As I’m sitting in the car on my way to Stockholm, trying to gather my thoughts after all the rambling questions from my mom this morning and all the sketches for new costumes in my head and the radio playing and my father talking about everything in the car and my O button on the computer that’s crooked, I think why do I even try to focus. I need to be alone, to rest, recharge.
Then I remember I haven’t slept properly, visiting the parents is always stressful, so I guess the question is why in the name of all that is holy I go to them after going to such a powerful retreat as a Tantra festival.
Or, well I can’t remember exactly but almost every time, at least this summer, after a powerful transformation I somehow ended up at their home, repacking my stuff because since I travel so much most of my artist warderobe is there, my trapeze, and also the shame of “you haven’t seen your parents in a while” creeps up on you, because you’re raised Russian and guilt is really a special thing in our culture.
Now I sort of had to go, because my dentist is where my address is.
But that’s not what I wanted to talk about!
I wanted to highlight all the crazy and beautiful moments, and share a bit, as I did with my dentist this morning.
If you want to see photos from the festival, I shared them on my FB page: Ronyah - Performing arts.
Link in several places on my website!
So, I will try keep it short, since I already wasted two paragraphs on describing my current situation.
It all started Friday, after I came back from training in the circus hall, creating the last of the contortion dance I was gonna perform at the Tantra Festival, finishing the choreography in one (1) hour!! BOOM!
So, met my new friend from a massage workshop and my vegan friend Lia, as well as the man I found in a group on facebook that was gonna give us a ride to Malmö, from where we planned to take the train or bus to Copenhagen.
Lots of deep diving and conversations on the way, our driver turned out to be a beautiful and very wise soul! We shared all sorts of deep issues and secrets, it was lovely.
When arriving in Malmö and eating some falafel, the driver offered us to stay at his place so the friend from massage workshop (let’s call him Ted) didn’t have to sleep in a tent somewhere random in Copenhagen. We happily agreed, slept at the drivers’ ENORMOUS apartment, and all had breakfast together at 6 in the morning. I thrive on moments like this!
He gave us a ride to the train, and off we went.
Arriving to the festival everyone got bands and settled down in the room provided for us, thank you so much Sahajananda for that! And for inviting me!
I performed a slow tribal bellydance at the opening ceremony, and then went off to the next workshop.
Beware now, weird stuff coming.
It’s hard to say what Tantra is really about, I have many
Thing is, I barley remember anything from the festival besides the highlights, which were very powerful!
I remember the conscious touch workshop, where me and Ted locked eyes and I started trembling all the way to the core, through his eyes, through mine, through my body all the way down to my feet I was shaking…
How it felt as if I had known him forever, and this was just how it’s supposed to be.
I remember two lectures with Advaita Stoian from Romania, a very experienced and wise man in both science and spirituality, I’ll make another blogpost about the notes I got at his lectures!
There’s clear memory and a looong video and photos of my Acrobatic Kama Sutra workshop, oh how much fun we all had!! I got such nice feedback and compliments from the participants, feels like I’m vibrating with joy and gratitude! So many people attended. Wow, just, wow… And I’m really proud of how well everyone did on the actual techniques, haha.
I remember the “Unlocking Extacy” workshop, and how at the end the facilitating woman wanted us to share, and most of us shook our heads, embarrassed, blushing, afraid to share… and so am I, so if you’re curious go do it yourselves! (Fully clothed, might I add)
The performance that was supposed to happen in the lunch break turned into a circle with a bunch of women I invited to dance some Baladi with me, and the one the next day was me being filmed with a steadycam and a small audience to cheer.
The closing ceremony was the highlight performance though, I had worked hard and gathered so much emotion into the show, can’t wait to show you the videos.
I am so incredibly honored and grateful to be invited to such a beautiful event, to teach and share my performances, the power of Shakti with everyone, thank you so much!!
I grow and bloom more and more every day, and all the things happening to me… it’s so hard to explain at this point, it has to settle in layers first before I can do it more clearly.
But I am in deep gratitude, and I feel at home!
Love and dance,
Don’t you think it’s so suitable that this post comes after the one about detox? Hahahah!
A lot of people I know as soon as I start talking about my love for cooking or ask them if they cook, it’s 99% the answer “I love to cook, but not for myself!” Continuing the conversation with elaborations like “it’s just not fun when nobody can enjoy it” or “I never take the time when it’s just me” or “I don’t have time”
I have… so much to say about this...!
Not sure if you notice what’s wrong with these answers, but we only have to look a layer or two deeper through the cake to see the issue.
The fact is, that whether we realize it or not, the basis/root cause for these answers is; I don’t prioritize myself enough to make the time, or I don’t love myself enough.
In the end, it’s all about self-love.
If you love yourself, you take the time to do the things you need for yourself consciously, and also the things you perhaps don’t think you need but trust me, you do.
Some of the best acts of self-love we can do is not taking ourselves on a shopping spree even though we already are searching back pockets for pennies, or any of that sort, but to make our daily life and the things we already have to do as an act of self-love.
You have to shower (hopefully), right? So do it consciously. Love every inch of your body, rub it smoothly with soap or scrub, experience the sensations, the water flowing down, feel your body relax, be in the moment… just enjoy it fully, I promise you the shower will probably not be longer for it, but definitely more enjoyable and makes a bigger difference in your overall being than just making you clean.
