility to recovering.

And I went once again to Dr. Getulio, and he was once again amazed that I was well. He insisted that I should have a project. I told him I had none, and about all that I had found out about my brain. About music. About meditation. He told me to go back to music, to study psychology. And I asked him whether I could finally climb.

climbing

He was shocked at first, but I explained how safe it would be. And he let me climb indoors. He let me drive in Sao Paulo. And I was happy beyond belief. I was almost back.

I drove under the rain listening to Choro, I saw my friends who remembered me and all that had happened to me. I explained though I had great equipment I did not remember really well how to go about it. They helped me. I climbed slowly after having done an hour of yoga just before…  and having had pain in my whole body for months. And as I was going up I remembered why mountains were sacred. They are grounded and they reached to the sky. I remembered Ladak, the cold air in my face, the stupas, how happy I was then, and now  how happy I was again.

ladakah

I drove away under the rain. I hugged my fellow friends from climbing. I cried. I knew them. And I drove to a place where the most amazing musicians of choro meet every week to play. Not a bar, just a studio.

I came with tape in my hands, blisters in my fingers, climbing shoes hanging from my bag, and I sat right in front of the musicians, next to Dona Inah and I felt pure joy. From yoga, to climbing, to Choro. I was for a whole day in a total meditative state.

choro

It lingered while I drove, when I fell asleep till today. It broke sometimes, when I remembered the injustices inflicted on me, and others. But I decided to listen to HH Dalai Lama, since he has been present supporting in silence my struggle against myself.

It came to my mind, the voices of people of all over the world, asking me to come back to believing in humanity.

 

And as I just heard him laughing, after listening to HH Karmapa. After talking to Denise I knew I had to write to share this. I don’t know what is the path that Dr. Getulio wants me to walk, but I know, I must write, I know I need music, I need yoga, I need mountains. And finally, I feel totally in peace.

karmapa

“This is my simple religion. No need for temples. No need for complicated philosophy. Your own mind, your own heart is the temple. Your philosophy is simple kindness.”

14th Dalai Lama

Wanderings about Art.

BULLFIGHT_n3_Savador_Dali

Art is such an intriguing thing. Sometimes it feels like it is one of the most subversive things there is. In others it feels like an example of force of those who already have it.

I just came home from watching a beautiful exposition of works by Picasso, Goya and Dali. The exposition was put out by my cousin and her colleagues. The public opening to the world is tomorrow. Today I was lucky to be invited to go to, and was accompanied by my almost 90 years old  grandmother.

The topic was the Tauromaquia, in other words the bullfight. It is far from being something that I admire, though I must say I have never seen one, nor do I have the desire to see it. My grandmother, whose brother was years ago the Ambassador of Brazil in Spain took her to see it. So I watched those powerful paintings with mixed feelings. My grandmother told me she was very afraid to go to see the bullfight, but that it was one of the most impressive rituals that she had ever seen.

 

I heard it, still was convinced I still did not want to see it, but was wandering why three important painters would have painted it. Without a question it is part of their culture, but there was more to it. You could feel it was also a political act. Sometimes, a protest against Guernica itself.  I could feel it, even before reading it.

I was brought back to England when I was taken to see an exposition of modern Art. I rarely like modern art because it is so plain obvious that one must be educated to accept that language, that I find it itself unfair and discriminating. In fact, in a sense, I find it less like art. Today, very few things had to be read, or explained for you to understand the power of these works. Had they had no names probably would make no difference to me.

But I was brought back to England to that exposition where nothing really looked like anything at all, unless you would read the titles, or hear the explanation of an “art specialist”. I was brought  back to that moment when I saw this painting that looked nothing and decided to listen to the explanation. According to the that specialist that painting ( loads of nothingness with some colours) represented the pain of the victims of the conflict between Hutus and Tutsis. I simply could not believe it. I looked around to see if there was any african that would have the same feeling that I had, there wasn’t any and I asked a question.

“Who painted this? Where is this painter from?  ”

“Germany.”

“Has this person ever been to Rwanda or Uganda? ”

Obviously not. The expert was without words for a second and then gave me a lecture on the importance of modern art.

I was happy there was not a single African there. They were all mainly Europeans and I felt it would have been quite offensive to anyone who had been in a war to have seen that as the representation of their pain.

I thought so much about this after. How much do we have the right to portray that which we have not experienced? Probably all, after all in a sense we are all human beings who are survivors, and inheritors of every single massacre that takes place every single day.

However the brutality of that painting is not in portraying pain that is not yours. It is to expect that the other, even the direct victim of something will need to be educated into understanding it. That is quite violent.

So, as I walked around seeing paintings I wondered how can one know a true exposition from one made to be put in the media.

And as I was left to talk with a professor from an university in Milan who works with processes of peace through art , as well as with a diplomat and they spoke about the power of Art I could think of nothing but that art that IS art needs no explanation. Art in whatever shape that it is will always be subversive.

Even art that is just simply perfect, and beautiful is subversive. And with that thought I remembered that for instance, in Palestine one of the first movements towards radicalisation was to kill art.

Art does not need to be explained, it just needs to be allowed to bloom in whatever place and shape that feels it suits.

I still do not want to see a bullfight, yet I now could feel in my body the power that comes from it. Even without any explanation.

 

 

 

 

Withering Heart

Image

What can move one? It is simply so random and yet sometimes so poignant that it becomes like  an inexplicable exercise to attempt to explain the inexplicable. Yet we do it, we attempt to understand the logic of it all, we attempt to understand the process of life, the world, the universe, the body, the mind, and some even the soul.

Yet, having, searched for so much, I am quite amazed by the fact that what brings you total joy, which is different than chemical pleasure originated by chemical release, that joy I am wondering about is of of another kind.  We could attempt to map it in the brain what happens there, and yet it is almost completely futile.

