When the waves meet the shore

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I don’t always take advantage of the fact I live close to the sea. Partly it’s because Ireland isn’t warm enough in order to go for a regular swim, unless it’s in a swimming pool and unless one is adventurous and doesn’t mind being immersed in the cold water. But for walks and leisurely atmosphere Irish coast is beautiful and it does wonders to your soul.

That day I was already in the neighbouring coastal town, so I asked for direction towards the sea. It took less than ten minutes from the main street. I walked there and sat at the beach. Some people were actually swimming; not many. The Sun was playing hide and seek with the clouds. It was warm when the sunshine was out, and then the temperature cooled down with the clouds and the sea looked less blue, more grey and dark. I found it peaceful, so I sat observing how the sea meets its shore.

I love watching the waves of the sea coming to the shore. The last one jumps as if playing some exciting game, and explodes into millions of small particles of water. As it does that, it soothes the shore, caressing the pebbles and stones. The sound of the waves is so calming…

After throwing a few pebbles in the sea, I let the wind play with my hair. It was that kind of day.

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© Iva Beranek (Dublin, 11th August 2017)
Photos by © Iva Beranek

A letter. Send to: a tooth fairy

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Dear tooth fairy,

I don’t know how often you get a letter from an adult, but I am guessing it does not happen very often. As you know, I had my wisdom tooth taken out on Tuesday. I was a little bit afraid* that I might be in pain after the surgery, simply judging by the pain the week before, but it all ended up going smoothly and painlessly. I already had to face one of my fears last year, and going into surgery was another. Do I get something for bravery?

You know, I was wondering if you would pay me a visit, and the night after the extraction I got a box full of amazing chocolates from a friend. I presume you arranged that, so I wanted to thank you. I had no tooth to leave beneath my pillow for they kept it in the clinic. I was wondering whether I should have asked for the tooth, but clinging onto something that needed to be removed is not wisdom, so I think I’m alright without it. If you need the tooth, I will tell you where to go. You have abilities far beyond my knowing, I am sure you will know how to decipher which tooth was mine.

Since it was not just any tooth, it was a wisdom tooth, I thought you could give me more than chocolates. Also, if you look like an ugly man in a dress, the way my friends suggested, please pretend to be invisible. Would you be able to tell me, the fact that my wisdom tooth is taken out, does that mean that I now have more or less wisdom? Why is it even called the wisdom tooth?

I must say I am grateful for one more thing, though I think that Someone with more power than you brought this one about. For reasons far more extensive than what I can put into this letter, I was aware for a long time that I needed to rest. Yet, with all this awareness, I still was not able to take all the rest I needed. This tooth plunged me into it, without even asking for my permission, and perhaps that was its wisdom.

As I am writing this I want you to know that you are still welcome to bring the other gift. Something tells me you have another surprise, perhaps it’s even big. I can’t wait to see what it is!

Yours,
Iva

*understatement.

© Iva Beranek (Dublin, 7th April 2017)

Seeking beauty

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Beauty is the inner quality of the soul. It shines from within, like a sun whose rays reach far away corners of humanity.

Do not seek beauty only with your eyes, seek with your heart as well.

© Iva Beranek (Dublin, April 2012)
Photo by © Iva Beranek

Wild

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This life is wild, unpredictable like the wind at times….even when you have a dream, and the stubborn inner certainty to follow it, still you can never know all the roads where you will be led on. Sometimes we don’t even know if those roads are right, or wrong, until perhaps later on. Even beauty is wild, goodness too, in this world that sometimes doesn’t value either of the two. I want to take all the goodness that I can and throw it in the face of the ugliness out there, all the terrors and wars and ways in which we walk over the treasures in someone else’s heart, oh if I could be that wild to stand up and say, ‘no, not here, you cannot walk over these people’s dreams. Here is a mirror, go and have a look, there is a treasure hiding in your heart, yes you forgot that you are good! Stop that war, stop that fight, rather take this mirror, and show others who they are’.

