How to Become Better: Human the Project

 

An incredible project was made public in September 2015. – a project followed with almost no media attention but more enlightening and eye-opening than many we have seen in a long time.
It is called ‘Human‘.

In a series of interviews with people all around the globe, combined with breathtaking aerial shots of our magnificent Mother Earth and with stunning background music, author Yann Arthus-Bertrand tries to answer the question what is it that makes human: a question we all ought to stop and ask ourselves.

He explains his inspiration by saying simply:

“I am one man among seven billion others. For the past 40 years, I have been photographing our planet and its human diversity, and I have the feeling that humanity is not making any progress. We can’t always manage to live together.
Why is that?
I didn’t look for an answer in statistics or analysis, but in man himself.”

Indeed…

What is it that makes us human?
What is it that distinguishes us from other Earthly creatures?
What is it that makes our lives worthwhile?

It might be difficult, if at all possible, to answer these questions, but listening closely to the stories might get us closer to the truth. And some are uncannily breathtaking, to the point they seem unbelievable.

Take Ruth, for example…

“Here’s what happened: a German officer in as SS uniform entered the ghetto one rainy night. My mother told him: “Take my daughter.” She lifted the wire fence and handed him her baby, me, a Jewish girl, two and a half years old. And with a heavy heart, she put me in the hands of a wonderful man in an SS uniform.
I now know that this man, Alois Pleva, served in the German army and lived near the German border. This man put me in his coat. He hid me inside his coat and took me to the border between Germany and Poland to his parents. They passed me off as his daughter. They raised me in the purest Catholic tradition until the end of the war.
What a gesture! What magic, this outstretched hand! Like sparks of light in what we call human folly.

Sometimes a question comes to mind. If I had been in a situation like that, would I have acted in the same way as that German officer? How can I answer such a question? I don’t think I would have had the moral strength to do it, in all honesty. Maybe. Did he know he had the strength? How can you know?
How can you recognize the moment of truth when you can sacrifice yourself, sacrifice the only life you have for someone else?
There’s no answer to that question. Or a question others can answer.
But this question must be asked.

What is amazing is how, through listening to the stories, we reach the point of better understanding other human beings, which leads us to more love in this world.

When we listen to Jean-Pierre, for example.

“Not feeling acknowledged. Not feeling understood. Not feeling loved by your family, quite simply. Loved, but not loved for who you are. You want to share something. A homosexual doesn’t know if it’s wrong or not. If he’s told it’s good, or rather, that’s how it is, he doesn’t think that… It’s more or less like someone who worries  that he has cancer. He’s anxious. He needs to hear he isn’t sick. A homosexual wonders what’s wrong with him. He doesn’t know if it’s serious or not and what will happen to him.
There’s nothing more wonderful than parents who say: “So what? You’re gay, so what? As long as you’re happy.”
It’s so obvious! This “So what?” is so often lacking.

A documentary could not have been created without raising some very actual issues that affect the world, maybe best sublimed in what Mouneer from Jordan said.

“There are two parties. Both are Syrian. I have friends and family in both. They are ready to take up arms and kill their neighbors, in the name of politics.
They forget the essential: humanity.
Politics is just relations between powerful nations and people. We’re little guys. We’ll never change anything.

I’ve seen death with my own eyes. I’ve seen my friends lying there, lifeless. When the explosions started, there was one very close to my house. It wrecked my taxi. I saw blood, people’s legs, heads, and arms on the ground.
When I saw all that, it filled me with fear and sorrow. Man can become a monster.
I don’t trust anyone, anymore, except myself. It’s over.
That is why I cut myself off from relations with souls: with every form of human being. It all means nothing.

And there are some ever-present, never solved issues. We might see them in a whole different light once we are faced with the influence they have on our fellow humans – like Sylver from Rwanda.

“What I’ll never forget is what I saw at the time. The fact that one person killed another with a machete.
The reason I can’t forget is that a large part of my family was killed. Before my eyes. What I can’t forget is that the killers cut up a living person with a machete, right in front of me.
I can’t forget it because it happened.
I experienced it.
But it’s incomprehensible.
And impossible to forget.

