Israel Israel Israel! I feel a sense of belonging that I have missed out on during my times in Australia. No its not the Jewish thing, its not the food thing and its not really the earth itself. My connection to this land is cultural. At last I can speak and express myself with vigour without feeling like I am ‘too much’, able to get into deep confronting conversations without fear of losing friends; able to take what I need without needing to ask or say please all the time. Knowing that the people around me will ask and take what they need also. Here in the land, its normal for cars to make U turns onto pavements and park in the middle of the street. People yell to one another across the street and speak effusively wherever they are, on buses, in malls and at home. Supermarkets overflow with too many options, and restaurants are open all night, with people flooding out of bars into the streets to celebrate the moment. Arabs and Jews and many others live side by side and there are many opportunities to come together, if they choose, both professionally and recreationally. Busy is taken to new heights where it is normal for people to have to active mobile phones and four jobs to support their families. The pace here is fast, the rules are loose and the community is tight.
Of course nothing is one sided and here in Israel, life is not all peaches obviously.
Sirens sound on this day, the offical memorial day known as Yom Hazikaron, to commemorate all the lives that have been lost along the way. Friends and family go to ceremonies and cemeteries to mourn the deaths of their loved ones. Wars, divisions and hate have caused this land to be fraught with post traumatic stress and the innate loss of innocences that comes with teenagers going to the army. I sit with young people on the buzzing strip of tel aviv’s beaches, and they share their army experiences with me, how they were taught to die for their country, only to discover years later their actions destroyed a part of their soul that they can never redeem. On the other side of it, they also express the depth and beauty of comradery and friendship that could only be born our of such circumstances. Here in this land, people are part of community all their lives, friends and family form the basis of their existence. And life goes on.
When the clock turns over to 6pm, the entire energy of this country shifts into celebration, as the eve of Israeli Independence day booms from speakers across the land. Celebrating freedom, belonging and the existence of a Jewish homeland. Tears of sadness are transformed into tears of joy as the people come together to break bread, drink wine and celebrate LIFE with the gusto of a people who have suffered and survived. At the same time, the people in Gaza, suffer the loss of their homes, their freedom and their lives as they knew them. At the same time, Arab Israelis are torn between; living comfortably in a very accessible and innovative country, with friends and families on the other side of a painful wall in between. The emotions that are felt and expressed over these 48 hours in Israel and the Palestinian Territories are extreme and cover a depth of human experience known by many others around the world. The refugees, the disenfranchised, and the persecuted will all be able to relate. And yet, this story is specific to this land and these people, and reveals a complexity of history, people and emotion that I can only describe, imagine and share in my limited way.
This land is worth visiting. If you haven’t yet, put it on your bucket list. Life is BIG and there is much to learn.
Over the last 4 years I have found my enthusiasm for my work, painting people into the World, to come in waves and lately, I have been called to ask myself whether this is still the right path for me. Despite the fact that this practise truly makes my heart sing, I now have a deep appreciation for all the facets within… including the gravity and extremity of the entire process. Today my passion for this art form lies primarily in the work I do exploring ‘Indigenosity’, and honouring the people and the lands that I visit through this creative process. By Painting the People of the land into their Lands, I get to play in my favourite ways. As an anthropology undergrad, cross-cultural collaboration is my heart and soul. Learning about one another, sharing our likeness and marvelling at our differences is my most comfortable and favourite way of being in the world. The opposite of being part of a ‘society’ where a ‘normalcy’ pervades and we are expected to be something particular. Learning about another’s culture is fascinating and liberating. To truly appreciate that the way we see think hear and understand things is not actually the way things are, is a relief! We move from life being ‘ordinary’, to life being full of possibility.
