Monthly Archives: October 2013

“Sad songs (say so much)”*. But is that enough?

How I decided I no longer wished to just be entertained, much less indulged in the gloomy feelings we all know and share as humans, if it is not to be followed by being expanded and inspired.

inspiration-signI appreciate anything that expands the soul, be it for a fleeting moment. I count myself lucky to reach such a state frequently through prayer and meditation. Yet there are many ways to get transported to that place that dwells beyond our accepted limitations, usually for brief but yet impactful moments. For some people such an experience has occurred spontaneously through being in love, witnessing breathtaking sceneries such as a marvelous sunset or rainbow, practicing sports, and through the arts. Art in its extended sense, in all its creative expressions, provides a temporary escape from our restricted individual perspective to connect us to the universal themes that reflect our human condition, regardless of our differences.

psychic-crown-chakraOf all the many forms of arts, I find anything to do with sound to be the most impactful. I think that is the reason why Kundalini Yoga immediately struck a chord with me (;-) with its royal2 fusion of Naad yoga (yoga of sound) and physical yoga. Chanting is an intrinsic part of Kundalini Yoga and the one thing that may deter newcomers, for various reasons. Chanting never leaves people indifferent, because there are few things as powerful as the sound current, whether we are aware of it or not.

chantThere is plenty of scientific evidence that the way we form sounds, how the tip of the tongue hits the hard palate, the rhythm and sequences of the sounds we use, directly influence the cerebrospinal fluid which is the only pathway of communication between the different parts of the brain. There is no other link between the segments of our brain but this fluid for information to circulate, and it is greatly altered by sound3 (and according to yogic technology, by the movements in the mouth).

cerebrospinal_fluidAdditionally, there is the meaning of the words we use and hear, which influences our perspective. Cultural differences can be so hard to bridge sometimes, because the mere translation of a word doesn’t necessarily convey the understanding the impact the word may have in another language; the same meaning may result in different consequences. The meaning of the same word may have a different emotional impact according to one’s culture. But that’s another topic of reflection.

pic1-a3Altogether, sound in all its aspects influences our momentary moods and outlook on life. These moods and outlook in turn influence our physiology. When we’re depressed, our shoulders cave in, our head comes down, our breathing is thus affected and so on. Conversely, it is hard to remain depressed if we stand up straight and hold our head high, hence the expression. So we actually can change our state of mind by changing what we listen and sing or chant to. Yet sometimes, we choose to play music that reflects a current disposition of ours, songs that echo the feelings inside so we have something or someone to validate our feelings. When it’s a sad disposition, this indulgence makes us despondent. Yet we often get seduced into indulging those feelings further with tunes that engulf us deeper, even though what we would really need in these moments is a sound current that lifts us up and brings us back to our center.

Sad-songs-sad-songs-15765345-388-480I definitely got cured of this tendency when a particular experience served to illustrate the impact of what we absorb via our choice of “entertainment”:

Screen Shot 2013-10-27 at 5.37.49 PMI have a rather eclectic musical taste that happens to include opera. So this summer I was psyched about the highly reputed Santa Fe Opera presenting La Traviata. Good seat, good impromptu equally tri-lingual company: it all boded well. The extraordinary landscape around the open-air theater was lending itself to add to the beauty and tragedy of Alfredo & Violetta’s story. Imagine an immense panorama on each side of the stage: on the right, far into the horizon, a magnificent sunset, seemingly blushing at “la traviata”’s initial life of debauchery; on the left, an ominous storm, lighting the sky like giant silent flashbulbs. Magical setting.

Santa-Fe-Opera-LightningOn stage, the acting and the dancing were perfect, the direction was intelligent and the singing was just, sublime. The lead singer’s voice had the purity and the stability of a perfected recording. From the first notes it was hard not to cry already.Sad-song-sad-songs-34108009-392-500Thus my company and I left the theater content and fulfilled… or did we? I had felt something deep inside soar along with the musical movements, but it had stayed at the level of the tragic story of the protagonists. Now I could feel a vague yet nagging anxiety nesting around my solar plexus. I was not the only one: melancholy obviously pervaded the lively discussion my company and I were otherwise happy to have. Beyond being moved by the beauty of the music we heard and the story, we felt sad.

