Sunday, January 31, 2016

Sunday


Isn't the instability surrounding the days of the week unusual? The whole imbalance of positive and negative emotions tied up to various parts of the week...The "I love Fridays & hate Monday"cult is the most popular these days, right? We've all seen grumpy baby bumper stickers whining over the fact that the week is about to start off. Do we even understand the meaning they bare? Do we ever think further to understand what lies behind it all? Is this a world, which hates life so much as to dread the beginning of new possibilities? Is it really?

If I was going to be a bit sarcastic, I would ask the question who is the idiot responsible for the way a day is spent, except me? Social media is packed with Monday photos each and every single Monday morning, hell, on Sundays they already start with the tomorrow's Monday posts. And it saddens me a little.
I developed a practice, that whenever I see such a post among my friends and acquaintances I check the author of it. I want to know who hates a new chapter so much as to showcase it to this extent and the next time I randomly run into that person I try to remember to ask them how their life is going, how their carriers are working out, but mainly what I'd always like to know is what their dreams are and what their actions are in respect to actualize those dreams. Sometimes a little push, a heads up and a little support of an old, seemingly ignorant acquaintance is everything we need to turn our day around.

I close my eyes, and the first image that pops up in my mind is that of a bridge across a rift. A secure, calm balanced time that represents not only the end but in a subtle way already foreshadows the beginning. A time to reflect, but also a time to dream; a time to say grace, as well as a time to warmly envision hopes. That is what Sundays are to me. A time to conclude the old and embrace the new. One of my best friends told me, he always embraces his tomorrows with the hope of fresh encounters... Isn't that a beautiful thought?

Saturday, January 30, 2016

mindfulness

I entered the apartment, and as the the front door closed behind me, I had shut my eyes to soak it all in, while Kleopatra was turning and twisting around my feet in utter joy.

I take long walks in the countryside, over the hill above my studio or in the nearby forest almost every day. And somehow I fell out of the habit of taking the time to walk from one place to another within the city I live in. I suppose it is just so much faster and straightforward to drive. Lately the crowded sidewalks and noisy streets make me want to head out from here as soon as I can, and spend the most part of my day in a calm and silent place, where I can hear mavises sing. Tonight was an exception. Tonight there was something in the air around me, something in my heart, so inviting and nostalgic. My mother helps me with henna-dying my hair and we've spent the afternoon doing just that. I was about to leave, but suddenly turned right, instead of turning left to pick up my car.

I used to walk these roads so many times. My grandparents lived in this very direction, and as a child I used to walk down to their place countless times, it was so much joy to pass by the lakes, stopping by playgrounds and forgetting to check my watch. In a dream I said goodbye to my grandfather in the very spot the apartment I now live in was built. This used to be an open garden, a fence-less private property that everyone used as a shortcut. I had that dream in 2008. But I remember it better than what I dreamed about last night.

Was it nostalgia? I am not sure what the reason was for my sudden urge to take that right turn... But I don't believe in happenstance. The mindfulness I experienced was everything I needed tonight. Slow steps. The girl in the white coat and the vibrant red lipstick, her bashful gaze at the fellow walking next to her...The man carrying an enormous gym-bag, with his jacket zipped open. He was not wearing any scarf, though it was a chilly night. As I turned to face the tall office building I remember looking up at the all-glass cubicles, some embraced in darkness, others lit up by a tired dimmed light. I walked across its parking lot and ended up by the front lake, facing  four women walking towards me. The one on the far left was so engaged in her storytelling that she nearly knocked me off the sidewalk.They reminded me a little bit of Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda.
A peaceful melody filled the light evening air. I could sharply hear the sound of my steps against the wooden path that was recently built upon the side of the lake.
A father carrying his baby boy in a sling wrap. His footsteps grounded in grace and security. It was his time to be just there, the peace in his movements, the way the world revolved around him and his toddler, they were both so grounded in that very moment in time, as if nothing else had existed...what a marvelous thing to witness! The bewildering dark eyes of an ambitious jogger, as he timidly passed me by, not having the courage to look fully up.
The asphalt glowed in crystal black, as the cold misty night settled upon it.

