Having traveled the way I have traveled, I realize that I am very fortunate.  Yet, like many people…sometimes I get stuck in my own head and forget the blessings….So in showing you a few of these visits…maybe I can remind myself….of how life does have its lar-gesse of soul touching experiences….

Haiti has its history and reputation obviously; but, like most things it is much bigger than that….this is Jacmel, Haiti…

For some really, familiar reason, Haiti is not generally considered the Caribbean!!!  Now, here is some evidence to the contrary 🙂  This was/is as blue and beautiful as it gets….fresh air coming off of the hills, mixing in with the ocean breeze…with very little population….

There are a few locations that are smaller resorts – but, not jam packed with people….provide a wonderful back drop for the contemplative….

And, even the natives are friendly 🙂  One thing I will add in…..Haiti has some excellent cuisine.  It is amazing how some of the poorest countries have some of the best food….not, only that….the company was absolutely excellent as well…. 🙂

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Haiti is what it is….no doubt, but, considering the history….and all the civilizations and countries that attempted to make it a sole source of labor and commodities in the global chain of production….these were some BAD ASS Mo’fo’s…sitting here…’with all due respect’….recommended reading….

To the Mountains….

Heading on to the next destination….there was a welcome party….and as I mentioned it is always wonderful to see the kids….or the adults in touch with their inner child….

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The little homies pointing at us, bet you they are bad as ever…. 🙂 and of course right around the corner….here we go…up the mountain….

That truck is loaded down…but, what was so intriguing for me is what was tied to the back….one of my favorite dishes….. reminded me soooooo of being in Liberia/West Africa.  When I saw it, I said to myself ‘Oh, the meat is sweat oh’!!  In my Liberian Accent 🙂 🙂

But, moving along through the mountains….just sharing pictures here…so you can see and get a good feel….feel it…..

 

 

 

Sometimes, it is better to not share the words so that we each can acquire and feel our own interpretation….I hope that you found something for yourself……

 

When I first began to travel as an adult, I would take ridiculous amounts of pictures.  Often times, these pictures reflected the disparate life conditions that people face.  As a general practice, I don’t do that anymore.  It, too often, reflects the viewpoint of an outsider looking in, providing commentary, and judgement of life dynamics we/they know absolutely nothing about….so often, we don’t even know we don’t know!!

Never-the-less, because the general absence of knowledge regarding Haiti…and the intense disparate treatment many of us of privilege create…either directly or indirectly….I am going to show you some of the ‘Bidonville’s’….

While this is someone’s home I can across downtown, it is only a start:

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The ‘bidonville’ for Haiti means – ‘thrown together’!!  A person/family basically finds whatever materials they can find…and throws them together to create a home.  Sometimes they are separate standing, but often times they are all built together – on top of each other – no basic utilities:

 

The pictures do not provide the complete justice needed to understand these circumstances, but if that is what you seek…then, you will know!!

 

But, let us not get this twisted….Haiti has immensity of ‘Bidonville’….but, like most places the socio-economic absence of equity can be intense.  Up in those hills, above the ‘Bidonville’, is what we call ‘Petionville’.  Generally, called a suburb of Port-Au-Prince, but also considered separate….

and a few more….

Again, it would be easy to turn this post into an expose on structural violence, and the disparate life dynamics faced by many.  But, I want to keep it more focused on the attempt to see something beautiful….

A walk around the shopping areas will give you clear indications of the SEPARATION.  However, it also provides intriguing access to a portion of Haitian culture, for this is where I actually purchased this amazing painting…

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Rolled up and packed in a warehouse…took hours to find something like this….for me, it is the Haitian version of the famous statue by Auguste Rodin: ‘The Thinker’…. and, I am constantly striving to demonstrate improved thinking and reflecting….although, I will admit….sometimes I am successful with that…and well….sometimes not….

 

Remembering Haiti

May 12, 2020

This experience happened a few years ago, but it is one I have been meaning to post for quite some time.  The thought was transformed to action by the recent passing of the dear family friend who created this opportunity.  The person was Canadian/Haitian, but also a student of Haiti – specifically, the U.S. Refugee Act and the Haitian Interdiction Agreement.  We could talk about the classes or immigrants with privilege.  We could talk about the political dynamics, the housing issues, or the intense poverty for a country right off the coast.