sad-songs-daydreaming-18273894-1024-768The sadness persisted after we parted, like an invisible layer of goo that simply wouldn’t wash off.It is a function of the arts to make us reflect and think, beyond entertaining, so I didn’t mind being in such a pensive mood. But I noticed that the reflection kept generating sadness, stuck around the issues of the story: the doom of true love, misunderstandings, missed opportunities and fate in general. It was unable to reach new heights from there, to get some benefit out of the internal dialogue. It kept hovering low, like a bird with laden wings unable to ascend. That evening I was happy to have tools from my meditative practice4 to lift myself back to high spirits again.


imagesI contemplated the difference between the experience generated by the opera and the one that followed generated by the meditation. Both were expanding, but one had left me at the level of emotions, reflecting on the hurtful events and disappointments inherent to the human life. The other followed the expansion with a sense of elevation, which my brain interpreted as “hope”, which in turn gave me renewed energy.Forgiveness-the-bridge-to-peaceI don’t know about you but at this point in my life, I already know about disappointments, betrayal, broken hearts and broken hopes. I have already been told that you “can’t have everything in life”. But I also know about the incredible resilience of the human spirit, second chances, synchronicity, compassion, love that can defy the assaults of life and the test of time, and that’s what I choose to focus on. For the rest, who needs a reminder? Appearances try to convince us every day that it is wise to limit our expectations. But I refuse to resign to the ordinary conventions of our limitations, summed up in a word as “fate”.

Limiting-BeliefsI want to expand on the extraordinary that I have felt and that I know lies inside of me and inside of each of us. I want to support the hero in me that transcended the impossible more than once to make it possible. I want to promote the victor inside that got to be the exception that made it through the rules. The grander part of me that chose to pardon instead of resent.KG_homepage_image-e1345212699929 And for that, I cannot fuel the fears nor nurture the hurts within conveyed by conventional ideas… no matter how beautifully and artfully they are packaged, being through poetry, film, songs, etc.

kindnessThese are crucial times for humanity and we need all the inspiration we can get. So I only want to feed myself with what stimulates the extraordinary within me, my internal hero. And I will only tolerate to share in the hardship and sadness of human life when it ultimately serves to illustrate how it can be transcended to make this world a better and more understanding place for all. Sat Nam.

loving-kindness* Sir Elton John – lyrics by Bernie Taupin

2 Kundalini Yoga is a Raj (royal) yoga

3 Dr. Masaru Emoto’s experiment: “Water, Consciousness & Intent”. Although criticized, very interesting. It resonates true to me, seeing how sounds & music affects us and that we happen to be made of 50-75% water.

4 Practical exercises such as Pranayama (specific breathing patterns) will change your mood instantly


Llevado por el viento… devuelto por la Gracia

Imagina pasar la mayor parte de tu vida creyendo en algo que te hacían creer en contra de la intuición de tu propio corazón. Algo que las circunstancias y el entorno se empeñan en demostrar y dar consistencia, hasta que, finalmente, cedes y condenas tus sentimientos al olvido, únicamente para descubrir décadas después, que los susurros de tu corazón te estaban diciendo la verdad todo el tiempo…

twin-flame-2Érase una vez una pequeña y tranquila Niña. Ella observaba plácidamente a los adultos de su alrededor, atrapados como estaban en un torbellino perpetuo de eventos sociales e incesantes dramas personales, representados como tragedias griegas en el ámbito público. Niñeras de todo tipo entraban y salían de la vida de la Niña, según el último capricho de sus padres, hasta que apareció una perfecta. Perfecta a todos los niveles: profesional, en experiencia, amor, cariño, ética, dedicación y… demasiado mayor para ser objeto de deseo para el Señor ausente de la casa (que, aunque ya pluriempleado como el Señor de muchas casas, siempre encontraba tiempo para una rápida aventura más). A los 62+, la nueva niñera estaba definitivamente fuera de su radar. Pero ella era una figura de abuela /madre bienvenida para la más pequeña de sus dispersos descendientes.

