The Lock Down and The Flowers

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Photos by Deni Tessarolo within 200 meters of her home

On May 18, 2020, the Veneto Region of Italy will open to a new phase of their response to the COVID-19 virus. Here is Deni Tessarolo’s energetic experience of the Lock down.

The Energy of the Lock Down

All of a sudden, you find yourself having to stay inside a space defined by law. We were IMG_0010_1even restricted to two blocks outside our home to walk our dogs or get exercise.

We began to live a way we never lived before with people locked in the house, wrapped in an ambivalent silence, a silence that heals your mind and, at the same time, opens a path for worries.

People became glued to the TV, clinging to the experts’ opinions to quell their anxieties. According to the government, if you wanted to go out, you must have a valid reason—food or drugs. You can only go to nearby businesses. Written self-certification is required. There were many new rules imposed on us and new things we had to learn.

We were discovering how difficult it was to keep a social distance—forcing oneself to stay far from others. We were hiding our faces under the protective masks, rendering facial expressions useless. There was no need for makeup, and we could relax our facial muscles with a neutral stance.

When waiting in the long lines outside the supermarkets, we learn to behave like a phobic person. All of a sudden, you have to move thinking that all the people you met have the corona virus infection.

A Collective Hallucination


It is like being the protagonist of a collective hallucination. Everyone became small and furtive as if we wanted to avoid being seen by the corona virus, present everywhere, invisible like an omnipotent, cruel God.

The official motto was: ‘Stay at Home.’  Staying outside becomes threatening while staying at home becomes salvation. Despite all this, not all had been negative. Many positive things arose with the new situation.

We discovered how it was to be free from many commitments. Now, virtual relationships, so underestimated and considered a fallback in comparison to physical contact, acquired vital importance. Emotional exchanges, affections, aperitifs, meetings with friends, outbursts, and hugs became virtually experienced.

How Flowers Helped Me

IMG_0013_1 copiaWe stayed at home, stayed within 200 meters of our home, with a lot of time on our hands. This time helped me to discover the expansive effects on my body that contemplating the beauty of flowers initiated and how the act of looking at them filled me with wonder by opening a space of time where I could rest.

This open space encouraged my love of taking pictures and capturing the best moment of the flowers to document their eternal beauty. I looked at every photo taken day after day for a long time. These are flowers that have always been present, but I never noticed them. It was my daily therapy that helped me to cling to the beauty of nature so as not to sink, or enclose myself in the darkness of black waters.

I had never considered that something so beautiful and fragile could become a lifesaver. By looking at a flower and I was letting in the visual effect–the feeling of wonder. This act turned into new life-giving energy.

I feel lucky to have allowed the flowers into my consciousness at that moment that was full of restrictions. The flowers had always existed. Now, they were appreciated and thoroughly enjoyed, bringing fragments of light that, together with the others, illuminated the house.

Fiori e Lock Down (Italiano)

In un giorno qualsiasi, all’improvviso, ti trovi a non poter uscire, a dover rimanere dentro uno spazio delimitato per legge. Lo spazio di movimento permesso non può superare i 200 metri da casa.

In questo modo inizia il lockdown, un periodo di tempo mai vissuto prima. La gente chiusa in casa, avvolta da un silenzio ambivalente, che oscillava da curativo per la mente a silenzio che favoriva preoccupazioni. C’erano persone incollate alla tv, aggrappate ai pareri degli esperti per sedare ansie e preoccupazioni.

Nel frattempo il governo decide che se vuoi uscire devi avere un valido motivo: comprare del cibo, comprare farmaci o altre necessità mediche e solo nelle vicinanze di casa con l’autocertificazione scritta che specifica la necessità.

Poi scopri quanto è difficile mantenere la distanza sociale. Scopri anche che la mascherina ti concede l’assoluta libertà espressiva del viso e il trucco che mimetizzava i segni del tempo non serve più.

Allucinazione Collettiva

IMG_0015_1Scopri le lunghe file fuori dai supermercati e devi imparare a comportati come le persone fobiche. Tutto ad un tratto devi muoverti pensando che il contagio del coronavirus può essere in tutte le persone che si incontrano, è come essere protagonisti di una allucinazione collettiva.

Tutti si fanno piccoli, furtivi, come volessero evitare di essere visti dal coronavirus, presente ovunque, invisibile e onnipotente come Dio. Stare fuori diventa minaccioso, mentre lo stare a casa diventa la salvezza. Il motto ufficiale è: ‘Stare a casa!’

Lo stare a casa ci allena alla rinuncia, insegna come è essere liberi dagli innumerevoli impegni, ci fa scoprire la vitale importanza delle relazioni virtuali, tanto sottovalutate e considerate un ripiego rispetto al contatto fisico. Tante cose vengono trasferite nelle connessioni online come gli scambi emotivi, affetti, aperitivi, incontri tra amici, sfoghi, abbracci, intrattenimenti ecc..

