“Uitwaaien”: The art of Letting Go

In our hectic and busy lives, with small screens devouring our faces, we start losing our grip on what’s important. We get lost in deadlines, meetings, to-do-lists and that pile of unfolded laundry starts haunting our dreams. Being close to nature can always put things into perspective.

Walking on the coast of Terschelling (one of the Dutch islands at the North Sea), I found myself experiencing the real process of letting go: ik ben even uitgewaaid. “Uitwaaien” is a common activity in Holland: you walk and allow the wind to take all your troubles away. I must admit it wasn’t easy. Even for late October, the winds on the islands are very strong. If you’re not used to this, it can be hard to enjoy a walk while the wind is wailing.

How do you let go? Well, the key is to let your thoughts sink deep in the sand. Focus on one small little breath, one small little step, one single moment. Before you know it you are one thought away from letting go. Not keeping grudges or thinking of what should have happened or what is about to happen. Breath in and let go.

Not griping on anything and just enjoying the long sandy coast of the island. It slowly starts feeling like a blessing, a ritual almost, that makes you realize you needed this. To be next to the sea, to hear the breeze, to step on the wet sand and get in touch with what is. Becoming gradually calmer, more serene, laid-back, one with the wind that accompanies you in every step.

Walking on the long sandy beach, it almost looks fake; a vast, flat field of golden sand that changes color depending on the sun’s mood. The light is vibrant grey as if reflecting the blue mood of the sea. The coast is clear, literally, but some sea debris has washed up on land. Do you hear our souls screaming? Their restless sound is fading away. It is just a whisper now.

The wind takes everything away, it sweeps our feelings away. Our soft footprints on the wet sand don’t make a sound. If you listen closely, you will feel the silence the strong wind brings; you will hear the nature calling out your name, taking over, helping you release whatever you are still holding on to. The strong wind clears our heads and the golden sunlight shows us the path we should take, one step at a time.

 

Photographs: Nikon F75 (28-100mm). Kodak Gold 200, 35mm film. Terschelling Island, Friesland, the Netherlands. October 2019.

The month of September

The wind blows strong outside the window. Its voice is strong, and it brings hundreds of uninvited rain-drops to the window of the house. They make small tickling sounds, like mice walking in the attic. It is late evening, on a dreary Monday. Who would have thought that the wind can bring so much change? The streets are wet, and every tree trunk planted on the pavement gaps starts smelling cold. It is September. For a while now. I call it the transition month. The slow summer nights have come to an end. Drinking cold beer on the porch, while enjoying the neighbor’s loud music has also stopped. Digging the ground with bare hands is gone. The flowers too are bowing their heads towards the earth, they are succumbing. Soon, their last buds will start falling too. Like the leaves from the trees. Slowly but consistently. September is the transition month. And the month when drinking hot steaming tea makes sense again. The scented candles are out of the cabinets, the heater is on duty again and the days are slowly becoming darker. There is a steady rhythm in the autumnal ritual. Everything seems to diminish in size, to go back to the simpler and the essential. The colors of Nature acquire a golden aura, as the sun sets in the evening sky. Tones of brown and orange are spreading everywhere. The rain clouds have left, and the smell of the wet ground invades the house through the open window. It is chill in the house. I stand up and close the window, with slow calculated moves. I draw the curtains and stop to look outside. So many things are changing, but so many stay the same. It is September.

Photo: Bourtange Fortress in Southeast Groningen. November 2017. The Netherlands. Minolta dynax 7000i, Kodak Gold, ISO 200, 35mm film.

Five fears & five victories

the art of letting go

When life is unfolding in front of you, it looks fake, unreal, something far away from you, something you don’t control. When words coming out of your mouth, you feel surreal, numb, out of your body. All of this is not happening, this is not your story, not your life, it feels like it’s somebody else’s, like you are drifting in a dream, like you’re in a play that was never written for you. Your lines are somebody else’s, your fears, though, are real and tangible, so tangible your heart goes numb and so real as those bones of yours. But, as time passes, you realize an unrecognizable need to let go, let go of everything you were holding on. Let go of your defenses and fully surrender to that divine feeling of ultimate calmness, of pure numbness. And yes, it does feel like those pages of your life’s book are being slowly erased, those pages are becoming blank again. And fresh ink is being given to you. To define and write your story one more time.


 

that moment when you sleep

That moment when you sleep, but you are not fully asleep, that moment is when somehow, old memories crystallize. It is the only moment when you can relive and revisit old memories. They come back to life, they are vibrant, there standing in front of your eyes. And you are unable to resist them, because they just keep coming.


 

awareness

To what this awareness owes its presence? Inner natural sensitivity to the world’s vibrations. An imprint of people’s feelings, their old souls’ thoughts. I have no answer. Either will I ever find one. My life and the facts that led to it are random. Random and yet rare.