For me, my brain returning to its past capacities gives me some kind of joy.  Yet it is not even that. It is impossible to write about it . The fact that I took my guitar to compose something was a bigger expression of life, than any chemical exam. Those processes are so complex, and yet simple. So what brings me joy is to be in place. It is not simply to be in place, but to be understood, to feel my soul is here as well as it is my body. So rare had it been for me these moments, yet, they are back to me. The beginning of it, is here for me.

So I realise that what gives me joy is to share what I find is so beautiful. It is not to work, it is not to travel, it is a true encounter with the other. Sometimes, what brings total presence is the totally unexpected message of a friend from another world with a poem. And I seat here, to share that, as it was written in his language, I value it more. Since it was translated, it makes me understand it. And I write simply because I must share that poem. It brings me back to Asia, a place where I almost died, yet a place where I love very much.  It gives me joy to share this here, and imagine than other people will like me feel it to.

一棵開花的樹

席慕蓉

如何讓你遇見我

在我最美麗的時刻 為這

我已在佛前 求了五百年

求祂讓我們結一段塵緣

佛於是把我化作一棵樹

長在你必經的路旁

陽光下慎重地開滿了花

朵朵都是我前世的盼望

當你走近 請你細聽

那顫抖的葉是我等待的熱情

而當你終於無視地走過

在你身後落了一地的 

朋友啊 那不是花瓣

是我凋零的心

A blooming tree Xi Murong

“How to make you meet me

at my most beautiful moment.

For this,

I had prayed to Buddha for five hundred years

for making us an earthen fate.

Thus, Buddha turned me into a tree

growing on where you would pass by everyday.

I carefully bloomed fully under the sunshine.

Each flower was the looking forward of my previous life.

When you got closer, please listen carefully,

those trembling leaves were my waiting passions.

When you passed by without noticing,

what had fallen on the full ground behind you,

my friend, those were not leaves

but my withering heart.”

I shared these poem with friends and loved ones I thought I should. And strangely people from all over  the world in spite of their religion were moved as well. So I decided to write. And as I wrote, I realised once again, that just like in the brothers Karamazov I took the path of joy and not truth. Because truth is so unattainable.  More importantly, this path is the path of compassion. Well, my friend comes from Taiwan so I guess it is Tao, it is simply the path…..

 

Of Refugees, life and Capão

the-moroccans-leila-alaoui-6

Leila  Alaoui is a brilliant photographer , she has been my friend since when she started to take pictures. She lived with me in NY, and I visited her house in Morocco years ago. Leila, now lives in Lebanon. She works with Syrian refugees. She was the first person that I spoke to on  skype when I was still so sick. She always called me to talk to me. And I was capable to speak to her in French… when I barely spoke portuguese. She made me feel alive just like she made me write again.

Leila 2

Today as we spoke she told me about a film she had made. I saw it and I was so moved by it, and even told her I would write about it. Leila worked with Refugees, with survivors of wars, she lived and took beautiful pictures of them. And she asked me to film me. Me? What could I possibly be interesting for?  Her video was just appallingly beautiful, with  deserts, refugees, tracks, stories…. And as I watched I cried.

Leila

Then I wrote her to tell her what I will tell you here. Tell her of the things that it made me think. Not simply about the beauty of it, nor the photography, but because it took me back to the border of Africa and Europe… there  where Morocco stops and Ceuta is. Ceuta is in the African continent but it is Spain now.

I still, after all these years, remember vividly my feeling, the images, the thoughts. There were so many people… I was walking back to Morocco. People sold even the paper that was free, simply because lots of people who could not know how to feel it. People carried toilet paper, clothes, begs, suitcases, dreams. People who were going back to Africa  I guess carried nostalgic feelings. People  going back home could come easily back to Africa. Now the people who were coming to Spain they were held for long times. I was young, and yet I knew we were all lost, in between….. that the people who were going to Europe were searching for a better life in an almost impossible future. The people who were coming back, you could almost see their face the feeling of loss, of failure, and of missing from where they came from.

My crossing was easy. I had the “Right” papers…. On the other side there were lots of cabs. I just took one in the middle of nowhere, in the middle of hundreds of cabs. I remember thinking, that most people would find that dangerous. But I felt in place. After all, most of these different people were like me… displaced.

All these images came to my head as I watched Leila’s film.  And then suddenly came to my had a meeting I had a couple weeks ago. As I  was about to go home, someone dropped a glass in my foot, and someone else stopped to help me.

The guy said Hi, said I was beautiful. And since he was so friendly I started to talk to him. Then suddenly he said

” Stop, talking to me. I am from Capao Redondo”.

I told him I did’t care, he had helped me. Why should I not talk to him?

” You do not even know where this is or what it means!”

“I do, I have been there. Actually twice.”

He was intrigued. And maybe I should  add here that that place is a dangerous neighbourhood in Sao Paulo. It has in the past had more people being killed in a year that in many places that are in a war.

I insisted and told him

” You know, I trust strangers. I went to your neighbourhood. I stayed in the house of people I met on buses in Palestine, in Kashmir etc. So I have no problem to talk to you, unless you don’t want to talk to me.”

“I am impressed. Really. I ll be honest with you, you are beautiful and I wanted to kiss you, but now I can’t. I can see you are real. And you have such a sadness inside of you that makes me want to protect you. What happened to you? Why did you go to these places for, what have they done to you there?”

I told him, all that had happened to me which was in no dangerous place. And then he said something that really intrigued me. First he understood my pain of total abandonment by someone I trusted. And then he said something so intriguing that reminded me of Leila as well.

