Sunday, 31 March 2013

Poem: Belong


this ribcage is a door behind which hides an ocean
sounds of the waves escape the mouth
I moved around the kitchen as carelessly as I used to
my body independent from the wanting
these egoistic creatures upon which I stand
never made enough use of their strong fibre
rocks and water have left marks on my skin
earth fighting a battle on the surface of our bodies
like bubbles - when you poke it, the air gets out

I belong to you, a bit wearied and bent
diving through each dark coloured leaf
I push my palms against the starlit sky
space between the earth and the moon is mine
I wish you'd make a constellation out of the marks on my skin
and fall in love with each one of them
I wrote it in capital letters so you would know
the adjective that was missing; like your voice
that used to remind me of who I really am

a tree extends across my back as wings would
there is a place on the back of my neck
where you can kiss me and make the branches shiver
so I can feel the eternity rushing through the veins
but »never« is a word unknown to this suit
 the future doesn't look so infinite
growing old with the dread of ending
let the body not be aware of its mortality
moon is the heart, stardust is the blood

Saturday, 30 March 2013

Blog: Gut feeling and universe

Lately I've been thinking more and more about how our feelings influence our bodies, especially the gastrointestinal tract, which seems to be in close coloration to our emotions. A lot of traditional sayings connect the gut and feelings, and even before we could understand why we made a certain decision, we felt it in our guts. Sometimes the decision you know that is wrong makes your stomach hurt. And of love and butterflies in the stomach... And it is true, that gut feeling is mostly correct. But is the gut the most talkative out of all the organs? They have compared the gut with the brain for having so many neurons.

»A gut feeling is a visceral emotional reaction to something; it may be negative or positive. Gut feelings are generally regarded as not modulated by conscious thought, and as a reflection of intuition, rather than rationality. The phrase may also be used as a shorthand term for an individual's »common sense«, perception of what is considered »the right thing to do«.

Body always tells us what is good for us and what isn't. And if you ignore it for too long, it will bite you in the ass, so to speak. It seems to me such a long time ago, when they diagnosed me with irritable bowel syndrome or IBS. It makes me giggle now, that I have a very cranky bowel, but back then I was frustrated. And that frustration and anxiety further improved the symptoms. Come to think of it I've had problems since I was a kid, but when I was in a situation in my life, that I knew wasn't right for me and made me very uncomfortable, the problems got much worse. And now, when I've changed that, it's much easier to live. But now the stomach is complaining.

I've made a few photographs and drawings to try to bring awareness about IBS/IBD and I get to hear from other fellow-sufferers here and there. I'm surprised how young these people usually are and what kind of problems they are dealing with and also, how much it affects their lives... And the hard part is, I want to help, I can give advice, but what will actually help them IS themselves. They.. We have to find out what works for our bodies. After all, every body is unique. But the important part is not to personify oneself with the diagnosis. You are not your health problems.

Body works every day and how we treat it will have an effect on it. And some things start off small and grow into bigger things before we stop ourselves. And are we sometimes spoiled, for treating it badly and then complaining when it feels bad, when we get sick and when it hurts?! As if it’s a machine.

There was a study done in 1942, but I think it's still relevant today, about emotions and gastro duodenal function, in particular on patients with gastritis, duodenitis and peptic ulcer. They found that emotions such as anger, anxiety, guilt and frustration increase acidity in the stomach.

»Tension, anxiety, resentment, anger, guilt, obsequiousness and desperation, already present, accentuated or induced, were almost always accompanied by an increase in hydrochloric acid, mucous and pepsin secretions. Peristaltic activity became continuous, and contractions increased in magnitude. Respiration became more rapid and shallow, with frequent sighs. There was usually a drop in finger temperature. Often in patients with ulcer, pain of a burning and gnawing quality was precipitated and unusual amounts of bile and moderate amounts of fresh, unclotted blood appeared in the extractions. Similar changes occurred in a few instances during sleep following a period of affective stress. During and after interviews which engendered emotional security, functional over-activity decreased and approached the normal. A comparison of the individual physiological and emotional changes in normal subjects with those of patients with ulcer, gastritis and duodenitis, revealed similar patterns, but the changes in the pathological group were greater in magnitude and duration.«

»Behind the facade of independence and self-sufficiency was a background of long standing and severe anxiety, of feelings of helplessness or of being caught, frustration and desperation. Resentment and manifestations of aggression and hostility stood out. Such resentment sometimes was associated with an attempt at resolution through action but more commonly it was not overtly expressed, nor was there a plan for its resolution. The subject was not necessarily aware of its existence. In brief, despite the seeming heterogeneity of characteristics, these persons commonly showed assertive independence and self-sufficiency, covering underlying anxiety and insecurity, and accompanied by feelings of resentment and hostility. Indeed, remorse, guilt and self-denunciation were almost universally associated with anxiety and resentment, and were the basis of much conflict and personal stress.«
PS: I've been reading about health benefits of colostrum on GI system, here is the link. Might be another thing to try.

