“One can have no smaller or greater mastery than mastery of oneself.”
~Leonardo da Vinci
Category Archives: Inspirations
Water is the central source of our beings. It is part of every cell and fiber in us; it is our very essence.
Water symbolizes purity, clarity and calmness, and reminds us to cleanse our minds and attain the state of purity.
Water is my favorite element. I actually crave a large body of water from time to time, like a lake or a river. There is not an ocean near TN, one of the things I miss the most about living in FL.
So, I usually walk to the river in downtown and sit there nearby or I also love to sit by the fountains. I invented my own childhood story in my mind, there I lay often in the hammock under a tree listening to the sounds of a large fountain that sits in front of our house.
There is something so incredible about water, the sounds of water rushing down, waterfalls or even a still placid lake.
I guess my love for the water started from my early childhood memories. My grandmother lived in South of Russia, by the black sea, I spend some time there when I was little and then we vacationed there with my mom every summer. We didn’t have much, but somehow we were able to go on vacations and enjoy ourselves while we were there. Those are some of my happiest recollections from my childhood.
I love swimming, it’s one of my favorite summer time activities. I especially liked coming to the pool either early in the morning before anyone else came or later at night when everyone was already gone. I just really enjoyed the quiet felt most comfortable in my solitude.
One of the things that I enjoyed so much was my water meditations.
I would completely relax my body as I float on the surface of the water. The whole world goes quiet when you submerge your ears under water and I always welcomed that silence. It was so needed, as living in downtown is very noisy, you’re constantly bombarded with the sounds of cars, trains and sirens.
I cherish that perfect moment, as I remember exactly how I felt, floating in the gentle water looking up at the sky. I felt completely perfect, peaceful and content.
Original Oil Painting “One”
What it represents to me.
What it means to me is acceptance, of the world, of the way things are, in all its complexity. Even if I don’t understand a lot of things.
It’s about learning that in life things of opposite nature live close side by side and without one you cannot have the other: Ying and Yang, female and male, negative and positive, dark and light, opulence and poverty, life and death.
I was thinking a lot about dualities and my attitude towards it.
A few years ago, I was invited to a party, in someone’s home or what seemed more like a museum/castle. This person seemed to have the whole world and all that is available in it – the best! Family, money that will never run out, social standing, good health, looks…
I was happy and grateful to be invited of course…but afterwards for several days it had an interesting effect on me…something I did not expect…not at all positive.
I found myself incredibly depressed and crying a lot, things weren’t making sense and I just couldn’t understand how there could be such extremes in the world.
It’s one thing to kind of know about it and a completely different thing when it’s staring you right in the face.
Just days before going to this party I accidentally came across something on the internet; it was a statistic about homeless children in Russia. I am Russian by the way, I was born in Estonia and came to US when I was 15.
It said that it was estimated that there are between million and five million homeless children living in Russia. One of the stories was about a 6 year old homeless boy, who was buying glue in the store, (a lot of homeless children there sniff glue…beyond heart wrenching…) a cop saw him, took away his glue and squeezed out the entire bottle on top of his head. Yes, a 6 year old child! I felt that my insides turned, I wanted to lay down on the floor in fetal position and cry my eyes out from the intensity, cruelty and injustices of the world.
Every emotion came rushing in, engulfing me in a tidal wave of confusion. My own life experiences came to mind…my childhood, where I grew up…
I grew up in Estonia, which used to be part of Russia. Mom worked 2, 3 jobs, going to university and raising me as a single mom without any support, except my grandmother, who was living on the opposite side of the country.
We had to live in this old communal house, government controlled the living situation…what is communal house? It’s basically a tiny room…you walk in the wing where we lived, there is a long hallway, along the sides were doors to the rooms where each family lived. There was a communal kitchen, with 2 stoves, 1 sink, no hot water, no bathtub or any kind of bathing facility, just a toilet that basically was a hole in the ground.
I remember the tiny window in the bathroom, it felt so creepy there…I had nightmares for so many years about living there, in my dreams I was always trapped in that house, trying to escape as it’s collapsing or being submerged under water.
It was a house of horrors, the walls had such large cracks you could put your entire fist in there…there were some epic spider webs, the whole house was infested with bugs and rodents. One night the rat crawled inside our radio (this radio was very old school and big), it was squeaking all night and my mother couldn’t do anything about it.
The neighbors weren’t kind, they would get enraged when my mom played classical music and treat us with a lot of hate. It’s like they thought that my mom thought she was better than them because she had an education and class.
We lived there for 12 years. At one point it was my mom, my stepfather, my newborn sister and me in one tiny room.
When my sister was close to year, the three of us went to the mayor’s office to declare hunger strike, that’s the only option we had to get out of there, to finally demand healthy living conditions. My mom is my hero on so many levels.
So yeah, that’s a super short story of my background. It’s hard to take that much of opposites, it’s hard to process it in my mind. If someone told me when I was little that I would be living the way I do now and in US I would have probably died from happiness.
It isn’t that I wanted to live in that big mausoleum of a house or have the social standing, I never cared much about that, it was just that it was really hard for me to accept things that were on such opposite sides of the spectrum.
But it definitely took a lot of soul searching to make amends with my past and to accept life with all its variety of dualities and experiences. I count my blessings every day for having come such a long way from where we started and for so many good things in my life.
I am also grateful for so many hardships along the way, they shaped who I am today, helped me to have courage and ignited the passion within me for life.
I also strongly believe that all those experiences have led me to discover myself as an artist. It’s like a whole mix of good and bad that made way for something higher and beautiful. That’s probably why I feel so strongly about seeking out beauty in life, wherever I may find it.
“Art is to console those who are broken by life.”
― Vincent van Gogh
This photo of an Angel sculpture was taken in Nashville at the City Cemetery.
I liked it because it was dark and haunting, much like the vibe there that day, as it was a moody, cloudy day. But I like days like that sometimes and coming to quiet places like the cemetery provides me a strange sense of comfort and peace. It gives me an eerie feeling of being suspended in a time capsule and it feels so good just to be still.
In our modern lives there is not enough of that. Everyone is in such a rush to get nowhere. You notice it by visibly diminishing attention span of many…people ask you questions and interrupt without letting you finish your answer, the drivers on the road throw caution and sometimes their lives and the lives of others around them to the wind, in silly attempts to save mere seconds…we get irritated by the commercials on tv and impatiently surf the channels, if you ever sit on a bench in the mall and see people pass you by, everyone seems so consumed by their own thoughts and rushing nervously, trying to pass slower walkers, everyone seems to be in a constant state of frenzy…it scares me.
And worries me because I catch myself doing the same and wonder why?
So, I take those rare opportunities and force myself to slow down, to be still and to enjoy this moment – right
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