“Well, now that we have seen each other,» said the unicorn «if you’ll believe in me, I’ll believe in you.” Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There
I am looking at my previous notes. Metaphorical images of my different inner states, parts, come before my eyes. Parts that I suffer from, parts that I hate -heaviness like a mountain — I am also as light as a feather, having no control. Of course a strong wind exists in me somewhere, I do not feel it — I only experience its effect. But it must be there! I find a very heavy inner critic in me, a Void or Emptiness or Absence or something of this kind. I also know my ‘Inner Cow’, that is full of milk (good wishes for the world, hopes for peace, hopes for more understanding) and it suffers from not expressing itself.
But today, I want try to look at all of them with love and compassion; searching for their gifts and wisdom. Support myself…I remember when I participated in social citizen diplomacy projects, I learned something very valuable — appreciation and love are keys, the first step to understanding these alien things, people and ways. I will try to treat my inner figures as kindly as I treated my foreign friends, hoping to become friends with them.
I concentrate on the feeling of heaviness in my body. Allowing myself to feel it more instead of pushing it away. The image of a Mountain comes. I try to see its qualities in a loving way: heavy, solid, leisurely, changing, but standing sure and firm on its ground. It always has its place and its point of view. I go back to the heaviness, enjoy the bigness and firmness that comes with weight. Time feels different. In this state, it feels like there is no need to do anything. The Earth will take care of it all. I close my eyes and look at the mountain. As I am living this, the image of the mountain changes in my mind, transforms into a wide old tree with seeds.
I put aside this beautiful image and feeling to concentrate on another one: A feather in the wind… lightness and compliance. I start to move around my room and dance… moved, thrown, enjoying the flexibility of my joints. I notice all kinds of thoughts about other lands and faraway countries…Yes, I feel it! This state helps me to go beyond. I notice how my mind is empty, not planning, not logical, no self-importance, just moving and feeling. I close my eyes to look at this feather — now I understand it better. It is so light that no wind can break it. Perhaps it’s not a feather but a light tree seed- suggests my daily logical mind. Its task is to fly away fearlessly, believing that the wind will take it to some distant land where it will grow and develop, not among other trees, but alone on a sunny meadow. Yes, strong wind and the light nature of the seed can help if one is ready to stand out, be different, to get out of the stereotypical mind set.
Now, I want to concentrate on my Inner Critic. It definitely lacks good manners, but ‘It’ is learning…:-) It’s learning to express its great and sharp thoughts in a kinder way. It’s a pretty clever, smart one, I have to admit.
Now the hard one — The Wind of my life. I think the Wind is freedom. The force is so powerful, mighty, mystical and unpredictable from the point of view of the seed or the feather or the person… I start making powerful movements with my hands, running around my room, throwing things, playing with my pillows, trying to feel my windy energy deeply and enjoying its strength.
Wind: “One should learn to take me into account.”
I think: It has a message! I let myself run around the room some more…
Wind: “Xenia, do not fight me. There is no point. I will teach you to be clever and sober and aware if you wish.”
I stop moving… get back to my normal “me state”.
Xenia: “Oh, I see! Wind, you force us to learn to sail! So we can go places. Find unknowns! If we want. Thanks!”
Cow not milked. I suspect it will be happy for now if I participate in some good social project. But I still have a question about my milk – natural talent. What is it? I guess it will just show itself when I start doing something. Cow is full of love…
Cow: “I know one person lacking love! Xenia!”
Xenia: “I want your milk dear Cow! It’s Me.”
Emptiness. Too many concepts have flooded the “idea of emptiness” in the modern world. It became an object of fashion. But what is it for me? I look at the empty bottle that stands on my table. How is it to be empty? Empty…has nothing inside…just observes things passing through. I feel astonished. Yes! That’s it. All passes by. Emptiness can just be, even when things are wandering around, it can forget everything and let them wander through again. Oh! I just understood something now. Its nature is to notice things passing by. It takes in but does not attach itself. Notices and let’s go! Wow! I feel it. Just noticing…that’s how I recognize my experience! I need to practice this more.
I come back to my normal state after this fun insight and start to fantasize, putting all my experiences of different parts described above into a bigger picture. Like a puzzle, how do they all connect? I think the Wind likes Emptiness, it feels free there. The Wind also likes hollows in trees, it sings there. Visual images and sounds of this beauty start coming to my mind. I do not understand their meaning, but these visions relax me. I start feeling inner peace. I walk around my room noticing this pleasure inside, and suddenly hear my Critical Voice: “This is fun but not useful! What are you going to do with all these parts of you?”
Yes, how do I bring these parts together in me? They do not seem to conflict but how can they really unite?
I decide to switch back to movement. My head is too stuck in an everyday way of thinking and analyzing; I wish for creative answers, something out of the box. I start moving my body and arms just feeling them from the inside. My body becomes heavy like a tree. My arms become light like seeds; my eyes close and I give in to something stronger inside — as if I had sails. I’m moving in a strange dance while discovering its nature…
Freedom and strength… Direction comes from inside. I am continuing this experiment, feeling all of it in my body until understanding comes naturally. I am like a Bird. Bird! I am a bird! I let myself fly around my room for a few minutes, pretending to look at the earth and little Xenia from the sky.
Bird: “Are you looking for your vocation and purpose? Don’t look for it in the future, don’t dream about the unreachable.” strangely said the bird. “Something that you are doing ALREADY can become the bread for your soul. Just keep doing it, diligently, give it more energy and time. Grow, devote yourself to THE love that you already possess. You don’t need to SEARCH anymore. But on the other hand, if the wind snatches you – you know what to do.”
The Critic thrust his hands in his pockets, frowned, but stepped aside.
I stepped aside, back to my normal identity to hear the bird’s answers and ask more questions.
Xenia: “So what else do I like, except for people? What do I do? Study psychology, but I do not want to become a therapist! That’s the problem! What do I study for? Just to spend my time and money?”
Bird: “Study, just study! Not from seminar to seminar, but every day. Organize additional seminars, lots of them, as many as you need to feel FILLED. I see how much you’re in love with psychology. Give yourself a chance to attend seminars in different countries — don’t stay stuck in just one place. Devote yourself to studying, and how you will use it — we’ll decide later on.”
Xenia: “Got it! Another puzzling topic — I was invited to host a show at a small new TV channel in Moscow where I interviewed spiritual teachers. This was incredible; I didn’t have to look into the camera and could communicate with great people, asking them questions, feeling them. What do you think?”
Bird: “Great! You should try once to look right into the camera. Take a closer look at it, make friends… You can also propose your own projects and ideas to the TV people. Suggest to them for example making shows about psychotherapy. So that not only conversations about development would be shown, but also real practical applications. They won’t agree immediately, but you do plant the seeds.”
Xenia: “I own a wellness center in Moscow that has a vision — to bring a part of my favorite place on earth which is San Francisco to Russia. I bought this place 5 years ago, designed it and worked there. It’s great and beautiful, it makes you feel calm and tranquil. For the moment, because I am not conducting seminars there, I have leased it to my colleagues, psychologists. Nevertheless, I still spend a lot of money on it every month, though I am not working there myself. Absurd!”
Bird: “You have created a place and you feel it’s empty and that you have to fill it; ‘emptiness’, the hollow where the wind is singing. Don’t think how you should fill it; let it fill on its own. Let people who are beautiful, kind and professional psychologists, masters and apprentices come there. Give your space its freedom and own life. Lease it to them for the sum that they are able to pay. This is your Cow. Be generous, be happy and grateful that you can offer likeminded people an opportunity to support the lives of others. But don’t tell them it’s your charity. They should be respected and cherished for the rent they pay and for their hard work. You do not support them personally, but you support the common vision.”
Xenia: “That’s it!”
Bird: “I think that’s enough for today 🙂 Don’t forget about healthy food and movement! Your body wants to be happy as well. We shall also learn this…by loving it.”
Xenia: “Oh No!!!!”
Personal observation: In this chapter, I realized that I am not only the Learner but also that I have a very strong and wise Teacher inside me.
So, I can learn not only from seminar to seminar, but also on a daily basis, getting in touch with that part of me that appeared as a bird this time. And how do I get in touch with it again? Here is a small 20 min exercise that I just created:
- I look at the large bird picture on my computer screen. And I notice how having a big strong body does not conflict with the lightness of it.
- I “shape shift” into the spirit of the bird. I feel my strength, feel how wind supports my wings. I let my mind be altered by this this sense of flight, enjoy my body weight, muscular power and freedom. I move like a bird until I feel congruent with its movement.
- I look at myself from the bird’s perspective and make a suggestion on how to approach various daily issues.
It’s good to have this exercise as a daily practice. Solving everyday tasks, will give me a feeling of inner support and strength in further understanding who I am.
My son, Mishka, has caught a cold, with a runny nose, bad cough and chapped lips and is in bed. I sit in his room, at times reading, at times writing. Lately, I felt a bit stuck in my journal.” Who will want to read about my inner struggles?” I feel ashamed about it all. I have started reading the book Nothing Came from Walking by Conor McKenna. This is a book about the inner path of a man and his feelings along the way. The first several chapters are about feelings of emptiness, so I got scared. Those feelings seemed to be so familiar to me. It reminded me of my feelings when I was looking at the ocean, alone at night in my room. I felt scared for a moment, it seemed to me that if I read this book further, all the ideas that I wanted to write about would be written there! Maybe I should stop reading it altogether??? I do not want to copy someone’s path. I’d like to design my own. We both feel in the same way, and I understand that I’m not so original, so unique. On one hand, I would like to write about something unusual, that no one knows about nor can do. But “I am just like the others” – something said sadly inside me. Then the voice paused and said… “I am just like others” and something smiled inside me. I am the same as others who have those unbearable feelings that I hide with diligence from myself and from people! So…! This means that I can stop hiding it as everyone knows about it anyway ;-))). I felt relieved. My experience is unpleasant but not shameful. ‘Under our clothes we are humans all the same.’ How surprising! This thought came to my mind, in such a happy and fresh way. Thank you Conor!!! Thank you, ”Me”!
“Under our clothes we are all the same.” I should write this on my bathroom mirror, as I usually do with important thoughts. This phrase can probably be a key to something ahead. My difficult thoughts and inner struggles resembled Mishka’s sniffles and temperature. What can be so special about them, nothing. This is not a reason to hide them, pretending that they do not exist. Actually, it is so intimate to share my very unpleasant feelings! It brings connections, it brings trust. I do not need to write about something unusual in this project. I will write about stuff all people know, but sometimes do not know that they know ☺)! Are not aware of.
