Portugal. journey into earth and sunlight.

ocean1Here is a sharing of some events from an eventful trip to Portugal in November, dancing into the realization of several intentions seeded over the years…

First stop. I went to Evora to visit Paula and her daughter Raquel, whom I first met when they came to Damanhur for the first Ecovillage Design Education course in 2011. At the time, Raquel was 14 years old, and it was really a joy to see her now at a ripe age of 19 as a very busy and elegantly dressed university student researching marine biology. She even has a long cape as part of her uniform, draped in different ways depending on the circumstances! Paula is an art professor at the University of Evora and is developing an initiative called “Academia de Sofia” to promote education from a community, artistic, ecological and spiritual perspective. She has brought a group of her students to visit Tamera and dreams of bringing them to Damanhur as well.

After an all day journey to Milan then flying into Lisbon, Paula came and met me at the airport, and as we navigated our way to Evora via a series of buses, she explained, overjoyed, that after years of political obstacles from conservatives in Parliament, a progressive coalition hAlmendresad succeeded in winning a vote to overturn previous election results, which was a huge victory and hope for the Portuguese people. All this the moment my plane landed.

The next day, we departed for an explorative journey around the area. The sun was brilliant and the landscape was green and verdant again, after the rain of the previous weeks. We first went to the Almendres Cromlech, a very ancient, more than 6,000 years old stone circle, which is one of the most sacred spaces for the Portuguese of the area, where we meditated and danced a prayer to connect with the land. In contact with the stones, I had visions of how this circle was a space of healing and nurturing in ancient times, including in sleep and dreams, and a place of connection with the divine feminine, a counterbalance to times of intense violence and war. In this history, I sensed a lot of horses, movement and migration all around, contrasting the absolute peace within the circle.

houses

After Almendres, Paula showed me her second home in Igrejinha, a small countryside town and lake area where she intends to create a community group. I enjoy how the towns in Portugal almost all have the same basic color scheme of stark sun-washed white, lined with colorful edges.

In the afternoon we went to the University of Evora art and architecture campus, into a library which used to be a pasta factory and has a dome that Paula envisions with stained glass like the domes of the Hall of Mirrors and Hall of Water in the Temples of Humankind. This is where I offered an interactive presentation of Damanhur with some people from the university and local residents, perceiving how even at a distance, a contact with Damanhur stimulates curiosity and fascination in the sensitive people who choose to be present at such events, whom I invited to come, visit and participate in the Amine’ program. I delighted in sharing some of my library1favorite aspects of Damanhur in this place of study and creativity: the Temples, Inner Harmonization, Sacred Dance, Selfica, Tree Orientation, music from the mUvement, Bral Talej cards, and answering all the questions ranging from marriage and financials to more esoteric matters.

We went to visit Aldegice one of the spiritual elders of the community in the late afternoon and into the evening, enjoying a generous spread of tea and snacks, while talking about art and healing and such in a more intimate group. Algis is a Jungian scholar who has spent many years studying and working in California, and she was very grateful to have contact with a Damanhurian, as she can no longer travel to go visit in person. Her home has a library full of impressive volumes including Jung’s Red Book which I could lose myself in, a space for sandbox therapy, and some space for hosting guests as well.

I spent a few days visiting Tamera for the first time, participating in their olive harvest, while Damanhur community members were contemporaneously harvesting olives on our lands in Tuscany. It was the very tail end of their guest season, so a bit of an unusual moment to show up, though I suppose I’m not known for doing things in a sensible and predictable way. In any case, I was surprised to see several familiar people within an hour of stepping onto the lands: Elsa, a French Damanhur initiate, and two other people who had come to my nucleo community Dendera for work exchange last year, one of whom is now living in Tamera, the other who was visiting for a month. Well, the community world is tightly woven with interconnections, and most all of the guests I met there were curious to hear about life in Damanhur and possibilities for visiting.

I had the fortune of spending some time with Sabine, one of the founders of Tamera, sharing an enriching conversation about our communities, and one of the themes we touched on was archetypes, which she has also been researching for some time. At Tamera, there is a sacred stone circle nestled in the woods atop a hill with 96 large stones, each one of which represents a specific archetype with an engraved symbol on the stone, a “cosmogram.” An interesting stimulus for our research in Damanhur on the 163 elements… which is another story for another time. As it happens, Sabine was initially inspired at the Almendres stone circle in the manifestation of Tamera, and it was nice to feel a kind of connective flow between the two sites. With some members of the Terra Deva group which develops spiritual ecology at Tamera, we shared about a range of points from animal and plant communication to Oracle connections. Then there are the lakes, the research on water, the Solar Village where renewable energy experiments are taking place in a beautiful equilibrium of simplicity and technology… oceanwell, quite a lot of similar and parallel aspects as Damanhur, particularly in our Arca Baita Tentyris region, some that are already in conversation.