Mamie-consoleLa niñera inmediatamente se convirtió en Nana, el anclaje de la vida de la Niña. Contratada para vivir en la casa 5 días a la semana, se convirtió en la madre, la abuela, la amiga, la educadora, la confidente, la referencia y la guía constante en un entorno donde la inconsistencia era, por el contrario, la única constante. No fue sólo un amor a primera vista, sino que, además, la confianza y devoción mutuas las vincularon a las dos. La Madre de la Niña a veces se detenía en su frenético caminar para echar una mirada de desdén a la unión forjada entre las dos, la expresión de su rostro indicaba que se sentía despojada de algo que era legítimamente suyo. Sin embargo, rápidamente perdía el interés para pasar su atención a cualquier cosa que estuviese hundiendo su vida en ese momento.

th-1Nana tenía una familia muy grande. Viuda desde hacia muchos años, había criado a sus propios 6 hijos, que a su vez tenían ya varios hijos de edades comprendidas entre la de la Niña y mucho mayores. Nana solía llevar a la Niña a visitar a sus nietos los fines de semana y en las vacaciones. Nana y su familia procedían del País Vasco, una serie de localidades que componen una Comunidad Autónoma en el norte de España y parte del sur de Francia en las montañas del Pirineo, al borde del mar Atlántico.

85px-Euskal_Herriko_armarria.svgLos vascos son conocidos por su dignidad y su voluntad de independencia, sólo igualados por el amor que tienen por su tierra y su patrimonio cultural. Las reuniones de familia de Nana tuvieron la calidez terrenal y bulliciosa que es habitual en estos lugares. Cuando estaba allí, la Niña se encontraba en un mundo muy diferente al que estaba acostumbrada: las calificaciones, la gramática y el vestuario impecables eran de poca utilidad en este ambiente sencillo, donde había que salir de la cabeza y poner rápidamente los pies en la tierra. A pesar de algunas pequeñas contusiones y cortes sistemáticos, la Niña disfrutaba de estas reuniones familiares y fantaseaba con que los nietos de Nana eran sus hermanas y hermanos verdaderos. De vez en cuando, había un vago estigma por ser “la hija de los jefes” y algunas burlas acerca de lo que se consideraba una vida privilegiada y protegida. Pero Nana siempre intervenía para protegerla. Tal y como era ella, pocos se atrevían a cuestionar su firme autoridad. Con todo, la Niña era siempre bienvenida, alojándose, comiendo y jugando, integrada en la familia de Nana sin restricciones.

6688888723_e5dd601489Pasaron algo más de 5 años, años cruciales de formación en el desarrollo de un niño. La vida era más o menos feliz, segura y estable. Nana era omnipresente, y era la verdadera cabeza del ambiente familiar de la Niña, tanto para el malestar como para el alivio de la Madre: Nana era la única que se atrevía a enfrentarse al Señor cuando se presentaba en un ataque de cólera. Ni la acidez de sus palabras, ni la amenaza de sus puños la hacían claudicar. Había poco cariño entre ellos. Definitivamente no el tipo de aventura a la que él se había acostumbrado con las niñeras anteriores 😉

une-mamie-qui-donne-la-pecheLuego vino el largo descanso anual de las vacaciones de verano francesas. Ese año, la Niña fue enviada a un campamento de verano al azar. Nana estaba enferma y necesitaba cuidar de su salud. O al menos esa fue la historia que le contaron. Era cierto que la pierna de Nana le dolía a menudo, y la Niña solía asegurarle que cuando ella fuese mayor encontraría soluciones para que su pierna no le doliera otra vez. Después del largo descanso, cuando la escuela comenzó de nuevo, Nana no regresó. La Niña no tenía ninguna duda de que lo haría con el tiempo: Nana fue siempre muy fiable y no había mencionado dejarla. Así, la idea ni siquiera le pasó por la cabeza a la Niña. Pero pasaron varios meses y Nana no volvía. A la Niña le dijeron finalmente que Nana no estaba bien y quería dejar de trabajar del todo. “Pero no soy sólo un trabajo”, pensó la Niña, sintiéndose tanto anonadada como preocupada por Nana. “¿Cómo va a mejorar si no puedo abrazarla ?”. Y como era casi Navidad, la siguiente noticia llegó bellamente empaquetada como un regalo muy deseable: la Niña iba a ir a una escuela “maravillosa”, un internado en las montañas de un país vecino y a mitad del año escolar. Ella podría volver a casa de visita en las vacaciones de Pascua y de verano. ” ¿Y qué pasa con Nana?!” exclamó la Niña. Descontenta, la Madre replicó “Nana quiere estar con sus verdaderos nietos, no con la hija de su jefe!”

