Sunday, August 7, 2011

Heart Strings

 Above is a beautiful folk painting at the Ethnographic Museum in Krakow depicting The Sacred Heart of Mary.  It's decorated with paper flowers perhaps for a special day or holiday honoring Mary and to show the painting's owner's devotion. This was a common practice in peasant homes with their religious iconographic images and sculptures to honor, show their connection and devotion to their these images, spirituality and religion.
Today I am leaving Krakow. My bags are packed, I'm ready to go and my cousin will be here in about an hour to take me to have a "goodbye" coffee then to the bus station.

I feel my own personal connection with this image of Mary who's heart represents her interior world, her love to God, Jesus and all humanity. 

My personal resonance with this image comes from my heartfelt feelings of connection with how I have opened to this place, to my family, to Poland's history and culture. A real, experiential thread of connection and love have been established and I will carry this connection and the thread will stretch as I travel away from this place.  Something greater than myself has drawn me here. I'm listening to and acting on what my heart tells me to do. Seeds have been planted and a lot remains to be learned and discovered. How far and deep will the roots of my seed grow and spread?
My last days in Krakow were particularly interesting as so many activities and unexpected events were happening around the town square which I got to witness and be a part of. On Friday I spent a full day walking all around the town center and down to Kazimierz. I came upon a Wine and Cheese Festival where I tried a few Polish wines and decided to have a glass of a Polish white wine while I sat and people watched from the edge of the square. I ate a special mountain cheese that is heated directly on a grill. It was served with a garnish of berry preserves...very tasty. Later I tried the fried dough with a type of sour cream spread over it, topped with a layer of cheese. Wow! That was something. After eating all this good food there may be more coming home with me other then some souvenirs :-)! As I sipped my wine I got to see the DJ begin to work with light effects and stage smoke and do the DJ thing with head phones and bobbing head. It was an interesting scene.

Also that same night, the next square over was a WWI 1914 memorial/music event with a crowd of people gathered, singing along with changing choruses on stage and a uniformed MC. A military marching band came through and lead a number of songs. A Polish flag banner hung from the tower next to the stage in the main market square. A ran into Marcin, my Polish language teacher who said this happens every year. Identity and nationality were strongly being expressed during this event. I'm sorry I can't tell you more as I do not know anything else about this tradition.

Last night, my last night in Krakow was very memorable. It just so happened that it was the last day of a huge bike race event, the Tour de Pologne and the cyclists were coming right through the main market square! I had a date to meet my cousin and his family for dinner in the square and as fate would have it we had a lovely dinner right next to the lane where the cyclists and their entourages were coming through. I have to admit this was very thrilling to me. Each time a new batch of cyclists came through the sirens would wail and a helicopter would circle low overhead. Always it's thrilling for me to see people excel at their talents, passions and interests so seeing these fit athletes speed around the curve of cobblestone streets was really great.

I ended my evening with a cup of flower tea and Polish miod (honey) at one of my favorite cafes along the Planty, the green belt surrounding Krakow center. The sun was about down and all the candles were lit on doily adorned wooden tables. People were walking and biking about on the Planty and I sat watching them from my table on the edge of the cafe's huge art nouveau style porch and wrote in my journal for an hour. After dark I walked to the tram and took it back to my room where rest and dreams awaited.


  1. That painting is so gorgeous and your journey so inspiring. This quest you're on was certainly on my mind when I sent in my application to the Institute! I never in a million years would have imagined I'd actually be doing this, but perhaps you felt the same way about your trip before you decided to embark...

    I'll be around until the end of September so I think we will see each other before I leave, right? I hope so!

  2. Eastern european countries continue to fascinate the nord american visitor.
    But as one who lived there (even Romania is different than Poland or Hungary or Bulgaria) I know that that people from there have an equal fascination for North America.

    Romania at least, is a country with similar peace and autheniticity in every corner, as you discovered in Poland.
    But what I felt living most of my life there, it was that impossible love, when even if you love it so much, you'd like to run away from it at instant.

    And I'm not the only one feeling that need.

    For now, I'm a sentimental "fugitive", but sometimes I dream at my return there.

    It is maybe the case of your feeling that something bigger than you atracted you in this quest. is maybe the inner ancestors voice.

    I wish my son will have the same wonderfull feeling when he'll be a grown up.

    Any identity value restored brings in you a fresher , richer and more aware look to your present life and place.

    looking forward to your new senses from Hungary.


  3. Uma...
    I'm glad you are enjoying the images and checking in on my posts about my inspirational it has been extremely inspring for me to be here. I know your journey ahead will bring you so much...more than you can imagine. I'm glad we will see each other in September before your leave. I look forward to spending a little time with you.

    Your thoughts were so touching to read. Thank you for being so honest and open with your feelings about your experience as an Eastern European new to North America. Your expression of impossible love and and describing yourself as a sentimental fugitive...I can see how one can feel this. Yes, I do feel like the inner ancestor's voice called me to this experience. I'm sure your son will be interested in his roots having you and Eleana as parents and having so much time with his grandparents...he will have a more direct experience with his culture of origin than I have had. I can't agree more....I feel fresher and richer and more aware after having this time in Poland and Hungary this summer. Sending you all love xo.

  4. Kim,

    as I told you before, even on your blogg, my understanding of this life is that inconciously, we all try to recreate the Paradise. All our searches, quests for a better place, life, quests for art, technology, etc, are "recuperatory" behaviours, born from our inner loss and miss of Paradise; we're constantly searching for Paradise.
    From this point of view, our life is not a "passing", our life is "becoming".

    that's why, in my opinion, christian monks are the only one leaving with peace.
    We, the rest, we can be at most, happy (which is not small thing, of course). but one cannot live in peace with life outside belief in God and afterlife.
    I would dare to point on orthodox christianity, but this is definitelly a wider and greater as importance topic, and is not the case to discus it here and now.
    But for sure, the traditions, folk arts, are linked directly to the palpable soul (as you mention it) of each place, they cannot be clarly sepparated from the belief of that people's place.

    There's a very strong connection between every folk motif (pattern), story or balad, to this mistical quest.

    I'm sure you can see that.



    By the way, today we (orthodox christians) have one of the most important celebration "The Dormition of our Most Holy Lady the Theotokos and Ever Virgin Mary"
    I couldn't have a better reason to write my thoughts here, at this post, where you put this beautiful Virgin Mary icon.

  5. Hello Razvan!

    As always, I appreciate your thoughtful comment and insights.

    I like how you said, "Our life is not a passing, it is a becoming." It makes one ask the question of ourselves... "What are we moving toward?"

    Your description of human's longing...longing for "paradise"... I agree. It seems to be a condition of being human... the longing and searching...searching for something...and really we can only strive to find it through a connection to the source, to God, to the great mystery.

    This desire to connect, this theme, is represented over and over, in art, poetry, song.

    People look to be fulfilled and the longing to be relieved in relationships, through drugs but no matter what it is never far from us.

    Personally, I appreciate this feeling of longing because it is the impetus that makes me want to create and's a way I can personally relate to and honor the mystery and the longing in my heart.