Hello Dear Readers,
I am writing you from a kind of grey and still a bit cold London. It is the first day of Spring today yet the Sun is a bit shy in showing its full rays.
After much pondering I have taken a decision that I would like to share with you. I have decided not to write on this blog anymore.
Let me tell you that this did not came as an easy decision. Writing on this blog gave me many pleasurable moments. It was great to think at stories, writing them down and then see the conversations arising. It has been great fun!
Yet, as much as I have loved this blog, this space was born as an experiment. As every experiment I feel that this one too is ready to stop.
Two major points led me to this decision.
First of all, during my time as a blogger I have seen many types of other blogs. I had the pleasure to read personal development blogs, creative writing blogs, spiritual blogs, yoga blogs, space blogs and blogs on miniaturized worlds (no kidding!). The more I read from other blogs, the less I could pick a structure to follow for mine. You may argue that the name of this blog is the Italian for Thoughts Out of Shape, therefore I should probably not care about shape too much. Although, as much as I enjoyed this freedom of expression, I need some time to redirect my writing efforts. I need a new space and a new vision. I need to find a different shape that would allow me to grow.
Second of all, and most importantly, I feel that I need to devote some time to speak to myself. I need to do writing, plenty of it, and direct it to myself to find my voice. I want to understand in a deeper way which type of writer do I want to be. I feel like I need to experiment a lot and it is difficult to do so in a space which is there mostly for others. To fully explore my new purpose in writing I feel that I need to do some writing that is directed first to myself for a while, before coming out again to a public, for small as it may be.
I hope you understand this decision.
As you can see this decision does not mean leaving writing on the shelf. It means redirecting it, exploring from another perspective to then decide how and when to come back. It is a strong act of freedom, if you like.
It has been a great pleasure to dialogue with all of you. As I said above, I had a lot of pleasure in writing for all of you. I wish you all the Best!
And who knows.. We might see each other again some day in the future!
After years of living in London I became convinced of a fundamental truth: there’s nothing better than a Saturday brunch!
The week left behind might have been long, stressful, with many inputs of information we did not necessarily asked for. What is better then than taking some time to chill with a loved one or with some friends, and enjoy the best that local restaurants have to offer?
Well, I have recently came to a new conviction. Saturday brunch tastes so much better if eaten mindfully.
Think about it. The occasion is among the best ones to practice mindfulness. One is under very low stress, in a friendly environment environment and with the chance to experiment many different tastes, particularly if one embark him/herself in a massive mediterranean breakfast. The perfect settings for an experiment!
With so many tastes available, this is the perfect chance to see our urge to want more. A fried egg is good. A fried egg with salt is awesome, at least according to the mind. But in the rush to salt the egg we might lose the occasion of enjoying the egg taste for what it is. The same applies to mushrooms, tomatoes, halloumi and tortillas.
These are all amazing tastes, but we risk to loose their uniqueness if we don’t pay attention reacting to urges (the urge to salt is only one of them, but you got the point!).
The same urge applies to many other areas of our lives: the urge to watch videos, the urge be busy, and the urge to mindlessly check our phones. All sources of distraction in search for the next sugar rush.
So, what might be a better alternative?
Well, one thing might be to slowdown, breathe and see the urges coming and going. Yes, even in during our Saturday brunch.
If we really slow down, let thoughts go and focus on the breathing the results might be amazing. We might for example enjoy what is in front of us, without the need for the next sugar rush!
Happy Saturday everybody!
Photo: Refined and raw sugar crystals
Power And Syred/Science Photo Library
“Be empty of worrying. / Think of who created thought! / Why do you stay in prison / When the door is so wide open?” J. Rumi
How many times do we find ourselves chasing thoughts that take what we are, that immense space of love, and twist our perception of it in our minds. What is the need of following all of this? Thoughts are what they are, thoughts, and they all arise from nothing. Sometimes some stories, or versions of our selves, arise from that which we have already dropped, but that perhaps we are still afraid to say goodbye to. Do not be afraid of your own thoughts. To be scared of them would mean to be like that dog who is afraid of his own shadow. In reality the relationship with the shadow of our own thoughts is very different: wherever our attention go the thoughts follow, that’s all. But it is up to us to understand the nature of this relationship and possibly not allow those thoughts to become like an unbeatable monster. The truth, for how uncomfortable it might feel, is that we are already free from preconceived ideas of ourselves. The door for ourselves is already open, provided that we say the magic word. What we need, in short, just to say Yes.
