'Our love affair was a prickly thing
I thought you were ugly and cruel
You enticed me back'
I was planning another post, but given the current diplomatic crisis between the UK and Russia (and the world), this one feels more timely.
As love affairs go, this one's been pretty damn big for me....
Moscow is my Himalayas. I start to breath differently there as soon as the plane hits the tarmac. It's a place to feel more alive. I realise not everyone feels like this.
How do you learn to love something which initially seems off-putting?
Well, this is the essence of tantra, and Russia has taught it to me well...
'Overcast and austere, you make me glad to be with you
Unwelcoming, you embrace my soul
Once more I breathe deeply in your feather-heavy air
My belly bubbles the buzz none can hear'
Often, the things which seem most 'difficult' are the ones most worth the effort. When I first visited Moscow in 1996, I can safely say I was not immediately in love with the place. It was big, dusty, unwelcoming, had horrible red tape, and all the good nightclubs were hidden un-signposted down some back street only to be reached using a hastily hand-drawn map.
But there was something.... an excitement, a challenge, a significance, a secret, a promise of more.
It is becoming a bit of a theme for me, but if you want to experience ecstasy, you need to embrace complexity - the 'good' and the 'bad'. It is only through transmuting the duality of these that you find genuine unconditionality and passion for life.
Those red stars on top of the Kremlin get me every time....
(Also, y'know, Russians are not that difficult to get on with - lots of my favorite, favourite people in this lifetime have been and are Russian).
Poetry heals, and here is a poem I wrote in Moscow two years ago in 2016, a whole twenty years after my first visit - celebrating the things that had changed, the things that hadn't, the memories, and the constant new-ness. I hope it goes some way to offering a fresh perspective.
Am I old or young?
This place tumbles my feelings
Until I melt into the flow
Releasing the years in between
Worn like barricades
Can I still be one of you?
In these spaces so grand
I lose myself lightly
So present in every in-breath
Every mouthful, every undiminished echo
Still delightfully stern and unyielding
Now flaunting glamour and poise
A new-old presence reinvented again
Between grid-locked cars
Joy bursts out at stony walls
A face this serious can only be pretending
One tickle and here's a laugh
It's flooding back to me
I remember how to dance through this
Lilac trees invite
Red stars in the night
Vibrating with stored knowing
A constant landmark for our stories
Yours, and mine
Of course - you were my mentor!
Shaping my young years
Being the anarchy of aliveness
A love of many lifetimes
We must know each other well
Connecting so deeply
Your love-flow flavour
Comes spontaneously to my lips
I am here, now
Dissolving the distance between us
In the awe of your embrace
I am always young
Do we need a song? Hmmmm. Too much choice. I think on this occasion a traditional one...
confidence - freedom - passion