“Ju, you are much more impressive than me. I was born in that neighbourhood. I did not choose to live there. You come from the richer side of Sao Paulo and yet you chose to go there to see people in a very dangerous place. You chose to go Palestine. To Kashmir, to borders. And that is why I can’t simply kiss you like you were one more superficial girl here. You are profound. You know death, life, war, borders, poverty. You chose even without needing to go to see the world how it really is. Why? Why were you not afraid?”

I was really taken aback… and thought about it…. and realised…

“No one that you barely know, can hurt you. It is people who really knows you, who you truly trust that can kill your soul. I was never afraid of losing things, being killed,raped bc as painful as that sounds…. it is in these places  that most people are afraid of that I was most taken care of. It is in truly harsh places that people have not lost the value of life. Of friends. Of shelter. Of food. Of love.”

So today, as I was speaking to my dear friend Leila I remembered that. She, just like me studied abroad, came from a great life and yet she always wanted to know the other. The borders, the refugees, the places were life is so felt.

I told her what could I possibly tell her in a film? I saw her  picture, her film. It felt unfair to all those in a real war.

“Jules, you inspire me.”

And so I seat here to write this, to wonder why would that be? And suddenly it dawned to me. It simply because we have not totally lost faith in humanity. It is because we search it in extremity. It is because we know, that in these places people know the real value of life. Just like they know the non importance of death.

I write again because Leila Alaoui inspires me too. And I am fortunate enough to have her as a friend.

http://www.leilaalaoui.com/

Dona Inah and Choro.

Inah

Time has passed. I dance every week. I seat listening to a real Diva: Dona Inah. Before I dance and listen to her, I seat and talk about her life. Every week Dona Inah tells me something new…. like about when she played with Cesaria Evora, or about when she had a concert in Morocco. We both love Morocco. Sometimes she tells me about her last trip to Cuba where she recorded a CD which is about to come out. She  who had played with many of the musicians of Buena Vista in other times.  She who had sang with Omara Portuondo and so many other amazing artist and yet she is so kind. Dona Inah is 78, and every week she sings till 3,5 am in Sao Paulo.

inah-e-cesc3a1ria-evora

I am literally flabbergasted by her. Her joy, her voice, her strength and her stories. Her life and music just flow through her.  She who had started singing professionally when she was only 12 in Araras, a country side town of the state of Sao Paulo, and who had only become famous when she was  in her 70’s. Dona Inah, like me, goes to listen to Choro in a small place where some musicians go every week. I go to listen to Isaias and Israel and so many other brilliant musicians  who just pop there every single Friday, bringing their instruments and their brilliancy… It is free,  and somehow hidden in a little studio. I feel I am very privileged to be invited to go there, so I never invite almost anyone else, who might make noise there, in respect to the musicians I go alone, or with someone who plays or deeply respect music.  And so we all seat to listen to Choro.

Dona Inah

This Friday there was a storm in Sao Paulo. It had been days that it had been incredibly hot, and strangely without rain. But this Friday there was a storm, so when we got there under the rain there was no light.

choro

It was then that the mystery and the sacredness of music could be really felt. We could not see anyone, and yet music flew, and was played perfectly. As I stood up and walked carefully to go the toilet I heard my name. Two of my very dear friends were there. They were amazed to see me there. I had not seen them in ages. They held me and told me that all would now be alright. Just like before… and somehow I knew they were right. And so we stood there listening to music.

The following morning I woke up with my body all in place. Simply all in place. I still had to go see Dr. Getulio today.  I knew I was finally ok.  Even before Carnival was about to start, my soul felt it could dance again. My tears became more scarce and it feels that soon, it will be nothing but joy.

The Greatest Mystery of Time

Muster

The passing of time is just soo mysterious. Sometimes it feels wonderful, while other’s it is very painful. The greatest mystery of it is the ability to desire to go to its future but never to go to its past. Actually that is probably its hardest quality, the inability to go back. Especially since we can see the past but not the future.

Years ago, I once wrote I was coming home to Brazil because Cidao, the owner of my favourite bar in Sao Paulo was dead. At the time I received tens of messages in my Iphone while I was on my way back to Israel and Palestine. I put the thought aside then in the airport of some eastern european country, till  one day I could no longer do it. I avoided the though a lot of times.. feeling a bit sick both in Israel and in Palestine. Being taken care enormously in both places.

One day I realised I was afraid of loosing my feeling of home, which was strangely connected to the bar of Cidao. I came back to Brasil soon later, and yet once again I fell severely sick again.

I never truly understood what my nomadic soul wanted so as I was recovering I wrote my book. And then I left once again back to all places I had been before. I was confronted from the feeling of many I had left. I was puzzled, never had I thought my own feeling of abandonment could be shared by the ones who had stayed.

I left once again and it was this time that I was almost dead. The near experience of death did not make me more afraid of living not of or dying. It actually it made me  remember the words of many friends of mine who had celebrated the life and the  suicide of one of my colleague of the Phd.  At the time I did not understand that.

And life took its course. And then a few things led me to sit here to write.

Foe once  I had a conversation with Chi. My friend from Taiwan. Chi who I hosted in England in 2011, and then here 2012. Chi who was in the road for all these years. Who had travelled fundamentally different than me. Chi who though distant is together with Francesco the people who most cared about my mind. Chi crossed about 50  countries making connections never profound, always with distance.

Francesco is a doctor who wanted to be a philosopher and who accompanied lots of my situation over watsapp. Francesco went all the way to Asia to look  for salvation, mysteries. At the time, having already been to Asia several times I advised him to go to Africa or South America to volunteer as a doctor. There he would find profound connections and some kind of salvation in his mind. and body, in the relationships of others..

In Asia the continent I deeply adore I found good paths to loneliness. After a long path I did learn you could mediate to separate yourself to the world, but you should rather meditate to connect to all.

For those who are escaping their lives, Asia is an easier place to be. It is rather more dangerous exactly for that. Encounter the deep knowledge you must escape your fear of the other.

