Monthly Archives: October 2012

Young stars’ twilight

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On a facebook post, a mother complained that her five years old daughter cried upon watching a young stars’ TV show. Her distress came from the thought that she is fatter than those girls dancing on the stage. There were comments asking for the show to be closed down…

There will always be trends. Skinny vs. voluptuous. Tall vs. petite. Dark vs. blonde… . Or other manifestations of socially acceptable standards and ‚shows’ one cannot possibly compete with. Or, better said, should not compete with. As it is about that uniqueness each of us is conceived with.

To me, it gets down to self-esteem and sense of worth. High or Low. It is up to parents/guardians to nurture a healthy self-esteem, whatever the circumstances and regardless of trends and/or shows on display. “Children with healthy self-esteem will grow up to revel in others, in turn helping them feel special and whole”, What All Children Want Their Parents To Know, by Diana Loomans. It’s a five star book on a To Read List for parents. Each person, and kids are no exception, are to be “The Lovable in the Kindgom of Self-Esteem” (a renowned title by Diana Loomans).

Self-esteem is nothing new. The absence of teaching of self-respect and self-assertion has been described by George Bernard Shaw in Treatise on Parents and Children (1914) as having ‚appalling effects”. And that mother’s post is a testimony to that, one hundred years later.

Self-esteem creates a mental safety net regardless of the storm outside. The self-esteem allows stars to shine regardless of the twilight. It does not matter if your parents were ignorant or unaware or with a poor self-esteem themselves. If you did not have a choice back then, you do have a choice now: to build and nurture your and your children’s self-esteem. With Love and Patience.

 

„The Young Girl of Treppi” by Paul Johann Ludwig von Heyse

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Paul Johann Ludwig von Heyse, from Germany, is another author on my ‚To Read Nobel Prize for Literature’ List. He got his Nobel prize in 1910. 

I perceived the author as a painter. This story can transform the reader into an Impressionist Museum’s visitor. I had the impression of sitting in front of a majestic painting: „it was so refreshing to be tramping along this path, overgrown with bushes, fifty feet above the torrent, to feel the fine spray of the waterfall dash…, to see the lizards slipping over the stones, and the graceful butterflies chasing the furtive sunlight…”, „Filippo noticed the perfect majesty of the wilderness over which was hanging a clear, transparent sky”… .

It’s a love and devotion story. The location is the Apennines. A lonely village called Treppi. Filippo’s adventures took him to this lonely village on his way to a duel. There, in the middle of the night, he stopped at the only house where there was a sign of life. It belonged to a young girl, Fenice, who fell in love with him 7 years ago, when he was there on business. Fenice admitted her love to him. He rejected it. She plotted that he stays with her and forgets about the duel. A ‚magic potion’ is part of the play. … And I will stop here and let you read the rest :). And yes, she did save his life. With Love.

When a breast met a beast

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Cold. Sharp. Fast and furious. The scalpel cut my flash. Deep. Deeper. The surgeon took it out. He showed it to me. The one inch ball covered by bloody vessels, which wanted to nest in my left breast. I was almost 18.

In the white and cold surgery room there was another table  surrounded by a team of doctors who were stepping on a pool of blood dribbling on the floor. My surgeon asked me to turn my head away.

I got out of the hospital in half an hour, due for a check up a day later. Technically, it was a simple procedure. I was happy to put it behind me. Not so fast, my mind decided. For years, I could not stand any sharp objects pointing at me. The surgery left a small mark, but for years I let no man touch or kiss it. It was a minor intervention, with major consequences. 

I read these days testimonies of four women who survived cancer in Marie Claire Novembre 2012 (full text on http://www.marieclaire.fr/,cancer-du-sein-et-desir-temoignages-de-celles-qui-l-ont-vecu,20123,651596.asp).  They went through major interventions which touched the body and soul. Some with great family support. Others not.

The amount of questions goes up. The fear goes up. Some remedies work well for the body. Others do not work so well the spirit. What is key is that the support person/group understand and remember the fundamentals of treating the women whose breast met a beast: she needs a holistic approach: body, sound and mind.  These are great allies and need to be considered as such. When such a feminine symbol is touched, not only the body is in pain. The mind is ravaging with ‚would I be perceived as a women again’, ‚would he/she stay?’, ‚would he/she get scared?”. The soul is terrified by the gloomy atmosphere some doctors paint.

A mental walk in her shoes will give answers. Just be there. Ask no questions. Gently Touch. Whisper words of love. Sooth and sing lullabies.  Trust Life. And Love.

Same destination. Two roads.

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I have embarked on a double journey: that is same destination, i.e. Beauty,  by taking two roads, i.e. Miranda Kerr and Lizzie Velasques.

How did I come to know them? Miranda Kerr is one of the globally recognized Angels . I got to recognise her face from my shopping on VS web site. I learned she initiated her own business, Kora Organics. There was a link to her book on that site. So I bought it, the book. It’s called „Treasure Yourself”.

I got to learn about Lizzie Velasquez from Internet (it is such a good friend, isn’t it?!). Her name was associated with something I find dreadful: „the ugliest woman in the world’ in a YouTube video. So I googled for more. Got to her website. There was a link to her book on that site. So I bought it. „Be Beautiful, Be You”.