Same with food
You have to eat! So make it a celebration, perhaps not every time but make an effort! You, your body, mind, and spirit, DESERVE that you take the time to purchase, prepare and calmly eat good food that will nourish your body. (Or, if not calmly eat, then perhaps at least make it nutritious.)
The food is your medicine, your fuel, you literally become your thoughts and what you eat so make sure that what you put in your body is not only healthy but also makes you happy.
It’s fun to cook when there’s no pressure, and when is there less pressure then when you only cook for yourself, right? Perhaps you’re a perfectionist in other aspects of life, but in the kitchen when it’s just for you, it’s not that hard.
And also – how do you expect to cook well for others, to bring happiness and delicious food for them when you never practice by yourself?
Or, how do you bring happiness to others or do your passions well if what you eat does not make you happy or more alive?
It is not only for you, but for others. I’m saying this because somehow it’s easier for us to accept doing something for others rather then for yourselves. Isn’t it a bit sad? We have to spend all our time with ourselves, so should we not take care of ourselves as much as we can, to become the vibrant, joyful individuals we truly are?
Take care, be present, be mindful, and eat your greens. Take time to eat, plan well, eat dessert without a shameful cell in your body because you deserve all the love and good fuel there is!
You are worthy of love
Love and dance <3
So, many of you probably know the feelings of detoxing. Or, the feelings when you’re missing someone. Or when you’re hungry, everyone has been hungry right??
When you experience any of these feelings or those similar to it, it is essentially the feeling of loss. Something good or bad it does not matter, but it feels like something is missing, something is not enough, the feeling of need to have it to be happy or move on with our lives! It can both be a beautiful and terrifying feeling, both rejuvenating and depleting, and when that feeling goes deeper it’s even more intense…
I was gonna write a post about me visiting 4 countries in 2,5 weeks – Netherlands performing at Psy-Fi festival and challenging myself with the 3rd festival in a row, Belgium for a couple of days relaxing, hitchhiking to Paris for one crazy day, and then hitchhiking further on to London for even deeper spiritual development, in the presence of this intense city and people who have a deep impact on me. All of these experiences were beautiful, crazy, and so good for my personal development!
But this being the journey directly after Tantra Festival at Ängsbacka (one of the most intense experiences of my life!), and getting a horrible cold before working at Forest Star festival (right before heading directly to the airport to fly to Holland), just made it even more intense.
Believe this or not, my consciousness has been expanding more and more every day on this journey, these past 5 weeks, understanding life more and understanding the fact that we have absolutely no idea what we are doing! We just got to find our way and roll with it, do what does most good and most fun to us and those around.
My empathetic abilities and intuition increased, I have gained more knowledge of things, and just… wow it’s just too much to process. You’ve got to be here to experience it.
And now, I’m having spiritual detox symptoms.
I can’t just be talking about all the positive glittery stuff in life, right? Have to mention and be open about the rough patches too, and this is merely a small part of it.
I’m always good with detoxes (except rawfood diet, gave up on that after 3,5 days, it was awful… lol), especially the shorter more intense ones. I do get symptoms but I know that out of pain and suffering arises all the good stuff, and I always pull through. Yet this time, I have such a hard time!
As soon as I landed in Gothenburg from London, I felt irritation. I was angry at everything and everyone, so annoyed for the slightest misstep, it was so intense! I was shaking with fury, over seemingly nothing!
On and off I have been having sudden spurts of emotions, mood swings, crazy ideas, my memory is worse, stomach is weird and I’m still coughing. Still, the process of me getting rid of my fears, my old prejudices and views, my traumas, is still going…!
Of course I'm still doing my performances and job very well, but inside there's a chaos.
According to the more experienced spiritual practitioners, this is the body trying to get rid of everything that is wrong for it, everything that is ego and no longer serves me. But my oh my it is hard!
And the weirdest thing is, I have been craving meat.
I’ve been vegetarian with occasional seafood fish for about a year, and yet now suddenly without any shame in my body I had cravings for:
When one is detoxing or just really hungry, you just grab the first thing there is! Because you crave, because your body doesn’t like this feeling, you need to fix it, cover it up, numb it!
And that’s exactly what’s happening now, I have such a hard time stopping it.
My body is fighting a poison!
It’s like the old me is hating this change, like she is pushing against, fighting anything new or mind-expanding or better for me with stupid never-ending stream of stupid thoughts and occasionally shutting down my brain so I can get an extra piece of butterscotch without even noticing. The new me has to fight the old one, it wasn’t enough to go through all these changes, now I have to be back in my home base and keep fighting her?! Was all this time and digging with both hands in my wounds not enough??
If you who are reading this can relate to or understand what I’m going through and wish to support or help out, please leave a comment or mail or anything. It would be greatly appreciated!
Meanwhile I will eat some watermelon instead of reaching for that chocolate.
And I will rally, of course I will! It's already getting better after two weeks of this roller-coaster (and no I know you're thinking it but it's not hormones), and I just have to push through it as always.
I will stay true to myself, and do what I know in my heart is best for me and my self development.
Love and dance <3
This is a post I made on my FB page, and it got such good response I figured I’d copy it here, elaborate it a bit and then actually tell you how it actually ended. These honest stories from the heart are important, I really do feel like sharing and expressing, in hope to rekindle more people to challenge themselves in their daily lives.