broken-heart-saidaonlineNo son exactamente los más evidentes grandes dramas los que crean las huellas  más marcadas en nuestras vidas. A menudo, lo que nos guardamos muy profundo para poder hacer frente a la situación, hasta el punto de simplemente olvidar toda conexión emocional con el caso y que crea un cambio en nuestra comprensión del mundo, es un simple comentario: una observación en la que la mayoría de los adultos no se pararían a pensar dos veces. (Aunque si mirasen hacia atrás con total honestidad, tendrían que admitir que su observación, aparentemente inofensiva, estaba impregnada con el deseo de hacer daño en el fragor del momento, simplemente por enfado y despecho.) Los niños son dóciles y cariñosos y hacen todo lo posible para adaptarse a los deseos de su entorno, tal y como los perciben. A menudo interiorizan los fallos en lo que les rodea y naturalmente tratan de aliviar a los adultos de cualquier culpa, culpando a sí mismos. Su lealtad conduce a cuestionarse a sí mismos antes de cuestionar a su entorno, a pesar de ser generalmente conscientes de las incoherencias del entorno. Esto es porque aman de manera incondicional.

self-deceptionY así, la Niña trató de adaptarse a su nueva realidad. Había sido un trabajo para Nana y el trabajo había terminado: Nana no era una abuela, sino una ex empleada que tenía otras preocupaciones y una familia real donde centrarse. Estaba claro que la lealtad de la Niña era ir a sus padres y Nana tuvo que ser colocada en el lugar que le correspondía. La Niña obedeció. Pero en esta nueva realidad, nada tenía sentido y el mundo loco en que vivía se volvió rápidamente preocupante y fríamente cruel. La Niña se adaptó y, en consecuencia, se hizo más dura y se desconectó de su sensibilidad perceptiva, en la que ya no podía confiar. Posiblemente vio a Nana una vez o dos cuando era una adolescente, pero si ocurrió realmente no fue un acontecimiento importante, ni siquiera podría recordarlo con seguridad: tantas escuelas, tantos campamentos, tantas niñeras y tutores temporales pasaron…

1785452_4656275_lzPasaron también 22 años y un montón de vida en medio.

© Melissa PehelUn día, la  Niña, ya crecida y adulta, pasó en coche por el País Vasco en unas vacaciones. Mientras miraba las colinas, el exuberante paisaje verde, algo muy profundo en su interior se despertó con una certeza indiscutible. Sin dudarlo, detuvo el coche y corrió a una cabina telefónica, preguntándose si encontraría el nombre de Nana en la agenda. En lugar de eso encontró el nombre de una de sus hijas, o al menos eso esperaba. Ella hizo la llamada. 83ee51264fd842e1acde332875046c11

Contestó una mujer. La Niña procedió a explicar que ella estaba buscando a Nana, a lo que la voz al otro lado del teléfono, con marcado acento de esa región, preguntó a la defensiva quién estaba pidiendo. Ella le dio su nombre y dijo que Nana la había criado cuando era pequeña y que… fue interrumpida por la ahora emocionada voz al otro extremo: “¿Esto es una broma?” Ese día Nana había ido a casa de su hija y por casualidad había respondido al teléfono ella misma. Hicieron planes de inmediato para una reunión al día siguiente con la hija de Nana, Nana estaba demasiado emocionada como para terminar la conversación.

imgresIba a ser una reunión a la vasca, con un almuerzo familiar muy abundante que se extendería hasta la cena. Cuando la Niña crecida llegó, Nana la miró en estado de shock, tanto aturdida como eufórica. No cabía duda de que esta reunión significaba mucho para ella: sus ojos estaban al borde de las lágrimas, y no podía dejar de sonreír, su corazón latía con tanta fuerza que ella admitió no ser capaz de permanecer en pie. Nana tenía ahora 90 años pero no había perdido un ápice de la agudeza mental.