Horses, I always think of horses when I think of being wild. Wild horses, running free, untamed, knowing that freedom is their destiny. I suppose there is grace in their ‘wild’, there is pose, and elegance. They are who they are meant to be, and while I call them beautiful, in their wildness there is peace. Oh if people could learn from it!

© Iva Beranek (February 2017) #wildheartwriters

Solitude

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I like to roam in nature or around the city, with a camera around my neck, looking for scenery to open itself up before me and present me with a new version of beauty. Solitude, most people say, are those times when we are alone, but I think it is more than that. It is a quality of presence as we go about our day, a connection with everything, and with God, but also with oneself. It is those times when we don’t need to pretend. Sometimes solitude is alluring and pleasant, other times it burns like a transforming fire. It teaches of the essence of who we are, created and loved, but also imperfect. If we really want to get to know someone we need to spend time with them. Same is true for getting to know ourselves. We need to spend time with what is in us, with our thoughts, inner movements, experiences, everything that we are, even our contradictions. It may seem attractive to run from one thing to the next, avoiding to meet, befriend ourselves. But in those moments, rare or not rare, perhaps depends on the day, when we decide to stop, take a deep breath, we let ourselves be, in those moments peace slowly starts to enter in. I have to say, solitude is not always easy, it shows me the cracks in my very own being. But it also shows me not to be afraid of them. It shows me the road to open up to God even those exiled areas of my heart.

Solitude is, however, not only about self-exploration. For me, being alone is an invitation to create. I hardly ever write when there are lots of people around. One or two, I don’t mind. Or if I got to a coffee shop and bring the computer along, I don’t mind lots of people passing by, but I still have this quality of presence that helps me to focus on the ‘paper’ in front of me. Whether the means is the camera, writing, prayer, reflection, solitude provides this unique focus on what truly matters, and has the ability not to be overly distracted with the rest.

© Iva Beranek (Dublin, 8th February 2017)
Photo by © Iva Beranek
Photo challenge, Daily Post: Solitude

How many episodes of ‘Gilmore Girls’ can one watch in a day?

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Many, if you ask me, even though I did not count my record to date. I started watching it again on Netflix sometime in September. I say ‘again’ because I watched most of it years ago when I was still living in Croatia. It almost feels like I haven’t stopped since, but I have, and I forgot what I saw before. I knew the characters, yet I did not remember much of the story, which was good, so I can enjoy it as if watching for the first time. I got back into it really quickly. Soon I watched episode after episode, every free time I had: in the morning before work, in-between something, getting ready to go out in the evening, I wasted no time.

I probably broke the record with how fast one can watch through the “Gilmore Girls” seasons. On occasional free day I would not be surprised if I watched up to (at least) ten episodes; and a season normally has twenty-two. So when it came to the end of October, I was already half way through the 6th season, wondering what will I do when I finish 7th, and final one. But my withdrawal syndrome kicked in sooner than expected when a Netflix glitch told me at the end of the 20th episode of the 6th season, “Thank you for watching”. And it looked like there was no more.

“You gotta be kidding me!”, I thought. “I can practically become a citizen of Stars Hollow (where they live), after watching it. I already love coffee, I would fit right in.” I was not prepared for that. Thankfully, and I say that with a great sigh of relief, when I refreshed Netflix, all was alright and I continued watching. This month I watched much less, because for different reasons I had to watch over the phone. I could watch two or three episodes a day this way, not much more.

But now, as I am on the last episode of the last season, I don’t need to worry about the withdrawal syndromes! Because this is right on time for the new film that came out on Netflix a few days ago, “Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life”. No spoilers please, as I still haven’t dived into the new episodes! To top it all up, a friend and I went to a Gilmore Girls themed party in Dublin just recently. While the party did not match our standard or expectations, we had fun.

I even tried ‘Rory’, the infamous drink they had for Rory’s 21st birthday.

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Well, I agree with Lorelai’s and Rory’s judgement, the drink sucks. They didn’t like it in the show, and while I was very curious about it, I didn’t like it either. Not sure how it feels when they put something dodgy in your drink, but it was a weird experience drinking it so I said “I ain’t finishing this” – and neither did they finish it in the show.

