Saturday, July 30, 2011

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE

Rodby, Denmark

I had one of the strongest experiences of my life today.

I feel liberated like I never felt before.

Today I received a message from the man I was in love with, or from the man I love the most, here and now. 

He writes about the beautiful vacations he just spent with his friends and about meeting a girl he fell in love with. The thing is, I think I knew this already. I knew it without knowing it and I have been making wishes for his happiness non-stop.

I have been at it for days, undergoing the strangest emotions, but knowing beyond the shadow of a doubt that the only thing I really want is for him to be happy. I have been consciously wishing him to find someone to love and who would love him. And now he has. The moment I read his words a tremor shook my soul, that I felt inwardly. At the exact same moment, a great happiness filled my heart. My beloved is happy!!! What a great joy!!!

I've nothing but good feelings with these news, and I actually feel liberated, free to also find my own happiness and move on.

As I walked outside of the office where I sent him my joyous reply, I ran into Lama Ole who bent down to give me a blessing. Outside, I met my new friend Stephan. A very sweet and gentle German guy who lives in Austria and whom I met in Tenovice. I share the news. The beauty of our friends on the Way is that we all share the same teachings, and comprehend the depth of our emotions and value our breakthroughs. He understands and we talk about life, love, and liberating insights and moments. It is significant. While we sit in the sun, my Hungarian friend Peter, one of the guys I drove here with comes to tell me there is a wedding in the Gompa. How auspicious!!!

The wedding is amazing. It all starts with children, from the Youth Care group. The girls do an improv dance and the boys jam on house made drums (mainly plastic buckets). All the while Lama Ole watches with an indulgent and happy smile, and the couples to be married cuddle close in anticipation.



I have seen Buddhist weddings before, I know the drill. Yet today I am especially sensitive to the celebration of love taking place before me. My Lama speaks of the feminine and the masculine, of our differences and on how we can enrich our lives so much by understanding the significance of our unions, he says "If we go to our women like one goes to a Temple…" We are all deeply moved by his words. He goes on to talk about the five female wisdoms and the four male activities, and the four different types of love. Then the time has come to give the blessing. The couples imagine an image of energy and light that stands on their heads and dances into their hearts, the Lama blesses their heads and hearts. We are all moved and joyfully throw rice at the newlyweds!!!



I am close to the stage and without thinking I am suddenly standing besides Lama Ole, "Please Lama, give me a blessing so I can find a loving partner to share my life with…" We melt in the tenderest of hugs and he gives me his blessing. I hold on to him and feel the power of his wishes. "You are a magnificent woman. Be choosy." Tears come to my eyes. I am happy.

I think of Waldo and again wish him all the best, I see some friends, we all hug and make good wishes for each other, we are in a cloud of love and nothing else exists but love. All atoms vibrate with joy and are kept together by love. Nothing else is real.

Suddenly The Beatles are on and we all burst out laughing… JOY ad infinitum… May all sentient beings have love and the causes for love…

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Hamburg

We leave Vienna at 3 in the morning. I find it perfectly normal to stay awake until our Hungarian friend Szabi calls to say they have arrived to the Center. Ever since this trip has started any sense of "normality" has disappeared from my routine, and, basically, from my life. I wake up at the time I need to and go to bed very late at night, rarely before one, and this is perfectly "normal" now.

As we drive away from Vienna, I once again experience the same absurd sensation that has been with me since I left Prague... I miss Prague. I miss it like one misses a lover. I miss it and the feeling of moving even further away from it is almost painful.

I sleep all through the very long drive to Hamburg, waking up occasionally to go to the loo, or to eat something, until finally we have arrived at the Center. This is the second largest Diamond-Way center in the world. The Gompa is enormous and beautifully decorated. The altar carries statues for all the sixteen Karmapas and there is special altar for Mahakala. I am surprised that it is in pragmatic Germany that I find the most ornated altar carrying the largest offerings.



Hamburg is really a beautiful city and as we leave it the following morning, I really wish we wouldn't... yet. But the Lolland Summer Course starts really soon  (dates are complicated to keep track of while moving around like this, I actually need to make a big effort to remember what day it is today).

I loved Hamburg's architecture combination, the creative artsy feeling that pervades it. Especially in the Center's neighborhood. Our Diamon Way center is located in the Saint Pauli area, a bohemian quartier filled with little bars, and vintage designer clothes stores. Carina's Peruvian friend Nati informs us that the area is home to the punk community, although that is plain to see if you look around and check the fashion and the hairstyle (haven't seen so many Iroquois and creative hair colors in a long long time).

On one of the main streets around the center there is a "taken" house, I understand this means a squatter house. From the outside it is filled with graffittis, posters, and odd decorations. In the park nearby there is more urban art on a huge escalating wall.






We get a tour of the center, and visit the office where all the material is printed and sent to Europe and even to the US. There are 40 residents and a café, where a huge meeting is taking place. They are planning the New Year party. We go for dinner to a Thai restaurant  and later for a beer. The joke is on us when we realize we have been drinking Portuguse beer in Germany!!! Hahahaha! The bar is actually Portuguese!!!



The morning after, before leaving town, we stop at Dori's house, a Hungarian girl who lives in Hambugr for a cup of coffee. I am a bit annoyed at waking up so early when the hungarians are obviously in the mood for socializing a bit before leaving. And I discover Dori. She is a slender, blond, beautiful woman, who warmly opens up her lovely, albeit small, appartment to our little troup (there is 9 of us in the van), and she actively starts working up a strange machine that makes me thing of a Tim Burton invention. Shortly after, our coffees are served. And my annoyance disappears quickly into gratefulness and amazement. This is undoubtedly the BEST capucchino to ever have made his way to my lips!!!! This is it!!!!





