last day of summer, first nights of autumn (2.2)

ah! seattle! what a dream it has been. travelling to the united states is movie-like for me. growing up in romania, i was exposed to so much of american culture, yet i never imagined i would be making my way here. what is more, it is incredibly precious to be here with my beloved Gurus and with the dearest saṅgha of sisters and brothers. reality truly does trump even the most elaborate dreams and fantasies!

this early autumn, i fell in love with seattle! i was already in love with its beautiful people, so it did not take much. 🙂 this city has the most harmonious blend of urban & nature! vast city skylines & crystal lakes in forests which still your mind into silence. featuring: space needle, chihuly glass garden, jimi hendrix memorial. i saw the very first, original starbucks and the busy, electric pike market, while laughing and holding hands with my dearest sister, L. will never forget the moments of vulnerability, intimacy and longing for Truth shared together while exploring these streets.

“the best love to have is the love of life.” ~ jimi hendrix. 💙🙏

anugraha (अनुग्रह)

the Guhyāsādhanā-tantra tells us that fortunate are those who become the śiṣyas of a teacher, and even more fortunate are those blessed to become the śiṣyas of a strī-guru, the latter only accomplished after lifetimes of sādhanā. so unimaginable is my fortune as a student of Kavithaji Ammā, who has guided me to see glimpses of the beauty and truth veiled inside me and in all that is – who is polishing my rough edges so they can one day shine like diamonds. to finally be with Ammā & with the saṅgha in-person has been the greatest gift. śrī mātre namaḥ! śrī gurubhyo namaḥ! ♥️

the winter Śabdācāra retreat: the most beautiful moments of my life, spent in one of the most beautiful places, with the most beautiful people. tears, intimacy, connection, love, grace, flow, tenderness, and sweet vulnerability – all rushing through the light of the guru. dearest saṅgha, i did not know love before you.

♥️ photos by Holly, Prashanthi & me. ♥️

saṅgha, guru, my guru’s guru, and guru’s grace.

thirst, bhakti poetry

happy Vijayadaśamī! 💙 from this month’s newsletter of Śabda Institute. honoured that my poem accompanies the announcement of such an exquisite offering 💙 in this highly auspicious time, may our longing fuel our sādhanā, and may our devotion sweeten its unfolding. 💙

Dear One, 

The Śabda Saṅgha is continuing its study of the Bhagavad Gītā with a new theme – that of Bhakti Yoga. In honour of this new cycle of study, we are pleased to share a beautiful poem of longing and devotion by one of Kavithaji’s students, Téa Nicolae.

thirst
infused with devotion
my days unfurl tenderly
chinks fissure the armour plate of the self
and life dances through the cracks
madly enamoured
i long for the Beloved’s caress
my throat, so swollen
my mouth, so parched
my Beloved quenches the thirst:
grace pours down in ripples
i drink hastily

Path to Devī: love letter to the beautiful women in my life

happy international women’s day! 🌹 may we fearlessly open to our inherent power (śakti) within. ♥️
taking this opportunity to express my deepest gratitude to the women who transformed my life.

dearest saṅgha, i am so grateful for your exquisite & luminous presence. thank you for loving me for who i am and for supporting me without coddling me. thank you for listening to me without judgment and for holding space for me to unravel. thank you for trusting me. thank you for teaching me what true feminism and true empowerment mean. even though you are miles away from me, i feel you so unimaginably close. i am immensely honoured to be walking this wondrous path with you holding my hand. i love you from the bottom of my heart ❤️

pranām to our beloved teacher, who gave us this marvellous, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to come together ❤️

śrī mātre namah ❤️🌺❤️

artwork credit: the very talented Anna Baartz!

from the future: Śabdācāra winter retreat, Barcelona, 2021.

