The search for a true eternal Desire that runs through my entire being and beckons me to Life.

From Emptiness To Love In Emigration

Emigration is like love. "An immigrant will detach from the land of their father and mother and attach to an unfamiliar place. And the two will become one."

It's a joke, of course, but there's some truth to it.

Throughout the history of our life in our homeland, we've managed to fall in love with many things. Much has become familiar, close, our own. Not just people, but scents, places, sounds... We belonged there, and what surrounded us was ours. This love wasn't an empty space. It inspired, filled, and supported us every day.

... and then suddenly, everything changed....

Welcome to emigration! There's much that's new, unknown, alien, not yours... Looking around, you don't find what you dearly want. You don't find what you love. As Sasha said, back in my homeland, I was a flower growing in the soil, but here I'm a flower uprooted and placed in a vase. They water me, and I can live. But I yearn for more.

On my journey of emigration, I've longed for, searched for, and found a lot. The story of relocation/emigration is a love story. I wanted to write a few short sketches about how it happened, but once I started, I couldn't stop. There turned out to be many stories!

So I'll be gradually posting them with the hashtag: #FromEmptinessToLoveInEmigration

The Scale of the Universe

This endless cosmos, with its incredible scale, makes our entire human life seem like a mere speck that flickered for a moment and then faded away. All external actions, achievements, creations, and discoveries seem entirely different in the context of the universe.

How do you perceive the cosmic insignificance of what's happening?

How does your business, the matter of your entire life, look within the confines of space?

Avoidance of Responsibility

I've always avoided responsibility.
For me, responsibility equates to guilt.
If I don't accept responsibility, I'm not to blame.

Last year, I had a chance to shed any imposed responsibility (thanks, my love). I had the opportunity to live in that state, observe it, get accustomed to it slowly, with ease, confidence, and allure.

And now, you know, the desire to take responsibility is returning. Especially for things that truly matter to me.

During these starting days of the school year, I gather my children for school and kindergarten with gratitude and joy. I style Ksusha's hair. I realize that it's essential. That it's crucial to arrive on time. Pack a lunchbox. Give the kids some time to wake up slowly. Pick them up from school and kindergarten. Ask about their day. Reflect on it and convey my children's expectations and grievances to the teachers. I never thought I'd relate to school this way.

You keep asking and asking, and then at night, it turns out that the Polish children voted by a majority for Kseniya to be the class leader. And she only remembered it now. I swelled with pride. And after such events, try to suffer from the fact that you're in a foreign country.

Moreover, I've started therapeutic group meetings titled "My Feelings in Emigration."

I feel warm after the first session, but there's also a sense of responsibility. It's a good responsibility. I'm grateful that I have the opportunity to embrace it.

Testing of Culture

"Candies, candies, candies! Give us candy!!! Candies!" That's how Luba usually greets the neighbor's red van. Before, the elderly neighbor would give her candies on his own, but now that's become his nickname. Now he's learned to say "no" and to run away.

Today, our Polish friends agreed to look after our children at their place while I attended a parent meeting at the kindergarten. Such visits for the kids always go by joyfully. But they end with difficulty. And this time, Luba didn't want to leave peacefully. She screamed at the top of her lungs: "gifts! gifts! gifts!". She cried and demanded. The Poles didn't understand the word "gifts", so I tried quickly to pull Luba into an embrace and rushed out, not even putting on my shoes. We quickly said our goodbyes and ran outside. Almost, almost... I thought. But I had to return for our pot.

While I was coming back, Ksyusha helped Luba explain by translating to everyone that "gifts" mean "presents" in Polish. The air was filled with shouts of "presents! presents!". Our friends were already searching for gifts, but I stopped them in time.

I shoved Luba into the car. Took a deep breath. Closed the doors and took control. Now I was the one shouting.

Only after about 10 minutes did I calm down. I felt shame. I started to pity the kids and reflect on what had happened.

