Bits and pieces of Afroz festival

End of August, Afroz opens up for its annual festival. Many people, all kinds of workshops – from nutrition and music therapy to 5 rhythms dance, meditations and events with live music and… our very own “Meditators got talent”! I.e. (which stands for “id est” meaning “that is” – my lawyer memories kick in!), a show organized “in house”, in which any of us who felt inspired to share their artistic talent were welcomed to do so.

Here you have a selection of the pictures I took during the 5 days of the festival. They are quite a few, but I hope you enjoy them!

This is the story of a dress

Ever since I arrived to Afroz, I’ve been toying with the idea of having a white dress for one of the evening meditations, where many people like to wear white. The idea that I could make it myself came to me when Siddha, a wonderful Japanese woman, showed us dresses she had made out of pareos (which is, for all of you men reading this blog, a large scarf). Siddha left before I had the chance to learn her technique, but one afternoon I decided to try to do it by myself: how hard could it be? The result was different from my model, but I can say I am quite happy about it!

So, here you have my little white dress.
Many thanks to my friend Masta for taking the pictures :)

More about Afroz

Life follows its course peacefully here, in Afroz. There are many little moments, many flavors, sounds, smells and sites that I would like to make you part of… And I am not only speaking of the “beautiful” moments, of the wonderful afternoon sun that surrounds the whole camp even now, as I am writing to you, or sitting in silence, out in the open air, feeling the wind on your skin, or dancing in the bar looking at the stars. I am also speaking about the dust that is everywhere (even in my bed), about the ants, bugs, bees, wasps, grasshoppers, crickets, frogs and other little animals that you see all around, sometimes even in the bathroom sink or in your hut (one night I hosted in my tent a girl that had a big spider in her hut and could not get it out – or sleep with it). Or about the most horrible feet I ever had in my life, despite all the scrubbing and creaming… I show you here only the pictures, it is your job to put in the sounds and the smells, and the feeling of it. And it feels just like life, real, complete, beautiful, difficult. It is the life that each of us lives, but just sometimes forgets to step back and see the beauty of. Well, these pictures help me, maybe even you, see the little beauties that surround us and that sometimes, we just pass by. It is true, I chose for practicing this a place where maybe it is easier to do: Afroz and Lesbos do really look like a paradise and sometimes even feel like one. If I cannot see and feel the happiness here, where else?…

Maybe you’re asking yourselves what Afroz is. Well, Afroz is a meditation center focused mainly on the work of Osho, an Indian mystic who died in the ’90s. You can find on youtube parts of Osho’s speeches, his books were translated into Romanian and other languages, if you are interested. Also, you can find here more “official” data about Afroz.

But I am not going to give you “information” about Afroz. For me, besides and beyond all the words that can be said about it, Afroz is an experience. An experience that must be lived in order to be understood. So here you will only see MY Afroz… Maybe you’ll like it too :)

One of the main meeting points is the dinning area, where people gather to enjoy our cook Margarita’s wonderful food, but also to chat away, to meet friends or the new people joining Afroz. Since my last post, my job here in Afroz changed, I am now in charge of preparing the breakfast and I also help Margarita with preparing the lunch. It is a change that was good to me, I work less as number of hours and I like the feeling of being part of a team, peeling carrots with my friend Raluca who came from Bucharest for a few weeks and talking about what is going on in our lives or sharing thoughts on a meditation or the previous evening’s event. I love helping to put the food into the oven, mixing ingredients with my own hands, having the feeling that you put a little bit of your energy into the food that will be served.

At the end of each lunch and dinner, a rotating team of Afroz workers is washing the dishes. You will see in the pictures Tameer, “il capo di tutti capi” of the Afroz administration, and Madu singing a Greek song (with printed lyrics hanged in front of them). On the other side of the window, outside, the women are lovingly and teasingly encouraging them…

(warning: some pictures have little comments under them)

Sometimes in the afternoon (and more and more so, with the Afroz festival getting closer), musicians gather in the dining area, jamming together, giving us the chance to listen and, if inspired, dance to their music. Other times, our Chinese friends organize a little tea ceremony. Other times, the place seems absolutely deserted, with only me going around taking pictures and the cat, Ginger, lazily keeping a half-closed-eye on things.