kiss me i’m peaking

*poem published in The Writing Disorder. ✨

kiss me
i’m peaking

you murmur
lips pressed
against
my
forehead
i look up
to you
your eyeballs
are shaking
your hair
is
damp
and
you look
so
beautiful
i feel
my eyes
rolling to
the back
of
my head
as i crash
my mouth
to yours
my hands
fall
on your
chest
and
i feel
your warmth
slip
through
my skin
wrapping
my heart
your hands
rest on
my waist
your beard
scratches
my ear
and i feel
tangled
with you
my mouth
is
dry
and
the
music
is
tearing
my
chest
open
i
feel
dizzy
i bring
your
hands
to
my
heart
do
you
feel this

your voice
is hoarse
you
are
holding
my
youth
between
your
fingertips
i nod

is it
love

i
don’t
know
but
i
feel
so
close
to you
right
now

[untitled] by téa nicolae

*poem published in The Writing Disorder. ✨

(it is spring), i miss
your damp forehead
between my shoulder blades

(i can’t bear to look at the moon again); i miss
how you used to bite my earlobe
whenever i drifted away
[or whenever i picked up
books like

the hundred thousand songs of milarepa
because
poetry more beautiful than ours
gave you a headache]

(my darling), i miss
your firm grasp
on my hips

(i’ve been sleeping on your side); i miss
how your eyes
used to                                           soften
when i sang
ballads to the                                 cosmos,
wearing your duvet as the high priestesses of athena
would have worn their robes

[and when you looked at me with adoration i felt like an enchantress    ,,,,,    dazzling, alive, fire in my belly, a daughter of the seas   ,,,,,,    and i conjured all the elements in the texture of our lips]

(i’m sorry i promised to visit but i didn’t) i miss
curling up to you
sweaty hearts pressed together,
your fingertips drawing
stars and suns on my back;;;
the night i left you
i laid awake
locking eyes with the night sky
through your half-opened window,
i was cold and
i wiped my tears on your pillow case.
at one-point i could have sworn
the sky slipped into your chamber
and laid in bed with us
and i thought
etcetera.

 

writing disorder

☼ i breathe, i accept my grief by téa nicolae

*here’s an optimistic poem of mine to soothe the social distancing process. ❤  along with three other poems, it was published in Scan Arts & Culture, in the section ‘Four Incantations for Loss, Joy and Love’. 

 

i wake up at dawn

and i find happiness

in slicing an apple

and munching on it

 

breathe

i accept my grief

 

i find beauty

in standing barefoot in the middle of the kitchen,

feeling breadcrumbs stick

to my pinky toe

 

i breathe

i accept my grief

 

i learn there is joy in cutting tomatoes,

in making a bowl of soup,

in having my stomach full

 

breathe

i accept my grief

 

i uncover the childish glee of

having the tip of my tongue burnt

and gratitude runs between my fingers like water

being alive is warm

there is kindness

in tuning in

 

and i breathe

i accept

my

grief. ☼

layla curled her hair when she was sad

today i read out a poem about a dear friend’s struggle with an eating disorder at the feminist x writers collab open mic, which raised money for SEED, a charity dedicated to providing the necessary support and guidance for people who suffer from eating disorders.

it was very humbling to watch my friend fight and overcome her pain. her bravery is inspiring, raw and real.  my writing doesn’t do her story justice, but i hope it will help inspire others and it will shed light on how real eating disorders are and how heartbreaking it is that they can be dismissed so lightly.
to my friend: i’m so grateful you are in my life. all my love and light to you. you shine ✨

 

 

layla curled her hair when she was sad

 

layla curled her hair when she was sad

and picked at her food with clumsy fingers

“one more bite”

i used to urge,

and she would shake her head with a smile.

 

layla counted the calories in her food when she was sad.

“i think i’ve lost weight again”, she would say,

looking at her feet.

i counted how many crisps she’d had in my head

as she pushed her food with her fork.

 

layla wrote poems when was sad.

when she read me a poem she wrote about food,

i tried not to break in front of her.

i wished she could see how kind,

warm

and brave she was.

i wished she craved to fill herself

with the gentleness she carried for others.

 

layla cried when she was sad

and i held her tightly.

“why do i treat myself so horribly”

she whispered in my hair.

 

when layla was told that she would end up in hospital

if she lost any more weight

she vowed to be as kind to herself

as she was to others.

 

she struggled for four months

to fight her mind and her belly

and she cried and hurt

as i stared helplessly.

but when she picked herself up

she held her head high,

like a warrior.

 

today layla curls her hair when she feels grateful

and she sends me photos of clean plates.

she tells me she feels hunger with bright eyes

“i’ve never felt hungry before.

now i crave hot-boiled potatoes.”

 

“i felt full

because i fed my brain the wrong things.”

she tells me softly

as pride floods my heart.