There is a pearl of wisdom shared by Sergey form Russia, the one that got me choked.

“Maybe these atrocities make people more violent, because they want to avenge them. Even though I can understand that, I try to keep my humanity.
Once you have killed a man, it becomes clear to you you can never hope for heavenly peace, for peace within yourself. When you have killed your enemy, he is no longer an enemy.
So why did you kill him?
It’s an endless cycle. That’s simply the way human nature is.
When you kill a man, only afterward do you realize you should avoided going that far.
Because then, you live with that for the rest of your life. It’s not easy. ”

With the tragic stories we come to realization it is fear that awakens and ignites some of the most terrible actions towards our fellow humans. Fear, the only opposite of love, can only be conquered by love.
And sometimes this very love is concealed in child’s innocence and wisdom… Like touching Tatyana‘s story…

“When I was six years old my parents and I went to the supermarket. It was far away. We had to take a bus. At the big store, we walked through the toy department. I stopped short in front of a glass case containing a magnificent doll. Of course, I had no idea how much things cost. So my mother said to me:
“I can’t afford to buy you this doll.”
And I answered her like a wise old woman:
Mama, I’m not asking you to buy her. I just want you to let me admire her a little.
My mother still weeps when she tells this story.”

This all is love, and if we all try to put more love into this world we might create a better, more peaceful place for all… As Daniel from Mexico simply explains….

Love is the beginning and the end. Love is where we come from, where we’re going and what we live between the two.
Love is everything.

Quite.

Immaculate in its entirety, Human, all three extended parts, is maybe the most appropriate watching suggestion this holiday season.

Love Gina Wings

 

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Uncanny Life of Unknown Niece: Dolly Wilde

On this day, one hundred and twenty years ago in London, Dorothy Ierne Wilde, known as Dolly Wilde, was born as an only child of Willie, known only as Oscar Wilde’s older brother.

She looked, said everyone who knew them both, remarkably like her uncle Oscar. She had the same artfully posed, soft, white hands, the same elongated face, and the same air of indolent melancholy which Aristotle insisted was always the natural accompaniment of wit.

    She spoke remarkably like her uncle too or, rather, like a brilliantly female version of Oscar — for there was nothing parodically male about Dolly Wilde. And although she would occasionally dress up as her uncle in borrowed, too-tight pants, a great flowing tie and a famously ratty fur coat (perhaps it was Oscar’s favourite coat after all, the one Dolly’s father Willie was supposed to have pawned when Oscar was imprisoned), she looked most like Oscar Wilde when she was dressed up as herself: a beautiful, dreamy-eyed, paradoxical woman — wonderfully stylish and intermittently unkempt, spiritually illuminated and clearly mondaine. She stares out at us from her few significant photographs with a distinctly contemporary gaze; conscious of the camera, casual about her audience.”

Truly Wilde, The Unsettling Story of dolly Wilde, Oscar’s Unusual Niece; by Joan Schenkar

dolly-wilde-as-oscar-wilde

Dolly Wilde as Oscar Wilde

Having lost her father early in childhood, Dolly became uncanny connected with her uncle Oscar whom she never met and therefore idealized, sharing his brains and wits she used to make her life a work of art. Indeed she was known for her conversational abilities she, unlike her uncle, seldom used in writing, but rather in socializing she was a master of. She was one of the Beautiful Losers: a legendarily gifted speaker whose talent was large, whose expression was private, and whose friends, lovers, and enemies all ended by wringing their respective hands over her squandered gifts and lost opportunities.

“Her conversation was, from the accounts that survive, funny, lyrical, flowing, intimate, interested, penetrating and frequently acerbic. The most tantalising and frustrating part of trying to understand Dolly Wilde is that the hypnotising experience of being in a room with her is lost forever now. Even those who experienced it struggled to recreate it, those grey morning afters having rubbed the edges off the memory, and her essence stubbornly refusing to be separated from herself. While Oscar left a body of written work that would make his wit immortal, Dolly never managed to distil her great talent with words into writing, and so it died with the last person who remembered her.”

