The true colors of the dinosaurs

The true colors of the dinosaurs

   Have you ever wondered what were the true colors of dinosaurs? Were they green like the forest? Were they greyish or turquoise? Were they brown or blue?

   Dinosaurs were truly a fascinating species, roaming the Earth, ruling the animal kingdom, powerful and yet vulnerable, since they became extinct approximately 66 million years ago. They were gone in a blink of an eye and still today, we do not know exactly how and why – all we have are hypothesis and suppositions. We know so many things about them, and yet nobody can tell for sure what were the true colors of the dinosaurs.

   We have reached the moon and we have wandered amongst stars. It was, as Neil Armstrong put it, “a giant leap for mankind”. Then managed to come back, we invented satellites and other technological marvels but still we are just a small step further in discovering the mysteries of the Universe.

   We have a cure for so many diseases, but the universe of the human body is still relatively unknown – as still we do not cure cancer or AIDS and other diseases. We do not master the art of our own genetics. Not to mention that we still cannot find a cure for broken hearts or shattered dreams, nor do we understand why we are so similar, yet so unique beings.

   In many respects, we are like our old friends, the dinosaurs. Nobody knows our true colors, sometimes not even ourselves. We are proud to claim that we know a lot about anatomy and about psychology – though none of those holds by itself the answer to the question. Do we know and value our true colors? Discovering them is a difficult, painfully beautiful process. And, just to be clear, I am not talking about the color of our skin, hair or eyes (although humans come in all different shapes and colors), but rather about the true colors of the soul (which are universal).

   All of us come into this world as perfect beings – not knowing much, fragile and strong at the same time. As we are born, we know no evil; we seek mother’s heartbeat and a little love. And then we start to grow into this world and we learn so many things: to smile, to play, to speak, to dream, to laugh, to joke, to read, to write, to shout, to scream, to lie, to manipulate, to hit … This is how we become imperfect and we lose our true colors.

   I think that finding them again, is the ultimate challenge of Life. I sometimes wonder how many of us really understand that in the greatest scheme of things it is more important who you are than what you have. How many of us value their true colors more than the color of their car?

    I fear that, like dinosaurs, we will become extinct as a species if we do not wake up and realize that kindness, compassion and love are meant to be the true colors of the human soul. If we do not cultivate that, if we do not make a conscious, collective effort to change the way humanity is going, than we will be the next dinosaurs for sure. And the saddest thing of all is that nobody will know what our true colors were.  Lots of sunshine to you all!

Near 40 Dana

New beginnings

New beginnings

   New beginnings are always so invigorating. There is something magical in that moment you decide to start fresh. There is something magical in the way your mind works and puts together action plans and strategies for achieving and implementing changes. Overcoming blockages takes a lot out of you as well, but when that happens you feel a sense of achievement – yes, it feels as if you have already achieved your goal.

   When facing change, there is a subtle change in attitude and body posture as well – even if you are not aware of it. Some people stand tall and look quite proud and important – those people are the ones that love challenges and welcome change. They are optimists by nature, they look for the positive in any situation and they are aware that for every achievement you need to put in a good fight. Others look quite grey and tarnished – shoulders dropped and worried faces. They are the ones typically see the empty half of the glass. For them, change might come with a lot of turmoil. They fear it the most.

   The sad thing is though that we all tend to lose the taste for new beginnings, for changes and changing as we age. So how can you keep your mind opened and your enthusiasm alive?

   For a while, I have been feeling this resistance, this urge to stop changes before they even have the chance to show me if they are good or bad.

   What is it that makes people cherish the status quo? Why is it that we (most of us anyway and certainly most of us that are not 20 anymore) do not welcome changes?

   Is it because we are assimilating change with growing old? Is it because we see ourselves at this age as “done”, “accomplished” beings that do not need to change in the first place?

   Having an opened mind, having a growth mind-set, rediscovering the taste of learning and developing can abolish these fears for good.

