I Am Not Writing Today

I didn’t write today. Not a word on the paper, not a tap for the keyboard. I woke up early as I always do, I reached for the phone and that was the kiss of death. The sexual drive of the early morning took over my mind and I scrolled through a few inappropriate pages on tumblr. I thought of a cute guy who poked me on Facebook and went on to check out his page. On Facebook the notifications overwhelmed me, so I took care of those first, so I forgot to look at that page. 

I moved on to Instagram: Jordan had a birthday party and didn’t invite me. Bianca got married and her dress was horrible. The other agency got the model that I thought I was getting. The picture of a vegan quiche makes my mouth water, I take a screenshot of the recipe but I know I’m never going to cook it. 

I remember I have to do groceries so I send myself an email as a reminder. I quickly look through my inbox and see there’s an update for snapchat so I do that. I am now officially sucked into the universe of newly released filters. My neck hurts, my back hurts; shouldn’t I feel refreshed after a full night of sleep? I stare at the phone screen for solid five minutes without moving a finger, in what can only be described as a near-catatonic state. An hour has passed and I haven’t even gotten to Twitter yet. My life is so sad right now. 

I finally get up, feed my (very) patient cat, prepare my super strange green shake and start getting organized for the day ahead. The time that was allocated for writing and meditation is gone. Maybe I’ll do 10 minutes of writing on my lunch break. I’ll meditate tomorrow (next month).

The morning goes by and suddenly it’s 2pm. There was no time for a lunch break, I’m moody, starving and pissed off at myself for not taking care of the things that truly matter to me. The phone rings again and I’m sucked back into the mess that my life has become. I lose my temper, I scream at people I should not be screaming at and I get lost in my self-pity all over again.

The day is done and I still have a full schedule ahead, so I cancel the coffee, the dinner and the drinks; I decide that my evening will be better spent writing and catching up on my finances. I visualize myself as the top executive in that movie from the 70’s, walking out the door carrying his briefcase, shouting at his secretary:

“clear my schedule for the rest of the day!”


I’m gone before she can utter another word. She is left with my mess to take care of. That  thought makes me smile. 

On my way home I run a list of all the things I still need to do. I stop by CVS, Pet Central, the laundromat, the deli, and the grocery store. I spent way more money than I should’ve and I haven’t even been to the Vitamin Shop yet. 

At home I unpack, organize, feed the cat, play with the cat, look through the mail, remember that I forgot to pay the credit card bill, notice I need to take out the trash, and so I do it because it stinks. Another hour has gone by and I haven’t written a word. My brain is fried and I have to catch up on Game of Thrones, so I decide I’m too tired to produce anything relevant. I make up my mind: I’m not writing today.

Juxtapositions and the City

The other day i was very much in the mood for a romantic comedy, one of those very silly ones, that require very little use of the brain, so i reached for my “binder” in which i keep my movie collection and picked “Two Weeks Notice”, with Sandra Bullock – who i love – and Hugh Grant – who i don’t love but like very much, particularly in this movie. As the movie goes by, one specific scene took me back to a thought i had stuck in my head once while traveling through the countryside of Australia, and one which was never really a stranger to me, for whenever i am flying or even more so when the airplane is approaching its destination, i catch myself lost staring out the window, but never had i realized why, until these two moments came along; first in Australia, and then watching “Two Weeks Notice”.

That specific scene in the movie, in which Sandra and Hugh are in a helicopter approaching Manhattan, was what specifically awoke me to that thought that always kept ringing in the back of my head; and that is of an uncontrollable admiration for the image that is created by the view of the city from the distance and these multiple angles created by an airplane as it is descending towards the ground, the beautiful juxtaposition created by different colors, shades, scenery and aspects.

I believe what caught my attention in that scene and made me think of it was the fact that this movie was the first movie entirely shot in New York after “September 11”, I remember very vividly that Mayor Giuliani had a special ceremony to thank the entire crew, studio and producers for bringing life and entertainment back into the city. So this scene, in this movie, was particularly important, because it showed for the first time in the big screen, New York city’s new sky line, without the World Trade Center twin towers, and it showed that skyline so beautifully and naturally that it made the city look just as alive as it was when those towers were there, standing tall and strong. It is a very quick and simple scene, but it is an important one, it was especially back then, and it showed that life goes on and there can still be beauty in the world.

Now, here is where i really wanted to get to: The juxtaposition. Juxtaposition is a great word on its own, but its meaning is even better, because it offers you the opportunity to look at things in a different light. I remember while driving through the Blue Mountains outside Sydney, of how many different shapes and colors that place had, how beautiful it was to see the shades of green going from the deep valleys to the high peeks of the mountains turning into a blue-ish green in the far layers of hills in the back to then mesh against the brightest and most majestic blue sky i have ever seen in my life, going for miles without having hardly any clouds. It was one of the most beautiful and inspiring things i have ever seen in my life, it was like the mountains sang to me. I also remember though, that when i was arriving back in New York i felt a crazy rush of emotions as i saw the overlapping of the skyscrapers against the river, given a certain angle, and then against the baby blue sky filled with beautifully spread and shiny white clouds, clouds that fit that scenery in perfection.

If you observe really carefully, the city offers so many different types of juxtaposition that you could go crazy. I can observe the layers of buildings, concrete, glass and metal for hours and never get tired; its different shapes and colors, the way the materials reflect one another, how some of the colors go really well together or even how they fail miserably by being side by side. A few years ago, in one of my first trips to New York i went to see a friend’s apartment, at the time she lived in a great place at Park Avenue and in one of the balcony’s i was floored by what i saw: building after building, behind building and on top of building, not an inch of anything else, no sky, no room for a view, the view was just that, the juxtaposition of the city, you could only see the sky if you looked up, and even then, it would be in a very limited space. That sight, that many people could consider horrendous, i considered beautiful, an invitation to the imagination, and so i took pictures. They weren’t the most beautiful buildings, but they went very well together.