Culture & Stuff, November 13, 2011.

It was a peculiar time in Paris in which she arrived in 1914 at the age of nineteen, soon after the World War One it became the time of salons, parties, socialites, the time when one half of the world felt guilty and not wanting to celebrate ever, and the other half having nothing else to do. Peculiar and unique, Dolly belonged to the latter, making her life a work of art and becoming the dream of many women in her social circles.

“Charming herself, she could be charmed into putting off anything, even the narratives she loved so much.

    `Go on,’ Dolly would say to her friend Victor Cunard, the LondonTimes correspondent in Venice, as he hesitated between the irresistible desire to pour out his secret life to her and the fully justified fear that his secret would be instantly betrayed. `Go on,’ she would saw disarmingly in her `bird-charmer’s’ voice to the New Yorker magazine writer Janet Flanner, who was telling her a particularly violent fairy tale, `but tell it slowly, tell every word so that it will last longer.’ Dolly Wilde’s life was full of such interesting, unfinished, delayed relationships through which she was sometimes tempted to try and fulfill herself.”

Truly Wilde, The Unsettling Story of dolly Wilde, Oscar’s Unusual Niece; by Joan Schenkar

Dolly’s was generation that lost its men: some of them slaughtered in trenches of war, and others returned war heroes but forever scarred by battle experience.

Women took over the role of men, and did it quite directly. Dolly was no different.

Women loved Dolly, while Dolly loved one woman, the love of her life, Natalie Clifford Barney. Dolly loved her till the day she was found dead for never completely revealed causes in her flat in London in 1941, at the age of 45.

Natalie_Barney_in_Fur_Cape

Natalie Clifford Barney painted by her mother Alice Pike Barney in 1896.

“Although she could only have been produced by the follies and grandeurs of the 1920s and the 1930s, Dolly Wilde seems sensationally contemporary. Her tastes for cutting-edge conversation and `emergency seductions’ (as she called the sexual adventures which she applied like unguent to her emotional wounds), for fast cars and foreign films, for experimental literature and alcoholic actresses, are still right up to the minute, and it is too easy to forget that she has been dead — and deader still for being unnoticed — these sixty years.”

Truly Wilde, The Unsettling Story of dolly Wilde, Oscar’s Unusual Niece; by Joan Schenkar

Lived extravagantly and passed mysteriously, Dolly was undoubtedly one of most peculiar infamous persons of twentieth century.

The least we can say on this day is: Happy birthday, Dolly!

Love Gina Wings

My Book is Live!

Dear readers,

 

I have been away for awhile… but it’s not that I was inactive… and I have a surprise for you!

Secrets of a Perfect Hair Color – a collection of stories on love, lust, life, and everything in between is now live in Amazon store!

And… oh dear… what a day to be published!

 

Read on.

Write on.

 

By purchasing my book you are supporting a passionate writer on her way to independence. And making a good deed. 🙂

 

heartfelt thanks

Can We Really Trust Ourselves? The Art of Lust

We all know it… the whip of lust, adrenaline rush of wanting all at once or, as was seductively described by Maureen Medved in The Tracey Fragments

“One day you fall for this boy. And he touches you with his fingers. And he burns holes in your skin with his mouth. And it hurts when you look at him. And it hurts when you don’t. And it feels like someone’s cut you open with a jagged piece of glass.”

or perhaps Saul Williams in Said the Shotgun to the Head

“Have you ever lost yourself in a kiss? I mean pure psychedelic inebriation. Not just lustful petting but transcendental metamorphosis when you became aware that the greatness of this being was breathing into you. Licking the sides and corners of your mouth, like sealing a thousand fleshy envelopes filled with the essence of your passionate being and then opened by the same mouth and delivered back to you, over and over again – the first kiss of the rest of your life. A kiss that confirms that the universe is aligned, that the world’s greatest resource is love, and maybe even that God is a woman. With or without a belief in God, all kisses are metaphors decipherable by allocations of time, circumstance, and understanding”

 

We have all known it, since the moment we have transformed into adults, pretty young back then but still… adults.

