Monday, August 8, 2016

camminando | Pilgrimage in Gaeta

I am in an urgent need of a vacation—the etymology of the word is quite  descriptive of my needs. Leaving life vacant of worries has always provided a fresh approach to problem solving and generated insights. Italy does not lack of inspirational places; my requirements are for a seaside place with a "bandiera blu" award,  over thousand year of historians which  to be reached from Rome with less than two hours of public transportation.
Gaeta, from the Latin Caieta, presents all the requisites. Caieta has an ancient history dating back to the Ionic colonies, with settlement starting in the VIII century BC. It was mentioned in Virgil's Aeneid. But its history continues through times integrating breathtaking natural views with architecture and sacred places. Highly spiritual and sacred is the Santuario della Trinità, located in the Montagna Spaccata. The meeting of earth, sky and water has been celebrated through centuries by pilgrims.

Friday, July 29, 2016

copying strategies | Healing by the Sea: Surviving Divorce Brutality, Academic Politics, Financial Institution Abuse and Home Renovation

Mar Tirreno and I. Photo by Silvia Bordini
Swimming by memory lane —metaphorically and literally—is the survival means du jour. The past month has been definitely not boring, unfortunately for the wrong reasons. At once I have been dealing with several stressor, which usually are enough to impact wellbeing even one at the time; the caused of my stress are also spread in three continents:
  1. Dealing with financial losses for my retirement account due to the underperforming of Fidelity Investment and their "professionally managed" (how ludicrous!) team, most recently by their appointed team at almost unheard NorthCoast; probably my outrage is shared by many others from the 99% crowd. It looks like Fidelity and NorthCoast Asset Management are using small retirement account as guinea pigs .
  2. dealing once again with academic politics in Australia, denying financial assistance to present at the Symmetry conference in Vienna and creating many other obstructions to the completion of my doctoral research
  3. Flashbacks of my life in NYC, dealing with domestic abuse, bullying and lack of a supportive community—namely my divorcé brainwashed by his greedy family, my close-minded hateful neighbors, lack of a legal-social infrastructure to assist victims of bullying, the greed of the divorce "industry".
  4. Last but not least, my Rome home renovation: frustration with contractors are commonplace but in my case has become a huge stress factor in conjunction with all of the above.
I decide to go with Silvia to the beach accessible by Cancelli of Castelporziano, to resort to the soothing power of the Mediterranean sea as relief of the extreme stress. Castelporziano is part of the Litorale Romano, located south of the mouth of the river Tevere, and is ecologically characterized by dunes and vegetation typical of Macchia Mediterranea. It was part of the adjacent presidential estate (Tenuta Presidential) unti president Saragat in the mid-sixties transferred the beachfront part of the property to the municipality of Rome.
   We enter the beach at the former "Ar Buco", the alternative beach from the seventies and eighties, still a quiet, enjoyable spot. Swimming and conversations—about life, art and life as art—brings grounding about living in a simple yet meaningful way, escaping from the various vultures which are brutally attacking my peace of mind these days.
   The psychosomatic practice "Finding the Axis Mundi" could not have a better place and time: the meeting between the Mediterranean Sea at almost sunset, in geospatial terms 41.67102, 12.3949 at 2016 07 27 17:43 GMT.

Finding the Axis Mundi by mar Tirreno
Rome and its surrounding are magical and its theatrical beauty acts like a healing potion. Walking through the many centuries old streets makes you feel the power of urban space to generate beauty and inspire. And most of all there is still a sense of community: places and people interact in a continuum evolving through times. Walking in the neighborhood of my childhood I still recognize stores and people. Yes Rome is eternal, timeless and somehow comforting.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

camminando | Walking as Healing: Beach Walks in Ostia and Garbatella

My healing walks in Rome continue, as strategy to cope with stress, which has now arrived to extremely high levels. One of my stressors du jour are dealing with a delayed and not well done renovation of my late parents apartment in Rome, which will become my home: I am currently sleeping on the bedroom floor surrounded by boxes and covered by dust. The other stressor is the recurrent problem of progress with my doctoral research, dealing with egos and dysfunctionality: the latest is the  exceptional rejection of approving funding for my presentation at the Symmetry conference in Vienna.
I keep repeating in a mantra-like fashion Nietzsche's popular statement "That which does not kill us makes us stronger". My steps take to the A metro and then to the train to Ostia Stella Polare.

Returning to the city, I got off at San Paolo fuori le mura (IV century AD) the basilica erected in the burial place of San Paolo. The sun starts setting behind the pines at north-west side of the basilica.

My following wanderings encounter Garbatella, the former working class neighborhood which presents harmonious urban planning, inspired by the garden city movement. Wikipedia says:
Garbatella is a quarter belonging to the Municipio XI of the commune of Rome, in the Ostiense district. Its population counts nearly 45,000.It was founded in the late 1920s on an estate bearing the same name lying on a hill adjacent to the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls. The older section of the area is divided into project units (Italian: lotto), each of them made of several buildings grouped together around a common yards: this design was borrowed from the Garden city movement. This kind of architectural agglomeration in Rococo style, consists of a common garden area which serves as an informal meeting point for all the families that live in the lotto.
My walk ends by the Garbatella metro station, with views of the Roman industrial archeology: the Gasometro framing the setting sun.

The sun is setting framed by the Gasometro