Freedom of movement is slowly coming back to Italy and at least we can start to reconnect with the outdoors.
After spending so much more time indoors and online a simple reflection came to me: Is possible that in some places on this planet there is a total disconnection from green spaces, even a little park is not accessible and some kids grow up not even experiencing a mountain, a forest, a lake, or just fresh breeze. That is scary to me.
Recent studies prove that Nature can help our brains and bodies to stay healthy.
Oh Really? I mean, it is like to say that Air is good for your health…So the fact that Scientist started to study to prove something that our very body knows in its very DNA it’s curious to me. Even though I understand this research is done to support nature-related therapies that are considered “alternatives” I can’t help to contemplate this dynamic.
Aren’t we Nature? We are born from it. We were forged in the Wild. There it cannot be any separation. Mother Earth is our basic Source of Wellbeing just because the ingredients that we are made of are no different from what is out there.
Try to keep your mouth shut holding your nostrils closed for 1 minute, what is your body going to do? Your entire world disappear and you only worship one thing : Air.
And when i say Air i personally think straight away of Trees.
I’ve been an avid hiker my whole life. I was hooked on the experience and just being in nature clears my mind and helps me to feel more grounded and peaceful.
Being in nature has a profound impact on our brains and our behavior, helping us to reduce anxiety, brooding, and stress, and increase our attention capacity, creativity, and our ability to connect with other people.
Inspired by this i did some research and i found this amazing content i am sharing with you.
You can now listen to the sounds of the last three ecosystems untouched by humans.
AMAZON :JauPerì Rio Negro Region
AFRICA : The Dzanga-Sangha Dense Forest Reserve in Central African Republic
BORNEO : Ulu Temburong, Mulu, and Kinabalu region
The project was launched by the Italian non-profit organization Fragments of Extinction
The team traveled to the world’s largest remaining areas of primary la forest along the equator (where, given the equal length between days and nights, life cycles – and thus sonic behaviors – are evolutionarily tuned to extremely regular patterns) and recorded 24-hour sound portraits of various habitats within what are considered to be the oldest and most diverse ecosystems on Earth untouched by man.
And apart from the soothing and healing capacity of these sounds, their mission is to use Eco Sound-Art to wide-spread awareness of the public that can influence government’s decisions toward faster global conservation policies and the end destructive development.
For now get comfy, get your best headsets on and tune into this Bliss.
Follow the link below:
That’s all for now.
Remember to care for each other and support your Local Business and Artists : )
As our stay at home orders have restricted and refined our movements within the spaces we dwell, I wonder what areas of your home you have found yourself curating and dancing in most often?
Some of my friends have tackled home projects, I have seen photos of updated living spaces with fresh paint. Others have taken to their closets and garages, purging and donating items that no longer serve them. Many of my community members have been communing in their backyards, building garden space for food and flowers to flourish. My mentor currently spends her days outdoors, wielding a chainsaw clearing her property of dead brush, creating space for new growth to appear on her land.
What personal spaces have you been infusing with creative intentions?
My own personal practice has been dancing deeply in the swelling heart of my home, the kitchen. Engrossed in ritual of nourishing the body, I find immense satisfaction in being able to scrounge my pantry to create something spontaneous, impromptu and delicious.
I stand in my ability to navigate this space without recipes – just my intuition and creativity guiding the process. Majority of my friends know that when we gather to share a meal and they ask me for a recipe for a something that I served up, I shrug my shoulders and count off the ingredients I used, but never produce any helpful guidelines to recreate said dish! Since lockdown, the challenge to utilize my pantry and fridge items for extended periods of time has ignited my culinary creativity AND I began to take notes and catalog my cuisine so that I can actually share it in a more meaningful way with you all.
Last week I surprised myself with a vegan potato salad.
I am OVER mayonnaise. I know Pittsburgh… I am sorry. But this condiment has fallen off my list for a while now (with the exception of accompanying my frites from Point Brugge). I guess growing up with ‘cold salads’ smothered in creamy dressing at every family function finally took the toll on my palate. So, I have been reinventing some of the classic foods that I grew up with, attempting to infuse the dishes with more veggies and different flavors.
I hope you enjoy this simple ode to my families Eastern European potato salad, sans mayo.
Potato & Pesto Spring Salad
Serves 8-10 as a side dish
2 cups asparagus, cut into 1/2 inch pieces – blanched / steamed
1 15 oz can artichoke hearts in water (for east coasters) – sliced / West Coaters – do it up fresh like you know how – 2 cups sliced
1 cup olives (I used a mix of Kalmata, Chalkidikis and Castelvetrano)
1.5 lbs of potatoes – washed and cut into quarters and boiled until tender (here I used a mix of red, gold and baby potatoes …I literally used up whatever I had left in the house).