“Mishka, please blow your nose more often, do it right now!” I commanded to my son when I noticed him puffing and breathing through his mouth.
“A man goes to knowledge as he goes to war: wide-awake, with fear, with respect, and with absolute assurance. Going to knowledge or going to war in any other manner is a mistake, and whoever makes it might never live to regret it.” Carlos Castaneda
I must inform the reader that this year my family decided to try and live not in Russia but in Switzerland. We rented a house for 7 months, found a school for our children in Geneva. It’s an experiment. Why did we decide to do this? First, education and schools are not very good in Russia these days. Geneva is an international city, and there is a wonderful English international school there that we found. In addition to my children’s education, I often felt that I wanted to live not only in Russia, but to belong to the whole world — to be a world citizen. Geneva, in my opinion, is a place where it’s easier to feel neutrality with respect to different countries, and my relationship with those countries.
This weekend we went to the mountains to La Clusaz. There is still some snow there. La Clusaz is only 30 minutes away from Geneva. This seems very close for a person who has lived her whole life in Moscow; where one would spend an hour in traffic jams to get to work. So now, lucky us, we leave our house and in half an hour we are at the ski resort!
These days, I practice discovering my freedom, and I do not put the usual pressure on myself. I allow myself to eat and drink whatever I want. I ate dessert yesterday maybe for the first time in a month. I felt the happiness of freedom. Allowing oneself something is great happiness. Yesterday, I quarreled with Sergey for my right not to go skiing, and enjoyed the freedom of being able to stay the whole day in my hotel room. I answered my mail and was thinking how great it was to stay in the mountains – can you imagine this… not to go skiing!!!
Nevertheless, I understand that discipline is a very important thing to achieve any mastery including maintaining the state of soul and body. How interesting. The contradiction between discipline and freedom is so strong in me. It’s a real inner everyday struggle… Yes, yes, yes! I can actually feel this contradiction now. I can hear the voice inside me. I notice that the voice sounds a bit like a boy’s voice, a teenager’s. He is speaking quite arrogantly:
Boy: “Don’t impose on me! I want to live the present moment to the fullest and fulfill those wishes that arise in me right now! Freedom to your wishes! No to routine and everyday repetition of writing a journal and salads every day!”
Xenia: “But I like salads and I like writing and studying about myself. This is what I really want to do every day. So why should I deprive myself of those pleasures only because of this protest?! I actually wanted the dessert only because the lunch was fattening. I decided to eat at the hotel and there was no salad at the restaurant, the only decent meal was chicken in sauce. According to the laws of biochemistry after fat meals, the metabolism simply asks for sweets. Actually, I am so lucky, I don’t even like sweets…I like pickles, salty things, potatoes, sandwiches…and I’m lucky not to like sweets!!!
Boy: “Insisting is great!!!”
Xenia: “I agree, insist, but on what you REALLY want.”
I step back into the role of the one that insists now. I am trying to feel its energy, truth and real wishes… My posture becomes straight…I notice it and try to feel it even more. I like this feeling in my body. Enjoying it I take the computer and start writing.…..If I REALLY insisted on my freedom, freedom to get what I really want, I wouldn’t have eaten at the hotel at all. I would have eaten somewhere else, something good, tasty, and healthy. More than that, I would have organized my life so that I wouldn’t allow circumstances or people, even close ones to deprive me of things that I love. The key is to know and recognize exactly what I like from moment to moment and then communicate that to my family; communicate all the little things as a daily routine. Sounds great, but it’s hard because normally I just agree with what others offer. I automatically follow. I think that the little things are not important to me and it’s easier to obey than to respond. But I hear now! It’s important to listen to even my “small” desires. I will DILIGENTLY try to be awake about those things that I want every day!
Great job my insisting inner part! You, with your strong energy, help me to be more awake to my needs. A salute to discipline! Here’s what I understood today: Discipline should help me think about my own needs and not delegate them to others. Discipline should help me to plan the realization of my needs. Discipline should wake up my brain from hibernation. What do I need brains for??? To manage MY needs!I felt the fire of a warrior when I said that to myself. Of course I was right when I protested! :-)))) I protest against anyone who tries to decide for me what I should eat, how I should plan my life or even tries to sell me unhealthy food! I protest against my unconsciousness, calling my needs small and unimportant!!! My life…. yes, it’s mine. I need the discipline of awareness to keep it mine!
I looked out of the window and saw a bird with a big sharp beak sitting on my balcony, looking at me instructively. It made me smile.
— Hi bird! Thanks!
Since I was 18 years old, I’ve been on different diets non-stop. Usually they work for me, but after their success, I return to my regular life and gain back my usual weight. This wears me out and I often find myself feeling guilty and angry. The pleasure from eating a sandwich with a sausage at 10pm is usually accompanied by these thoughts: “Damn it, not again!”
Now, I want to face this nutrition topic very carefully. I think it is vital for me to change my nutritional habits if I want to lose weight, but how? I know that I won’t last long on my own willpower; my desires still seem to be stronger. I can get a grip on myself, eat very little and lose weight very fast… as I have lost weight before. But these changes won’t last long. I know lots of diets; know how to combine products, so that fat won’t stay. As a doctor, I know lots of theoretical facts about human metabolism, but for myself I will reduce this knowledge to some simple advice: don’t eat bread, use less salt, eat before 6pm. If you are thirsty, drink water, tea and not wine. Don’t mix fats and carbohydrates in one meal. Unfortunately, I really love bread and potatoes and pickles-everything smoked and spicy. My appetite wakes up right after 4 pm. To drink wine, of course, is much tastier than water. It’s so difficult to refuse my favorite food!
That is the inner dialog that happens around this topic:
— I do not want to try to rule and control my natural biological functions. They must….they just have to work by themselves of course, NATURALLY. I’m tired from the constant control. Thoughts about my diets don’t allow me to relax; they are like a restraint jacket that I have been wearing for years.
— You have to! The results won’t appear by themselves. Hold yourself together. You are a mature and strong woman. Think about cool jeans that would look good on you if you lost those kilos. You would be proud of yourself and stop hiding your bottom behind those long t-shirts.
— I want to be a happy person, not proud. I am tired of living according to fashion and society; the idea that I have to correspond to external standards to command respect.
Hmm…It sounds like a social revolution is growing in me.
I realized that lately I started to notice and like happy, full-bodied women. I look at them and think that they must be very free inside. Those happy women do not fight their weight, their desires. I imagine they love life to its fullest; that they enjoy it, and do not care one bit about what others think about them. I like the fact that more actresses with “regular female figures and curves” are being invited to photo shoots instead of models.
YES, to a tasty life and Taste for life!!… But actually, this concept should be in everything not only in food. It’s important! I decided to watch once again my favorite movie about the zest of life which is Last Holidays. This movie is about a shy assistant kitchen chef named Georgia Byrd, who dreams about a better life: to open her own restaurant, go to a resort, and all that she writes down in her album of “Possibilities”. She strikes her head against the floor and her friend takes her to the doctor who makes a CT scan. It turns out that her days are numbered due to terminal illness. She decides to fulfill her wishes, to live the rest of the weeks she has left in the big way….. http://youtu.be/1zh-8e6DfSs
Living life the BIG, tasty way sounds so attractive!
I came to the understanding that “taste” and “diet” is not only about food; dieting is not authorizing myself things. And how am I dieting in my life? What else besides food, do I not allow myself?…Hard to answer…To even dream of the life I want is…sooo complicated…sooo hard now. I simply do not know. I feel hopeless, because I simply DO NOT KNOW what I WANT in life. It is much easier with food. So as a first step, I want to try, for at least three months, to stop torturing myself with dieting. I will relax and see what happens to me. At least with food, I want to live as if I do not have much time left. Let’s see what happens.
Can I be happy and proud? ” I feel hopeless to even think of the life I want.” This sounds so sad!! What if I had only a short time left to live? What would be written in my album of “Tasteful Possibilities?”
It’s difficult to think of it…I feel stuck… But what if I just try to connect with the words “really tasty”?…I start thinking of garlic bread with pickles…Yes, these feelings are coming to my mouth! Ummmm…
What if my life could be like garlic bread with pickles and red wine? Spicy, tasty, nutritious, a little dizzy…yummy life. This sensory input helps ideas to flow:
- To have a job that would allow me to travel around the world and to do something creative; to make money with it, to feel strong on my feet and independent.
- To star in a movie but not like an actress…to make a documentary… to be able to speak out about love and peace, to word things that I cherish since childhood.
- To make a series of interviews with Oprah or someone like her, influential brave and curious about life.
- To participate in some big, beautiful peacemaking international or cross-religious project.
Why is it all tasty? What exactly is delicious about it?
- It’s Big. It has a meaningful message and expresses itself widely- yet as symbolic as bread. It sustains life. Its offers sustenance and love to the world just like bread. Yes, I feel so much unexpressed love now. Love for the world… love for myself is a great nutritious state.
- Traveling is like wine — it alters/changes mindsets.
- Garlic and spices. Yes to spicing up my relationships. I don’t always need to be ‘nice’. I could also be freer and braver, contradicting social norms, saying my truth out loud in my documentaries. Put some garlic in them!
I am starting a list of “Delicacies”. This month, I will write down everything that I would like so much for my future “Big Life.”
While I was writing and thinking about all the delicious things that I would like to do in my life, I grew anxious. I started to wonder whether my body could endure as much work and travel as I desired. How is my health in general? I decided to take a medical examination for the first time in many years. I have no symptoms except fatigue/heaviness in my body, which I wrote earlier. Even so, I decided to check my health. Fortunately, all the tests were good. I am healthy. But my doctor said that my cardiovascular system is completely unconditioned and despite the allowable body weight, the ratio of body fat and muscle is very unbalanced. If I do not start training soon, I may have problems. What the doctor said is scary but not very motivating. So, I start to think about my Natural movement. When do I actually move in life?
I notice while doing my inner work, right before I get to something important, right before I get an insight…usually my body starts to move by itself.