Then, I went to the Algarve region in the south to Moinhos Velhos, Anne Karine’s wellness and retreat center – she’s a Damanhur initiate from Norway who has lived in Portugal for 24 years. I felt welcomed home finding a sanctuary with oriented trees, one of which is an aged cork salutation tree, a spheroself and cord spiral, lots of pieces of Damanhur, including the heart and the communal meals with the staff and volunteers. I offered a Damanhur sharing here as well and some sessions with the guests who were present for a juice fast, almost all from the UK. Such a delight to harmonize and do Sacred Dance in the meditation temple with glass walls letting in the sunlight and green, where evening meditations are held too, some with gong, other with steel drum and etheric harp. One evening there was the Damanhur cord spiral in the center, with candlelight and coloring, a quiet atmosphere of introspection.

Oh and all over, I oriented lots of trees, endless rows of cork trees, some that seemed quite unhappy from being continually stripped, tree orientationthe olive ones while harvesting, some birch and oak…

As with every journey, it’s been an opportunity to ride the waves of synchronicity, shine some light and see my home community with an added perspective. I am grateful, and quite enamored with Portugal. Looking forward to feeling the heat of the sunlight on my skin again and being in the special frequency of purity and aliveness that permeates the people and land.

breathe in.

It’s time to inhale.

So… I admit. I’m exhausted. Not like in a totally heavy or empty sort of way. More like drifting into stillness at the tail end of a so-many-months long exhale of uninterrupted movement, play, service, love.
Creation.fire Fire, offerings, performances, camera lenses, gazes, in the temples and under the starry night sky open fields. So much dance. Dancing in every way. On every occasion. Birth, death. Equinox. Two steps forward, three steps back… breathing deep and flying right over the obstacles and the letting go.
Magnetizing the tappi.
Italian driving adventures. Velocity, autostrada. Torino. Ivrea. Milano Malpensa after midnight.
Going to new places, ancient ones too, coming home. Healing, dreaming, building. Making, art. Orienting, trees. Harvesting.
Catalyzing.
Cleansing. Alchemy. Ritual magic. From Solstice and back again, from one full moon to the next. Every week, repeat.
Translating, everything.
Writing, in stellar and human languages. So many voices and stories insisting on coming through the filter of my body, mind. voice.
Connecting the dots… communicating, with everyone, the Dutch TV personality wandering around our kitchen and interrogating me about my love life and future children, all the hundreds of people who ask me the same questions about how long I’ve been here and how I did I end up here in the first place and what do I do and what is my ‘typical’ day like and and where on earth am I from anyway? …
Escaping. Sun-bathing.
And now … it’s the darkness of new moon and time to breathe in again. Refill and filter through. In solitude, in the shadow of the mountains, in the starlight always nourishing me.

stars

azafrán y alegría

entering into the dining hall,
I feel the Iberian heat.
an atmosphere of intimacy and festivity.Flamenco

a journey through flavors
that open the doors of the heart.
appetizer spices stinging the tongue
mixing with wine on the lips.

conversation,
flirting,
red dress,
black heels.

paella made withJoy secret ingredients
beyond the saffron, which
adds its enchanting flavor as always.

on a journey…
riding horses through the Andalusian hills
crossing la tierra
a land of freedom
a people in movement
dancing until dawn
flamenco, bolero, jota

passion.
dance.
it’s serious here.
swirl of lightness and grace.
senses alive, sweating.
men, proud and spontaneous
women, elegant and alluring,
entwined in spiral movements,
united in one joyful open heart.concerto
hips hitting the rhythms,
ole! with rousing claps.

what a delectable country
alegría, vivacious eyes
in love with life,
a life saturated with beauty.

(written with gratitude for Spanish dinner night at Prima Stalla)

entrando nel salone
si sente il calore iberico.
atmosfera d’intimità e festività… Continue reading

radically inclusive video montage

I clicked the option in iMovie that makes thumbnails of all the video clips in my library. As I was watching them, I was moved to see how many events fade from memory over time.

I was thinking if in the end, I were to edit together a video montage of highlights from my life, I would have a hard time selecting and cutting footage. How do I decide? The everyday moments, sweeping the floor, hammering, preparing tea in the morning, are they less significant than the ceremonial ones and oaths? Is there less action in the silence and harmonization than in the shows and Popolo celebrations? I would leave it all in.

nailsI think I would just increase the saturation a little during the rituals, the elaborate and spontaneous ones, and turn up the red hue for the dances too. Let’s see how many times different scenes in costume and makeup reappear—they are rituals too, of beauty, transformation, joy.