1/2 cup chopped parsley
3 tbs of extra-virgin olive oil
Pinch of SeaSalt & freshly ground Pepper
Prepare ingredients- asparagus, artichoke hearts, olives, potatoes – as listed and place in a large mixing bowl. Toss ingredients in 3 tbs of olive oil, sprinkle with salt & pepper, then dress in pesto -to your liking (I am a saucy girl, so I go heavy here) – just be sure to coat the ingredients! Finish the dish with fresh chopped parsley.
2 cups tightly packed fresh basil
1/2 cup walnuts or pine nuts – toasted
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 pinch sea salt and freshly ground pepper, plus more to taste
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast (optional add-in to create a more creamy texture)
Place the basil, toasted walnuts or pine nuts in a food processor. Pulse to combine, until the mixture is coarsely ground.
With the motor on, drizzle in the olive oil in a thin stream. Add the sea salt, pepper, lemon, and nutritional yeast, and pulse a few more times to combine. Taste and adjust the seasoning to taste. This will keep well in the fridge, in a tightly sealed container, for a few days; top the pesto with a layer of olive oil to decrease any browning.
I had it all planned for the entire year: jobs, events, dances, concerts, explorations and moving house. Everything changed on sunday march 8th here. The outbreak got me right when i was ready to move into my new hood and welcome a new exciting cycle of my Life.
Italy, Rome countryside. Day 45 of Lockdown: I’m still in the same house with my 2 friends (a couple) and their 10 months old baby.
Last wednesday the house was in full Staccato mode: laundry machines, mixers, hair dryers, dryer machine, water boiler, gardening, spring cleaning, baby crying, postman ringing, all sort of stuff all over the lounge floor that everytime i walked i looked like almost flying to avoid waking the sleeping dragon guarding the golden ring. Family cooking sessions are like a Cirque du Soleil extravaganza shows here, the only difference is they run in a 2 square meters kitchen space. A noise bombardment
And on top of all of this, my screen time increased enormously as i quickly adapted to connect with the World where Zoom meetings and phone communication suddenly took the place of all interpersonal contact and connections. I felt frustration in every cell as my body became electrically charged, totally overstimulated.
OK Emiliano. You are not stopping while you have given a precious opportunity to stop.
That night I needed to discharge, to shut everything off. I settled myself outside my tiny balcony, tucked into my sleeping bag to watch the night sky.
Ah…the longing for the night sky….My nervous system is still thanking me.
So i simply looked up and stared….and stared…..and questions started to proliferate.
I invite you to use these prompts during your next pause looking up.
What can you do in this situation to enhance yourself?
How can you still support your community?
How can you be within yourself despite what is happening all over the world?
How can you find expansion during contraction times?
We find ourselves on crucial intersection as Humans Beings. We simply know it.
The stars kept speaking and the questions started to broaden….
How do you want your Life to be from here on?
How do you wish to bring and share your gifts with the world outside?
Joyful or miserable? What’s your choice?
Despite Adversity how can you still have a fulfilling experience?
What is that really matters to you?
Did you ask yourself that maybe is this Adversity that offers you to break your cycles, your limitations?
To operate successfully in the outside world you need a lot of cooperating factors but internally? What is limiting you? Are you even limited?
And then…..still looking up at the stars in this crystal clear sky….
What do you know Emiliano? What are the possibilities?
Right now we are sitting on top of a spinning ball mashup made of Soil, Fire, Water and Air traveling through a pitch black Void where you can’t figure out where is up or down because you will be inevitably wrong….All kept together by a Mysterious Force. The 5th ingredient. Nobody knows. Nothing i know. And because of that: Possibilities? Endless. Wow. Isn’t just that a living miracle?
The earlier we come to terms that we can’t understand a damn thing in this Universe the better. And here lies the beauty.
Look up more often. It’s always available.
Question and Doubt can bring to Confusion yes, but nurture Possibilities.
Be confused. Keep asking questions that are vital to your existence. Seeking fuels our passions. Conclusions kill all possibilities. We are finished.
In seeking instead we become naturally humble.
Conclusion nurtures stagnation. Questions are Life.
As movement is. And can turn Adversity into Opportunity.
PS: As I gazed into the nighttime sky this is what i listened to.
Existing now within the confines and constant threat of COVID19, each of us having our own unique dance with our reactions and responses this new reality. We are collectively trekking through an emotional landscape of loss, fear, guilt, confusion and compassion. We are trying to find answers, truth, acceptance and peace. I am finding that my emotional states shift daily, if not hourly. So, I began to track my sporadic feelings, like a wolf, keeping on the scent of the experience so that I could fully experience and record my emotional topography. I decided to give my feelings the space required to to processes and eventually integrate. It has been a grounding daily practice.
