Friday, November 28, 2008

What Brings Us Together

Time to renew connections:

1. Who are you?
2. Are we friends?
3. When and how did we meet?
4. Do you or have you ever had a crush on me?
5. Give me a nickname and explain why you picked it.
6. Describe me in one word.
7. What was your first impression?
8. Do you still think that way about me now?
9. What reminds you of me?
10. If you could give me anything what would it be?
11. How well do you know me?
12. When's the last time you saw me?
13. Ever wanted to tell me something but couldn't?
14. Are you going to post this on your blog and see what I say about you?
15. Add a memory.

Reply to these as a comment.

Friday, November 21, 2008

The latest hot topic in Blog-o-sphere

Disclaimer: I by no means intend to convert anybody to my lifestyle or point of view. I've never wanted to, and pray that I never will. I hope you read this in a spirit of Respect, too.

I've not always been a vegetarian. I grew up in a society where the basic meal is refined rice and a huge beef steak. Most of the lowest half of South America lives on meat, especially cows and oxen, and when you grow up in a place like Southeastern Brazil you hardly ever question your eating habits. That's what your mom, dad, grandparents, friends, teachers and priests eat everyday, twice a day, and they're fine, so that's what you're going to do.

My metabolism is very accelerated compared to the majority of people, I guess. So I ate lots of meat, because in the mindset I have inherited (and the only one I had to work with back then), if you're still hungry, you're eating too little. It wasn't until my senior year at school that a phonoaudiologyst noticed I had too little flexibility for somebody my age, and that my back and the back of my legs were "compromised". Then, at university I started on Yoga. I still think Yoga is probably the best and definetely the only physical activity I can engage with enthusiasm, and my next New Year's Resolution is to start doing it three times a week again. In a brand new social environment, full of ideas, experiences and adventures, I discovered for the first time ever that many, many people in this planet (even in Rio!) lived pretty well without eating corpses.

I don't remember being shocked, but it was definetely too much for my head back then, so I just started reading a lot on the subject of Nutrition--especially Alternative Nutrition. I think from what I garnered back then, I don't think anything over two percent of the world's population actually needs to eat warm-blood meat (birds and mammals). It'd probably take somebody from blood group O, with high intolerance to lactosis and chlorophyll, and several other digestive disfunctions and health issues, then probably some very specific emotional setting. Some of the people who came to the sessions, like my second Yoga instructor, had been vegetarians (if not vegans) for over ten years. Maybe twenty, I can't really remember. And they all looked so fucking better than all the adults of my previous life. So I asked them loads of questions, and got them to teach me many recipes and techniques. I came home, taught them to my mother, who also didn't really like meat anyway, and we began eating so much better in the family. On New Year's Eve 2000 I made the resolution to not eat beef again for the new year. McDonald's burgers were okay, because they didn't taste like that strong South American beef we had, and because rumour in Brazil were that they were made with worms, not mammals. But very fews months later, I think on March '01, I decided to ditch even McDonald's meat, and since then I have really eaten meat of my own volition.

I still drink milk (half a litre everyday, I think), plus eat LOADS of dairy. I could never cut milk from my diet, and never really wanted to. I had given up eggs too when I moved to my own flat, but still ate eggs when I visitted my parents or other relatives.

But then marriage came. I know you're supposed to make sacrifices, and the Gods and my blog readers know I have made many. Even my husband knows, but he just won't admit it. I haven't adopted carnivorism/omnivorism as a way of life, but I did try Jamón Serrano, Spain's national pride, had strong pork broth soup (Cocido Madrileño) twice, beef consommé for the most miserable New Year's Eve of my life so far, and ate iberian Xmas delicacies made with pork fat (polvorones). Yeah, people still eat pork fat in a world like this. That's right, and then Dunkin' Donuts and Americans are the devil who feeds the rest of the world with animal mortal remainings. Go figure. I also eat eggs three times a week now. But I'm fine with that.