We then board our van and take our leave from Hamburg. As we drive past lovely little shops and fashion boutiques, I remember of Pasha's words in Prague, as Carina and I were getting dressed to go out one evening "Of course you realize you are doing all this for yourselves, right? We don't care how you dress or what make up you're wearing, all we see are eyes, smile, and admittedly a couple more things." Yes, we dress for ourselves. And it pleases us that way. And with a last thought for that beautiful dress in the window, I think of my friend Grace.

And we drive away through the city, park, train station, residential area, canals, trees everywhere, everything mixes pleasantly and if not for a gas station, I could think of an urban modern work of art. But no city I know has yet been capable of incorporating gas stations in an artistic way.

I remember my Czech friend Karel, who is an architect and said when he look through my photos "You really like architecture, don't you?" I hadn't realized it, but yes, I do. I have a lyrical and visual heart that I'm getting to know better in this trip.

Suddenly Bundesautobahn. No more Hamburg. Time to turn on my Ipod and sleep. The Hungarians are back to speaking Hungarian anyways :)

Monday, July 25, 2011

Vienna, Art overload

As we begin our visit to Wien, there is a meditation at the Gompa. They kindly hold the meditations AND the 10 minutes' talk in English in our honor. The topic is the difference between consuming and producing Buddhism. I really enjoy the talk. It reminds me of my own development. At night a girls takes us (Pasha, the Russian Prince has once again joined our path) to an italian restaurant, Va Piano. Deliciousness!!!

The following day our true mission starts: And the mission is to cover as much museum ground as possible! Our cameras click non stop!!! We have a blast at the Museum Quartier, enjoying the Shiele collection. Personally I discover a new love. His name is Moser and his paintings stick to my heart. I love him. There is also a special Salvador Dali exhibition, as well as the Alexander Brodsky exhibition at the Arquitecture Museum, and of course the Design Museum, and the Parliament, and the Opera House, and the Jewel of the Day, my pet mission: Haus Der Musik, where you can guide a Philarmonic Orchestra, or compose a Symphony, or enjoy a Symphonic concert at Schönbrun in a huge movie screen, or explore sounds and the whys and because, as well as discover the life of Mozart, Beethoven, Schuman, etc. I am ecstatic at having been there!!! It was amazing!!!








video



The day is not finished, we decide to close it off by getting on the wrong tram and end up in the furthest side of Vienna, exhausted and cold to the bone. This is probably the coldest place we've been to so far, besides Kuchary, that is. We finally find our way to the metro and return safely and happily to civilization J

We already felt like a bit overloaded with all the art we've been digesting forcefully all day (not to mention the intense urban art present all over the city) but we were still beginners. The best was about to come: ALBERTINA!!!!

Now, if you have the slighest connection to pictoric art, nothing in the world should stop you from visiting the Albertina Museum. It brags about its Picassos and its Monet (which is of course the famous Pond with lillies) but it has MUCH MORE in store for you! And I insist: MUCH MORE!!! As I delighted myself into the tiny Blue Room from Edouard Vuillard and enjoyed the beautiful paintings from Kupka, Kandinsky, Miró, Sam Francis, Klee and an amazingly big and perfect Vassarelly, nothing had prepared me for the amazing CHAGAL!!! (who is, by the way, my favorite artist since childhood, when I fell in love with his blue paintings where red suns and horse faces and brides spring up at you from all places) Here, suddenly and against all expectations is the amazing Sleeping Woman with Flowers.

Time stands still.

My eyes are wet, my heart beats loud and fast. I am moved beyond words. This must be the most beautiful thing my eyes ever laid eyes onto, ever. I look at the sleeping girl and the sleeping village in the blue haze of the dream. An explosion of colors brings me close to tears. I cannot take my eyes off the painting and Carina has to basically remove me forcefully from the room. (Of course, that's not true, all she had to do was remind me of the Klimts that await us in the next stop in our tour: The Belvedere!!!




As I walk in the room where The Kiss is exhibited, I can almost sense the painting before seeing it. I KNOW it is there. I purposedly walk around the room looking at the other paintings, the flowery landscapes, the beautiful and perfect  portraits of Judith, who is a Queen, a Goddess of sensuality and yet delicate with her half opened mouth and sparkling teeth. Her face is perfect.

I know that once my eyes set on it, there will be nothing left in me for anything else. Finally, it is there, before me. I smile, contented, and sit down to appreciate it. A special feeling of accomplishment comes over me, like an inner joy. The Kiss. Such a beloved work of art now standing before me. My eyes are witnessing as the artist before me, the sheer sensuality of the lovers, and I can't get over the wealth of design and details.
I take notes of the many tricks Klimt used to paint! How naive!!! As if I'd ever be capable of producing such beauty on a canvas. Her skin is perfectly pallid, ethereal and she wears flowers in her hair J He wears a robe which presents absolute masculinity in black and silver. The bed is made of gold. Garlands hang from their feet. He kisses her and she embraces him and hold his hand.

I am moved.

Klimt said: "The woman is at the heart of my work."