I eventually went back to Asia, to the border of Thailand and Laos. I once again could have the pleasure to see daily beauty of each sunset in the Mekong. My soul  had always craved to go to Burma, before going there I was at Mut Mee, seing the Mekong. There is my  home in Asia. And from there I heard my grandmother was in hospital. So as I took the train to go to Bangkok to go to Burma, then I collapsed and in my following days I almost died.

For the period that I was in a Coma I had a complete sense that I could choose to never wake up. Yet, I decided I wanted to come back.  Why was it so? It was clear I wanted to go back to people, and especially to see my grandmother who was at that time in hospital.

As some of you might know it has been since september that I fell sick. I am back home in Sao Paulo. And now I find time is even more mysterious. The melancholy that I feel for all these people  I have met over the world bring me tears in my eyes as I write.

I was just told by the widow of Cidao that the bar will close this sunday. For those of you who read me for a while you might know, how  much that place is important to me. And how it is related to me constructing a life here in Sao Paulo. I will definitely be there that sunday to celebrate it. Time is mysterious but in our symbolic existence we must make celebrations.

As I wrote to a friend these days, I no longer believe committing suicide is  necessarily bad.That it is not to mean that I plan to commit suicide. It is simply to overflow my feelings over time.

Time flows forward, while lots of our existence flows back. Buddhist are right in insisting we should be present. The greatest mystery of life, the greatest act of courage is to fully encounter the other. I have lived a life of full encounters so as I recover I can nothing but thank, and hope to have some reencounters again… not all… that would be asking too much.

The greatest mystery of life is to encounter the other, and for that I guess we have to get that the greatest mystery of time is to be present.

Happy New Year, and I wish you all a happy, truthful life.

Recovery of my list, And Happy New Year!

Dear friends,

I have finally been able to recover a large part of my old email list. I believe most of you might know I was gone for so long because I was severely sick the past few months.

For those who did not know that… in brief..while in Asia I was forced into a coma after having a non stop epileptic crisis.

I was about to go to Burma but then I  had a major fit just in front of the Burmese Embassy, where  there was luckily a Hospital.

I was accompanied by Edu and was kept in an Hospital in Thailand for a while till my parents came to rescue me.

Since my fits never stopped it was decided I should be induced into a coma since the non continuation of seizers could harm my brain. I naturally do not remember not of that.

I was in a total different world while this was taking place. I lived real battles, where death was  strangely not a disaster, nor a sweet thing but a simple option. It still took a while for us to return to Brazil my parents and Edu and I.  It took that long because we needed the permission of the hospital to be allowed in an airplane

I was truly in another planet. And it is taking a lot of me  to fully recover. Luckily now I recognise all the people, and able to write full sentences and not need anymore someone to take care of me.

I have been working really hard on recovering. Now it is becoming more natural again. I have been maintaining my two blogs. In english

https://translatingthoughts.wordpress.com/

And in Portuguese

http://descolonizandoamente.wordpress.com/

I do not write exactly the same things in both.. As it would be incredibly boring to do that… even when I was healthy that was the case.

But I started writing as anexercise to observe my own brain. It was Getulio Dare Rabello who had suggested.

Thank god, the scientists and the enormous amount of love I have received my brain is doing much much much much better.

Soon I will be free of most of my medications. Soon I hope I will eat less and go back to my usual life.

Thank you to all of you  who wrote me, who came here, and if I have not replied… believe me… it is only now that I actually am being able to see how much love for so many places in the world I have received… and how much I should write back! Happy New Year!

Lots of love and a Happy New Yearfrom Brazil,

Julieta

ps: if you want to be added in my english list let me know..just as if you  s know to receive emails as well

The End of the Year, the end of me and a Party…

VovóI sat with my grandmother yesterday to write in English, now I am trapped between these worlds. The world where I come from where some people do not speak English, and  the millions worlds I can only access in English because I do not know their own languages. I  never feel like writing the same texts in both languages, nor do I feel like talking about how sick we  my grandmother and I have been in the past months.

I wrote last night a whole post in English while I waited for the skype call of someone. My post was cute, informing of all little intricacies I perceive here. Then I finished my text, my conversations with the my grandmother and somehow mysteriously my whole post was lost…It was like the whole world felt like all was closing down and that I should just walk in another rode. Suddenly I decided it was not the day to write…I should just do something else something that would remind me of who I am…and to let write later.

I live with my grandmother in an old neighbour, I ask her about old neighborhoods here in our CIty Sao Paulo. She told me there were many that were old: Such as Bras , Campus Elisius and not surprisingly  the central part of Sao Paulo. Many times she even showed me places where there used to be a river and no longer has anymore.

She loves this city, and is always saying she prefers the pollution to the air of the country side. I praise the old,  she prays for scientists and admires inventions that according to her make the world better. As I  said I am interested in  the old and want to hear shamans and traditional  Chinese medicine and my grandma though she believes anything is theoretically possible she prefers the new. As I am asking all these questions she puts her book down  and says very seriously. Since you are not a specialist on these you should google it. They know better than me.

My grandmother is 89, she has just had an heart operation. As she came home she went to bed and in the following morning when she was asked whether she wanted coffee or tea she replied she wanted a cold beer.  My grandmother follows all recommendations of doctors but also her own ideas, she also learned languages and as a child she had classes of gym in her own house and piano which she hated it.  Her father was also an admirer of the future. My grandmother has always been very popular with her friends… so now having  finally the permission of the doctors for it all she planned a trip for New year’s eve with her friends. Like the following years  there are 6 friends in their eighties on the road to celebrate.

It was my grandmother who insisted I should go out for new year s eve somewhere. In Brazil, New years eve is in Summer. Many of us dress in white ( for peace according to popular knowledge) and then we try to go to the coast, and by midnight we should jump 7 waves for good luck. Many people make offerings to Iemanjá. One  the of “Mae de Santo’s” of Candonblé.

