You Are Safe with Me (Bear Version)

There are only few animals species whose lives aren’t affected by humans, if any. The bears aren’t one of them. If they are not hunted for trophies, they are hunted for their gall bladders or, even worse, they are raised encaged in bile bear farms. In those “prisons”, their bile is extracted out of them through tubes during their entire life. Sadly, this is the only life some bears (especially the moon bears) know, although they still have some vague memories of their far away childhood. Those faded flashbacks of the past belong to a happy time, the time before their mothers were killed and they were caught, imprisoned and raised in the tiny cages that soon became their homes. There, the only kind of affection they got was the one when they rubbed themselves against the cage’s bars… if they had the strength to do that.

If bile bear farming sounds horrible to me, shooting bears for trophy doesn’t appeal to me, either. Searching on the internet, I came across this definition: “Trophy hunting is the shooting of carefully selected animals – frequently big game such as rhinos, elephants, lions, pumas and bears – under official government licence, for pleasure. The trophy is the animal (or its head, skin or any other body part) that the hunter keeps as a souvenir.“ It represents the success of the hunt and it is usually exposed in special designed “trophy rooms” together with the weaponry.

Two words have imprinted on my cerebral cortex just near the “trophy” word: “pleasure” and “souvenir”. I wonder how can a hunter ignore the fact that his “souvenir”, his proud and joy, is someone’s mother that he killed only to put her head on a wall and show off to his friends?

But, at least, the bears have escaped the canned hunting. This kind is reserved only for lions and other exotic animals, but, nonetheless, another, even more cruel and brutal practice directed against wild life. Humans must be really bored. I am, too, sometimes, but I have my three dogs’ tummies to stroke especially reserved for my boredom moments. Most likely, those hunters don’t have such “antidotes”, so I can understand their need to fill their days with something. And what is to do if they were raised in a specific manner and they don’t know any better? Usually, something powerful needs to happen in order for them (or any other people) to change their worldview, but, many times, not even a huge meteorite hitting Earth is powerful enough! I should make their acquaintances with my dogs… Who knows? Those three little musketeers move mountains with their cuteness, so there’s a chance to move one’s opinion on kindness.

This painting was born from the above related knowledge of the cruelty against bears and from the need to find a way to protect them. For the moment, I don’t know how they can be helped, I feel powerless in this regard. Until the humanity will make a conscience shift, if ever, this kind of practices will still exist. And I, as heartbroken as I am knowing this awful truth, I must accept cruelty as a innate part of our souls, a trait of our species and continue to live as beautifully as I can and do what is in my power. Today, a painting. May this raise some awareness to somebody, bring joy to others and, maybe, just maybe, the love and the good, caring thoughts I have put in it could somehow, bring some relief to the bears in need.

Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to read these lines!

Enjoy your day!

What A Bear Dreams Of

What is the story that led to this illustration? Well… at first, it might seem that the story has nothing to do with the painting, but my mind is so twisted, that, somehow, from jet-skiing, I ended up with this bear dreaming of a berry rain.

Last month, Dana, a friend of mine was so insistent about going jet-skiing on a city break in a resort not so far away, that her husband took some days off from work in the middle of the week and off they went (and I with them) to live their short exciting adventure! Reaching the hotel, they checked in and, without loosing any other minute, they rushed out, borrowed a jet-ski and went for a ride. At least so I had thought! But Dana dressed up in her new branded outfit, climbed on the jet ski and took a photogenic stance with a satisfied happy smile on her face, her blond hair messed by the wind. Her partner took several pictures of her from different angles while she was posing, faking. When she was pleased with some of the photos, she got down from the Yamaha, without even starting the engine, went onto the hotel’s deck, ordered a coffee, lighted a cigarette and, very content, started to post on instagram, facebook and where not, the wonderful pictures with her “jet-skiing” and, of course, having the time of her life! And that was all she did! She had never climbed up on the rented Yamaha again. Not then and not the following days. The many likes she got on the social media made her extremely happy. The jet-ski could wait for another time! Its mission was accomplished for now.