He meant every word.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

PRAGUE MON AMOUR

The next day we leave for Prague with Carina and Karel, a Czech member of the Sangha who's a traveling teacher who has also become my friend. Since Karel has traveled quite often to Peru, he and Carina are good friends. He was extremely kind to us during our stay, but then of course, all Czech people are nice and friendly by nature. And I'd like to think I've made quite a few friends.  The most enriching thing about this exchange is that we are all friends on the way, this means everything we talk about is meaningful to us, we can immediately be honest to each other and open and true. Transparent communications, not trying to impress, not trying to manipulate, not trying anything at all actually, but just being who we are and talking about our dreams, and what's in our hearts.


Prague is everything I bargained for and so much more. I feel like in a fairy tale. The feeling of unreality is so strong that we actually freak out when we see people coming out of what would seem like the decor of a Fairy Tale theme park. I mean, people actually live on the stairs that lead to the Castle. Real people like you and me. Carina and I joke about this guy actually been maintenance. This while we lovingly entertain a delicious Trdelnik. Man! this is so good!! I could have one with plum sauce everyday!!! This is a sweet dough traditionally rolled over a stick and then grilled and served with almonds, sugar and... plum sauce. As we come down form the castle after god only knows how many hours (this is I think the largest castle compound in the world, and the whole thing is a Museum from beginning to end, except the house of government, I think, at least we didn't try to go there. Governments are boring, we think.) So anyway, I was getting cranky and we were both exhausted but a good Fried cheese sandwich made my day better, as we came down on Mala Strana. 




I absolutely love this place. I could go on for hours about everything we've seen here, the Mucha Museum, with all the Art Nouveau (which is anyway all over town - everything your eye touches has a 99.9% chance of being an object of PURE ART). We could also talk about the fashion boutiques Carina and I enjoy visiting, we don't buy anything of course, just the thought of adding one ounce of weight to my back pack makes me wince, but we look at the dresses, jackets, all designed with infinite good taste and with very accessible prices. I am so happy I am going to live here. This is THE adventure of my life. I feel so excited!!! 

Oh! That's right!! I haven't told you yet :) Well... I think I knew this from the very first moment. Even before coming to to this amazing city, and even before reaching Tenovice and reaping all the good impressions the Phowa course left in my mind. I am moving to Prague.

Like I said in my previous post, as I approached Lama Ole at Tenovice, at the end of the Phowa course, he kindly remembered who I am  and the tribulations I go through (quite willingly, I agree) and asked me "So, what do you think of Europe?" I readily told him how I felt and how I thought moving to Prague would be the next step for me. He said he thought it was a GREAT idea :), so what else is there to say? I am moving to Prague.

Sometimes even if things look pretty crazy or unexpected, one needs to trust in space. And as I was sleeping in the center, I told one of the girls who live there about my plans, she kindly shared some ideas about language schools, since of course, my first project here will be to learn the language! Well, this guy from the Sangha was here, (a beautiful man, as I've come to understand, that is quite the definition of Czech people, they are all gorgeous, I'm telling you, this place is heaven!!! ;) ) and he very kindly came to tell me he actually knew of a place where I would be able to live at a very affordable price!!! Space is just so generous when you're on the right track. Simply no difficulties, only joy!!! And this happened on my second morning in Prague!!! Carina and I went to visit the place and I met my future room-mate, a beautiful giant named David, and quite a smart guy as well. 

All in all we had the best time ever in Prague, from a Baroque church concert to an improv jamming session at a Jazz club on the river, from movie nights with Sangha friends to Museums, from midnight grilled cheese in a rather shabby place to the delicious lunch at the Olympia (our favorite restaurant!), alone or with our friends on the Way, Carina and I were the Princesses of Prague. And I totally fell in love.




Another thing that no doubt influenced the energy is all the Dharma work that the Sangha is doing. There was not a moment during my stay that the Gompa was empty of meditators. And they also held a meeting once, to decide about the new space they wish to buy for the Center. They also speak of building a Stupa... there is so much Dharma energy that I feel the connection is complete. I can feel it carrying me to the finish line of my Gnöndro. Wouldn't that be something? I am sure that I have a very strong karmic connection with this country. I expect to receive from it all the beauties and power it has to offer, and I also hope to give it in return, all the love, all the beauty, all the strength, and all the wisdom I can muster.

My connections are generous. I've met friends. Even the very last night, I met a beautiful lady, Zuzana, I could feel we have so much in common and the friendship was born. She is a mother too. This touched my heart. After these days in which I really don't talk much about my girls, because it made me sad. Now I know I have to be more confident, to have the strength to work really hard to bring them to me, to this beautiful city, to this bright, bright future.

And the final sign comes through, a translation quote has been approved. I spend my mornings in Prague working and earning money. What to say? Czeska has given it all to me: Bliss, purification, work, and friends.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Tenovice

Today is a beautiful day, with sunshine and human warmth. A precious beautiful man sitting by my side, another sweeping me up in the air, and friendship settling definitively between Carina and myself, among smiles and complicity.

Around me are the friends from the Dharma, unknown yet but brothers and sisters in this life, on this Way.

I feel good, vibrating with happiness, I feel one with everything, the state of Bliss and the Pure Land live in me.

I cast away thoughts about the future and I close my eyes.

The outer world is a reflection of highest bliss.

I am happy!

I couldn't have made a better decision, this Phowa has been the best in my whole life so far.

In the Pure Land I experience bliss, absolute feelings of love, gratitude, and I take the chance to make wishes, may all have happiness, health and love.

I thank my teacher, thank you! thank you! thank you! I feel his infinite love and my eyes get wet. I love him deeply.

Thank you!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Blessing



Tenovice is definitely my favorite retreat center. Many of us travelers feel the same. It is smaller than the other places, and every area is visible from the others, it gives a sense of closeness, of cozyness that makes the feeling of being home even stronger.




