Naima Morelli

2017 end of the year reflections: Experiencing life as an even flow

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I love the end of the year so much. Looking back and taking stock of what worked and what didn’t, because acknowledging that even what apparently didn’t worked is the seed for something even bigger to happen. And also, recognizing that nothing is ever wasted, and everything will converge eventually, because it’s all you, all one person is one universe following his own personal trail of crumbs.

In the past few months I haven’t posted on the blog my regular rants/reflections on my journey through life. This is because I realized that instead of being focused on the present and what was at hand, I was rehearsing the “narrative of my life” a little too often. Too much of looking back and planning ahead, instead of sitting down, spot the priorities and get down to them. Which resulted a dispersive mindset and lazy habits. And now that is the right time to reflect, look back and appreciate, it just feels so much better. A few lessons have unfolded. And while of course everything is unfolding all the time, I feel that right now I can see a motif appearing, whereas in the past few months it was more the phase where everything was colliding before taking a recognizable form.

Enough with vagueness! Let’s get down to the specifics; one thing I learned this is that when you ask your friends for feedback in a particular area of your life they know you well for, they will always tell you that “in the past you were so much better at this.” Of course you know that this is not true. There were movements where you showed up with your higher self in that sector. One particularly focused training session, a period where you were really pushing with work, another week where you realized a set of very good comic book pages. Growth is never even. You’ll have moments where you are quietly learning in some areas and it doesn’t show, and moments where it finally come up. It’s a gift to have friends to keep you in check, but most importantly you have to regularly practice, day in day out.

On the edge of 2017 I can see how all the expressions of my being are starting to come together, and hopefully in 2018 they will find a way to coexist harmoniously as an even flow. Ok, let’s be more specific. I guess I’ll start by looking at the year through the lens of my different practices.

Journalism (earth, exploration)

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My work is about expanding my universe, both in terms of ideas and in a physical sense, when it comes to speak to artists and people from the opposite corner of the world, or travelling. It’s about becoming self-reliant, let the practical, entrepreneurial, social, happy and extroverted self to rise. I truly think the connections I created trough my work and the experiences I had made me a better person. And they keep on allowing to become more of who I am.

2017 started big, with my second research trip to Singapore. Last year I remember I didn’t even feel like the start of a year was a new beginning, but rather a continuation of the previous research. To be honest, in January I was so immersed into ninjutsu, my comics and nerding out with “The Fist of the North Star” (ok, this last one wasn’t really necessary), that I didn’t feel compelled to leave Italy. Yet, I felt I needed to go back in order to revitalize my interest for the subject matter for the research. Generally in my life, art and ideas weren’t subjects of excited discussions with my friends anymore. Indeed, the previous year I had many friends distancing themselves from the art world, and I ended up tagging along.

But as soon as I landed in Singapore, it took one opening at the Raffles Hotel where my collector friend Brian brought me to re-ignite the flame. Indeed, I was in the loop again – with the Art Stage fair, the interviews and all that cool stuff going on – I was in my element, happy and at home in my role of journalist. I did a whole lot in one month – and had a lot of fun in the process. However, as soon as I set foot to Rome, I got swallowed by the beautiful decadence of this city, in the training, in my inner world, and lose momentum again.

It was the day to day wasn’t easy to sort. For most freelancers, the main problem is the lack of infrastructure and community around their work. Should you work on the evening and the weekends too? What if one morning you don’t feel like it, and you don’t have assignments, so you can take it easy? Should you take it easy? And who to discuss these important issues with? Mind you, I didn’t just sit and complained; rather, I kept on researching and connecting on my own, meeting artists and curators from Southeast Asia visiting Italy, doing skype interviews, visiting shows – but these were small bursts that allowed me to keep working, but not really growing.