Lust… the word first used before twelfth century and defined as a strong feeling of sexual desire – makes you wonder – is it a constant occurrence in our lives, or we tend to grow out of it, as if it were a pair of worn-out jeans?

Furthermore, are we entitled to the feeling, even upon passing the so-called ‘young age’, even upon reaching certain life milestones: establishing long-term partnership, having a house, a garden, maybe kids, and a dog?

Surprisingly enough, once we reach all the goals we realize: nothing ever changed. The spark we had within us is still there, burning, now even more fiercely, persistent and strong. With maturity we become confident in what we do want and what not, so sparking that fire within us may not be as frequent yet once it happens, fireworks are sure to follow.

So… here I was, thirty-nine, committed, life established on solid grounds… was it for lack of excitement and wanting to feel alive again, or perhaps reasons more frivolous, wanting to escape the defined path into unknown, for mere pleasure of expectation, that I have found myself prone to this rush and jitters of feeling lustful again?

There was nothing unusual in what I was feeling constantly, C. JoyBell C. describes it perfectly when she says…

“I don’t know why people are afraid of lust. Then I can imagine that they are very afraid of me, for I have a great lust for everything. A lust for life, a lust for how the summer-heated street feels beneath my feet, a lust for the touch of another’s skin on my skin…a lust for everything. I even lust after cake. Yes, I am very lusty and very scary.”

Each age carries its peculiarities within, and the most important one in the mid-life and its crisis, is that all of a sudden, you become irresistibly comfortable with the person you have become, with no need for approval, justification or explanations. You simply – are.

And I was. I am. And am irreversibly in love with myself. And that is liberating.

Are we all in quest for liberation?

C. JoyBell C. wraps it up perfectly when saying

“I’m not in search of sanctity, sacredness, purity; these things are found after this life, not in this life; but in this life I search to be completely human: to feel, to give, to take, to laugh, to get lost, to be found, to dance, to love and to lust, to be so human.”

 

But maybe the best description of lust in maturity is found in a confession by Catherynne M. Valente in Deathless

“Koschei smiled. His pale lips sought hers, crushing her into a kiss like dying. She tasted sweetness there, as though he still kissed her with honey and sugar on his tongue. When he pulled away, his eyes shone.

“I don’t care, Marya Morevna. Kiss him. Take him to your bed, and the vila, too, for all it matters to me. Do you understand me, wife? There need never be any rules between us. Let us be greedy together; let us hoard. Let us hit each other with birch branches and lock each other in dungeons; let us drink each other’s blood in the night and betray each other in the sun. Let us lie and lust and take hundreds of lovers; let us dance until snow melts beneath us. Let us steal and eat until we grow fat and roll in the pleasures of life, clutching each other for purchase. Only leave me my death — let me hold this one thing sacred and unmolested and secret — and I will serve you a meal myself, served on a platter of all the world’s bounty. Only do not leave me, swear that you will never leave me, and no empress will stand higher. Forget the girls in the factory. Be selfish and cruel and think nothing of them. I am selfish. I am cruel. My mate cannot be less than I. I will have you in my hoard, Marya Morevna, my black mirror.”

 

So here I was, mature enough, and lustful as ever… it was not that feeling that excited me as much, as knowing that the newly found lust is not necessarily to be kept secret. So maybe this not-so-innocent musing can be best wrapped up by a uncanny toast by Patricia Highsmith for New Year’s Eve, 1947…

“My New Year’s Eve Toast: to all the devils, lusts, passions, greeds, envies, loves, hates, strange desires, enemies ghostly and real, the army of memories, with which I do battle — may they never give me peace.”

 

Love Gina Wings

 

 

Secret Love Two Centuries Away: Ludwig van Beethoven

 

It is July 6th and 7th, year 1812. Love letters, addressed to the Immortal Beloved were safely placed in a drawer, to be found, unsent, in the composer’s estate after his death.

 

immortal beloved

 

Love and longing are almost tangible in each word he puts down, and we all, familiar with love’s pains and sufferings, can relate to every single one…

“… why this deep grief, where necessity speaks – can our love exist but by sacrifices, by not demanding everything. Can you change it, that you are not completely mine, that I am not completely yours?”

