I Found My Freedom in Not Having

editorial & arteditorial

24 November 2017
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Dear Oana, can we have a brief introduction of yourself ? ...

This introduction is a little leitmotif of my life, because I've always been looking for something ... and I think this quest is actually a quest for me and bigger than me ... and I'm glad to know it's going forward (laughs) ...

Where did it all start from?

It started during my teenage, when I began to discover other worlds in me that I could explore, feed myself and then let them shine in the best possible form, in the outside world. It was the reading, it was the music, the attraction for the creation ... a little later the spirituality, which came into my life very discreetly, especially through the books of Mircea Eliade ... his books on India and yoga, which I really devoured. I was, also, fortunate to live in a very free family in relation to religion which allowed me to build little by little my spiritual life. And, after that, I just wanted to discover the potential that was in me and to give it the best possible expression. That's how I started painting, one beautiful day ...

Painter, Photographer, Writer ... where does all this creativity come from?

It comes from a space of silence, which allows me to reconnect with a dimension that is beyond me, to resonate with, and just to express something that animates me. It was a great liberation for me, to discover that I could give a visible, palpable form to my inner world ... and let this flow of energy go outward.

I saw your paintings, they are full of colors ... what do they express, in fact?

They point out the most important periods of my life, in general, moments of personal expansion, magical moments whose only expression was, color, movement. I find that there is a moment when the power of the words stops, the relationship with the world becomes more subtle and the color then becomes a "vehicle of the unspeakable" ...

Is it the same for photography or is it different?

It's different in the sense that, in painting, I try to express something that "is born" in me, whereas photography for me represents more the puzzle game of my visions on the outside world ...

It comes from the outside?

Exactly! What fascinates me in photography is precisely that moment that is precious, transmits so much, where we connect with the natural, simplicity, spontaneity. I like the street photo, the daily photo ...

And with writing, is it a different way of expressing yourself?

Writing was a long time a kind of psychotherapy. It stayed in the paper for years and years, and then, one day, I found the courage to share that ...

To express oneself to others in a personal way is to give a little bit of yourself ...

Now, the writing has become like a spiritual tool. It really draws on the spiritual life and it helps me to anchor myself more. Through writing, I am more able to embody moods and, then, express what I am and what I want to do in a more coherent way.

And, to return to Earth, what is your favorite actor or actress?

I do not really have a favorite actor or actress. But, I have a favourite singer since my teenage and I feel that it will remain the same for all my life ... It's Lenny Kravitz!

Why him?

It is very simple! I like his masculinity.

A wild side?

Yes, a wild side, a very exotic side, and the artist, at the same time ... and I'm simply fascinated. He remains my fantasy. (Laughs).

Who has been your greatest influence?

I did not really have an idol. I had, mostly, models of myself that I wanted to achieve ... But there were people who inspired me strongly by their path of life, their achievement, the power of their message ... I think more particularly at Mircea Eliade, Christiane Singer, Thierry Janssen, Andrei Plesu ...

Speaking of society, of reality, what is your style?

I will start with my lifestyle, which is quite unusual, I would say, for the society in which we live. It's been many years now since I travel and I share my time between France, Romania and India. I have no more fixed work, no home of my own, my life is punctuated by departures and incessant returns .... But I discovered in this "not having" ... a freedom to be, a space which is big enough to accommodate all these external changes. My style is the little rebellion, but a rather discreet rebellion ...

What is fashion for you?

I, really, appreciate the aesthetics in all dimensions of life and it's true that the style of dressing is important for me but I try, nevertheless, to follow a fairly ethnic line. I like the woman who follows a trajectory in time through her clothes, who identifies with a culture or several, at the same time, in any case, that makes something resonate. I like the woman who shines and releases something in a subtle way. In each trip, I buy traditional clothes that I bring to life afterwards and combine them. It's another way of traveling; it's like the journey continues through the clothes and through my way of being.

Where do you place yourself in the world today?

I prefer to talk about my relationship with the world, less with society. Today, I can not be in the world without maintaining a very intimate relationship with life. My profession as a physiotherapist is, in itself, a way to take care of life. And, precisely, in relation to this, my place in the medical world is halfway between conventional medicine and traditional medicine. I share an integrative vision of care and I am convinced that it will be the medicine of tomorrow.

What is your greatest weakness and what are you doing to improve it?

I think it's the fear of being judged ... that gave me a lot of frustrations on different levels and, especially, in my way of expressing myself in the world, quite simply. For years, I had to work with myself, with psychotherapists, too ...

What was their message?

We talked a lot about fears and their impact on how we think, act, etc. Also, vulnerability. It is true that, at the beginning, I had a rather negative vision of the vulnerability, whereas it is not at all that, it is, on the contrary, a force. It is, especially, through the vulnerability that we resonate with life and that we can feel it better, make it vibrate, feel it in all our cells.

What have you done in the last year to improve yourself?

I traveled to India and trained in yoga therapy. It was fascinating! Then, I went to Thierry Janssen School of Therapeutic Presence in Brussels. It is a teaching shool about the beauty and complexity of the therapeutic and human relationship. I pushed my limits by registering for a meditation DU ... I read, I took pictures, I danced, I looked at the sky, I spent time with my parents, with my friends, with our two little cats and our dogs ... I try to do activities that feed my soul, but, eventually, maybe, the mere fact of being is enough ...

