Life as a Rumba

April 4, 2009

“`Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?’ Alice speaks to Cheshire Cat `That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,’ said the Cat. `I don’t much care where–‘ said Alice. `Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,’ said the Cat. `–so long as I get somewhere,’ Alice added as an explanation. `Oh, you’re sure to do that,’ said the Cat, `if you only walk long enough.’ (Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland)


Every time we learn something, we grow. Any new experience uses a new portion of our brain. Each piece of information, whether it happens to be an image, sensation, taste, smell, visited web page, new dish, color combination, becomes a file and adds up to the enormous data base that is our memory.


There is a reason why they keep saying that “as long as one lives, one learns”. It’s a continuous process, it gets faster and faster and our storage capacities are amazing. The learning process is cumulative, expanding, with other words it has a snow ball effect.


Every time we learn something new, we get out of the box. It’s getting easier to talk about this, especially that lately I had numerous occasions to get out of the box, to experiment, experience, evolve, as I like to say. For example, recently, I learned how to danse rumba. For me it was the perfect occasion to get out of the box, to finally tackle what I had long time considered a personal limitation. The moment I entered the door at the Dance School, in my mind a voice kept repeating like an echo: “wau! I finally get to do this!…what a relief!”


So you can only imagine my surprise when Primo, our dance instructor, placed us in a dancing position and told us: “The first dance you will learn is Rumba. The only thing you have to keep in mind when you dance rumba is that your steps make a box. No matter what, stay in the box.” And the echo in my mind: ‘What? Box? What is he saying?!


When he showed us the steps, I saw that indeed, they made a box…after ten minutes I was so excited that I had managed to stay in the box that I totally forgot about it. Afterwards he told us that the more we learn, the bigger the box becomes, we can make it as big as we can, we can open it, we are allowed to improvise more, to customize, to personalize, even more, it is going to become an inner box, without limits, but still a box. That in fact this is the secret, to be able to keep the box…to give it our own rhythm, our own shape, to go beyond our limits all the time, but be able to always go back to the box, never to lose the rhythm.


To be able to dance rumba, you have to constantly learn, to permanently adapt to your surroundings, to manage your own moves and be in harmony with your own body and at the same time to be responsive at your partner’s moves so that the final result would be one of total congruence. Rumba is as in life. You need passion, communication, experiment, expansion, but at the same time you have to be able to keep the balance. You always have to have time to go back to the box.


Power vs. Force

March 25, 2009

With America I had all my possibilities revealed. They appeared just like that, before me, naked and plenty, all at the tip of my fingers. I knew about them for a long time, I had either heard or read about them, but I had never looked at them with enough interest. Maybe out of lack of time, maybe out of surfeit or too much self seclusion. With my departure I experienced the explosion of the shell and the joy of breathing consciously. And not because Romania constrained me in any way or hurt me in any other, but because that was the moment when I tasted the power of option.


I felt that it was changing, that my eyes began to see differently, that the expression of my own mind had become richer in a way. I started a sort of half conscious groping about things in my life, I started the listing and labeling of all the old and new experiences, and of course, I had the realization of the fact that it all had to do with a change of level, a sort of spiritual growth. But the newly found land was very unsteady, it moved in all directions, almost incapable of self sustenance and hard to place between the patterns of my experience. 


I went through the process of chewing upon the newly acquired information, of placing things on a familiar path, harder to shake; a process of going back and analyzing, comparing and reshuffling. That’s how I got here, trying an infinitely simple explaining exercise that now seems almost impossible to realize. I tried in a way to contradict Hawkins, the author whose book I am going to write about. 


“Power vs. Force”- The Hidden Determinants of Human Behavior”(Dr. David R. Hawkins, Hay House, Inc., California, 2002) is the book that managed to place between guidelines all the spiritual ballast that kept me from moving on for good months. It doesn’t talk about something totally new, and I think that’s the goodness of it, the fact that it reveals the obvious; it endlessly repeats what you already knew until you finally begin to see. That I am only affected by what my mind believes and that the power to evolve comes with the power of consciously controlling your attitude and the courage to have an option and constantly coming out of the box.


We, humans, get to know by placing things between pre-existing patterns and the best way to understand a completely new concept is by referring it to the familiar. We learn by repetition. Things become obvious by repetition. Therefore, we operate with patterns that are easily recognizable, easy to enclose in our personal or collective experience. Patterns organize themselves into systems of patterns that lead to the admittance of a fact as being a personal or collective truth.  


Stripped of all the heaviness of a specialized language and logical arrangements, the books speaks simply and for anyone who has their eyes open to read, about Enlightenment.

It speaks about levels of consciousness, and the emotions involved, about negative and positive emotions, about the force that always reacts against something and the power that resembles gravitation and springs out of understanding, out of action, I would say, about reactions and about how they depend upon the world we react at.

It strengthened my opinion that is good to want more, but not with foolish desire that limits and leads to frustration in the end, but with the courage of exploring new possibilities, by keeping the dream in focus, by adopting a detached attitude towards things, without attachments and useless anchors so that you lose the tendency to judge and control. You can feel the frustration going away, anger almost  disappears and you become yourself hard to control by the others. In this way appears the desire for self-correction and self-improvement.