Oh well, of course I know in order to be in good physical shape and to have a healthy body, the body needs work. Muscles and the cardio-vascular system need training. Physical exercises, sports, generally any activity supports tone, strength and stamina. In my childhood, I liked to do gymnastics and I didn’t even question myself “Why?”, “Do I want it?” I just did it three times a week. When I grew-up, all the sports-clubs and aerobics and yoga… bored me. I can make myself go to a club for a month, two, maybe half a year, but then my willpower ends. The feeling of being tired and the feeling of meaninglessness overwhelms me. I stop.
What about joy and promised endorphins? I ask myself: “Don’t you like the high that comes after doing sports?” My friends and my husband, who really like sports, ask me… “Don’t you like the feeling of conquering your weaker self?” No!!! First, I’m against conquering myself. I don’t like the word and the abuse. The “high state”, I can get also from non-physical joys – foods for example or sex or just being with friends and nature. All in all, I can’t find any reason to make myself do sports. And “making myself do it” is not working. It does only for a short time. I think I need a good coach! But it feels like my “inner trainer or coach” is either violent/critical to me, or just leaves me without helping in any way.
But, I want to try exercising again! Maybe just in a different way. I hope it can work with the help of innerwork.
So, I’m trying to imagine what kind of trainer I would really like — mmmm…honest, hard, solid, kind and loving… Do I recognize these qualities in people? I definitely know people like that. My psychology teachers for example and in my school years I had teachers like that…But not in sports so far. And I know myself to be this way too. I’m exactly like this with my children and my students, and I’m the same way with my clients… Generally, I am this way with those I like.
I am closing my eyes and finding this solid, kind and loving quality inside of me. How can I use them for my physical sport development? I start a conversation with myself moving from one part of the room to another as if two people (my inner-trainer & normal me) are in dialogue.
Trainer: “ Well, Xenia, dear… let’s find at least something you like a tiny bit in physical activity….possibly we will develop it further.”
Xenia: “Ok! But that’s really a very tiny bit…you wouldn’t even call it sports”
Trainer: “Don’t worry! Just list those things. Let’s try.”
Xenia: “Ok, I am shy to speak about some of them, but I will:
- I like to walk by myself in beautiful nature and think there.
- Trips, hiking trips and horse-riding trips, mountain skiing. But this kind of activity can’t happen on a regular basis because of where I live and my life style.
- Shopping, I can walk into beautiful shops, and try clothes all day long.
- Thai massage. I really like when somebody squeezes and streeeeeetches my body until it slightly and pleasantly hurts.
That’s it :))”
Trainer: “Great! Let me think…It seems like you like walking when your mind is busy with thoughts, when you are absorbed…? Why? What do you think of that?
Xenia: “When my head is busy, time flies. It does when I am absorbed with something inspiring also. Actually, when something inspires me, my body moves better, well, you know, they say “you can’t sit in one place”. Well, for example, if I read some captivating book and some insights happen during that reading…it’s difficult to sit in one place. I want to put the book aside and go for a walk. Also, if I move and my mind is busy with something fascinating, I don’t think “when is all this walking going to stop?”
Trainer: “Give me some time…Oh! It seems I’ve got a plan :))! A quite realistic and nice one. I think you will like it.
- Download audio-books into your I-phone.
- Listen and walk. No matter where you do this…in the city or in nature.”
Xenia: “Ahh!!!!!! That’s quite realistic. Good thinking! I’ll go and examine I-phone apps right now!!! How did I not think of it before?! Fun idea!”
Trainer: “One more thing! – stretching. What’s so good about it?”
I got up and stretched to investigate this sensation.
Xenia: “Feels good, relaxing! And it feels as if I get bigger, but naturally. As if I grew out of my shape and skin. It’s nice to be stretched with care, and love.”
Trainer: “Yep… That’s how you need to stretch your environment, your habits… I mean stereotypes…It is a great metaphor and skill for bringing new ideas into the community or family….Stretching it with love and care like a Thai massage therapist. Gently but confidently and persistently. No need to break boundaries and edges…and also, no need to be afraid to hurt it a bit. Stretching is very healthy.”
Personal observation: I just love how naturally such great ideas came to me in this chapter. I just needed to really identify with the wisdom of the good coach/trainer in me. I thought I was not a trainer but it turned out that this role is in me and it is very creative.
I can highly recommend the following books. They are deep, motivating and inspiring. There’s a wonderful, great library of audio books by “Audible” company that I have downloaded on my devices. I read, listen to them during my walking, if my husband is out, before I go to bed, in traffic jams and in airplanes…Everywhere where it’s dull. It became my hobby, it’s really pleasant to walk while listening to audio books. Doing this, you can listen to good books and have fun with literature, learn a foreign language. Also, it’s cognitively stimulating to listen to motivating books about healthy ways of life.
Here are for example the books I’ve listened to during the last year:
- A Course in Weight Loss: 21 Spiritual Lessons for Surrendering Your Weight Forever. By Marianne Williamson
- Clarissa Pinkola Estés books
- Radical Self-Acceptance by Tara Brach (A Buddhist Guide to Freeing Yourself from Shame)
- The Road Less Traveled by M. Scott Peck
- What Are You Hungry For? The Chopra Solution to Permanent Weight Loss, Well-Being, and Lightness of Soul by Chopra Deepak
- When Food Is Love: Exploring the Relationship Between Eating and Intimacy; Women Food and God: An Unexpected Path to Almost Everything by Greneen Roth
- Healthy Eating, Healthy World: Unleashing the Power of Plant-Based Nutrition by J. Morris Hicks
- Made to Crave: Satisfying Your Deepest Desire with God, Not Food by Lysa TerKeurst
- Skinny Bitch by Rory Freedman; Kim Barnouin
- Exercise and Fitness Motivation by Glenn Harrold
- The Mars and Venus Diet and Exercise Solution: Create the Brain Chemistry of Health, Happiness, and Lasting Romance (Mars & Venus) by Daniel G Amen, Jon Gray.
- The Body Book: The Law of Hunger, the Science of Strength, and Other Ways to Love Your Amazing Body by Cameron Diaz
- Eckhart Tolle books
- A Path with Heart: A Guide Through the Perils and Promises of Spiritual Life by Jack Kornfield
- The Art of Happiness. A Handbook for Living by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Howard C. Cutler. Read by: Howard C. Cutler
What if you didn’t just walk, but tried to run a little, Xenia???
Once, walking along the ocean, I turned off my audio book and decided to look for some running/ training programs in my I-phone. Super!! I found a great application “audio fuel” really fast. This program has everything: music that was caring and loving, an honest trainer’s voice, time and miles count, and different rhythms — walking, jogging, running and a variety of choices from short run up to a marathon.
Throughout the year, when I’m in California, I do morning jogs, and I really like that because:
- This time I spend alone.
- Before running I usually ask myself to think about certain daily problems which I can’t solve. In about ten minutes of jogging my brain clears and interesting answers and creative decisions start coming into my head.
- I don’t pressure myself too hard, there is no abuse. I can turn on my audio-book and simply walk, but at one point my body wants to go for a run again. I go running for exactly as much time as I want. Curiously enough, it wants to run a little longer and a little further over time.
- I don’t run in Moscow or in Europe. I just walk. But I am absolutely not scolding myself for that, because I know the time will come when I will want to run again. The rhythms of my jogging seem to be connected to the rhythms of my family life. That’s curious…
- The best of the best… I’ve completely stopped scolding myself!!!!! I’ve started to enjoy it!!!
But what’s interesting is that I can’t run without my music or books. If there is no music, I get annoyed with my ‘inner voice’, that voice in my head that’s constantly talking to me “Oh! I’m tired, oh, I want to stop! Why do I have to…”
So, I think it would be interesting to learn to meditate — to meet the Silence (I also remembered my image of an empty bottle). What if I learn to keep silent in my head…could my Destiny actually speak to me better? Or perhaps I will hear it better then…?
My body takes up a lot, too much space and me, myself (I) don’t feel having “space” at all. How strange that is! I often feel as a white crow. Who am I? I want to have my space and to take it proudly. But it’s not like that in my life yet. Well, for example: among business people and my husband’s friends, I’m considered to be strange because I’m a psychologist and do not go to parties but prefer seminars. Psychologists think I am strange because I don’t lead groups and don’t have patients, but I’m always learning and learning. Among my friends, I’m considered to be strange, for all of them are artistically very talented and young and I am old and can’t do not much artistically (no singing, no dancing, no writing songs, no music). Among my rich friends, I’m almost a hippie, amongst the poor ones, the rich one. Being with my husband, I turn into a very unpractical person, I forget and confuse everything. At work, in my small wellness center, I propagate Swiss accuracy and German order. In America, I’m Russian, and in Russia for some time now I feel like a stranger.… I’m somehow different; I don’t fit into social norms.
I’m thinking of people who I can name as kindred spirits. All my close friends are not the ones with whom I communicate often. All these close people are strange with their own strange and far away lives. I’m thinking about my husband and children. They also seem to me strange and far away, having interests, dreams and lives I don’t understand.
Sometimes, of course, I meet fun and dear people, I get joyful and I think “well, finally, I found my community!” But pretty soon I realize “no, I don’t fit again.” So it all makes me think that in fact my ‘community’ is made up of people that are all different and do not actually like to gather together or fit together.
It’s strange… while I was typing…. ”I don’t fit in again” one feeling came over me, of some connectedness to the whole world and some lightness came to my awareness. As if something smiled in me. I don’t even realize how it happened and what…
Оk! I see…I am trying to go back to this smile and understand it better. This separation and irregularity with some groups of people, possibly helps me in a paradoxical way to experience connection and feeling something important. Let me try it one more time…I close my eyes…Well, “…not fitting…unpleasant…” I’m trying to come back to this experience and look deeper into it. What can be deeper behind the conventional idea of “not fitting in? Interesting words appeared in my conscience “navigating through certain communities and culture.” I’m not completely at home anywhere but it’s good for me because it gives me knowledge and insight from the outside in. It’s lonely, but it keeps me on my toes. It makes me feel big…and free…!
Yes, this understanding relaxes me and also gives me respect for myself. But what is my “space” ??? Except my autonomy, what do I have, which talents, what I am here for? And who do I ask these questions to? I closed my eyes and opened them again… I’m walking around the room; then I sit in the armchair, asking myself this question over and over again…no answer. I look at the ocean through the window, hoping to connect to something bigger and wiser in me.
— What is my role in this world?