   You just need to acknowledge that you are on a journey, called Life, a journey that is valuable and beautiful, and, yes, hard. You need to give yourself permission to change, even though you are 40 or 50 or even older because you need to realize that a change has the potential of making your journey better. It is true that it also has the potential to make it worse, but this is where you come in: you need to drive change in the direction that you desire so your life becomes better.

   It takes a lot to admit that you need to change. But, if Today is not working for you, it means that you need to put in the work for a better Tomorrow. In other words, you need to change. And if you need to do it, you might as well learn how to like it.

   So brave up and start today: at 40 or 50 or more it is not too late.

  Lots of sunshine to you all!

Near 40 Dana

Blink of an eye

Blink of an eye

   Years pass in a blink of an eye. Just yesterday, I was a 7 years old girl with long blond hair and inquisitive eyes. I was dreaming of things that were coming in my life, I was anxious and had many questions unanswered.

   Then I blinked and I was suddenly 14, just starting high school, eyes wide opened and heart pounding, scared and feeling so alone in a classroom with other 14 years olds that I did not know.

   Another second later, and I was walking on the immense hallways of the university, almost running, trying to find the amphitheater for my first hour ever as a student.

   I blinked again and I was 25 and getting married, with my beautiful, yellow dress (yes, yellow, white is not me, not me at all!) with my bouquet of roses and a rosy smile.

   One more time and I was in the hospital, holding my little bundle of joy for the first time, happy that he was finally here after our shared 9 months journey; I was staring at that sweet baby face and was so infinitely overjoyed, so overwhelmed with love and so mesmerized by that frail being who was clinging to me instinctively and searching my heartbeat for comfort.

   And, in between those moments, there was a lot of growing up I had to do, there were moments of joy and there were tears. There were many tears, like when my mother died and I felt so lost, so angry and furious … so mad at the world.

   And so many memories … the first time I felt the new life growing inside me, visiting the old town of Prague, the sound of the waves and salted seawater, the fresh air in the mountains, when we were walking down the mountain trail, the taste of apricots and the smell of the freshly baked bread.   All of that seems to be crowded in a blink of an eye. Yet all of that – and more, since it would be impossible to capture it all with words – happened during 40 years – a lifetime or a second in the great scheme of things. All of the above – and all that still remains untold – define who I am today. It is my journey of becoming that I decided to share with you in my blog posts.

This is not literature. This is life, as I understand it.

  Lots of sunshine to you all!

  Near 40 Dana

Life of a child

Life of a child

   Childhood memories – times long gone, but never forgotten.

   It has been a while yet I still remember how it felt to see the world through the eyes of a child. And those were no ordinary times either, as I grew up in a communist country, oblivious to many of the indulgences that western world offered for other kids my age, not understanding my parents quest for freedom, as me, the child, I was feeling free and had no restrictions to my imagination. I was feeling ready to conquer the world. And sometimes even, I was feeling that I already own it!

   Yes, I still remember how small, seemingly insignificant things brought me so much joy!

   We, the children of the communist 80’s, did not have many toys, nor distractions; cartoons were presented once a week, TV set was more an object of furniture since in the few hours of daily broadcast there was only a constant tribute to the “brilliant” head of state and the “wonders” of the communist era. In addition, once a week as well, the State Radio presented a radio show for kids. And that was all.

   But we did have so many games to play, we were outside a lot, jumping the rope or chasing each other, playing hide and seek and so many other games that I could not name as they are just distant, nameless memories of good old fun. And when the weather was bad, a good book provided the much needed entertainment. But if it snowed, well, this was a different story! We built and army of snowmen and each apartment building had its own! We were fighting with snowballs until our chicks were red and our hands were solid frozen.