Most have no direct experience with Haiti.  Many travelers will bypass Haiti to frequent the resorts or hot-spots in the Dominican Republic.  Much can be said about the history of Haiti, the relationship with the DR, and US policy towards the Haitians; however, those who are interested in such can easily find those discussions.  This post is more about a tribute to my friend, and to show you a little bit of Haiti.  Although rife with poverty, the Island is full of riches as well…

Landing in Port-au-Prince making the first stop at the castle….

The feeling you get is the majestic nature of the palace, with the mountains as the background, and if you do not know the history of Toussaint L’Ouverture, then that is recommended reading.  The ‘General’, in a historical and contemporary sense, seems to have left the remains for blessings and cursings…..yet, riding around Haiti….there is a sense of curiosity that shows the chains of hope…

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Whenever, I travel somewhere….I always look for the children.  I wonder what their story is…. In fact, some adults have a well developed inner child.  Thus, I wonder about that story as well.  Many of these youngsters are constantly seen being children.  Although the outsider would see the suffering, many of them are so happy they do not even know they are suffering.  But, I wonder; however, can you see the suffering inside of other people??

Just, going through downtown Port-Au-Prince, it is really quite fascinating….practically any view might pop up….and it made me wonder constantly….what stream of life is this?

In the city, of course there is the dust….but, also the views of the mountains (although some have been made bare because of the over-production of charcoal, the rivers…their inhabitants…..and of course the sights ….

The business owners and occasional amazing view… but, personally…I love my guy here:

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🙂 🙂  well, we all have our things we are fascinated by 🙂  But, moving right along….The next post, goes into what we call the …. ‘bidonville’…..

Ciao!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More on Buenos Aires….

January 11, 2020

For my friends who are interested in other dynamics taking place in Buenos Aires…I’m sharing these links…enjoy Amigos!!  Both, are good friends of mine!!! 🙂

https://lamilongadel126.blogspot.com/

https://buenosairesballetclases.wordpress.com/

Un Grande Abrazos!!

I once read from a book of the wise that said a seemingly simple thing… “we all have an ends to which we attain”.  My own ends requires a change….a change in part that is facilitated through what I acquire from travel.  Obviously, my own travels, in many ways, are a reflection of my internal journey.  A seeking of sorts…seeking to better understand myself and the world around me…and to acquire the insight to develop the cultural tools to improve how myself and the world around me intersects.  Hence, I’ve been traveling, but not posting as I continually evolve my understanding of the ends I seek.

Over the past few years, the focus of my travel has been Argentina….to the point that I get a really good feeling even before I get there.  Just this sight alone, puts me there –

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I’ve had quite the experiences and a bit to say about Buenos Aires and Tango.  But, as I mentioned…this is not a Tango blog.  There are plenty of good ones, but this is not for that purpose.  I was simply fortunate enough to find something that represented an ultimate cultural experience that could be used as a tool to help cultivate various dimensions of my life.  So what I shared, was simply a small part of my personal journey.

And while my times, and there will be plenty more, have been so wonderful…it seems that I’ve gotten to a place in life where the simple things that are soooooo delicious, bring me joy 🙂

I have been fortunate to have friends to walk and guide me through a history that speaks through the ages….the debut of Troilo and Disarli at the Maracaibo –

and, more importantly, to know the feeling of developing friendships in all walk of life –

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While it is known, I have personally come to realize that while a master can show us and teach us things…we are the implement.  In essence, we don’t really teach children to ride a bike.  We help them experience a sensation.   If they latch on to that sensation, then they may desire to duplicate it.  We facilitate the process of recreating that sensation by helping them learn to balance, we may use training wheels, go through how to start, to stop…. starting, rolling……’a salida even’, and, when it can be repeated on our own, we have learned to ride the bike.  As it is said,

“I can’t teach you how to feel”  – Carlos Gavito

…and such is life…

Similar to when we get those internal emotional blockages – emotionally, intellectually, …. You get me!!  And we cease to flow internally…we can’t let go of something…our nature…or what we do not usually constrain.  Sometimes we need those who have that special touch to help us…feel the music of life…to help us walk life’s song – no words – just music.  That opens back up our soul…and no matter how we feel…it is okay…it is necessary….or as Maya Angelou says, our soul is our deep longing!!

