Showing posts from December, 2020

Lessons From A Tumultuous Year

In less than three hours, this year will be over. I’m writing these words dressed in a hippo onesie that I bought in South Africa to survive the cold nights in the desert. My partner and I were attending Afrika Burn, the South African version of Burning Man and what I would call a mix between a festival and a community stripped from societal conventions. I was the hippo, my partner was Cookie Monster. We walked through the desert, enjoying the lights, the music, the art, the costumes, the milky way above us. A man stopped us to chat. “Why do you hide?”, he asked. We frowned. We weren’t hiding. Everyone was wearing costumes. There were many other onesies walking around. I felt annoyed. Who did he think he was? I never dance in public but later that night we danced under the starry sky. I unbuttoned my onesie, freed one arm, freed the other and, wearing just a tank top, my skin felt more alive than ever. I felt the cold air, my hair brushing my shoulders, my own blood rushing through my

Grief And Joy Are Two Sides Of The Same Coin

Today is Christmas lottery day in Spain and I came across a beautiful text by Spanish writer Roy Galán talking about how we’ve won the lottery so many times. Because there is so much we have even if we haven’t won a money prize. (Click here if you want to read it ━ warning: it’s in Spanish). There are two lines in particular that have really touched me. One says we’ve won the lottery if, when we open the tap, water comes out. Such a simple thing we tend to take for granted. I always try to remember to appreciate the fact I can have hot showers every day because I get cold very easily and nothing says “comfort” like a nice hot shower. But lately, all I’ve been focusing on is how much chlorine the water has. Perspective is everything.  The other line says we’ve won the lottery if we have memories of those who are no longer here. And that hit me hard in the middle of this landscape of grief I’m navigating. My father died three months ago. For three months I’ve been living in a state that

Finding Beauty In Darkness

Happy winter solstice to those in the northern hemisphere! And if you’re reading this from the southern hemisphere, happy summer solstice! It’s always nice to remember the sun is always shining somewhere in the world. Tonight is the darkest night of the year. There was a time in my life when my anxiety skyrocketed after sunset, and to this day, if I’m stuck indoors when night falls, I still get that uneasy feeling in my body. It took me some time to learn that if I was outdoors and watched the sky go dark or, even better, the sun go down, that anxiety didn’t show up. It’s a strange thing but it proves how important it is for us sensitive souls to connect with nature. Every winter I get the same longing for a life closer to nature, and every winter I promise myself it will be my last in the city. But it’s never been easy to make this a reality and this year hasn’t made it any easier. Once more, I set the intention to leave the big city in 2021. Perhaps announcing it publicly will make i

How To Survive A Bad Day

What do you do when you have a low day? I try to do morning pages every day so I can get all the negative thoughts out of my system but it’s always hard to start a new journal after I finish one, especially if it’s as beautiful as this: Does this happen to you? The more beautiful the journal is, the more I resist writing on it, as if filling its pages would ruin it somehow. But then I think that’s the whole purpose of a journal. It’s meant to be filled with words or images, not with empty pages. It’s meant to contain life. And that’s exactly how I feel on a low day: like an empty journal. So I do my best to fill myself up. I don’t believe in the positive vibes only movement. I believe each emotion has its place and time and it’s okay to feel low. It’s part of the human experience. But sometimes we end up stuck in that dark place, not knowing how we got there and not knowing how to get out. When we feel low for days and weeks on end we might end up falling into a depression .  Once we

Shadow Artists And Creative Wounds

When I was a kid I wanted to be a ninja and a writer. After immersing myself in the world of martial arts for half a year, I decided to stick with writing. I wrote all the time: at home, in the street, in waiting rooms, in public transport, wherever inspiration struck. I dreamed of publishing one day. I dreamed of winning writing contests. I dreamed of making a career out of my passion. And then I turned into a shadow artist. This doesn’t mean I work with shadows (although I often do in my photography ). It means I chose to work in proximity to declared artists rather than owning the artist within me. In her book The Artist’s Way , Julia Cameron explains many creative people abandon their desire to be artists growing up: “Too intimidated to become artists themselves, very often too low in self-worth to even recognize that they have an artistic dream, these people become shadow artists instead. Artists themselves but ignorant of their true identity, shadow artists are to be found shadow