So here it goes.
For the past few years I have been challenging myself, to develop as a person and to be as limitless as possible. I collected all my courage, and every time I was faced with an uncomfortable situation, thing, event or animal, I would go for it. Because fears and discomfort are what limits and pushes us down, to face those no matter how big or small really forces one to grow and learn!
And as soon we start doing that, we realise how many tiny stupid fears and "moments of overthinking" we have.
I have faced my fear of deep water, of jumping into deep water from high up, my fear of driving anything with an engine (in India, I might add, some of the craziest roads in the world!), fear of speaking to strangers about weird stuff, fear of speaking into a microphone in front of hundreds of people without any preparation, etc...
And on the other side, you see it's not so bad, because the fear is only coming up to the task itself, and people and you don't really judge you as much as you build it up to be in your head, haha!
Then it becomes easy. Beautiful, even.
It has made me learn and grow tremendously, everyone should do it!!
To add to this I have started to be much more open about private things that might be perceived as awkward, instead of walking around worrying I would say stuff like why I’m insecure at times, how uncomfortable a situation is, that I ate too much garlic, or “can we PLEASE talk about something with substance? I really don’t like small talk!”
It may seem harsh to some, but saying things as honestly and as “unfiltered” as possible is perhaps easy to misunderstand, but is great to make one realize that everyone are okay with whatever it is you find so uncomfortable. And if they aren’t, well, then they’re just not your kind of people.
(but please, don’t go saying all sorts of mean things to people, try and see the bright side of things!)
You do you!!!
Yet I have a few discomforts left (and perhaps discover new ones as I go deeper), and one of these is….
the fear of speaking French.
Sounds stupid, I know, thank you.
I took French in 4rd grade, private lessons, and learned quite quickly. Then I went to France with my dad a couple years later, and had forgotten nearly everything. He, and I'm not kidding, pushed me and pressured me FOR YEARS after of how disappointed he was that I, a 12-13 year old girl, could not be his guide in France in their native language. What!? Who does that??
Both my parents throughout 8-9th grade were asking me how French class was going, and in the end I felt so pressured I was petrified every time I attempted to talk.
So I understand most of French (they speak French and I speak English to them and it works), I can basically read in French, but I cannot respond because my grammar is awful and my fear of myself and everyone judging me is so great that I cannot connect the different words together...
My throat closes up, voice gets quiet, shy, and mind runs wild and crazy.
Every time I try I blame myself for failing, and that blame is overwhelming…
So here I am, for only ONE day in Paris, and It's time to face my ridiculous fear xD
Wish me luck.
So, how did this story continue?
After visiting the Louvre (photos at the bottom) I went off to explore more of the city. Challenged my French buying some vegetables and fruits, making it through the street stand without a single word of English. Trust me it was not easy…
Then I went to Moulin Rouge, just out of curiosity, and through answering in half English half broken French the guard explained to me about the shows, how to get the email address to apply for a job as a dancer, etc. He did it in French, I proudly understood it all and he complimented my pronunciation despite the grammatical errors. Hurray!
Further on I attempt to buy bread and more stuff in French, going up to Montmartre and exploring the neighborhood, the touristy areas and in search for more things to see.
The rest of my day is not really relevant to the story, so fast forward to next morning;
I’m standing at a crossroad, bag at my side, holding a sign to hitchhike further on my journey.
I had hitchhiked from Antwerpen in Belgium to Paris, so of course I was gonna continue the same adventurous way!
After a drunk man gave me a penny thinking my sign meant… I don’t even know, and standing dancing for a few more minutes trying not to pee myself, a car stopped with a handsome French man.
He could give me a ride to the Airport because he lived nearby, great! I could hitchhike on further to the big road further north-west from there!
Getting in the car, putting down my stuff, and I realize this man, despite claiming he spoke a little English, didn’t know anything. At all. Except perhaps yes and no.
Anxiety grabbing me by the ribs, I sat there trying to calm down, explaining that I did understand French but didn’t speak because of my bad grammar. He said something about the road, asked if I want a shower, and I sat there almost petrified just mumbling some weird answers and shaking my head.
He continued conversing after a (what seemed a looooong) awkward silence, saying he sometimes picked up hitchhikers, and that he just came from work. I had just settled in the increasingly warm seat, and asked him with the best pronunciation, where he worked. He did say a few words I could not comprehend, so I just made a weird question mark face and he had to try explain with simpler words. I felt better now, that he also perhaps felt handicapped communicating to me, even though he said he lives in France, works here and doesn’t really need English!
And so, the conversation sparked!
The more difficult words I could just tap into google translate and try tell him, puzzling together a cohesive sentence, without a doubt with quite bad grammar but I didn’t care anymore! I felt so alive, so full of enthusiasm, as the conversation got more personal, deeper and “in my realm” I could feel even more comfortable.
He was telling me about how he is 37, doesn’t really like his job but is divorced with 2 kids he only sees one day a week because he works so much. And yet, he has to provide for them despite having so little time. He has been working since he was 18, at construction sites and such, and in a few years he hopes to be in management. I was asking him why he wouldn’t change his life, that it’s not too late, that he really should try and at least find time for his kids or something else he loves doing! Otherwise he will just be mad at himself for wasting so many years.