Like the bike, sometimes we need help to get our insides moving again….even as the complexity of life represented by a Pugliese plays in the background, one helps us move…

As the other comes right behind us unawares with an embrace around our rib-cage and helps lift us up to restart us by telling us when to “breath”…showing us verbally and physically when to stop, soften, feel, and the confluence makes the soul accept its longing again…through the drop of a tear….

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Alejandro Gee & Erzsebet Tamas

Like the child riding a bike, and falls.  But, then gets back up again!!  We latch onto that sensation…and as we continue to latch and duplicate, life comes back….

The fall can be painful, uncomfortable, and even embarrassing.  Yet, the come back, getting up off the mat, can be so sweet, that it makes the fall worth it.

And, then we grow!!  I must say, Buenos Aires has been good to me, and I believe I have been good to her….she will always be in my pause…and now, my walk continues….sure I will get a few more bumps and bruises, or even worse; however, I am ready ❤

A Day in Buenos Aires

March 18, 2018

A typical morning in Buenos Aires, for me anyway, will usually begin with a stop at the fruit stand…but, as the morning moves along, the stop for a cafecito is the plan.  As I think of it, when I am in the United States, it is customary to grab a coffee on the run.  When I am overseas, who ever heard of such a thing? What????  Coffee is the destination – it is an event in and of itself!  Whether with a friend or solo, “IT” is a moment to be cherished, and something I have come to embrace….

Thus, many a morning for me in BA, begins with my coffee.  This shop, Piazza** is located right across the park/monument area from the National Congress building.  When not heading in the direction of ‘La Biela’, Piazza is usually a stop for me – especially on a day of roaming.  It provides a great view of the area, an excellent place for people watching, and always the mental and spiritual room to reflect.

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This morning, I came across a quote by Carlos Gavito: “nobody can teach you the feeling…”…and it resonated with me…  It brought to mind so many of the things that we learn and do and mimic but never really get to fully embrace the natural feeling of because we get stuck in the surface of the perfunctory….

Whether it is through our striving for spirituality, religiosity, seeking the understanding of life’s questions…or simply trying to understand a language, art, music, a dance…or even travel…we attempt…but, can we feel it…and while we study and attempt to learn…nobody can teach us what to feel…for even with the same impetus, each of us may feel the same or something completely different…thus, a different expression in response comes out…

And, as I pondered and daydreamed on this mental journey, I saw this couple sitting in front of me.  First the newspaper, so many things are digital these days, it always catches my eye to actually see someone reading a physical newspaper.  But, the hand-holding, the gentleness, the tender expressions, their spiritual embrace that could actually be seen…what path did they travel to get to this point…was it just rainbow’s and bunnies? (doubt it)…was their joy, pain, forgiveness, mutual interest….were periods of lesser happiness given up to experience a greater happiness…yes, quite the pondering this morning….

This awareness has be looking back on my own life and reflecting on all the things and the events that transpired in a particular way that now has me sitting in an outdoor café, in Buenos Aires across from the national congress building on an absolutely lovely day soaking in the culture of international fare….pushing the internal doors that open to realize the superficiality of some of my own previous understandings….never-the-less, as the day moves on…I settle up…go inside, down the stairs to the bathroom to get ready to begin my walk… and lo and behold:

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sooooooooooooo……..all of that deep reflective thoughtfulness, soul searching, and deliberative attempts at increased awareness…well…PAUSE!!!!

I admit, that when I was younger, I had very little appreciation for art…Now…well…I absolutely love it…for many many reasons.  Somewhere in this world…there is a reason for this particular piece of art…there was a motivation, and intent, a purpose…if you look at the not so subtle and the very subtle details…there is so much coming out of this piece…and personally, I appreciate all of it…however, even my own eclectic nature has its limitations…I will have to appreciate this piece as a part of my memory…not as my current focus…hahaha…I will leave that to you…enjoy…whew….yes, you can thank me later…ok, back to me…

While I am not a Porteno, and don’t pretend to be one…I also do not feel like the regular tourist…more like a very comfortable foreigner.  When I come, people who work in various places or who stay nearby…give me greetings when they see me…they remember me…and admittedly that feels nice…especially in a place such as this….Buenos Aires is full of the ornate…however, it is the simplicity that is the most amazing to me…especially its relationship to the ornate…