In these syncretist religions brought from  Africa, and mixed to Christianity such as Candomblé there are many figures which are like goddesses and gods who are not ever good nor bad. Very much like greek gods these “mae de santos”, and “pais de santos” carry power and human personalities. Good and Bad is a consequence of your relation with that figure.   So when you go to the beach to sea fireworks, we  sea offerings in the beach and in the  sea. We all avoid stepping in anything. Atheist or not most Brazilians are afraid to step in these offerings.

My parents did not want me to go anywhere, but they do not enjoy new years eve as much of all of us do. But luckily  Doutor Getulio told me I should go. So we prepare ourselves, we are going to our beach house house by the coast of the state of Sao Paulo. Initially, in another life time, when I had planned being in these house with 8 people. Now the world collapsed and like my message I never heard nor these new years eve is what I wanted.

So we decided to invite people we love to celebrate life. There is apparently a saying in Brazil that when all goes wrong what one should do  a party. So that is what we prepare for: we prepare now  for a party not sure whether we are hosting 5 people or 17 in the house…..  we do not care, my cousin and me, Like in Colombia I hope we will be able to celebrate “In shallah”

Love from Sao Paulo

The link to my last post… hope it works :)

I flow in words. It is hard to write, but I try it because Doctor Getullio , my neurologist, realises it might be a good way to see what has happened to me . The truth is that it is not really that in the minds of those who reach the organic collapses, what I think, so we do all exams all over the place, and I don’t even mind them actually anymore. In the past they were my greatest nightmares. I don’t even mind so much exams, and the unabated hunger that reaches  me everyday. I do it all. I simply imagined he knows, and might have finally realised how  much I have always lived deeply in the symbolic world, through words, through so much that the pragmatic people  feel it is not that important now.

So, suddenly  even the most pragmatic people had to realise what had affected me leading to a sequence of weird diseases  with no final diagnosis were led by my own despair in my mind.

It was in 2007  that l had my first epileptic attack. It was in the middle of the night and I was in a friends house. I had travelled Morocco first with Haiko my ex,  and  with Adriana, but they had to go home and  I decided to follow the trip on my own. Eventually  encountering Leila who is a brilliant photographer and has worked in borders… I had been in that crazy border when you cross a door remain into African continent to the fictional Europe of Ceuta. I felt a certain puzzlement then and I returned to Morocco the following day. I travelled on my own following Ramadan , and the villages I was recommended, taking rides, trains, and buses. I did never feel threatened as respect. Though all restaurants were open for tourists.

Then I returned eventually to Marrakech to stay longer with Mounia. I loved my stay with Mounia how friendly and carrying were their family with each other. A certain night as I was about to sleep, I felt like a shock. I did not want to call help though when I woke up I was very confused. Now I know I had an epileptic attack then, that day on my own I was confused and let it be.

On my own, not knowing what had triggered, and not wanting to call for help from my dear friend Mounia. I remained a few more days till I flew back to the UK.  To me, very soon I started to realise that these triggers seem to have happened every single time when I felt an  enormous sense of vulnerability. And the scary part is that every single time, it feels more dangerous. And so I write, open my soul, to how these collapses feel,  it is almost  like a desire, a plea for survival as what I am: simply very fragile in these world.  It scares me that it seems almost like a non-conscious plea for care in my own terms…

So I write and apologise right now for how poorly these lines are put down. In fact I guess I have this strange mind where it is not so much interested in perfection but rather in breaching of the separation of beings. I will talk about this one day. These basis of oneness and the others. Categories are in the depth of my interest. My studies have gone through science, the brain, the psychological aspects of  peoples minds, cultures and the mysticism.. so, stimulated  by Dr. Getulio I seat to write once more about it, it felt great, then very difficult, though I knew it would have been very hard.

It is hard after it means with oneself observing itself. The technique of Dra Euthimia, my psychiatrist  reminded me is part of the practice of Mindfulness (and yoga meditation technique), felt like a good thing  to do. Though meditating with no obligation to report to the other (nor oneself) is way easier. There we are back to complication of existing in the world, the explanation to the world.  So let me tell you it is hard for me to read, to see films and hold all the basic activities. It is now much better to be slow.. and rest. but I ll write more.

In the past I flew through these words, really hallucinating most of the time and in silence, till one day I wrote in portuguese, for some reason it felt easier to write it in English but I knew I should attempt to connect to the world where I came from, that would have been what Aquiles, my psychologist would have said. Then I felt my own words were telling me different things, like another person editing me, or criticism that were being written by my brother. A gentle world but out of place. Then I did understand that the process of thought was fast and that my brain is still inflamed and until I am still having Cortisone I would be eating more, looking swollen  and having strange thoughts… oh wow now I felt relieved.

I have a few blogs and one of them is called http://www.descolonizandoamente.wordpress.com, which means decolonizing the mind. It is called that way as an homage to all that I had learned from my friend, professor and ex-boss Mustapha Masrour. I am so thankful to Mustapha that it is not possible for me to put it into words now… I will make sure to write it more about it in time.  Though I must say that I did decolonize my mind and became more aware of the prejudices I was born into… I therefore also realised that total  de-affiliation brings with itself a certain total loneliness, or a new very strong affiliation to a very strong conviction to a new faith. I am in an interesting time now wondering into how to travel my mind rather than to colonise it.

It makes me laugh here realising I am trapped by languages…. I must reconnect to where I come from, but I never want to leave the world that I connected to, a world of beauty and difference, buta world that always opened arms to my never ending internal loneliness. I would like to point out that as I write this text I felt I had not written that sentence. The words where ”  buta world that always opened arms to my never ending internal ”

I  was first furious, feeling like someone else was editing my blog. Now however I am even capable to accept that my own brain might have realised  that there it is an inhabitant loneliness and that what I attribute to my brother might be one more strange progress of my myself. As I say my brain is doing much better.

