Naima Morelli

Reality, all of it

Three weeks ago, I met with my friend Rod in Naples and we decided to give up our egos.
He was coming from Rome by train, I was coming from Sorrento by train also and I was very late, since the boats going across the gulf were cancelled.

That was the first time I saw Rod after the lockdown happened in March. Last time we met, we were conjuring up a show in Venice for a leading Indonesian artist, together with another great Asia-expert curator. We were thrilled, and Rod in particular was juggling the excitement for a new curatorial adventure, with the alertness for the new Covid restriction on his workplace, and finally the realization that he had to work on expressing more his emotions.

For me, in March I was in the midst of a learning process. I was learning a new Russian martial art with increasing curiosity, finally starting to approach the idea of driving a car and a scooter, and getting re-accustomed to my Roman life after my Malaysia trip. Then, right before the lockdown, I had to abruptly come back to my hometown.

That day in Naples, Rod and I were both going through emotional hardships, and we realized that, as always happened, they were our starved egos that were giving us a hard time. So we turned to Zen philosophy, to the disappearance of Elena Ferrante, of Liberato and so on, and we resolved to work on finding some little kernels of truth behind the many projections of ourselves we have always liked to create.

In trying to give some tidiness to what has animated me since my last post here, this is what I can say for sure. It’s harder for me right now to neatly talk about these past few months by neatly creating subsections of arts writing, graphic novels, martial arts and yoga. And that’s because I’m right now so steeped in the present, so rooted in flowing that there is little to no space for categories. I’m starting to listen to a lot of music again, rather than podcasts. Reading novels, not only essays. I’m going back to what I used to be 10 years ago, but hopefully kinder, hopefully wide open – wide openER.

And also, I have been writing. After all, I have always been written. I realize, as I approach my 31st birthday, that like many of us, I also have left so many traces around the internet. Around reality. Digital traces, emotional traces, or no traces at all. I have been doing stuff and reasoned – maybe a little too much – about doing stuff. Fragmenting the self, like the coffee deposits on the bottom of the cup. To the point that I find hard to make the point of the situation right now, as I always did – as I’ve always loved doing in the past. The need of tidiness, of an order attributed to my Virgo sign, is at the moment dancing around the unexpected. Rolling with whatever comes.

But this morning, before starting a new season of projects, articles, and so on, I felt the need to pause for a moment. Some yoga teachers do it. You go through a strong flow, then you put down your knees at the same time, you put your hands on your heart, and listen to your body. You let your body rest still for two-tree minutes, before going again into the next sequence. It’s not the final resting pose yet, but it’s still an important time to feel. Feel it all.

And so, what do I feel in this particular time-space conjunction, putting both of my knees on the ground at the same time? I feel suspension, but I also feel joy. I feel there is no other way for me than to be present. I feel all those pastel rose, pastel blue, and camel sensations that made me forgot that my new iphone sunk into the sea last week. Those feelings that push you into embracing reality, all of it, “la realtà, tutta intera”. I have been happy, then empty, than ok, than filled with drama, then so head over heels, and the game all over again, and go into that flow of life.

It’s the coming back, like a monsoon, of the intimate dimension of my graphic novels, a part so profound in me. My characters have been alive in me all along, and to be able to share it with the friends – who kindly gave a first read to my quarantine work “Virgin of the Rocks, Virgin of the Sand” – has felt like a coming home. And so has the publication of “Desire for Victory” and “Fronn ‘e Limon”, which happen earlier this year in the lockdown period.

I know where I’m going next with the graphic novels. In September “Virgin of the Rocks, Virgin of the Sands” is coming out with my own imprint on Amazon. In autumn I’ll be working on a new killer project – a new episode of “Desire for Victory” called “The Mighty Hour”. After that, I’ll start editing the first three volumes of EVENFLOW, but with no precise deadline.

In a few weeks, I hope to be able to go back to Rome, and go back into training martial arts again. I have lined up the idea of starting again with this Russian martial art, and probably resume my Japanese martial arts. Yoga has been flowing along very well, I’m have been a great follower of Meghan Currie since the beginning of the year, loving her playful, slow, strong and sensation-based style, and her approach to life in general. I have been practicing here in Sorrento with my brother on the wonderful scenario of a beach club a new friends, and with my wonderful Ashtanga teacher Peppe, who is giving advanced lessons to the entire family. It’s such a great practice to share.

While I had to postpone learning to drive a car, I started learning to sail dinghies. It’s the funniest, wildest, craziest crowd, down the sailing association where I am learning. Truth to be told, I have been going there on and off throughout my youth, and this year that place has tied together the yoga lessons (my brother is involved in the association as well, and so a couple of guys taking yoga lessons), to my uncle Jo (one of the first people who taught me something about going on a dinghy), and with my aforementioned friend Roberto, as we started this sailing course together.

Getting closer again with my uncle Jo was one of the best things of this summer (together with learning so much about family history, something I mentioned in the previous post). He influenced me throughout my early life in so many ways, from the art, to the travels, to the love of the sea and to some shared readings, like Burroughs. He is now going into portrait photography, and I’m following this new venture of his during our Sunday meetings over matcha tea.

All the things I’m doing are one right now, they are all intermingled. This means that there is nowhere to hide when struggles happen – and they do. But what I have found that taking just one day off can work miracles (and a miracle, as I’ve come to understand, is a shift in perception from fear to love). I let myself feeling all of it, the good and the ugly. I acknowledge the human and heck! I even write entire graphic novels about those shadow parts of myself. And then, with the help of the lessons and practices I have learned throughout the years, I slowly move past them. These are mantras that allow me to take responsibility for myself, the first step to live, and love, in a more conscious way.

Here is one: “You think you have many different problems, but you only have one, and that is your disconnection from love”. From one. From God. I look at the root of my struggles, and I always see there is something I didn’t accept, something I wanted to be different not out of what is feasible, but out of what I desire. Which is human, and yet this way I’m at battle with reality. The way is to love what is. Or make a outer change, to tackle the inner change with a fresher heart. From there things slowly start to shift. I now see it’s not that much about giving up the ego altogether, but rather about sharing what it was possible to share. Reality overall opened up to me when I was open to see things differently. A continuous return to love.