And, as always in love, there is hope that keeps the love alive. With every word the object of his affection is less distant and more real…

“We will probably see each other soon, only, today I cannot convey to you my observations which I made during these few days about my life – If our hearts were always close together, I would have no such thoughts. my heart is full with so much to tell you – Oh – There are moments when I feel that language is nothing at all.”

But maybe the most loving, sincere words filled with longing and desire are kept in letter written the day after…

 

immortal beloved

 

“Good morning, on 7th July.
While still in bed my thoughts turn towards you my Immortal Beloved, now and then happy, then sad again, waiting whether fate might answer us – I can only live either wholly with you or not at all, yes I have resolved to stray about in the distance, until I can fly into your arms, and send my soul embraced by you into the realm of the Spirits – yes unfortunately it must be – you will compose yourself all the more since you know my faithfulness to you, never can another own my heart, never – never – O God why do I have to separate from someone whom I love so much, and yet my life in V[ienna] as it is now is a miserable life – Your love makes me at once most happy and most unhappy – at my age I would now need some conformity[,] regularity of my life – can this exist in our relationship? – Angel, I have just heard that the mail coach goes every day – and thus I must finish so that you may receive the letter immediately. – be patient – only through quiet contemplation of our existence can we achieve our purpose to live together – Be calm; for only by calmly considering our lives can we achieve our purpose of living together.- be calm – love me – today – yesterday – What yearning with tears for you – you – you my life – my everything – farewell – oh continue to love me – never misjudge the most faithful heart of your Beloved

L.

Forever thine

Forever mine

Forever us.”

 

immortal ever mine

 

Supposedly romantic as he was, Ludwig, despite many liaisons, was unable to form a lasting attachment to one woman, and had remained single his entire life. With this fact in mind, I cannot help but wonder whether such depth of feeling, and such yearning would be possible if it had not been aimed at a person unattainable?

Is unavailability the crucial ingredient of longing so deep and intense, as if knowing that the one we are longing for is available, but not to an extent we are hoping for?

 

Beethoven

 

We’ve come a long way from mail carriages and weekly delivery – with today’s technology the most beautiful love messages are deleted – rather than kept in a drawer. Stolen in uncertainty and born out of longing and yearning, they are as ephemeral as summer dew… with the first glimpse of Sun they are gone. Yet they remain the most precious and most sincere, and, probably, the most loving of them all. There is an uncanny force in longing that makes the objects of our passions more precious, more wanted, more desired. With each hour passing the desire increases.

 

But, a romantic soul in every one of us will know… this is how love longing sounds like…

 

Love Gina Wings

The Secret of Happiness – Quantum Physic’s Perspective

Someone once said, and could not have been more right: We are all the same. We are all looking for happiness.

What might differ, though, is every individual’s idea on what happiness actually is. Ephemeral as it is, musing on true nature of happiness is an unlimited source of inspiration and – hopefully – discovery.

Perhaps quantum physics, similarly unreal yet proven existing, might help us find the answer to this ultimate question.

In his inspiring and insightful interview, quantum physicist Amit Goswani, Ph.D, provides a key to understanding happiness, and, hopefully, once we understand it, we are on the right path of achieving it.

If physical reality indeed is, as Dr. Goswani claims, constituted of four bodies: physical world, mind, feelings and intuition, all embodied in wholeness which is the fifth body, to be content in it it is imperative that the unity of all four bodies in the fifth be present.

Any separation takes us away from desired state of happiness.

To further understand the concept we might ponder Amit’s words:

“We have to take a long-term view. Nothing much can be done in short-term.

The negative emotional brain circuits are real, they are built into us and therefore there’s a tendency to be competitive, there’s a tendency to be jealous, there’s a tendency to protect yourself in survival of yourself. Considering that as the major purpose of life – there is that tendency.

But, how to rise above this tendency? So, we have to make this balancing act: life is a balancing act, of balancing these negative emotions with positive, noble emotions.