Screen Shot 2013-10-07 at 11.33.26 AMDurante todo el almuerzo, los miembros de la familia hicieron referencias burlonas a lo mucho que su vida había estado plagada de constantes menciones del nombre de la Niña, contando que no había pasado ni un solo día de fiesta sin que Nana hubiera suspirado con nostalgia por la pérdida de la Niña. “Niña, Niña, Niña, eso es todo lo que hemos oído “, se burlaban, repitiendo el nombre de la Niña con su acento. Era el turno de que la Niña se encontrase completamente desconcertada.

Sky-Huge-Towers-Skyscrapers-Skyscapes-1680x1050Nana explicó a la Niña cómo había suplicado a sus padres que le dejaran cuidarla durante la edad escolar, porque obviamente, ellos no tenían el tiempo ni las ganas de hacerlo. Nana le contó cómo había estado preocupada por ella durante todos esos años, sabiendo que su ambiente no era seguro. Le reveló tantas cosas… Mientras escuchaba, la Niña iba recordando cómo se había forzado a enterrar sus sentimientos por Nana y a negar que fuese alguien de importancia en su vida, hasta el punto de ” olvidarla ” durante muchos años.

images¿Y cómo iba la Niña a saber que había otra versión? No había habido ningún adiós, ni previo aviso de la separación, no hubo llamadas telefónicas, ni cartas…  al menos, no directamente. Resultó que la Madre había recibido noticias regularmente, pero no había considerado necesario compartirlas. La Niña sólo había vivido  rechazo en forma de ausencia, de silencio, y del comentario de la Madre, que sonaba como un eco de las burlas ocasionales de los nietos de Nana. Y así, la Niña había sacado las conclusiones que le sugirieron y que le ayudaron a hacer frente mejor a las circunstancias. Su verdad terminó enterrada durante muchos años.

self_deception_lumenSi hay una moraleja en la historia, podría ser que las cosas nunca son lo que parecen, y que, en última instancia, el corazón siempre sabe más. Sin embargo, no tenemos más remedio que experimentar la vida dentro de los limites del tiempo y del espacio y, a veces, éstos dicen “no”: “ahora no, todavía no”. Tenemos que encontrar un delicado equilibrio entre no dejar de lado la verdad en nuestro corazón, mientras aceptamos seguir el plan de la vida para integrar las lecciones que vinimos a aprender. De ahí la importancia de una práctica que permite esta conexión con nuestro interior, para permanecer consciente a pesar de los desafíos de la vida.

Developing IntuitionEsperemos que una vez que consigamos este equilibrio, todo se sincronice… O que la vida te otorgue un perdón compasivo: Nana vivió algunos años más y ella y la Niña pudieron reunirse varias veces y pasar largas horas juntas, pudiendo expresar todo lo que siempre se habían querido decir :-)

love-unconditionally“I have forgot much, Cynara! gone with the wind,
Flung roses, roses riotously with the throng,
Dancing, to put thy pale, lost lilies out of mind;
But I was desolate and sick of an old passion,
Yea, all the time, because the dance was long:
I have been faithful to thee, Cynara! in my fashion.”

Ernest Dowson, from Non Sum Qualis eram Bonae Sub Regno Cynarae (1894). Inspired Margaret Mitchell’s novel title Gone With The Wind, turned into the famous 1929 film.

Gone with the Wind… Brought back by Grace.

Imagine spending most of your life believing something you were made to believe against your own heart’s intuition. Something that circumstances and your environment kept proving so consistently you finally gave in and condemned your feelings to oblivion, only to find out decades later that the whispers of your heart were telling you the truth all along…

twin-flame-2Once upon a time there was a quiet little Girl. She would placidly observe the adults around her, caught as they were in a perpetual gilded whirlwind of social events and incessant personal dramas enacted like Greek tragedies in the public arena. Nannies of all kinds would ballet in and out of the Girl’s life, according to the latest whim, until the perfect one appeared. Perfect on all levels: Professional, experienced, loving, caring, ethical, dedicated and… too old to be an object of desire for the absentee Master of the house (who although already moonlighting as the Master of many a house, always found time for an additional quick thrill). At 62, the new Nanny was definitely off his radar. But she was a welcomed grand-mother/mother figure for the youngest of his dispersed offspring.