It is the tiny moments. The meaningless. I appreciate details. Presence. Life is nothing but snow-frost on the front window of a desolated barn.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Spicy lemon cookies


I usually get over excited about recipes I read on the web or in some magazine. Most of the time I only read the title and I adore the photo, but when I head onto making it, I am not entirely satisfied with ingredients and measurements. So I end up entirely revamping it.

This is what happened last night. When I read "Lemon Cookies" in a magazine I had lying around in the kitchen, something clicked in my head. The photo featured a lovely glass of milk next to the platter heaped with scrumptious looking cookies, and I could already envision breakfast for the following morning. The cookie monster in me was awakened!

But then as I had already prepared basic ingredients and I started going through the actual recipe I got more and more disappointed. If anyone, I surely bake by the "less is more" principle, but still, the combination of flour, butter, a scary volume of sugar and the poor addition of one lemon zest will not cut it. The basic idea of preparing cookies at home as opposed to choosing store bought cookies is to invest the time in a product that lacks preservatives, ideally contains less sugar and is made with unsaturated fat, is fresh, features quality ingredients and thoughtfully blended spices and contains that one special ingredient that only the maker can add to it. It is by no means a way to recreate the same unhealthy crap that can be bought in a store, has a ridiculous expiry date somewhere in the distant future and is made of highly questionable ingredients and substitutes.

So I looked at the photo in the magazine again, smiled, and had set it aside. 
So here goes my version. 



Ingredients

140 gr. white flour
50 gr. semolina flour
100 gr. butter
60 gr brown sugar
2 T honey
1 egg
1 lemon zest
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp powder ginger
pinch of cardamom
50 gr. white chocolate

Mix two types of flour with baking soda, ginger, cardamom and lemon zest.
Cream up sugar and softened butter, add the egg, whisk. Add the honey and blend it in well. Gradually start adding the dry ingredients into the wet blend, mix well with a spoon (I usually just use my hands). Lastly add the finely chopped chocolate to the cookie dough. 
Line a flat cookie pan with parchment paper, form walnut sized balls of the dough, and place them onto the pan, making sure you leave some room for them to flatten out. I can usually fit 9 dough-balls onto my pan comfortably. 
Bake in a preheated oven at 175 C degrees for about 12 minutes. If you do not have a heat controller on your oven, just look for a nice light golden edge.

I was able to make 15 cookies, just so you are able to plan it out, maybe you'll find that you need to make a double batch. 

Make sure you let them cool and rest overnight. Some cookies are best eaten right off of cooling rack, but this one is waaay more delicious if it sets. Enjoy! You will, I am sure of that much!


Tuesday, January 26, 2016

early morning



...in the caressing calm of starting off Tuesday, through the fog and the snow covered hills I've heard the lively song of a tiny mavis. Very unlikely in January, and yet there it was, joyful and propulsive just like on a fresh spring day.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Studio days


If the glittering dry snow did not reveal the sharpness of the cold air, the sunshine that lights up my studio on this pretty Friday could easily deceive my seasonal reality. I had the sudden impulse to feed spring in my heart early in the morning, so in an attempt to do so, I brought home beautiful spring buds, a pot full of grape hyacinth. I find such beauty in the growth of plants, their sudden progress and responsiveness. They react with surprising gratitude to my providence...

In the end warmth is in the heart, it is not to be sought or found in the outside world.



And in moments like these I truly understand the frivolous nature of words.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Sunday


January is mostly slow and subtle.
Life gets a pace I resonate with deeply.
Days filled with even pulses of energy, which is by no means overflowing, yet enough for the meditative monotony that wraps around life.
Sleepless nights filled with discussions about the smallest details of life, of death... the little things, and joggling between thoughts of aspiration from mundane to divine through the ordinary everyday life. Presence. In the seemingly meaningless moments. And presence. In the magical blinks and flashes.