He kept saying I could say so because I’m young and alone, and he is stuck, and I insisted nothing is yet hopeless. Perhaps he could change his life when the kids were 18?? No, he answered, by then I will be manager and with very good pay, why leave now?
So, when will you rest?
When I die, he responds.
The conversation got very deep, and I found myself understanding words I never even learned, intrigued by his view of life and feeling deeply sorry for him. He was unhappy, but comfortable in his unhappiness. The discomfort of leaving the job even part time seemed greater than the suffering it caused him now.
He asked me if I wanted to come for a coffee, that he had to sleep in an hour after working night but he would put me on the road afterwards, but I was in a hurry to get to London and asked him to drop me off.
I have him my card and a hug, waving goodbye. Went to the bathroom in the Charles Gaulle airport, and walked onwards towards the big road to find a place to stand and hitchhike.
After that I felt free to speak my French, free of the pressure me and my parents had put on me, free of the fear and discomfort, and I got to London later that night.
We so often get stuck in our old ways and patterns, we get comfortable doing the same route, we don’t even notice the potential that lies behind all the bullshit and trauma we carry around!!
Out of fear, out of discomfort, out of pain, one is born anew. Different.
And a more joyful you!
And speaking of fears and discomforts - how scary isn't hitchiking or picking up a hitchiker, for many nowadays?! Haha, even there it might be a challenge.
I have faced so many challenges on my travels this summer, but more on that later when I can gather my thoughts.
Right now I’m back in Stockholm teaching circus to kids and doing some gigs and modeling, trying to enjoy a bit of “calm life” before the next big thing.
Have a beautiful day,
Love and dance <3
P.S. If you’re reading this, man who gave me a ride (since I did give you my card), make sure you make the most of your life while you can.
I have some big big news!
But before I tell them I will write here for a while so you don't see them without clicking the link.
First I'd like to say that, the Ängsbacka Tantra Festival was insane.
I feel deeply honoured to have been invited to teach and perform, and I thought it would just be a crazy fun experience, but like the baloon-artist Dariush so nicely put in his ending-ceremony performance: "You come to have a nice vacation, and suddenly, all your shit comes up!"
Of course I didn't come to relax and stuff, but yet, I did not expect this.
I have been feeling extatic, worried, nervous, so filled with love out to the tips of my hair that it felt like I was gonna explode and didn't know what to do with myself! I purget, I chanelled my own and others feelings, I tried all sorts of energy work, I cried like crazy more than I remember, I laughed from the heart, I had beautiful connections with all sorts of people, I've danced naked, I have seen the depths of thruths of people, created space for strangers and new friends to express and find their thruth, met so many new opportunities and challanges, ate vegetables grown in the garden right there, and so many more things.... I am still trying to process everything, and stuff just keeps coming up, good and bad, like a wound I had scraped open and now it's bleeding pus and rainbows.
We were not allowed to use our mobile phones on the area, only in sleeping place or outside of premises, so I only have three sneaky photos down below.
If you want to see more pictures from the festival, have a look here:
And now, to the big news....
Lin, the organiser of this Tantra festival said she would love for me to be back next year!!
CAN'T WAIT, I AM ALREADY SO FULL OF ENERGY THIS IS AMAZING!
I met one of the teachers there, who really liked the concept of my Kama Sutra workshop and my work, and INVITED ME TO TEACH AT ISTA FESTIVAL, IN ISRAEL IN NOVEMBER!!
For someone just coming into this world of Tantra, this is an enormous honour, a privilige, a huge chance, and I just... I can't even express.
I am so grateful, for all chances given to me, for all hardships and love recieved and met, and now I have to go pack because I got a horrible cold after coming home from the festival so gotta take care of mysef....
Love and light, fully awake!
At the moment I’ve done the performance in Stockholm at RANGG Open Air Color festival, photos coming up soon!
It’s 09:20 now as I’m writing this, and I am incredibly excited because I’ve done 1 h of tantric yoga and had breakfast already, and still have energy THIS EARLY to do stuff, even though I went to sleep after midnight.
I have wanted to come here for three years, and finally I am here, invited, a guest, a teacher!! I AM SO HONOURED!
Ängsbacka Tantra festival has started out amazing. Three miles north of Molkom, a small city/village in county of Värmland in Sweden, is where my longer journey through 3 festival has started. There’s just something about this place… I already feel at home, though a newbie and not quite with it yet, I’ve decided to let go of all discomfort, of all worries and prejudices, and just be open to every new experience that comes my way.
This is day 2 for me, and this is my breakfast:
Even though it looks a bit gross, it's absolutley lovely!
For the whole week I don’t have to spend a dime, I get food (local produced and organic vegetarian/vegan meals), I got the top bunk in a 4 people dorm room with 3 other teachers, and all I will do is go to workshops, eat, relax, sleep, teach my workshops, dance and just enjoy the beautiful nature and energy that is vibrating on this festival.
Yesterday, perhaps… I think I had one of the strongest experiences of my life.
I arrived, got my room, got to know the first two lovely teachers that I live with (a couple from California), and went to dinner, still feeling a bit uncomfortable. It felt like every teacher knew each other from previous years, they were all much older and more experienced, and here I was – a newbie at this sort of festival, trying to find the comfort to actually talk to people and express myself. Difficult questions started arising, like; how long is a hug “supposed” to be, why are we hugging so long, is this real life or is this just fantasy… sorry, I’m getting ahead of myself.