No answer. But I notice how my eyes start to follow big birds flying over the ocean. Well, ok, if I like to study so much, let me look at myself with the eyes of the Bird-the Teacher again. The “perfect” inner teacher. I’ve always liked teachers who support and give interesting problems to solve. I was lucky to have such teachers in my life. I could argue and could contest with them. I felt loved when they were happy with my achievements. Now, I imagine myself being such a teacher-bird. Opening my arms wide, as if I am flying above, feeling large in my body and proud… and again looking at my life events from the outside, from its perspective.
The Bird: “Hi!”
Xenia: “What is the talent of this girl-young lady -woman?”
The Bird: “She can speak about things that people usually keep silent about, she is not afraid of public “taboos”. She likes to break taboos. She finds a lot of pleasure in that.”
Xenia: “That is so true! To break a taboo for me is a pleasure similar to sexual pleasure.”
I notice the same topic coming up again. Pleasure, intimacy, sexuality again! I keep coming back to this topic. I already wrote that I wanted to lose weight, that I would be sexier. But now I see that what I really want to have in sex is not a physical pleasure. Not only. It’s just this amazing feeling of “going beyond”. This “forbidden” pleasure to express the unexpressed. Maybe it’s my life style? Maybe there is no goal in life but rather a lifestyle that needs to be expressed.
So…. It’s nice to be more aware of this life style. What is it? I try to feel this “going beyond”, softly stretching. Seduction, subtlety, the expression of something that usually is not spoken about and is not done. This feeling of “going beyond” can probably be my navigator in any project. I need to do what stretches me. I need to know it about myself and use it consciously. My fingers started to type slowly as if in the thick syrup, making everything slow. As if I am looking narrowly at something, warm waves running through my body.
Xenia: “I can speak of the things that people are usually silent about. I can “seduce” people into something they usually do not do…by being vulnerable and open with my feelings.”
The Bird: “Well, for example?”
Xenia: “Well, for example, I unconsciously “seduced” or lovingly invited my readers with the popular topic “losing weight” to a deep intimate talk about life and feelings. And I “seduced” my interviewers, the Big teachers on television to depart from their role and brought them to open a more personal conversation about deep and vulnerable things. Sensuality is my gift. Nothing to do with sex. Rather, sex is just a small application of sensuality. Sensuality, sensitivity brings trust. I can use soft stretching (like in massages) as a “meta skill” for any project.
Oh! And now I see how this feeling of not having my space and role in a community, my loneliness – is a real present, a gift from my Fate. That lonely space along with keen insight is a spark creator.”
Bird Teacher: “Good job, Xenia! And your sense of «self» will grow if you just do what brings You that special pleasure, which dissolves boundaries.”
“This tremendous world I have inside of me. How to free myself, and this world, without tearing myself to pieces. And rather tear myself to a thousand pieces than be buried with this world within me.” Franz Kafka, Diaries of Franz Kafka
What could be a good reason for having extra fat around my body? Maybe the extra weight of my body helps me to be less open, protects me from sexual claims or any claims? Extra fat in my culture is such a distance maker. So, today I decided to look into the topic of openness and distance.
I remember, when I was twenty, I loved visiting strip clubs. I was also fascinated by the dancers’ openness. I saw their bravery which was inaccessible to me in my everyday life, a daring step beyond the bounderies of decency. There is nothing new in a naked person. But this bravery, to show one’s most intimate parts, impressed me a great deal, and felt new!
In everyday normal life, we Russian people look closed, gloomy. As if our face says: “keep out!” We rarely smile and rarely express our thoughts directly. Of course we are very expressive when we drink, but usually we look cold, closed and distant. And I never liked this about us and about myself. I always liked that easygoing California style of smiles and hugs and small talk…I love openness!
And how about the distance?
I looked into myself, trying to find a good reason and a good point in what is called “being closed”. Why do I do that? I got up, hugged myself and looked down. This posture usually helps me to keep distance from people. What is good about it?
- I think I often keep quiet and do not express my thoughts or ideas to give space to others. Yes! It is so rare when people yield to others in my culture, in Russia. During the past years, I have almost completely stopped speaking out in social events, thinking proudly of myself, thinking that not having my own position is much better…somehow cooler than being opinionated like everyone around.
- I often keep quiet and do not express my thoughts or ideas. But feel big pressure to do that. I feel I have to, but very often I just need more time than others to formulate them. My words do not just flow, it’s not easy for me to express myself. I need to feel first, to get in touch with myself. I do not want to be superficial.
How interesting! I actually like both (closed and open state), and see a good point in both being “open” California friendly style and being “closed “my Russian deep style. But somehow these two styles do not work well together in my life. I have to go from one culture to another to have both. Well, it’s not entirely true. Now, I go to psychological seminars instead of strip clubs. There I find both — openness and depth. There I learn to speak out and be more in touch with my truth. But still it feels a bit artificial there. How can I do that in real life, everyday life, so I will not need to have a glass of wine to reach that “open state”, to have a flowing conversation with people?
I close my eyes and ask my body for creative help. I’m making a gesture that represents openness with my left hand, and with my right hand a gesture that represents something more introverted, closing myself in a way. How could two energies live inside me without conflict and find their place in my everyday projects? I move my hands, walk around the room. I am trying to feel those two truths, find a rhythm between them. It feels like a dance. It is fast and playful and then slow and meditative. I am doing it more and more…until I congruently feel these two energies in my body movements. “What is the message behind this?” I ask myself.
— Xenia, express yourself courageously, loudly and fearlessly if you really have something new to say, if what you say facilitates and helps the atmosphere, just do it! And until then — keep calm and give space, support and possibilities to others.
Yes, it’s my choice. It’s a great suggestion! Instead of just reacting to my social environment, I need to give myself plenty of time, feel first my own truth and then express it. But it’s so hard to do that in the social world! We do not have a tradition of dialogue. How can I practice that? Where?
I keep moving around the room feeling these two states in my body, trying to think of an environment that would feel friendly to that way of being, match in a way. Maybe a hobby or project that could support me on a daily basis…Social networks! Actually Facebook could be perfect training for such a dialogue. Yep!! Great plan! I need to create a Facebook page where I can share my experiences, thoughts, ideas — support others in their visions, feelings. And I hope that this is how I can find my community. Not necessarily like-minded people, but people who are happy to write about their stuff, read others’. People who are interested in participating in a dialogue. Facebook can be a good safe place to say «no» to men, while remaining in communication with them. Maybe in doing so, I will not have to distance myself physically anymore.
It’s a wonder how some phrases at times get stuck in your mind. Phrases can be obsessive just like songs. As if someone, for some reason keeps repeating them in your head. So today it is “the art of imperfection”’ “the art of imperfection”’ … I remembered that this was the name of a nice book that I found five years ago in a bookstore in Mill Valley Center not far from San-Francisco. It was published by two photographers and was full of weird, but at the same time very tasty and absolutely “wrong” photographs. Then I thought how happy those two photographers must be to not only create strange photographs but to have the courage to publish them. They do not fit into the standard conceptions or frameworks that we think of. They are so free that I even envy them. I would like to be as free and independent.
So why does art with irregular shapes, models with irregular features attract me as much? Why do mistakes often attract attention more than things that are harmonious?
I close my eyes and try to stop my flow of thoughts, but something from inside responded to me: “because this is the beginning of relationships”. Yes, that’s true! Polarity, like in physics, like in sex, like in wars, like in games, like in art, creates opposition. To be more precise, it demands a response, and life starts — the energy splashes. Yes, of course, it is great to be balanced in life, we all want it and on the other hand it’s great to be “out of balance” to develop your own peculiarity, yes, this is a challenge and it causes a strong reaction. But this is what life is about — Dialogue and Relationships!
And what are my peculiarities that I generally try to hide and conceal, to correct? Maybe I should reveal and master them, instead? I prepared myself today for inner work and a dialog with my bird- teacher.
Me: “I study psychology, but not to be a therapist, I like the study-process itself. According to the Bird’s advice, I already started learning more, using all my greediness… asking teachers to come more often, plan more educational events… study… study… I am A Student, only a student.”
The Bird’s voice answers in my head after I connect to its wisdom through “shape shifting” into its strong and free body.
The Bird: “ Not everyone can be a student!! It’s special! For example, during interviews you, Xenia, play the role of a student so that spiritual teachers (those you interview) can teach you and the audience. You being a great student can help and support them in their teacher role; this is how polarities can work together in relationships. Flag it! :)) … And I have another fun idea that can help with your “inner critic”. If you ever feel you did not do a perfect job…instead of your “favorite” self-criticism … you can always say to yourself “I am learning ”.
I started to move in my room, changing roles, playing both parts (me and the bird).
Me: “In organizational work, I like start-ups, and when everything is settled — I get bored… I don’t like this about myself.”
The Bird: “Yes, and this way of being gives you quick efficiency and can help any company a great deal. In Russian culture, leaders tend to nurture their current position, instead of contemplating other possibilities, for many historical and geographical reasons. It’s a great quality, but can sometimes lead to stagnation. So you, Xenia, are doing something new for our culture, getting the task done and moving forward. You do not compete with new leaders. You are thankful to them since you can move ahead. Yes, move forward faster! By the way … you are moving to Genève now, and you should think not only of your relocation, but delegate carefully and mindfully all unfinished matters in Moscow .
Me: “Thank you! Another thing, I’m constantly changing my spheres of activity: business, politics, psychology, organizational work…I feel shallow in doing that.”
The Bird: “Yes, and you live in different cultures and interact with various spiritual trends as well. You are interested not in a small part of life, but in the whole picture, different societies and their interactions. You should study both your own personal psychology and that of different societies and cultures more deeply. Remember, you already know the Institute that teaches exactly this all over the world. The Deep Democracy Institute. Do not stay in Russia; go to Africa, Japan and South America with your teachers.”
Me: “So what should I develop, do more of? Dance on the edge of the world’s boundaries proactively?”
The Bird: “Salsa dance with the world, “naked” :)”
I grew up in the Soviet Union where, unlike in Europe or America, women didn’t stay at home to raise kids and take care of their husband. They had to have a full-time job, required by law. The concept of a “housewife” did not exist, women had a strong identity through their professional lives. In our country this “revolution” that set women free from these domestic demands, happened a lot earlier. The equality of sexes was initially proclaimed in USSR at the beginning of the twentieth century. Russian society was largely patriarchal, but classical “female power” was not fostered in girls. Well, not in my family nor at school or in movies were girls taught the basics of Western femininity — how to flirt, to be flexible, to make concessions, how to be a supportive, there was no image of a “Wise Woman”… Baba Yaga (a horrible fairy-tale witch) was the closest one. As far as I remember, both men and women were raised to value the historically classical “male frame of mind” — purposefulness, persistence, love for a cause and goals. Well, of course I am exaggerating, but this at least was my perception of the Soviet environment.