Here in Thailand’s hippy corner of Koh phangan, surrounded by a melding pot of culture, one can become whatever they like. There is much to absorb and adopt, there is much to release and let go of. Staying in the centre of ones being, feeling into he body’s intuitive signals, is key to an authentic and meaningful journey.there are many ways to deepen ones connection to themselves, but necessarily involves solo onwards practise. Being back here in Thailand after 8 years between, I felt a yearning to connecting with Thai people. At times there can feel to be a disconnect between the people and the tourists and sometimes it’s as simple as not having the language to really connect. But along the way I started to make Thai friends... And it occurred to me that we could do a Merge Ceremony together in honour of the land that was bringing me back to balance: i thought, if I meet the right Thai person (preferably woman) then I would be honoured to say THANK YOU in this way, and create a THAILAND edition to the EEP series www.emergingearthpeople.com
Whilst I was booked to paint at a festival here, I met a woman called Lala. We had gone into the ice bath together, she had stayed in for 4.5 minutes when the usual time period is one minute! Her will and mind power blew me away. When I told her about my project and asked if she wanted to be part of it, she was an immediate YES. As was revealed along the way, this project was born from the stars.
The team came together effortlessly. James, with a heart as big as a giant peach was the man to hold space, and look after details so we could create. Ron came to work together with me for a second time this week, and blessed us with his photography. The production was set to occur our in the shallow waters of Koh Phangan, with the painting taking place against the backdrop of the water and shoreline. We needed a sturdy table to put in the water. I learnt that Thai people love to help and can be all too willing to give you their fruit stand table on the spot if asked! Having a very beautiful Thai woman by our side asking, helped also. It offered the opportunity to really experience Thai culture as Thai people relate to each other.
Being naked in public is also not something that can be taken for granted but bless this island for having a fully sanctioned naked beach! The production itself was more beautiful than I could have imagined. With Lala arriving in complete tradition Thai dress, with all her glistening adornments. She walked out into the water just like that, and gradually shed all the decorations, until she stood bare, ready, open and present. As I painted her the tears began to run down her face... I was soon to learn that she was pouring prayers upon me... at first I chased her tear streaked Face with my brush, but quickly noticed the most beautiful art I had ever seen. The reality of emotion, nature of strength and gentle vulnerability all being seen at the same time. My paintbrush wouldn’t dare cover up such beauty... Celebrating the beauty of tears through this powerful and courageous Thai woman was a privilege and an honour.
I realised that we didn’t have anyone doing filming for us and decided to take it on myself. I captured little parts of this whole beautiful magical process and planned to put together a short video. My interest in making film has been ignited over the last years, with a few very inspiring people encouraging me to get into this mode of expression. One of these people is NAS, of NAS DAILY. If you haven’t heard of him check him out. Those who know me know that I’m pretty obsessed with this guy and his work. He went from being an amateur making one minute films on Facebook to being followed by 700000 million people!! His films are inspiring and authentic. I have wanted to meet him for a year now... one of my big hopes and dreams was to meet him in Israel as I will be arriving in a couple of days...
After the production on site (in the water!!) was completed, we headed out for some music. Sitting there chatting away like two sisters separated for many years, Lala mentioned that maybe she knew of a project good for me... “NAS DAILY....” she began to say before The look of shock on my face told her I knew who she was talking about. “NAS DAILY! I love nas!” Was all I could say, and suddenly Lala’s Face changed also with words following “wowwww this project is for you!!” She showed me a video from Nas INVITING WOMEN CREATORS to join his BOOTCAMP! The deadline for the application video: April 10th!! I Haven’t really had many dreams lately.. but this one shines like the sun. Apparently he will fly us somewhere in the world to learn film making with him and create stuff. YES! Soo soooo yes! So I spent my last two days in Koh Phangan in my computerland editing and preparing stuff to send out.
It’s been massive. I did my best. Hearts on my sleeve again. Here it is. Enjoy and send some good vibes out for me to be the chosen!
Now: en route to the holy land. Nervous, excited, tentative.. not really sure what it’s all about. Of course visiting family and friends is great and I will be doing lots of that! But also reminding myself that I’m coming in the tourist spirit, keen to connect with all types of people in ways I haven’t before: arab-Israelis, Jews, christians, Palestinians especially EVERYONE outside the box in some way, let’s get together, create art, and express ourselves and expand within the healing realms.
