On Facebook this last week:
“Is it just me or is anyone else out there tired of hearing about “blood flow” while trying to watch football?” to which I commented: “Well, um, the language is synergistic to the male view of ‘sport’ so it’s not incongruous but the NFL and its ad department doesn’t seem to factor in that women do watch baseball, football and so forth and appealing to that market segment MIGHT result in more sex without the need of “little blue pills”!”
The American culture is driven by enhancing performance (and healthy men who don’t have an issue with ED seem not to understand this is a drug that has serious consequences if they use it), as well as bigger breasts and smaller bodies, a society obsessed with getting to wherever faster in the biggest car (namely its original price tag), displaying net worth capable of feeding entire villages in third world nations for months and yet, still, never ever being satisfied. In this, the contrast offered by the Croatian concept of pomalo has resonance for me.
I first read about pomalo in a National Geographic Traveler article by Paul Kvinta in 2011 – and from my perspective, pomalo seems to offer the perfect balance between productivity and living. I have a folder filled with articles from magazines with interesting places to visit (yes, a folder, not a special Pinterest board and not a folder on my computer). Within the folder, for many years, has been an article about UNESCO World Heritage site Plitvice Lakes (Croatia, smaller than the state of West Virginia can boast of seven extraordinary UNESCO sites and I, who can feel the energy of things ancient, am being pulled eastward to stand in a state of reverence amidst great cultural significance). I had not thought much lately about either the Plitvice Lakes or Mr. Kvinta’s journey along the Dalmatian coast of the Adriatic until this week – when I met Marijan through OKCupid. Marijan like Jure Kvinta, (Paul’s “cousin”), seriously understands the art of living, a cellular level of being that strikes me as being uniquely Slavic, that, if I am honest, leaves the French and their joie de vivre in the dust and makes my fellow Americans appear rather pathetic in our obsessions!
It is touching in the extreme to be able to express the widest range of my emotions and thoughts and words and have a man not cringe at the sight of tears, or change the subject to diffuse them, with whom our a common sense of humor can bridge vastly different cultural backgrounds and, some might say, chronological ages, a deep understanding of universal energy – recognizing the high frequency vibrational nature of our beings and that in putting more out “there” it will be replenished in the extreme for the giving. Most intoxicating to date is the re-introduction of pomalo – the actual living of life which is given priority. He doesn’t live to work, but works to have (enough) to live, fully. The time he makes for reading my words (and his understanding that my blog posts serve as a kind of user manual for dealing with me, the very first man to so understand!) as well as the time he spends teaching me about his country and letting me come to know him is a blessed sanctuary.
Least your perception of Croatia and its people be one of a laxity about more practical matters – theirs is a society rich in innovation, think Nikola Tesla – yes, the scientist whose name is now an electric car marque, as well as considerable commercial success with global brands such as Red Bull and Maglite. (Marijan has informed me that Viagra is increasingly being marketed within Croatia; soon, it seems, no couple will be content to take their time with lovemaking in their more senior years!)
I am a firm believer in listening to my messages – something rather vague that is perhaps best captured (at least in spirit) to “the sly wind blew in from the north” in the movie Chocolat with Juliette Binoche. Like Binoche’s character Vianne Rocher I have been gypsy-like (in my more recent past less so, but my wanderlust has been itching painfully without direction for a considerable length of time). I haven’t been comfortable with my being exclusively American rather than a global citizen for many years, but with my personal equivalent of that “wind from the north”, I am gaining clarity around the twisty-turn road that is my journey and I am pretty sure the philosophy of pomalo has a dominate role in my future.
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