That is why female emancipation could not come into my life too early. I wanted to occupy the feminine role of the Woman. There is a saying in Russian culture “the man is the head, and the woman is the neck”. I wanted to become the “neck”! To explain: in English this means the one who is the neck moves the head but it doesn’t show its control. So from ages 23 to 33, I dedicated myself to this. Books about female archetypes, Jungian Seminars, marriage, high-society life… I was trying to understand and live the classical female archetypes. But I started truly feeling myself a woman when I got pregnant at the age of 32. This is when I realized, really felt it not only with my mind, but with all my being what it was to be a woman. As if my body had the ability to take me beyond social concepts. I felt so deeply in tune with the Universe.
But coming back to emancipation. With my liberal-minded friends from Europe and America, we always had hot disputes on this topic. They were filled with indignation:
— Why do I (we Russian woman) tolerate such a macho-sexist treatment from men?! Why don’t we rebel when we see magazines exploiting female appearances? Why don’t we protest against strip-tease clubs, why don’t we mind house cleaning and cooking every day? Why do we behave, dress and put on make-up… intentionally to be liked and admired, and not by personal comfort and desire?
— That’s because we (me) like such a state of affairs!!! There is a special power in it – the power of being a Russian woman. This also created a passion between sexes. Bright woman + strong somewhat rough man equals classical romantic pair! All this Western emancipation seemed to be an immediate stealing of my well-earned gender privileges and joys, erasing the acute angles that brought so much passion. And of course, this female role gave lots of material privileges. The most talented of us learned how to get everything we wanted from life, by guiding this “macho-power” wisely. Those who didn’t fight strong men, but guided them softly, in the 90’s gained money, social status and freedom to be able to travel, have expensive hobbies etc….
But time was moving on, my children growing up, and I wanted to realize my ideas and dreams in the form of a project, and open my business. The main purpose for these ideas was not to earn money but to create something beautiful in Moscow. A place where people could be themselves, feel protected, develop through psychology, art, yoga. As I was opening my Wellness center,gender difficulties arose. It turned out that, in order to create something in Moscow, you must be aggressive, growl, show teeth and “fight” quite often. During that time, only the strongest survived in Russia. When I decided to open my wellness — psychological center in Moscow in 2003, I came face to face with the fact that I had to change some of my habits that belonged to that wonderfully warm, calm role of a the “soft female” – a fairy, a woman-mother that had become so native to me. The habits, mainly the habits of making concessions, supporting others in their decisions, the habit to consider that the ‘strong’ point of view is narrow-mindedness, and a tough facial expression is not suitable for a real lady. Good manners did not work. Vulnerability and tenderness did not work. My previous powers did not help to propel my business ideas. In Russia when you get into competition, especially with men, you will feel right away the full frontal attack.
I understood that I needed to learn to protect myself and my ideas. Words of my male business partners like, “I will do everything myself, just be next to me and inspire me, be my muse” started to annoy me a great deal at that time. Sexism became outrageously noticeable. Suddenly, I saw clearly HOW exactly men play this game with us. My eyes opened.
Sweetie: “Could you make me tea, darling?”
Helpless: “Hey, I can’t type at all, could you help me?”
Macho: “I will settle everything, don’t worry darling. Everything will be just fine”
Dictator: “Look, we shall do it like that and like that…”
Sweet dictator: “You wanted me to ask your advice? Oh sorry, I thought it is obvious that it is better like THIS. I am sorry, sorry…”
I started getting annoyed … no, I got furious by these male characteristics that I used to like. Now, I wanted to decide for myself, wanted to try myself, to make mistakes and try again. Of course I understood that I didn’t get furious because of men themselves, but because of my personal inability to be firm and stand up for my ideas, fight off and say “no” firmly, my inability even to have a clear position in a dispute. As a child, I naturally exhibited qualities of firmness and decisiveness, how could I forget this when I most needed it? I realized that the habit of having received everything on a plate had worked until now. It doesn’t work when you want to have your OWN plate made. I saw how one-sided and infantile I was -the Female in me. I wasn’t a woman – wise and strong, but a woman who was spoiled and naïve.
My view of the world started changing slightly. At first I simply started noticing the signs of men trying to prove themselves, act bossy. Then I started to learn to say firmly “I am against this and this….” or “I need some time to formulate my ideas” which caused reactions from men “why did you become so rude?” Yes, I lost sexual appeal and softness during arguments. I didn’t care about these romantic dealings anymore. Then I learned to speak with men more softly about THIS: “Look, I do not like arguing with you, let us work together? You can use a softer tone with me and I will be more clear in my position from the very beginning, and less emotional.”
Then I learned to concentrate on the important matters and not to get stuck with the details. It became a lot easier in my relationships with male partners but still I had to be aggressive at times. This was not because of anger, but in order to be able to conduct conversations, and to been seen as an equal.
And NOW I am learning not to be hypnotized/driven by the gender, the social stereotypes, the education of other people or my own. To see that apart from gender roles, we all have strong and weak moments. Everyone can be flexible and firm, and everyone can lead the way in one moment and support at another. Sexual roles (except for giving birth to children) are merely century-old, long-lived habits. Strong cultural habits, that sometimes help but other times get in the way of transparent relationships, dreams. I want to be free from them as much as is possible in our civilization. I am learning it. It’s hard, but with the support of friends that think alike it becomes easier. Of course, it is very pleasant to play the man versus woman game, hard versus soft, strong versus helpless, leading versus guided. But it’s fun to try and experience the freedom of switching roles. PLAYING it easy, like children — light!!! Playing together and not being a victim of this game.
And what if I look at my weight today from the point of view of my new emancipation experience? What has changed? I close my eyes and try to feel my “inner independence”, the difference from “Patriarchy” which I wrote about earlier. It is still important for me to be slim, but this slenderness is no longer equal to the «successful woman». I feel much freer, I love living my life and this love is not solely based on my size anymore.
I have put on weight. I gained five kilograms. How terrible. I can’t look at myself in the mirror without disgust. I want to give up.
It feels as if there are two persons inside me. The hungry me, and someone else….Well, at least I should listen to them and try to find out what they want. I get up from the sofa, go away from computer and find a place in my room where I (hungry me) can stand. I do it just intuitively. I start feeling, imagining. Yes, I feel that I am very hungry, as if there is some emptiness inside me. My thoughts run to the fridge, my tongue becomes very sensitive. My whole being is begging me, “Fill me up!” I go to other side of the room and try to feel the other me.
— “I can see your desire and craving, your hunger and your open mouth. I will get food for you as long as I am not tired.” I feel lots of strength and self-confidence in this position. My posture gets straight and I feel that my hands want to do something. I give myself several minutes to walk around the room like a big powerful active person. And then go to the another side.
— “Oh, so you are fulfilling all of my wishes!!??”
— “Yes, all the loudest ones. I can hear what you are asking for loudly and I believe that you really need it right now. I am strong and persistent.”
I felt as if I was next to a fairy Godmother fulfilling my wishes. She was strong but not so astute. It seemed she had strange notions of taking care, of feeding, feeding.…feeding! I’m trying to unite with her, I like her vitals, that large, tireless strength. I walk around my house like her. I feel powerful and resolute, my muscles getting stronger, and my attitude towards everything around me, more detached.
— “This is how you are, Xenia, you can create everything you have in mind, and you can get everything you want. But your real desires lie hidden inside you. Time shall come and you will be able to hear them. Listen to yourself!”
— “But so far I still have a plan to lose weight. This is also not a small task. Also I have a list of creative desires which I do not dare approach yet.”
— “You know, I am strong and I love you. I love all of your demands: the deep, the complicated and the simple ones. What I do not like is to sit idly, without anything to do. I am your strength and persistence. Use me wisely! Whenever, wherever for whatever in life…otherwise I’ll get bored and….Eat!!!”
I decided to go to the store and buy lots of tasty and healthy foods. I bought fresh tomatoes, many-colored radishes, different kinds of onion and garlic, red chili peppers, young cauliflower and fresh pimply cucumbers. I bought fragrant coriander, soft avocado, limes, green leaves and my favorite low fat cottage cheese. I also bought seeds and dried seasoned seaweeds and a big carton of low fat milk and eggs. I have arranged a special shelf in the fridge to place my favorite products. With their help as soon as I feel hungry, I can make a crispy spicy salad seasoned with cottage cheese. I decided not to buy sausages, because when I looked at them in the store I noticed my annoyance with them. I remembered the story about companies who add special chemicals into cat food, to attract cats to eat it. I am not a stupid cat. I won’t eat everything they are trying to sell me in the store!
I will devote this day to sausage, canned foods, and other foods that I love from my early childhood. These were implanted not by somebody lazy nor by a greedy person, but someone who grew up in hunger and poverty. This is something that comes from the family of my grandmother and grandfather, from soviet stores and holiday food parcels. Food was always a main concern, a real treasure. I imagined someone from those distant times. She has a round female face, a head shawl, a burly figure in a calico dress with an apron and she looked satisfied.
She: “Eat Xenia dear girl, eat sausage. I have been cooking it for several days, smoked it for you. I cooked you preserved food for the whole summer, so that you always have a jar on your shelf. I raised a pig to make lard especially for you, and to make you eat better. I have added seasoning and more fat. In order for you not to feel fat, I have added more salt. Eat my sweetheart. When you eat, I feel needed and important.”
Me: “Why do you cook that much? Why is it so important for you to make all the food so fattening?”
She: “I am stocking up food, I have the habit of cooking like this since the olden times, this is what I know and it is important for me that you take it and love it.”
Me: “Why don’t you learn new recipes? You cook so old-fashioned. This is not the seventeenth century when people need to stock up food for the winter.”
She: “What for? You eat and others eat. This can be sold easily.
I got angry. This is mean. It’s like getting someone hooked on drugs and then selling them to that person. She pretends to be caring, but in truth she is a greedy and a self-seeking woman. It’s like those companies who put the face of a mother figure on their brands pretending to have your best interest in mind, selling you nutritious healthy food yet it is poisoned with sugar and poor ingredients. They put chemicals in the food that arouse the senses, yet deprive the body of any nutrition. Well it’s clear why they do this, for profits and markets. They do indicate that they are a for- profit company. It’s me that has to be smart and progressive about all of this. I need to prepare my menus ahead so that when I see and smell sausages they can’t seduce me with their fragrance.