From my emotional mapping, a short story appeared – a bit of art was born out of my process.
I am not a writer. Actually, I have avoided sharing my written words for years, as I felt I was unable to clearly express myself – no matter how much I tried. To my surprise, creativity is bubbling out of my journal pages and providing me with some new ways to share. To those adept writers out there, this post may seem elementary to you – but to anyone who is currently searching for ways to document and explore their experiences in a more creative way (especially during this unprecedented time)…this ones for us!
Some Days, Other Days and Everyday
A Month of Sheltering in Place
Somedays I am great company. I sauté greens, braise oyster mushrooms and toast pine nuts. I light a candle, whisper prayers to the earth and dine at my table alone in silence.
Yesterday I ate straight out of the fridge, container to mouth with the door wide open. Staring mindlessly into the shelves, in search of answers and easy nutrition. I forgot about dinner it was getting late, so, while standing in the the middle of my kitchen, I spoon fed myself peanut butter out of the jar.
Everyday I pause, and give my heart permission to crack open a tiny bit more so that I can allow bountiful love to flow in and out, the act of giving and receiving…even though my tender heart would rather be sheltering in place, locked up and hidden from you.
Today I danced twice, walked my dogs in the sunlight, recorded an epic dream I received and spent the evening with a cup of tea, wrapped in an afghan reading a juicy piece of fiction.
Tomorrow I will sit and stare at my phone for several hours, spaced out. Wondering where you are? How you are navigating all of this? Which one of you may be experiencing the deep sense of loss, grief and sadness with me in that exact moment? I will feel disconnected, despite the online movement class, the zoom team meeting, the texts, FaceTime and constant meme sharing.
Everyday I give thanks for being alive in this moment in time. To bear witness to these shifts, to experience the fragility of our humanness and feel the interconnectedness of this planet. I find new ways to express gratitude for this opportunity to listen, learn, grow and be of service.
The next day I will draw a bath at midnight, anoint it with magnesium, lavender and rose essence. Candles will be lit. Sinking into the warm water, my body will surrender and respond to the gentle care. Sleep will softly invite me into its fold, I will dream of attending a live concert, of hunting mushrooms in the forest and harvesting wild white rose blossoms.
The other day, I walked down the hill to the grocery store at the bottom of my street and bought a bottle of wine. That very night, I poured glass after glass, savoring every sip, allowing the crimson warmth to take over my body, until I couldn’t feel or think a thing. I decided to leave for a little while.
Last week we ordered 10,000 shoe covers, 200 thermometers, 2,000 face masks, 28K pounds of emergency food for our clients and 15 gallons of aloe to make and distribute our own hand sanitizer. I spent several organized hours preparing COVID19 documents for our sub contractors and employees with an attorney. I was focused, precise and effective.
Everyday I commune with death. Nightly, I hold vigil for the departed, the families that were unable to properly grieve in ritual and ceremony, the thousands that are gasping for breath, our community members risking their health and wellbeing to serve and save life. Altars, fires and prayers. I call in my ancestors and guides.
Somedays, nothingness becomes a routine.
I greet empty space with pleasure.
Other days, the void is menacing.
Fueled by grief, fear and loss.
Everyday, striving to be present with all that is moving within and around me, as complicated and as confusing as it may be. I struggle, but succeed, in creating space to honor the unusual, the beautiful, the devastating and welcoming whats on the other side of everything I thought I knew.
You want to give yourself room to explore and experience all that is moving. Whether it be a terrifying thought or a guilt trip for enjoying something beautiful, now is the time to embrace the mess and celebrate the complexity of your humanness. By taking the time now to acknowledge and record your feelings you are embarking on a journey of self-care, expression and integration.
Be sure to take notice of what you are doing and where you are when a strong feeling may surface. Be sure to record this part of the experience. I have found that some of my daily routines and activities have shown up as ritual. There is often a strong emotional connection to the task I am undertaking or the place that I am in (right now being extremely limited to walking the dogs in the park, the various rooms of my home and the market).
Are there any specific individuals, animals or objects that are strongly present in your mind at the time of an emotion? Acknowledge their presence and the feelings that come with honoring their visit.
It’s easy to forget to capture these in detail because we are so familiar with our own feelings, but try to name them and possibly develop a metaphor to describe what you are experiencing. Try to be as specific as possible.
Notice any sensations in your body. Places of excitement, tension, awe, and anxiety that the dream evokes. Allow those sensations to guide your writing process. You may want to spend a little extra time here.
Through these four cues I have found a new way of moving with my experiences, which in return emerged as creative musings, resulting in new ways to express myself while becoming more in tune with my emotional body – which feels pretty damn great.