Come i Fiori Mi Hanno Aiutato

Stare a casa! … Stare nei 200 metri attorno a casa, con molto tempo a disposizione, con la primavera alle porte, mi fa accorgere dell’effetto quasi estatico nel corpo nel contemplare la bellezza insita dei fiori.

Mi diverto, giorno dopo giorno, a IMG_0004guardarli fiorire e con mia sorpresa scopro che l’atto del guardare sfumature, forme e colori mi riempiva di meraviglia, a volte toglieva il fiato, apriva uno spazio, sia fisico che temporale, dove si poteva sostare, staccare la spina.

Ecco che scattare foto soddisfa il bisogno avido di trattenere la meraviglia del fiore e il piacere nell’osservarlo. Volevo catturare l’apice della bellezza, renderla eterna.

Ho guardato a lungo ogni foto fatta giorno dopo giorno, molteplici fiori che si rinnovano ogni anno e mai notati prima, era la mia terapia quotidiana, era come aggrapparsi alla bellezza della natura per non sprofondare, per non chiudersi nel buio, per non perdersi nelle acque nere.

Non avevo mai considerato che qualcosa di così bello e fragile potesse diventare un salvagente. Guardare un fiore e lasciare che l’effetto visivo riempia qualcosa di non so cosa, ma qualcosa in cui il sentimento di meraviglia si trasforma in una energia nuova vivificante.

Mi sento fortunata per aver permesso, in quel momento pieno di restrizioni, di essere aiutata dalla natura floreale riscoperta e pienamente goduta, e come se frammenti di luce abbiano contribuito ad illuminare casa.

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Wear a Mask. Save Lives!

Sometimes it is not about what your body needs now. Sometimes it is about what humanity needs now. While we get conflicting messages about how to save ourselves and others, what has emerged in the last few days is that wearing a mask when you leave your living space saves lives. The countries that require their “stay at home” citizens to also wear masks when they need to leave their living spaces have the lowest new infection rates.

If everyone starts wearing masks immediately, in a few weeks, the death rates should go down.  This mandate is not only about epicenters like New York, Italy, or Spain. It is also about places where irresponsible government leaders reject “stay home” orders and do not provide masks like they have begun to do in Italy. Wearing a mask and staying home are two things you can do to protect yourself and your fellow humans. According to New York City Guidelines, everyone should wear a face covering, cloth is fine, whenever going outside where other people may be present….while shopping for instance or commuting.  And homemade masks, a scarf or a bandana will do fine, just wash it once daily and use it again.

Take some time to sense into what wearing a mask triggers for you and hold space for those feelings. Then wear the mask!  Here’s a video from the Czech Republic about wearing a mask. Stay well, and help keep your community well too!  Share a picture of yourself showing that you are a “masker” at #Masks4all Encourage others to do the same.


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Stopping for Color

Painting by: Maria Hakasalo

How about stopping for a while and sensing what this picture gives to you?

Drawing and painting were a big thing in my life until it came to a stop three years ago. I could not cope when there was so much to do at the same time, such as studying creative writing and becoming a certified focusing teacher. The yearning woke up a few months ago. I picked up my acrylic painting tools – and noticed how it didn’t inspire me.

A couple of days ago, I found alcohol inks. What I like most about these slightly cloudy works is that I used a somewhat thicker paper that is different from the synthetic paper commonly used with alcohol inks. The thicker paper is an excellent support for color printing. It fits into my current mood.

Maybe you would like to try what I did: Look at a picture and, at the same time, feel the support that the chair and floor are giving to you. Let your gaze move around the image while feeling which colors or spots are attracting or resonating in you for some reason. When you see and feel it, stop and say with gentleness and beautiful curiosity that you want to sense and hear what it wants to give to you. You may wish to close your eyes if it feels right and ask yourself this question: What do I want to give myself at this point in my life, right now? Give it time, don’t hurry. You may begin to feel something in your body. Let it feel. If something pops up for you, greet it kindly and check if it seems to match the picture in any way. If so, you may feel that something is happening to you. A word, image, or movement might open up to you? Maybe it’s something you need today? Perhaps you can welcome it into your life?

When looking at the picture of my painting, I noticed how the white in the painting resonated in me. For me, the white place where there is no color, only pure paper, helped me accept the state of not knowing. I am there right now, and so many of us are. My loved ones are on another side of the sea, not knowing if they can come back from their holiday. The flights may not operate when so many of the flights cannot leave.

Just pure paper with no color yet, and I don’t know what its fate would be. It felt comforting to be with, and I started to feel more peaceful and tender.