So after that I took a walk around the venue and took some photos, you can see them down at the bottom of this post!
At 20:00 there was a teachers meeting for those who had already arrived, and of course I went there. The main organizer, Lin, had put out matrasses like an island in the middle of the big room, and all the teachers sat down in a circle. Lin greeted me with the warmest, happiest of hugs, and immediately I felt even more welcome!
I thought the meeting was gonna be like a normal “get to know each other and here’s some info papers” meeting, but Lin started it by saying that one person will start asking another person a question they’re curious about, and for that person also to say who they are and what they do at the festival. And then that person answering would pick the next person, and another question they were curious about.
Interestingly enough, everyone answered truthfully. I had never witnessed anything like it! Whatever question the person got they shared, and the questions varied from “what is your favorite form of movement?” to “tell us something you don’t want us to know!” or “what makes your juices flow?”
Very intimate, very bonding and beautiful, I came to embrace and enjoy this open communication. Jokes were made, people laughing from their heart, and it was all just… wow.
The least serious meeting I have ever been to, but the best one!
Sometime after halfway through all the people, all of us started loosening up, some laying down, some giving or receiving massage, and just enjoying each other! A couple women were shamelessly moaning in pleasure, and I could feel myself caring less and less, feeling more and more comfortable. All fully clothed, of course.
When the meeting was adjourned, one of the men who had been massaging called me over to sit in front of him. Of course I went! Who says no to a massage?!
It stared out as an incredibly painful deep tissue massage in my neck and shoulders, then further on to my back, he asked me to lay down on my back and massaged/stretched my feet and legs, and so the pressure he pushed with onto my soles was so great, and the pain so severe and deep, I had no choice but to breathe even deeper and let out some noise.
When he went on further to my thighs and stomach, I felt my arms getting tingly as if they were falling asleep. I tried to move my hands a bit, didn’t help. I might as well give into it…
Then he started to push into my solar plexus really REALLY hard and painfully, as I breathed deeply and held my breath (because I could not breathe literally, and because it was so painful) I focused on getting that pain out into my body, to turn it into pleasure. I breathed deeper, and felt a sort of weird unfamiliar pleasure go through my body…
Short thereafter, another man who also did massage came and stood over me, as he pushed his fingers inbetween my ribs on my back and dropped me down, repeatedly, the first man thrust his hands in my solar plexus and lower belly. The pain was unbearable, but at the same time the tinglies spread all over my body, to my face, head, arms, legs, back…
I just gave in to it completely. It was like a full body orgasm yet not in my private parts, just the rest of my body, all of my body equally!
I didn’t care if I moaned or screamed, didn’t care how I looked to other people or that two older men were digging their fingers into my muscles; I was in heaven. (Still, might I add, fully clothed and no intimate parts were touched)
For a good half our afterwards I could barley walk. It was absoutley amazing… my muscles had relaxed, and my mind was in a state of pure pleasure. And to top it all of I went to the sauna, altering sweating in a group of naked people and ice cold showers, and sitting on the lawn outside with a thermos-cup full of spicy chai.
I truly understand how this festival and this sort of experience can feel weird for many people, and it did for me at first too before I allowed myself to let go. I’m still learning to let go of control, and just learn new things and enjoy…
Soon I’ll get there, and I truly recommend everyone to go to one of these gatherings. I already know I’ll come back next year one way or another!
More updates coming up soon, during or probably after the festival, since I’ll dive head first into all of this now.
I got performances to do, workshops to teach, Open Stages to host!
And I am SO EXCITED!!
Love and light, fully awake!
This is me with my "we're sort of a couple but still not sure and got some stuff to work out" ex behind the camera, hitchiking up to Stockholm from Kalmar.
I'm sorry for not updating for a while, I've written like half the thing but then, you know, life just happens haha.
Soooooo, here’s my plan for the next… future! Not sure how this will or will not change, at least the months of October and after I’m not quite sure about, but here it is so far!
At the moment I’m in Karlstad to sort through some stuff, sign some papers and go to the dentist. Not the most exciting of times, but it’s nice with a break and just do small home stuff.
The next few months are very undesided yet. Seems like I will go to Israel in October, then I don’t know, then India at the other half of November, then again don’t know if I go back to Sweden or stay there or go to Nepal and then back to India…
But I know I’ll be in India from end of December (for sure) to end of March/beginning of April. Look for jobs, teach some workshops, create some awesome promotion material, shows, train, learn and heal my body.
Then I’m off… perhaps I’ll go study or work in Moscow. Who knows! Life is full of adventures, and adventures is just bad planning, right?
Perhaps I get some offers, it will all be for the best I think.
That’s it so far, now you got a brief view of what I’ll be doing. I prooooomise to update more photos etc. and keep posted of all the weird stuff that happens and the colorful events I’ll be at!
Love and light, fully awake!
Tuesday, June the 27th.
Disclaimer: this is my personal experience, I’m not telling anyone to do anything, it’s just my story.
By blood I am of Russian descent (as far as I know, my grandmother said her mom told her that her father (who died at her age of 3) was quite dark skinned and dark haired, as they were in the north or the Asian lands), both of my parents are Russian, so naturally I’m baptized and introduced into the Slavic Christian Orthodox church.