A simple definition of genius says to ‘Do what you like to do best, and do it to the very best of your ability!’

The question is: ‘Are we the best of what we can be?’


The American Dream

March 25, 2009

On September 11, 2001 I was nineteen and a half, I didn’t pluck my eyebrows, I had 20 extra-pounds and a million dreams well kept inside me. I would keep my head mostly down and I would strictly refuse to rebel; I would go to church every Sunday, I would wear my hair long and I wouldn’t wear earrings out of bigotry. But the inside was boiling with rebellion, I felt a crazy courage and an unspeakable appetite for adventure; I felt that this was the beginning; I felt that finally my life would start like a 600 hp engine. I was angry with my father because he didn’t believe in me, I was hurt and highly frustrated; by all means I wanted to show him that I could, I promised myself that’ I woldn’t let  go the offense and that it had to be the moment to reveal my true force.


On September 11, 2001 I woke up at seven o’clock in the morning in my aunt’s 4th floor flat in Bucharest. I ate although my stomach refused anything. I sipped the warm coffee at the kitchen table , on the little  cushioned chair in the corner by the door. When the old pendulum clock, the most precious object in my aunt’s living room stroke 8, we closed the door behind us. We went down the stairs, me with shaking feet, and we headed towards the bus stop in silence. It was warm, muggy and raining. I didn’t know too much about Bucharest. Lots of people on the street.  .


At eight o’clock in the morning, the bus stations in Bucharest, and this one in particular, are swarming with people going to work and kids going to school. And when it rains it becomes a nightmare. I got up a 368 filled with people, wet umbrellas and poking backpacks. Old people going to the Marketplace. They always do that. Old people go to the Marketplace. The doors hardly closed. The spaces between the stops seemed endless. There was a steamy, muggy, humid and sticky atmosphere inside the bus. I was afraid I would pass out. It took forever to reach Tricodava. After endless minutes at Razoare, when it finally reached Eroilor I felt like in  heaven. Half of the swarmy, sweaty cargo got down here to take the subway.


At nine twenty we finally reached the Roman Square taking a detoured route. I remember it was during the George Enescu International Classic Music Festival and half of Bucharest was blocked. We didn’t know that at the moment. We got down the bus in a Roman Square completely hidden by the heavy rain. My aunt’s umbrella didn’t do much. It was sticky, hot and very wet. You couldn’t see 6 ft ahead. My aunt, who, after forty years was supposed to know the city by heart, couldn’t figure it out where we were. Instead of heading to the Univerisity on Macheru Bvd, in order to make a right after Scala Theatre on Pitar Mos, we went the other way, and we found ourselves on Dorobanti, near the British Council.


I was wet to the bone and very impatient. My aunt had water in her sandals. I was quiet. Then she asked me what I would do if I got in to this faculty, this foreign languages thing. What can I become after I finished it. I told her I had several options. 


Finally, after another half hour of groping in the rain, we reached the door of the Foreign Languages Faculty. I opened the heavy door, I felt so tiny, my heart was about to explode in my chest. The hallway was filled with soaking wet people, all gathered in front of the results panels. I finally reached them after several minutes I used to elbow my way to them. My aunt waited  outside the impatient crowd. My emotions made it very hard for me to find myself on the list. But I was there. It said admitted, under number 70, English Major. I got back where my aunt was. My feet were shaking. ‘I’m in, auntie, I’m in! English Major, I’m in!’ ‘ And what can you do, dear, with this English of yours? You think you can get to America now?’  ‘Oh, I don’t think so auntie, I  didn’t even start. It’s hard to get to America anyway.


I got out that heavy door as a winner this time, the same door a year earlier I had closed as a looser. My dream had begun. I had finally left my jail behind. It stopped raining but it was still very wet, water allover, the sewage system in Bucharest is such a mess. My clothes stuck wet to my skin. I kept smiling. I guess I looked dumb with that big smile on my face. I didn’t care. ‘Look at me! My feet all wet! I have water in my sandals. These are my good sandals. I only wear them for special occasions! Now, if you’re gonna go to America, you should buy me a pair of sandals. Like these. All leather. Good quality.’ ‘Yes, auntie, like these’. And we both started laughing. We were near the Roman Square subway station.


Later I watched how a plane hit the second Tower at the World Trade Center. I called home to tell them about the terrorist attack and how America was hit, forgetting that they waited for my results. That was the day America entered my life. Now, after 8 years I guess is finally the time to send my aunt the sandals I’m sure she’s waiting for.   





Answer the following questions:

March 24, 2009


Q: What does Today mean for you?

A: Today means that I am.


Q: What does Fear mean to you?

A: Fear means that I run. That I hide. Fear keeps me alive. Fear means that I am.


Q: What does Courage mean to  you?

A: Courage means to go closer to Love and further from fear.


Q: What does Love mean to you?

A: Love is when you feel no Fear.


Q: What does Soul mean to you?

A: Soul means God. Soul means that I am.


Q: What does Mind mean to you?

A: Mind means that every question has an answer.