So, I seat here in a process of gentle recovering. I go to several doctors. I am medicated. I have strange feelings but when it is all good I can tell a whole story and the thought starts in the centre and then flies to the right. It feels like a river in the amazon going to the right like most western languages seem to do.

The strange thing I have is that times my whole head turns to the the left…. like if I were looking back to search for my past.  If feels it is all very far away, like in some desert where all that I have is lost now. The words, the memories, all there and I want to reach it. And inevitably these times I feel languages feels like it wants to run even more back  to reach to the left, though more and morel I just feel the desire to come to the present walking back to the right to, the present, leaving behind what happened in the hospital in Asia and searching for the present. Looking for the present.  

Put it simply the thought mainly always appears in the the present. Sometimes I look back. I have a desire to go even more backwards to reach something far. I try to do it less since I noticed (or when it started….). Most of the time I turn and I can speak and feel language like it is in the western, like  people  seem to do  language go to the  right  in these places.

I don’t think I ever started from the left. It feels like it is a progress, like  in an  middle  eastern  language that  goes from where it starts to the left.. This is so complex, too hard, in an confused mind. I hope you get something 🙂

Being that all that we know about  the mind is very temptative…  and I must say  though I have no desire, nor capability of debating these patterns of learning languages  or the mind and definitely especially now I also  know I should put effort as it might happened to help.

I started so long ago searching for meaning, and I was so cared for through these diseases I was examined in painful ways, lost so much of my ability to be my own person but I did every time struggled to search for more, was every single time I was taken care of. I loved and was loved all the time, and yet I always felt I was lonely.

I did it so many times. There are no regrets. I was always met with gentleness because you encounter  what you expressed was always kindness. And as I guess I always feared more my own own loneliness I met the stranger in its real place, with the other.

But I laugh as I remember about the Brazilian Joy, I remember, once upon a time I had written about it. How it felt that in Brazil happiness joy was the less refugee against the oppressions, people simply went out and danced not letting their minds being inffected.

So, though feels like it is the best way out, and I am reminded that I had once written about how in arriving arrived in Brazil that I felt the joy all over the place and that eventually I thought it felt joy was like the last form of resistance

So I seat here, in my grandmothers s house, who also is recovering. I do the basic recovering process and we laugh seeing Michael Pailin going around the world. It is not total joy as we are all recovering, she   is 89 and I have crazy diseases but we laugh.So even little things like writing this whole mail with basic no help feel great… a few weeks ago I knew not some people.

I realised only many of you might even know what I am talking about. Too late now…. The fast section 🙂 II have been severely sick 3 times. I almost died… And the case I did not it is because I was with Edu and who  took care of me …We were about to go to Burma and I was caught up in a series of Epileptic attacks, I was then induced into in a forced coma for a while. Once I woke up I could not  even know anyone not even my parents who had flown to Thailand. I felt most of the time in a another reality.  I ha felt I was constantly being poisoned.  Ir attempted to be be kidnaped, all of these happened in september. More precisely I  arrived in Brasil the 20 an of September having left Brazil in end of of April.  Once I arrived I could not still could not really  recognise peopleIt…..

I visit great doctors: Dr. Getulio, neurologist,  Dr. Aquiles,psychologist

For Mounia Paintings: http://www.mouniadadi.com/

For Leila Photos: http://leilaalaoui.com/

My First Interview- Mosaic the Path In Between

Dear friends as I keep getting questions about people who cant get my book. And I def want that all of you who want to are able to read it.. Here it goes:

1. It is only available online now…
2. You can buy it in any amazon in any country you are!!!!.
The link i put was the one local to the UK but you can find it in any amazon inthe world 🙂
3. You do not need to have a kindle to read it.
You can download the application of kindle for ipads, smart phones, computers for free
Here for downloading kindke app
The book is called
Mosaic the Path in Between
You can get it in any amazon!
This is the link to the UK one,
 if uou are not in the UK go to the site of amazon in your country and search for the book with the title
Mosaic, the path in betweev
If you have any problem let me kbow!  🙂 and if you are reading .. Please let ne know about it!!
Love Jules in Rome in ny way back to Asia 🙂

INTERVIEW – JULIETA FALAVINA, AUTHOR “MOSAIC, THE PATH IN BETWEEN”

by Eduardo Simantob, (Journalist, Zurich – Switzerland)

1. You have been to a few hotspots in the world (Kashmir, Palestine). How is it to travel in places like this, being a woman?

JF – People ask me this quite often, but I had to pass by a certain psychological “preparation”. I used to fear going to a place as charged as Palestine, but there was a situation I lived once in Paris, in a very dodgy neighborhood, where I was faced with a very hostile encounter with a young Algerian in the street at night. But eventually we had a very interesting exchange, and the estrangement and hostility turned into empathy and understanding. Suddenly I felt I was ready. That night I felt I could go anywhere. Palestine, Kashmir, slums in Brazil, any conflict zone.

In all of these places I was welcomed. Not because I was parading as a savior, simply because I was just plain human. People know it, they can feel it. When you try to be respectful people act accordingly. More often than not my Palestinian and Kashmiri friends were intrigued by what they called “my goodness”. They usually took me in, and often told me I had to be very careful in the next village. Once I left them I should pay more attention, not all people are as nice as they were, they would say. I guess this deep fear of the unknown is a common thing everywhere. And though I know most of my friends shiver just to think of me talking openly to strangers…. I can’t avoid it. I find the risk of dying or being hurt really less scary than the reality of not knowing the other.