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Then, in May, the Venice Biennale was a bit of a disaster. If there is one thing that I regret, is that my bad mood during those days didn’t allow me to be a nice person to the people around me. I was totally cranky. My articles reflected that, as they were critical and negative, and though I had moments of fun during the Biennale, with more mindfulness and presence I’d have been able to keep a better attitude during the whole thing. Doubts were creeping in; I was swallowed in a postmodern spiral where everything was relative, nothing really mattered, perhaps journalism wasn’t my passion and all that bullshit. In this chaotic, moody mindset, I thought of dropping the Singapore book. Then talked with Brian who convinced me that this wasn’t sage and urged me to be more serious. We set a deadline to finish the book – our mutual birthday on September second.

In the summer I finished to write the book. It was hard, but I was super committed to it. I had to come back to Rome two times for sorting out bureaucratic stuff, as I finally transferred my residency and all my medical references to the Eternal City, and worked on the book everywhere, from train to the waiting room of the hospital. I had my friend Giovanna in mind as my spirit guide of sort – my personal Seneca, her that if she has work to do she would do it anywhere. So, on September second I finished the fourth draft.

For next year I will focus on journalism and I have a new research trip coming up in January. It will be huge learning and growth, and I’m all in. In the past few month I have reduced ninjutsu and slowly taken back control of my working life. Inevitably, I became happier and happier, and life became a feast again, where everything was done at the right time and with moderation. I love wearing my girlboss dress, have my coffee shop to work from, dreaming and making plans, researching, let ideas get me all fired up. This was the Naima that I so missed when I was putting all the passion into my martial training, so there was no passion lft for work. The journalist self is powerful; she loves to explore, live, connect, learn, talk, listen, record, observe, write, reflect. It is empowering to be her, and I can see she’s the one supporting the whole self in the real world. She’s the resourceful, shameless self. The one that loves to figure things out. Frankly, I think she’s awesome and I’ll invite her to come around more often. She will be the one taking the lead in this first part of the year, keeping in mind that you don’t need to be all things at the same time. You just need to do everything in its own time. One thing at the time. With presence and engagement, joy and love.
2017: 30 articles published, finished the Singapore book, trips to Singapore and to the Venice Biennale

2018: expanding the journalism, integrate new research with the new trip, working on building structure and community

 

Ninjutsu (fire, depht)

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The day I hopped off the plan from Singapore back to Italy, I went home to grab my ninjutsu bag and a couple of hours later I stepped on the mat for the 11.30am lesson. A friend that was stretching asked me surprised: “Where are you coming from?” I smiled amused: “Singapore!”

In 2017 ninjutsu was a real fire that burned in me so strongly. It was almost the most important thing, what gave structure to my days, my practice to cultivate myself, my inspiration for the comics, my community to hang out with. In the days re-adjusting to Roman life from the one intense month in Asia, I pushed my body, but I wasn’t really grounded. When I was alone at home I’d often experience paranoia ad even hints of unjustified fear. In short, often I found myself a bit of a tired mess. I probably didn’t take care of my psyche, I should have taken things a bit slower.

For most of the year, I have been doing seven lessons a week (two days I’d do two lesson), and in summer for a couple of weeks we went up to eight, with one extra lesson running at EUR or Caffarella, plus the training. Though I wasn’t always “there” – with this habit of being in what my sensei calls “naimaland” – I feel I really pushed myself to the limit of my physical ability and comfort zone. Indeed, some days I was so incredibly tired I was unable to do anything else, let alone start working. I’d go to lesson on Friday morning super-tired from the day before, train, go home and sleep to recuperate. Then I’ll wake up all dozy and go training in the evening. Surprisingly, after training I’d feel so much better – the mysteries of the body!

Man, though I’m still so bad at it, ninjutsu was real, tough love. I did everything to not skip one lesson. Wednesday it was a particular fun day because those of us who would do both the afternoon lesson and the evening lesson would spend the three hours and a half gap chatting and training in the small room. We called it “il club del muretto”. We would try things from ninjutsu, that often time became some free sparring. When this no-rules and definitely no-ninjutsu fighting leaked into our evening lesson, the sensei got pissed off and made us stop. It wasn’t experimenting, he said, it was only unlearning. “This is play, but if the real thing happens, trust me, you don’t want to be playing.” And so we stopped. Like super-heroes groups, other small groups started emerging, eating, laughing and training together constantly. Around june, we were together all the time, on and off the mat.