When I was a little girl I used to love going to churches – the smell of frankincense, the quiet, all the decorations, just how the room felt so important, royal and yet within reach to ask for anything and feel a warm fuzzy feeling inside. And the lightness that followed in my body when I walked out of there was wonderful! It was like a recharge!
Of course I only had this feeling when walking into an orthodox one – the catholic were only cool to watch the décor, without much of a stomach flutter (but still a little), and the protestant ones just looked like big fancy living-rooms to me. They still do.
I continued on being quite religious well into my teenage years, always feeling the same when visiting a church or imagining that my prayers were heard and that boy would like me back, or something.
But alongside of that I had also always been interested in the power of nature, witchcraft, Indian spirituality, Hinduism, fortune telling and other sinful practices, which I, Lord forgive me, carefully incorporated into my daily life.
After leaving the Dead Sea early in the morning and getting from the salt itchy weird thick awesome water into the freezing air conditioned bus, I tried to fall asleep.
The road was quite long, but after a while I gave up on sleeping and decided to enjoy the view – Jericho, who’s “walls came tumbling down”, one of the oldest city with walls in the world, over 8000 years!
When we passed the city, a while later there was a sign: “This is Palestinian territory, entering here might be dangerous for Israeli citizens”. Wow. Holy crap.
I looked carefully inside the village, and saw nothing. Not one person. Almost all houses had no windows, the parking lot was full of dusty cars, some of them on top of each other. No trash. No clothes.
No people. Scary…
We entered Jerusalem and got off the bus, immediately went to the market to find some food. After purchasing sabich (Israeli dish in pita bread) and relaxing for a bit, my friend Yonathan pointed the direction I was supposed to go on the tram to get to the old city, and ditched me.
Lovely, that one! It’s like throwing a child into the lake to teach it to swim, and darnit – it works! Hahaha I’ve been getting myself into uncomfortable situations for a couple of years now, and I feel it has really pushed my boundaries, taught me a lot about life and peoplehelped me conquer my fears & insecurities, it feels like I can do anything now!
So after moving by myself to Stockholm at age 16, I don’t remember if I was still religious or not, but at 17 I had for sure let it go. I was into Wicca, rituals, all sorts of nature stuff and since I had basically grown up in the woods I felt a strong connection to this sort of worship. Like I can control my life much more, and all the other nature related stuff that I got into such as divination and herbal remedies, really pushed me forward.
Still I believed this was just another shape of religion, and was connected in some way to my old ways.
While learning to live more and more on my own, travelling countries and seeing that the way I was brought up is not the only option, I lost more and more touch with the church. And Wicca.
Now I’m not sure what I would say I believe in… the power of the Universe, I guess.
ISRAEL FACT – Jerusalem is “home-base” for three major world religions; Christianity, Judaism and Islam. This just shows that we are all One, doesn’t it?
After changing to full leg pants, sleeves and wrapping myself (including the head) in a big scarf, I bravely entered the Old City of Jerusalem. First on some market street, then I decided to get lost.
No matter where I went on the market, I got comments on my looks, no matter how much I covered up. It was both entertaining and a bit annoying.
This is what it looked like, getting lost in the Old City:
I somehow ended up at the Western Wall (or HaKotel in Hebrew). The wall is a remainder of a big BIG Jewish temple that was built around year 19 BC. It is the most holy place Jews are permitted to pray.
According to Jewish tradition, one should write the most sacred wish on a small piece of paper, and put it in a crack in the wall (or some other place on a sacred object).
I went down to the wall, the female side (the wall is separated into left male side and right female side), and looked at the praying women.
Somehow, something that before had been so natural, now baffled me. They are praying to the ruins of a temple, built not my some sacred person but by Herod the Great, Roman kind of Judea.
It is, just a limestone wall, simply. What makes it sacred is only the ideas behind it, and the history. Without the history, who knows if anything special would have occurred? Belief is a powerful thing, powerful enough to give great meaning to a limestone wall.
People whispered, kissed the wall, cried......
But, not my religion, not my place to tell.
Eventually I ended up on Via della Rossa, the road that apparently Jesus walked upon when dragging his cross to be crucified.
Now this is what I want to see! I really wanted to see something Jesus-related while being in Israel!
But walking on this cozy street was just like any other shop road in the Old City. Full of stores, trinkets, souvenirs, and no special feeling about it at all… why would they do this?!
At the end of that road was a HUGE church, an orthodox church built around the place where Jesus died for our sins on the cross. It was first built a small building, and then the church happened sometime after year 800. Inside was the stone plate he laid upon, the hill that was below his cross, and the “mausoleum” they put him in before the stone was rolled out of the way and Christ was find missing.
For one, it confused me that The Lords resting place was so close to his execution spot, perhaps it was not in real life, they just moved the resting place there?
But also… what if these stones were fake? What if somebody mixed them up so many hundred years ago, and this was not the real thing? How can they know, how can they tell?! Again, faith is a powerful thing.
I touched the stone plate the body of Christ rested upon. Nothing. Perhaps a small shiver, but not more than so.