Well, this is it for now, my next post will probably bring you some photos of the Afroz festival. Look, I already got my bracelet! You, guys, when are you coming?

A photo shoot in Afroz

I was preparing a post with more pictures of Afroz, my home this summer. But before I finish taking pictures for that post, I absolutely have to show you the photos I took today!

My friend Samaya, a beautiful Israeli woman I meet last year here in Afroz, came a few weeks ago and, while catching up on what we have been doing since we last saw each other, I found out that she started designing clothes (as you can see here). She is just at the beginning and because she needed some photos with her clothes, I proposed that I would take them.

After talking about it for two weeks, today everything fell into place: a Greek woman with an angel name, Aggeliki, was to be our model. In the light of the afternoon sun, we let ourselves inspired by Samaya’s wonderful clothes, by the sun, the loving energy of Afroz, the olive trees and Aggeliki’s stunning beauty. We laughed, we told stories, we went all over Afroz, we enjoyed the sunlight, we danced to the rhythm of a drum and a trumpet that happen to be around… I loved it! And I feel blessed to have tasted the wonderful joyful synergy of women enjoying and celebrating being women…

Photos of my life in Afroz

I’ve been thinking lately of sharing with you how my days in Afroz look like. So, one morning I took my camera and kept taking pictures of people and places around me.

Well, first things first, this is what I see in the morning, looking out of my tent (and yes, I am living in a tent and I absolutely love it!… I’ll tell you more about it later).

DSC_0239That day I did not go to the 7.00 o’clock dynamic meditation and, instead, I did my own dynamic, cleaning the bar area :) My summer job in Afroz is to take care of the small open-air bar that they have in the center. And working in the bar, I discovered I love giving people coffee in the morning, calmly chatting away about little nothings. I love understanding if they would like a Greek-size-normal-espresso or an Italian-size-normal- espresso… I like moving slowly to the music of the day, while preparing a watermelon smoothie or washing dishes. I love giving and receiving smiles and putting on the bar, in the morning, a little gardenia flower which people come and smell when in need of an aromatherapy boost. On some days, we even welcome special quests at the bar – like the little poisonous snake that you’ll see in the pictures, which somebody had caught in a friend’s house.

It was a day with an unexpected present. A friend was saying DSC_0284goodbye and before leaving he gave me one of his drawings. This is Anand Sagar, a

DSC_0301Mexican young artist who impressed many of us with the subtle energy of his paintings and drawings. And up here you have the drawing I received. Thank you, Sagar, and I hope we’ll meet again!

After lunch the Afroz bar is closed, so I headed to the sea. I took my bicycle through the dirt roads of Lesbos’ countryside, until I reached Skala Eressos, a small fishermen village, with bars and restaurants crammed together along the seashore. I felt like meeting people, so I went to Zorba the Buddha, one of the favorite bars of the people in here, rather than going for the secluded Sahara beach, at the other end of the bay. One long bath and a wonderful pineapple-green-herbs-smoothie later, I decided to go back up the hills to Afroz.

I must say that after trying bicycle, scuter, motorbike and car, the bicycle is by far my favorite means of transportation from Afroz to the seaside: it is not as hot as in a car, it is not as windy as on a motorbike or a scuter, there is no noise or smell of gasoline, I can enjoy the scenery and I can really feel my body enjoying the exercise. Ah, and it is cheaper. Well, it is true, it is not as fast, but, as it is not more than 20 minutes on one way, I recommend it for any future long-term visitor of Afroz!

Back to Afroz, I passed by the dinning area and had a look at one of the many fig trees around here. The figs are not ripe yet, but I can’t wait for them to get that yellowish color, hanging down softly one close to the other, so that I can take one, make a little hole in it and just squeeze out its sweet and juicy core… hmm…

Finally, I give you my tent, my little summer home of which I fell in love! I love that at night I can feel in it, after the heat of the day, the cool wind of Lesbos and that, whenever I look up from my pillow, I can see the stars and the moon. I love that right next to it there is a small fig tree. I love that when I am inside I can lean against the trunk of the olive tree, which I can also feel in the night, surrounding and watching over me, almost like a mother.