Friday, December 18, 2015

Close friends

She likes us to become close friends. She is short, abundantly curvy and her grey, very short hair does not really flatter her white face, but the colourful blouse with bird of paradise print turns her into a really pleasant appearance. She greets me with a bright smile at the Nerja Arts Festival, where I have an exhibition, and she says “Hi, I am Beate”. She turns out to be a fan of my work and buys my entire series of mandala cards. Soon it becomes clear to me that she has all the time in the world and I listen to a waterfall of words. She gives meditative dancing classes and asks if I want to join. I explain that it is not really my thing, but promise to meet up with her sometime soon for a cup of coffee. Three months later my phone rings. “Beate here” ... She explains that some of her friends from Germany like to also purchase my mandala cards. Hopeful she asks whether they can come and visit me in my studio. I hesitate, because saying that I am a messy person is quite an understatement. I look around the small old house that I am renting in the middle of the old, typical white-washed Spanish village and realise it is littered with stuff. A dining table filled with two bowls of fruit, all sorts of bits and bobs, my computer and keyboard and lots of papers and unopened bank statements. The state of almost every other surface in my house is not much better. Books on various bookshelves look cluttered with sheets of paper bulging out. Fluffs of dog hair are scattered around the tiled floor as I have not vacuumed the house for over a week. My ceramic statues are collecting dust. The old white walls are filled with paintings and in every other room in the house there are paintings stacked against the wall due to lack of space. My studio in the small garden is disorganised with too many plastic boxes filled with painting materials and brushes and tubes of paint lie scattered on the large table. There are tools and empty plant pots everywhere on the floor. I take a deep breath whilst deciding that I am not in the mood for a huge clean-up and suggest meeting up on the village square. Beate assures me that she and her friends don’t mind a messy house, so we agree to meet near the church where I am introduced to three grey-haired, elderly ladies. They look very polite and tidy with their wrinkle free white blouses all buttoned up and no make-up on their slightly pink faces. Feeling a sense of panic as we walk towards my home I apologize for the messy state of it, but they wave my worries away as they too are messy when on holiday they explain politely. However, there is no doubt in my mind that my mess is in any way similar to what they understand it to be and surely they will be tempted to call in the Spanish equivalent of the public health service to help me declutter. I clench my teeth and together we walk to my house. One and a half hour later, more than 100 euros richer and some mandala cards poorer, I'm perfectly happy on my balcony. Swallows skim right past my head. The late evening sun envelops the mountain range in a fairy-tale orange glow. White houses in the valley glister like gold leaves in the distance. The penetrating sound of the swallows is reminding me that summer has arrived. And Beate and me? We are now close friends.
My mandala gift cards come with a specific meaning. There are two sets of gift cards; one set of 5 cards, representing abundance, gratitude, balance, love and joy and strength and light. The second set represent the seven chakra’s which stand for: security and safety, creativity and self-worth, personal strength, give and receive love, communication skills, intuition and dynamic thoughts and energy. More details here:

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