I walked around the entire church, which was beautiful by the way! I explored every corner, and while it was impressive, I didn’t get that feel I used to…
When I was about to leave I heard a Russian tour group that just walked inside – I hurried with them and stood in line to see the inside of a small “house” inside the church. Inside was supposedly a piece of the stone that served as the door for Jesus final resting place, and all the way inside was a marble table, underneath which the real resting place was, safely kept away.
No photos inside.
I went in there.
I knelt in front of the marble table, put my hands together, and my forehead on the cold stone.
I just felt uncomfortable, and a bit sad over the fact that this didn’t make me feel anything. How could it be, was this not one of the most historically and religiously powerful places on earth!?
I was confused to how people could walk out of there weeping, and I was indifferent.
What happened!? Am I the devil now?? How could this be?
Was it my skepticism to whether the stones were real or not, or had I perhaps lost something important and sacred along the way? I mean… it’s just stone… it feels odd to worship something that is so unsure.
Does life have no meaning now?
Will my grandmother understand me?
But perhaps, remembering the peaceful high feeling I had the day before when we were in the Nature reserve, sitting in the creek, among the trees in the desert oasis, letting the water wash away my worries and fears…
I had been baptized, perhaps.
I have let go of the old… consciously by accident.
Nature is now my church.
Fully awake, love and light <3
Sunday the 25th.
Photos of the dead sea - lower down.
Gotta start off this post by saying – this photo is from nearby the Dead Sea, a nature reserve in a desert canyon.
The professional camera didn’t work, so Yonathan did this with my phone.. WOW!
Ever since I heard about that you can float in the Dead Sea without any effort, I’ve been wanting to go there, because I’ve never been able to float. I heard it was super relaxing, full of minerals and the desert full of stars, which is exactly what I needed.
So in my very short “list” of things I wanted to do in Israel, of course I wanted to visit the Dead Sea!
That Sunday me and my friend Yonathan went on a bus to Jerusalem, and switched to a bus to a place called ... I cannot for the love of anything remember....
We went a long way, around Palestinian area of Jericho and some date plantations, passing by the mountain of Ararat, and further on south into the desert. We arrived quite late, a couple hours before sundown, and after the 3 hours in busses with (to me) ice cold air conditioning, the 40 degrees Celsius were MORTIFYING!
There was no way to get out of the heat, undressing would not help, it felt like a strangling sauna. I think I should count this as being in Africa, haha!
ISRAEL FACT – The Dead Sea is the lowest (natural that a human can walk on without ladders) point on earth.
Yonathan suggested we don’t bring a tent, and why should we? There’s not much to hide from there, so when we went to look for a place to sleep, a green patch under some palm trees besides a spa-hotel seemed nice.
After waking up a buttload of times because there was insects, we slept in a slope and it was just too damn hot, sometime around 3 am the sprinklers went off.
In panic we dragged all the stuff further uphill, and tried to go back to sleep while half the stuff was still wet.
A bit more than an hour later, they went off again. Everywhere.
So we had to pack up everything quickly, and moved to the beach.
Around 04:30, the sunrise came…
One could see Jordan on the other side.
I gotta say – waking up at 7 am and immediately walking into the water, was absolutely amazing. I was surprisingly awake, and there was not many people around. The water… well it felt like a warm puddle. An enormous, warm puddle. It felt thick, like magnesium oil, and a bit creepy to think this enormous puddle didn’t have ANY life in it.
I felt a bit tingly all over my body, and all the teeny-tiny wounds hurt like hell.
And laying down, floating between earth and sky…. Absolutely magical, and so relaxing…
Everyone should try it sometime. Wow.
Then we went to eat, and into a canyon in a nature reserve. Yonathan had told me about the beauty of it, and it was already after 9 am so we needed to hide from the sun before it burned us to ashes.
We went in there, and WOW it was beautiful..
After a while of walking we decided to do a photoshoot on the cliff, and asked the forest ranger, Brian, for this area for permission to climb. He wanted to supervise so he came with us, but the camera didn’t work for some reason, so the ranger asked if we wanted to come into the closed part of the nature reserve.
OF COURSE WE DO!
We climbed up and over a cliff, and as we turned a corner to walk right through the creek running in the middle of the canyon, Brian turned to us and said “Welcome to my office!” with an ecstatic gleam in his eye!
And oh… it was beautiful….
Cannot even describe the beauty of it, and how calm and serene I was when we walked out of there.
All we had time for after hiding for hours in a small pool in the creek was to catch the bus, and go on further up north where we found ourselves a spot for the night.
Again, without a tent, but luckily without many insects, and without sprinklers!
Next morning I floated one last time in the Dead sea, and picked some salt with me, haha!!
As much as I enjoyed it, we eventually went back to the road, and went on the bus to Jerusalem, where I would spend the next day.
More on that in the next post…
Love and light!
It’s not surprising that I don’t get much writing or overall online presence done when I’m on “vacation”, believe me I tried!
But the times I was wiped out from this countries intensity, or that time I burned myself in the sun and had to lay inside for a few hours, I still could not manage to write anything. Perhaps it was my friends’ constant reminder of “don’t do anything, relax, be lazy!”, or my body just finally understood that some mindless tahini-eating and staring from the hammock is good for it sometimes.
At the moment I am in Russia, in Tver, visiting my relatives. Because not much is happening here, (and also the weather is shit) I’ll take this time to eat my grandmother’s pancakes and update on my travels in Israel Instead!