I know my friend and I am aware of the world we are living in, but, still, I was shocked! I was absolutely sure that, once we had reached the destination, she’ll never get down from the jet ski. She wanted it so badly! I was fooled by her exuberance! I wonder how many of our dreams, of our wished are real, these days, how much we want things for the sake of the experience, because they bring us joy and how much for posting them on social media. What gives people more pleasure, what matters: experiencing things or faking, posing for the perfect pictures while pretending of doing this or that only to gain followers or likes, shares and virtual comments? People are of many kinds, we are split in several categories but, somehow, the Facebook-Instagram-TickTok-and-the-like generation feels like gaining more and more terrain. Or maybe is it just me, being overwhelmed and, therefore, having my perceptions altered? Who knows?

I feel that, nowadays, life is very tiring for humanity, as people never have their head clear, empty of thoughts even if meditation is a trend (or, maybe, just a fad). There is always at least one thought present in our heads: to record our experiences through photos or/and videos in order to post them online and get some love and live a false feeling of belonging. How much of the authentic experience of life is lost that way? Well…I don’t know. Everything is relative and debatable and there is so much do talk on the subject. I could run my mouth for hours but I better go enjoy my day with my lovely dogs.

And since I am in a bear mood lately, I couldn’t stop thinking of bears’ life and their dreams and wishes compared to ours. They are so simple, modest, authentic beings. While we dream and want all kind of things and we are never satisfied and happy and always wish for more (a new destination, a new partner, a new job, new plasticated lips or boobs, the latest smartphone, a new car, a new branded outfit and what not) the biggest and, most likely, the only true wish of a bear is a berry rain. That wouldn’t bring them happiness as they are already happy, but it would be so fun and yum! Just that, without posting anything, anywhere!

Thank you for stopping! Wishing you many happy whimsical dreams!

Buy this art:

Europe: Artflakes

North and South America and worldwide: Society6

Tea Time with Ala, the Bear

Last week, I have re-watched Kubrick’s “Eyes Wide Shut” followed, a day after, by a documentary on the History of Earth and Life.

Being under the impression of Kubrik’s film while watching the documentary, I have realised, once more, that people have “eyes wide shut” not only in relationships like in the movie, but in many aspects of life, not to say in almost everything. We kinda live on auto-pilot. We see the world, but we don’t really see it. We hear things, but we don’t really hear them. We know things, but we don’t really know them. Take me, for example, I had lived decades knowing that the troposphere, the lower layer of the atmosphere, is only about 10 km thick (its thickness varies seasonally and geographically, though) but, actually, not truly knowing it, not in all the complexity of that knowledge. For me it was just a number, a piece of information I learned in school. Watching the documentary, something happened. That was the moment when I had realized that the layer of the atmosphere where we spend our life in, the one that contains apx 75-80 % of the mass of the entire atmosphere, the air that we breath, is just a narrow band and that the distance from the earth’s surface to the upper end of the troposphere equals the distance from my door to the restaurant where I use to drink my morning tea sometimes. And that is a small distance! I cross it in no time. Visualizing that, I had suddenly felt things differently. This thin circle of air and the planet it covers became more fragile to me and I understood even more than before how easy it is for us to break the balance of everything and put life on Earth at risk. Every one of our actions gained so much more weight in my new understanding of things. Every step we make had suddenly become of much greater importance.

Feeling a little overwhelmed by this new understanding of things, I felt the need to take some time to reflect on all these. I didn’t want to shut myself in my room, instead I wanted to go in a place with a different visual perspective on Earth. Up on a cloud seemed a good idea, as watching everything from a higher point of view was just what I needed for the kind of thoughts that troubled me. I asked Ala, a dear bear friend, to come join me, as I hadn’t seen her in a while and I missed her dearly. She is busy with her cubs, lately, and she doesn’t have too much time for anything else. But, lucky me, the little bears were asleep and, besides, that, Ala likes blueberry tea more than fresh blueberries, so she couldn’t say no to the invitation.