Most of my live friends and peers these days are carnivores, and it's been teaching me some interesting things. We vegetarians are famous for considering ourselves above the general scope of humanity, but then I have never ever even read a blog entry of a vegetarian trying to convert people to Vegetarianism. At least, not the way carnivores have tried to "seduce" me waving a piece of burnt flesh or a bird's limb in front of my face. Or to convince me I'm gonna be sick, weak, mentally retarded, emotionally handicapped and spiritually destitute if I don't eat like them. Carnivores are ALL over-rational and extremely discussion-"friendly". And that probably means more than I am able to grasp.

I do believe there is a reason why we became carnivores at some point in Pre-History, and it was really important, and really useful back then. Honestly, I even wonder if my carnivore ancestors have made me a better vegetarian; and chances are, they did. But in a world today, with all the fresh water issues, all the need to protect the Rainforest and the indigenous flora of several places, and all the crazy ways we have been breeding "Life" to suit our economic interests, I don't really see myself contributing too much to a clever [r]evolution of my species or the Gods I worship by feeding atrocious collective behaviours. I said, "behaviours". Please note that I used it in the plural.

Maybe, actually probably, it's merely my part to be played in this. I definetely trust that meat-eaters have a reason to eat meat, and if they shouldn't be eating meat their bodies would react in some way, like mine did before I reached legal adulthood, but food is currently, probably the only aspect of life I'm 100% peaceful about. It certainly has got to do with living in a food-affirmative culture like central Spain, but it also happens as a consequence of aligning all my parts and Selves and bringing them in agreement around a single issue, and relaxing on the certainty of my place in the Universe and how I join it in complete Harmony as I eat. I'm a Pagan. That's too important for me.

Image: steamed vegetables. The first lesson I learnt in veggie cuisine. Then I'd cook a sauce and mix into them.

Sunday, November 16, 2008


Yesterday was a beautiful day. It was actually pretty much like any good day of my Golden Days back in Sampa. I'm feeling happy, worthy and very energised.

I had arranged to meet my new friend from Couchsurfing Emma, who's beginning her world trip here in Madrid. I took her to my favourite place in town, Templo de Debod, and showed her the most beautiful Autumn sunset a person can possibly see in Madrid. When we sat by the fountain and started talking about buried treasures in Madrid and her native Ireland, a joyful "Awen!" cut the stream of conversation. I replied "Dani!", and there was him, my other new friend from Couchsurfing, who I had arranged with later on to bring him to my gay men's yoga and meditation group. The way we met was so sweet. We had never seen each other, but we knew who we were. He had an Australian friend surfing his couch for the weekend with him, another Emma. So, after crossed introductions, the four of us headed to the yoga lesson, and had a great time. The Emmas left after the yoga. The Irish one had another Couchsurfing appointment, and the Australian Emma had a hard time with meditation. Dani stayed to the end of the meditation, loved it, and then participated in our Active Listening circle we have afterwards. I love the Active Listening circle, but last night was special for me. I joined the circle in a spirit of protest against the homophobic propositions in the USA, most especially the H8 in California. I shared in the circle my hurt feelings, my frustration, the unfairness I saw in putting a fundamental right at risk, against an oppressive homophobic, ignorant and fanatic majority, how they have taken from us a right we ALL had in CA. Not just gays, but everybody who wanted the right to define their own family. I told them how I felt insecure. How my family, my husband and me, feel insecured in a world governed by fear and hate. Afterwards, in the dressing room, everybody came to tell me they felt like that, too, and that it was important that I said that. Spain, such a fervorous catholic country and one of the five countries in the world that has gay marriage, is not really free from the threat of fundies like Rouco Varella, who never misses an opportunity to go on TV and say how endangered "traditional family" is, and how many enemies this "important institution" has. They gather thousands of people for a protest downtown Madrid against gay marriage. We gays can't gather enough ppl to agree that everybody who wants to marry should marry. I really hope my right to marry is never put to vote here in Spain.

Then, Dani and Emma, who was sitting at the lobby, left for another Couchsurfing event they had planned, and I went with the guys for our usual dinner. At the restaurant we always go to after the meeting, there was for the first time ever no place for everybody, so the group was split. Some left for another vegan-friendly diner, but I was in the group who stayed. When I was serving my dish in the buffet, a Sevillan "Awen!" coloured the air.

