If you’re new to this blog, start by reading the first article – as the first page of a book.
Some say that at one point, each soul will have lived all lives: the rich, the homeless, the abuser, the abused… And some souls, stuck in their physical body, sometimes wish – although scared – to live, right now, drastically different lives from their own one. It’s the kind of ideas my dearest friend Pamela and myself discuss for hours. Live someone else’s life, so we could understand how it feels.
My friend Pamela is Libra. She’s the first friend I met in Brazil. Libras play a special role on my travelling journeys. Basically, I noticed that, on new territories, Life always sends me a Libra as my first Ally (London, Salvador, Arraial d’Ajuda). Libras inspire me to change, freeing me from old beliefs. As a second Ally, Life always sends me (London, Salvador, Arraial d’Ajuda) a Cancer person, providing abundant love and reflecting weaknesses I need to work on.
Pamela is air. Her thoughts flow freely through her mind, inspired by limitless curiosity and openness, without any stiffness, any attachment. With her, possibilities are infinite. Self-discovery never ends. She is weightless. She is childlike. Under her eyes, through her ears, no drama exists; only strange experiences to observe and laugh at. Such is the flow of life. A stream to observe from outside. If I could, I would bring that girl everywhere with me, so she could help me fly over my material life.
Many times, Pame repeated the same idea to me. Maybe the only fixed idea she has in her mind at this time.
- I don’t’ know, She’d ask herself out loud, if I would be able to cross this line of living without money.
Since she got that fixed idea in her head, she meets many travelers who live from selling arts and crafts or performing circus arts in the streets and parks of Brazil. Just as me, she has always had a bank account where lays our financial security. The possibility to go back home when we will be tired of travelling. Just as me, she always ensured this security by working continuously, keeping a comfortable cushion. Just as me, even though she had not done so, she could call mom and dad whenever she needs to go back.
We will maybe never be this homeless, penniless person. However, on March 9th, I felt I lived a bit of this life.
March 9th. 7:30. I wake up with an indigestion – certainly the grilled meat stick, Espetinho de carne – I gifted myself on International Woman’s day. Either it was not cooked enough and had some bacteria, or I’m really not used to eat meet anymore. Overnight, I felt a stabbing pain in my belly and an unrealized need to puke up. And not to help, I slept less than six hours. I was too excited to sleep and talked till 1:30 with my cousin. This morning, before 9:30, I have to be out of the house where I’ve been staying the last four days. A friend of mine accepted to host me for my last three nights in Belo Horizonte, but he will be back home only at 20:00 tonight.
Today is rainy. I have nowhere to store my luggage. I’m feeling sick. And very tired. The only place where I can go and leave my stuff for the day is a studio where I planned to attend a class at 9:00, and another at 18:30. Perfect. Even though I have an indigestion and only wish to spend the whole day in bed. Sleeping. After storing my things and thanking my hosts, I catch an Uber at 9:00 – yes, I’m late. The road, which would normally take 5 minutes, lasts 20 minutes. Because of the rain, the traffic is intense. To avoid it, the Uber driver borrows steep streets. On the wet asphalt, as we ascend a craggy hill, the car runs out of control, sliding down on the side. Think I’ll die. But no. I just arrive very late at the studio, feeding the aversion of the teacher, who is all about discipline. There’s a whole protocol here about using shoes, sandals, washing feet with soap and drying them with paper at the entrance of the studio, etc. Imagine being late. After class, I hoped I could stay a bit at the studio, but today the teacher really seems to dislike me. The technique they teach here, they say is not yoga. At least they’re coherent.
Under the rain, no choice, I catch another Uber to the Policia Federal, where I have to lengthen my three months Tourist Visa, ending on March 28th. The office is located on the third-floor of a commercial center in a rich area. The guy who attends me is nice, but gets quickly annoyed as I have him repeat two times the process I have to go through. On the third attempt, he switches to English. Sure I understood it all, I cross the open-air commercial center – not designed for those rainy days –, catch the elevator – the only dry space by now – to lower down to ground floor and cross the street to get to ITAU bank. Easy.
Then everything gets complicated. In Brazil’s bank, you can only enter with your wallet and phone. Bags need to be stored in outdoor lockers. I do so. Then I realize I don’t have the required code for the bank transfer. I get out, get my stuff from the locker, cross the street, reach 3rd floor again and wait for the staff member. A fourth time, I have him explain the process – now he gets irritated for good. I go back down, cross the street, look for that street stand with computer and printer, struggle to fill the form, go to the bank again, lock my stuff, wait for my turn…
That’s when, seated on the orange plastic chair with an irrepressible longing to fall into tears, I ask myself: do I really want to stay in Brazil later until March 28th? Is life sending me a message here? Is life telling me to go back home, reach for that love and stability I’m aiming for? Or is She only testing my limits? Testing if I’ll dive again into that illusion of love and stability, which I already know exists nowhere in this outside world? Love and stability exists only inside. It’s a feeling I can create now, inside my heart. I do so. Close my eyes. Feel it inside.