There is a Brazilian photographer, Bob Wolfenson, who has taken a series of photographs of just that, the city overlapping itself, the juxtaposition of São Paulo, a city at least twice as big and as populated as New York, and one that offers the same kind of feeling. Bob’s work was brilliantly shown in an exhibit that pushed the at times confusing images to their maximum potency and made your eyes blink and focus in confusion and despair, trying to figure out which was what and how could that make any sense. To me, that kind of sensibility and ability to look at something that could be so ugly and turn it into a piece of art that is so overwhelming that makes you change your outlook to life and start admiring every little piece of your day, is a very special gift. Bob did not reinvent the wheel, he simply showed to the viewer another perspective, his perspective on the madness of the city, He showed us that we may be lonely, but we are never alone, most importantly, He showed us that we may be caged in a concrete jungle but we also can be free from it if we allow ourselves to think freely.

In a not so claustrophobic way, there is also the overlapping of the clouds, which when you are in luck and paying enough attention, can also be something quite beautiful. I many times catch myself staring outside the airplane window for hours, because a vastitude of the clouds can be quite an impressive thing too. Clouds go so high and so deep that they almost seem like discolored mountains, grand and pompous, almost like the Blue Mountains of Australia, but with a more heavenly feel. The clouds at times you can see going endlessly for miles, and it looks almost as if you could hop out of the airplane and walk on them.

From above or below juxtaposition is a word that i have welcomed into my life, as it opened my eyes to a much greater world to live in, one where the beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder.

The Wonders of Love

There is a difficulty that i believe is inside most of us, it’s not the usual obstacle, it lives inside us and we don’t even know about it. It only comes out in those moments when you really should not have it, and you really have to fight it in order to achieve a certain place. This place is a feeling, this place also generates many other feelings, in you, a friend, a relative, or even that someone you’ve been secretely admiring for quite some time. To say “i love you”, or “i love this”, is one of the hardest things to do.

By finding love inside myself over and over again i was able to let go of the restraints of embarrassement or fear of saying the words. I found that loving myself was the most invaluable feeling i could have ever achieved, and from that i found that i had to – A – admit it, and – B – learn to share it. It’s not like i made a mission of walking around grabbing people, shaking them down and telling them to love as much as they could and love themselves above all – that would be crazy… Or would it?- but it was simply by paying it forward.

There has been so much pain and rejection in my life, there were times when it was impossible for me to understand why should people be put through so much hurt. Everyone has their share, some people learn from them, some don’t, a few others keep bouncing back, others harden themselves and build a wall to make it all more distant, but i lived through all the pain, quietly inside myself and by myself. Please stop right here. This is not meant to make you feel sad or bad for me, so keep on reading. I lived through the pain, i had no one to share it with, i didn’t believe in therapy, i didn’t feel i had anyone i could share it with to a level where i would be heard and understood, so i looked inside myself, i searched for the elements that were already in me, because someone once told me that we hold the answers to all our questions inside ourselves, and that simple phrase stayed with me, and eventually i understood what that meant.

It started off by not feeling sorry for myself, and also by rationalizing all the pain, i could not care less for the tears, which by the way hadn’t turned up around my face for many, many years, all i wanted was to make all the problems go away, one by one, and there was no way around it, i had to face the music, and that would be whatever was playing, i really did not care. As each problem came tumbling down, i grew stronger and my heart eventually could not fit inside me anymore. That was when i found love, and as tacky as it may sound, it was love that saved my life. By loving i started feeling again, the tears finally started to roll down, even when i was watching silly tv commercials i would cry, i mean, i cry for everything, and it’s because i am touched, or happy, or sad, or angry, it doesn’t matter, but for me it was the best thng that ever happened, because it showed me that i was alive again. To live through pain, death and illness and not shed a tear is the weirdest feeling i ever felt, and it happened repeatedly, for many years, that’s why i say that crying woke me up.

When The Beatles sang “all you need is love”, they knew what they were talking about, it is the most absolute truth and it’s what keeps me going. Not only did love solve my problems and finished with my pain, but it also made me a much happier and open person, it made me see that the possibilities are infinite, it made me see that there is absolutely nothing wrong with trial and error, nothing complicated about taking chances and speaking up, that giving a hand to a stranger could lead to endless possibilities and that everyone needs a little love, so why not share it? I mean, i sure have plenty to share.

I found that loving is an exercise, you have to remind yourself constantly of the love you have for yourself, you have to constantly throw it around at others so that they know they feel it too. Life is hard and sometimes it toughens us a bit too much, to the point we forget we are human beings and we feel everything; that’s how we were built and meant to be, otherwise we would be just like every other animal.

I have come to learn that no matter how bad things are or how hard it is to understand the world around you, you have to always keep on loving as much and as hard as you can, because there is too much negativity all around and even at the worst moment, there will be something to be loved, there is this belief inside of me that everything, anyone, all things that exist deserve love, of course there are flaws in all and any, but why should you hold on to the flaws when all else can be far more interesting and entertaining anyway?

Think about it, love is not just something for silly romance movies, love is serious stuff, and if you open your heart and sould to it you will see how good it feels to love so much and how good it makes the people around you feel too, there is no way around it, it is contagious at its best, and i love it!

The turn of the Swan

What can i say about the ballet? Well, I love it. It my sound tacky, old or boring to most people, i know, because that’s how i used to feel about it too, but that was because i did not know ballet. I had never in all my years experienced what ballet really is, never had i gone to see a show from a real ballet company and experience the nunaces of the dances and the music and how they interact so beautifully to create images and how all these images lead to an exciting story.

It was the New York City Ballet that showed me what the art of the ballet is all about. This company showed me that ballet is not all about tutus and classical music, it showed me that there can be twists to it, that the music, whatever it may be can always have an interpretation and tell its story through the precise steps and gentle moves of the dancers.

The first show i ever watched was The Nutcracker; it had been a lifelong dream of mine to watch this particular show at christmas eve in New York city, and so, on my first holiday season alone in New York, thats what i did, i bought myself a good seat for the 8pm show and immersed myself in that art, i decided that if i was oing to do it, sit through three hours of ballet, i was going into it with an open mind and heart, and try to learn as much as possible aboutit and try to feel the same excitement that the people who are presenting it to the audience do.