 

openmic
reading out at the feminist x writers open mic

I still remember the tremble in my friend’s voice

i’ve been feeling pretty bleak lately and i haven’t felt like sharing the pieces that i have written these past two months. i haven’t performed anything either, but i came out of my shell yesterday for the lgbtq+ open mic (which marked the end of the lgbt history month) and read out a few tales of intolerance. it was heart-warming to take in so much beauty, so much confidence and so much love. as i am learning to believe in love, here they are:

I still remember the tremble in my friend’s voice.

We were curled up in a small stool in our school’s bathroom and were listening to Life Round Here; soft volume. Shoulders pressed, we hummed along, eyes stuck to uncapped markers and to obscene words spread on walls. The tips of our fingers barely touched.

“I think I like boys too.”

For a brief moment, his eyes held a shaky urgency, as if he expected a blow.

I reached out for his hand.

“I know.”, I said.

I later learned it was not my blow he feared.

I remember my P.E. teacher from middle school, who taught my thirteen-year-old self the perks of cruelty.

In the seventh grade, a friend of mine liked a girl. She would gush about how beautiful her hair was and how soft and damp her hands would be in hers. She would cut classes to meet her in lone parks in the afternoon and she had made a habit out of skipping P.E. Word got around.

One Tuesday afternoon, our P.E. teacher arranged us in a circle and asked us where she was. We kept silent. She asked again, more menacingly.

“Is she out with boys?”, my teacher half-joked.

“Oh, no, miss.”, a tall girl from my right quipped. “She likes girls.”

She was careful to nuance it rightly.

I remember how my P.E. teacher’s over-lined lips pressed together tightly. Her excessively plucked eyebrows raised high. “Girls?”

A few of my classmates nodded silently, giggling, eyes gleaming.

She touched her forehead lightly and made the sign of the cross.

“Oh, God. She really is crazy then.”

She launched into a homophobic rant, which I don’t remember. But I remember staring at her, dumbfounded, silent, chewing on my bottom lip and holding back tears. I was so angry at myself for days afterwards. Why didn’t I say anything?

But a classmate of mine did. “She can like whoever she wants to.”, she said lowly. The tall girl puffed and turned to the teacher. “She likes Lady Gaga.” she explained.

I remember the second time a girl kissed me. We were at a party, she was tipsy and her teeth knocked mine. We both pulled away to laugh at our clumsiness. When she leaned in again, a girl we barely knew ran to us. She grabbed my shoulder sharply, digging her nails into my skin. I remember her half-shocked, half-angry face, complimented with a smirk.

“Are you both crazy? You’re embarrassing yourselves.”, she spat.

I remember comforting a girl who fell in love with another. 3. a.m., an endless whatsapp conversation, my heart breaking to questions such as “What if my friends stop talking to me?” “What if my mum finds out?” “What if my ex-boyfriend thinks I’m a freak?” She told me that what was crushing her was that she did not fear rejection from her crush anymore, but gossip, isolation and backlash instead. “Am I wrong?”

I remember a friend’s heavy eyes. He told us that his father had kicked him out.

“He found out.” he said simply.

I remember a friend faintly whispering: “He does not like me because I am not as soft as a girl”.

I remember the lies some of my friends told their parents when they went to the Pride Parade, I remember how they hid from cameras and photos, how they stuffed their rainbow badges in their pockets on their way home.

I remember a boy that reached out to me on Facebook. He was gay and he was hurting. He was part of his high school’s cool gang and his best friends were crushingly homophobic. He was crumbling and he was watching Shane Dawson for comfort. One day, he stopped answering my messages. I still look him up on Facebook from time to time. He has many pictures with his girlfriend.

I remember my homophobic teachers. I remember a teacher pointing to my friend’s bleached hair and asking if he was “one of those”, I remember the spiteful protests in my country. I remember hearing the words “faggot”, “queer” and their equivalents in my mother-tongue, all laced with venom. I remember my gay friends crying at afterparties and smudging the glitter they had carefully applied on their faces, I remember my Facebook comments being flooded with homophobia and I remember the pure bliss of Prides.

Lastly, I remember the numerous people who have told me, patronizingly, that advocating for the LGBTQ community was not important enough. As if, with all the hurt there is out there, there would be anything more important than advocating for love.

david
my friend, david, performing his heartfelt pieces last night ^.^