Kaunas reopened the scar is my heart. It hurts like hell, there´s a numbing pain in my chest and it´s really hard to concentrate on writing. A part of me wants to run away and hide, a part of me doesn´t want to leave. Yet, under the numbing pain, there´s also a warm and cosy feeling. I revisited my old home.
Two days were enough to bring back the full intensity of my Erasmus exchange year. Flashbacks of memories hit me hard when I passed the places that were once dear to me, when I met the people that I used to know and hung out with every day.
You see, the revisiting of places and people triggered the old emotions to arise again. Every little feeling would then start a chain reaction, and I´d end up feeling a lot of intense emotions.
Let me give you an example. Just after recording a video on “How to stay in Touch” featuring the famous Kaunas Soboras church, I had 20min to kill before breakdancing practice. I was close to my old dorm, so I decided to go check it out.
I didn´t have my key card anymore, so I waited for a student to come by, and just followed him in, when he opened the door with his card. Walked into the familiar building, I knew exactly where I was. I take the lift to the 6th floor. It doesn´t look familiar. I walk to the 7th, to the 5th, to the 4th. None of them look familiar, did I forget which floor I lived on?
And then I go back to the 6th, I think it was this one. I open the kitchen door, and walk in. And then it hits me. It hits me so hard I stop breathing. The familiar view out of the windows. The familiar messy tables, the smell of the food. It seems like I cooked my dinner there just yesterday.
And then the chain reaction continues. The Easter Erasmus dinner with our 6th floor students. The hanging out with our people while cooking, just chatting. A French friend playing guitar. Having tea with the Turkish family. One of the most romantic and sexy nights ever, that I spent in that kitchen.
The chain reaction peaks when the memories change to emotions. From sad to excited to happy to thoughtful. To calm, and happy, with a sprinkle of nostalgia. And then it settles on homely. I felt at home.
About 3 minutes pass since I opened that kitchen door. I pull myself together, and leave – I don´t want to be late for the breakdance practice.
Granted, that was the strongest feeling I had. But imagine chain reactions of similar intensity happening to you several times a day. When a friend makes a familiar gesture. When you dance in a familiar cypher (circle). When you hear an old joke. When you see the same old commercial poster. When you visit the bar where you used go regularly.
All of those would open up and compile in the course of 2 days. Well actually, it already started a day before with Vilnius. And then on the morning when I had to leave, all of that struck at the same time. I was overwhelmed. What´s the point of experiencing all these beautiful things, if the only end result is pain?
What´s the point of experiencing beautiful moments then, what´s the point of having strong relationships, of doing any meaningful work? Sooner or later, it will perish. And then it will hit you back, proportionately to the energy invested. The more deeply you loved, the heavier it hits you. The more involved you were, the harder it will be when you´re out.
So following this logic, it makes a lot of sense to just close yourself down. To put a big shield and barrier around you, so you don´t need to experience this pain that much. It´s safer.
Yet, something bad happens even if you follow this logic. You not only close yourself up to the pain and hardships. You also close yourself from the beauty, from connection, awe. If you´re afraid of that pain, that same fear will prevent you to enjoy the bliss, happiness and connection with the universal energy.
So, what I wanted to say with this long piece of writing is, allow yourself to feel deeply. Become more sensitive, more vulnerable. You will live a richer life. Granted, it won´t be all sunshine and rainbows, but it won’t be boring. And it won´t be empty. It will be full of color, black and white, and all the shades in between.
And ultimately, I know the only way to happiness is the way of decreasing attachments to things, people and emotions, because it all passes ultimately. The buddhist philosophy if you want. Yet, I´m not fully there yet, there´s a long way to go. But on my way there, I want to feel. I want to experience this life, I want to connect deeply with people I meet. I want to be passionate and I want to share what I have.
So, thanks, Lithuania, and thanks, Lithuanians, for every exchanged smile, hug, kiss, and killed beat in a cypher. For every shared meal, game of cards or rock, paper, scissor. For every walked street, every building seen, every word spoken. It evoked deep emotions and awe in me and I hope I managed to give a bit of that back.
Oh, and by the way, as a closing and not entirely connected thought. When people ask me, if Kaunas changed in the years I was not there, here´s my answer:
“Not really. But I did.”
And amongst other things, I feel more deeply now.
Peace & love,