These two ladies, Lizzie, 23 year old, and Miranda, 29 year old, have something to say about beauty and love. Each in their own ways. Unique ways. I hope they read each other’s books as they have plenty to learn from each other.

I adored Lizzie’s light, kind, soft, warm and so very very personal style. Her sharing of her personal prayers is such an intimate act of love. And life was not easy and is still not easy on her.  Miranda was, what we conventionally call, fortunate. She had her ups and downs, but still her book leaves the impression her road was smooth and taking her almost effortlessly into the direction she chosen for herself. They have something fundamental in common – a loving family. That is their roots are solid and no matter what they have a  welcoming nest to return to.

After finishing Miranda’s book I was left with the feeling that I wish it was a bit more personal. Miranda relies a lot on other’s philosophies  e.g. Louise L. Hay, Dr. Wayne W. Dyer. She was modest in sharing personal experiences and the way she overcome difficulties. Lizzie’s book, on the other hand, is all about personal experience, thoughts, fears, courage, tears, smiles, daily challenges and victories.

I feel enriched and grateful for such happy encounters. Will definitely keep following what Lizzie and Miranda do, each in their own worlds, which, I hope, will continue to be full of love and beauty.

„My name is Red” by Orhan Pamuk

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I am happy my “Read all Nobel Prizes in Literature’ project took me to the Turkish land of the 16th century.

I finished the book. Wished it would have lasted for at least few extra dozens of pages. It’s a dazzling story of a murdered artist in the Istanbul of that time. The story surrounds very talented miniaturists who have been commissioned by the  sultan to illustrate  a book to celebrate his life and times. One of them disappears and here it goes…

It is an unusual book. Each of 59 chapters takes the reader to a different planet. With a renewed passion and freshness. From the world viewed by a corpse, coin, horse to a world seen and told about by a  murderer, color red, two dervishes. I’ve learned tons of facts from Ottoman history, traditions, culture, beliefs, values. On a basic human dimension, the universal lunge for love (which is mentioned 321 times) is omnipresent.

It’s a book to love: it’s quite inspirational – yielded inspiration for at least two dozens of posts. To exemplify but few „paining is the silence of thought and the music of sight’, ‚God must’ve wanted the art of illumination to be ecstasy so He could demonstrate how the world itself is ecstasy to those who truly see’. „Beauty is the eye discovering in our world what the mind already knows’…

My deepest appreciations go also to the translator, Erdağ M. Göknar. His choice of words has given the best gift a reader can hope for: total loyalty to and authenticity of atmosphere.

My Not To do List in Seniority

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People are my inspiration. For To Do as well as for Not to Do.

Just back from people’s observatory, my mind made a mental and spiritual commitment to avoid doing a number of things when I’ll embrace seniority. My guess is that my mind will keep adding or deleting items from the list. But there always room for a good start. So, I decree that my senior years shall be free of:

  1. Lipstick. Leaving traces of lipstick on my grandchildren foreheads? No way!
  2. Dyed hair. White is beautiful! Kind of cloudish!
  3. Gossiping: being caught up in the poisonous net of word of mouth is taking away precious time to enjoy the calm years preceding the entry into another stage. Occasional gossips about what a neighbor was wearing at the Sunday Mass or Yoga class (depending on my preferences in the years to come) are allowed :).
  4. Envy: especially targeted at younger people. We all have our plates full of what we order life to bring us.
  5. Excessive fashionism: occasional Armani bags allowed :).
  6. Commitments to a job to hate. I’ve witnessed too many seniors being torn between a self-imposed commitment to other family members and the need to go to a job that takes away too much energy. Baking with joy, working with kids, gardening are allowed and fully encouraged.
  7. Financial worries for descendants. My dear descendants, I know you are bright, smart, entrepreneurial and able to multiply everything I have put together for your and other’s good.
  8. Arrogance. Who would want to listen to or talk to an arrogant octogenarian?!
  9. Solitude.
  10. Being stuck in unhealthy relationships of any kinds.
  11. Regrets, of any kind.
  12. A grandiose sense of self-importance.

I have still to think about scuba diving, ice scatting and bungee jumping 🙂

Is friendship a commodity?

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The usual verbs associated with a commodity are ‚loose’, ‚gain’, ‚destroy’, ‚add’ all fit with friendship as well. Still some verbs like ‚nurture’ do not always find easily their way of being associated with such a ‚commodity’.

Can one loose a friend? My take is no, one cannot. We do not own friends, thus cannot loose them. What we loose or miss is the feelings a friendship brings.

I remember my first encounter  with a dear friend of mine. It was 15 years ago. We were both attending a summer course: me as a student, he as a rep of the organizers  He wore a bright colorful tea-shirt and orange bermuda   Over time, he played milestones’ roles in my life: when I took admission exams to postgraduate studies, when I was considered for a fellowship, before job interviews, after job interviews, reviewing my work, keeping my feet on the ground … He is great fun to be with: I still remember the smell of coffee and the taste of croissant we were having in a French cafe in a French city and our endless talks about everything and nothing. He moved to  another country, then to another continent. Still, the warm, tender, sweet friendship feelings stay with me for years.

Once a mentor of mine told me that ‚you have to be lucky to meet good people’. Over time I have grown to understand that I also need to be wise enough to keep them in my life.

Keeping is not necessarily physical. It is more mental and perhaps spiritual.

They say marriage is made in heaven. So is friendship! Right, St. Peter? 🙂