People are extremely joyful, the weather is good, in spite of some rain and cold nights. We are all in joyful spirits. The Phowa course is the most powerful I've ever attended. People burst out laughing at every meditation and Lama Ole laughs gently and says "Dewachen is a happy place" We can't stop smiling.

After so many courses I finally have come to know many people and to make some friends, it is no longer a matter of eating alone, I always find someone to share my time with, and Carina and myself are growing closer. Maja is also here with her delicious sense of humour. I tease her because she always finds a "kissing boyfriend" she has to go say hello to. Tenovice will also be remembered by the amount of gorgeous men present!!! The czech are really making a good impression, but not only the czech, it would seem like all the good looking men in the Dharma have made it here and we can't help smiling from the "view" :) Antonia likes short and chubby guys, I like tall skinny guys, Carina is more of the athletic tall kind, and Maja, well Maja simply likes them all!!! 




There are more than 2700 people here, and like I said everyone is happy. When not meditating I spend my time lounging in the sun, greeting friends, meeting cute guys that come to talk to me and wonder why I am smiling all the time (because I'm happy! Duh!!!). I also am getting to know others better, and I enjoy waiting for Pasha's jokes or finding out who is dating who. We are having a great time. The gompa is bursting with people and there is very little room for newcomers. There is one spot next to me and occasionally someone comes late to the session and sits next to me (I am bordering an aisle) instead of disturbing everyone to get to his cushion. On Thursday I have a surprise: I know this guy!!! It is P., from the Benalmadena bus! I greet him and it's like we're best friends forever, we meditate and in between meditations can't stop talking about this and that, and laugh. Carina is smitten, she finds him beautiful. But he apparently has a thing for me. He brings me juices and takes my picture, and rubs my back, and accidently flutters my hand. I just smile and enjoy it. I have been so sick with longing of affection that I can only think of Amithaba, the blissful red Buddha on top of my head who grants all wishes, and I wonder.

All along the course I have been experiencing  the desire for some tenderness and have been focusing on making wishes for all my friends, wishing them love and happiness. And it is only natural that now someone comes to give me kindness, attention and tenderness. He finds me kind and joyful, and loves my hair that he finds soft. Although he is not really my type, I am grateful for this. I can only make more wishes, may all beings have someone to love and to love them in return, may all beings feel the joy I feel this week, may all beings receive the blessing of the Dharma, may all beings reach Enlightment.

The last day another good sign appears: I fall sick, a strong purification takes place and I have a fever. I am sad that I cannot attend the traditional last day Party, but I only want to sleep the fever off. Before leaving, I go to Lama Ole for a parting blessing, he recognizes me and asks me how I find Europe. I tell him directly "I love this country, I'm thinking of moving here" And he readily agrees, he finds this to be a great idea and he blesses me. That is all I needed. All the signs are here. 

My decision is made. I will live here. I have The Blessing. 





Friday, July 8, 2011

Our Practice

I am deeply touched by other people's love. So many sweet, happy couples around me. I am touched and moved beyond words and can only make wishes for the endurance of their happiness. I also wish for myself such sweet love… Little babies and children melt my heart. Love, Love… I feel Becske!

Only one day after: I feel so jealous of loving couples, I feel jealous of loving mothers who can lavish their love on their little ones. I am jealous and not proud. It actually hurts. So many tell me I am so brave for this trip I am doing and yet now I can only see all my weaknesses, so obvious they are, so present. The tears that fill my eyes every time I speak of my children, so much that sometimes I just prefer not mentioning them to anybody. And this little girl next to me who tenderly puts her hand on her mother thigh. It broke my heart to pieces. I could only think of all of Maïa's tenderness, all the love she loves giving me. All I want is to hold her tight. And I suffer. I must go back to my values:

Fearlessness: Mind is Space, unlimited and timeless.

Spontaneous Joy: Space is rich and full of impressions.

Active Compassion: Others are many and I am just one. Obviously they must be more important.

I cannot be afraid because Space is full of potential and I will love and be loved again and I can bring my children to me. Everything I give to the outside world comes back and I give so much love that I cannot doubt that I can make magic happen. The key to happiness is to give even more, and to only act and speak thinking of the other person benefit. That is so clear to me now.

Lama Ole says in the Diamond-Way we are like a Mandala giving each other experiences. We are a Mandala of growth, a living organism. "Have fun, a good style and feel free!" Behave like a Buddha until we become one. That's our practice.

Every moment, we create the rest of our lives.

KARMAPA CHENNO

On Fear

From Becske with love...


Tenovice

Today is a beautiful day, with sunshine and human warmth. A precious beautiful man sitting by my side, another sweeping me up in the air, and friendship settling definitively between Carina and myself, among smiles and complicity.

Around me are the friends from the Dharma, unknown yet but brothers and sisters in this life, on this Way.

I feel good, vibrating with happiness, I feel one with everything, the state of Bliss and the Pure Land live in me.

I cast away thoughts about the future and I close my eyes.

The outer world is a reflection of highest bliss.

I am happy!

I couldn't have made a better decision, this Phowa has been the best in my whole life so far.

In the Pure Land I experience bliss, absolute feelings of love, gratitude, and I take the chance to make wishes, may all have happiness, health and love.

