Lose your mind and come to your senses
I don't know how to explain this. I didn't even google it. It's not like I believed it will do magic, or that I will suddenly become the person who recommends it.
Some talks with Cristina challenged me, in a staggering way. I was led into accepting another point of view, but the road to understanding was too complicated for me. And, to be honest, the result was suposed to be a bit too fairytale-like for my taste. Yes, I admire Cristina, and yes, her intelligence and view on life helped me grow, but this was out of reach, even for me (and my open-mindedness).
By the way, follow Cristina on Instagram - @cris.dima.yoga - and pay a little attention to her December stories.
Cristina is also from Romania, so when we first met, it was easy to talk to her. A common friend of ours was leaving Berlin, so she threw a good-bye party. We had to make small talk, ask each other about Berlin, and just be friendly - everyone can manage to do that at a party, right? After two hours of talking only to each other, we swiftly joined the main group. It was just us two before, in a corner, marveling at our connection. "You too? Yes, you too? Really? Yes. Wow. Haha, how funny." From the very start, I was so comfortable in her company, that I was surprised I didn't judge her when she took out from her purse her "special tea".
Look, I genuinely think everyone can live the way they consider best, and I don't believe I found the secret of youth or how to live forever, buuuut - and here comes a big but - Berlin being so open to anyone and having a huge degree of acceptance, everybody can be whoever they want to be, even if that means being an addict, who encourages other people to take drugs "to feel free". (?!?!) You can be a vegan in Berlin, because many restaurants offer a vegan option, yet I can't stand the people who talk about this endlessly. Do you know the smugness of a hipster couple who regularly preen themselves on acquiring healthy and ecologically responsible eating habits? I find it so pathetic that I stop listening every time someone tries to convince me to go vegan. If you want to bore me to death, make a list of the benefits of eating meat-free. I will slip into a coma and come back to life after you're done with your speech. But please make sure it won't be more than two hours, because although I like to sleep, I also like to eat (meat). Those couples are the ones who never do anything for the community, but because it's very trendy to be vegan (in Berlin especially), they explain to you their whole journey (even if that journey started this year and will probably last until next time they are drunk and eat a döner on Sonnenallee). Yes, Berlin also has this side.
It's not like I hate vegans, my God, don't get me wrong. I generally get grumpy when people tell me what to eat, even if they know nothing about me. I have never heard a vegetarian trying to convince a vegan to eat cheese, so why is it acceptable the other way around? Listen, I don't eat that much meat, anyhow. I have months when I go vegan - mainly for religious reasons, and:
-I don't do drugs
- I don't smoke
- I don't drink alcohol
- I don't drink coffee
- I don't eat fast food
- I don't eat chocolate
- I recycle
- I use public transport
- I vote
- I go to protests, because I stand for what I believe in
- I sometimes volunteer
- I try to make this world a better place in my own way, OK?
I am trying my best, and I know I'm not perfect. But don't come all judgmental and act like you're a better person just because you eat raw vegetables. You might be a better person than me, good for you. Be the change you want to see in the world, but, please, enough with the smug look, OK?
I once met a guy for dinner and soon after our first date, I fell in love with him. In the beginning, though, I had no idea he's a vegetarian. The more we spent time together, the more he tried to convince me to give up meat. We were once laying in bed, on a Saturday morning when he took out his phone and showed me this cute little picture. I mean, how adorable is this? Those little legs in those red boots, so cute. I took his phone out of his hand and zoomed in, and when he asked "Isn't this great?", I responded with "OMG. YESSSS! BACON. Yummm." He got a bit offended, but I made him laugh afterward and for a short amount of time he forgot about his duty of convincing me I have to stop eating meat. A few weeks later I was at his apartment and noticed he had a new picture glued to his refrigerator. Very smart, no? That's the place where you go to get food, and there was a cow who told me I should stop eating hamburgers. I tried to hide my laugh - but I'm not very good at hiding in general, all my friends from my childhood can confirm that I was among the first ones to be found at "hide and seek". I still don't know why I was such a loser, to be honest. I mean, there were so many cool hiding places in my neighborhood, but I was always following my best friend, knowing I have a chance at winning - only when I was with her. Anyhow, back to my guy and his refrigerator. He saw me smiling broadly and said in a strong voice "hamburgers are better when they are vegetarian, just so you know." And then I burst into laughter: "when did you see me eating hamburgers? I don't like them, really. Plus, I never ate meat in your presence, so you do you and I do me." We broke up a few months later, and now he is a vegan, so I guess I will no longer receive pictures with cute little animals.
This was a story in a story to explain why I was ready to roll my eyes when I first met Cristina. She took her bottle out of her purse and asked me if I want to try this tea-lemonade drink. I assumed she will talk about the benefits for the whole night, and I took a sip, being ready to tell her it's disgusting and move on to the next group. But, to my surprise, I liked the drink, and Cristina only added a piece of short information - where she bought those plants from. After half an hour she said that she wants to go to India and do some yoga and I was ready to get up and leave her in the corner.