So, we love, and we love in action. When we love in action brain circuits of love are created. If we become good to our neighbors in action, not just talking about it, then the brain circuit is created; and then, when I’m feeling competitive one of these brain circuits will come to my rescue and lift me up.

So, building these brain circuits is most important, and recognizing that quantum physics is really saying that the world consists of possibilities. With creativity we can create the world that just suits us perfectly: for our growth, for our growth from separateness to wholeness.”

According to Dr. Goswani, love is the easiest way to achieve the described, but, importantly, it is not the only way. Our journey from separateness to wholeness can also be achieved through beauty, justice and goodness, and it is up to us the chose the channel that suits us, our character and temperament best. There is no right way or wrong way, only our way to reach wholeness – and the key is to get into it. Dr. Goswani names this method ‘Do-Be-Do-Be-Do’, emphasizing that getting into right way of thinking is just one step towards realization, and we need to do is act upon it as well.

“Talking is just the result of getting into right thinking, and you have to compliment the right thinking with right living, and then you have to compliment that further, that to create right livelihood for everyone so that right thinking and right living is possible.”

To reach this state we have to engage in activities in the quantum way, which simply means performing actions which make us relax into unconsciousness.

“Engaging in the activity in the quantum way is purifying for the mind, is purifying for ourselves, it enables us to grow.”

Or, simply put – pure magic!

 

The interview with Amit Goswani, Ph.D. conducted by Lilou Mace is enriching in its entirety. It will alter your perception of reality and our role in it. Be sure to watch it!

 

 

Love Gina Wings

The Art of Love: Virginia Woolf and Vita Sackville-West

Virginia Woolf and Vita Sackville-West have met on a dinner party in 1922, dinner party then being a Bloomsbury equivalent of hipster’s house party which is nothing but booze and sex disguised by surface sophistication. What started as a work relationship – Virginia offered Vita to publish her novel with her small press – soon developed into a passionate friendship. Passionate it was, indeed… as in deeds, so in words.

Maybe the best depiction is the letter to Virginia, written on January 21, 1927…

I am reduced to a thing that wants Virginia. I composed a beautiful letter to you in a sleepless nightmare hours of the night, and it has all gone: I just miss you, in a quite simple desperate human way. You, with all your un-dumb letters, would never write so elementary a phrase as that; perhaps you wouldn’t even feel it. And yet I believe you’ll be sensible of a little gap. But you’d clothe it in so exquisite a phrase that it would lose a little of its reality. Whereas with me it is quite stark: I miss you even more than I could have believed; and I was prepared to miss you a good deal. So this letter is just really a squeal of pain. It is incredible how essential to me you have become. I suppose you are accustomed to people saying these things. Damn you, spoilt creature; I shan’t make you love me any the more by giving myself away like this – But oh my dear, I can’t be clever and stand-offish with you: I love you too much for that. Too truly. You have no idea how stand-offish I can be with people I don’t love. I have brought it to a fine art. But you have broken my defences. And I don’t really resent it.

To which Virginia passionately responds…

Look here Vita – throw over your man, and we’ll go to Hampton Court and dine on the river together and walk in the garden in the moonlight and come home late and have a bottle of wine and get tipsy, and I’ll tell you all the things I have in my head, millions, myriads – They won’t stir by day, only by dark on the river. Think of that. Throw over your man, I say, and come.

 

In this day and age it might seem even surreal, having the art of letter writing developed to that level that each word is perfectly placed to depict the depth of emotion. And that was who Virginia was, as she describes in her own words…

I love with such ferocity that it kills me when the object of my love shows by a phrase that he can escape.

Vita never escaped. In her own words, she never resented it, either. She was there to be given eternity by becoming Orlando, once described by Vita’s son Nigel as

the longest and most charming love letter in literature, in which she explores Vita, weaves her in and out of centuries, tosses her from one sex to the other, plays with her, dresses her in furs, lace and emeralds, teases her, flirts with her, drops a veil of mist around her…
 

Which leaves me breathless.
Thank you, Virginia, and thank you, Vita, for sharing your unique story of friendship, love and lust.

Love Gina Wings