As I’m writing this I already realize how much easier it is to get into the flow of writing, without the temptation of fire-spinning meetings, sunbathing on the beach, or ice coffee at Shay’s place.
I wanted so badly to update every other day, because each day was just packed with LIFE!!
But now I’ll just mention the highlights, otherwise the writing won’t be as interesting. Also, I’ll skip the small stuff in-between the fun stuff.
To start things off, I’d like to say – I have more friends in Tel-Aviv now after two weeks, then after 5 years in Stockholm.
Of course in Sweden’s capital I know a few hundred people, great amazing ones that I can hang out with and do cool stuff! But here stuff happens much quicker, easier, people say yes to life, visit and help each other much more, and I feel a closer relationship with these loud, late, honest people than with most of my colleagues and friends in Scandinavia.
So why did I go to Israel in the first place?!
You know how you travel, meet new people and always say “oh yeah I’ll totally come visit!”
Well I figured what the hell, and decided to actually come visit Yonathan Russak; check out his page, he is a frikkin’ amazing photographer, one of the best I had the honor to work with!
Click the button above!
And why not – most of the Israelis I’ve met were loud, creative, unified (even for new people in the group) and just great people!
So as soon as I come to Tel-Aviv, good stuff starts happening all around!
First day I got there, I shared a cab with a German guy, whom I and Yonathan ended up meeting later that day for a drink. One can just bring their own beers to a restaurant in Tel-Aviv, nobody gives a flying frick!
We walked around town, had dinner, met some awesome Americans and had random conversations, and went on to visit the other two Israelis I had wanted to meet. There I met one of the guys girlfriends, Ebony from Australia who was crazy happy to discover I didn’t speak Hebrew – finally she had someone to talk to! She’d been there for a month and they do have a tendency to speak Hebrew most of the time.
We met up to go to the market the next day, to buy some fresh fruits and veggies (Yonathans fridge was almost completely empty…)
After many compliments to both of us from the salesmen (very rare in Sweden, haha), and one old man who didn’t speak English just stuffed our bags with eggplant and cabbage saying “no money, no money” and shoving us away, we arrived at the end of our hungry shopping spree, I just needed garlic.
The man selling them was shouting quite loud and couldn’t hear my request (everyone told me to “be Israeli” and just tell people what I want, cut in line, etc), so I shouted at him.
An older lady beside me looked at me with plate-sized eyes, and outburst “don’t scream! You are beautiful, he is wild! You’re not supposed to scream!”
… thank you for the life advice, hahahah.
ISRAEL FACT – Tel-Aviv is considered “the gay capital of the world” – there were almost as many pride flags hung up on walls, balconies and poles as there were Israeli flags. And there were A LOT!
After that we went home to eat, got really drunk and took her bike to the beach – me driving it, and her sitting on the saddle trying to contain all her excitement. Girl, I love you!
We spent the best day at the beach, went home to eat tahini and veggies, totally wiped out.
The next day we went to explore the old city of Jaffa, eat hummus, and then the beach again.
Leaving the beach, I was walking by a patch of grass and saw a large group of people doing acro yoga.
After talking a little with one of the guys there I spontaneously joined them; so many strong men and women, they were really good technically!
I got to try new stuff and learned a few new tricks.
See – stuff just happens here!
Next day relaxing a bit at home, walking around town in the afternoon, a man stopped me in the street. He saw my indian shawl and started talking to me about India – how he was from there, what he experienced, what I thought about it… etc. Then he walked me to a restaurant, bought me food and water, and sent me on my way. WHAT?!
An our later I meet a guy on the beach and exchange a henna tattoo for a massage; he was so happy he asked me to marry him. I hope it was a joke… or not. J
Another hour later I met Yonathan, Ebony and some other people to do some fire spinning (without fire, just the props, it’s called “flow arts”, then we went to Shay’s place to chill at his rooftop.
Wait, this is getting way too personal… I don’t think anyone that doesn’t know me would find this interesting.
So from now on - crazy photos and short descriptions in this post!
Wednsday the 21st I performed at Bascula Circus cabaret, with many other amazing artists! I did my mystical contortion act.
Thursday the 22nd – party in Herzeliya, waterpark rave with the university there, and seeing my friend Rebecca again who moved away to do army service a few years ago, then started studies and hasn’t left Israel since!
Friday 23rd – going to the beach 40 min north of Tel-Aviv, for a flow-arts (fire arts) meeting with a bunch of awesome people from different corners of Israel! They are so talented and amazing, and the spot was beautiful!
The sun burned me a bit though, so other half of Saturday was spent in bed
Saturday 24th – resting from sunburn, then busking in the streets with some awesome fire dance! It took only a couple hours to gather some people, I LOVE how fast one can make stuff happen here!
Sunday was quite a slow day, but after lunch sometime me and Yonathan finally left to the Dead Sea.
More on that in the next post!
Of course the days were much more than these short descriptions and random stuff, I just cannot describe enough how happy I am to have been here, met all these people, and how grateful I am to the beauty of this world!
Love and light <3
.... and, you know,
all the other things that would interest you if you're a fan, if you like my writing, or if you are a pontential employer/client for whom it is important to know if I am a republican or if I eat bacon every day.Fortunately for you, I am/do neither. Bacon is not healthy.