I thank my teacher, thank you

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Clarity

I've come to realize that I've never felt as clear with my feelings before. I look at myself and there is no confusion. I see my flaws and my virtues clearly and without judgement. I don't analyze either (for once). I just look and see what is there. The jealousy I feel when I see all these happy families; and the good wishes that come naturally to my heart and mind for everyone to also be able to experience such happiness and fulfilment. I am surrounded by our people. People committed to the Way and who wish to grow and develop to reach Enlightment for the benefit of all beings. This inspires me and makes me want to move forward.

Unpon returning to Budapest, I toured the city with Carina, with whom I am becoming really close friends. We took so many pictures, we were professional tourists. The city is really beautiful, unimaginably so.  The Budapest Buddhist center is the largest in the world. Followed by Hamburg. Around 40 residents share that space, including a girl from Venezuela, Anuk. The Gompa is truly beautiful, I shot a video in the hopes my friends from El Salvador enjoy it.


I have thought about my mother a lot, she would so enjoy being here with me. I am amazed at the Hungarians generosity. It seems to be a national trait. The notion of money and belonging is hardly present here. A guy even offered me a Manjushri statue for the Center in San Salvador. He also drove us to Becske in the late afternoon, to have dinner with Lama Ole and bid him goodbye. We will of course meet again in Tenovice very soon.


I drove from Budapest with Antonia, a Hungarian girl who, for surreal reasons has a very strong connection with El Salvador. Her dream is to go there, she seems to think there is only Paradise there and loves latin men.  The irony is enormous. About 20 years ago, she opened a magazine and found a picture of El Salvador and felt electrified. There was a picture of Major Roberto D'Aubuisson, an extreme right politician who is believed to be responsible for the murders of many people during the civil war years. For some absurd reason she cut the picture and brought it to Lama Ole during a course. He started at it and told her the man was actually dying from cancer at the very time, and that he was a murderer, so he could probably use her good wishes. 

We drove through Hungary and through a small part of Slovakia, by Bratislava, until we reached the Czech border. That's when the magic happened. I can't explain it rationally, all I can say is I felt as if all my life I had done nothing but wait for the very moment I would come here. (come back?) I was silent for several hours, only aware of the expansion of my chest, where my heart is supposed to be but did not feel there anymore, so large it was at the moment. I felt like tears were going to run down my cheeks from emotion. I had a sense of accomplishment, like I had finally done something that was mean to be done. Please bear in mind I have not seen Prague yet, nor Tenovice for that matter. Only pine trees and hills and lovely villages. 

The sense that something important has happened is so strong I feel something close to what happens when we fall in love, or when we give birth to a new baby. I KNOW at that moment I have found the place where I am going to live. This is my new home.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Becske and the ultimate purification

Becske is an adorable little town, five minutes' walk away from our retreat center, whish is 40 hectares of land with a beautiful hill where an Enlightment Stupa reigns over the landscape. Everyday the Stupa receives visitors who circunambulate it, or sit in the shade to do their meditation, I join the others who are still struggling with the prostrations and work strongly under the Hungarian sun. All along, we are all making wishes for the good of all beings, and that is a feeling that cannot compare to anything else. I love my Way, I love my community, and Becske is doubtlessly the most inspiring of all courses so far.

The weather here is brutal, 35° in the shade, we´re all suffering from the heat and feel overwhelmed. The heat is so strong that I sometimes feel as if my skin was on fire, or as if my blood were about to boil underneath. I mean, seriously, I feel in danger of spontaneous combustion anytime now. I take my water bottle and pour it over me, and then use my fan to cool my skin off, it works for a while.

In Becske I am doing what I do best: translate for my lama. There aren't any persons in the audience that need my translation, but I am doing it for the sake of those watching the streaming online. I think of my dear friends in El Salvador, and feel very moved. I am dedicating my efforts to all of them, with all of my heart.

Being in the booth helps me to stay focused on the teachings; because of the heat, many are falling asleep. The Hungarians did something very bright. They collected all the questions and compiled them in a document, which not only makes it easier for the Lama and his translator to read, but also contributed largely to having an extremely intelligent course, where Lama Ole could focus completely on the transmission of the highest teachings witout the occasional distraction of the many "what-to-do-with-my-twisted-love-life, or why-is-my-cat-so-neurotic" questions.

On the first morning, a Greek traveling teacher spoke to us about Refuge. He himself received the refuge back in 1977, from the XVI Karmapa, almost by mistake, in Amsterdam. His story was told smartly and with a refreshing sense of humour. I liked him and hope to be able to interview him if I do my research.




On my part, I had massive purifications. I suffered greatly from watching so many families, I just missed my kids so much, I couldn't help but imagine what it would mean to them to come here with me, and to meet so many other kids their age who also come from Buddhist families. It wouldn't be weird anymore, but totally natural I experienced a lot of fear. Fear of not being able to settle down, to make a life in Europe for me and them, fear of makins a bad decision. I was also extremely upset about Waldo. I saw so many happy couples, couples who loved each other and gave each other loving tenderness, as we used to do ourselves not so long ago. I realize of course, this is attachment I am feeling, but it doesn't make it less disturbing. All these feelings were really driving me nuts, and I was feeling seriously sad. Finally one morning, upon waking up, Magdie, my roommate told me I had been crying in my sleep. That did it and I started to cry in my awake state as well. She tried to comfort me the best she could. Holding me in her arms and whispering with all the kindness of her heart "om mani peme hung" and "om tare tuttare ture soha". It was all I could bare. 

Of course I realize that the practice I am working on right now is a purification one, and that I am bound to experience difficulties. That same day, just as I was about to go d my prostrations to the stupa, lama Ole passed me by on his daily jogging. I decided to join him and ran by his side. After a while we went to the lama house and I told him about my distress. He told me he would do a "mo" or Tibetan divination to help me out. 