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Then summer came, and I went back to my hometown Sorrento to spend time with my family and go to the beach. I’d train by myself on the terrace for one hour and a half almost every day. Sweating and getting used to get my engine running, feeling good. Honing the movements I learned during the year, getting to a new state of perception of my body. My training became a bit of a meditation in movement. For example, when training on punches, I’d scan my body to see how the feets are grounded, check the knees, the pelvis, the core and the hand, the head, the intention, the coordination, the speed and so on. I planned to transfer this concentration mode when I was back in Rome in September.

Let’s not forget; in this martial idyll I was neglecting work. In my mind ninjutsu was the number one priority, and though I was still writing a lot of articles every month and working on the Singapore book, I feel that overall I wasn’t doing enough for growing. In September, my addentellato Roberto was scolding me for not being much of a good friend, meeting him only in the gaps between ninjutsu lesson. Also, after summer I became seriously committed to the comics, and I had my beautiful lover visiting me in Rome on Sunday, so work was not where all my passion was directed as it used to. What got me thinking is that one Wednesday afternoon, between one lesson and another, I visited a comic book shop with the ninja friend Giacomo and he told me: why don’t you apply to work here? My ego cringed almost offended by such an out-of-the-world idea: “Why should I do such a thing? I already have a job!” Then I thought. Well, I’m not really doing anything to grow it, to embody it.

One day I met with Roberto, and we had one of those pivotal conversations about my work. The sort of conversion that leave me with an headache, some inspiration, and have me wake up the next day ready to steer the wheel. That evening talking with Roberto I, for the first time in two years, skipped ninjutsu. That was the day I decided to back it up a little bit and dedicate more time to work. I haven’t looked back to this decision which proved great to re-ignite my passion for the work.

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Of course, a few weeks ago my sensei Federico told me I was getting worse at ninjutsu. I told him that it’s terrible to know you have regressed when you never knew you ever improved. Federico made the observation that by training like crazy my improvements were passive. I didn’t fully tuned into presence during the training sessions. “You can still hold the standard and improve if you train less, but you need to be 100% present during training.”

This is the beautiful thing about my sensei. He really believes – and make you believe – it is possible. It is possible to cultivate my three arts, ninjutsu, journalism and comics, and keep on growing in each one of these areas. One can feed the other, one can balance out the other. If ninjutsu takes over, I’m all body and no mind, no contribution to the world, my imagination is strangled. If I just work, my body withers and my fantasy remains unexpressed. If I only do comics, I became reclusive, lazy in the body, and ultimately sad because I don’t move or communicate.

The good side of the coins is that if I train, I became stronger and resilient both in the mind and the body. If I do my work my world expands in width and understanding, I get energized and excited about new adventures, new scenarios, new possibilities, new ideas. When I do my comics, I allow my beautiful inner world to come to fruition, and I deeply feel this is my contribution to the world. Create stories.

There are two ninjutsu-related adventures that might come to fruition next year. One is the much sought-after trip to Japan with the ninjas, in May/June, the other is the Ninja Camp in Sardinia in July/August. The only way to navigate all these exciting travel is by being present, knowing what is the most important question at the moment. Be there fully, one thing at the time.

2017: on average 6-7 lessons a week, got to 5th kyu, started practicing solo

2018: practice 5 times a week, master the basis to prep for Japan, learning more bo and jo staff

 
Comics (water, imagination)

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I have always considered my comics as the closer form to my purest expression. It is the natural evolution of my child’s play with my brother in the “Stanza dei Giochi”, where we would play our characters in lego and playmobil. I have always been the kind of child that would project herself in a character, rather than a physical one climbing trees and playing football all the time – although I did my fair share of both. In my teenage years I kept sharing my inner universe with my brother and my friends from school and the beach, but in the form of comic books. They became my characters too, and there we could materialize our dreams. My character Andreas for example was a painter, a good fighter and she was living in Tahiti. In a way, I did realize those childhood reveries in real life, by travelling, practicing ninjutsu and of course making my comics.

