Madness and magic

February 19, 2022

Photo Indre Dunn

February 18, there are truckers in my country standing up for our freedoms, there are war mongering politicians trying to ignite conflicts, there are megalomaniac billionaires who think they, and only they, know what the world needs to heal and usually it involves them getting richer with schemes that only repeat what caused the problems in the first place. My stove is filled with wood that was destined to go to Ikea’s factories but the trees were not perfect so Jonas got them and now we get heat from them. Here in Romania, finding wood to burn in your stove is getting harder and harder as the corporations hog the natural resources while villagers lose access to ancestral rights and ways of life. In Turkey the electricity bill went up something like 150 percent in 2 years. Yet there is a class of pretty privileged people working from their upscale condos on their fancy laptops who find nothing wrong with all the losses and hardships regular people are experiencing and they whine about whatever annoys them be it traffic jams or ideologies about gender equity, and in fact don’t mind being forced to stay home, because home is after all, quite nice and they get to save the world that way….

During the lockdowns in Turkey I lived in a 4 x 3 meter room with windows peering into darkness, screaming neighbors (which increased dramatically during lockdowns), the density of the neighborhood so high, you can touch the house next door if you stretch your arms and such buildings surround you on all sides. After a while I was losing my mind. The stress level was out of sight. We were only allowed to go shopping for groceries. At one point I didn’t see another human for 20 days or so. No talk, no hugs, no laugh… I swore I’d never ever be caught again in this sort of tyranny while in a big city. Depression was at hand I felt I was millimeters from losing my sanity. I gradually learned to watch my emotions, control the waves as they came and not to allow all the propaganda they were spreading like oil on a fire to freak me out any more than I already was.

Today as the moon shines, almost full over the little Romanian village where I am, I ponder. My fire burns, heating up my room, a simple yet beautiful with windows facing the sunrise. At 10 PM the village street is deserted. (yes there is only one street) , doors never locked, you can buy your milk, eggs and cheese from neighbors, fresh, pure things that fill your cells with life. Your tastes simplify, as well as your needs and desire as what is available is so nourishing, fulfilling that the shiny things of the supermarket lose their appeal.

I learned to chop my wood, I could not really hold the axe at first, my laptop, or bicycle muscles for that matter, were definitely not up to the task. First with the small axe, then it was broken and the replacement we got was at least twice as big and heavy. I could barely hold it up let alone chop wood with it. But I had to cut the wood to feed the stove so I could cook and heat my room, so I persevered. I was thinking about my ancestors, how they lived, Quebecois settlers, with no electric tools to help them build their homes no tractors to cultivate the land. But I can now say that I can chop wood, of a certain size that is, but I can. It is something important to me. I still have a crazy dream of building my own home, so that was a little “yes you can” towards that dream.

If I am honest with you, the last months have been some of the hardest in my life. Not because of the conditions, people or anything else. (everyone has been just amazing around me) I have been suffering from neuropathy; nerve pain along my hips, legs, feet and at times crawling up in my upper body and hands. So much pain that at times it feels like I am in a cloud of semi-consciousness not really knowing where my feet are. The worst of this is that I have not been able to sleep, for weeks, months… No sleep, no sanity. It looks like this could be long covid. On new year’s eve alone in the dark, crying out loud that I didn’t want another year, I was done. It’s been really really quite dark. Endless pain, insecurity with my visa status, financially and emotionally, loneliness (thank God for the cat) all of this put together can mess up a mind. Along with the madness in the world, it’s been a sort of anchorless drift into uncertainty and doubt.


Now, we’ve had warm days that have melted most of the snow. The birds are singing more and more, I detect new voices, new songs that are new for me here. The goats have given birth and I get to witness their playful tricks and jumps and it fills me with pure joy. I am learning a lot. I see that I have to welcome all that happens, painful or not, praise it, give it it’s place. Surrender, listen, trust. Focus on others, not me. There is such an irony: to be in such a heavenly place and to live such a personal hell of pain. To learn to breathe through all this. To try to love this body while my instinct tells me to run away from it. Always learning… that was what I asked for back in 2010…

What the next months will bring I know not. This visa situation will likely determine what I will “have” to do. Stay or go. And I have to be OK with it all. In the mean time, I endeavor to live and love the moment be able to say: “that sucks” and let it go and not lose my mind over it. Have trust in my fate. Function from where the magic is within, which is the only place I can-could ever operate from. The fact that all possibilities always lie in front of our eyes if we’re willing to believe in the magic and power of what we are. That is my challenge.

Photo Indre Dunn