   We did not have so many options in the stores as candies and chocolate were luxury foods. Food in general was a luxury sometimes – our parents stood in lines for hours to buy eggs, bread, meat; things that you would think about as necessities were scarce. Despite that, I remember vividly the smell of each season: the spring smelled like strawberries, the summer of course brought the sweet smell of peaches and watermelon, the autumn was the time of apples and pears, and winter … well, winter smelled like Christmas.                                                                                  And, if we were lucky, Christmas smelled like oranges and bananas, or like Christmas tree and fresh wrapping paper, like cake and roast and like so many other things that made our mouths water. It was the only season that tasted like candy and sweets. I remember “stilling” the cherished bonbons from the Christmas tree, while admiring the beautiful glass globes that embellished it. They were kept religiously by my mother – God rest her soul – and I still have some of them at home, tucked in tissue paper and placed in their cardboard boxes. So beautiful, so fragile and yet so strong! Exactly like I remember her to be.

   I recall the frosty Christmas nights and me waiting for Santa – and He came each time, though sometimes He did come a little late, but He always brought with him the joy of something new to play with, something new to wear, some goodies to chew on.

   Childhood memories, mine. Times long gone, but never forgotten. This was the life a child in those times.

  Lots of sunshine to you all!

  Near 40 Dana

Love!

Love!

   Hello there! It has been a while. Today I decided to talk to you about the main reasons that fuel humanity in times of joy, times of sorrow and hardships. The reasons that stand behind each decision, each step, each attitude. Love and hate – the two emotions that fundamentally shape our world.

   Hate is powerful destruction weapon. For centuries, it has fueled wars and to this day it still does. Hate also kills ideas, happiness, and relations and ultimately it can end the world, as we know it. Everything that springs out of hate has as an ultimate result the devastation of the human soul. Hate operates dissociation: you place yourself opposite to the object of your hate; you are always better, more worthy, more important. You judge.

   Lucky for us, Love is a powerful tool too. And love functions on associations. You and what or who you love are on the same part of the barricade.

   I remember realizing how strong love is the day I found out I was pregnant with my son. I remember each day of that 9 months, while he was happily growing, he was kicking and moving a lot and I was so in love, I was so fascinated by the journey of that that little cell that slowly was developing to create a brand new human being. That little cell was using the force of my love. To this date, the little human being is seeking my love and using it to grow, to mature and to become what he needs to become.

   People do incredible things out of love: you never realize how much you are capable of until you are tested and you will see that nothing is too much, too hard, impossible when the engine is Love. When life happens and we face its challenges, it is only love that can push us out of the mess and move us forward. Things that spring out of love grow, flourish and stand the test of time.

   Both hate and love can make you move mountains – it is just that you move them in opposite directions. So do yourself the biggest favor: Love!

 Lots of sunshine to you all!

 Near 40 Dana

A million likes will never be enough

A million likes will never be enough …

   If you do not fully embrace the journey of life as it is.

   If you do not love each gloomy day, each tempest, each wind.

   If you do not fight each day for your dreams.

   If you do not have somebody to share them with.

   If you do not challenge yourself to be there even if it means publicly picking up the pieces.

   If you do not put your soul on a plate.

   If you are not honest and rough.

   A million likes will never be enough if you are not willing to share that hidden part of you, even if it hearts, even if the wound is not closed yet, even if you still do not know how to deal with it.

   A million likes will never be enough if you do not choose to put your art into the world, if you do not give it your 100%.

   A million likes will never be enough …   If you hide.

   If you lie.

   If you are not true to your convictions.

   If you choose to ignore.

  If you do no dig deep into your conscious and unconscious self to find answers for questions that are, after all, universal.

   A million likes will never be enough if you do not believe in yourself; if you do not find your own, unique voice and a million likes will not matter if you do not use that voice for what you believe is right.

   A million likes are just not enough.

  Lots of sunshine to you all!

  Near 40 Dana

Magic

Magic

   Mystic clouds and rainbows, the sea with its vast and infinite universe of algae and fish, the golden burning sand under your feet. The mountains with their bold peaks, the rivers flowing endlessly, the green fields that smell like grass. Pops of color from delicate flowers. This is Magic.

   The sunrise with its stunning red, orange, yellow and pink. The eyes of your child filled with wonder and love – in its purest form. The touch of his little hand while he smiles at you, rosy cheeks and laughter. This is Magic.

   The rain on a sizzling August day. The snow that falls down on Christmas. The smell of the Christmas tree and the glitter of its decorations, waiting for you to come home. This is Magic.