I would slow motion the most firepressing moments to dilute them, transform even those into a dance. The unstoppable tears and fears, those of stage fright, when in the wings, courage negotiates to compensate for preparation, and I feel the hand of the first Questio pushing me from behind.

I closely observe the order of operations after the alarm clock: putting on the personal self again, then prayer, bracelet on the head and a sip of prana charged water, pausing on the card of the day. I take note of how many times the slippers placed in a ‘T’ before sleeping really brought fortune the next day.

Let’s fast forward through the depressive phases, flat grey differentiating itself with contrast adjustment, and add a filter to soften the most furious and manic peaks.

Go in for a close-up on the most beautiful exchanges, emotions and gazes, whispering of poetry in other languages, heartfelt stories that trigger a fade out into flashback, obliterating every geographic and temporal distance.

Turn up the volume for the songs and the birds, and activate the subtitles at the misunderstandings.

Where is the temperature control? Can’t I heat up that first winter under the snow in Perugia, or turn down the humidity for the sweaty summer adventures?

With videocameras from different angles, I see things that I have never seen before: unobserved shooting stars, things that were lost, princessthings that escaped, things that were thrown away but anyhow continuing a trace of existence in the trash heap. All the invisible help received—if I could see it now, I would never feel abandoned or alone.

I add a golden filter to every gift created and exchanged. The moments of totality in the creation, writing and dreaming, painting and traveling, depicted in Miyazaki style animation.

As director of this work of art, the most important step is tying the last scene to the beginning, because every resolution of the plot brings us to a sequel, another episode.
breakfastHo cliccato un’opzione nel programma iMovie sul computer e si sono messi in fila tutti i videoclip che c’erano nella mia biblioteca. Mentre li guardavo, mi emozionava vedere quanti eventi svaniscono dalla memoria…

Continue reading

my life

termenow that it’s finally time,
the only moment that is really guaranteed in life,
I have just a few minutes to think
or stop myself from thinking by chanting,
“intanto, da sempre. rifanno il disegno le stelle…”
and so on, to remember and connect
to prepare to forget…events, ties.

I force myself to breathe.
it’s the only thing to do, the only thing that counts anymore.
with gratitude in my heart for every breath.
I breathe in deeply, hold,
exhale, out…it’s a good thing I practiced all this time
for this moment when breath has become metratura.
all these years constantly breathing
as an initiate, healer, teacher and guide.

have I finished? have I closed everything I needed to?
bank accounts?
books after reading to the last page?
conflicts suspended in the air for so long?
and all the things, everything
there is and that was
that there is and has been
to say, scream, paint, learn and create
dream.
with gratitude for the spectrum of emotion
every feeling from fury to ecstasy
lived fully.
I leaves traces of creations, writings, few possessions.

fire at the Open Temple

I am grateful for every fire. the Sacred Fire
the one for my birthday, the nucleo
the one from Spiritual Healers School and Ecstatic Dance
the one to light the bonfire and the ones for every New Year,
Purification of the People, days for honoring the elements,
Day of the Dead,
the one to burn leaves
and the ones of the sun and the moon
offered during Solstice and Equinox,
a chain of moments
fixing my imprint of awareness
in the territory of time.

closed. did I turn off the faucet in the bathroom this morning?
did I turn off the iron after I ironed this outfit?
which I selected as the last expression of fashion and choice
fluorescent kimono and cowboy boots
to express my Texas-Asian ethnic roots
until the last breath.
ah, yes. I need to remember to breathe.

did I say it all?
did I say “I love you” to everyone I love?
saying it while looking the person in the eye without using
the compromise of “ti voglio bene” in Italian,
which doesn’t even exist in English,
either “I love you” or “I don’t.”
then, all the other words aren’t so important.
all the novels that I wrote,
that will live beyond me.
if people will read them, if they won’t,
they will read the stars, which I will become.

dance freedomdid I dance every chance I had?
enjoying the body while it was here
while it’s here.
now with my final breaths,
beautiful trascendental music,
and I dance with the lungs,
with eyes that peek open and take in
clouds and fog,
with the heat and the cold that alternate in my veins,
with my toes, which I don’t feel anymore
even though I move them with the will of my mind.

all this. now. whether I am prepared or not.
I enter into the door that brings me to the threshold.
to fly, onward to the next adventure,
toward enlightenment,
beyond eternity.

la mia vita

Adesso che é proprio il momento,
l’unico momento veramente certo nella vita,
ho pochi minuti per pensare,
o allontanare i pensieri,
attraverso il canto:
“intanto, da sempre, rifanno il disegno le stelle…” Continue reading