In my late teens comics became my refuge from the monotony of small town Sorrento life – there I could appreciate the little things in my life and transform them. The mystification of reality is still one of my superpowers. As my friend Roberto told me once “I really appreciate this enchanted eye you lay on everything around you – but reality is much harsher.” I still don’t think my mystification is an illusion. I think it’s about focusing on the holy in everything – or at least in the things that catch my interest. So, vive la mystification! And my comics are the way I make this spell. I think about imagination as a King Midas. Everything it touches becomes golden.

As a counterpart for the writing that I have always done anyways, comics are also like a Delphi Oracle (to stay in the Greek mythology realm). They expressed themselves in bits and pieces. They are about a visual element that transcends the mind. Looking back on them, I can clearly see what were the preoccupations and the issues I was thinking at the time. Some were of course rationally laid down, as I had a clear intention when structuring the work. Others were subtler and more subconscious. One thing for sure: my pantheon of characters is what I consider the most beautiful manifestation of myself. And they are not perfect, and there is a lot to work on, sure – but I’m confident I’ll get there – with no rush of getting there. It is what I have always been about, so as long as I’m this planet, I’ll keep on honing my craft.

As all the things that accompany you throughout your life, comics continually renovated and changed function. When I moved to Rome I had a more exciting life, so the adjacency to reality increased. Then I met my lover from the time, and my rational, organized, entrepreneurial, adventurous mind was enhanced, and I got the platform to “make it real not fantasy”, (as the Scorpion would have it). I was living what I have been deeply desiring all my life, I was making it happen, in a very different way from what I envisioned, but there was no need or time to draw it. It was so full, so dramatic, so beautiful per se, that my attempts at try to represent it were futile. At the same time, I started working as a journalist and arts writer, and set up the basis to sustain my artistic practice in the future. I knew I needed to step into the world as myself, to put myself out there with my voice, my body and my stamina, and keep on growing the comics intermittently and quietly. They were hibernating.

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And then, in 2016, they started coming back. Slowly but surely, I had to reconstruct my way of making comics all over again. And I had to update it to my new skills, and what I had lost. I started buying comics again, try to get to know my characters all over again. Trying new things, testing new ideas.

So Evenflow was born. The protagonist was my very first character Andreas, and three characters I had invented back in Australia, Kade Lengkong, Honey Chicken and Shogo Kenzo. Back then I didn’t know what was the context they would move in. But in the meantime I started practicing ninjutsu, my sensei and I would have conversations about cultivating mind and body, the greek and latin ideal of mens sana in corpore sano. We would train at EUR. Putting together all these influences, the school of the 8th hill of Rome came together in my mind. Actually, it all came together. Australia, what I had experienced back then. Kade’s drama. The central question of Evenflow: “Is life about discovering yourself or about making yourself?” This was something that I uncovered in the practice of martial arts, in my discussions with Roberto, who I credit as the main person I would bounce ideas with during that intense time.

In coming home to my truest expression, I was a bit wobbly, at that shows up in the style and story of the comic book. It drew it in many different styles. My first, old style, pencil, watercolours and inks. Then some parts would be done with a pen straight on paper – a practice of the confident line that couldn’t be erased I was training the year before (see, all comes together in the end). Another technique was creating collages with drawings on a red or black background. Finally, I started drawing the parts with Kade and Honey in watercolour, another technique I used profusely in the summer to paint at the beach. I discarded the idea of using sketches because then it would have became too dense. I ended up creating three tomes for Evenflow. It was huge. I showed it to my ninjas who were following it at times mocking the training-and-sex scenes (oh, well, I can’t say I didn’t see it coming, eh eh!) Mockery aside, I felt once again I had companions in this, to counter the isolating work of drawing and creation. But the comic book itself was a mess, and in the summer I decided to finish it, but still couldn’t make decisions about what had to stay and what had to go.