It is amazing to me, how some of the coffee shops are just simple little places, and others carry the history of a museum.  Except, in fact, that the coffee shop is the substance of the museum.  Take for instance, Cafe de Angelitos on Rivadavia:

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This absolutely beautiful place – people – This is a coffee shop!!  Of course it has more than that, but yes…coffee…and walking by looking in the window…seeing the engagements, the sophistication, the culture…yes, coffee is an event!!  🙂

As the morning moves along, Buenos Aires is a wonderful place to be when you have absolutely no plans whatsoever…just roam…the architecture:

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If you time it right and are fortunate, you might just happen upon ‘una feria’ a street fair with some amazing items at amazing prices:

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And, I have to mention one of my favorite areas…a very long avenue, very wide, full of history, energy, life…any ideas? 🙂

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There are many places in this area where I spend significantly good time…while it may not be a mountain top, a brook, a beach, a temple, or one of the many sites that traditionally are talked about as being one of the great views or experiences of the world…in fact, move beyond the perfunctory…and it can be similar to those things…

To see people…what can be seen….and…

 

there is a meaning, like art though, we have our interpretations…that belong to ourselves…our feelings….now….this couple:

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I watched them for a bit…what is it…what are they doing…how did they get there…what did it take to get there….in actuality, they were quite captivating…talk about a spiritual embrace that made them stand apart…to the degree that as busy as this avenue can be….what seemed so simple about them, actually carries the answers to many an unanswered question…

Plenty of Art to be seen in the dynamic and captured moments of people, but if you are also interested in the more traditional type…then keep walking…you may come upon the National Museum of Beautiful Arts:

Traditionally captivating…many excellent pieces…the type of place where you can easily spend the entire day…look for the section that specifically focuses in on the history of the development of Buenos Aires and Argentina…it is more than worth the time…

To add, after a long day of strolling, observing, pondering….even better if you have a small earphone with some of the classics playing….you may come across another of the simply sophisticated wonders of Buenos Aires – Cafe Los Violetas:

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Yes, a cafe…are you starting to get the point about the cafe’s – SMILE!!!!

Like many other places, it isn’t possible to get the feeling of Buenos Aires from one trip…it is possible to become aware of the feeling…but, to understand it requires a guide.  Not, the tourist guide, but the guide.  Whether you are into Tango or not, there is this confluence that takes place that the term fusion doesn’t necessarily highlight the nuances that exist.  But, attach with the Portenos, and you will understand…you may end up at a place such as ‘La Hormiga’ or  ‘La Catedral: Social and Cultural Club’:

You might also find yourself, watching blues dancing, or listening to a contemporary band that has an orchestra nuevo type of feel:

Either way, you will give the standing ovation…and let me tell you something…this young lady…whatever stereotype her appearance may manifest, she is indeed a young Billy Holiday in Buenos Aires (I have the video to prove it) 🙂

As the evening closes out…you may still have the energy to keep going…maybe you will end up at Salon Canning, Gricel, Obelisco, or the Temple (El Beso)…but, maybe, just maybe….you may find a gem in San Telmo or La Boca…or….you may even find a surprise, along with a live Tango band, in ‘La Viruta’:

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I don’t pretend to know everything about Buenos Aires, in fact, I am simply sharing my experiences in that they may help someone else who is on a type of journey.  I started out further exploring my international interests, and that merged with an interest regarding Tango.  This interest in Tango inspired me to knock on the door of the cultural impetus of Tango…and more and more doors continue to open…to the degree that as these doors get explored…more and more friendships in all walks of life from all over the world continue to develop….and I’m referring to actual friendships…not ‘status-ships’….if you can tell, these explorations into the external create opportunities to better understand the internal…and vice-versa….something way beyond the perfunctory and reflective of the feel…I look forward to returning soon…in the mean time…

While these trips to Buenos Aires somewhat started as an exploration of Tango, the dance, all of these other experiences accumulated in my mind because as my friend Beatriz Dujovne (In Strangers’ Arms) writes,

“A fully lived Tango is all about the exaltation of a human connection at the primitive level of our senses, movements, and reflexes.  It sublimates our basest instincts, which actually interfere with dancing, and draws out our memories, histories, sentiments…”

Fully lived? Sublimates?….mannnnn…..puhlease…..we aren’t just talking about a dance…however, as I explore what fully lived actually means, as I better manage my ‘ensimismamiento’…and I move into its realization…maybe I will eventually learn how to dance Tango….

smiling….