The beauty of the stage design, the costumes and the stunning music were all gorgeous, it lifts you up, there is no other way, however, as those dancing heros, jump and twirl and glide through the stage, that’s when the magic happens, because i saw people just like me and the guy sitting next to me, doing things that i could never imagine possible, every move of every part of their body was all of a sudden communicating something different, they were saying this person was happy, or sad, or in love, or deeply hurt, o confused. Their bodies also showed the unbelievable capacity of moving and reaching places and positions unseen, it was like watching a scene from a movie filled with special effects, except that it was all real, happening in front of me on the stage of the David H. Koch theater.

I could not believe what i was feeling, i was laughing, crying, being surprised every minute and all i wanted was more, more, more. When the show finished i was even more puzzled: Was this a one time only experience or did i really like the ballet? Well, i went on a search and bought myself tickets for another show, completly different, no big sets or flashy costumes, just dance and music, and this time it was even more exciting. To be able to read into the dance is a privilege, and to be able to witness those dancers making such beautiful art happen right in front of me is an even greater privilege. I since then became a member of the New York City Ballet, i make sure to get my tickets for all my favorite shows in advance and i don’t miss a single one of them!

It still puzzles me why are people so resistent to such a beautiful form of art, a form of art that is so alive and is so vibrant, that brings you into the show, makes you feel a part of the action and opens your heart to feelings that cold have been long forgotten. The excitement of the ballet is far beyond my abilities to write, soi will no longer try to explain it, but it would be really amazing if every day more people felt interested by the ballet, because for me, it’s a form of art that should never be gone.

Lola’s Scream

i have been thinking a lot lately about how the mind works, i mean, not in regards to every aspect of it, but mostly, you know, about how our wheels spin and how our thoughts, ideas and decisions come to be. I have been thinking a lot about it, it’s been very unsettling, very different too, because up until now i never really cared that much, things happened like they always do, sometimes very easily or with some difficulty, but right now, in this place where i find myself in my life, i ask myself: how does all this decision making go on? I have been thinking about it all the time, i also wonder if other people think about it too, i wonder if they even think there is a mechanism or even a “thinking”; or if they just assume things happen because they do.

The reality is that i am really tired. I am tired of making decisions, and thinking about them, and thinking twice before doing something, you know, like in that saying? I know it may sound premature, but i think all the time, all day long, i make decisions for myself, for my clients, for my friends, for my family, for god knows who! I decide from the moment i wake up and lately i have been deciding even in my sleep. Lately, the “decision making” has been heavier than ever, the “thinking” has been more frenetic than New York traffic during the holidays and all of that has translated in so much noise in my head that sometimes it becomes so loud that it is unbearable to carry on, or stand still, or have my eyes open or closed, it’s all so loud and so messy that it’s hard to just be.

I can be standing still but i won’t be, i can try to lie down but i won’t rest, i can sit in the darkest corner of my room and i will still be in motion, my body still moves in spasms and twitches from all the thoughts floating in my head, it’s a clash that comes from all sides, from the noisy silence that comes from the street or from the just finished day still echoing in my ear drums; it’s the actual physical manifestation of my thoughts that lately hasn’t even allowed me to sleep, that wakes me up in the middle of the night to say: REMEMBER THIS! DO THAT! BE THAT WAY! This is why i am tired, because never before have i had to think about thinking, never before have i had to try to stop myself from thinking in order to conclude a thought and get to a decision, never before has the white noise become so poisonous and loud.

I have all these pictures that pop up on my mental screen, they are references from movies, songs or plays, of those moments when the carachter stops everything and analyzes that scene or moment, or in a song when a singer screams and every sound stops… to only then resume in perfect synthony again. But the image that has been haunting me lately is of Lola, from the German movie “Run Lola, Run”, a brilliant piece of work from the early 00’s; and in it Lola, is running so desperately to save her lover and everything is so frenetic, and her head is spinning so fast, that there is a moment when she screams with all her strenghth, and she screams so loud that people around her can’t even bare it, glasses break, clocks stop running and at the end of that scream everything is perfect and well and she can then return to her running yet again. That’s the image i have been visualizing lately, and as awful as i know it may sound, i wish i could scream even louder, but so loud that even some people’s heads would pop and they would cease to exist, they would not die, because i don’t necessarily want that for them, but they would just disappear with the head, and they would disappear from my microcosmos. Maybe they would carry on living in their own space, but they would just be inexistent for me. Wouldn’t that be nice? But i wouldn’t want any controle over it, this would just be something that could happen or not, and when it did it would be very random, according to what fate judged necessary, like popping a pimple, instant relief to something that is really annoying, like a torn in my foot or a pebble in my shoe. It would be like a bonus for excessive thinking.

I don’t know what to think anymore, my mind wonders and wanders away, it thinks of completely unnecessary things constantly; i mean, why should i be thinking if i will live long enough to have a house by the lake or children to raise, when right now what i should really be thinking is about my career; or that date that went really badly because i couldn’t stop thinking about the bad date that i had the previous week. It is complete insanity, but it is what it is and this is the point where i am at in my life, when thinking is such hard work that it even hurts. I am not joking.

Maybe there is something that is tangled in there, in my little box of thoughts, because to me that’s all the brain is, a little woody and wide box where everything is stored in files and cabinets and sometimes in computers and hard drives too. Sometimes there are spirits floating around too, i don’t know if i would call them that, but they would be like clerks or librarians or something, and i guess they make the mess; maybe the clerk’s assistant files something in the wrong cabinet and next thing you know i am taking a train to Jersey while i still live in Manhattan, that kind of stuff, the kind of stuff you do when you are really exhausted.

So, the hope here is that this will help my head to untangle, maybe writing this will send a clue to the guys up there in the box that maybe it’s time to put things back in order, and i certainly hope that they read this before they put it away.

Yours truly, the body.

Sylvia, who are you?

I was just now going on and on about the Italian spirit and how you have to admire their way of life, every time i go to Italy i feel super inspired, and someone said: “Oh darling it’s La Dolce Vita” !

And it is true, that scene with Anita Ekberg in the fountain is so remarkable and gorgeous, it is breath taking, one of the most outstanding images ever created by the movie industry and also a really good idea of what the Italian spirit is to me!

Viva Frederico Fellini !

See the video of the scene here!

A Song to say Goodbye

Would it be happy or sad? If you had to use a song to say goodbye, would it be a sad goodbye or a happy farewell? Would it be filled with melancholy or with hopes for a happy re-encounter? i never thought about it in fact, i kept on listening to this specific song that repeated the phrase on and on like a scratched record and it was only now that i realized that the phrase is actually quite interesting.