Outwardly it may appear like nothing has changed. Yet nothing will ever be the same. Once one's soul awakens, it cannot be tamed, and much less framed.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

not special


I receive these kinds of messages all the time, people telling me they wish they lived the life I do, they wish they had the courage to walk away from their present realities and pursue what they love. I talk to friends and I am confronted with the same idea. Not long ago, a customer on Etsy wrote me a beautiful message. She told me she had read my about page, and it brought her to tears, as she was going through something similar at the time, and having read about my experience helped her to gain courage.

Quite a few years ago, when I chose this journey an incredibly liberating thought came to me and stayed with me ever since. One of the most beautiful realizations to me was not that I am more special, than everyone else. It is in fact quite the opposite. I am no different than anybody. I am just as hurt as everyone else, I am just as doubtful as everyone else, I am just as wounded as everyone else around me. I, or the life I lead is by no means unique. And some may ask, well, how is that liberating, if anything, it should make you feel even more stressed out? It would have. A good while ago it would have stressed me out indeed.
But then at a certain point some years ago, I raised the question: why should it? Realizing that I am not unique at all, that the world will wake to another day, whether I am in it or not is truly magnificent. My existence, or the lack of it will not change the Earth's ability to go around the sun. This realization frees me, like no other and allows me to be so grateful for everyone I've met and everything I've been given. But above all, it makes me compassionate. As my godmother likes to say, every home has its cross, even if it is not on display... I too come with a baggage, we all do, and that is absolutely fine, because when you suffer, I can be there and listen. Listen truly, because I know how it feels like to be hurt. I know how it feels like to be lonely. Just like I've felt joy, and just like I feel love. I can laugh and I can cry with you, because I am no different than you.

So give yourself a moment, inhale and ask yourself, what is it about my life that you desire? I am no different than you, and you are no different than me. Essentially you already have everything you need to live a fuller life, a more conscious one. And within your heart, you already know, what gets you there. Not everyone is meant to create with their hands... So many think, that this is where my secret is. People tell me, I'd like to live the way you do, but I am not talented in any craft. And you know what, you don't have to be. All you need is to rely on is your curiosity, and through that you will be able to find your passion. What is it that lights the spark in your heart? Maybe it is people, maybe it is a cause, or perhaps numbers. What are your thoughts about when you catch yourself daydreaming? That is where your heart is, and that is where it is most true, that is where your senses align. So stop wasting your life in jobs that drain and drown you and thrive in the truth of your own heart.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Inspiration: Hibernation

We all know that friend who relentlessly whines about winter, the snow, the cold, the minus gazillion degrees, the friend who continuously complains about all the days and nights they still have to survive until the first day of spring...

Well, I am that friend.
I truly regret, that human beings are not more like bears. How awesome would it be to just lay down and sleep in a warm (okay perhaps not in a cave, like a bear) bedroom and wake up again, when the sun is warmly shining, birds are chirping and the grass is growing again. Why indeed?

I get that a positive attitude comes from within and one may even be at ease with a dreadful situation, should one have the right mindset for it. I get that. I do. And it works. All through December it works just fine. But come on, three whole months of positive mindset in -12 C degrees is ridiculous. My positive mindset freezes up. Period.

So if we are not more like bears in the hibernation sector, then I dress up like one. And if I liked skiing and owned one of those ski outfits, I would probably walk around in it over the course of those dreadful weeks. But nonetheless, chunky knits, fleece, and thick socks are pretty much my favorites these days...Hot showers, oh they would totally mess up Maslow's hierarchy of needs for me...

Continuously on my mind are: soothing// cozy// chunky// convenient


Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Happy New Year



Here's to a brand new year filled with clay, metals and funky happy pets; to a year rooted in simplicity and trust; to a year filled with magic and excitement! Thank you for being a part of my journey and following along!

Bye bye pretty holiday fingernails, hello metal-particle filled and clay dried skin! I missed you! ♥ 

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Sunday



"Everyone says love hurts, but that is not true. Loneliness hurts. Rejection hurts. Losing someone hurts. Envy hurts.Everyone gets these things confused with love, but in reality love is the only thing in this world that covers up all pain and makes someone feel wonderful again. Love is the only thing in this world that does not hurt."
Liam Neeson