   The fresh home-made bread on the table. The taste of summer in slice of watermelon. The first day of the summer holiday. The subtle texture of the marshmallows. A kiss. This is Magic.

   There is magic in the smallest of things. In the most insignificant gestures. There is magic in your eyes each time you love and hope and dream. There is Magic in words, if they are well written or well spoken, there is magic in wisdom as well as in jokes. Sometimes, even in tears there is Magic.

   So what is the reason for being so blind? How can we not see? How can we not accept this as true?

Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.” (Roald Dahl)

Love. Magic. Words. Life. Just open your eyes and your soul.

Lots of sunshine to you all!

Near 40 Dana

The Boundary

The Boundary

   I am officially 40 now. I crossed that invisible line this month, one bright summer day. It is the feared and yet implacable change that we all go through at some point. The boundary. Or is it?

   I read somewhere that we start to lose shape and slowly become invisible for people around us when we age. Come to think of it, it is not the age itself that scares me. It is society’s perception of people that are no longer in their 20’s and 30’s. It is that idea that has been planted in my head that when you are 40 decline has already started. It is that idea that suddenly you are not good enough anymore, that you do not matter anymore, that you should prepare to step aside. I am not necessarily having trouble accepting that I am growing old; it is not about that. It is about the way we are programmed by the collective mentality to view this process of ageing – not as a celebration of things that were and things to come, but rather as mourning of the lost youth and fear of the future years and eventually death. Sure, we are all going to die someday. All living things do. But do we necessarily need to start now? Because living in fear means dying a little each day. And being a bit rebellious as always, I refuse to do so. Am I not the same person as yesterday? Does this number – 40 – define me in any way? Does this number even mean anything in particular?

   I think not. You are what you decide to be. And right now I decided to be free of any preconception about age and ageing. I refuse to start lamenting about lost years and gained pounds! I refuse to let a number describe me and I refuse to let the others paint my painting! It is my life – I am the only one telling the story. I will decide when it is time to surrender and exit the stage. That time will come, but it is not now. I will not bow my head. I am proud of how far I have come. Life is journey, an initiation; life is growing and evolving until reaching our fullest potential. I am 40, yes. But I have a lot say. And I still have some growing to do. There are things to discover and learn. Because I am still learning. I think I will be always a student…

   So many of us surrender! So many of us decide they did enough. And they start living in the same way, day in, day out. They accept routine and decide it is just the way it is supposed to be. They stop learning. They have learned enough. They have too much to do and not enough hours in a day. I think that this makes them lose shape and slowly become invisible for people around. It is not growing old. It is not the number 40. It is losing that spark in the eye – the spark that makes the difference. It is losing the passion, the thrust, the absolute need to find out more, to get better, to achieve, to be more. For those people, 40 is The Boundary. It is the point of no return. 

   I think this is why I am Near 40 Dana (near not almost, because 40 in my name is The Boundary, not the age). I will always be Near 40. Because each day I am working hard to keep the spark alive.

Lots of sunshine to you all!

Near 40 Dana

Being present

Being present

   Staring at the white piece of paper in front of me for a while, I am really trying to find my words for this theme… Why being present is important? I found myself more than once being engaged in so many things and striving to do everything that was required, trying desperately to be the wife, the mother, the professional, all in one (like the toothpaste in those well-known commercials…). I lost myself so many times in all kinds of details – work-related, family-related, and household-related. And I forgot to be there for me. I forgot to be present in my life – if that makes sense to anybody. Days can pass by with no significant meaning, with no conclusion, and they somehow seem fake, not real, like a bad movie that you watch completely detached, with no emotion.

   You see, life is so complicated sometimes; things happen, people let you down. Important people. Your rock, part of you support system. How do you cope? How can you overcome the sadness? How can you get over it? Because being present in that situation really hurts! And when you hurt it is likely you will exaggerate, overreact and ultimately destroy – first your relationships and then yourself in the process. Does being present matter in those instances when you feel like you had enough? Does it count? What is being present after all? What does it mean? Does it mean forget the past and ignore the future? Does it mean all it counts is today, now? And if so, what if today is gloomy and unfriendly?