We sat down at his desk and he told me he would first ask about my moving to Europe. Then whispered my name to his mala that he held in front of him, he whispered some more and then told me "it is with difficulties but the result is good". He then told me he would ask what happened if I stayed in El Salvador and repeated the process. The response was definitive "Bad, you should come here". I felt very relieved. I then told him about this relationship, about the things that disturb me, the age issue, the distance, the intensity of the feeling, and he asked me his name. I told him and he started "I know him" I said no but then, who am I to contradict the lama and tell him who he knows and doesn't? The response was also quick: "This is a very good relationship for both of you" he said "but it is difficult. While you're apart you should have other men, and he should have other women." this said in a very quiet way, almost murmuring, with all the kindness of his beautiful loving heart.

I understood two things then. The first is I should not doubt what I do. I am a mature and wise woman and know how to assess and make the right decision. The second is that to spend my time pondering on whether this man loves me or not, or whether we'll ever be together again is totally stupid and useless. I should truly trust space, that everything is as it should be and that I know perfectly well the connection that unites us, and it has nothing to do with the fact of us being together physically ever again or not. I also reflected on the feelings of jealousy I had been experiencing, and moved on to make wishes for the happiness of all beings, and for the lovers, and those who are still looking for a good love, may they all find the joy that comes with a good love.

I don't believe there is anything as powerful as making good wishes for all beings. We constantly make wishes for ourselves, that is natural and good, but if we think about it for a second, the energy pulling those wishes is only ours. And there are millions of single energy wishes out there. So, as Lama Ole says so often "If the others are many and we are just one, then they must be more important." It is so much easier to just wish what everyone wants anyways: love and happiness, and wish it for everyone, so that our energies all added together make for a huge pull. 

May all sentient beings have a good love in their lives and the causes for a good love.
May all sentient beings have a good family in their lives and the causes for a good family.

I forgot to mention something: Pavel reminded me today of one very important thing: My ultimate wish is not whether I get a good salary, or a good boyfriend. My ultimate wish is to reach enlightment for the good of all beings. I'll make sure never to forget this again.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Reflections

I cannot help but wonder at the differences between the courses we organize in Latin America and the way things work here in Europe. Back home, there are always employees who do the hard stuff, but here everything happens because of the energy of the people and their motivation, which is so big..
Here it is our men who are working hard on fixing the roads that lead to our retreat centers. It is our men carrying heavy loads, repairing toilets. It is our people, men and women, working in the kitchen, in the laundry, in the shops.

I am still akwardly trying to find my place and how I fit into the scheme of things in order to participate fully, but I am a part of this people mandala and I know it and so does everyone else, and I am warmly accepted.
Here I am, a part of this world among worlds, one more among my people, and tonight I work, I do what I do best, I translate.

I still have no idea as to what will happen in the future. I know I must wait for the meeting in Germany with the lawyers to see about my visa procedures, and the the family meeting I've been invited to in August mught also open some new possibilities, and that I mustn't worry about making a decision just yet. But it is disquieting not knowing, not having a clue as to what I'll do and where I'll settle down.  I found Madrid quite interesting, although honestly, Spain is not really my country of choise, I realise that now. France would of course be interesting for me, but I am not sure, as I know Dharma work is not really significant in either of these countries.

I realize this trip is not only about freedom and opportunities, it is also about Dharma practice, about my human development, and I know that can only happen within the energy of the Dharma. I need a Sangha, a full functioning center where people meditate and inspire others through a good example. I need a place where the Buddhist community matters, where I can be accepted, and further more, where I can make a difference.

Whatever happens in the future, there is one thing I know for sure, beyond any doubt, I have trust. Everything will be alright.

As I say this, Waldo's words from his last email come to my mind. A bittersweet feeling. I feel the strength of this connection that unites us no doubts about that, but I also feel the separation, not in our souls, not even in our bodies, but rather in our hearts. The relationship that no longer is. I find this sad but accept it. After all this also is love.

I think I might be ready to let go.

Monday, July 4, 2011

After Kuchary



After Kuchary, my friends Ola and Joonas drove me to Warsaw. The friend Majki had arranged for us to ride changed his mind twice about where to ride next and I decided to take my fate into my own hands and later found out Maja had done the same. We rode together into the city, only I was taken to the centre, which in Warsaw is called Stupa Haus. I was amazed at its size: it is 4 stories high, very pretty and well organized. 


On the basement there is a big kitchen and a large area I can only assume is used for parties. The first floor is actually more of a living-room area, and the second floor houses the Gompa as well as showers. This is where I will spend the night, sleeping among Buddhas. On the third floor I find the living quarters of the residents and among many other friends, I am pleased to find already there Pavel, from Spain, he was the one who actually talked me into coming to this place and I am grateful. We now have the opportunity to talk much more, and he gives me good inspiration. He reminds me of the importance of having clear priorities on my journey, and of clearing unnecessary sources of attachment and suffering. Yet, as I go online, I find a beautiful message from my beloved and my heart skips a beat. What to do when you feel so much love and yet so much confusion at the same time…

That is exactly what Pavel is warning me about. I should make a clean cut and focus on finding the place where i want to live in Europe, on bringing my kids here as soon as possible, and open space for a Diamond Way man to come into my life. Everything he says makes perfect sense. He even goes on and says that this would also be beneficial for my beloved, since right now communicating with me nourishes him somehow, but not in the appropriate way, not in the way that leads us to build relationships, only in a foggy way that is not clear and is at once pleasant and painful. I understand what he says, but the heart wants what the heart wants, and I go on confused and attached.