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It took three people to let my intuition gain clarity and pass this roadblock. The first was my watercolours maestro Pasquale. One day in Positano he told me about Wu Guanzhong, the contemporary Chinese painter widely recognized as a founder of modern Chinese painting. (By the way, I saw a show of him in Singapore… speaking of life as an even flow!) When Pasquale was describing how the artist would not be concerned with describing the shapes in the scientific, accurate Western way, but rather do the bare minimum to evoke an idea, a sensation letting mind’s eye do the rest, I knew that needed to became my way to follow. Be elegant, fast and swift, connect the emotion to the hand, clearing up the intellectual mediation of the drawing. Watercolour was the technique I enjoyed the most in the comics.

The second person that helped me gain clarity was my friend artist Laslo. We would meet during the making of Evenflow for what I’d mocking call “le revisioni” – just like professors were reviewing our portfolios when we were both at the Art Academy. In his usual frank tone he told me that Evenflow was totally fucked up, and I might as well let go of it and start fresh: “It’s not that people like us are short of ideas, aren’t we?” And so with his “permission”, I dedicated September, October and November to a new work, this time using only watercolours.

And that’s when the third person comes in. Beauty is my driving force, and the story that started this summer with this man was sheer beauty. It was so beautiful I could have even drawn it exactly as it happened, but then of course I had to make it part of my universe, also telling a parallel story of my summer in Sorrento. Through the usual character Andreas, I told about my beginning to come to terms with my home, with the growth that I had experienced throughout the years. My love story is in part responsible to that. My conversations with Roberto again were again super important. The story was a continuation of Even Flow, and included a character that I didn’t use for many years came back, Fronn’ ‘e Limon. She was the personification of joy, the immanence, the appreciation, the more “feminine energy” part of me, that in this comics takes a couple of daggers and goes to war. Ten years later since I created the character, she meets another wind. Mistral.

I drew the whole thing in a bit of a rush. There are pages I’m really really happy with, but there are many others I drew without planning, as if I had no time, “with no care”, as Laslo would say (this theme of care is indeed a theme I’d need to focus on for 2018). But I feel this story is worth sharing, really something I can start on and build from there. My entrepreneurial side of the brain will put it out there throughout 2018. I opened up talking of my inner universe as something I want to share, so next year I’ll try to work a bit more on the structure of the comics, on starting break the isolation and connect with people in the field. Show the work more consistently and even considering hiring people to manage the marketing side. I realized that in order to travel and work as a journalist and also making the comics something real into the world, I need to delegate some parts. Also, it will be good for me to have a person I will work with to this: it will help me doing my best work and break a bit from the isolation of working solo on this. I opened the new Facebook account of Red Naima to differentiate the comics from the journalistic work, and I’m updating my Instagram @rednaima regularly.

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My creative side is already busting at the seams with ideas for new comics, which will of course amalgamate with my life. Here are some:

EVENFLOW – Empty Space. After the three-parts experimental work of the school of the 8th hill, I will continue the series telling the story of Honey Chicken in Singapore. This will concentrate around the concept of Empty Space, and will be more visual – drawing from the aesthetics of the green buildings in Singapore, the photographer Nguan and my own adventures from the Lion city.

EVENFLOW – Fire. This is what happens to Andreas between the first Even Flow and Fronn ‘e Limon. If I get go to Japan to train this year, I will reap those suggestions. Visually, I’m thinking to a Reng Han meets Araki meets X Men comics from the ‘80s. The theme would be belief.

Aside from these, I’m thinking of a new series it was in my mind, set in different biomes. Not sure about the name yet, but the idea also draws from Even Flow. Everybody is looking for Livio, and Livio is looking for knowledge. Kade will be back there, along for other characters that inhabited my mind since 2013. The first episode will be set in the red dirt.
2017: 2 comic books realized, grown a Instagram account

2018: publish Fronn, pitch comics ideas to publishers, start building a team for the marketing part

 

 

Yoga, meditation, journaling ( empty space, balancing)

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I started practicing yoga on my own in the summer of 2015. I’d say in the beginning it was more stretching than anything; I downloaded an app on the iPad and tried to follow the movements, while getting accustomed to feel my own body in a different way. Since the summer of 2015, before even starting ninjutsu in September, day in day out I have been practicing, and I had one more reason to try to rise early, 6am or 7am. Slowly but surely, the practice build up, I would stretch every morning even when travelling, because it just made me feel so much better.

