This is about Fear…

This blog is not about politics – and I don’t want to turn it into a political blog because this is not why I started writing it. Some issues, however, need to be addressed, if only briefly. After Trump was elected, I thought to myself: “I knew it was bound to happen.” And there was nothing I could have personally done to avoid it. I wanted to trust that the American people would do the right thing. They didn’t. Now, the French are proving to be close to doing the exact same mistake. Or is it really a mistake?

Let me get this straight. I am not okay with what is happening – still it was far too easy for the media to make it seem impossible for the far right (or for Trump for that matter) to be elected or to even come close to being elected. People are avid for safety. They’ve been disappointed. They’re looking for a solution that will let them express their frustration, their resentment, their anger and above all… their fear. This is all about fear. About the fear and exasperation and lack of understanding and feeling of invisibility/insecurity of a people that’s never quite heard. It’s about the fear of extremism and war and difference. Because there’s a war going on. Of course there’s a war going on and people are all the more scared that this war seems invisible and is unpredictable. It strikes punctually, takes on the form of terrorist attacks and the troops that have been sent (for reasons that are not questionable in themselves) are so far away that they, too, have become almost like virtual realities, except for their anxious friends and families. There’s a war going on and yet no trace of it. There’s debt and mass consumption. This world is moving so fast and in such a paradoxical way that it is virtually impossible to get half a grasp of the situation.

And then, there come people who “speak” to the people and make them feel as though they had been heard. People who make them believe they will protect them, give them a voice and help the country. But in all honesty, it is hard to blame them for believing, because who doesn’t want to feel as though they mattered? To feel as though the situation was going to change for the better? The world has been there before, hasn’t it? The world has been tricked before, hasn’t it? The world has been afraid and avid for safety before, hasn’t it?

It has. And now, as much as I want to rise and shout and make a revolution, I am also humbled. I am humbled because I am reminded once again of the conscious and unconscious suffering of the world. So I will end this post quoting John Keats and try, as always, to work, as well as I humanly can, to make this world a better place.

 “Do you not see how necessary a World of Pains and troubles is to school an Intelligence and make it a soul?”
John Keats, Letter to George and Georgiana Keats.

Healing Yourself – The Value of Playing

We go about our daily lives – working, speaking, sleeping, eating, thinking, working some more. And when we do not work, how we worry about tomorrow’s tasks ahead! What about that deadline getting closer? Or that meeting we yet have to prepare for? Work, taxes, money issues, the trifles of the day, the burdens of the night, and the old memories of wounds we believed had closed that keep coming back to us in dreams, and the one negative thought that triggers a train of associations sending some of us spiraling down, down, and further down… That is when you are looking  at your own personal life only, the life we get caught up with, sometimes forgetting to look outside ourselves and beyond.

My girlfriend, my wonderful, complex, curious, clever, beautiful and funny, but terribly anxious girlfriend, knows all too well what it feels like to be overwhelmed by her own thoughts, and to become trapped inside her mind. The best I can do to soothe her is give and show her love – and I have plenty to give her. But there’s something else that we love to do to heal our nerve-wracked minds – we simply just play!

Friendly January.jpg

We are adults – young adults for sure, but still, we are supposed to be grown-ups. We have teaching jobs that place us in a position of responsibility towards teenagers and still we find ourselves playing like little children all the time. When we went to Auvergne together, we tried going to the top of a mountain, but had to stop halfway up the road because the wind was too strong and we couldn’t see anything for all the snow that was flying and dancing in the sky. So we made our way to the foot of the mountain again, but made a pause on the way to do a snowball battle and to run in the fields. We did it again the next day, and we had fun in the swimming-pool at our hotel. There was an older couple there who looked at us tenderly, probably thinking we were quite a bit younger than we actually are.

But the games that we play – the real, innocent, funny games that we play together – make us laugh; they keep us smiling and feeling alive and happy. Adults tend to stop playing – or perhaps they start to believe that it is no longer for them; maybe some of them even forget how it feels to have childish fun – but there is no better cure for dispassion and sorrow than a good laugh. Playing triggers the imagination and lets your soul rise and shine.

Playing is living differently for a few moments, with different rules.

Playing is reuniting with your inner child. The one who is still there, holding on to your dreams, believing, always, that you can make it.

Playing is healing your soul and and soothing your heart. 

So go out and play… Go out and heal yourselves!