2. How does the fact of being a Brazilian woman affect the access to the people, and to the stories you tell?

JF – Being a woman makes it harder and easier at the same time, though I don’t know how it is to be a man. But being a woman makes it possible to be anywhere in a more gentle way. All people I met had mothers; some had sisters, and daughters. Whenever people were aggressive I usually asked about their family. I never felt scared for being a woman anywhere. Fortunately it has been so long that I do not feel harassed that I barely know how I react to this. I usually talk back to people. And they get puzzled, and eventually start telling me their stories. Or else, when they could not talk to me, they would offer sweets in a bus, or a smile… I really cannot think of a time when I felt really scared.

Being Brazilian also makes a huge difference. I did not notice it immediately… but soon enough I realized that by the fact that Brazil is mainly known for football and carnival, it made people relate to me very differently. Not having a history of being a colonial power, or an imperial power (although in Latin America this perception is a bit different) often allowed me to ask whatever I wanted. Having been born in Brazil also prepared me to the idea of syncretism and to accept difference, in spite of all economic problems arising from the enormous inequality that exists there. We usually boast how we are used to difference, but it took me a long time to feel at home in Brazil again. And if there is one thing I do admire from where I come from is the usual acceptance people have towards difference. And of course, the proverbial optimism and joy. Being Brazilian allowed me to always laugh and to be emotional at things. Seeing difference was the norm in my life rather than the exception. So people often ask me about football players or Carnival, which are happy events. It makes my journeys significantly easier.

3. You avoided taking sides when describing the conflict zones you travel through, and keep the politics in the back. But how could you describe yourself, politically?

JF – My book came out of a series of emails I sent to people to explain the place I was in. I was, and still am, more interested in people than in the political reality of a place. I studied international politics and social sciences, so I was not unaware of the political facts on the ground. But I felt misinformed by it. I find it very important to know the history of a place, yet what always moves me are personal stories. And the more I wrote about them the more I realized how similar we are in the world.

As an anthropologist I always defended the plurality of the world. I wanted to cherish the languages, the cultural manifestations, and as a student of psychology I also always felt we were exactly the same everywhere. It did not matter even whether I spoke the language of the place, soon enough I could grasp what was going on.

The reason I never write that much about politics in my e- mails is because politics permeate the world where we live, but if we focus too much on it we are taken by ideas and lose touch with the human aspect.

I don’t even classify myself politically anymore. I am interested in people, but without ever losing the notion that we are the same in diversity. It is tricky when you think of borders, that on one hand they should  preserve differences, and yet, on the other we should  not allow them to fully separate us  from the other.

4. And spiritually?

JF – Brazil is a very syncretic country. I was born in a Catholic family who is not practicing and that doesn’t attend church. As a child I believed in nothing, and had no affiliation to any specific religion. As soon as I could define myself as something, I would say I was an agnostic. Later, following the trends of the time I became a fundamentalist atheist. Until I met a friend who is deeply involved into religious studies, and asked him whether he was a “believer”.

He said, “I guess I am a believer trapped in the body of an atheist”. To what I replied, “I guess I am an atheist in the body of a believer.” We became very good friends ever since. I believe both of us relieved our atheist parts somewhere along the path. I have always felt both.  Sometimes a believer trapped in an atheist body, sometimes an atheist trapped in a believer body. Never were the two in the same place at the same time. Till the day I stopped trying to be that coherent. Nowadays I am very interested in religious beliefs, but my biggest religious practice has to do with compassion. A value I learned to understand better with Dostoyevsky’s “Brothers Karamazov”, and that I see in almost all religious manifestations in the world.

5. What is the meaning of the “path in between”?

JF – I wanted to call my book ‘In-betweeners’ because I always felt we were trapped in between worlds, ideas etc. But something that happened in Brazil made me realize that we do not have to choose all the time. We do not have to be perfect. We have to make a Mosaic. Mosaic is a celebration of art. It is a celebration of what is made by hand, the art of the possible. Taking things that were broken and making something better with them. Something beautiful. And celebrating what is most human: living the symbolic.

Art is for me the best manifestation of humanity. And a mosaic is a form of art that leaves the idea of perfection (in disruption) aside. A mosaic is beautiful because it is made of pieces. We are all made of pieces.

What matters is the journey, not where we come from or where we end. This movement to go back is a search for belonging and we belong both to the All and to a specific thing. We must go back to realize that we are inheritors of all the joy and pain that exists.

The middle path is a Taoist idea, a Chinese concept. But it is something beyond that I wanted to bring, because it has nothing to do with being in the middle as being “right”, “correct”, but of being really in between things, conflicts, ideas. It contains the idea of the middle from Buddhism. But not a perfect middle.Just in between, in what humans are; in this human experience we can make a mosaic.

But this is just one narrative. There are others and they should all be heard. Because it is only in hearing the other that we find our own voice. And I have finally found mine.

6. What was your plan when you started to write your blog, and how did it change in the course of your travels?

JF – My book is in fact a series of emails I started to write to my friends when I first went to volunteer in Asia.

As soon as I started asking people whether what I wrote about them was ok, they told me they wanted to be part of my list to know about the other people I met. Soon many of the people I had met were reading my stories somewhere else. This has fundamentally changed the way I wrote because all that I saw I wanted to share with people I had left on the journey. So my emails were always an attempt to share with others what I saw.

Once I started going back to places, my writing changed again. I remember a class I attended at the LSE where Professor Fuller explained how his experience with the people he researched made him much more accurate.

“When you write about people in Tuvalu and they do not read you, you can say anything. Now when you talk about Indian Brahmins and they will read you and be in your audience, you have to be more careful”.

I often thought of those words when I wrote about Palestinians and Israelis. I always knew they would read it. I needed to be as accurate as I could. That is why, when I published my book and I asked people whether I could write about them, they said yes. Not only they knew me, but they had read me. They knew what I wrote was what they had told me.