The reasons behind this post are my recent abdominal pains. Having gastrointestinal problems you'll be faced with plenty different sensations in the abdomen. And if you worry about it, don't they seem to get worse? I don't always do this, but I've found it to be helpful: I try to tell myself why it hurts, why I feel that certain ache. Neurons inform the brain that they've encountered a problem. Essentially the pain is just information in the brain. And if you have a »sensitive gut« even normal function may be interpreted as an ache.

Years of anxiety are probably the main reasons behind my problems today. And it seems that I’m not alone in this. And behind that anxiety is a conviction that I don’t belong here. As if, I never felt rooted anywhere. But lately I’ve come to realize something...which made me feel better. Some have religion, I have science:

And I as I lay down to sleep after a long day, with abdominal aches and a burning throat I thought... how long it took, how vast my/our history is... billions of years ago something happened...

»We started off on this planet – this fragment of dust spinning around the sun – and in 4 billion years we gradually changed from bacteria into us. This is a spellbinding story.« - Richard Dawkins

And then through thousand of generations our genes were transferred. Two cells met and grew into me. Into this body that I'm aware off. And out of thousand possible versions it could develop into, it chose to be this one. Our atoms, the parts that make up our human body, came from the stars. And that thought doesn't make me feel small, but relevant, because we are all connected. Universe is in us. It's the ingredient of life. And you belong here. And don't our daily worries seem silly and unimportant all of a sudden? And how with the help of scientific discoveries we get to live longer lives? If it weren't for vaccines and antibiotics (things we have for granted now), many of us wouldn't be here now. I know I wouldn't.

»From this distant vantage point, the Earth might not seem of any particular interest. But for us, it’s different. Consider again that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every ‘superstar,’ every ‘supreme leader,’ every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there — on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that in glory and triumph they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner. How frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity — in all this vastness — there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. The Earth is the only world known, so far, to harbour life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment, the Earth is where we make our stand. It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.« - Carl Sagan

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Video: Charlie Chaplin - The Great Dictator

"We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery we need humanity. More than cleverness, we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost."

The Great Dictator (1940): "During the last days of the First World War, a clumsy soldier saves the life of devoted military pilot Schultz. Unfortunately, their flight from the advancing enemy ends in a severe crash with the clumsy soldier losing his memories. After quite some years in the hospital, the amnesia patient gets released and reopens his old barber shop in the Jewish ghetto. But times have changed in the country of Tomania: Dictator Adenoid Hynkel, who accidentally looks very similar to the barber, has laid his merciless grip on the country, and the Jewish people are discriminated against. One day, the barber gets in trouble and is brought before a commanding officer, who turns out to be his old comrade Schultz. So, the ghetto enjoys protection from then on. Meanwhile, Dictator Hynkel develops big plans, he wants to become Dictator of the whole world and needs a scapegoat for the public. Soon, Schultz is being arrested for being too Jewish-friendly, and all Jews except those who managed to flee are transported into Concentration Camps. Hynkel is planning to march into Osterlich to show off against Napaloni, Dictator of Bacteria, who already has deployed his troops along the other border of the small country. Meanwhile, Schultz and the barber manage to escape, guised in military uniforms. As luck would have it, Schultz and the barber are picked up by Tomanian forces and the barber is mixed up with Hynkel himself. The small barber now gets the once-in-a-lifetime chance to speak to the people of Osterlich and all of Tomania, who listen eagerly on the radio."
"I'm sorry but I don't want to be an emperor. That's not my business. I don't want to rule or conquer anyone. I should like to help everyone if possible; Jew, Gentile, black men, white. We all want to help one another. Human beings are like that. We want to live by each others' happiness, not by each other's misery. We don't want to hate and despise one another. In this world there is room for everyone. And the good earth is rich and can provide for everyone. The way of life can be free and beautiful, but we have lost the way.