The situation was too complicated for me. The words "Luba, you shouldn't do this!" no longer represent an absolute truth. Luba wants presents. Luba speaks openly about it. Luba demands it. I don't want to make her not want gifts. I don't want her to be silent about her desires. So, what do I want? Do I want her to better understand other people and their emotional state?

Is it Luba's problem that her words are taken so seriously (especially by me)? Is it Luba's problem that dad decided she should be a very grateful and proper girl, and if she's not, it's very, very bad? Or maybe I decided that I'm responsible for the discomfort she brings to others?

Writing this now, it hurts. Because I've always been someone who doesn't bother others, doesn't cause them trouble, a useful, non-confrontational person.

Is life just about being good, non-confrontational, avoiding confrontation, considering others' desires? It seems more like seeking approval. People like me are useful to society. They are "low-maintenance". They are always praised. They thrive on "praise-seeking" and suffer from its lack.

But there are others: Socrates, Kierkegaard, and the list goes on. Those who stood firm with their truth and absence of correctness. Who valued sincerity and authenticity. Even Christ was so inconvenient that many wanted His swift death.

My dear daughter, I hope you will continue to say what you genuinely desire. And don't pay attention to how uncomfortable it makes your "sick" father during those moments.

P.S.: "The servants of the householder came and said to him, 'Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?' He answered, 'An enemy has done this.' The servants said to him, 'Then do you want us to go and gather them?' But he replied, 'No; for in gathering the weeds you would uproot the wheat along with them. Let both of them grow together until the harvest; and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, "Collect the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn."  Matthew 13

When you pull or trample the weeds in a child's heart, the wheat of sincerity and truthfulness might also get trampled. I think the focus should be on nurturing the good wheat of a loving and sincere heart in my daughter. And the weeds will be taken care of when the time comes. Though, undoubtedly, everything is millions of times more complicated and doesn't fit such simple hypotheses.

Creative Agony

Here, I felt the creative agony. There's a lived experience that touches deep. I want to convey it and seek a form. I want to transition to metaphors, fairy-tale characters, trees, animals. Anything, just to not state it outright. I'll try poems, stories, scripts. Even ChatGPT tried to assist, but it didn't quite succeed. Everything's a mess. I don't hit the depth; I don't reach the meaning. I went and ate whatever I found in the kitchen. A peach, then a pear, then nibbled some cheese from a packet. Felt a bit calmer. But I don't need calm. I need to write about what I want. Words should be taut like guitar strings, so they resonate. I'll continue to agonize or eat.

In the photo is today's Halo, which at first we mistook for a rainbow.

GTD or Psychotherapy?

When I worked in the company, I tried many different tools and frameworks to improve productivity.

What worked for me was David Allen's GTD, even in its light version, and Dorofeev's Empty Inbox method became fully integrated.

But let's look at this from a psychological perspective.

The stimulus for both is the desire for Control over the situation. To not let anything go past us. So we don't miss out on anything. And we're not the cause of adverse outcomes. For instance, not losing money, not breaking agreements, or missing opportunities. Of course, it's hard to feel the guilt and consequences of one's imperfections. But consider the amount of effort required to control all streams of information and tasks, even using the most effective methodology. This machine consumes a lot of energy, and in return, it only provides psychological comfort and no resilience.

You know, there are websites that offer alternative software for some program. So, could we incorporate various psychological applications as an alternative to task managers and the like?

Voices of Conscience

I've written before about the question that looms over me. What is conscience? And can the voice of God come through it? Or can it be the voice of Purpose?

Today is a day of torment, for the voices of conscience cannot agree.

  1. One voice says - act rationally, set boundaries.
  2. The second voice says - but you're a good boy, be kind and gentle.
  3. Amidst all this, a third voice emerges, saying: This can all be reconciled. You can find that golden path that will satisfy both versions of yourself.
  4. In such conflicts, a fourth voice screams - finish with this and don't waste time, stop these thoughts from racing in your head. Quench one version of yourself, and fully justify the other (and you know, this voice usually wins).
  5. A fifth voice barely restrains itself from dumping all this torment and situation on someone close, seeking support. Support that would mean only one thing - you're doing great. As if it's an objective external observation.