"What are you doing in Madrid?", I asked.
"We are all in Madrid tonight! Check the back of the restaurant."

The Spanish Pagan community had arranged to gather all in that diner, that exact night. I had my meal with the yoga boys and later I went to share a nice conversation about ESP experiences, language barriers and Reiki with Javi (Sevilla) and Diego (Salamanca). When the diner was about to close and we were being kicked out, the Madrilean pagans all hugged me, told me they missed me, thought they had scared me, and made me feel really dear. I have a community.

Then, the yoga boys came to give my jacket and my bag back to me and to say goodbye. We pagans were already leaving, so we had our merry-part, and I came home on the last metro that night.

I arrived, turned the lights on, called my husband (who's away having quite an adventure in Morocco now), and went to bed feeling happy.

On our way to the yoga lesson, Dani and I talked a lot in Portuguese. He had lived in Brazil, and now lives in China. A globe-trotter. I told him how I was a storyteller, and he was really interested. This morning, my Morning Pages were not focused on my frustrations with music for once in a long time, but rather, filled with quite an excitement for wiping the dust of my repertoire and trying some old tale upon willing ears.

Would I be out of the fridge yet?

Image: Rainbow Warrior, by Nadia Sultan.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Tripod

I've been surfing masterfully my current wave. Since ditching my vocal coach (or was it she who ditched me?), I've been doing my vocalizzi everyday and studying new repertoire. And improving still. I've already come to a point in my training where I don't really need somebody to tell me when I am harming my instrument, so I just turn time to my favour and keep evolving in my currently favourite art form.

With the German language, I'm still on a brill headway. Really, I can't believe I've managed to absorb so much from such a difficult language (richly conjugated verbs, compound nouns, declensions in four cases, THREE genders!!) without ever having taken an actual lesson or studied with a teacher. I'll keep up the pace, so when I'm back from Brazil next year and on the job-hunt again, I'll have "German (basic)" on my resume to boot.

Working with my new Book of Stars, I have realised the tripod that gave me all my resilience and very appraised healthy drive, throughout my life so far. I've named each of the secrets: Daily Practice, Creative Work and Divination. To me, involvement with these three virtues has helped me move forward, find ways out (or ways in) and consolidate achievements that often are taken away from you with time.

My current Daily Practice includes Morning Pages and other emotional cleansing tools, Triple Soul work, Music/Singing, German language and, of course, grounding-centering. The dearest divination tool I have is still the Osho Zen Tarot (especially with the Flying Bird spread), but I also use the Faeries' Oracle, Jamie Sams' "Sacred Path Cards" and Scrying every now and then, because sometimes I don't care about being more Zen. Creativewise, well, it feels oh-so-good not to rely on external scrutiny for once in my life!

Even though the Daily Practice has given me more strength than anything, Creative Work, I suspect, has been so much more rewarding, existentially. When I was still working as a storyteller, I reformed and reshaped my Self several times by empowering my "narrator", experiencing a blissful expansion and sharpening of my senses. As a singer, I'm deepening my trance skills, and Self-reliance is a byproduct of all the wonders that mastering Song can bring to one's life. I do understand that Divination's greatest reward is probably this sense of self-reliance, but the reliance I'm talking about when I refer to my experience with Song is actually reliance on the capital-"S" Self. You know, less ego and struggle that creates the illusion of tone-deafness, more surrender and discovery. Many people go through life without ever coming close to this. I'm privileged.

These are my three tools I use to manipulate Time. Realising where you are, knowing where you want to go and surfing every wave to get you there with wits and flexibility, life is what it's meant to be: a beautiful and meaningful something that fills a stretch of Time. Which is another definition for music, you know.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


I'm currently praying for Resiliency. I've moved the world to find my path and shape, and I've let go of too much to heed the calling of my highest soul, and now I'm dreading losing everything (plus Time, but that's a common theme during this crazy phase I'm going through) and being stuck somewhere between naïve rebellion against moral standards and failure in finding the Holy Grail.