The time in Kuchary was hard for me. For once I was alone, not having enough connections to sit with friends at the lectures, I kept mostly to myself. But  the Poles being the great people they are, everywhere I went to sit I was welcomed and actually taken care of. The second evening was so terribly cold I was really having a hard time. The Serbs next to me, Bertha and her family covered me with a sleeping bag and the Pole guy next to me also gave me blanket, when that slipped off my back, the guy sitting behind me would make sure I was well covered again. I've never seen such kindness and selflessness. Their friendliness and warmth made me almost forgot the cold. But after the lectures ended I avoided the cafeteria or dining tent and preferred to retreat to my own tent, where I could crawl under the sleeping bag, covered my all my sweaters and read the book "he" gave me. I felt lonely and sometimes a bit sad, missing my loved ones and missing "him". The last day I came upon Pavel and Carina and Joonas and Ola and felt more of a belonging feeling; but this purification needs to happen, and I guess I must feel the sadness I feel, the desperate longing for my beloved, and the overarching instinct that tells me I must let go. The last night I attended the party, danced with my friends for a while and went to bed in a better mood. Yet, no matter the purification, the Lama's energy has covered me up in love, and I didn't feel so bad all in all.

---

The following day, Maja and I meet again and we go to the train station. We leave our bags and go for a walk in the shopping center next door. At 9 in the evening, we board the night train that will take us to  Budapest. We celebrate and drink Champagne. The morning after, as we awaken, we are in Budapest.

Csaba's wife Eva is at the station waiting for me and she takes me home for a delicious hot bath. Csaba's place is located in a very old part of Budapest called Aquicum, in honor of the many roman ruins in the area. We take a walk along the Danube, which is beautiful although not really blue. The road is full of trees and vegetation and along the river, there are many small cafés and restaurants. People walk by, whole families on bicycles. In a few days, a huge music festival will take place on an island on the Danube, people from around the world come and camp in the island for the duration of the festival. Life looks good in Budapest, carefree and sunny.


I almost forget I am here on a mission, a dharma mission. And Becske awaits!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Cold and wet and lonely

My first morning in Kuchary was gray and I left with Zbyszek into town, in order to find an ATM and get some Polish money. To my surprise, the ride was shared with a lovely -and very tall - young Polish woman, Malvina, and by TOMEK!!! Who needed a new pair of glasses. While his glasses were been made, we went shopping and ate the best sausages ever. The Polish definitely know what they're doing in that department. After spending a good friendly time in town, we headed back to Kuchary right in time for Lama Ole's first lecture.


The rain started to fall implacably, and I later discovered that water had come inside my tent, and that basically all my clothes were completely wet. The only things that were spared were my sleeping bag, every single one of my sweaters and my computer bag. So all in all I really can't complain much about this purification. My darling Kuba came to Kuchary today to spend the night, and right in time to save me once more. He covered my tent (well, it's actually his) with an extra plastic cover and I headed to the kitchen, where a drying machine is found and proceeded to dry everything up.

My real purification is taking place inside my heart, I am dealing with this attachment that tugs badly at my heart. The lama teachings are beautifully inspiring to me, as he responds to his students' questions, where many, many focus on love. I wrote a poem today, about this love I feel:

Nunca me he comportado con nadie como lo he hecho contigo.
La ofrenda de mi cuerpo es total, completa y absoluta para ti. Mi único deseo es hacerte feliz y que sientas placer.
Todas mis palabras dulces están dirigidas a ti. Deseo entregarte mi amor en cuentos, historias, poemas y sabiduría, en canciones y en melodías.
Todos mis pensamientos, mis ideas, mis sueños van desde mi corazón hacia el tuyo. Recibes consciente o inconscientemente toda mi ternura, y mis mejores deseos, ausentes de rigidez. Deseo para ti toda la felicidad, todo el amor, que yo te pueda dar o que otra pueda entregarte.
El amor en mi y para ti es eso, amor, pero también es compasión, para protegerte de todo daño, de todo dolor, de toda pena. Y es alegrarme por tu felicidad, y celebrarla; finalmente es descansar en si mismo, con paz, con serenidad, y con certeza de que nada que te entregue a ti se pierde. Si no deseas recibirlo, incluso si llegas a rechazarlo, te beneficiará igual y luego se transformará para traerme a mi el anhelo de mi alma.
Que seas bendito amor mío por estos sentimientos que me inspiras. Que crezcas por ellos, que ganes inspiración y plenitud. Que te lleve como un viento benigno donde seas más grande. Te amo.

Somehow writing really helps.

Kuba left the night before, his parting words to me were: "Now be a good girl. Find yourself a boy." J

I leave tomorrow for Budapest, Majki has made arrangements for me to ride with a friend of his together with a Peruvian girl I met in Karma Guen, Carina, and Maja, a Swizz girl who was in El Salvador this year. I am just dying to get there and sleep in a real bed and take a hot bath again and do some serious laundry.
Lama Ole is really happy to find me in each stage of the trip. He kisses me and tells me "Thank you for coming" I gently remind him that I am here thanks to his inspiration and blessing and that it was him who beckoned me to travel with him, and, like the Polish say "you must always do as Lama says".