Amigos, Hasta Pronto!!!!

 

Learn to get in touch with the silence within yourself and know that everything in this life has a purpose…

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross (from the Artist’s Way-Julia Cameron)

I am quite sure there are many that would wonder, “why go to a cemetery.”  I wondered the same thing before I moved to Savannah, Georgia.  In Savannah, there is a cemetery – if you want to call it that – called Bonaventure.  Many tourists go to see the ornate architecture of the markings and experience its history…its feeling and/or communication….  But, it also sits on a river, so over time I would go there to relax, study, or to explore my pensive nature.  The ‘Recoleta’ is a similar place – although, quite exponentially more….

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Walking into the ‘Recoleta’, I am reminded of ‘Beatriz’ – “there is Tango in There.”  Immediately, I am reminded of the experience of places I have been.

The cultural similitudes with the carvings in west Africa, the temples in South East Asia, the Canal de Panama, the works of the universe to shape volcanoes of which their majesty can be witnessed when the sun rises over the mountains in the morning to illuminate them as their steam rises in honor of the heavens; the scenes of the Pacific Coast Highway (1) in California; being at home feeling the presence of the twisting live oak trees, or surprisingly witnessing the occasional sighting of an otter at play in the saltwater rivers in the Isle of Hope; the sense of amazement of being on Broadway (New York) and feeling the commitment of the artists singing/dancing/demonstrating god-like levels of talent – without the manipulation of technology – I previously had not imagined; or even the magnitude of peace and appreciation that comes with experiencing a kind and gracious human being.

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As I enter, my mind’s eye sees some history of a people – sitting, talking, questioning life, laughing, singing, loving, crying, hurting, dancing their own expression, living through the many vicissitudes of life we all can experience – but also the nature of life viscerally shared with each other.…not just them, but people overall…how dedicated people can be to what they love!!

Reminds me of commitment, artisan-ship, and the price that sometimes must be paid in exchange….when a certain kind of love bonds with a certain kind of place in a person; and, raises the question of curiosity about the nature of people and even more importantly….the nature of the characteristics of the process of creation.

A side thought occurs – beyond the judgement, self-aggrandizement, absence of the depth of insight, lack of compassion/empathy, callousness and ignorance witnessed daily – maybe those instances are simply an inability to connect/feel the process of human evolution simply posing as ugliness….never-the-less….

Feeling a certain permanence of structure, my soul becomes silent – this is about feeling….the type of silence that comes when our soul is seeking the awareness of the substance to satisfy what it needs.  There was a time when I felt – let the dead bury the dead.  Now I am more inclined to understand that the dead are not really dead when we seek to learn the lessons of their life and use them for our own.  Those reminders allow us to always carry them with us…in our minds eye.

Below – ‘the chamber of the revered ‘Eva Peron’

 

Personally, I am not a zealot of any thing to the degree of being blinded to the value of all the other streams of life that represent and point us to what is sacred…I will allow you to define for yourself what is sacred to you.  In these days of reflecting, I feel a sublimation of my basic instincts…as I move from only considering specific contexts and memories…to accentuating my wonderful experiences by adding in additional contexts to expand my own history and memory – for the purpose of creating….walking out of the Recoleta…I walk in the Basilica de Nuestra Senora Del Pilar….to sit, meditate, reflect…to consider….

Aye, a stream of life that activates and empowers a higher consciousness and plane of existence…In this ‘stream’…I am reminded of many wonderful experiences, but also how easily they can be repressed under the weight of the expectations of life, disappointments and all of those other nasty distractions.

This ‘Stream of life’ – sometimes we kill it in how we compensate for our day-to-day grind of life…and it distracts us from what life is…I won’t tell you what it is but, being reminded of the ‘Great Gamora’ again…I am reminded to grow…simply, to grow…

So what Tango did I find here? Well…although there are commonalities…we each have our own….and it amounts to something much more than steps….:)

Abrazos!!

