Monthly Archives: October 2013

I want a change

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…or two. Quick. Radical…..Let’s see where this will take me. This urge is close to anticipation of an orgasm. It builds in waves…stronger and stronger. Will I ride on the wave? Will I let it sweep me away? Will I be on the crest of the wave? Will I let it pass? I do not know. I want to know.
In the past, which I cherish, whenever I wanted a change I used to run to the hairdresser. A change of hair cut or hair colour would trap me into thinking of it as a change I wanted. Now I laugh at the thought of it. Pictures of myself keep reminding me  how self deceiving I was. An urge for change rooted into most intimate thoughts will not go away with a new hair-cut or new cloths or a new partner or a new house.
As I sip my divine mochaccino (thank you barista!), I realise that there is actually no need for change. It’s my inner self which screams for freedom. Freedom from conventions, freedom from self-inflicted stereotypes, freedom from what others want me to have/want. When I am at peace with myself, there is no such urge. I am filled with creative flows, I am generous, I am happy. Have I forgotten the golden rules of inner peace? Be grateful, see the beauty in everything around me, enjoy it, even if it’s a lemon!, brief, smile, laugh, dream with eyes wide open, let the warmth of love heal my heart…
I witnessed huge changes in one of my dearest friend’s life. I know him for for over 15 years now. He embraced enormous life transforming changes over this period. I realised every change he made towards his inner self was gradual, painful at times but in a beautiful, creative way. He is now at peace. I see it in his eyes, his gestures, his smile. Will he want to radically change anything now? I looked for an answer in a coming-out video he recently made public. I do not think so. He seems in a safe harbor, filled with love. So for now, he will probably simply wave good buy to any sudden urge for change.  ….And I am going to do the same.

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Well, with one exception perhaps:  a visit to a make up artist does not count, right? 🙂

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Battle with grace

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There was this lady in the team, Magalie. French, with arabic roots. Big eyes, american smile. Speech, body language and eyes saying three different things. Typical covert aggressive. Soft spoken in public, bitter and aggressive in private. It was Eva’s first week at her new in charge of an international project with nationals and internationals onboard.  Eva gets a sms from Magalie with an urgent request for a meeting. She seemed in distress over phone so Eva goes to meet her. She spills venom. Accusations of sexism against a colleague. She says he is constantly humiliating her in public, hates her, disregards her, and she cannot talk to him because she is afraid of him. She claims this has been going on for a year and a half. Eva asks then whether she talked about it with the previous 3 project managers. She says no. Why would Magalie put this now on Eva’s shoulders? Magalie accepts reluctantly Eva’s offer: a meeting for the two of them to talk and clarify it. Seven months later Eva hears exact the same words concerning her from her supervisor’s supervisor: “Magalie says you humiliate her in public, you hate her, you disregard her and she cannot talk to you”.  Magalie met Eva’s supervisor in a private set up when Eva was on leave, taking advantage of her absence.  Eva is speechless as she hears this.  She was not given with an opportunity to present her views and facts. She could only say she treats all equally and professionally. Three nights after the meeting, Eva is sleepless. Her heart hurts. Ignatia amara is the remedy which eases the pain and brings a change of perspective. Confronting the person, asking for a meeting with the supervisor were the first strategies Eva thought of. A natural defense reaction. She met three colleagues who she knows have been through  a similar experience. They give her a good piece of advice: check whether she filed anything formally and find out remedies available to defend myself. Otherwise treat it as someone saying something to someone. If your supervisor accepts a friendship with such a person it probably says something about him/her. Another wise colleague of Eva’s dropped a wise phrase “there was a snake even in Eden”.image Eva mentioned this situation to her sponsor from the organisation providing funds to the project. He said he knows and that Eva shall not worry about it. A day before he passed the message to Eva’s supervisors how happy they are with Eva. Some readers might see themselves in Eva. Magalies usually do not do mirror work.  For this and other reasons any confrontation is useless. At a first meeting after the “complaint”, Magalie avoided any eye contact with Eva. It did not preclude Eva from reaching the objectives the meeting had. Two months later, at an appraisal team meeting with the management, colleagues spontaneously shared how happy they were with the project manager. Much to Eva’s surprise. She was humbled by the open and warm appreciation colleagues hold of her. After the meeting, she received an email from the management about how pleased they were to hear so much genuine appreciations of Eva’s work. To arm yourself, acknowledge that these people have no notion of fair play. Never have one to one meetings with these people. Always cc your impartial supervisor in correspondence with them. Make sure you have a supporters network who will provide in a positive and constructive way their views on how you do your job and interact with them. Ask for feedback from colleagues, in writing if possible, even in an environment not practicing 360 degree evaluations. Constantly feed your sponsor and supervisor with information on what you do so that there is no void or gap prone to make room for misunderstandings. Open, peaceful, detached communication with all who want and/or need to hear is key. Sooner or latter even those in the monologue mood will start to listen. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead is purely coincidental. Art by Ana Maria Negara, at Traian Grand Hotel, Iasi, Romania, December 2013

Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett

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It was the Times review that made me choose the book in my pursuit of reading all authors on the Noble prize in literature list: “One of the most noble and moving plays of our generation, a threnody of hope deceived and deferred but never extinguished; a play suffused with tenderness for the whole human perplexity; with phrases that come like a sharp stab of beauty and pain.”—The Times (London).410Gy48yLzL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-67,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_

Beckett got his noble prize for literature in 1969. It is my first encounter with Beckett. Paul Auster is right “Reading Beckett for the first time is an experience like no other in modern literature.”

My feminist friend would call the play sexist. “Where are female characters?!” is her usual criticism in such cases and not even the great Becket can escape her criticism, knowing in particular that Beckett famously objected when, in the 1980s, several women’s acting companies began to stage the play. Beckett was quoted as saying “Women don’t have prostates”, a reference to the fact that Vladimir frequently has to leave the stage to urinate.

To me, this is a play about human character, gender neutral. Hope and despair, pain and relief, human support and disappointment, laughs and tears, non sense and struggle are genderless.

This book is minimalist poetry that brings existentialism to unexpected levels as the story evolves. I’ve seen myself in Vladimir and Estragon as they wait for Godot, someone or something they do not even know, but hope to get to know. The boy who comes with news from Godot is hope and future incarnated. The slave Lucky is the allegory for change of perspective to me. A slave can still be lucky and luck is very much a subjective beast. Being led versus leading. Who is the lucky one? In Beckett’ s words, “he is lucky to have no more expectations.”

That willow at the end of the play is both tearful and hopeful. Russians call a willow “iva plakuchaea”, a willow which cries. Tears of sadness or tears of joy. Quite symbolic. As it is the case with the entire book.