San Giorgio is a figure who has always been very close to me since childhood. The story of this Saint originated in the Middle-East. He became then very revered in the greek orthodox church and his worship later diffused to the whole of Europe. George, the saint, has always always embodied the virtues typical of the code of chivalry: a strong hero, brave and spotless, who thanks to his valiant is able to save the lovely damsel from the clutches of the terrible dragon that terrorizes the city. The only thoughts that a similar figure could have existed always made me hope that everyone might have deep resources to deal with any situation. You do not need too much insight to realize that things are often not quite so.
To really understand a phenomenon, the first thing is to observe it carefully. In the example of Orthodox iconography of St. George the dragon is depicted as a monster that emerges from the bowels of the earth. In the story the dragon, often asleep, would suddenly wake up to collect his debt of blood. The dragon is therefore something primordial to the social context in which it imposes himself. In virtually every mithological story of the Western tradition the monster is a strength that can not be controlled and that arises suddenly. In some cases, the monster does not seem to be truly defeated, as it the case of Hercules, who recognises that one of the heads of the hydra he was fighting is immortal. In that case the hero’s only choice was then to bury his head in order for it not to arise again. Does this sound familiar?
There are far too many examples from the international scene that seem to be there to remind us that the pattern of the hero who defeats an enemy monster is not a model that works. Just think of all the attack of Ghedaffi Libya, Saddam’s Iraq and the fight against international terrorism. While many of these individuals or organizations were undoubtedly monsters is often all too clear that each of the attacks on this kind of mysterious dragon has not done anything but to generate new monsters to deal with. Threat, war, order restored. And then what? A new threat. Always and forever, in a spiral of violence. That there is probably something wrong with the model that we are told by tradition?
It makes you wonder if there is a better alternative to this scheme, perhaps one that could lead us to a deeper understanding of the real situation in which we live.
The need to understand this phenomenon becomes even more urgent when one realizes that demons are not evil creatures outside of us, but deep-rooted forces within us. All these forces we face every day in one way or another. They are found in feelings of anger if someone bumps us on the street, when we feel we are unable to say what we feel, wen we make ouselves smaller than what we are, or when we bask in doubt. All of those forces blur our vision and lead us away from compassionate action. We feel anger and then click an aggressive response. We feel frustration and then it arises a fake need to shake it off. There is a desire, and again one might end up acting blindly. All of this unaware and uncompassionate choices are like providing the dragon with more sacrificial victims. Those victims are parts of our soul, and attention. Also, we know all too well that this type of dragon will never satiate his hunger. Maybe it will be satisfied for a while, but then his hunger he will awaken again and who knows if there will be a few San Giorgio passing at that time.
Yet there may be an alternative which is a change in vision. One can play the same game again and again, until it is realized that maybe the dragon is not really a monster and that its desires are not his real needs. When the dragon manifests his first request the latter seems to indicate a certain need, and yet we often find that what really moves the dragon is qualcose different and deeper. To understand our dragons we must therefore learn toconverse with those monsters and understand what they might need.
Every time I have to do with my dragons, hence almost every day, the first impression is almost always fear of the monster, or the strong desire not to deal with a specific dragon. Followinf a closer look, however, I can recognize that my dragons follow specific trends. Certain things trigger them, others do not. In any case, all the dragons I’ve encountered (in a metaphorical sense!) have always proved to be fragile, frightened and anxious to be understood creatures. They are like everyone else who just want to find a cure to their pain. In this sense those dragons are more like children to look after. They must be observed, aided and cared after. If left to themselves, unobserved, we might end up being managed by our unwisest side. However, if one manages to adopt a compassionate conversation with those dragons, asking what they really need, those same forces might turn out to play on our side.
The trick around this is to be able to embrace what in us we find repulsive. If we do it openly and compassionately it can help you finding the words to express the energy that this hatching. The result is always a transformation. What at first was biting and kicking can become our ally and we can become a little freer, without the need to be heroes.
If you are interested in understanding more about the idea of the “dragons / demons” I suggest “Feed your demons” by Tsultrim Allione. So insightful!
I am walking my own body,
which is a prison no more,
but a timely gift on the way home.
Photo: Walking Shadow di Makoto Saito (2013)
Inside of me there’s a mad dog who pulls, bites and clings.
he leads me in the fog, where fear and lust are his water springs.
With such sharp teeth, compassion he has none,
for him everything is imperfect, unsteady, undone.
What is lost and far at his eyes seems to shine,
what is here and now is neglected, it’s a dime.
A weird glance it’s enough to hit his nerve,
all is a threat to the phantom treasure he preserves.
How tiring days are, carrying inside such a fierce beast,
constantly lacking and asking and never quiet, nor at peace.
I want to win back my freedom, on this I’m so keen.
I want to wash you away, my original sin.