Me, myself and I.

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Sometimes life seems and feels so beautiful that I notice a hole in the middle of my chest;

It is around the size of an orange, but it feels heavier than any thing that you could possibly imagine.

I don’t exactly remember the first time I noticed it. But certainly every time before, until today I thought it was made of mistakes, of sadness, of brokeness, of emptiness.

Today, instead, I thought that maybe, just maybe it exists to let the beauty of life pass through me.

To fill it up from time to time with the unexpected: the movement of the tree branches and its leaves due to the strong wind, the warm sunshine over my skin, the laughter and smiles of others, the new days and the new chances, the old familiar jokes and the improvised dances in foreing countries with new friends.

A hole in the middle of the chest, to, from time to time, fill it up with life and then, let it empty itself again. Always on its own time, on its own rythm, and only, on its own rythm. As part of its own wise process and its own cycle.

A hole in the middle of the chest, hard to remember how it began to be there. And perhaps, posible to forget about it when it becomes full filled of self forgiveness and self love.

A hole in the middle of the chest that serves the purpose of letting in and letting out. But never, ever, serves the purpose of keeping in anything or anyone, nor the purpose of closing and isolating itself.

It is only around the size of an orange, but you wouldn’t believe how important it is for me, myself and I.


 

 

– Time will tell, we always knew.


 

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Tu esi tas, ko tu dari

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Last week I had the chance to attend the “European and national identity”conferences hosted by the Ķekavas Jaunatnes iniciatīvu centrs in the town under the same name.

I must say that it was a really interesting and well organized event, with very different speakers, from different ages, backgrounds, and working fields, but with a common feature among all of them, passion and commitment towards what they do.

But apart from being a nice and interesting venue, after leaving I brought with me many questions around the notion of identity, and I think this is the most valuable part of anything we attend to, when it goes on beyond its time and space limits and makes us question ourselves. So here I am, sharing thoughts ad ideas that are revolving in my mind, wondering if you have also thought about these things lately or at some point of your life.

Identity as an opposition

So the first and strongest idea I found in these event has been the fact that sometimes it is way easier to define our own identity by stating what we are not. And at first it sounds strange, is true, but the more you think about it, you realize that societies over the years have found more common ground in shared disagreements and oppositions, for bad, but also and more and more I think, for good.

So, somehow, we might not really know who we are, but we know who we are not.

Words, terms and labels

Is identity a self defined feature or is it defined by others?

Of course this is a complex idea and question; if we talk about the external definition it is very likely that we will end up facing stereotypes and even judgments, I certainly don’t think that is or should be part of the identity equation. But also from the external side, it is true that the closer one looks to another person, the more rich, diverse and complex her or his life appears. There’s no simple people, simple stories, or easier lives; we all have struggled and we all have something valuable to tell and share from our own experience.

In terms of self definition, another really great idea I heard at the conferences was “if there is not a word to define you, create one”; and yes, I think this relates to the importance of celebrating diversity, understanding complexity and also telling the world about us, our points of view, taking part into the bigger discussion, being part of the so wanted change.

The ideal existence of real dialogue

Another wise quote I heard in the event was “In order to really listen, set yourself aside”

Every day it is harder to establish a collective dialogue towards something we don’t feel offended, threatened, misunderstood or completely pissed off at. Information it is much more accessible now somehow, but it also creates a “know it all state of mind” that in my opinion generates more intolerance, more labeling, less real dialogue.

Even if we certainly know who we are not and somehow know who we are, there is still many valuable, rich and amazing other perspectives that we can learn from. I believe identity is evolving and so we are, so we can not reach a final point of our identity and enclose ourselves to any other opinion. Come the fuck on.

Final rummaging. What is around the corner for our identity?

So continuing with the thought that identity is transitory and evolving, self awareness becomes a necessity for all of us into the distinction of ourselves and others. Not in terms of superiority, inferiority or any sort of comparison, but to have a better notion of interdependence and responsibility in a social world. As Brigita Stroda said, we need to talk to ourselves, whatever it is, we need to have a real conversation with ourselves at least once.

One of the speakers in the conference said that we could think about 3 features that we would like to have in 3 years. This notion empowers, because not only we can be much more self conscious but also, direct the evolving process through the features and habits we want to develop in ourselves.

In the end, it is all connected somehow, it is impressive; who are we?, Who am I? Are probably the most asked questions in the human history, and still here we are, but as Eduardo Galeano points it “we are what we do to change what we are”.

I stay with that final thought, stressing the idea that there’s improvement ahead if we are willing to commit and be passionate towards it.

Tu esi tas, ko tu dari.


 

 

Riga in two wheels

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I’ve never considered myself a cyclist.

Of course, as a child I loved biking, I learned how to bike before turning 5 years old, and I was stealing the bike of my brother even if it was way too big for me, just because it didn’t have back support wheels as my tiny red bike.

I loved to bike with my friends in the park, I loved the speed, the mobility, the endless fuel.

But then, for many years, I stopped biking.

Why? Well, I guess one, because it is dangerous. Two, because the infrastructure is not adequate, so that makes it even more dangerous. Or at least that is what we keep telling ourselves no? that’s the kind of reasons we give ourselves when we stop doing things we enjoy.