“Life, listen to me: this time you’re not going to foil me! No, today I will carry on and focus on my objectives. I can’t always be so spiritual and think You’re sending me signs and messages! Maybe You are. But I don’t care. Today I’ll fight. I’m going to lengthen my visa, no matter how complicated You make it for me! That’s what I planned to do today. That’s my only goal of the day. I’ll do it. Even if it may result useless. Even if I then decide to go back home before March 28th, I’m going to pay that $110.40 Reais and lengthen that visa, Life, you hear me???”
The cashier attends me. I can’t pay the taxes with my Canadian card there, can’t withdraw cash either, have to walk to another bank – under the rain –, withdraw cash there, go back to ITAU, wait for the cashier, make the payment, cross the street, ascend to third floor, wait again for the employee… who now smiles, as I successfully went through all the process on my own. Big girl.
I’ll spend the rest of the day waiting in the Shopping Center. Waiting for the rain to stop so I can walk to the “non-yoga” studio. All day long, I’ll put up with the pain in my belly, the cold and humid air, the awful smell of my soaked running shoes… I’ll endure the hatred of a fast-food waitress who believes I’m just stealing the internet, while I’m actually truly waiting for a friend for a lunch there. But I’ll prove her she’s right, and decide to eat somewhere else. All day long, I’ll put up with people looking and talking to me with contempt. People who judge superficially and treat others accordingly to social ranks and hierarchy. People upset with rain, upset with their job, upset with others, upset with their lives. They are stressed. They lack meaning. They’re here for money. That’s all. But, luckily, I also cross the path of some lovely workers today: the cleaning lady joking around loudly with everybody; the security guard at the bank; and the man working in a newspapers street stand.
They say we have to live all lives. Today, I feel I live the life of the homeless. The homeless puts up with the cold, the rain, having no roof to protect him, nowhere to rest even though he feels tired, sick or hungry, dependent on other’s charity and empathy, but receiving merely disdain. Today, my hair is all around and I look sick, carrying my voluminous dirty bag, feeling like a parasite on a Café terrace where I can catch Wifi. BUT, I have the promise of a comfortable roof tonight, and have my iPhone and laptop to make time fly faster, in a productive way.
Yes, today, Life is sending me a lesson.
Today, I remember something I learnt in Salvador, two months ago. A morning, I was on a hurry for my dance class and I did not take the time to give a beggar a penny. A beggar with teared clothes and dried blood on the legs, sleeping on a cardboard on the street. I felt regret during the whole day. But Life would give me another opportunity. This other day, I gave another beggar a banana. And I felt filled with love for three days. So I understood it would make all the difference. Give a banana. Give water. Give a penny. Spend fifteen seconds. Thirty seconds. A smile. And be rewarded with love flowing through your heart every time you’ll remember this moment of charity.
When I used to work in an office in Montreal, I often thought: “I’m suffering my own job to make that money, why would I give even a dollar to someone who could be working – have two legs, two arms and a working brain?” That’s my own lesson. Be happy, so you can help others. Don’t suffer something you don’t like for money, because the fortune you will pile up will always be imbued with that negative energy. You will need it to be yours. Because it means so much suffering. It is so valuable. Rather just waist it all now. And start over with something you love, that will provide you JUST ENHOUGH.
I also understand, today, why they say that one must clean himself morally to attain higher levels of consciousness. So they don’t have wrong thoughts and energies blocking the way.
17:30. I can finally walk to the studio. Last step to overcome before I can crash on my friend’s couch and sleep peacefully. On my way to the studio, there is a shop selling all flavors of handcrafted popsicles, Picolé: peanut, coco, chocolate, strawberries, orange, maracuja, kiwi. A beautiful woman is buying a dozen of picolés, for her family, I’m sure. She looks wealthy – just enough. Educated – just enough. Healthy – just enough. Her green eyes are filled with empathy and love. I can relate to her a lot.
- Which picolé do you prefer? I ask the woman behind the counter.
- I love chocolate… And dolce de leite…
- Oh… But, a fruit one?
- Kiwi is very good.
- Kiwi is great, adds the woman with green eyes.
- Kiwi then!
This day is finally over.
— SUBSCRIBE to the blog to be emailed the next episode.