Love,

Sacha 🌟💙

Changes

I am back! Looking through my blog, I am realizing that it has almost been two months exactly since I last posted an article here, which might make it seem as though I had given up on the resolutions I had set for myself in Magic Number Ten. Such is not the case though!

First and foremost, I wanted to thank everyone who has followed this blog, commented on posts or liked them in the past year. It means a lot to me and if I can spread the slightest bit of joy, warmth, help or even beauty into the world thanks to what I paint, draw or write, then I am happy.

The past two months have brought a lot of changes into my life. I was quite busy teaching and thinking about the direction I wanted my life to take. I travelled to Auvergne, in the mountains  and sleeping volcanoes of the centre part of France, and I moved into my very own little flat. I also discovered meditation, which has been very helpful. It proved a perfect way to start heal some old wounds and clear a number of blockages that kept me from moving forward. At first, it felt like an explosion, or rather, an implosion that I gave colour to.

Implosion

Now, I am a lot calmer and driven. I could always feel, deep down, that living in a place of my own would improve my mood and concentration because I would feel much freer, but I was far from imagining how true it was. As I am presently almost done arranging the flat, I want to take up the list I had written two months ago.

“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”
Mahatma Gandhi

Think outside the box – Capable

Can the Molds

They can cast molds for anything
Your looks, your loves, your truths.
And we cut frames for everything
Genders, powers, cultures.

It is not love if there’s no fear
To lose yourself – to disappear
And hurt, hurt, hurt.

You can’t be friends when you have loved
Or then it means you never loved
It’s wrong, wrong, wrong.

You do not look like you date girls
Go on and hide your dress and curls
You don’t, don’t, don’t

Fit the package I built to make
Myself at ease – for my own sake
You won’t, won’t, won’t

Resist the mold for much longer
Can you not see how much simpler
Life is, is, is

If you just comply and you sit
There in your box with no exit
And do not feel.

For we cast molds with anything
And they like frames on everything
They decorate the emptiness
We fabricate their happiness.

 

I have been thinking a lot about how we are told, time after time, what we should look like, and how we should act around our lovers, our ex-lovers, our friends, at work… And every time, I reach the conclusion that perhaps it is not about what we should or should not do, but about what we are capable of. What if your ex and you are both happy as friends? What if you do not believe you should look boyish when you’re a girl who loves girls or over manly when you’re a boy who loves girls? What if you think you are capable of disinterested love, or giving without expecting to be given in return? Perhaps you think you can take that trip on your own, and handle that project! Maybe you are a sick right now, or depressed, or struggling, but you are still convinced you are going to make it, no matter how long it takes. What if you are simply capable of thinking outside the boxes you try to fit in and accept who you are and just do you? You are capable of thinking outside the box, if that’s what works for you. And you are capable of doing you. 

A specific intuition

A specific intuition

Trust intuition
Trust! She has spoken!
Easier to ignore
Oh, granted – for sure.
But she comes back more
And if she tells you
Repeatedly
Specifically
Then maybe you
Should hear, listen to
The little voice meant to
Save you
And protect you,
Here to guide you.

Not sure I want to see

     Not all of us feel intuition the same way. According to the Myers-Briggs test, some personality types rely on intuition to make decisions and others don’t, but in all things linked with research, creation and feelings, I cannot help but think that it plays the most important role in guiding us and leading us to the right path. Sometimes, I just have a sense of things and I know, deep down, no matter what my logic and reason tell me, what I have to do and how I must do it. It applies to human relationships, but also to the choices I make in research for my PhD and to the way I teach my students or handle them in class. And I am not the only one.

William Wordsworth wrote: “Faith is a passionate intuition.” 

Albert Einstein said: “The only real valuable thing is intuition.”

      A poet and a man of science who agree on the power of intuition – what could be more beautiful than that? It not only resolves the mind/sensation conflict, but also the ridiculous separation we force ourselves to make between art and science. Even psychology accepts that intuition must be used as it creates a link between our reason and our unconscious and our instincts, making us more aware of ourselves and probably happier in many ways.

       Lately, I have been overwhelmed with a very powerful intuition and gut instinct about a number of things and somehow, every time I went against it, I felt sick. Now that I have embraced it, I feel more at peace with myself and perhaps it is the best thing I had to do, along with avoiding self-deception.

I hope you all have a wonderful night/day!