On its own, detached from any other words, signs or phrases, that one specific sentence can really put your brain to work. Of course there are sad songs, happy songs, violent songs, songs of all sorts, but what does a song to say goodbye sound like? Should it be mellow? why would anyone use a song to say goodbye anyway? Goodbyes are moments dreaded by most of everyone; when have you ever heard anyone saying that they “loved goodbyes”? I would not raise my hand for that one, and i am pretty sure that pretty much everyone’s answer to that question would be: never.

it is simple as that, if a goodbye turns into a moment, than it is most likely not a happy one. Even if the goodbye is happening because of a really cool occasion, like a promotion to a branch in a grater city or a scholarship in that cool foreign country, the goodbye on its own, the act of saying goodbye at that moment is not necessarily so filled with joy.

So, at the end, i guess that a song to say goodbye could turn out to be a pretty cool thing. Imagine; you are at the airport, dreading that awkward moment when you hug-kiss-cry-all at once moment, and everyone else around you can tell whats going on, and then, all of sudden you lover, or child, or parent starts singing you a little song, and that song will probably stick to your brain, better yet, to your heart, and will help both to go on and give both something to cling to whenever missing that special one can’t even be translated into words.

Songs are meant to lift you up, songs are meant to generate emotions, to make your heart beat faster, songs can lift moods, carry movies, change the course of a play and make or ruin your day. Songs keep you company and never ever let you go, not even when you don’t have anywhere or anything to play a song on, not even if your mute and can’t even humm, you will always have your songs stuck within the walls of your brain.

So, yes, a song to say goodbye probably would be something very cool and generous, a true act of love!

Order and Progress

Times have changed, and they still change constantly and much faster than they used to. you get around nowadays and talk to people from whatever part of the world, and the level of education and knowledge is maybe 10% of what it used to be fifty years ago. The perception of the world have changed; yes, it’s easier to get around and access information, but how much of the knowledge are we really absorbing?

There was a time when people would get great education at their countries, learn the history of the world and be open to know the stories of the past. Those who had some level of money and power would send their children to schools abroad, to learn different languages and get higher level of education and broader cultural knowledge.

Nowadays the furthest you will go is with an exchange student program for six months, and even then, the level of education is not guaranteed to excel. Yes you have experiences that are valuable for your life, but what is your money really paying for? Maybe some different scenery views, movie sessions and frat house parties?

Let’s talk about day to day politeness too. Back in the day, families ate together, talked about issues of the world. People asked to be excused, said they were sorry when wrong and complimented their friends even at the smallest accomplishment. Hello’s, goodbye’s and pleases were exchanged at all social levels and ages, and the grammar was respected in both in the writing or in a conversation. Letters helped too, it made the reader use its imagination, it encouraged writers to practice their writing and had a certain romance to it too.

Today is today only, and maybe there’s room to discuss tomorrow, but today is never yesterday. The past has been shot dead by a bazooka and with the years passing it’s getting deeper and deeper under ground, buried under a pile of stupid useless knowledge. Who now has the time to think about the formation of the great lakes, or who made the first airplane, or how some of the countries that are now living in poverty used to be the safest, most educated and more sought after in the world?! Not many people; not many are interested in what makes the world spin, in the mechanisms that could change the course of history. The short attention span is one of the causes of the decline of the modern civilization, people are interested on what’s hot now, but five minutes from now something else will be hot and that’s when the world starts cracking and why it is now falling apart.

There is a reason for every little thing that happens on earth, the explanation for it all is available, be it in a text book, a biography, Google or in a Discovery documentary; but the information is there none the less. What is really scary is the fact that even though the information is more abundant and accessible than ever, people still choose to live blindly, and even the ones who choose to see, don’t feel empowered enough to affect changes into the system.

The truth for these times is that it takes a couple of bold people to affect change, and even the smallest change is a big push to our world. Our planet is going down, and the way of the future has to be made by the combination of knowledge, action, hope and urgency, because if order is not urgent for the progress of our planet now, than I don’t know what is.

The Greatest

This morning I was in a bus on my way back home from the beach after a weekend of fun, and after a good hour of sleep I woke up to realize we were almost arriving at the bus station, and as I looked out the window the greatness of the city hit me. The skyscrapers, the bridges, the tunnels, even the bus station, everything here is greater and grander than any other place in the world, but not in a show off kind of way, this is a city that wasn’t designed to be that way, it just happened.

But the city’s greatness is not limited to the city itself, the city is only this great because of the people in it, because the people here always worked harder than anywhere else, the people here were the people from everywhere else, people who arrived here with no money and the will to survive, the will to start fresh and rebuild their lives, because talent here is appreciated and recognized, because from the start, years and years ago the city was built by great people, and they set the bar really high, and that was it.

Location was important too, whoever had the idea to come here was really smart, this piece of land is nestled in the heart of the universe. Whoever got here first also set a precedent for the prices we deal with now; the prices we deal with now, however, only seem to matter in the beginning, when you first start paying rent, because after a while you feel like what you pay is quite all right for such a great place to live in.

What other city in the world is as great as this one? Culturally there’s nothing like it. The theaters are always packed, filled with energy and great productions, everyone wants to perform here and the audience loves it. The Broadway shows are filled with charm and again, greatness. The museums are innovative and always open to new ideas, filling their hallways with old and new blood side by side making for a great experience. The streets are also part of the culture, there is street art, street dancing, street music, street performances and pop art, everywhere. Even the way some of the billboards are made are still very old-school, someone is paid to go all the way up there next to a tall building wall and paint the adds that you will be looking at for the next two weeks and feel like they were printed by machines on paper to be glued on that very wall. But they weren’t.

If you want to travel in the summer, there are endless options of beaches to get to within a 6 hour drive, it doesn’t matter how rich or poor you are or how long you’re willing to travel, you can get there easily, by train, bus or car! In the winter you can also go up to the mountains for snowboarding and that’s not a big stretch either. You can even cross the border and go to another country if you want to. You can get to Boston or D.C. if you’re in the mood for a different capital. All within those six hours. You could go to a different place every weekend if you wanted, and never get too tired.

