The very first night in my new, antique bed has transferred me to the past. I have not seen any logic in all that has happened – neither could I find any rational explanation to the state I was in. The “surreal things” that we are most afraid of such as a war, a revolution, a natural disasters usually appear totally out of the blue and cause nothing but confusion, fear and question marks. When you are “taken in” by an unstoppable avalanche of events all you know is that no matter what you must learn function in the new reality. You have to adapt to the new environment, either conquer and win or surrender – and we all know that the last option was out of question.
In fact nobody teaches you at school what to do while facing a “para-normal” situation. The science does not support theories of the ghosts and monsters. The superstitions are known as result of auto-suggestion and we can only speak of it in terms of “self-fulfilling prophecy”. Too bad that there were no such books as “Travelling in time for Dummies” or “Learn Travelling In Time In 4 Weeks” in the bookstores. That means there is no chance anybody could prepare himself or herself for the case of getting lost in a different time and space.
This is how things were. Totally unprepared I’ve landed in 1924, US Philadelphia and it was too late for a longer analysis whether it is actually possible or not. My life has changed for good and it was clear to me that there is no way I could turn back the time. Nobody has ever told me that dreaming could be a dangerous thing and that we may get what we wish. Even though I used to dream about travelling but I was the last to guess that our most irrational dreams could actually come true. My unbelievable “voyage” reminded me of how I felt when I was a little girl.
Can you recall the kind of overwhelming feeling – when you – as a toddler went to a zoo for a first time? Are you able to rewind and picture yourself back again in front of a huge lion’s cage in the zoo, both speechless and excited, not really sure if the gate has been locked properly.
I bet you loved what you’ve seen but at the same time you were scared to death. Or, maybe I should mention a different example. Have you ever volunteered during a circus show – hoping that the dangerously looking tricks of the magician won’t kill you so you could get back to your seat ‘safe and sound’. This is what travelling in time feels like. What I’ve learned about it along the way – this is not a piece of cake. Imagine that you take a shower, put on your night gown, read a bit – set up the alarm clock – and next thing you see is a smiling face of a painter in front of you. And I don’t mean here any contemporary painter. I mean an internationally recognized artist who died before the beginning of Second World War. For me, personally what I faced wasn’t a disaster. My world did not end – just on the contrary I have never felt so alive.
All I knew was that it was a time I’ve put myself in somebody else’s shoes. Something that I used to experience only trough literature. The funny thing is that today, in our highly individualistic and society of XXI century everybody keeps telling you that the most terrible thing that could happen to you is to live somebody else’s life. I do believe it is horrible to live all of your life and die before you get the chance to watch the world trough somebody else’s eyes.
When we live our life without any interruption, years go by and nothing really changes, except we are getting older and more cynical. Consequently we trust less, become fed up with our live and even more and more disappointed with the past. This happens because our perception of the surrounding world is a result of the observation only from one perspective.
And that could be both deceiving and dangerous. The truth is that the development of a very important feature, the empathy brings within a real understanding of other people, their emotions and reasons of their actions. Since nobody is a lonely island and we all need one another in one way or other – it’s essential to actually search for the ways to become more empathetic. And since our life consists of many “trials” – the most important one is when confronted with a person in need.
When we think of Lady Diana, the fact that trough her live she chose to ‘wear the heart on her sleeve’ and became more vulnerable. Could we think any rational reason an elegant and noble Princess should feel “at home with the sick and poor”? Is there anything we need to learn from ‘The Queen of Hearts’?
There are many other examples from the world of celebrities when we see a modern version of Mark Twain’s novel ” The Prince and The Pauper “. If you think of a great actor,’Matrix’ star and one of the most generous philanthropists that this world has ever known, Keane Reeves, you probably would never guess that this gentlemen used to hang out with the homeless. Isn’t this amazing? Why would he want to join the poorest people and talk to them when at the same time he could afford buying anyone’s time and attention.
Somehow Keane found a ‘common language’ with the children of the street. I really don’t think that any of the Hollywood stars would decide to live on the street in order just to be different, “original” and catch the world’s attention. They wanted “a real, first-hand experience”.
In fact it takes a lot of courage to leave your comfort zone – and start from zero.
This time it was me who had to walk in somebody else’s shoes. All that was left from the “old me” it was my spirit. I’ve become Nelly, a young painters muse. As weird as this all could seem – I knew there were several advantages of my “new state”. For instance I could watch the world that I knew only from the books or movies. In fact I wasn’t scared of the new situation – because if all that happened was real – I knew this could be an adventure of a lifetime. It wasn’t all too bad – I summarised in my head the new situation. I was not forced to live in a cage or a tent. ‘Watch me, life. Here I come’- I said to the life that certainly was throwing a white glove in my direction and looking with excitement how would I react. Since there are things on earth and heaven that even the philosophers haven’t dreamed of – I was totally ready to face all that was waiting there for me. As mentioned before – I felt like I slowly start opening myself up to all the blessings of the new adventure. Deep inside I knew for certain that the best thing to do – while confronted with a change – is to embrace it.
Looking at the bright site has always been a thought that cheered me up even in the darkest, most dreadful moments of my life. Even though I felt a strong ambivalence about the situation I was in I knew that a good thing about every change is – that it most possibly announces another change. And a change can very often mean an open door, an opportunity. Isn’t that something that everybody is looking for? Even though I found myself in a strangest state, travelling in the past – I knew that actually the past turned out to be my present. Account for the fact that ‘the Introspection’ is my middle name – I could not “switch off” the voice of Alan Watts echoing in my mind. I’ve learned a lot from the records of this philosopher, but I had no idea that the knowledge I gained someday shall become my shelter helping me to make it trough the difficult times.
‘Better later late, than never’ – I said to myself celebrating the moment of sitting with the painter Adolphe Borie and his wife Edith at the same table surrounded by the most beautiful paintings and sculptures.
Watching the delicate, aristocratic, white hands with long fingers of Edith Petite, painters wife pouring us the tea to the lovely Japanese cups was quite striking. I noticed that there was a rare kind of silent dialogue, a unique harmony between my hosts. It wasn’t only love that they shared – it was a certain kind of awe and admiration and respect, a supernatural scent passion.
Adolphe Borie ‘Mending Woman’
Since I did not want to spoil this wonderful early afternoon tea with “intrusive questions” that could possibly make the painters or his wife feel uncomfortable, I decided it would be a better idea to speak with Mr. Borie about art. For me this topic has always been something I could never get bored with. The first questions that crossed my mind were with the themes of Adolphes paintings. It should not come as a surprise – that questions about “the inspiration’ is something that artists get to hear quite often. Adolphe, while taking slowly another sip of tea smiled at me and looked like he was gathering his thoughts. I was thrilled to watch the master alive, ready to listen to all that he had to say – and for the first time since the beginning of my journey – I was hoping that what I was experiencing was more than just a dream.