Love,

Sacha ⭐️

Why honesty engenders renewal

Being a lover of honesty and of powerful literary quotes, I could not resist reflecting upon this one extract from The Brothers Karamazov: 

“Above all, don’t lie to yourself. The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and so loses all respect for himself and for others. And having no respect he ceases to love.”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov

I have not read this classic of Russian literature yet, but it is on my ever growing list and of course, one of my resolutions for 2017 is to read more. I have already talked about my hopes for the coming year in another post, and today, because the new year is upon us and synonymous with renewal and new beginnings, or at least because it should be, I would like to try and think about the relationship between self-honesty and self-recovery.

This past year, I have had to face myself a number of times: it was a question of moving on, of improving and of refusing to delude myself. It was hard. It was truly nerve-racking to just sit by myself and accept that I was not honest; to find the truth, embrace it and build on it instead of against it. When my girlfriend left me, I wanted to stay friends right away; I thought I was strong enough for it and that I was not actually expecting for her to come back to me. Obviously, that was a big fat lie, and because of it, I could not recover from my heartache and started acting somewhat erratically. Then, I accepted what I did not want to see. I opened my eyes at last and saw the extent of what was happening to me – only then did I begin to heal. Only then did I start respecting myself again. Only then did I feel again. And only then could I realize that I was doing well on my own, even if I still miss her and still want to be her close, perhaps her best friend. And I am confident it might not take as long as I think before we can talk. But that is not for me to decide, I must let time do its magic.

Schubert à la mode.jpg

The problem that poses itself when you try not to lie to yourself, however, is that it is terribly painful. First, it means you must accept to face yourself and to find yourself alone with your soul. It means you cannot seek solutions outside yourself, or in a lover, or in relationships and sweet nothings. It is a “me, myself, and I” sort of situation. It is lonely. It is hurtful. It is sickening and might make you feel a little mad until the skies clear. Second, it means that if you are asking for advice from friends and family, you must be ready to listen to what they have to say. And I mean really listen, not hear with one ear and then seclude yourself into your own fantasy world right after. If you do so, what will happen next? You will resent them, think they do not understand you or that they are against you. You will reject them, perhaps blame and hate them. But they don’t. They are trying to help. They give you their honest opinion but will let you make your own decisions because they believe in you. But really, if they think you are deluding yourself, they’ll hope you open your eyes before it is too late. Before you’ve passed the point of no return. The last thing will be sorting everything out. What you truly want, what you truly feel, what is right and what is wrong, what is acceptable or not. What you are willing to wait for and what you are not ready to do. And many, many more things. Until finally, you can stand on your own two feet and say: yes, this is real. This is not an illusion I have created for myself.

That day, you’ll be better. And being honest with yourself does not mean you cannot dream, or imagine things. Honesty is not synonymous with dullness and lack of creativity, but it does come with strength and courage; it means letting go of fears; it is a way to make yourself come to life again and to find your own paths towards happiness.

The Time to Move on…

2016 is coming to a close. It has been a strange year in many respects. The world lost so many wonderful artists that I have lost count. We have sunk deeper into fear and unrest. It would be much easier to refuse to see, but there we are… This world is a mess, and in spite of this, we still, on a personal level, break the beautiful things that we have.

As for me…So much has been offered, and so much taken away from me… I started this blog, and my PhD. I have been writing, reading, travelling and painting. I have taught wonderful kids and made some amazing new friends. I am grateful for everything, even for the bad because I hope it will help me grow.

2016 is coming to a close… 2017 is going to open its arms to us and I would like to share my hopes for the future. My first hope is that I find the strength within myself to work hard on my PhD and the classes I am going to teach so as to bring something good to the world. The chance that has been given me is incredible and I do not want to ruin it. My second hope is that all the people I love can be well, healthy, happy and fulfilled. That their troubles, if they have any, are solves and their pains alleviated. I hope that my inner light shines for them to protect them, and shines for me so I can stand on my own two feet and move on. Move on with my life, move away from what and who hurts me, move towards the future with a heart full of kindness and wonder.

But even though I know that it is time for me to move on –  and I will move on – my last and third wish is that my prayers for love are heard and that the promises made once are fulfilled rather than broken. If there is such a thing as fate, please let the odds be favourable. Let what my heart feels to be true indeed be a reality in time. It might take a long time, but I still truly hope that what we told each other was real and will come to be realized. And if it doesn’t, please let there be someone, somewhere out there, that is meant for me or please let me be at peace when I am by myself.

Three things: work and create, health and happiness for the people I love and for myself and hope for a better future full of love, the real kind. It is cheesy and cliché, I know… But these things do make life brighter, don’t they?