Here you can also hop in an airplane and within 8 hours you can be in any major European city, or in the middle of the Amazon, or enjoying tango in Argentina. You can also opt to stay in American territory and visit your friends all the way in the west coast or maybe try your luck in Vegas, or even see the greatness of the grand canyon and the glaciers of Alaska.

Here is the city that truly never sleeps, here you can get a slice of pizza at any given time, you can also go shopping at 3am if you feel like it, or you can go dancing to jazz, salsa, dance or samba music at the endless night clubs available. If you’re up for a more quiet and natural experience you can go bird watching at the Central Park, said to be one of the richest natural environments for wildlife in a big city. You can go ice skating, you can go to times square to look at the signs that are so bright that they fill the sky with light and erase the stars, you can cross the bridge into the next door neighborhood and see the postcard skyline live and filled with energy, like no picture or movie on earth could reproduce.

Here is where everyone wants to be, and also where everyone is welcome to be. Here there are no boundaries for you to be whoever you want to be, you can be black, white, yellow or red, you can be Christian, Buddhist, Muslim or Jewish, you can be gay or straight, married or divorced, fat or skinny, you name it, you can be it, there is a place for you out here.

This is New York, the greatest city on earth, the city that made me feel like part of the world, because this city as problematic and complex as it may be, as any other large city is, still manages to be in peace, still manages to show the world what the world could be like, a peaceful piece of land, where its citizens care for the environment and each other, where people live together in unison, where its narrow streets make you feel like you belong and its large avenues can show you the beauty of a sunny day, be it summer or winter, the sun always manages to come out to bathe us in joy. In New York there is no room for mediocrity, here is the land of the great, and as Frank would say, if you can make it here, you’ll make it anywhere.

This is New York, the Big Apple, so come on in and take a big bite at it.

I Am Love

And so it is, you feel human once again. Not very often though, it’s not something constant, but every now and then something pushes you towards your hopes, fears, emotions, thoughts and even your own soul. We are inclined nowadays, by accident as I like to believe, to just live, get through this or that issue, say big words like love or happiness without being sure of what it is we’re saying, but we keep saying it, because that’s what we’re supposed to do, that’s what we know.

Once in a blue moon though, something happens, what you thought you knew as angst shifts and shows you the real meaning of the word, and makes you wonder: do I really know what it is that I’m doing around here? Am I serving my purpose? Do I even have one? The minute life throws you a curve ball is the minute you come face to face with your life. How will you deal with what really matters? How will you deal with your feelings?

What I believe in, is that we put a mask in our feelings without knowing it, because it makes it easier to go on living, or perhaps because it’s not something that we really know how to handle. We don’t learn anything about it in school, our parents don’t sit us down for a talk about it, apparently the use of a condom is a bigger priority, and our friends, well, they are just as lost as we are; but perhaps, we should also consider the fact that many go on living blinded by facts, numbers and rules.

The breath of fresh air and the shade of hope in life comes as it always has, through inspiration, through ideas, through the universe that conspires for us, not against us. Painters and sculptors had muses and their art inspired millions, and so it is, to this day, we are constantly being pushed and inspired by outside factors that surround us. A song, a goodbye kiss at the gate in the airport, the laughter of a child, a great book, someone’s life story or a movie; these are some of the things that can wake us up, depending of course of where we are in life. Or where we aren’t.

I am love. A simple phrase, but a phrase that makes you think, that sends your neurons spinning and that also is the name of a movie. I am love was for me a source of inspiration and fuel for thought. This is not just a movie, this is one of those things that puts life in check, it speaks to everyone, maybe not entirely, but there will be something that will catch your soul. I am love makes you feel it all at once and than it crashes you only to lift you up all over again.

Every aspect of this masterpiece is engaging and mind blowing, the soundtrack may be simple but comes into perfect coordination with the cinematography, that highlights the arts, the architecture, the actors and their brilliance; the elements are put together in a way that you are also there, feeling every breath of every character and hearing their thoughts even if they are not thinking, because you feel their life coming through the screen, because the screen is merely a way to communicate to you what someone had the skill to write, direct and produce, with love, with feeling, with brilliance. That’s why the title, as simple as it is, screams for your attention, read it again: I am love. Io sono amore. Je suis l’amour. eu sou amor. Yo soy amor.

The phrase resonates, makes you wonder, drives you crazy; this single phrase, as simple as it is, pushes you, sends you off the edge. This phrase makes you feel. Well, how can anyone actually be love? How can anyone love that much to actually be love? Or how can one assume that he or she is that important to deserve such a feeling? How does one even know what is love? How do I know what is love?

Well, here is my point exactly: I don’t know, and nor do you. We don’t really know what any of those feelings mean until they run into us and we assume that’s what it feels like. What we feel is very particular, very intimate, but this is, when it happens, the opportunity to have a dialogue with ourselves and decide where we’re headed and reflect on where we came from, to figure out what our core is. My life is here now but it may not in the next ten minutes, so, what do I do? I grab on to these little moments of inspiration and enjoy them as if i was a drug addict having that lat hit, because i don’t know when something will inspire me that much, i don’t know when will the next muse come around the corner, so i choose to feel it all, and keep feeling everything to exhaustion.

Pay it Forward

That the world is filled with nasty scumbags we all are very much aware, in all shapes and sizes, from minor to major scumbags, it’s easy for the most of us to identify them on a daily basis, sometimes even without them having to say a single word. Well, most of us even know the little scum bag that hides inside us, it comes out every now and than, it can be pretty spooky, but hopefully it won’t affect anyone else but ourselves.

But you know what’s hard to see around? The cool guys and girls, the people who thrive on paying forward the good things they get, people who are always willing to extend a helping hand or just putting in a good word for a friend or even a total stranger. As I was watching Amelie for the 25th time it suddenly hit me that one of the main reasons I love this movie is not only the amazing cinematography and direction, but that within that genius script you find loads of generosity and inspiration.

Amelie is the ultimate good girl, she has flaws, just like you and me, she has her life to deal with, as do we, but even then she always finds the time to keep good and positive things moving forward, creating what I like to call human generated serendipity. I know, I know, it probably couldn’t technically be called serendipity, but hey, it’s all about being groundbreaking, maybe this is my turn!