Every hip-trendy person in Berlin talks about how yoga improved their life, although for many yoga means nothing more than those 10 minutes per week when they stretch after the remote and when they bend to tie their shoelaces.
Again, to my surprise, her ideas about yoga and India were different... Was this a beginning of a beautiful friendship? It was indeed. We exchanged phone numbers and there wasn't anything that we couldn't talk about. From days spent at the lake to midnight pizzas and "do you want me to hunt this guy down and punch him in his face?" offers, our friendship was filled with laughter and love. And it's hard to put this into words, but to feel so loved when you're in your 30s and to trust a person you've just met is incredibly comforting. And although we're not on the same page all the time, there was something we just couldn't agree on - and that is the big subject of how to deal with the past. I was going on and on about how therapy helps one fighting her demons, while she said that sometimes only speaking about things is not enough. "You could try this or that," Cristina said, but I was rolling my eyes every time. And she rolled her eyes to my eyes-rolling. It was like a vicious circle, one of us started rolling her eyes and the other continued and then the first person rolled her eyes again, and so on. It was frustrating to understand how can I love someone the way I love her and not to be able to meet her in the middle. Books were exchanged, Youtube videos, and I didn't want to give in. "Listen, I go to church, I believe in God, I go to therapy, I even have a blog where I write about anything. Why do I have to meet a shaman? Why do I have to try yoga? Why can't I just..." well, as it turns out, I can't because...I can't.
Cristina told me about this woman who does Reiki (energy healing) and she asked me nicely to try it once. Vicious circle day 1, vicious circle day 13. I caved at some point, just to please her. I didn't understand why this was so important for her, and I didn't want to pay a shaman to do a ceremony, so I thought I am taking the easy way out. A short session and zzzzbye!
I called this Reiki woman and we met on a Saturday afternoon. I told her straight that I don't really believe in this, so she shouldn't take it personally. I told her how I am trying this for Cristina's sake, and I'm trying to keep an open mind and open heart, but I don't expect much. The woman laughed and said "No problem. We will just give it a try." I don't want to get too much into the healing procedures because I can't properly explain how it works. I don't want to describe it so poorly that you will never try it out. But, in short, I keep my eyes closed when I lie on the bed, and there's music sometimes, and there are some sort of incantations, and there is talking at the beginning and the end of the session. It's a form of healing and a learning to deal with...well, things. After my first session, I called Cristina to tell her that "Heeey, I enjoyed it. Surprise!" to which Cristina replied with "I wouldn't call it a surprise, but sure, let's go your way. :)" She could have continued with, "I told you so. Why don't you listen to me? Why don't you trust I want your well being? I wish you would have tried it six months ago, etc." But she didn't. I guess her love is stronger than her need of being right.
After Cristina left for India, I felt like part of my heart went on the adventure with her. I followed her journey on Instagram and I wished I could have been there with her. When she came back, she was a changed person. Hard to explain how, but every time I met her there was a tranquility that calmed my anxiety. And I now want to go to India myself. (Ok, not now, because there is a pandemic, but someday in this life.)
On another Saturday, Cristina invited me to a cacao ceremony - and this time I didn't ask any questions. That evening I was happily explaining how I felt and how surprised I am. But she never said, "I told you so." She just grabbed my hand and took me to a pizza place.
I am a changed person because of her and, to be honest, I don't know how my life would have been if she hadn't had the patience to hug me tight in those scary days. It is scary to feel things you can't explain, and connect with some people on such a deep level that you know they see your soul, deep down in the wheel's past.
This weekend's Reiki session was so intense, that I can't even find words to explain anything. Really, I have no idea where all that information came from, nor do I understand why so many emotions come towards me, or why the tea tastes better every time I am in that room. This woman knows things about me, sure, but she's not a fortune teller. She guides me along the way, and I am so comfortable next to her that now I don't want to write her name, as if putting letters together will reduce her abilities to heal me - which I know is silly and not true, but for a while I need her to be a secret. I will, however, send you an email with her contact information if you are in Berlin and want to try it out. Or if you want to go a level further, understanding more.
It's been a difficult two years for me, with a lot of struggle, a lot of healing - which, hello! surprise! it's not a flower that blossoms - and the realization that I still have so much work to do. And at my last two sessions I told her to make it stop. I told her, that for a while, at least a tiny while, I don't want to feel anything anymore, and go back to being...well, just numb. She said she can't stop it: "If you see the wonder of the fairytale/ You can take the future, even if you fail..."
I will next learn how to "listen to the gentle whispers of my wisdom and suspend the analytical impulse of pure logic. It seems that I am a prodigy seedling, humbly reflecting the eternal Hope. Mighty oaks from little acorns grow," she said, and who am I to say it's not true?