Mitä jos pysähtyisit ja katsoisit, mitä tämä kuva avaa sinulle?

Piirtäminen ja maalaaminen on ollut iso asia elämässäni, kunnes kolme vuotta sitten siihen tuli stoppi. En vain jaksanut, kun samaan aikaan oli paljon muutakin, kuten kirjoittamisen ja fokusoinnin ohjauksen opiskelua. Kaipaus heräsi muutama kuukausi sitten. Keräilin akryylimaalausvälineitäni esille. Mutta ei se napannut.

Viikonloppuna löysin alkoholimusteet. Eniten pidän näistä hieman sameista, huokoiselle paperille tehdyistä kokeiluista. Sopii tämänhetkiseen tunnelmaani.

Kun valitsin valokuvaan tämän rajauksen, en tiennyt, miksi työn valkoinen, väritön osa oli siinä niin tärkeä.

Haluaisitko sinä kokeilla samaa, minkä minä tein: Katso kuvaa ihan rauhassa ja tunne samalla tuki, minkä tuoli ja lattia antavat sinulle. Anna katseesi liikkua kuvassa ja tunnustele, mikä väreistä tai kohdista vetää sinua puoleensa. Kun huomaat sen, pysähdy ja lempeästi ja kauniilla uteliaisuudella ikäänkuin kuuntele, mitä se haluaa sinulle kertoa tai avata. Voit halutessasi sulkea silmät, jos se tuntuu paremmalta ja antaa tämän kysymyksen asettua sinuun: mitähän tämä kohta haluaa antaa minulle juuri nyt? Anna sille aikaa, älä kiirehdi. Saatat alkaa tuntea jotain kehossasi. Anna sen tuntua. Jos jotain avautuu sinulle, tervehdi sitä ystävällisesti ja tarkista, tuntuuko se yhteensopivalta valitsemasi kuvan kohdan/värin kanssa. Ehkä jokin sana, kuva tai liike avautuu sinulle? Saatat tuntea, että jotain sinussa tapahtuu. Ehkä se on jotain, mitä tarvitset juuri tänään?

Valkoinen kohta auttoi minua hyväksymään ei-tietämisen tilan, jossa tällä hetkellä olen, ja niin moni meistä on. Läheiseni kaukana lomamatkalla, enkä tiedä, pääsevätkö he lentämään takaisin, kun niin moni lento on peruttu. Pelkkä puhdas paperi, jossa ei ole vielä väriä enkä voi tietää, millä tavoin se täyttyy, auttaa minua olemaan tässä hetkessä. Jokin minussa rauhoittuu ja pehmenee.

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Una lettera dal nord Italia–Letter from Northern Italy

See English Translation at the end of Italian version.

Oggi qualcosa in me è profondamente scosso e triste. Sto facendo colazione e piango …piango per tutte quelle persone che non ce l’hanno fatta, che sono morte sole, anziane e non, isolate in ospedale perché nessuno poteva avvicinarsi alle zone dei contagiati.

Mi ha molto colpito la vicenda di una nonnina di più di 90 anni , che già era in ospedale, a cui il Covid-19 ha dato il colpo di grazia. Voleva tanto salutare la famiglia per un ultima volta, prima di andarsene , ma non le è stato concesso…una voce in me dice : “No!!!Non è possibile….sarà vero?”

E poi piango per la paura, che come un’ombra scura, si è insinuata nella vita di tanti e anche per l’incoscienza di chi invece non ha esitato a fuggire portando un possibile contagio dal Nord al Sud , dove le strutture ospedaliere sono ancora più bisognose che al Nord.

E infine piango per l mia piccola Confort Zone che, nello spazio di pochi giorni, è stata spazzata via. Qualcuno ieri, alla televisione, ha detto che noi qui in Europa siamo una generazione con la vita tutta “in discesa”. In parte è certamente vero se ci paragoniamo alle generazioni precedenti che hanno dovuto affrontare la guerra e l’Olocausto. E’ vero anche che si tratta di una generalizzazione perché ognuno deve affrontare i propri dolori e le difficoltà della vita anche in un periodo di pace…

Devo andare indietro fino agli anni’70 e all’Austerity per ricordare un paesaggio così “desertico”. Io faccio colazione davanti ad una grande finestra e, in lontananza, c’è una strada che unisce la mia città a Torino…questa mattina posso contare le auto che passano ad una ad una e sento diffondersi un silenzio irreale.

L’immagine dell’Austerity di 50 anni fa mi arriva come associazione ma sento anche quanto quel periodo, ed io con esso, fossimo diversi da adesso. Allora avevo 20 anni ed eravamo sì senz’auto , ma liberi di andare in bicicletta o a piedi e per noi ragazzi era un occasione per trovarci in grandi gruppi e fare gite. Questo ricordo mi aiuta di più a comprendere i giovani di ora che faticano ad accettare ciò che viene richiesto…stare chiusi in casa. .