So, human generated serendipity, or if you’d like to call it HGS, is what happens when we work on helping others in ways that most of the times they don’t even know, by doing even the smallest things that could cause this amazing catharsis of great happenings. HGS should be more present on the day to day life, I believe it actually is happening more than ever, but even more so I would like to believe that other people can feel as inspired to do good as I do when I see Amelie, or Pay it Forward, or Mic Macs or simply by watching the news and filtering all the positive things into their souls instead of the negative. What could be more inspiring than seeing human beings helping other human beings? Or even human beings helping nature, actually, doing anything that’s good!?

See, the thing with me is that whenever i have the opportunity to do something good for someone else i will, whether i know them really well or not, i want to be able to see everyone around me being happy and successful, sometimes it’s not easy, but i will still try harder and make sure i get things done. I had this friend of a friend that wanted to make a career in the fashion industry, she came to me with a simple question and i saw a lot of talent in her work. What started as a simple conversation turned into job recommendations and eventually actual jobs started happening and every time i talk to her now she thanks me for that simple conversation we had two years ago. That is one of the things i did that inspired me to do more, all the time, I’ve done it as i was growing up, I’ve done it last week, by bringing a guy i had just met through friends to meet a girlfriend of mine, neither of them knew my intentions, but it worked beautifully and they are now in this “thing”, still not a relationship, but i can tell it’s really helping and inspiring for them both, and even if it doesn’t turn into anything more than a friendship, it will still have been very positive for their lives, i mean we can always use a good friend can’t we?

I believe that by doing good we are also fueling our own life and spirit with all that energy, we are fueling ourselves towards greater things, we become more patient, more peaceful and focused, our tolerance level goes higher and we can manage to put up with the worst of days with the calm of a Buddhist.

The point here is, that we should all try harder to keep the wheel of good moving, we should in fact push people around us to do so! It’s easy to see negativity, but we should not be blinded by it, never, we must keep digging until we find what really matters, because with positivity we can extinct all that’s bad.

Life as an Adult

There’s an aspect about the adult life that no one told you about, it’s a detail that was overlooked during those days and nights when you longed for independence and becoming a “grown up”, and that is having responsibilities. What most of us seem to forget while we’re teenagers is that there are in fact responsibilities in life, and eventually one will catch up with the other, and in the beginning responsibility usually comes to bite you in the ass.

It starts with getting a job, even a part time, than maybe you will have to start thinking about paying a couple of bills and still have some money left for having fun with your friends, but eventually you won’t have any, and will have to stay at home watching the re-run of pretty woman and eating last night’s pop corn. Being an adult is fun, but only sometimes, there is a lot of pain, some of the people you’ve known your whole life will start leaving you, they age too and time is ruthless, you will also have failed careers, some people will get abortions, other will have to come into realization of their addictions and will have to face them in order to save their lives, but some won’t realize that on time, and will stop living at the beginning.

Being an adult is not comfortable, you have to constantly battle the world, save your position at work, fight for that item on sale at KMart, fight for the apartment you need to rent, but not the one you wish you could rent, and even though it’s a dump, it’s good for now, at least you have a roof over your head right? With being fully grown up you also have people who will start relying on you, and depending on your judgment for some big decisions in their lives, and that is totally uncomfortable.

As an adult you will also find that there is no getting away from certain things, no matter how painful or boring they are, and with time you will start being a more patient and resilient person. As an adult you will find true love and also true heart break, and that sucks… Big time! It is what it is, life has its ways of sneaking things upon us, and the next thing you’ll know is that you’re going to find yourself sitting in the subway going to work wishing you could now be going to school or summer camp, in those days when you were innocent and thought life was hard.

This is a note to self, it’s a note to remember how life is complex and rich, how even with all the downsides of becoming an adult there are still so many great things about it that you will simply forget the bad times, growing up and living one day after the other, learning one thing on top of the other, that is the true richness in life, but understanding these things is the true richness about being an adult.

Grow From Love

In the process of growth you go through adolescence, think you have it all figured out, go through what seems to be love, but it’s nothing more than infatuation, than you grow up, or what represents the beginning of being an actual grown up, and it finally hits you: you are in love.

No one prepares you for romantic love, it’s the one thing that no one can explain or understand, it’s the kind of experience that will fill your heart with joy and than crush you down into a million pieces, over and over again. The reality of being in love and what no one seems to accept, is that disappointment is included in the package deal, you get the looks, the personality, the companionship, the nights of winter by the fire, and the summer days sitting in the front porch watching the waves crash against the sand, but you also get the tiny little downsides too, and your partner gets the same, after all honey, we are all human beings subject to flaws. Sometimes there are so many little annoying things in there, adding up to a mountain of error, that it makes you wanna scream, it drives you mad, it gets you to say things that should remain unsaid, and sometimes gets you to do things that should never be done, because they will cause so much pain that you feel like your heart is being torn apart by a dinosaur.

How you overcome or balance those little problems in order to maintain a healthy relationship is the key, dialogue, item that’s in lack of these days, is the key, right next to a lot of patience, understanding and tolerance. If you are able to see problems ahead of you and deal with them, and also realize that your lover is also putting up with many little things and being very understanding, than you’re off to a keeper.

The beginning though, is the key, because in the beginning there is only so much you can do with the very little information you have about this other person. You don`t know if this is someone who likes text messages during the day, or if maybe it’s someone that prefers to talk on the phone for hours, or maybe someone that will tell you to go out with your friends and they can join you too, as it would be great to meet the people who surround you in order to get to know you better, it’s complicated, these things you can only figure out with time, and these days, time seems to be the problem.

More and more i feel like people don’t give enough time for the relationships to mature into something consistent, people just jump off the boat at the first sign it’s rocking; and the problem is that like boats need stability in order to stop rocking, so do the relationships. If a person is late or takes what seems to be forever to answer your missed phone call, what does it mean? Well, probably nothing, but it’s simply the fact that everyone responds differently or that everyone is different and lead extremely different lives; so, being suspicious or anxious will not help, it makes what should be a joyful period become a nerve wracking process, actually, it turns a natural relationship curve into a process, almost mechanical, and it shouldn’t be.