So apart from a short period of 3 months of summer in Canada, when I had the chance to bike all over Halifax, I didn’t do it more. Many times I tried to re start, to make it part of my daily routine, I bought new and used bikes, but then ended up getting rid of them; it was always too cold, or too hot, or too rainy, or too far, or I would be too sweaty in the end. Many excuses kept me from turning a bike into my main transport.

Now I live in Riga, and despite the fact that the infrastructure is not adequate (roads are bumpy, not enough bike lanes around the city, narrow bridges shared with pedestrians), the fact that is quite cold quite often (feels like winter is never ending), and also the fact that I’m not the best biker (already had an unlucky episode related to tram tracks and front wheel), I’ve been biking for over two months.

So my old second hand purple bike has been taking me to work every day, and has been my ride to the places I need to get and also the places I want to get, some of them closer, some of them further. And also, I’ve come to discover and started joining a very active biking community in the city.

Two weeks ago, during a beautiful weekend I experienced three events related to bikes that stressed the importance and shared interest around bikes in Riga: the repair café, the competence “biking for culture” and the Critical Mass. All of them showed me a united, joyful and motivated community, and allow me to deeply enjoy Riga in two wheels.

Is not about going at full speed, ringing the bell to everyone to get out of your way, it’s about being more conscious of urban mobility, share spaces, share with your friends, and specially enjoy the ride.

I think EVS is learning from the new, but also re connecting with what we once knew and did, but then forgot. Here we are in our four month already, learning, experiencing and living Latvia.

Lu


 

Some images from the cool biking weekend on this video
made by Aaron, Irish friend, also doing EVS in Riga for a year.

Es todo un acto de resistencia

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Hoy, recordé a Ernesto Sabato y su resistencia.

Y cuán atinado sentido de hablarnos de ella desde el ser, desde el arte, desde el diálogo y el encuentro.

 

Parece que vivir es resistir y viceversa. Y cuando las nubes se nos van a la cabeza, o también, en sentido opuesto; hay que hacer esto:

Resistir.

La resistencia como encuentro con uno mismo cada mañana.

Uno mismo como resistencia a la pérdida de sentido social.

Los encuentros, las culturas y los diálogos como resistencia a la pérdida cultural.

La música como resistencia a la adversidad y el silencio.

El silencio como resistencia a la absurda necesidad de constante atención.

La atención como resistencia al paso del tiempo y a lo efímero.

Lo efímero como resistencia a nuestra incapacidad de entender del todo el sentido de la vida.

La vida como resistencia a nuestros propios pensamientos.

La resistencia como forma de vida.

 

Hay que creer más, crear más, sentir más. Recordarnoslo cada mañana si es necesario, porque también eso es resistir, perderse y buscar el camino de vuelta, caerse, partirse la cara y levantarse, equivocarse y aceptarlo, extrañar y decirlo, amar y recordar.

Que lindo poder resistir cada día; siempre un poco más de lo que hubiéramos imaginado que seríamos capaces.

 


 

“Hay días en que me levanto con una esperanza demencial, momentos en los que siento que las posibilidades de una vida más humana están al alcance de nuestras manos. Éste es uno de esos días”.

Ernesto Sabato

 

Si estás ahí, se va a pasar.

negro

Si alguna vez has experimentado ansiedad, creo que esto puede sonarte familiar.

Sino, es posible que no tenga sentido.


Escribo estas líneas desde donde vivo, desde mi presente y desde quién soy hoy en día.

Sé que con el tiempo cambiamos, sé también que no siempre nos encontramos en el mismo nivel de consciencia, de atención o de interés. Pero a veces logramos establecer pautas de referencia conforme a nosotros mismos, y a veces, esas pautas pueden guiarnos en ocasiones futuras, a nosotros mismos e incluso a otros.

Lo que hoy siento me explica y me ayuda a entender mejor lo que fue y lo que es, hoy.

Escribo estas líneas con cierta incomodidad, claro, porque enfrentarse a la mirada pública y decir, esto me pasa a mí, siempre es duro. Pero sobre todo escribo porque creo que es importante y lo hago con gran agradecimiento a las personas que están siempre al alcance, por todos los medios.

A todos aquellos que alguna vez han dicho, tú puedes vencerlo, eres más fuerte de lo que crees, se va a pasar, te entiendo, aquí estoy para ti. A todos ustedes, gracias de verdad, porque son la voz de la esperanza propia, de la consciencia profunda y de las ganas de vivir y ser feliz; sin estos ecos en otras voces, sería difícil enfocar el camino en momentos de oscuridad.

Entrar en un estado de ansiedad es súbito y absoluto.

Te golpea como el aire frío que arremete contra la ventana de un vehículo en movimiento.

Es un estado doloroso y completamente atemporal. Donde el tiempo se diluye, y la presencia del malestar se propaga en todos los posibles planos del pensamiento.

Es pararse al borde del precipicio, con un miedo absoluto de moverse en cualquier dirección.

Es una línea delgada e interminable, que aterra cruzar y que aterra no cruzar.