Friday. Food as an Art
I like the idea described in various books dedicated to healthy eating that making food can be an art. Usually, when there are no guests in the house, it’s easier to make myself a sandwich. But there is also a very strong aesthetic part in me. It likes doing everything in my life as an art. Beautifully, detailed, tasty, unusual, every day in a new manner. The weekend awaits me and today I want to start a new period of my life, cooking as an art. I go to the store to find new tableware, napkins, candles with a very specific scent of pomegranate and grapefruit. I like opening this page of my life like a ritual. I have chosen dishes that look like they are made of clay, and colored in beige stains. This reminds me of the sand shores of an ocean. Dishes are big and handy. Big glasses are made to look like cracked glass. The wicker place mats are greenish grey, like grass. It would be nice to dedicate time preparing salads, so that every day they would be slightly different. This is a very interesting, and creative task. It is important HOW I do it and not what I do. Beautifully, Creatively, Sexually. I am a Woman!
I remember one of my favorite Hollywood heroines – Lara Croft. She couldn’t allow herself to do anything ungracefully or unattractively. But that wasn’t the old-fashioned grace of a lady. Lara has the very precise and strong grace of an adventure seeker; she has absolutely no laziness or unnecessary habits. I imaged how seductively Lara would cook for herself, and how she wouldn’t allow anyone to sell her sausages in the store; only to use them in some trick against a guard dog. Every dish should be like a bunch of flowers. By the way, whenever I go to buy flowers, I can spend an eternity choosing flowers for a bouquet. Exactly the same approach should be applied to food! So I imagined myself being her. I gazed somewhere into the distance, my body leaned, I looked at “ordinary me” through her eyes.
Lara: Hey! Life passes, don’t get stuck as a housewife! There are so many interesting things around, you are a Woman, don’t forget it! You are strong, special, loving life and everything new.
I look out of the window with Lara’s eyes. Everything seems new, and unknown…. as if I was seeing this for the first time. I try to feel her qualities. “Novelty, sobriety, precision” words came to my mind. I should watch the movie again and live this weekend the way she would do it, to learn from her.
Me: “What would you do, Lara, if you were staying by the ocean with your family for two weeks like I am doing now?”
Lara: “I would enjoy it, keep on training and plan the most unbelievable adventures.”
Looks like I got two gurus, “The Big Bird” and” Lara Croft”. But since they are alike and not to create another teacher, I will simply call her Bird Lara.
I am at the supermarket, walking and looking at all the food. I want a sandwich, right now! Otherwise I will torture and annoy everyone!
Bird Lara: “Hey, calm down, this is just a habit. Relax, breath in and engage yourself into something interesting. This will pass away after a few weeks. Stop complaining.”
Xenia: “No, you can’t say that! You should be supporting me. This is violence against the freedom of my personality and even abuse.”
Bird Lara: “Abuse is something that is being sold in stores and by the food industry. You should simply overcome it. You are losing weight for a reason, aren’t you….something important? Why are you doing this? You are strong. I am not questioning your strength and persistence. Probably you need them for something very important, something very interesting in life?”
Those words stopped my whining. I started thinking about what my life would be if I lost 5, or better 10 kilos. What could I do more easily?
- I created my Guru, a character that is of great help for me. Lara the Bird. I drew her and placed her on my desk today!
- Also I formulated several advices for myself. In practice, I made a plan.
- In the future, my homemade or restaurant food will be constructed as attentively as if I’m picking flowers for a bouquet.
- My understanding of healthy eating differs from that accepted in mass culture. It is important for me to choose products and stores, as strictly as I choose clothing stores.
- Overcoming my addictions is the most natural thing I can do in this situation. By working on my addictions I can practice my strength, self-control and discipline
- To dream and write about how my life will change when I lose weight. What are those fun things I could do more easily if my body felt lighter? Those dreams could be very pleasant and offer new prospects.
Since I was a child, I always felt I had no talent. But now, I realize that I’ve got a talent to see a person, to feel him/her «beyond» gender, race, culture, age. I have got the talent to express the things that are not accepted by society, even if those are very strange and difficult to understand in the beginning. I have got the talent to trust strange occurrences, happenings, people and unfold this to bring it into reality, out in the open in a positive way.
I’ve already mentioned that somehow I get very inspired by videos and TV programs… and generally media-products. They are powerful, very powerful. And I do not like how this power is used by the majority of TV programs. Watching TV frightens and confuses me, make me self-conscious. It makes me distrustful and angry. Yes, the whole point of journalism is to show the truth or some part of it, to create more understanding. But often they create fear. I do not think it’s helpful.
I remembered the strength and braveness of my Lara the Bird. I opened my arms as though I was floating over the ocean and mountains. A sense of oneness with the whole earth gave me a powerful feeling of love in my chest. Great feeling! I decided to ask myself an important question, being in this state. How to apply my life experience and talents, my taste for life, my Meta Skills, curiosity, all the things I’ve discovered about myself… to a project?
… It would be definitely a movie. No, I like it to be persistent — a serial. Movies-adventures about lost cultures and spiritual knowledge discovery, my own self-discovery as well… … «The things we fight and the things we search for – are our itinerary in life». Those would be Lara-the Bird’s shamanic adventures. Shamanic in a meaning that She (I) would travel, guided by dreams, signs, magic coincidences as well as a sparky pleasure of going beyond …
And how about losing weight?
That’s what I wish to lose weight FOR. No, not actually to lose weight :)….. To be in good fit: physical and emotional. To be strong and enduring though light and flexible…
I found a post on Facebook today. A group of people who film tribes around the world, traveling and learning about them. This idea is very similar to my dream of a movie or a program.- traveling adventures in different cultures. I talked to my movie friends about it. And Road Trip films happen to be quite a popular format.
But what is my vision for it? How would I use my media –power?
There should be very important details in my ‘visionary quest’ movie -:
- The movie itself and the trip should start with a «problem, issue, “imperfection”☺)» and the trip itself should become like shamans say –a “hunt”, search for Answers and Solutions. But not only intellectual ones. Answers should come from experience, from meeting the unknown.
- The roads should go through geographical places and through different spiritual traditions.
- We need to invite local people to be in it as well as spirits of the lands. How? I do not know yet. But it’s an important point.
- I would be the producer as well as the leader of the group and facilitator.
- It could be fun if a part of the trip could take place in «our» European world as well.
- The filming team should also be in the picture and participate in the learning. It will help us to tune to each other and dream our film together.
I wish to involve the audience, touch them with feelings, “seduce” them into learning the world. I hope to create more understanding and appreciation for alien cultures, to stretch cultural boundaries. My boundaries and others! …This films needs to have a loving attitude for the World at large. I want it to big a tasty, colorful, great salad with chili and garlic!
Writing about my visions, I just remembered a friend — a businessman from London, who by coincidence also just moved to Geneva … when he was young he studied meditation and went to Burma and became a monk. Hmmmm…Burma-monks-meditation taste… I should talk to him in September, and also suggest this film idea to my friends/TV people… And also, my husband’s partner’s wife is a real Cambodian princess…Wow…Princess-Cambodia-temples… Back to the roots taste… And also…
I will write letters- ideas to everyone today!!!!!!!
I would like to learn how to make movies – spiritual journeys in which I would use all of my acquired skills in psychology, skills of being a pupil, a learner, my ability and love for interviews, my travelling skills and my capacity to interact with different cultures… Everything that I already like doing and want to do more of! But for the moment, all of my possible project partners, movie directors… are men.
So, how not to fall in the old traps of my relationships with men? I will say honestly – I am worried. It is one thing to write about this and quite another to make a real project, with a man, feeling his equal, feeling professional, and not just his muse or sexual object.
How? I think I should first work this out with my future possible partner — film director, talk it over with him … use my psychological skills.
I have noticed that lately, I often repeat that I don’t want a sexual implication in my work with my male partner. On the other side, CREATIVITY itself (at least it used to be like this in my perception) is a “sexual” thing, in a way. I don’t want to play the role of a “woman” with him, but I want us to have fun. Play, experiment…I hope it will be spicy for both. I realize that I am trying to take sexuality out of its brackets and, for me, as a psychologist, this is a sign that I should do a big work exactly on this subject: work on my fears. Ahhhh! Scary!
It’s important for me to work this out with him, safely, with support. I decided to do this with a group of colleagues and a teacher. Just because I feel very unsure and slippery with all this….
So I decided to talk to him and invite him to the seminar. And he came.
Me: “I would like to offer you to make a project together, but I fear that I might not be a good partner, that I lack something. …. I started to mumble, being shy to say how I felt. …..Actually, I’m afraid that we won’t be equal. Yes, I have the finances to put into business, but I don’t want you to see in me only a sponsor or a woman. How can we work this out together? I don’t have any experience in filming. I’m happy to learn though…”
He: “I see a very strong and interesting person in you, a very clever psychologist. I want to work on a project with you because you are an interesting, incredibly deeply feeling and open person. Your personality and your qualities are great for making a documentary. And do not worry; I don’t need your money, or your husband’s. His tone of voice became tense. I understood his fear of me. He is afraid of money as much as I am afraid of his male power. Both of us are afraid of becoming dependent, lose control. We are afraid that someone will dictate.”
I am wailiiiiiiiiiiing……
He: “Why are you crying? Did I hurt you?”
Me: “No! This is just the first time (I am trying to speak clearly through my sobs and tears) a man tells me frankly that I am precious for a project thanks to my skills and qualities of character … (Wailing). And I do not like that I got so emotional now; I am very ashamed that instead of discussing a project with you, I am wailing (wailing).
He: “I think I get it….You worry that I see you only as a woman.”
Me: “Yes. And that would spoil everything. You would look down at me and spoil my relation with my husband. He would be jealous, feeling that our relationship is not a purely professional –partner relationship.
He: “But I do not necessarily have to perceive you as a woman. I do not want to sleep with every beautiful woman.”
Me: “And what about fun and spark and feeling high and going out of the norm…? We want it. It is impossible to create a film without it! What should we do?!?!?!”