Than one day the app started to crashing, and I took the chance to learn more elsewhere. Roughly when I moved to my new house – another big highlight from this year, though it was not at the forefront of my mind for some reason, perhaps because it was my parents who took care of all the important parts – I started practicing with a popular and super cool youtube channel called Yoga with Adriene. I encountered it for the first time when trying to learn the best way to do headstands. And then I started following the three different 30 days free yoga series.

This quiet morning asana habit leaked into the summer, and it became such an uplifting practice, a soft place to come back to. I loved it. In Sorrento I’d rise at 5.50, go to the roof of my building, practice from the video and I’d watch the sun rising while moving. Then I’d meditate. I had also started doing this more consistently in the summer, with the app headspace. Finally, I’d go on practicing ninjutsu for one hour and a half by myself. Those days in summer where I kept this discipline really showed me I could be so much more than I am. It was difficult to keep to my routine regardless of my environment which wasn’t particularly conducive for introspection. Nonetheless, I managed to live in a state of depth which I have been transferring to my practice at the dojo.

Choosing to spend a ton of time alone, I’d gift myself 20 minutes meditating, which is for me the perfect time to really sink into the practice. After hours of podcast talking about meditation, and having practiced on and off for years, I pretty much know what to do, and in summer I gained a good consistency. Still, if I have limited time in the morning and I need to chose between yoga and meditation I’d pick yoga because the urge to move my body is much stronger. But when I have time I try to do both, plus journaling.

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Journaling is no news to me. I use to keep notebooks since I was 15 or so. In different written forms, I have reflected on myself and the different aspects of my own life. The journaling I’m talking about is relative to my discoveries and journey with yoga, meditation and ninjutsu, really try to see what are the observations and daily lessons from these different practices, in order to improve and really be present with them. Again, most days I’d skip it or do it in the evening, but in a way or another if there is something bothering me, or something I feel I need to put on paper, I’d find a way to do it. So yoga and journaling are two things I’d do on my own anyways, whereas for ninjutsu I’d look more for time, space and companionship.

A super-recent thing I started are yoga lessons at my gym, the Kokorozashi. I was already considering to bring my practice to a new level by taking actual yoga lessons, and the chance came when three ninjas, Laura, Giorgia and Daniele started joining in after our Wednesday ninjutsu training. The lovely teacher Aria, who looks like a mix between Harley Queen, Blondie and Madonna from the ‘80s, wants to make it more meditative and about listening to oneself, which is awesome after an intense ninjutsu training session. I have done only four lessons so far, but in one in particular I got a very deep and unsettling experience, which gave a glimpse of the inner depths this practice can lead me to.

There is another thing even more recent, that perhaps will have no continuation, but it makes me so excited that I need to tell. My lover and tried to do some acroyoga the other day and it was so much fun. Of course, we didn’t have a clue and again, thanks the internet for putting up a lot of cool videos! But I was angry at him because of some stupid joke he did, and to release the anger I was doing a bit of yoga flow by myself. He joined me with his beautiful sad eyes and taught him some basic transitions. Since I have been subscribing a lot of instagram account of couples doing acroyoga, it was in my mind, so I suggested him to try together. And we did. And now I really hope we would find a way to keep on trying this practice, because I feel that, the body being a metaphor, we can work so many things in our relationship through this beautiful practice of alignment, rhythm and trust. Will see what happens.

 

Relationships (wind, love)

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It is always a good idea to start planting the seeds for what you want to bloom in advance. So this December – but also back in September – I started to work on the relationships around me, focusing on community, friends, family and love.

I started by making Christmas gifts with a different spirit. Not a formality, not a do-ut-des, but a gratuitous act of creativity, care and fun. Also connecting different friends through gifts. I already noticed it took me quite a bit of time and money I admit I’m used to spend on myself only. However, getting rid of a scarcity mindset and break my self-centred approach for which I think people won’t like the gift anyway, can just be beneficial. In this a big inspiration were actually my friends, Alby, Roberto of course and Mino, who are all incredibly generous people.