Sitting here at ‘La Biela’…in my reflections, enjoying my ‘cafecito’ and ‘medialunas’….outside underneath the shade – El “Gran Gomero”…

With all my travels and experiences, my observations are no panacea or romanticization….nor, is it to say that one culture is better than another…it is simply that our personal and social experiences may at times blind us to the value or our own self or culture.  At times, a different cultural experience may awaken us to a higher level of existence within our own culture.  We can accomplish this by identifying a cultural component and its base/root…and using it to better understand our own base root.  Eventually we may merge them and increase the breadth and depth of our own cultural foundation as another expression of the universal stream of life – that is just as valuable.

As I continue to sit and ponder, the discussion with ’Beatriz’ comes to mind…”our intentions pass through individual and ancestral layers of memory and experience on its way to becoming movement.”  By creating new memories and experiences…can we then adjust our movements, our actions…our own cultural way of life?  More plainly – can we use this as a tool to shape the quality of our contemporary and our future?

As I sit here, the terms happy and joy or sadness and melancholy are not actualized…for I feel peace.  Peace like the waters….as in ‘still waters run deep.’  My tumultuousness is at bay…and I feel the place where I can just be…Knowing it will come and go…and I will have to work to make that feeling consistently and perpetually dominant over time…but, never-the-less, knowing it exists is a start to making it ever present….

This becoming ‘aware’, this consciousness – attempting to become aware of the things that we are not aware of…I can only speak of my own journey of my own travels…inside…it is not for everyone…no judgement, but particularly not the surface dwellers….It is for the travelers!!

Following the guidance of ‘Beatriz’ to go see the Tango that exists…obviously we aren’t talking of dance or steps – but experiences that shape the context of memory of which intention flows through…I start at a place where she took me to and left me there to ponder – ‘Palais de Glace’

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Many many moons ago…this place had a large wooden floor inside…and was a central arena for how Tango manifested as the dance….it now holds a large art exhibit…fitting 🙂  Art – as the expression of the awareness of ‘creative consciousness’ as described by ‘Julia Cameron’ in ‘The Artists Way.’  And, awareness of this creativity can create a spiritual path.  Hence, these posts are not about dancing…it is about a continual journey of walking through doors whose presence are illuminated by a consciousness of the streams/rivers of life.  As, some artists express their creativity whose meaning ultimately is reflected by our interpretation, I will leave your interpretation to you through some of these examples on display:

Artists (Marcia Schvartz) (Fermin Eglia)

Artists (Pablo Paez) (Dullio Pierri) (Nadia Guthman)

Artists (Santiago Garcia Pilloto) (Gabriel Orge)

If you look closely at the presentation of Santiago – you will see  a baby calf inside its mother with the head of the vulture also penetrating inside – for you to interpret…

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Artist (Nicola Constantino)

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Artist (Carlos Ronzsentroch)

Leaving the Palais, I come across another ‘Gran Gomero’…In many ways this tree exemplifies life…this place…As with this tree, are our roots ever straight or do they turn and twist and appear crooked, they are as we are….but, it provides a clear center line of life that with work we can perceptively see it as the straight path…(for those who know)…

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Just as poetry facilitates a conversation, this type of artistic expression can also initiate a conversation we need to have with ourselves…and who knows…we may actually discover what the actualization of sublimation means…play with it a bit…nurture your creative consciousness….and just see what may happen….

A la Recoleta….Abrazos!!

 

 

 

 

Well…..here I go again…as my journey continues!!!!  Obviously, from my perspective, it is wonderful to travel.  In fact, there aren’t that many comparable things.  To travel to a place, and eventually to places within places…ultimately you have to come to the people.  For, that is how we get to the culture.  Now, obviously some just observe cultures and some participate…and, then there are those of us who want to extract something out of it to keep as a token of that which we can continuously participation in ourselves.