The leader of the group, who had been silent all that time, suggested that we try to express our feelings in movement instead of through conversation. To feel how it would feel with a high between us? This suggestion seemed to be interesting as I saw that our conversation was not leading to an understanding. We had to go beyond the limits of a stereotyped vision of the situation.
So, we started moving, I allowed myself to do and feel anything. It was a safe place for an experiment… hmm what is it my body wants in his presence? I felt the immense desire to walk past all the group members and step on their chests. And I did just this. Euphoria… the sweet euphoria of domination…finally I have the chance and freedom to feel it. Like I always imagined men feel with a woman. Fun. It’s fun to openly dominate. But is this what I need??? Thus I approached everyone and enjoyed my moment of physical domination. My colleagues allowed me to learn this in myself …. But after a while I felt it was not IT. Not something that I really ached for… but what did I want? Then I approached him with the same intention.
He: “No, I don’t like it like this.”
Me: “Just once, please….I said in a sexual voice.”
He: “It is hard to resist you … but NO. This is not comfortable for me, I do not want.” he said it, and didn’t allow me to do so.
Me: “Just once, please….” I begged softly.
He: “I am sorry, but NO.”
Saying “No” he countered me by not allowing me to get on top…
I kept on trying for ten more minutes but he was firm. Then I thought to ask: “And how do you want it?” We sat on the floor, trying different positions and variants of positions of our bodies. Something always was uncomfortable for one, something for the other. As a result our legs interlaced and our position started reminding me of a Kama Sutra position, our body postures were identical. This was a position “of equals”, close, face to face, sitting. Looks were open and direct. I felt relieved, strong, and breathed out freely…
Me: “Is it good like this?!”
This was an amazing body experience. The wisdom of our bodies chose the best position for a balanced relationship. I felt strong in this and honest. I did not have to pretend or to manipulate. This felt RIGHT. I learnt from him, from US, from the group, how to say “no”, how to say “yes”, how to be together, in pleasure, how to accept fears, how not to kick back. And this was not at the level of thoughts, but with my whole body.
— THANK YOU!!!!!
I do not want to tell the details of our project in this chapter, but I simply would like to say that since then we have made a wonderful television program in California and plan to go to Burma and make a movie about meditation.
WOW! In California there were so many realizations of dreams, pleasure, work and euphoria from work and tons of learning. I felt very good about myself and what we did; I am learning how to express…EXPRESS myself. To understand myself, then to express myself. In such a strange way.
So what exactly do I want to MANIFEST to the World, bring in to the World???
So, how are all these projects related to my weight? — You will probably ask.
I understand my past painful feelings quite well now, I understand why it was so difficult not to obsess about my appearance, slenderness. Good looks seemed to be like an account in my bank, like a key to freedom. On what else could I have leaned upon so confidently in those past times of shift of moral, professional and spiritual values in our society and in me? I supported in myself the “currency” that I thought had the biggest value.
And what now?
For the last year several big changes have happened to me:
- It became interesting to assert myself professionally, without male help. Actually no, of course with help, support … but still ME.
- Looking at myself in the mirror, I see first – a person. A fun person. I realize that when I am reviewing my films, I pay more attention to what I project, my confidence, openness, and truthfulness rather than seeing what I look like.
- It is interesting, exciting, and nourishing for me to develop my skills in psychology, in making interviews, including a strong physical health and other skills and qualities that I need to realize my dream to make movies – spiritual journeys.
The focus has changed from my appearance to intelligently following my dreams. Of course, I do not mind being slender, healthy and well-groomed. This is important! But my attention, interest and focus – is not blocked by this anymore.
I am in America at Lake Tahoe. My husband and kids went skiing and I stayed in the hotel room to write. It would be interesting to communicate again with “light me” and “heavy me”. What is lightness and what is heaviness for me? Many people around me are busy with self-development and want to become “lighter”. The heaviness of the soul is associated with old age or callousness. But those are usual thoughts… Today, I want to try to live my weight…
I am trying, remembering me being skinny and the feelings inside my body. I get up to feel the lightness of my body. I concentrate on experimenting with my body weight. Jumping up and down helps to feel my lightness. My mood becomes playful. Jumping sends shivers down my spine. I start naturally whirling around my room…then a cover of a magazine with a hummingbird, caught my eye. That’s such a similar image to my experience!!! How would I live and what would I do if I was a hummingbird?
As a hummingbird, I would fly to everything that attracts me, not thinking about any meanings or aims. Lightness! The world itself would tell me what to do. There is an image of flowers and a tiny bird in front of my eyes. This bird is just like a feather. It just follows different flirts. From one flower, to another.
O.K. then… And what does it mean “I am fat?” I try to spread all my weight on the sofa, as if all the microscopic folds on my belly are getting bigger… Bigger… enjoying this spreading experience.
While I was doing it, my husband and son entered the room after snowboard lessons, both sweaty and happy and gave me lots of tasks to do, in quite a commanding manner – to have the coat dry-cleaned, get ready in 45 minutes…and they left for another snowboard ride.
I try to return to my feeling of me being spread on the sofa and understand that probably my men have something to do with this inner dreaming that is happening now. …I continue with my experiment … I become heavy and immobile. My movements become slower. I feel like I can’t be moved. I am very…hmmm…CONCRETE in this state – I can’t be moved, can’t be baffled. ……My thoughts run towards my husband. Yes! In my perception, my husband is very concrete, he always plans his life and tries to plan mine as well. Sometimes it makes me angry. We sometimes we fight about this. On the other side he is definitely a support in my life. He is a very big anchor, my anchor.
I close my eyes and become heavy and solid just like a mountain again. I look at my life from this solid, comforting perspective and try to give myself advice.
Mountain: “Just start making more everyday, concrete, useful deeds. Think of big dreams, plan how to make them happen, step by step. You will get sustainable results if you are consistent.”
Hummingbird: “Do things that bring you happiness, it’s a better navigation system. Follow inspiration. Destiny leads you with flirts and attractions, it sends you ‘flowers’. Hey!”
I see now that during my WHOLE LIFE I have been really happy, feeling that I was connected with something greater. Something Greater is guiding my life, but I still can’t understand it. I am happy to feel this connection!
Mountain: “Well I agree and understand the logic of living life following signs, flirts and attractions. It unites us with a Bigger Force. Thank you for your intuitive light nature dear Hummingbird. But look deeper into the essence, the origin of these attractions. Follow the meaning, the very nectar of the flower. That is your everyday practice.”
Two energies, heaviness and lightness, are trying to dialog with eachother in me. To help that process, I decided to imagine a place in the world, where those two characteristics would be in harmony with each other. I am looking out at the window. I see mountains and dancing snowflakes. Beautiful! And I imagine myself being a spirit of this place, the Lake Tahoe Spirit. I shapeshift into the spirit. My breathing attracts my attention. I pay attention to it. Breath in, breath out, breath in, breath out… Some calm voice inside me says: “To lose and to find, to lose and to find once again… To find a goal than achieve it, lose it again and find again…. Realize projects, and then leave them, lose your own self.. And regain it again…” … Connect with something bigger and then express it firmly in the world, and connect again…. This is life. You simply inhale and exhale»
Xenia: “I like this! This is a very well-grounded attitude towards lightness. This is a joyful way and a way I can rely upon.” ould be in harmony with each other. I am looking out at the window. I see mountains and dancing snowflakes. Beautiful! And I imagine myself being a spirit of this place, the Lake Tahoe Spirit. I shapeshift into the spirit. My breathing attracts my attention. I pay attention to it. Breath in, breath out, breath in, breath out… Some calm voice inside me says: “To lose and to find, to lose and to find once again… To find a goal than achieve it, lose it again and find again…. Realize projects, and then leave them, lose your own self.. And regain it again…” … Connect with something bigger and then express it firmly in the world, and connect again…. This is life. You simply inhale and exhale»
Xenia: “I like this! This is a very well-grounded attitude towards lightness. This is a joyful way and a way I can rely upon.”
I am still curious about my craving. Literature gives us various ideas, but I am interested in finding my way, my meaning. I close my eyes and imagine this inner feeling which comes at night, a moment before I would go to the kitchen to look in the fridge. It is like something is being sucked in. And my mouth makes this sound OUUUUUSCHSCHSCH, as if something really is being sucked in. How interesting.
I make this sound louder, repeating it again and again, trying to understand its deeper nature. If I kept on sucking in, more and more …what would happen? I imagine myself being a giant sucker, like a huge vacuum cleaner. OUUUUUSCHSCHSCH OUUUUUSCHSCHSCH…. I imagined sucking not only the sandwiches, hamburgers and sausages from the fridge, but leaves from the trees, sand, all the trash from the roads… I would suck in everything that isn’t attached, everything that has no roots…… AHA! Yes! Everything that has no roots. There would remain only the tree trunks and new leaves, mountains and posts planted into the ground. Everything besides that would have been sucked into this huge vacuum annihilator. How astonishing! I see how the meaning and the mission of my Craving’ is to destroy everything that is not meaningfully implanted in my life. So, everything that is not rooted in my path, everything that has no nutrient, I shall sweep aside. Sweep aside, clean and cross away like something from the past or something too light-weighted.
“Hey, Xenia”, — I addressed myself when I woke up. You are like a plant that dies quite often, letting out seeds. Some of those sprout if placed in fertile ground, and others wear out and turn into dust. The roots sprout and once again a new cycle begins. Look at yourself through time; you merely live many lives and deaths. This is so great! Do not search for the meaning of your life, because every life of yours has its own meaning. When you were a child, you lived in Belorussia like a little tom-boy, and then became a creative teenager, then a doctor, a traveler, a peace child, a psychologist, a businesswoman, again a psychologist, a conference organizer… and so on. And every life you lived through, you lived passionately with love and devotion.
Ok, so what now? And how can I lose weight?
I heard the familiar strong inner voice of the Bird- teacher. “Your size always corresponded to your life cycle. The desire to lose weight only hints that it is time to strike roots again, to get planted in soil. You have been “flying” for too long and its starting to become too “groundless”, boring. Root in something that makes your heart beat, in something that will make youyrestless at night, something that will switch on all your resources and willpower. It’s time to create new you
And meanwhile I am flying and flying like a seed looking for the right soil.