Thailand, I have truly love every second. It wasn’t long enough. I feel strongly about coming back, and maybe even staying here for a proper while. Seems perfect for me in many ways…Huge thank you again to all the amazing Thai people I met who took the time to share their lives with me, and teach me a little bit more about THAILAND. I would LOVE to make a home here one day :) Sending it out to the universe! I’ll be back x
After 18 months in Australia, my wings demanded to be stretched, my spirit needed to breathe. Such a long stay in Australia has only been matched only once before, four years ago after a love story with a man that turned into a love story with Art and healing. Now, only one week since I arrived in Thailand, I am feeling relaxed, happy and motivated in ways i haven’t been for a while. The pressure has been lifted. Having left the constraints and oppressions of ‘society’ again, I have temporarily returned to a nomadic life where everything I have fits into a bag and I know I will be moving on eventually. There is no expectation that I will stay here as I know I am leaving, and my new framework is not about making money but rather about spending what I have. Gratefully, in a much more sustainable south-east asian way, giving my self time to nurture, work and play. To feel the present moment, to take the opportunity to breathe in and out of my body consciously, I experience myself as a vibration, and the spirits of those around me. I reconnect with the important foundations, necessary for gestating and birthing new meaningful magical creations. Self Love. Security. Authenticity. A quiet space where I can focus.. And Time…! Hallelulah. This was a good move.
I don't know whats coming through yet and I don’t know where this will all lead. I never do. what I do know is that my 15 years of solo travel has taught me much. The last time I was here on this little island was at the conclusion of my first expedition 15 years ago. I was 19 years young and had been travelling solo for 9 months. Wild as wild can be, I pushed every boundary and tested every limit. I had no idea what I was doing, and even less realisation that 15 years later I would be back on this island, healing myself from the experiences I had all those years before. Life is funny like that.
I live a very opposite life to many in many different ways. For me, now here in Thailand, I am embracing a routine after 10 years of free flying month to month. For the first time since university I am holding myself to a Rhythm. Just for 3 weeks to see how I feel. I wake up around 8 and mediate for 10 min. I jump on my bike and cruise around the corner to Tuun’s fruit stand. He makes a really great banana coconut smoothy and adds all my super stuff to make it best start to my day…psyllium just, chia, organic cacao powder, and hemp protein. He is teaching me to count to 10 in Thai. This smoothy is 40 baht (less then $2) Then I jump back on my bike and head around the corner to Orion Yoga for my morning class with Ben, a very inspiring and lovely yogi. Then I buy whatever I need and head home for lunch and to work in the AC through the hottest hours of the day. Yes I look forward to working inside the AC :) I finish up at 5pm and head down to the nude beach for a naked swim/sun gazing session, followed by a cold coconut to sip on whilst I enjoy an ever incredible sunset to the sounds of the drum circle and any other magical musicians rocking it out to the pink skies. I could listen to Orlando forever! He plays sax like he is making love to the moment and sings us the sounds of sunset. And then I go eat dinner at one of the many yummy Thai restaurants around. If I splurge, I will pay around $12. Yes. I love this routine :) I get to appreciate the importance of time ‘in’ and time ‘out’, in every sense of the words, equally
Most come here for a holiday and many are in their travels. Many come to detox and get treatment to heal themselves from the conditions they have acquired, born out of their home societies and situations. Some people stay for the whole season and some return for every season after for many years. Some stay here all through the year and get out just to do their visa run. And then there are people like myself, who find themselves in Thailand for whatever divine reason, who’s extended history consists of more travel and movement than stillness, who come to relax, consolidate, integrate and prepare for the next leg of life’s journey.
And so it is that I allow the words to do their magic. The stories that beg to be written. The thoughts that would offer more on paper. The incessant pondering of my mind made quiet… by the clicking of my keyboard. Being brought to life, in a new and wonderous way. Consolidating and reflect upon an epic tale of life that I have chosen to live. So - the blogs are back. The first book has been conceived.
How long till its born, no body knows. If you stick around you will be able to share this process with me as I progress with little excepts along the way, and I am honoured to know that my little 534 people community newsletter consists of YOU. Thank you. If something I say touches your heart in any way, let me know. We may be behind computer screens but we are ALIVE. May our community grow, and may the wisdoms of darkness and light that are born from within our own explorations serve the highest good for all beings in the world.