To build our lives…to move beyond just social expectations and construction or being trapped within our own unawareness not even knowing what we don’t know.  But, to extend beyond that…and utilize what our awareness can capture to be used to paint our own beautiful mosaic on the canvass of our soul.  This isn’t just a journey around the globe…ahhhh….it is so much more than that…more of a journey into the unseen…and as that internal mosaic is developed, then someone else may catch a glimpse of it … if you or I know what to look for… 🙂

Of late, my journey has been set towards Argentina…and so, I return.  And, while I have been talking of Tango…this isn’t a Tango blog…but, reflects how Tango is a part of the overall journey.  And, since I am talking about a journey it could just as easily be stated the other way around.  Clearly, dancing is a part of it…but, more importantly I am referring to the Tango associated with the Milonga of Life: the Life Milonga – ehhhh….for those that know 🙂

It is wonderful to make it back to Buenos Aires, and to be comfortable with expectations, friendships and new experiences…and growing even more comfortable.  In many ways, my friends here in BA, particularly Alejandro Gee and Erzsebet Tamas, are ‘mis puertas’ to other ‘puertas’.  The same as ‘mis puertas’ in Atlanta and other places – they know who they are!!  In fact, they exemplify the benefit of getting to know people and building relationships when traveling.  As, I said…this isn’t about simply dancing steps…it is much more about the steps of life of the heart…of growth…of thoughtful and soulful evolution…in affect…it all means something…to me anyway…

Today, I had the wonderful opportunity to visit one of the esteemed Coffee Houses of Buenos Aires – “La Biela”  …. known for delicious coffee and medialunas and such….

At “La Biela”…..I met with a new Special Friend “another puerta” – Senora Beatriz Dujovne.  Beatriz is the author of one of the most amazing books I have ever read, “In Strangers’ Arms.”

One thing I love about this place and other cultures…there is only so much political correctness…if you are fat well, you are fat…if you are skinny, well you are skinny…so when I walked up to her…in true Portena fashion…she didn’t recognize me at first…and then when I approached she said, “tu cabeza – your head”…and, then she laughed…and in my own head…I said, “yes, I have a big black bald shiny head”….*laughing*…definitely, so good…well…I do…just is what it is….*chuckle*….

Without going deep into the book – which is easy to do – she provides a firsthand description…of not the surface or the perfunctory…but, of the heart of the culture of Tango which is also an essential history of Buenos Aires.  But, here is one atomic tidbit –

“A fully lived Tango is all about the exaltation of a human connection at the primitive level of our senses, movements, and reflexes.  It sublimates our basest instincts, which actually interfere with dancing, and draws out our memories, histories, sentiments….”

Beatriz Dujovne

Yes, for some it is just a dance…but, for others…it is so much more.  For me…it is another expression of the same things I have found in many other places around the world – ‘A Door.”  And, these doors I am walking through.  The vicissitudes of life can eventually show us those things that are critically important and those things which are not.  Sometimes it is the timing that allows us to recognize the door and then walk through the door.  Personally, I am ready to walk!! (no pun intended)….  And, so….This conversation with Beatriz was for me and my journey…so, I will not share it here.  We each need our own conversations, our own reflections that are directly associated with our own internal journey.

But, I often think about the places, I have been…but, really more importantly…the people I have met….these people that are doors to other doors….doors that can be opened to find not just another part of the journey, but actually help us find answers to some of the questions we ask along the journey…

If you aren’t a traveler, then you will most likely not understand…and that is okay – no judgement…but, for those of us who are travelers…things are always more than what they seem…

It was so kind of Senora Beatriz to allow me to spend some time with her this morning.  And, as we sat and talked – it occurred to me that we don’t always know where our journey leads…or sometimes even where to go…life, pain, frustrations, mistakes, obligations, competing interests, can make the path seem unclear…yet, even when it is unclear…it is still our path.

When our time, at that moment, came to a close…like an oracle, she showed me where I would find the path for tomorrow with steps for another day…

In these places, starting near the ‘Recoleta’…she said…”there is so much life, so much Tango…”…..but, we have to open ourselves to feel it….more on this tomorrow…

Abrazos!!

 

As time has passed by, so have things, people, mental orientations, passions and moments.  Some have devolved and then evolved into something greater.  Originally, I started this blog to share as I worked and traveled overseas.  But, as I have traveled, a more fulfilling purpose has evolved.  So now it isn’t just the international experience, it is now more of those experiences that feed the longing of a soul for peace through expression.  I’ve never been one to just focus singularly on things, things get old.  They disintegrate.  However, experiences are something that can remain.  We can reach back and pull them forward, as the mind allows, and re-live them over and over again.