To die and to sprout once again in a new place. – Movement and change
I remember that for about a year I regularly saw in my dreams the death of the community to which I belonged. For about two years I was idle after one of my big projects, I couldn’t find a place for myself even in my beloved company, being its director, it was as if I was looking, looking for something. Recently, I changed the country where I lived. But I understand that I do not want to root in Switzerland. Because My roots are not in a specific place or city. They are somewhere else. What ground I shall find next time, where am I being led to? I know you can’t understand it until you get there…. Oh that is so stressful.
Lara the Bird: “But there is an astonishing freedom. As long as this period of idleness or flight lasts, the best thing you can do – is to let yourself dream. Broadly, absolutely boundlessly.”
Me: “There are obstacles for DREAMS. Those are old relationships, obligations, causes. Old me. Old roots.
Lara the Bird: “Then get over things that burden you!!!! Shake up your wardrobe, literally! Throw away old dresses that are old-fashioned or not so enjoyable to wear. For a start you can make a ritual and give away your old wardrobe. Delete boring friends from your Facebook, delegate burdening tasks! … Wow! I have got an idea! Close your Moscow wellness center which does not bring you happiness or meaningful friendships anymore. Everything old goes to the dump! The vacuum cleaner has to start working.”
Me: “I need at least a week for that.”
Lara the Bird: “You can have a week and a half, if you need it. ☺ But hurry up! Dreams are knocking at your door and they need you to be light and free.
Me: “I am scared to throw away everything I’m used to. What kind of dreams will come knocking?”
Lara the Bird: “You feel your dreams are about videos, travels and documentary movies … but nothing is specific so far, you just have not found yet… But for now — get relieved, get relieved… Switch on the vacuum cleaner.”
The vacuum cleaner has switched on. I am writing letters to everyone, restructuring the office workflows, freeing myself from relationships. I went out to the balcony and my husband decided to tell me about a book he is reading. It took my breath away! It was a book about a psychiatrist treating the syndrome “a passenger without luggage”. A man with this syndrome is under the burden of problems and loses his memory and ….creates a new personality. This is what can happen when you are taking tooooooo long with the process of getting rid of everything old! 🙂 Ha-ha! What an excellent metaphor for my process!
My husband has finished the chapter and intended to pick up children from skating lessons.
— How long will it take you to finish writing your diary?
— A few weeks, I hope.
— We will soon fly to Geneva and you can stay here alone if you want. We won’t distract you. What else can you do in Los Angeles?! You can go shopping to Rodeo drive, and then back to writing.
— And I do not want to go to Rodeo Drive. They sell only evening dresses there. And I imagine myself with short hair, wearing cool hiking boots; t-shirts. It’s a cool style and comfortable for travelling.
I caught his loving smile and went on vacuum cleaning.
Lara the Bird! The image of the Bird again came to me when I for the umpteenth time, was thinking about how to become light and stable and mobile and goal-oriented, to trust the wind of changes and to own a strong body. And also… There is an expression – «to get a bird’s-eye view of your life». I’m thinking of meditation.
Awareness – the thing I’m learning these days. It’s not easy, but it’s inspiring to learn to observe oneself while we live our normal life, experiencing new things, being angry, happy, hungry… It’s like a bird’s eye.
What if I put aside all my ideas about fashion and popularity, sexuality and attractiveness? Why would I want to lose weight then?
The Bird: “Why do you need to carry all those excess chunks of meat? Throw off the ballast, dear!”
Oh, yeah! The world is changing fast and I want to be able to live up to speed. I’m thinking of my Moscow driver, Sergey. He gets to destination fast, not because he speeds, but because of his quickness and his skill to change lanes on the highway. It is important for me to travel, to be energetic, lean. I started thinking if there was anything else that was unnecessary in my life that takes away my energy. Burdens me.
Ohohoh! There are so many unnecessary things in my life. How could I not notice them before? For example, my clothes and shoes. Why would I need a wardrobe like a clothes store? And Houses! We have beautiful houses in different countries. And a stylish, luxury dacha -log cabin in the forest. They take up so much time and money to maintain. In our family we have 10 people taking care of our realty. How awful! Those include monthly payments, meetings, everyday management. I remember how light it was when I was younger, when I didn’t have in mind so many things that I constantly had to take care of. I see myself now like a maintenance mechanism of this acquired wealth. No wonder I have absolutely no time, nor strength for creativity.
I have discussed with my husband what we could sell. What drains our strength away from new projects? We shall sell everything that we do not need. I feel a great relief just thinking of a great, big sell out of everything. Uphhh. There is something very young in this. As if it’s spring — snow melting, big heavy snowdrifts turning into streams and trickling down from shooting young grass.
I talked with my friends and we have decided to make a flea market sale of all my dresses. And we’ll donate the money a children’s home for training courses for children or personnel.
Losing weight, losing weight everywhere! Not only from my hips or bottom. No! Losing weight means to remove all the unnecessary accumulations.
I wonder, what if I take into account not only the material and measurable world? How else could I lose weight? What is still burdening me? What is too heavy for me to carry? What suppresses and loads me? Which relationships, responsibilities, roles?
This is a good, but complicated question for me. I go for a walk.
One by one, I start identifying which people/relationships take me a lot of energy; those relationships which rather burden me, than make me free. How can I change those relationships? How to rearrange them? Who will I be without this role of a teacher, or head of my wellness center, psychologist? If I remove those relationships, what will happen to me? What do I leave to myself after dropping off this ballast?
I get up and make several steps in my room, imagining that I am leaving those roles on the sofa. That I am walking towards that imaginary place that symbolizes my future. I walk slowly, keeping an eye on my feelings and any slight changes in my perception of space. My look becomes attentive as if it’s viewing a great perspective. I see the door and windows, the flowers in the pots, details of the foliage. I stop. This is a very open and attentive state. I am waiting. As if something has to enter my life by itself. I am simply waiting.
That’s it! I take with me my attentiveness and awareness. My knowledge of what is good for me and what I need at exactly that moment. Having thrown down the ballast of social roles that have had their day and have lost their nutritiousness, I take with me only what is mine. My skills of awareness, attentiveness and observation. This is the “bank account” that no one will take away from me and which is not affected by any economic crisis.
“This is mine!” -I say this out loud. “And this is all I need to keep. The rest may come and go.” I have tears in my eyes. It feels very deep and strong now.
What are the main fashion tendencies in the European society that are shown now in media? Magazines and television are full of pictures of ideal women with perfect faces and bodies. Photoshop makes them even more perfect…. This annoys and makes many envious. On the other side, men and women started objecting this glamorous mainstream and created alternative magazines – people write about feelings that are provoked by fashion mainstream. PLUS Model Magazine(larger size models) asserts that the majority of models have such a low body mass index that it is a sign of anorexia – it is difficult for a woman with an average figure to lose weight and stay in such an undernourished state for long. Why should she be ashamed throughout her whole life that she doesn’t satisfy the standards of beauty promoted in the society? I read different discussions on this topic on internet. Because this topic has become so popular, references to it are easy to find. For example, there is an article whose main idea is that we do not need fat nor skinny models, but healthy ones. One man wrote: “Do not tell me that obesity is normal.” Another one adds: “I do not think that the world of fashion should support obesity, but neither should it support anorexia.” And one more commentary: “We, women are all being brainwashed that if we do not stay hungry we won’t interest anyone. We all simply need more healthy models to copy, more examples of not fat, not skinny, but healthy female bodies.”
And I would add to that that I would enjoy seeing models with different kinds of bodies, inspired eyes, interesting creative clothes expressing different lifestyles and social ideas (such as Benetton) and interesting life stories. I’m very impressed by models with physical disabilities, by the Paralympic games, and love to read about their lives, choices and challenges. We need models that will become leaders, models that will creatively show new ideas with their looks and talks and doings. Can I be someone like that?
May be- yes. In my documentary films!
And what do I see when I look at the world through a video or photo camera lens?? I’m trying to understand today why I am so dazzled with the visual imprinting of the reality.
Video for me seems like squeezing juice, essence. Filming is like catching the essence of beings.. Well it’s pretty clear that I am trying to work on my perception of things. I suffered for a long time from the way the World looked at me, at my appearance. Now I look at the world using a camera. How does it help me? What exactly does the camera change in my perception? I feel that the camera makes things more neutral or it’s better to say it shows things the way they are……….It’s interesting how every time I try to understand myself, I need to close my eyes and when I try to understand the world – I open them and take a camera ☺). With the camera, I am very curious and attentive and notice all the small details. I note unusuality in everyday reality. That is what I do when I film!
Lara the Bird: “Great Xenia! It feels like not only want to become a world citizen but you are meeting the World, making up with it, making friends. Do you want to do an inner work on it today??? .. To see how The WORLD is looking at you?”
Me: “Great idea!”
I took the looking glass and looked at myself. Who is that “me” that is now looking at me?? Right at this moment “the one who is looking — is my “World” in a way. I become an observer of myself. So what and who am I exactly and what do I see??
Observer: “You are fat girl! And you have wrinkles. That is what I see in you. I think you are getting old.”
Xenia: “That is hurtful attitude. Don’t you see anything good about me? It does not help to be criticized. I wish you were more supportive.”
Observer: “Sorry I thought that telling the truth was a good motivator to live a healthy life. I want you to be happy and live the life that you dream about. And I want to support you to be healthy and strong.”
Xenia: “Thank you for that! What is the most painful is that without knowing me you judged me from my appearance! To know me and support me, you have to look deeper and learn more about me. To understand my strengths, you need to know my story, what I went through in life. You need to see how despite the obstacles and personal history, I believe and go for my dreams and at the same time, try to be a good person without hurting others. You should see how despite the fact that I’m a woman who grew up in a patriarchal oppressive society, I try to speak my truth. You should see how hard it is to find my way and calling when there are no examples, role-models in front. You need to see how I try despite my age to learn new things, update my life. Hey! Look deeper, look into my essence to see my strength and beauty and youth. If you really want to See me.”
Observer: “Yes, that is what I was looking for and now I see it! Great for you, speaking so strongly and lovingly about yourself. That’s special and different! And I am learning from you to look deeper and more lovingly. And I think, You can surely teach that.”
Xenia: “And I am learning to express myself not only visually but also verbally. I am learning to see deeper and speak about things that matter. With a loving, light attitude. That will be the essential approach to my films also!”
Observer: “I see you”
Inner Work and Outer Doings ☺
Topics: Exploring my food; Physical exercising; Feeling of control; Levity – solidity; Dead weight/ballast; Intimacy and sexuality; Visual image of my body; Social context and sexism; Day Dreams