7. Did you change much of your writings when transcribing your blog to the book? Is the voice you found in the book the same as the one in the blog?

JF – Most of my writing is exactly as it was. The only corrections were made by my editors for most of these emails were typed from my I-Phone or I-Pad, and I simply never edit anything. I don’t know how to, and was always on the go.

8. Do you think that your experience as an anthropologist is more an advantage or a hindrance to your sensibility?

JF – I actually am not sure. I believe I was born an anthropologist because of my interest in the other. In the beginning I used social theories, political theory, cognitive theory to attempt to understand life. Then this was all thrashed. I guess I took from anthropology the admiration for a plural world, and from cognition an interest in the things that connect people. From my Professors Rita Astuti and Maurice Bloch I learned that what people say and what people think can be fundamentally different. Maybe from my whole time in academic life this is the most important lesson I have learned. What people say usually has to do with society, now what people feel and think…. that is way harder to tap into scientifically.

9. You studied music and have composed quite a few songs. Is your music some kind of link to Brazil, or do you feel it more in tune with your international experience?

JF – Well, I started to compose when I was a child. I used to feel that Brazilian music touched my soul while other music travelled to other places in my body. Nowadays I do not feel that anymore. I remember hearing Klezmer in Brazil and feeling I was a nomad. Music connects me to my body, and that is where home is to me.

10. Do you still feel like writing songs?

JF – I am not sure. Since it is quite hard for me to sing now, because of a health issue, it is difficult to say. I love playing with a French musician called GaspardDeloison, a very talented boy I met in Asia. Gaspard has the ability to transform what he hears in something more beautiful. He is so humble that he can’t see it. If I ever were to record a cd it would have to be with him. Yet I prefer nowadays to just play the piano (which I can’t actually play).

“Mosaic, The Path in Between” can be purchased for kindle. You do not need to have a Kindle to read it.  If you do not have kindle you may download a kindle app for free on your phone, Ipads, or computers.

For Kindle here:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00CSAJHP4/ref=r_soa_w_d

MOSAIC, THE PATH IN BETWEEN

SYNOPSIS

“Mosaic” is the journey of a woman who always

felt lost, but who never feared the Other, and went after It. It is the journey of a woman coming of age while trying to understand boundaries as well as her roots

in search of a sense of home. It is a human journey through her body and with a soul open to

record the so many voices that helped her finally find her own. The voices of Thais, Palestinians, Israelis, Tibetans, Europeans

and so many others, calling for a gentler world, a world in which all of us feel less alone.

The book does not follow a strict chronological order. Instead, it delves on an inner path. Mosaic starts with an old self of the author, still naïve but at the same time quite skeptical of faiths, dogmas and deep-rooted beliefs, leaving a precocious and short- lived marriage to do voluntary work in a school in Thailand. It is a seemingly harmless world, and her travels then also follow no plan or any specific curiosity, until she decides to focus her PhD in a research about how Israelis and Palestinians perceive and act upon the very idea of peace. Suddenly the individual stories and the humanity of the people she meets become much more interesting than any academic work. The PhD will eventually be dropped, but the trip will rage on up to the limits of physical endurance, as she is faced with odd health issues, the proximity of death and a reassessment of spirituality. She starts to realize that “home” transcends geography; it is made by people, by love, by managing to conciliate her roots with the antennae that connect her to the wider world.

The book also includes original illustrations done by artists Thomaz Bondioli (São Paulo/Amsterdam),Valérie Ciriadès (São Paulo/Belgium), Sandra Naxara(São Paulo) and Mounia Dadi (Marrakesh). Original graphic design made by Gustavo Soares (Rio de Janeiro).

“Mosaic, The Path in Between” can be purchased for kindle. You do not need to have a Kindle to read it.  If you do not have kindle you may download a kindle app for free on your phone, Ipads, or computers.

For Kindle here:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00CSAJHP4/ref=r_soa_w_d

Mosaic, The Path in Between

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Julieta Falavina (1981) was born in São Paulo, Brazil, but attended French schools in order to follow a constant curriculum while following her parents’ errands. At the age of 19 she won a Fulbright scholarship and graduated in Music and Anthropology at Hofstra University (New York), later continuing her studies at University of Amsterdam (Social Sciences & Conflict Resolution) and finally settling at the London School of Economics, where she completed her Masters in Cognitive Anthropology

and started the PhD program. She was also teaching assistant at Birkbeck College and University of East London in Political Approaches to Social Conflict (2011).

Julieta’s nomadic life started at a tender age, having lived in Buenos Aires and in South Australia still in her teens. While pursuing her academic career in Europe, she traveled extensively in South America, Southeast Asia, India, North Africa and the Middle East. In 2009, while volunteering in Thailand, she began to narrate her stories via e-mail to about 20 friends. The characters in her stories started to become readers, too, firstly to know what was being told about them, but then to also follow the world through the eyes of someone they knew so well. Soon the mailing list had more than 500 names, many of them replicating the stories to their own friends. In parallel, Julieta kept two blogs, one in English and another in Portuguese (with different contents), where newcomers could read what she had written before. As a prolific songwriter, Julieta has also dozens of songs composed in several languages, and many of them can be seen in her own YouTube channel. She is fluent in Portuguese, Spanish, English, Italian and French.

Links:

http://www.translatingthoughts.wordpress.com (blog English)http://descolonizandoamente.wordpress.com/ (blog Portuguese)http://www.youtube.com/user/julietafalavina/videos?view=0 (YouTube Channel)

“Mosaic, The Path in Between” can be purchased for kindle. You do not need to have a Kindle to read it.  If you do not have kindle you may download a kindle app for free on your phone, Ipads, or computers.

For Kindle here:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00CSAJHP4/ref=r_soa_w_d