Mamie-consoleNanny instantly became the anchor of the Girl’s life. Hired as a live-in nanny 5 days a week, she became the parent, the grand-parent, the friend, the educator, the confidante, the reference, the unwavering guidance in an environment where inconsistency was otherwise the single constant. It was not only love at first contact, but mutual trust and devotion that bounded the two. The Girl’s Mother would sometimes stop in her swirly tracks to throw a miffed glance at the attachment forging between them, the expression on her face indicating she was feeling robbed of what was rightfully hers. But she would quickly get distracted back to whatever detail was overthrowing her life at that moment.

Nanny had a very large family. Widowed for many years, she had raised 6 children of her own who in turn had several children themselves, from about the Girl’s age to much older. Nanny would often take the Girl to visit her grand-children during weekends and holidays. Nanny and her family hailed from the Basque Country, a collection of regions made of autonomous communities spanning over Southern France and Northern Spain, over the Pyrenees Mountains boarding the Atlantic Coast.

85px-Euskal_Herriko_armarria.svgThe Basque people are notorious for their pride & their willful attachment to independence, only equaled by the love their have for their land & cultural heritage. Nanny’s family reunions had the earthy and boisterous warmth that is customary in these parts. The Girl would find herself in a very different world from what she was accustomed to: impeccable grades, grammar and wardrobe were of little use in this rustic environment, where you had to be out of your head and quick on your feet. Despite a few systematic light bruises and cuts, the Girl would enjoy these family gatherings and would fantasize about Nanny’s grandchildren being her real sisters and brothers. From time to time, there was a vague stigma about being “the bosses’ daughter” and some mockeries about what was considered a privileged and sheltered life. But Nanny would always intervene protectively. As kind as she was, few would dare to question her staunch authority. All in all, the Girl was always welcomed, housed, dined and played with without restrictions in Nanny’s family.

A little over 5 years passed, crucial formative years in a child’s development. Life was fairly happy, fairly safe and fairly stable. Nanny was omnipresent, and she was the true head of the Girl’s household, to both the annoyance and relief of Mother: Nanny was the only one who would dare to stand up to Master when he would show up into a rage. Neither the acidity of his remarks nor the threat of his fists would make her back down. There was little love lost between them. Definitely not the kind of thrills he had grown accustomed to from previous nannies 😉

une-mamie-qui-donne-la-pecheThen came the long annual break of French summer holidays. That year the Girl was sent to some summer camp. Nanny was ailing and she needed to take care of her health. Or so the story went. Her leg did make her suffer often and the Girl would reassure her that when she would be a grownup, she would find solutions for her leg never to hurt again. After the long break, when school started again, Nanny did not return. The Girl had no doubt she would eventually: Nanny was always very forward and she had not mentioned leaving her. Thus the idea never even came to the Girl’s mind. But a few months passed and Nanny was not coming back. The Girl was finally told Nanny was not well and wished to stop working altogether. “But I am not just work” thought the Girl, both crushed and concerned for Nanny. “How is she going to get better if I can’t cuddle her?” And since it was almost Christmas time, the next news came beautifully packaged as a highly desirable gift: the Girl was going to a wonderful boarding school up in the mountains of a neighboring country, in the middle of the school term. She would get to come visit on Easter and summer holidays. “And what about Nanny?!!” the Girl cried.  Disgruntled, Mother retorted “Nanny wants to be with her real grand-children, not with her boss’ child!”

broken-heart-saidaonlineIt’s not just the obvious great dramas that create the most marked turns in our lives. Often, what makes us store something so deep in order to cope, to the point that we simply forget any emotional connection with the event that created a shift in our prehension of the world, is a simple off-handed comment: a remark that most grown-ups would not think about twice. (Although if they were to look back in total honesty, they would have to admit their seemingly inoffensive remark was imbued with the desire to cause harm on the spur of the moment, simply out of annoyance or spite.) Children are docile and loving and do their best to adapt to the wishes of their environment, as they perceive them to be. They often internalize the failures around them and naturally attempt to relieve grown-ups of any fault by blaming themselves. Their loyalty lead them to question themselves before they will question their environment, despite being generally aware of the environment’s inconsistencies. It’s that they love unconditionally.

self-deceptionAnd thus the Girl attempted to adapt to her new reality. She had been a job for Nanny and the job was over: Nanny was not a grandma but a now former employee who had other preoccupations and a real family to focus on. It had been made clear the Girl’s loyalty was to go to her parents and Nanny had to be put back in her rightful place. She complied. But in this new reality nothing made sense and the world quickly went from bemusedly crazy to coldly cruel. The Girl adapted accordingly, grew up tougher and disconnected from many of her sensitive perceptions, since they could not be trusted. If she saw Nanny again once or twice as a teenager, it was no major event, she could not even recall for sure: so many schools, so many camps, so many seasonal nannies and guardians succeeded.