The little ups and downs of the beginning are defining and essential, they will tell which direction the relationship will take, they will show how compatible the couple is, how in tune they are with each other, and they will be the base of a solid and long term relationship. How you handle your problems in the beginning of the relationship is probably the same way you’ll do it throughout the whole experience, and not only that, but those moments of discovery will show the real personality and interaction of the couple.

So, the reality is that sometimes you need to mature, not only the relationship, but yourself, after all, you may be 25, 45 or 65, but you will always have something new to learn and add up into your life. As long as you’re open to experiment with yourself before anything else, you should be able to enjoy the ride and grow alongside your relationship… Try it, it should be fun.

The Logic in Flying

So, here i am again, in one of the many airports of the world, luggage in hand, everything in place, ready for yet another journey. To me, the process of going through a trip is very logical and organized, like many things in my life, but this is by far the epitome of all logical processes.

It starts with booking the ticket, i know what’s good and not in each different kind of airplane, i know that aisle seats are always more comfortable for my long legs and desire to have extra room to move around, i also know that depending on where i am flying to, the time of the flight is crucial, especially if i am traveling for work. Booking the last flight of the day is usually the stupidest thing to do, and booking flights with connections in famous tourist spots is also the worst nightmare you can ever have.

Once the ticket is done comes the logistics of the ride to the airport, depending where you’ll be or the time of the departure it makes a huge difference to take a private car, a taxi or the subway. The process of the trip for me begins on the morning of the departure, after my bags are packed, because i may have to go to work and from there to the airport, or not, it’s all craziness, even when I’m packing the bag there needs to be some logic, and to me it’s so logic now, that it never takes me more than fifteen minutes to get it done.

So, here i am, outside the airport, probably already checked in via the internet, because i know that it’ll save me time, since I’ll be able to skip all those first time travelers or families with their children and 20 bags spread out all over the place and taking the time of five different airline representatives to be able to check in. So, i skip all that, i print my luggage tag, drop the bag into what i like to call the black hole – because even though i never had any lost luggage, you never know when it could be your first time, and it’s quite amusing to me how a bag can get lost in a direct flight between New York and Miami, i can never wrap my head around it, how is it possible to loose someone`s luggage on such an easy direct flight? Anyways, as long as it`s not mine or of any of my travel companions it’s none of my business. – After i`m done with the black hole thing, it`s time to cut to the chase.

After all my travelings i realized that it’s always better to simply get to the airport in advance, and get to the gate as early as possible, not only you know you definitely are boarding your flight, but you’re also there to seize any sort of opportunity that might appear, to either get upgraded, or move seats, or if you’re on vacation, get your hands on that exquisite credit voucher and board the next flight in first class! So, passport and ticket out in hands opened on the correct page and ready for inspection. While waiting for security check, since it’s an unavoidable pain, i observe the x-ray lines, searching for the one with the usual businessman, the occasional student or the ones that are packing lighter, as these are always faster and ready for the process. I mean, what`s so difficult about the x-ray? All you have to do is take your shoes off, jacket, belt if any, and get that laptop out of it`s casing and into a separate tray. The process is extremely basic and all over the posters, all over the airport, a five year old could do it in a heart beat, but apparently some people can`t seem to understand that you need to leave your metals in the tray and they keep trying, once, twice, even four times… well, God apparently wasn’t fair with everyone when it comes to brains! I, personally, have my system: shoes that are easy to take in and out, never wearing any belt or metals, and all my electronics are in my jacket`s pockets, therefore, once i take the jacket off and place it in the tray, i don`t have to think about anything else, and that will leave me with two trays, one for the laptop and the other one for my shoes and jacket, and of course my bags; three items that will be easily reorganized after they go through the eyes of security.

From than on, it’s all a piece of cake until you’re boarded, because nobody deserves to be stuck in an airplane’s aisle while Mr. 75 year old fisherman decides clumsily how he’s going to fit his large sized materials and bags in such limited space, or even those truly selfish ones that see 50 people behind them holding heavy bags waiting to find their seats while this person decides what to do with the insanely over sized “carry-on” bags, that shouldn’t even have been allowed on board to begin with. The flight attendants though, will only rush for assistance once the first passenger waiting in line speaks up, than it`s like the gates of hell are open, everyone has an opinion, even the ones that are sitting down with their luggage properly accommodated. There is a logic to these things, and it is so deeply obvious, that`s why these sizing rules were made, so that everyone could have enough room for their bags, so that everyone can simply walk into the airplane, throw their luggage in the overhead bins and sit down to watch a movie.

Isn’t it a delight when one can simply get things done like that? When you can simply sit and observe the craziness of the illogical people? To me it`s unnerving, i sometimes just want to get up, grab one of those illogical by the arm and shake them up to see if i can put their brains back in order – “lady! what part of placing your roller bag wheels out don`t you understand? Wheels out is not sideways, it’s WHEELS OUT, which means the frigging wheels are going to be facing you, so that the other passenger has enough room to place his bag next to yours, get it??!!?”. And that`s not the only thing; everyone knows, that until you depart it`s so much easier and faster for the crew if you keep your seat-belt fastened, your seat in the upright position and your electronic devices turned off, because that will speed things up, and you know for a fact that you do not have enough time to watch a movie or calmly listen to some music and take a nap anyways – The flight attendant will wake you up for departure if your seat is reclined sir, isn’t that obvious? don’t you know it’s the most ancient requirement for departures and landings?? And why haven’t you still turned your ipod and blackberry off? Why do you have to wait until the flight attendant screams at you to turn it off otherwise you’re going to crash down the airplane??? If you wanna die why don’t you just jump off the Empire State Building? It`s easier, faster, cheaper and if you kill someone else it won`t be more than one person, as opposed to an entire airplane… cool? – i mean, i wish the flight attendants could be more rude or sarcastic sometimes, I’m pretty sure that that kind of people really need to get a clue, not a flight!
Anyways, there’s logic pretty much in everything we do in our day to day lives, of course i don’t really pay attention to it most of the times, but if there is one thing that needs to follow a very logical process, that one thing is traveling, after all, you just want to get from point A to B as fast and painless as possible and be able to enjoy every minute of it.
So, once i start my airline you will surely be able to sit back and fly safe, and if anyone is annoying you, they are sure to get their piece of clue coming their way!

