terça-feira, 8 de março de 2011

Brazil's Voice

You may compare me with an ex-boyfriend, but I am not one of those that you accidentally meet. Let me remind you how you feel when you hear my drums, your feet smoothly stamp the ground, and as your blood circles your body up, you unconsciously move your hips, I recall you of songs, friends and family and you feel totally disoriented, don't you? Your body sticks up for me. We both know I am inside you. To write this assignment, you need my words which are sometimes untranslatable. Aren’t they? 

And even if you live abroad for the rest of your life, whenever you interact with locals, your accent will speak for me and people will notice that you are a stranger.

Whenever you ask yourself what I am for you, I want you to remember that I am your language, and I will always be within you.

domingo, 6 de março de 2011

Back to childhood

Every morning I wake up at 6:30 am, wake my boyfriend up, I go back to sleep while he showers. At 7:00, I am finally up and making breakfast. Generally, my boyfriend and I talk about our good or bad night’s sleep and about our dreams.

Today everything is going as usual, until I recall my dream. “When he asks, I will just say that I dreamed about my childhood”, I think. He asks and all happens as planned. “We will talk more about it when I am back from work; I have a meeting and I can’t be late,” he says. As he leaves, I start wondering why a sweet dream had trigged such an embarrassing feeling.

I dreamed about my cousin. She and I were very close during our childhood. She had the most beautiful straight long hair that I had ever seen. I had (and still have) curls that some people find beautiful, but I didn’t at the time.

We were about seven and while playing together, I would often think a bad thought: “Cut her hair, cut her hair.” But I loved her so much that I couldn’t. However, my obsession with her hair was following me like a shadow.

One day woke up and I saw her sitting outside crying and her hair was shorter than ever, like a boy cut. I felt guilty; I cried and hugged my cousin, repeating “I am sorry, please, forgive me.” She interrupted me, saying, “It is not your fault; my mom did this because my hair was full of bugs.” But I was not convinced. I asked my aunt about it and she confirmed. Without any hesitation, I begged my aunt to do the same to my hair. She first refused and my cousin desperately says “You are going to look ugly as I do now,” but I insisted saying that I had lots of bugs and I couldn’t bear them anymore. Then my aunt did cut it. After while we were climbing a mango tree and my cousin asked me whether I had done that for her to feel better; I answered “for us.”

In my dream my cousin wanted to talk to me. I wonder if she remembers that event. By coincidence after noon, talking to her on the phone we recall our good old times; we talk about our slumber parties and about the mango tree we used to climb, but she doesn’t remember that episode. For sure that event hadn’t affected her as much as it had affected me. That probably was the first time that I got acquainted with my dark side. Things may have been so different if I hadn’t faced “my bugs”.

As the day goes by I understand my embarrassing feeling; I realize that I had never told this story to anyone. You are the first to know.   

quarta-feira, 2 de março de 2011

My moveable feast

On the first page of Moveable Feast, Hemingway wrote "If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast". As far as I understood, Hemingway was not only talking about an experience abroad, but an experience which had helped him become Hemingway. 

Then I asked myself which trip had had a similar effect on me, and all my trips suddenly flashed before my eyes, and I recalled a peculiar one. 

To get there we must accept its rules and schedule. A minimum stay is a ten-day-period; during that period, the day starts at 04:30 am and ends around 21:00/21:30 pm. One must abstain from any action, physical or vocal, which disturbs the peace and harmony of others. It means that during these ten days we could not talk, read, write, watch TV, use any gadgets, or exercise. One must not lie. One must not kill any kind of being (which includes mosquito and bugs). One could only eat vegetarian food, during the time settled for it, and learn how to meditate.

One day before the journey started, the organizers introduced themselves, explained how things work, where everyone were going to sleep and with whom to share a bedroom. Everyone had to share a bedroom with someone of the same gender. 

In my case, I shared a room with a girl that I had never seen before, but somehow we became friends. We arranged not to look at each-other to make sure that we wouldn’t communicate. Everything was settled for our no talking, no drinking, no sex, no anything trip.

For me, time went slower each day; every minute seemed to last forever, and all I had to do was to be aware of my breath.

On my first silent day, I was wondering why we should be quiet during lunch and tea time; we should be allowed to ask for salt or tea on the table, I thought; I also noticed that some people were strange and were eating a lot. On my second day, I only thought about breakfast, lunch and tea time and that I should be one of the first to be served. On my third day I had all sort of thoughts, like a psychopath,  and I realized that I still had seven days to go through. On my forth day, I realized that my thought was a kind of parasite that could ruin my whole life; and I understood the compulsory silence.

We were allowed to ask some questions to the teacher, in a specified time. On my forth day, I asked “what do I do with my loud and bad thoughts?” “You concentrate on your breath and will understand some day”, she answered. I did everything that I could to remain concentrated on my breath; I pinched my nose, bit my lips, I didn’t move, I cried, but my thoughts were getting louder and poisoning. I saw myself as a judgmental and intolerant person. On the sixth day, I was tired of my parasite thought and realized that I still had four entire days with myself that I couldn’t bear. However, I carried on breathing and following the rules.

As everyday was forever and lasts until today, I don’t know when exactly I noticed that parasite was not myself, although it was (and is still) part of me. I understood that those “mad people” who talk alone in the streets are just louder brothers. I was laughing. Everything apparently was going well, but then I started thinking of sex. “You cannot ask this kind of thing to the teacher?”My mind tried to mislead myself. But I did ask her and she answered peacefully: “it is the sacred energy; keep concentrated on your breath”.

On the last day, I felt released. I’ve succeeded to have a break from my thougths for a few minutes. Nine years have passed and more will while I keep practicing it. Then wherever I go for the rest of my life, it stays with me; for   vipassana is my moveable feast.