The simple things of life that give you strength ...

Exact!

How do you handle stress and pressure?

What helps me a lot is knowing that it is not the outside event that is the cause of the stress, but the way we respond to it. In relation to this, meditation and yoga helped me a lot. Meditation does not mean evasion, putting oneself in a bubble that has nothing to do with reality, nor stop thinking. Meditation helps us become familiar with our inner life and become a caring witness. In this way, we manage to take a step back and create a space of freedom, where the automatic reaction is replaced by an adapted response to stress.

Why did you start practicing yoga?

I discovered yoga when I started traveling to India. Since I was a teenager, I have been attracted to yoga, but I have taken classes here and there, in Europe and then, in India, and, then, I had a revelation: to become a yoga instructor and yogatherapist. It started with 30 days in an ashram ...

What is an ashram?

An ashram is a spiritual center where the rules are quite strict ...

What are the rules in an ashram?

It depends! In general, one gets up very early, around 4.30 and meditates for 1H-1H30 .Then, there is breakfast ...

What does breakfast consist of?

Ah, the breakfast (laughs) .. it's not bread, butter, jam ... It's vegetarian, very simple: different seeds, rice, chai, fruits and vegetable mixes. In general, we eat with our hands. And, that's an adventure! (laughs) But we do it quickly. In ashrams, we do not use garlic and onion, considered rajasic foods, which promote aggressive behavior. After, it depends. There is, also, a teaching time. In the center where I was, there were yoga classes, theory and practice.

What is your yoga philosophy?

For me, yoga is a path to oneself. It's an opportunity to connect with a dimension larger than yourself. You can do yoga to relax, to treat a backache, to manage a stressful situation or to connect to something beyond us, to this mystery of life. It's up to everyone to find their own way.

Has yoga changed your life?

Yes! It allowed me to establish a deeper dialogue with my inner life, to decipher the messages that my body sent me and to establish an intuitive dialogue with it. Yoga took me to another way of life, another way of being. It, completely, changed my relationship to myself and to life ...

How do you level up in the yoga field?

I go to India very often. In the last 5 years, I have only traveled to India where I spend a few months, in general.

Is India the only place to update?

No, not only. Me, I like to go to the source and, then, this is the place where I discovered yoga. For me, it is important to experience it in the most authentic way possible. One way to update was this postgraduate yoga therapy degree that I did, which changed the way I looked at myself. After years of inner conflict, yoga has joined my professional life to my spiritual life.

What are the challenges you have experienced as a yoga teacher?

The first challenge is to try to show that yoga is not only the physical aspect, it's not just a posture, it's not to be super flexible, or to stay on the head for 10 minutes . Yoga is, above all, a way of being. It is to calm the mind, to love and respect one's body, to resonate with life on a deeper level, to evolve spiritually.

You have made many trips, it's time to tell our readers a few stories from your journeys  ... 

Do you have a week? (laughs) The first trip was a missed trip. I had to go to Thailand with two girlfriends ..I was not informed about visas and I was returned from the airport. It was a bad start. Latin America has been a great revelation for me! I was at home, and completely out of place, at the same time. It's a pretty disturbing, intriguing mix. I fell in love with this culture, this energy of South America which is very earthy, very anchored, very close to nature. I discovered several countries of Central and South America and, each time, the thing that strucked me was the joy of living of the inhabitants and the very simple and healthy human relationship. It, really, touched me. The encounter of the native tribes, religious syncretism, was new to me. But, at the same time, I've known it all along since my childhood books about the AmerIndians! I discovered Machu Picchu playing hide-and-seek with Winnetou ... 

Any anecdotes?

I was in Madagascar and I took the local transport, the taxi-brusse. They are very old crowded cars, and it seems that everything will come off, at any time. A kind of itinerant chaos for the eyes of the traveler. I like traveling as a local, so I took it. I do not know by what miracle there was a tiny place at the bottom. Except that, for me to access it, everyone had to come out. And, the Malagasy spirit, particularly inventive, found the solution. Everything happened so fast that I barely had the time to realize what's happening to me: the driver came down and with the help of a person from inside, they made me pass like an arrow, through the window. In a few seconds I occupied the privileged place ... A few minutes later, I was going to realize that going up / down through the window was a common practice. After all, they were right: less movement, more comfort.

How do get informed about all these trips?

I had the Lonely Planet guide who is a bit of my travel Bible and, before I leave, I make a little itinerary with the places I want to see, how long I want to stay, and then, I'm flexible enough, depending on what I like or do not like, it can change. Of course, I like to feel the place and leave a footprint of their lifestyle, try to make, the least possible, the tourist, mix with the locals, see how they live.

What is your message to our readers?

Open the heart, discover what it is deep inside you, express it, make it resonate with the world, in a fair and respectful way for any form of life.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

I still see myself traveling. My path may carry a message that will join the professional with the spiritual. I will be especially, this pilgrim who gives to the world all the beauty, the sweetness, the love and the ancestral knowledge which he himself received while traversing his ways ...

Interview by Andra Oprea

Collocutor: Oana Stefanescu | You can find her at https://artistvoyage.wordpress.com/