People. Roads. Love.

Jan 19, 14 People. Roads. Love.

Posted by in Mindfulness, Thoughts/Ideas

This year I took a longer time to start writing and not because I am out of subjects to write about, but because the very act of living has become so intense that I have been having trouble finding the words to describe my feelings. Over the past year I travelled longer distances than ever before – both inside and out. And I learnt about the world. About me. I learnt about love. Love of nature, of life. Love of parents, sisters and brothers, friends, lovers. Love of people. Love of me. Somewhere deep down in my heart I always knew that love was part of the very DNA of the beings that we are, that without it we either cease to exist altogether or we transform in shadows, in bodies moving around inexorably caught up in the routine of days going by without meaning. But also deep down a seed started growing a long time ago, longer than I can consciously remember – the seed of fear. Fear that I might lose love. At that point I started believing that love was something I have rather than something I am and that without it I will suffer. I created the belief that I had to fight for love and that I should never become complacent, never relax completely in the certainty that I was loved unconditionally. Over the first 30 years of my existence I strived to earn the love of others and, once gained, I tried hard not to lose it. And with each loss, with each friend who chose a different road, with each lie, injustice, bad luck came pain and with it the certainty that love was indeed fragile and it could be taken from me in an instant. I convinced myself that I can be safe from suffering if I was vigilant. If I “invested”love only in those who were unlikely to let me down, if I offered my love in small doses and if, as my grandmother often...

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Stories with and about Grandparents

Oct 13, 13 Stories with and about Grandparents

Posted by in Mindfulness

Some time ago I was reading an article by Simona Tache – “My Grandparents’ Love Story”  (in Romanian) and the many comments filled with nostalgic love stories from half a century ago…I then lovingly remembered my grandparents and a thought stuck with me that I needed to write their love-story some day, just as I heard it hundreds of times from my grandmother when I was a child. Granny was an incurable romantic. I’d know she was in a good mood as soon as I entered the door because I heard her humming an old love song from the time when people would spend peaceful summer afternoons eating pies and listening to an orchestra in the Public Garden. For a few days now this song, from back then, has been playing in my mind… Today I went to the cemetery and lit a candle by my grandparents grave. I also did something that, custom says, should not be done – I played this song in the silence of the cemetery. It was my gift for them. So is this story. It is said that if you truly want to understand and befriend your past, the history which brought you to this point in your life, then you should go back to your very first memory. Is it a happy one or not? Who is in it? My oldest memory dates back to when I was about 2 or 3, when I used to pretend I was a circus acrobat and would put on a huge show with all my toys as personal assistants in front of an enthusiastic audience made up of … my grandmother. I perfectly remember the whole “routine” – me hiding behind the wardrobe and granny, as I affectionately called her all throughout her life, would play host and solemnly announced the beginning of a new, fabulous show. At the right time I would enter the “stage” with all my stuffed Teddy Bears, with my favourite doll, Oana, and all the other...

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Choosing Love

I have the privilege to witness amazing transformations in people I work with every day and sometimes, as it happened today, I am reminded of how simple, yet magical, the catalysts for these transformations can be. Today I had coffee with one of my coaching clients, who came along with her three and a half year old daughter. I was in awe at the amazing connection between the two of them as I saw my client’s whole expression transform when she spoke to or merely looked at the little one. As my client is going through a big change in her life, her daughter unwittingly provides perhaps the most valuable support her mother could ever wish for. What does she do exactly? She herself summed it up beautifully when, at one point, her mother asked: “What are you feeling?” “I feel my heart filled with love” the little one replied “For whom?” the mother asked “For you, mommy”.  “I love you too, honey. I love you so much” the mother concluded, tears in her eyes. I had tears in my eyes too and I too felt my heart filled with love. This is a mother who wholeheartedly gives love to her child, and joyously receives love back. But what happens when this exchange is not that healthy? What happens when love isn’t shared or returned? What happens when people – parents, lovers, friends – make terrible mistakes against those whom they love? Or when they simply don’t know how to show love, because nobody has ever taught them? Later in the day I had a talk with someone very close to me about the sadness and pain of losing love, being denied love, being rejected, hurt, humiliated by someone you love. We talked about what options the “victim” has in these situations. What options does a rejected child have when her parents are unable to give her the emotional nourishment she needs? What options does another have when he is abused? What kind of...

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30 Years. The Story of a Love Lost and a Life Found.

Jun 13, 13 30 Years. The Story of a Love Lost and a Life Found.

Posted by in Featured, Mindfulness

I first saw him, really saw him, on the bus taking us from Campus to the Centre of Bucharest. He was leaning on the rail, his gaze lost somewhere in that indefinite space between where I was, two meters away, and the window, through which the orangey light of late October was coming in. I remember having a strange feeling of dejá-vu – as if I had lived this before – I, secretly glancing at him, he, pretending no to notice me. Suddenly, he raised his eyes straight towards me and I found myself suspended in an space beyond time, flooded by a strange sensation of familiarity, awkwardness and a “something” I couldn’t quite name – a thrill, a longing, an impulse to get lost in his big, brown-green eyes. After a few moments, which seemed a lifetime, he extended his hand: “I believe we’re in the same study group, right? I’m Stefan” I replied trying to seem sure of myself, even slightly indifferent: “Hi. I’m Alis.” We were juniors at the University of Bucharest, the Faculty of Political Science. I had chosen this faculty because in 2002 Romania, when everybody wanted to study Economics and Law, it sounded “exotic” to me. Moreover, it was in English. I had dreamt about studying Psychology because I was fascinated in this intricate Universe in each of us, in myself in particular, but my father, doctor and skeptic, had convinced me to choose a more interesting career, one that wouldn’t require me to “work with all the mad men in some hospital”. So I thought I would be a diplomat. That’s an interesting career, right? Traveling through the world, meeting fascinating people and discovering diverse cultures – what could be more interesting than that? It was hard not to notice Stefan after our meeting on the bus. He was the brilliant student, a walking encyclopedia, great lover of history and philosophy, favored by teachers because he always had some intelligent question in seminars where others were nodding....

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Stepping Off the Treadmill and Into the Ocean

I’m back in sunny Brazil, which is quickly becoming my home away from home. Here, in a small, dusty, green, charmingly animated town by the ocean, one can find an impressive mix people from all over the world. I found myself immersed in this incredible diversity of styles, backgrounds and preoccupations, which felt like being thrown on a cultural carousel – the whole world, normally so full of lines dividing people/nations/cultures seems to have shrunk to the size of a small town where lines are blurred and surprising similarities start emerging from among all the differences. A French businessman seized the opportunity to own a “fazenda de cacau” (cocoa tree farm), producing his own organic brand of chocolate. A Dutch, former University professor, now in her 50s, used her life savings to buy a “pousada” – a small motel – right by the ocean and is now making a living from it. An Australian in her 40s, who had refused to settle down before, finally found true love here, in Bahia, and just had her baby one month ago – she and her husband own the local bakery. A Portuguese chef and passionate hand-made jewellery artist found a place here which she calls home. A lovely, highly educated young woman left a 7 year career in the largest bank of Brazil to live here, by the ocean, with the man she loves – he the manager of a small restaurant, she a waitress speaking flawless English, with a beautiful smile on her face most of the time. Surfers, eccentric “rasta” tattoo artists, people belonging to various spiritual communities, party goers, capoeira dancers with perfectly sculpted bodies diligently practicing their art on the beach every single day mix with locals, expats and tourists from every corner of the world in what probably is the most amazing cultural cocktail that one would ever expect to find in such a small place – barely the size of a pin-tip on the map of Brazil. What do all these people...

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