1785452_4656275_lz22+ years passed and a lot of life in between.

© Melissa Pehel www.retouralinnocence.comOne day the now grownup Girl happened to drive through the Basque country on a holiday. As she was looking at the hilly lush green scenery something from way deep inside awoke. It awoke with an undeniable certainty that eliminated any surviving doubt. Without hesitation she stopped the car and ran into a phone booth, wondering if she would find Nanny’s name in the phonebook. She found instead the name of one of her daughters, or so she hoped. She made the call.

A woman answered. She proceeded to explain that she was looking for Nanny, to which the regionally accented voice on the other side enquired defensively who was asking. She gave her name and said that Nanny had raised her when she was little and… she was interrupted by the now emotional voice on the other end: “Is this a prank?” Nanny happened to be at her daughter’s house that day and had answered the phone herself. Plans were immediately made for a reunion the next day by Nanny’s daughter, as Nanny was too emotional to finish the conversation. It was to be a reunion à la Basque, over a buoyant & gargantuan family lunch extending into dinner.

When grownup Girl arrived, Nanny looked in shock, both stunned and elated. There was no doubt this reunion meant a lot to her; her eyes were on the verge of tears even as she couldn’t stop smiling and her heart was pounding so that she admitted to not being able to stay standing up. Nanny was in her nineties by then but had not lost an ounce of sharpness of mind. Throughout the entire lunch, the family members made mocking references to how much their life had been plagued with Nanny’s constant mentions of the Girl’s name, that not one single holiday had ever passed without Nanny sighing longingly over the loss of the Girl. “Girl, Girl, Girl, that’s all we ever heard” they taunted, repeating the Girl’s name in their regional accent. It was the Girl’s turn to be stunned.

Nanny told the Girl how she had pleaded with her parents to let her raise her during school time, since they obviously did not have the time or the space to raise a child. She told her how she had been concerned for her over the years, knowing full well her environment was not a safe one. She told her many things… All the while, the Girl was remembering how she had shut down her feelings for Nanny and denied her as someone of significance in her life, to the point of “forgetting her” for many years.

imagesHow was the Girl to have known otherwise? There had been no good-bye, no warning of the separation, no phone calls, no letters… at least not direct ones. It transpired Mother had received regular news but had not deemed necessary to share them. To the Girl, there had only been rejection in the form of absence, silence and the Mother’s comment, given credence by the memory of the occasional mockeries of Nanny’s grandchildren. And so the Girl had drawn the conclusions that were suggested to her and that helped her best cope with the given circumstances. Her truth ended up locked away for many years.

self_deceptionIf there was a moral to the story, it might be that things are never just what they seem, and that ultimately our heart always knows best. Yet we have no choice but to experience this life within the constraints of Time and Space and sometimes these say “no!”: “not yet, not now, not here”. It’s a delicate balance we have to find between never letting go of the truth in our heart while accepting to follow life’s plan to learn the lessons we came to learn. Hence the importance of a practice that allows this connection with our innermost selves to remain conscious despite the challenges of life.

Developing IntuitionHopefully once we find the balance, everything synchronizes… Or life grants you a compassionate pardon: Nanny lived a few years longer and she and the Girl were able to meet several times, spend long hours together and tell each other all the things they had wanted to say :-)


“I have forgot much, Cynara! gone with the wind,
Flung roses, roses riotously with the throng,
Dancing, to put thy pale, lost lilies out of mind;
But I was desolate and sick of an old passion,
Yea, all the time, because the dance was long:
I have been faithful to thee, Cynara! in my fashion.”

Ernest Dowson, from Non Sum Qualis eram Bonae Sub Regno Cynarae (1894). Inspired Margaret Mitchell’s novel title Gone With The Wind, turned into the famous 1929 film.