 

confronting

It’s tough to confront your life. To look at it with no fear. To stare at it and feel calm. All our past is written in our veins. All our memories engraved on our cells. Avoiding it can’t be a solution. By confronting it we surrender to our present and eventually our glorious future. We pick up the scattered pieces and begin to rebuild our broken image (of the self). Because we have the power. The power of the past, our own unique past, which without our lives is meaningless.


 

self-consciousness

Can people really see through me like I am a transparent glass? Can they detect or even feel the great sorrow? That awful feeling of self-consciousness is beyond overwhelming. Walking down the street seems endless and painful. Everything needs some extra attention. The eyes of the people are fixed on the skin. Exposed, alone. Those eyes burn the skin, they leave an imprint, a scar. It feels like a torture no one can escape from. A mind game orchestrated by the self, the wicked self.

 

Photos: Paris, France. March 2014. Canon EOS 1000D, Canon lens 35-80mm, edited via Lightroom with VscoCam.

 

ΓΙΑ ΤΗΝ ΠΟΙΗΣΗ, ΤΙΣ ΛΕΞΕΙΣ, ΤΟΝ ΦΟΒΟ ΚΑΙ ΚΑΤΙ ΑΛΛΑ

Να γράψω, να γράψω. Για το τίποτα και για το τώρα. Για το μετά δε θα μιλήσω, το ζω τώρα δυνατά και δακρύβρεχτα. Σιωπή και ξερατό λέξεων παντού. Πού να μιλήσω στην Ποίηση, δεν έχει χρόνο για μένα. Με ξεχνά στα άδεια τετράδια και πολλές φορές με βρίζει. Με φτύνει στα μούτρα και εγώ προχωρώ, γυμνωμένη από λόγια μα γεμάτη συναισθήματα, πίσω στο παρελθόν. Τι θες από τη ζωή μου Ποίηση; Όταν μου δίνεις λόγια να γεύομαι, σε αποζητώ. Όταν μου φτύνεις λέξεις ξένες και κενές, ξεχνώ από πού ξεκίνησα.

Στο άπειρο και στην πατρίδα ξαναξεκινώ το ταξίδι μου. Με βρεμένο κεφάλι και πόνο στο στήθος βρίσκω την αληθινή μου φωνή. Της δίνω λόγο και ήθος, λίγη ντροπή από συνήθεια και ξεκινάμε μαζί κάτω από τα φεγγάρια που ξέχασα να σβήσω. Απαλύνω την αρρώστια του σώματος και τρεκλίζω στην αρρώστια του μυαλού. Το ‘καλά’ γίνεται ‘ίσως πόνος’ πιο γρήγορα απ’ όσο θα ήθελα.

Τρομάζω στην σκέψη που δεν μπορώ να αποφύγω και φοβάμαι. Φοβάμαι τις λέξεις εκείνες τις αληθινές, τις καινούργιες που φτιάχνονται από χώμα και ήλιο, εκείνες που λερώνουν τα τετράδια και γεμίζουν τον χώρο με φως. Φοβάμαι το βλέμμα εκείνο το πατρικό της άρνησης, της κοροϊδίας, του εξευτελισμού, της ντροπής.

Είναι δύσκολο να ζω με τον εαυτό μου, είναι δύσκολο να ακούω λόγια που δεν καταλαβαίνω τι σημαίνουν. Είναι δύσκολο να ορίζω την ζωή από απόσταση. Και όπως τρομάζω στην δυσκολία, έτσι τρομάζω και στις λέξεις, τις κενές, τις άδειες, τις κούφιες, που τα στόματα που τις ηχούν δεν ξέρουν τι σημαίνουν, δεν ξέρουν τι σημαίνουν, δεν ξέρουν τι σημαίνουν.

Και σκοτίζω τις γωνίες μου, τις εμμονικές μου λέξεις, συρρικνώνω τη μορφή μου και γίνομαι φως. Φως που απορροφά την αμφιβολία από τα πρόσωπά τους και αλητεύει τα βράδια. Φως που ξεχνά από πού ξεκίνησε. Φως που τρομάζει τις ψυχές τους, μα δημιουργεί κομμάτια του εαυτού μου. Δημιουργεί ακτίνες αγάπης και σπάει την ντροπή. Δημιουργεί θυμό και τον μεταμορφώνει.

Σκοτείνιασε και οι φωνές απ’ έξω μ’ ενοχλούν. Αγοράζω ησυχία, σαν γεμίσεις το στόμα σου με αιώνια σιωπή και σκασμό. Με τους γείτονες ποτέ δεν τα κατάφερα. Αμοιβαίος εκνευρισμός, αμοιβαίος συμβιβασμός. Σκασμός και πάμε παραπέρα.

(Photo: the Abstract Window, Minolta dynax 7000i, 35mm film, Leeuwarden, The Netherlands, 2015.)