   Being present, living in the moment does not really mean that the past is erased and the future does not matter. Being present is – I think – allowing yourself to hurt when you need to, to cry when you need to, to laugh at things, to celebrate the past and plan the future. All of that done today, in the moment they are required. Being present means allowing yourself to feel, to be human. Being present is not being numb. Being present means being aware about and alert to all those things that life throws at you.

   Sure it is hard, sure you need to learn to let go and to forgive. Sure you need to learn to prioritize and you need to allow yourself to feel – happiness, sorrow, boredom sometimes, pressure, stress, anxiety, maybe panic. Sure, you need to accept that things happen and, as strange as it might sound, they do not happen to you, but they happen to create something in you. Yes. It is rather about how you react to those things that matters: it is about being there for the experience, embracing it, living it – no matter if you win or lose. The outcome must be growth, development, at the very least change. However, you need to accept that it does not necessarily lead you in the direction that you would like to go. And it is OK, it is part of life, it is part of the experience that you chose to be present in.

Lots of sunshine to you all!

Near 40 Dana

What if you do?

What if you do?

   What if you do?

   What if you decide one day to go against your fears and insecurities and start living life in a different way? What if you let go of the past, let go of all those learned behaviors that have been rooted in you by force during your childhood, during your school years, during your youth, during your early adult life? What if you start living intuitively, by taking each day as it comes? What if you slow down for a bit and take care of your dreams? What if you learn to enjoy simplicity and small things in life?

   Life is not Formula 1. Life is not meant to be a permanent chase. We do not need to be perpetually out of breath and forever running! What if we simply quit all of that?

   Would the world stop? Would our little universe crush? What would happen then? Would our obligations be different? Would life be much harder? Would our goals stand no chance? Would we fail?

   None of the above. If anything, our lives would be enriched by so many experiences – small or not so small, important or trivial, happy or sad. If anything, we would feel more and dream more. We would be at peace with ourselves and with the world. If anything, we would feel more alive and more prepared to handle any goal we might have, the expectations of others, the challenges that life presents.

   Living more intuitively, giving your mind and soul a chance to interact and help you choose what your deep self really needs is what is missing in many people’s life. Too many of us are acting like robots, day in, day out, doing things that we have been trained to do, exactly like we were showed to do them, in the exact, precise order.

   For achieving our , for being able to enjoy each day, each experience, each opportunity you just need to stop. Be quiet for a while and listen to yourself. Mind and soul. Because your soul will whisper to your mind what you truly need. It is in such moment of silence that you can really understand that you are here for the experiences and not for the bills, for your boss’s requests, for your job, for all the problems that need solution.

   You are here to enjoy the fresh air of an early morning, the first ray of sun, the waves, the mountains with their white snow tip, the city with its old brick walls, a flower, a kiss.

   You are here, but you are not meant to be here alone! You are here to love. To love each moment you see the smile on your child’s little face, to love your significant other’s sleepy face in the morning, when the alarm of the clock starts ringing. To love and to live though all the good and all bad with dignity and grace.

   Sure, life is not always pleasant and rosy! We all have bills to pay, bosses that make requests, jobs to do, ups and downs, we all live through happiness and pain, we all have dreams that die and dreams that fail. But choosing to live more intuitively makes all hardships more manageable and enhances the beauty and uniqueness of our happy times.

   I choose to have a certain routine in the mornings because it makes me feel good, it is what I need to get me through a very busy – and many times hectic – day. I choose to eat in a certain way because a little voice inside me tells me that it is the right way. For me.

   I choose to stop working for a while and give a hug to my boy because a little voice inside tells me that this is what I should do.

   This is in fact how I decided to write these lines: that little voice inside told me to let you know that whoever created us (whether it was God or not, I do not know) gave us this tremendous power to shape our own reality by choosing according to own inner music. We only need to listen.

   Lots of sunshine to you all!

Near 40 Dana