This year I have re-connected also more with my brother, and for the next year we will embark on new adventures together. Perhaps a bit risky to mix family and work in this way, but by now you know that I love the storm.

In terms of community having moved to Pigneto this year I’m experiencing the neighbourhood element that is quite new to me. I’m going to the same cafè every morning to work, buying in the same market stall and supermarket and so on. And of course, the biggest community is Kokorozashi, my dojo, which I talked about already speaking of ninjutsu.

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And then love. Love is always hard, and navigating this relationship is truly a spiritual practice. An insight from Roberto: my life is an architecture I have built through my imagination, discipline and routines. My first love attacked the cusp of this architecture, but this love is really mining the foundations. My foundations, the few founding things I hold onto after many of the things I defended were turned upside down or destroyed by a more expanded vision. Challenges that I can superficially describe as an attack to my feminism, my disgust for conformity, drugs, a certain lifestyle from certain parts of the Naples’ hinterland. Beyond my rigidity towards these subjects are deep rooted conviction that brought me to this point. Some have been believes inherited from my family, hometown and I guess social situation, others are things that I rejected precisely from where I came from, so I run to Rome to not conform, to be free to express and be myself. To find my people.

And so I felt in love with a guy that no one except who knows my inner journey can understand why I felt in love with. A welder from a Vesuvian town with beautiful, tender eyes I can’t stop looking into. A street kid grown old, with so many ghetto stories to tell me, that I’m a sheltered girl who needed to leave for Asia to experience the adventure who would make her match her imagination, her need to be badass. She lives from her fantasy and then make it real, live it through her body. He lives from his body first. His beauty is in its simplicity – its simplicity from the popolo that makes me so angry at time. It makes him hold sexist double-standards, it makes him racist, superficial, willing to experience all sort of vices. And when I think about this, I also think about all the variety and depth of emotions that are in his eyes. Together, we communicate like children, like cats. Empathically, emotionally, spirituality. Without the complex constructions I have been so used to when I’m in my world.

It has been so hard to let this beautiful story that unfolded in the summer to leak through autumn and then deep into the winter. To many resistances are falling already. So much judgment, so many excuses, so many defences. When it comes to arguments, he seldom argues back. He let me face my own attitude, my own moods. He won’t take a complex explanation as an excuse, because he won’t consider it. The choice is easy. You want him and his love as it offer it to you, or not. And working together for transformation. He’s changing, and you are changing. It’s a real alchemy, it’s real transformation. Most importantly, is something that you feel. It doesn’t come from your imagination, even though you always manage to let some of it leak in, introducing acroyoga as I said, asking him to cut his beard, tied his hair like a samurai and so on. Blocks will be cleared, but not from that place that is mental, postmodern, where everything is valid. That state that brought you so much confusion at the beginning of the year. This new clarity comes from something deeper, something spiritual. His simplicity is enchanting. When we do groceries, when we walk around, when we argue, when we sit in restaurant, he has an ego, and so do I. But beyond our egos, lay our truths.

In this regard, I posed the nature/nurture question to the ninjetta Laura. Is it true that it’s only in the big moments, love and death, that we discover ourselves, as Roberto always says, or is it true that what Federico teaches us, that our true nature is something that we train at everyday, and how we do something is how we do everything? In our ninjette team she’s the greek goddess Juno, connected to her intuition, deep and spiritual. She answered that for her both are true at the same time. We discover ourselves, but this conception of “ourselves” is in continuous change. And we can’t help evolving to a new state. We keep on changing our state, until it becomes normal, and then we transition to the next. Stillness to walking, walking to running. This is perhaps the biggest lesson from this beautiful year. There is no cheating in the matter of spirit. No skipping the line. This is what I’m tending to. Moving towards truth, removing barriers and categories. Experiencing life as an even flow.

 

For my 2017 in images, hop on Gioco di Donne

For the reflections on my 2016

For the reflections on my 2015

For the reflections on my 2014