A Sea of Love

How good would it be to feel like you actually are in a sea of love? Not the infatuation kind of sea of love, an actual sea of love, where families stick together, lovers hardly ever fight, and when they do it’s silly and usually ends in more love. In the sea of love we lso love all that surrounds us, the birds, and the trees, and we don’t really need to fight, because in the sea of love there’s room for everyone, for everything, for all colors, religions and political beliefs, in the sea of love there’s an understanding that love equals respect and acceptance.

Our world is too fast paced, we don’t allow ourselves to love anymore, many have even forgotten to love themselves, which to me is a shame. Who will be able to give you as much love, support and attention as yourself? Really, the lack of self-love and respect has reached crazy heights. We now have anti-depressants, all sorts of drugs, virtual sex, sugar and fat (lots of sugar) and alcoohol; all of those are now replacement for self-love, because people forget that in order to find love in someone else you must first accept and love yourself.

Isn’t that basic? Why does anyone need affirmation from others? I don’t know and it scares me to think that someday even i may fall on that trap. I’ve been pretty good for most of my life, but what do i know, i’ve only been around for twenty five years or so, so it is as they say: never say never… right?

Enough with negativities, lets go back to the sea of love, after all, love attracts love. What i want to say here is very basic: love as much as you can, love everything around you, even the bad things that come your way, because those are the things that are teaching you and making you grow stronger, i am proof of that theory, it is NOT bullshit or words out of a self-help book – they could be but i wouldn’t know because i never read any – it’s the most intelligent thing anyone can do; love, love, love!

So instead of going all mushy and thinking: “oh, he probably got lucky on a date or something and got carried away”; think twice: i have always believed in it, and never been shy to voice it out, through songs, my writings or silly movies i watch over and over; love is in fact the sweetest thing, love is king, love is all we need; so come with me, into the sea, the sea of love, because i wanna tell you how much i love you too !

PS.: Thanks Cat Power for the inspiration through one of the most gorgeous songs ever recorded.

What a Difference a Day Makes

Dinah Washington once sang “What a difference a day Made”, probably her most popular recording ever, but those little words, squeezed in a few blissfully melodic minutes meant a lot, and to this day, those words still have the same impact and maybe even more meaning.

As i was walking back home during a lazy morning i realized how life goes by so quickly that we hardly ever stop to pay attention to the little things that could make a big difference in our days, our perspectives and ultimately in our lives. As i was walking through the noisy streets of chinatown, trying to find some sense in the path i was taking, i realized that maybe i shouldn’t even have a path to take, after all, this was a lazy day, a day i had off, during the week, something so rare and that could be so valuable, something that we all long for almost everyday while we’re sitting inside an office, something that at that moment i had, for one day, i had that kind of freedom. If i wanted to i could choose not to go home, i could wander around, not take a shower, not make any sense at all, for that one particular day, i could do whatever i wanted, i could even not answer the phone at all, pretend i had vanished into a black hole, and no one would ever know my whereabouts.

To me, that day was a beautiful revelation, to me, that particular day changed many things. For the first time in a long time i realized how i could take advantage of a day, how i could do my favorite things, walk around, observe, pay attention to the little happenings that take place in life all the time, all around us. At first i felt like i had to suck it all in, i stood there, in the corner of Hester and Canal, took a deep breath, listened to the children running behind their moms, the old ladies pulling their carts, watched as the florists arranged the window for a new day that was about to begin, paid attention to the hectic movement of the people that were actually busy going to work and staring at me as if i was a crazy person standing there with nothing to do. I watched the cab drivers shouting out to the air their useless complaints about how bad the traffic was – as if it would change anything – and also saw at the same time, accross the street, way past the crazy noises, an EMO couple saying their goodbyes, parting ways and staring back at each other as they walked away, in the most romantic and passionate gesture that only exists between true lovers. The birds were all aligned outside the buildings, going on in their conversations about probably where to fly to for their next meal or on who to take that nasty dump that will really send that person off the edge and will probably be really funny for them to watch. I wondered what could be going through the head of the guy that just threw some paper in the already disgusting pavement instead of just disposing of it in the trash can that stood a step away from him; i wondered if maybe he felt that his act was some sort of help for the sanitation worker’s to keep their jobs in a time of crisis, but than, three miliseconds later i decided that it was a crappy theory and discarded it in that very trash can that the passer by disregarded.

As i decided to make my way up Elizabeth Street, i brushed against a chinese lady who cursed at me in something that could only be chinese but wouldn’t really make a difference as she kept on going without ever even looking back, after all, to her i was only another person blocking her way, and it seemed like she had lots of errands to run with her little cart – off she went! I smiled and turned away only to realize that a kid across the street was staring at me, and as i was looking straight into her eyes, we connected for a second, acknowledged each other, giggled and kept on going. Those little connections are to me the most priceless things in a day, what took that particular person to share that fraction of a moment with me, that moment that didn’t really mean anything, but filled my heart with joy.

As my day went by and i sat in every square that was once overlooked, walked into every shop that once caught my eye as i was on my hurried way to work or somewhere else, talked to every single human being i could and even some canine and feline subjects too, observed and listened to everyone around me and fell in love with every little aspect of life all over again, i realized that this is what it’s all about, this is the true experience of life, feeling and being open to everything is a true blessing and i was blessed to have that day.

As the day progressed, so did i, i made notes, i had thoughts, i felt like i was filled with life, i realized that taking an hour off to wander around during luch time could now be a new and refreshing project, i realized that being with yourself can be the best quality time available, being with yourself will probably always be the most revealing experience you will ever have, an epiphany from the neuro gods that live within you.

So, my advice here – not that you care – is pretty obvious: enjoy your life in the rythm of a caterpillar, move slowly and patiently, not only it will bring you enlightenment but it will also give you an extra boost of energy.

As the song said, a day truly made a huge difference, twenty four little hours come a long way when you allow yourself to be truly alive, when you allow yourself to live the unexpected experiences, when you share a random conversation while standing in line at the bank or riding in the subway, when you get lost and you discover a new empire of possibilities that never even crossed your mind, or even when you’re there, just standing in the corner, minding your own business and you’re hit by that nasty and unexpected bird poop, it is as the saying says: shit happens!