Questo antico ricordo e come mi sentivo libera e allegra, felice di pedalare è qui, presente nella totalità del mio essere e stride con il presente.

So che una piccola, o grande, parte di me sta piangendo perché le sue abitudini, che sono anche sicurezze, sono state spazzate via e sento anche un qualcos’altro in me che vorrebbe giudicare, che mentalmente elenca tutte le Grandi Anime che hanno fatto fronte a situazioni molto dure e ne hanno fatto un’occasione di trasformazione per sé e spesso per gli altri, Faccio spazio anche a questa voce di sottofondo che elenca Assagioli, il mio primo”Maestro”, Mandela, Ghandi, Madre Teresa….ma molto di me in questo momento si sente una “piccola anima” di fronte ad una sfida grande e allora do spazio anche alle lacrime per quella parte di me che si sente persa e spaventata , che vorrebbe tanto fare una passeggiata con la sua migliore amica ma sa che è meglio lasciar perdere…

Non è facile, ci vuole veramente un grande spazio per contenere tutto e mettere tutto alla “giusta distanza” ma, lentamente sento che il mio dolore si sta calmando e mi affiorano i messaggi dei colleghi Focalizzatori , degli amici, dei gruppi di ascolto ed empatia che stiamo formando in Italia , unendoci localmente ma anche da zona a zona, fra il Nord e il Sud e vedo le risorse e anche la fiducia e mi sento meglio.

Il mio gatto ha sentito tutto questo tumulto interiore ed è venuto ad acciambellarsi accanto a me. Mi guarda e lo sento presente, discreto , qui con me , come avviene nel Focusing … ora posso affrontare questa nuova giornata.

A Letter from Northern Italy

Today something in me is deeply shaken and sad.

It’s breakfast time, and I am crying. I cry for all those people who didn’t survive, who died alone, old or not, isolated in the hospital because no one could enter the ward where contagious people are.

I have been very touched by the story of a 90-year-old grandmother who was already in the hospital, and to whom Covid-19 gave the final blow. She longed to say goodbye to her family before leaving, but it was not permitted. A voice inside me says.” No, it’s not possible. Are you sure it is true?”

Then I cry for Fear, which, like a dark shadow, has crept into the life of many people. I grieve the irresponsibility of those who ran south in the middle of the night from the northern infectious zones. They exhibited no hesitation that they might bring the contagion to areas where hospitals are very far from the excellent quality of Milan’s and where there are many old people–their grandmothers or grandfathers perhaps.

And finally, I cry for my small Comfort Zone swept away in a few days. Yesterday somebody said on TV that we are a generation whose life has been all “downhill.” Compared to the previous generation who had to face wars and The Holocaust, this is undoubtedly true. It is also true that everyone has to meet their difficulties and pains in life, even in times of peace.

I go back to the seventies and to the Austerity period to see such a “desert” landscape. I have my breakfast in front of a large window where, in the distance, I can see a road going from my town to Turin. This morning I can count the cars one by one, and I feel a creeping, unreal, and heavy silence all around.

The times and I were very different fifty years ago when Austerity came to visit us! I was twenty years old and, even if we could not go around by car anymore, we were free to walk or ride a bicycle, and we were happy to meet in large groups and organize trips to the countryside. This memory helps me to better understand young people who are now finding it hard to accept and respect the New Rule. Stay at home and don’t meet other people outside your own family.

I hold space for this old memory of how free and happy I was to ride my bike among my friends. I am here now, present to the whole of myself, and it crashes into the current reality.

I am aware that a little, or a large, part of me, is crying for its routines, and certainties swept away so suddenly. I also sense something else in me that is trying to judge this. Something that, mentally, is counting on all the Great Souls who lived through tough situations and transformed them into a path of light and growth for themselves and, often, for many other people. I make space for this voice in the background enumerating Assagioli, my first “Master,” Mandela, Mother Teresa, Gandhi. There is something in me; however, a lot of me, feeling a pure “Little Soul” facing a big challenge and so I give plenty of space to that part of me frightened and lost, a part longing for a walk in the countryside with her best friend but aware that it is better not to do it now.

It is not so easy. I need a lot of space to hold everything this morning and keep it at the “right distance” but, slowly. I feel my pain is melting away, and messages from my friends and fellow Focusers come to my mind. I know that Listening and Empathy Groups are gathering all around Italy. They link North to South awakening Resources and Trust.

Now I feel better.

My cat felt all this interior turmoil and came to curl up near me. He looks at me, and I feel he is present near me in an unobtrusive way, as we do in Focusing. Now I can go and live a new day.

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