We climbed up in the sky on a rope ladder (made from rope that an Indian magician gave me once) and we got comfortable on some puffy clouds with a cup of warm tea to keep us warm as the atmosphere is colder up there. And we started talking about the things that concerned me, but the panorama was so spectacular from up there that we had soon stopped talking and just stood there, enjoying the view, the silence and the tea. Luckily, no plane crossed the sky to hassle us, but a few birds stopped by and asked for biscuits. Good thing they did, as my disturbing thoughts flew away with them, leaving me totally relaxed, enjoying my time with Ala. I came to the conclusion that there is no better way to reflect on the importance of things than from up on a cloud, with a new perspective over everything, with a cup of tea, with a bear friend near and having a such impressive view in front of our eyes! Magical! Only good things can come from spending a morning like that! You must try it! Or another different perspective at your choice.

PS: Do you know that we hear sounds because of the atmosphere? In empty space, humans would not be able to hear any sounds! I thought that there is silence in space as there are no motorcycles there, but no. It is because there is no air. Or water. Or any other medium.

Thank you for stopping by! Have a magical tea time this week and always!

Yo, the Yoga Bear

Since starting the practice of yoga, I’d realized that there’s a yoga world out there: with blogs, and vlogs, and podcasts, and movies, and Tv shows, radio shows, tedEx talks, commercials, magazines, workshops, schools, courses, diplomas, yoga retreats, all kind of yoga events; an entire world with people doing yoga on a daily basis, talking about the meaning of yoga, about its origin, its principles, about centering and breathing, about chakras and subtle energies, about the perfect moment or place for doing yoga, with people aspiring to accomplish the perfect posture, the perfect alignment for the best benefits or for an awesome photo that will make an impression on social media; a world with people doing yoga on mats, of rubber or jute, personalized, non-slippery, ecological, organic, with people using top yoga brands for their outfits, props, towels, attending the best yoga studios, equipped with with best mats, best yoga bells and Tibetan bowls, having the best yoga teacher that uses the best yoga music, and the perfect yoga sequence followed by the best shavasana in town, talking about yoga benefits and living a yogic lifestyle, with yogic tea, yogic food, using yoga incense sticks, and, now and then, practicing yoga with goats, yoga with beers, and what not, as nowadays people need new and diverse things before anything else.

Being caught in this swirling yoga world, I had once tried to attain a close to perfect posture during a yoga class and I managed to tear apart my right hamstring. And that was the moment when I had realized that a change of perspective was in order. Even if I like yoga, or the idea of it, very much, I felt that something was not right with the way “the city” was practicing it. Not for me, at least. So I went out, into the wild, to find a different kind of yoga mentor then the ones I’d met till then.

And I did. After wandering to and fro for months, I had finally found Yo, the yoga bear, in a forest near my home town. Life is like that! We wander in searching for something all over the world, only to find it, after years and years, when that something had already lost its meaning, in our backyard. There are actually many things in our backyard – or in our front yard – but because they are so close and present, we oversee them and we search for them in the wide world, sometimes for a lifetime. Well… in my case it didn’t take so long, as I was lucky to find Yo after only several months. He had no definitions, no labels for anything, let alone for yoga. And he had no perfect rubber mat that he had to pay for in order to throw it away as soon as it would had become slippery. The earth was his mat. I lived more than an year with Yo and I’ve learned a lot from this experience. I’ve learned to live simple, with the thick moss carpet as my bed and the trees’ canopy as my roof, to eat only as much as I needed and mostly vegan. He thought me to be kind and understanding, especially with the bad ones; not to hurt anyone, not even an ant, neither physically, nor emotionally (and, yes, ants can be emotionally hurt); not to tell lies, except when dealing with foxes, as foxes use the truth for mean purposes and, therefore, in such situations, an alteration or reinterpretation of the truth would be best for the general good. He thought me how to connect myself to the trees’ souls, to the flickering stars, to the upside down sleeping bats or to the sightless earthworms, to everything; he taught me how to travel the world by riding a pale of wind or a crocodile-shaped cloud (not all clouds are suitable for traveling the world), or how to dissolve myself into the mists of dawn, becoming invisible so I can spy the shy fawns drinking water from the lake. He thought me how to find my inner light. One day, after one of his inspiring lessons, I started to glow. Literally. Like a firefly. Well, at least my right side did. I must work some more on the left one. I guess I still have some issues to resolve before glowing completely. And he thought me to love everyone and everything, to be content and grateful for simple things, for what I have: even for my unglowing left side, even for the birthmarks that I have and I used to hate. He told me that my skin is the sky and the birthmarks on it are the stars. Wow! I have my own galaxy on my body and it took me so many years and a bear to see it! I named it YoGalaxy.