Over these years, these experiences have been so rich and full of the living experience.  But sometimes the constant day to day existence of life’s experiences can, at times, dull the pure exhilaration of those initial moments of discovery.  Not unique to me, but the complexity of life can, at times, make this happen.  Then, it becomes time to purposefully pull these experiences forward as a reminder of the type of life that doesn’t just happen, but one that we can create.

And so, moving beyond the limitations of a singular focus on the international to bring those previous moments back to life….I answer my souls longing to move beyond the immediacy of frustration, pain, misunderstanding or the occasional shallowness of the human judgement to that which is greater…the nature of things!!

It is said that, “when I was a child I spoke, reasoned, and thought as a child, but when I grew up I put away childish things.”  As this child, I remember adults saying things such as “that person needs to find themselves”; I couldn’t relate as a child and would ponder, “why does a person need to find themselves when they are right there with their self…Ahh…how life can teach you many things 🙂  It is also said, travel until you find yourself…so here we are…

A few years ago, life allowed me to experience the Pacific Coast Highway on the Coast of California – Highway 1.  Its reputation, of course, supersedes what some would call the domestic experience.   It reality cannot be captured by a domestic or international context.  It is beyond such, to experience it is to sit on the edge of the great beyond.

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This picture is worth clicking on….beyond the sight of it, what do you feel in the longing of your soul?  We go to the mountains, to the beach…we visit sites, we cherish our sights…all of these are lovely indeed.  But why do we love it…yes it stimulates the senses…peace can come with it…we can see the water and it is beautiful…hear the waves…smell the water…whether it is sunny or not it is the same…we can feel the sand and the water…sometimes we can even taste it all…

But, we become more aware of something else…being right there within or so close to this huge mass…this mass that covers 3/4ths of the earth…that gives balance…if you open your soul…and become aware of how its longing connects you to what you are experiencing…can you feel the power, this magnetism…the force that in many ways balances the earth…can you feel it inside of yourself…even if that level of awareness is not yet developed…can you feel inside of yourself where it is supposed to connect…and how that connection draws you in to becoming even more connected, through various modes, to what is permanent, solid and real…and in becoming aware of that experience…we realize what is insignificant…

Can we use that feeling…that awareness to assess the other things to which we are connected…can we use it to improve the quality of our relations with people, with our environment…or most importantly…with ourselves…what is our very real solid experience and what are we projecting on to ourselves and others…

Is our path to living what we want to live being blocked by something that we are projecting…that is also something to work on…but, the process has started…and can be used…

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Driving up the coast, can be a soul touching experience, if we are open.  Very few guide rails, no separation between the sides of the cliffs and what is beneath…admittedly heights can put me in the fetal position 🙂  And as we proceed, just like in life…we can get to a point where we at the same level as the clouds and eventually look down upon them…much food for thought…

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I couldn’t by-pass this little one 🙂  And as nature goes, so can we…if we allow ourselves to feel and accept our feelings….We can evolve and grow into that place of our peace….so many examples of this are exist along the Pacific Coast Highway.  With all the travails, what can allow us to find peace.  Compassion for others, reflecting on the value of human life – including our own…

Ahh…what would it be to experience rest like this – whether awake or sleep – the ‘peace be still’…. to understand the place of those things that stress us and separate us from peace…what is peace?  It doesn’t mean necessarily to be free from pain, regret, heart ache, dissension, loneliness, etc.  In fact, it is more aligned with allowing those feelings to exist, but being able to make peace with them.  We each have to find what is our individual peace…but, somehow indeed, that peace is still connected to others through compassion, empathy, understanding, forgiveness, patience…and the list goes on…

We can realize how small we actually are compared to the larger dynamic…but that requires walking the hard path…a friend asked me if my blog was moving more towards a spiritual base..my reply is…if you read a really good book, doesn’t it add to the quality of certain things about you?  well, to travel the world and absorb the human experience of others, to experience working in a country after a civil war, to see the implications of soul to soul acts of human depravity, to sit in temples thousands of years old demonstrating human and spiritual devotion, to lend a hand when someone needs it, or receive,  it regardless to a language or cultural gap, to see such magnificent expressions when people focus on excellence, to learn a Tango – not the steps – but the interpreted intention of expressions of the soul seeking comfort…well, certain things should change you…especially if you are simultaneously seeking to calm your soul and refine your own expressions…go below the surface and above the clouds…wishing you and myself – PEACE!!