Entrar en un estado de ansiedad, es inesperado, es falto de oxígeno, falto de aliento, falto de ideas.

Es polarizado, entre la absoluta incapacidad de salir de ahí y la incansable energía para recordarte dónde estás.

Es una lucha interna agotadora, entre olas que van y vienen y van y vienen,

Y van y vienen; van

Y

                                               Vienen

Sin ritmo, a su gusto, acabando con cualquier posibilidad de anticipación o mitigación.

Cada ola es tan grande y tan fuerte como cualquier otra, y a la vez, cada una se siente como la más grande y la más fuerte que jamás hayas vivido.

Es una experiencia exhaustiva

                Y sin punto final localizable

Es un constante de preocupación, de confusión, de tristeza.

He estado ahí, hoy lo estoy nuevamente.


Si alguna vez has experimentado ansiedad, creo que esto puede sonarte familiar.

Sino, es posible que no tenga sentido.

Yo también viví muchos años sin ansiedad, y un día simplemente sucedió.

Si estás ahí y lo estás viviendo ahora mismo, busca esos ecos que te recuerdan que se va a pasar, que vas a estar bien, que eres más fuerte de lo que crees. Porque es verdad.

Se va a pasar,

Eres más fuerte de lo que crees en este momento,

Y vas a estar bien.

Y si todavía no lo crees, vuelve a leerlo.

Confronta hasta donde puedas la marea, y déjate llevar como puedas a la orilla.

El tiempo está después.

 

 

Why Latvia?

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I’ve been here in Riga for almost seven weeks.

Now there’s familiar faces, and familiar places. Still a lot to discover and lot to experience.

But since I decided to take 5 planes to get to this city a couple of months ago, there has been always this question: why Latvia?

I’ve asked this to myself at the start, of course, but mostly, is the people I am meeting who ask me, why?, why you decided to come here?

The first time I answered, I was certain that my story was unique, and amazing. “Because I wanted to do something else, I wanted to be a volunteer, and travel, and discover a new world. I mean what could be better than a far away country, with a completely differente weather, people, culture and language?”.

And yes, of course this answer is still truth. But it is not so unique I’ve come to realize. There is many (MANY) of us in this world, who dream and believe and have an aching desire to see and taste and smell and touch different cultures, in many different ways. This is a beautiful fact.

Then, for many other times until now, and I am certain that for many more times in the upcoming weeks and months I got and will get this question:

Why Latvia?

And the truth is, the reason is always changing.

Maybe on the first week was because it was so cold that I couldn’t speak when walking outside, or because I saw the Daugava river frozen.

And as the days go by, there has been many reasons. Latvia because;

The beer is great and it always comes in 500ml glasses. There are folk dances that I really want to learn. I feel at the top of the world when I can understand new words in latvian language. I have amazing and inspiring people around me creating and working in Bambuss and in other NGO´s. I can bike the streets with no uphill streets. I can take a one hour bus and be at a magical lighthouse and pier. The wetlands and forests are beautiful and huge.

I am meeting incredible people from France, Croatia, Ukraine, Ireland, Italy, and of course, from here, amazing latvians. Free movies at KKC on wednesdays. Lido and its potato pancakes. I can drink lots of tea. Random thursdays with Vivaldi and walks back home. The arrival of spring feels like a dream; the old town also feels like a dream. The national library is amazing. So many people speak english, so many people as well are interested in spanish. So many people smile when you say: Es esmu brivpratiga.

And there might be also hard times, we never know. But the whole point of these is that we should always have a reason why we are doing what we are doing, even if its really tiny, even if we don’t want to share it with anyone. Reasons to be and to do, make life much more consicious and much more beautiful.

Latvia is much more than just a: why not?

Don’t ask why.

 


 

Qué esperas?

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Escribo estas líneas, desde un leitmotiv falto de inspiración,

desde un deseo profundo de pos ponerlo y volver a ello solamente cuando la urgencia de hacerlo sea incontenible.

Escribo estas líneas, desde una mañana fría, con dedos lentos e ideas nubladas.

Con una taza de café demasiado caliente todavía para poder beberla.

Con un día largo y cargado de actividades adelante y con párpados pesados, de esos que si encuentran la oportunidad de volver a cerrarse por 5 minutos más, lo hacen si dudar.

Escribo desde este momento y hacia adelante, porque las cosas a veces van sucediendo una tras otra, demasiado rápido y olvidamos poner atención; pero hoy quiero que sea diferente.

Quiero poner atención a las conversaciones de mi día a día, a las sonrisas y miradas con las que me encuentro y también con las que me desencuentro. Quiero notar la lenta y sutil llegada de la primavera, los colores, sonidos, olores y sensaciones que trae consigo. Quiero estar absolutamente presente en el movimiento veloz de la bicicleta llevándome de un lado a otro. Descubrir nuevos rincones, viejos hábitos y nuevas formas. Maravillarme con el progreso de las cosas y desilusionarme cuando no se logran, pero sin dejar de intentarlo.

Quiero estar así, ocupada, cansada, contenta y que me escribas un cuento; por ejemplo uno que hable de los 43 mares y los millones de estrellas que hay ahí fuera; qué esperas?