As for the yoga postures, he didn’t teach me many, as he only knew several. He was a different kind of yogi. But there was one pose that we did daily: the Bear Balancing Pose, as we, humans, call it. He didn’t know the posture’s name. He was just doing it. And I with him. Together, happy and content and, of course, balanced. And this is the story of this painting that started with a torn hamstring.

Thank you for stopping by! Have a wonderful, happy day!

The Moon Bear (and why is he called like that)

Moon Bear… What’s the story behind his name? I didn’t know it until, one night, I asked the Moon herself. And she had much more to say than Google.

A long long time ago, The Moon Bear was simply called “The Black Asian Bear”. He was entirely black, darker than ebony, darker than night. The white moon-shaped spot wasn’t on his chest at the time. But as dark as his fur was, as light and gentle was his spirit. But the spirit does not reveal itself to everyone. Only the exterior does. And this was the Black Asian Bear’s misfortune. His darker-than-night appearance frightened the China’s emperor of the time, who came to the belief that the bear was an evil spirit that came to their land to widespread doom and gloom. He got afraid for his kingdom and his people, for his crops, for himself and his family, for the Sun and the sky, for everything. And fear has the reputation to cloud one’s judgement. Which it did. The emperor decreed that any being that was entirely black was demon-sent and must be hunted down in order for their land to be saved from damnation. And so the hunting of the Asian Black Bears had started millenniums ago. Many were killed and some were imprisoned in cages to study them. One must know his enemy! The bears that had escaped had to live on the run. Not a good life, but the only one for them at that time. The Moon, who was very empathetic for as long as she knew herself, felt so sorry for the Black Bears that she took a vow to help them escape the dark fate that lay before them. She took them under her care and one night, while they were sleeping, she touched their chests with her magic beams. A white moon-shaped spot appeared on the bears’ chests, a symbol of light and wisdom and hope. The Moon thought that the hunting will stop now that the bears weren’t entirely black anymore. It didn’t. It actually made things worse as the emperor came to the belief that the Black Moon Bears, as he called them from that point on, were not only demon-sent but they also possessed magical powers. How else could those white moons appear on their chest over night? The Emperor summoned the alchemists of the time to find a way to extract that magic from the caged bears that would then be used by the doctors to heal the Chinese people. But the magic power was nowhere to be found. Instead, during their search, the alchemists had discovered the healing properties of the bears’ bile. And that was enough for the bears to be haunted and imprisoned from then on.

So, when the bears were black as night, they were hunted because they were considered evil spirits, after they were touched by the Moon and got their white spot on their chests, they were hunted and imprisoned for their “magic” and, after that, for their “magic” bile. They had no chance, no matter what. The Moon felt heartbroken and saw no light in the bears’ future. She didn’t know what else to do to save them, she felt stuck, she felt helpless. Then, one night, she had an epiphany: Not the bears had to be changed in order to turn their fate, but the men’s hearts and minds. Easier said than done. That wasn’t something that could be accomplished over night, nor over years, nor over centuries or millenniums. But she is an optimistic one and she has patience. Plenty. She had started her work thousands of full moons ago. Over time, she noticed some positive changes in people, not as many as one might wish, but the humans are on the right track, the Moon says. So … she keeps on working on her task. Until when? She can’t say. But she is a patient one. And she has time. The bears, unfortunately, don’t. But well… they always can choose to go to Ursidora, the invisible bear island and live happy and safe there until the Moon finishes her job.

From my talks with the Moon on the subject of bears, this painting was born. I’ve tried to capture the bear’s gentle, unbroken-by-his-fate spirit, the one that doesn’t reveal to everyone, the one that must be searched under his black as night appearance.

This piece is dedicated to all the Moon Bears and to all those who fight for them so they can have the beautiful, peaceful, happy life they deserve.

Thank you for stopping by!