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Monthly Archives: March 2016

In his treatise Poetics, Aristoteles defines tragedy as “…an imitation of an action that is serious, complete, and of a certain magnitude; in language embellished with each kind of artistic ornament, the several kinds being found in separate parts of the play; in the form of action, not of narrative; with incidents arousing pity and fear, wherewith to accomplish its katharsis of such emotions. . . . ”

There is an unbroken link that connects Persephone’s journey to the kingdom of Hades and her return on earth, to the passion of Christ. I think that is why Easter has resonated so strongly with generations and generations of people. It tells the true story of humanity, mortality, pain, loss, renewal and hope. Regardless of how many times it is told, it still has the power to move.

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This Sunday I went to Easter mass. When entering the church I noticed the Syrian man sitting at a bench across mine. My visits are occasional and whimsical. His on the other hand seem to be very regular. I once tried to converse with him at the church coffee. Unfortunately, we had no language in common, so I just managed to extract some basic information. He showed me a picture of his wife. I nodded. I introduced him to my mother. He nodded. I asked him if he is orthodox and he nodded again. We smiled and sipped on our teas and coffees  and turned around to continue with our conversation.

He must be quite much outside his comfort zone I thought.  A refugee in a remote country in the very north of another continent. A middle-eastern man in a bright ornament free protestant church with a female priest singing with an angel’s voice to the bombastic sounds of  the ecclesiastic organ. All in an unknown language with obscure phonetics. This time, when mass was over, I saw a woman approaching him and trying to talk to him using her body language and hands to illustrate her questions. It is hopeful when people don’t give up on communication.

This year, the bright week coincided with the bombings in Brussels. My Facebook feed was full of status updates of friends saying they are safe, which is such a relief.  Shortly after I had gotten my first job in Brussels 9/11 happened. I remember the contrast of my life advancing against the backdrop of a crazy world.

While reading the news and updates on the people that have lost their lives during the tragic events of last week, I recognised a familiar face in David Dixon, a Briton living in Brussels. I am quite sure that we were yoga classmates back in 2003. Nathalie’s class in Uccle, remember? He seemed like a very kind and positive person David. My thoughts go to the victims, their families and friends.

So yes, Easter is a reflection of life with its miracles and flaws. A chocolate egg wrapped in layers of heavy, unpleasant feelings that you need to peel off before you can bite into its sweetness. Still, despite all the imperfections of human nature, winter is once again transiting into spring. Every time is unique. Every time is once in a lifetime.

Today the sun shone bright. Nothing like yesterday’s grayness. I am so lucky to have the woods around the corner, so in the afternoon I walked out to take in the sprouting greenness of spring.

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I have said it before and I will say it again…This is what I love about having moved here.

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Just by choosing the direction of my steps I can re-connect to what is real. Last time I took this same route was in the late summer, when berries were ripe.Promenad_stadsskogen_gulablommor_2016
And on my way back I had a little chat with this ginger beauty, happy Buddha as a cat.BuddhaKissen_2016
We shook finger and paw and that was it. We are now BFF.

At a Japanese style spa. My sister and I. Steaming water, pine-trees and a lovely room. Fruit and green tea at the lounge. Dinner enjoyed slowly. Early morning sauna yoga, breakfast, meditation and another session of bathing.

As I was washing myself on the little stool before entering the hot tub I remembered the times I had done the same in Japan. Mind and body surrendering to the bucketfuls of water.

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And then, on the train back to civilisation I was met with a reality check. Bombings in my old hometown. The city where I have become friends with some of the best people I know. I cannot count the times I have flown in and out of the Brussels national airport. Not to mention the Maalbeek station just around the corner from my old office.

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Fortunately my friends are alright. My former colleagues too.

Awful things are happening in the world as I write, and still, the world so often leaves me in awe. If nature and civilisation have created something as perfect as the onsen and the Japanese bath ritual, maybe there is still hope.

You know how you tend to get short of ideas when looking for a present?

Then you realise that that somebody you are buying a present for is a tea-drinker, so you think problem solved, I’ll buy some tea. It is a logical and beautiful thought, but I have this theory: together with candle-holders, tea must be the most common gift idea.

Of course, as a tea-drinker I do appreciate trying out different kinds of tea. However my experience is that unless the tea consumption matches the supply (see holding frequent tea-parties) you end up tea-hoarding. To clarify things, I am a very happy and humble receiver of tea. I mean how could I not love my green teas brought to me from Japan?

I also want to add that I do not expect people to give me any presents at all. I would like to think that I am downsizing a bit, so I really like things that get consumed and leave no other trace behind than memories…

I must say though that this funky tea-moose I got as a present from a friend some time ago is really a very practical and original gift. I love it because it is light, functional and looking at it makes you smile. It is perfect for the traveler and the lover of a mobile lifestyle.

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So this is just an idea.  And you can do with several tea-holders because you will need them for all the tea-parties you will be throwing.  Tea always tastes better in good company.

PS. Thank you R for the cup, S for the tea and E for the tea-moose ❤

About a week ago, I was hit by a sense of utter boredom, just like that.

The next day I needed to tackle my state of mind. I ended up taking a nice shower and a long foot bath. I painted my toe-nails and washed my hair. I applied some oil on my dry skin. I went for a long walk, practiced yoga, got work done.

My mood eventually picked up and I came to realise that I was following the advice of my aunt Stella, who once revealed the universal cure for a bad mood to me and my cousin: “When you are feeling blue, take a bath, fix your hair, paint your nails…”. A very down to earth piece of advice if you ask me and far superior to the new age wisdom imparted by teabags.

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My aunt Stella also made another memorable statement. We were on the bus on a trafficked Greek city street. The flower beds on the concrete separating the two lanes were full of marigolds whereby my aunt declared ” Marigolds. The ugliest of flowers. But very good for decoration“.

So that’s it. Nothing needs to be perfect, it just needs to make sense in a given context. And whenever your spirits are low just take a foot bath. It does help.

sofiawise

Clockwise, otherwise & likewise

The Chick on a Pea

Clockwise, otherwise & likewise

Buttercupgoeswest

Buttercup is a newborn and we are taking her on a 5000 KM journey from Ahmedabad to Kanyakumari

Sadness Theory

Music with passion for the environment

zee pause café

taking a moment, having a coffee, writing down some thoughts