Today, I was finally going to work with my vocal coach again after one month away. Early in October, it was one of her advanced students who needed the lesson more than me, then the next week she was sick, then her mother was sick, on the following opportunity her mother died, then I had to respect my coach's right to grieve. Bye-bye, October. But tonight I had finally managed to book her to fix my musical instrument again. Then, I arrived in her studio and one of her advanced students was there, having a session with her during the time I had booked.

Shock prevented me from switching on to Bitch mode. Apologies, excuses and all the usual lines were pronounced, but I came home feeling devastated. I realise and admit that I overrate my training too much sometimes, yes, but I did give myself the right to feel (perhaps a bit over-)glad, and definetely expectant, that today I was finally going to work on my tessitura above middle G. Error.

My vocal coach is a mess. She's used to having no more than three or four classes a week, and currently she probably has twice that figure, and she apparently relies on students calling her the day before (or two or half an hour before) the lesson to confirm, book, unbook, rebook. Or just to shoot the breeze, because she answers her ever-ringing mobile during the classes.

I had decided I'd be a bit resistant with that policy on purpose. Dog people like her develop weird habits with different people. I knew if I called her two hours before every fucking lesson to confirm, I'd be a slave to that for my whole training. So I managed to go through a year and a half with her without playing that role quite well (despite constant disappointments). But this week, after a month without coaching, she relied on a call. I didn't call her, and when I arrived there I saw another tenor in my place.

Another mea-culpa in order here is that since yesterday my phone has had its battery uncharged. It was off for over 24 hours. I know I'm a mess with the mobile, too, but the same thing has happened before while I had my mobile on and available. She didn't call, I didn't call, and when I arrived there at the exact time I had booked her, I was suddenly invading somebody else's hour.

I don't know what to do with this situation. All I know this can't go on like this much longer, and I'm considering giving a couple of days to mull over this. Perhaps it's just drama I am creating where there isn't none. Perhaps she's abusive and disconsiderate. Especially in the light of the talk we had in September, when for the second time she clearly stated that she doesn't trust my talents and my skills. What's the use of investing in training with a teacher who doesn't have faith in her student?

I had a plan, and frankly it looked brilliant: next month I'm off to Brazil to visit family and friends, and in January I'm back in Madrid. Then, I'd call another teacher, a sufi musician whose lecture I watched last month and came home haunted by groundbreaking and very resonating ideas about voice, music and artistic expression. He teaches solfege, piano, voice, composition, many things, and apparently vibrates in the same frequency as Dr. Overtone. Upon returning to Spain, I'd take a couple of lessons with him, and then decide which way I'd be going. But I'd take lessons with my current coach until it was time to fly to Brazil and take a much needed break from Music and all the anxiety I very disgracefully have been associating with it.

Another alternative is a German vocal coach living in Madrid who is a retired concert soloist. I got her number in my first month in Madrid, never called but never threw the tiny piece of paper out, either.

I still don't know, but contrary to the current old-age paranoia, I have time to cool down, trust my intuition beyond mind-games and hurt-feelings, and listen to where the way leads to by the sound of the flowing waters beneath my feet.

Wait a minute.

This reminds me that no matter how hard the Ice Age castigates the land, deep in the Earth's core there will always be warmth. And Grace.

I'll dream it tonight, and MP it in the morning. Again, all shall be well.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Brand New Book

Too long have I stood in the Crossroads. Too many paths trodden in my mind, and not enough mileage behind my feet. At least, not enough for me on the vista of my 29th birthday. Direct experience is the only redemption, and that can only take place by embracing joy and choosing free from guilt.

It's time for a new beginning. Time to take responsibilities, to ask clearly for what I want, to voice my concerns without expecting the fixed answers of the litany so far.

On Thursday I was in Biocultura, an organic farming fair here in Madrid. I bought there a new cotton-paper notebook to use as my new magical journal. I've been meaning to do that for a long time now.

This is the first page of UnLitany, my new blog and part of my magical journal. Don't expect much, just groove along and discover the music the moment it is being sung.

Beautiful image is one among many from