Greed has poisoned men's souls; has barricaded the world with hate; has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed. We have developed speed, but we have shut ourselves in. Machinery that gives abundance has left us in want. Our knowledge as made us cynical; our cleverness, hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery we need humanity. More than cleverness, we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost. The aeroplane and the radio have brought us closer together. The very nature of these inventions cries out for the goodness in man; cries out for universal brotherhood; for the unity of us all.

Even now my voice is reaching millions throughout the world, millions of despairing men, women, and little children, victims of a system that makes men torture and imprison innocent people. To those who can hear me, I say "Do not despair." The misery that is now upon us is but the passing of greed, the bitterness of men who fear the way of human progress. The hate of men will pass, and dictators die, and the power they took from the people will return to the people. And so long as men die, liberty will never perish.

Soldiers! Don't give yourselves to brutes, men who despise you and enslave you; who regiment your lives, tell you what to do, what to think and what to feel! Who drill you, diet you, treat you like cattle, use you as cannon fodder! Don't give yourselves to these unnatural men---machine men with machine minds and machine hearts! You are not machines! You are not cattle! You are men! You have a love of humanity in your hearts! You don't hate! Only the unloved hate; the unloved and the unnatural. Soldiers! Don't fight for slavery! Fight for liberty! In the seventeenth chapter of St. Luke, it’s written “the kingdom of God is within man”, not one man nor a group of men, but in all men! In you! You, the people, have the power, the power to create machines, the power to create happiness! You, the people, have the power to make this life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure. Then in the name of democracy, let us use that power.

Let us all unite. Let us fight for a new world, a decent world that will give men a chance to work, that will give youth a future and old age a security. By the promise of these things, brutes have risen to power. But they lie! They do not fulfill their promise. They never will! Dictators free themselves but they enslave the people! Now let us fight to fulfill that promise! Let us fight to free the world! To do away with national barriers! To do away with greed, with hate and intolerance! Let us fight for a world of reason, a world where science and progress will lead to all men’s happiness.

Soldiers, in the name of democracy, let us all unite!"
 (text from: here)

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Poem: Branches of a human heart

two crows are pecking for seeds
as the snow melts away our fears
dreams we swallow
making them shine inside of us
let our voices find the strength
for those who lost the sun
our hallways are built narrow
yet they fail to keep us close
will the bridges stand strong
under the enraged river of our white lies?
we bruise each other
and admire our scar tissue
babies sleep in their coffins
while the chosen wish for a different fate
what makes you want to
burst the bubble of your home?
'cause there you are the truest
you will ever be
except when the tragedy strikes
and among all the monitor beeps
of hearts in distress
you will observe only one
because you'll know this life is final
then you'll appreciate the branches of a human heart
the vastness of it, spreading
through these hearts of ours

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Poem: If only you would love the rain

She cut out her heart and buried it in the depths of autumn,
left with a heart shaped box of leaves.
She said: »It's a long way back into dust.«
and in between the words you could hear the trees whisper.
She looked at herself in the mirror,
felt like the reflection echoed into infinity,
through glass and camera she admired her shadow;
until someone with a heart of snow touched her skin.
Her body shivered under the cold and stumbled down at his feet.
She saw a glimpse of a boy she chased down the streets when they were kids.
Clenched her thighs and bit her lower lip,
for all the mistakes and bad decisions she has made.
His presence was exhilarating, chilling to the bone,
with a touch he brought snow and frost to her heart shaped box.
She was spell-bound; the cold was her first weakness.
No matter how hard she tried, she couldn't find a reflection of his.
She asked: »How can someone be and not leave an echo in infinity?«
The next hand that touched her, had a heart of flowers.
Sweet scent of life expanded from his chest.
Although he could satisfy her pleasures like a long forgotten dream,
she kept yearning for the cold.
The last hand to touch her, had a heart of sunshine;
such a cliché to melt under the softness of a touch,
admiring the flickering lights his rays left behind.
He painted on her skin and in between her collarbones
he placed a locket of a secret garden and said:
»Use your little key to open it, whenever you wish to escape.«
One night her curious mind pushed her to open the locket,
in there she found a glass with glittering light.
All the burning reflections ignited a fire to the leaves in her heart shaped box.
He said: »Now you are finally closer to dust, just like you wanted.«
Looking back into his eyes she whispered with regret:
»If only you would love the rain.«

If only she knew, the next heart to touch her would love the rain.