From the West Coast of Kho Phangan,
We come together, souls embedded within one another - a babushka of lives, hidden and revealed by the shedding of time. Etched into the darkness of starry skies burns an earthly desire that swells from the centre of creation; to be seen and to be acknowledged against the vast backdrop of humanity. We ache to connect with our Greatness, despite being birthed into little bodies of selves that crave to be seen - to know ourselves as part of this world that breathed us into existence. We face one another in love and fear, eye to eye, heart to heart, reflections of projections and introspections, to know ourselves through each other and discover ourselves as all that we are - as One.
Sacred smoke wafts over body and earth alike, burning with gratitude, cleansing through space and time. We stand. Naked and raw, a testament to our humanity. Strong, empowered by our vulnerability, authentic & exposed in all our glory - ready to be seen to disappear. We extend our hands and hearts to spirits calling and latch on to the possibility of magical metamorphosis through the universal language of art and ceremony. Becoming one with the earth, this day we merge, reptilian reminders of where we come from surge through our bodies, pulsating with the presence of our ancestors who meet us at the precipice of this holy production. As the Great Spirit hums her tune to our creative weavings... we begin.
Spiralling between the ecstasy of sensual strokes and the agony of simple stillness, our breath guides us into the Now as the sun sails across skies. Gaping winds twist and twirl as voluptuous clouds scoop up light and sprinkle dancing rays upon the minutes - the hours... Time passes. Inhaling molecular synchronicity, praying with the swaying trees that exhale our life force - we forget ourselves. Our lives no longer ours to own, false identities evaporate into the intensity of this collaboration. Lovers of the earth, we are.
Our blood flows with the rivers, and our bones become the fresh fossils of today. Skin stretches across the horizon as hair follicles tingle with vibration. Feet on earth, toes digging into dirt, energy drawing upwards from her core to ours; we tense and tighten and release again - Shedding. Shaking with truth, surrendering into trust. Geometric patterns blanket our thoughts into trancelike states and we breathe deeper, yogic and stoic. Chaos transforms into peace as our colourful metaphor morphs into metaphysical experience, holding space for polarity as one being darts to and fro whilst the other surrenders into stillness. Eyes skip back and forth, a blur of perspective transpires into illusion, to see you disappear. We see you disappear...
Heart beats deepen with the rhythm of our shiva shakti play, as we separate to find our way back to each other. To graduate from our menial realms of this, that and the other - the ‘otherness’ of outsiders casting selves aside in order to discern our unity in humanity. We strive. We strive for one more minute of stillness, whilst the rapids of time crash upon us... becoming the puzzle piece of perfection, as our bodies mould into the forms of spaces, once know as places but best known as The Mother; we strive to remember her as we become her experiencing ourselves as her. We merge. Stillness with chaos, time with eternity, spirit with technology, ebb with flow, skin with colour, land with body and breath with the beat of the earth. We inhale as she exhales and together, we are the masterpiece.
One within the breath of the wind that blows, spirit smiles upon us. The sacral fire flows down the river into the bellies of babes of babylon - and creation is reborn. Wiggling into the light of sight, crackling with delectable inspiration, the serpent’s tongue flicks the air, reminded of salty sweet memories of the times before time... Satiated by spirit’s dance upon the fertile force of this moment, the serpent weaves figure eights against the spectrum of light’s possibilities, upon the escapement of life’s happenings. Happiness upon the skin of manifestation, creation upon creation, we return to the star dust of our dreams, the same dust that birthed existence itself and sparkles with the memory of eternity... as her tongue meets her tail and she devours herself in a magnificent cosmic embrace.
17 years world traveller, internationally recognised award winning body painter with a background in Anthropology, Orly delves deep into the enquiry of what it means to be a human being and ceaselessly expresses her art whilst following her heart. , Specialising in mimitism (camouflage), Orly's current expressions are a moving living creative and expansive entity that represents her passion for re-merging humanity with the earth from which we came, sustainable conscious living, healing the sacred feminine as we learn to respect our mother earth and advocacy for balancing commercial gain with global and local contributions.