Thankfully, I still have a little while longer to spend in Stars Hollow, and if I see I will miss watching it when I come to the end, I may start all over again.

© Iva Beranek (Dublin, 27th November 2016)

Sometimes you manage to catch a quote

“You forget your life after a while, life you had before. Things you cherish and hold dear are like pearls on a string. Cut the knot, they scatter across the floor, rolling into dark corners never to be found again. So you move on. And eventually you forget what the pearls even looked like. At least you try.”*

Often I watch a film, whether in cinema or elsewhere, and hear amazing few lines, wishing to be able to write them down, but they disappear too fast so I commit them to my vague recollection. Most of the time they are enjoyed for a moment and then simply lost. This time, however, an exception happened and I caught the beauty of the quote.

*From ‘Outlander’, Claire speaking at the beginning of episode 7, season 1

pearl necklace in hand

Writer’s best friend

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Recently one of my friends asked her Facebook friends to tell her who or what do they think is a writer’s best friend. I think it depends what you are writing. When I am writing poetry everything is a friend, from nature, birds, seasons, images that I see, thoughts that come to my mind, experiences both good and bad will write a poem. Somehow the flow co-operates when writing poetry and a poem can be born merely out of one’s everyday life. Often sadness is a writer’s best friend when writing a poem; some of the best poems end up being written from the places of anguish and pain. The ability to write out of despair speaks of the resilience of the human spirit, as if one is looking for diamonds in experiences that are otherwise full of dirt and often make no sense. Instead of being crushed with it, we transform it into poetry (at least we try to). After sadness it is love that creates most profound lines. Love leads us to areas in our soul that we never knew existed, and they nourish us with wisdom and new found treasures that we keep finding in the depths of our hearts.

When I am writing something other than poetry, especially if it is a research or academic article, then it seems that the coin is turned on its head and everything becomes an enemy. Or rather, everything turns into being a false lover trying to stop me from writing. The flow is a good friend in any writing situation, but one cannot rely on the flow during research. Instead what one needs is discipline and anything else will try and take us away from writing.

A few days ago I had to do exactly that, write an article, and my mind was excited about every little thing on earth. While that felt good, it was not helpful for writing. My mind was like a butterfly that was flying from flower to flower, being excited with the sunshine and getting lost along the way, while I needed it to calm down. I needed a butterfly to fly on the top of my hand and rest a while, which would help me focus. Until that happened, I don’t think that many things were ‘friends’ to my writing.

© Iva Beranek (Laois, 5th June 2016)
Photo by © Iva Beranek

Intimacy of a flower

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I love this deep look into a flower, as if it opens up its heart, intimately, to the world and most people just pass by. Does a flower need admiration? I do not think so. Yet those who stop to admire it are enriched; beauty washes over them.

It seems, however, that flower is happy just by being a flower, regardless of whether its beauty is externally affirmed or not. When we do notice it, it is as if it wants to remind us – you too are beautiful, you too can enrich the world, if you but share whatever is deepest within you heart. If you but open up to the world, as I have, you too will blossom into the fullness of life.

© Iva Beranek (Dublin, 9th May 2016)
Photo by © Iva Beranek

Coffee and poetry

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Today is Poetry Day Ireland. If you buy coffee in Butlers, apart from the usual complementary chocolate, today you also get a nice card with a poem printed on it. Even though I already had more than enough coffee, I had to go into Butlers to get my fill of poetry. It actually wasn’t even on my way, but I took a detour.

I ordered a decaf with a different flavour this time, and asked if I could get more than one poetry card. I got six, that is as much variety they had, so I get to read all the poems they were promoting. And again, they gave me two complementary chocolates, instead of one. Yay! Butlers is officially my favourite coffee shop in town.

This is one of the poems from the poetry card:
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If you are passing by Butlers go and pop in. And even if you are not, make a little effort and go have your coffee, chocolate and poetry card. You’ll be glad you did!

© Iva Beranek (Dublin, 28th April 2016)
Photos by © Iva Beranek