I still don't know what awaits me in the future. I have an appointment at the EC in August with Anna Potyka and the Association's lawyers to see the possibilities of asking for my visa as a researcher for Diamond-Way. On the other hand, my mother has promised to do the necessary steps to request her French and Spanish nationality. Either works for me, I just want to stay here for as long as the right energies are with me, and to try to make a life for my girls and myself. After EC, I will visit my uncle and my french-spanish family in a town near Alicante. Work has been coming my way and I expect some payments, so all looks quite good so far.

I think quite often of my Salvadoran Sangha, my dear friends along the way, I hold them in my thoughts and in every single meditation, making strong wishes to have them here as well, as soon as possible.



Karmapa Chenno

Friday, July 1, 2011

Kuchary starts

I left KG in the morning, my Polsih friend Paulina drove me to the Málaga metro station, from where I rode to the bus station and boarded the bus that drove me to Madrid in a long uneventful trip. Outtside the window, endless beautiful olive fields, inside the bus, my meditation cushion as pillow, I slept. Unlike Brussels, where I got lost trying to find the bus that would drive me to the airport, transportation is easy. A girl gave me the Center's address in KG and I had no problem finding it. That is if we forget that I had to walk carrying a 23 pounds bag under a 40° temperature. At the Center I met with the two guys who live there, who, much to my surprise, are both of Latin American origin. A group of russians is there, they will return to their country tonight, an Rostislav, a kind and friendly Latvian, who later took me out into town, for a couple of beers and tapas, and a very pleasant walk through town.

The russians had met with Rinpoche at the Malaga airport and he had given them some medicines against ego, to take to combat dsuffering caused by disturbing emotions. They kindly offered me some and I swallowed them right there!!!

We meditated all together on sixteenth Karmapa and the feeling was pleasant and friendly, that of coming home again, united by our trust in our teacher and in our methods. The following afternoon, I was out again, backpack and all. The walk to the metro station was more than a bit difficult. It was so hot that I really suffered and had to stop every 20 meters or so and rest against a wall for a while before resuming my otherwise quite short walk. Once at the airport, my flight was delayed for 3 hours, due to weather conditions, but not canelled fortunately. We took off and I had the luxury of a beautiful sunset, 10,000 feet above the earth. The pilot told us when we were flying over Barcelona and Saint Tropez and I could just feel my heart warming up and feeling happy. A new chapter begins, a new adventure.

I landed in Warsaw at 12:30 and…. Kuba was not there! I almost collapsed!!! Since his parting words in KG were so convincing ("you can count on me") I had not even troubled myself with a plan B, and since I untimelingly forgot my cel phone in KG, I had no way of contacting him. So I decided to go around the airport and find a Wi-Fi spot, only to discover there was none, and the only café available would be closed until 2 am. So, thinking clearly at last, I decided to return to the place Kuba would look for me if he came to the airport and returned to the arrivals terminal, and sure enough, a minute later, there he was. I do trust space, but I must confess to bit a teary-eyedness (there seems to almost be a pattern here, don't you think?) So after hearing the most beautiful sound ever in that moment "Mar!" all my troubles disappeared. Once again, Kuba the bodhisattva was in charge. After slightly scolding me for not staying put where he'd obviously come for me, he took me to his girlfriend home, where dinner and wine was waiting for me, as well as a real BATH and a real BED (now, take into account I've been camping for two weeks! 

The morning after, Kuba the multi-talented (he is after all an opera singer, a guitar player, an actor, a translator for Lama Ole's books, and now also a Chef!) prepared a delicious breakfast for me and took me shopping. Turns out I need rubber boots, since it looks like rain in Warsaw. We met Anna at the mall, she is Kuba's friend and she will drive me to Kuchary.

As we drove Anna and I became fast friends, she is also a single mother of two litlle girls, her eldest is named Marianna, like me. She also is an entrepreneur and just started her company, with state funds she won in a competition. I was truly inspired by her, and as it so often happens in the Dharma, she was inspired by me.

We arrived in Kuchary to find the sun shinning brightly and in fact I had to change my jeans and long sleeved shirt for a more appropriate summer tenue. Anna introduced me to her brother Zbyszek (pronounce Sbitchek, please), who instantly assumed his new role as my protector and set up my tent close to the one he is sharing with his gorgeous girlfriend Kamilla. Anna told me their story, how he met her and told his story all about her and even added thoughtfully "she is on her spiritual journey, and she is a buddist, only she hasn't discovered it yet" J 

Polish are a different set of people altogether. They are warm, loving, kind, super funny, and extremely friendly. Men are the best gentlemen, and women are sweet and smiling. I have felt like at home. In fact I've liked Poland much more than Spain and I regret not speaking this pretty language to stay here in spite of the cold and the rain that have befallen us upon the second day and the fact that at 3 am it is already full daylight!

Anna didn't stay to sleep in Kuchary, she had a professional training that would last all week-end and I suddenly realise whe came all this way to drive ME to the course, as well as to receive the afternoon lecture, and she thanks me for that. After the evening lecture, I decide to head to the cafeteria and immediately start to meet friends. Rostislav is there and introduces me to a delicious honey beer, Gergeli, whom I met in KG and has actually brought me my cel phone, Bartok (who was at the 2009 Phowa in El Salvador) and DORCA!!!!! My beautiful Dorca, I felt so happy seeing her again, she immediately introduced me to all her friends and everyone was just as friendly and open. 

The night was atrociously cold, but I was prepared, wearing layers upon layers of clothes, and I drank a hot wine at the cafeteria, which made me feel like taking my coat off, but I was smart and didn't. At 3:30, in broad daylight, I went to bed.