Let's dissect their imperfections a bit:

  1. Rational Self - seems the most adequate, but conflicts arise through it. And that's very unpleasant.
  2. Gentle Self - such a darling that should satisfy everyone around and harm no one. And everyone will love him. But this isn't living truthfully.
  3. Perfect Self - a pure perfectionist of theoretical models, setting incredible tasks for himself. He's like a butterfly, flitting here and there, thinking one can serve both this and that.
  4. Impatient Self - tired of the suspended state and the torments associated with it. Wants to finish everything as quickly as possible, having chosen a single truth.
  5. Seeking Validation Self - he's like the Impatient one, but looks for someone to affirm that he's doing great. This Self is ready to mix facts to get external validation and silence his other voices.

The Illusive Hope

"The illusive hope deceived them." - words that spilled from Ksyusha's audiobook. I didn't even catch the context, but those words struck right to the heart. It's not just them. All of us are deceived by that illusive hope. The "hope" with a lowercase "h", which seems to only deceive. Because it rarely reaches deep. This "hope" paints so many pictures, all so grounded, so weak. "Money over there", "Health", "Happiness", "Getting married", "Having children", "Passing exams", "Finding a good job"... we get these, and in return, silence. Small hopes deceitfully allure us.

And the great Hope, directed at the very essence, is even hard to articulate. It remains unspoken and unrecognized. Because this Hope can't be confined to mere words.

Ksusha's feelings when Luba got a new dress.

Ksusha: I feel so upset; I can't bear the fact that Luba now has a dress. I'm very sad that Luba has a new dress. Because Luba has such a beautiful dress. Because they didn't send one to me. I don't have such a beautiful dress. I feel really bad. Because I don't have a dress or any other clothing as beautiful as Luba's. It hurts that Luba has it, and I don't.

Pa: Have you thought about why it hurts?

Ksusha: I don’t really know, but feelings are so overwhelming, how can you respond to these feelings or what do they mean? Why do they work like this? You never know; life always has mysteries.

Pa: Would you like to solve this mystery?

Ksusha: I think so.

Pa: Like a detective story?

Ksusha: Yes, but much harder. You'll never solve it.

Pa: What if we try to solve it together?

Ksusha: I don’t know what will happen if we solve it.

Pa: We can buy a cake if we solve it!

Ksusha: In honor of what?

Pa: That we are great detectives.

Ksusha: I think they did it (referring to the characters in Ksusha's mind from the movie "Inside Out") to make me feel so sad, so hurt that she has a dress.

Pa: Why would they want to do that? What's the benefit?

Ksusha: If it's any of their hurt or sadness, they don't understand the benefit, they just think they are sad because of it.

I solved the riddle, that it's not beneficial to me at all. They're just sad and hurt, and they take turns.

He wanted to feel sad. He likes feeling sad, so he decided to be sad.

Pa: How about joy? How does joy feel?

Ksusha: There are times when even joy is sad. When it was gentle and scary. And joy could react to that. So, have we solved it?

Pa: I don’t know, but I think there aren’t characters in our head.

Ksusha: Oh, how come! There must be something that should guide us! We can't guide ourselves! If they weren’t there, how could we express sadness, or that we're happy, angry, or gentle?

Pa: Well, I think it’s us, it's really us feeling everything. What else could you feel in this situation?

Ksusha: I wanted to be happy. I wanted joy to come, but instead, sadness came. I couldn't embrace it.

Pa: Why do you think joy should have come?

Ksusha: Luba, my sister, I love her, I want to be happy for her, but I can't.

... they decided to continue another day, the riddle remains unsolved ...

Success in Relocation

Friends, for those in the midst of relocation. Fatigue, vulnerability, detachment. When there's a moment, we reflect on the situation, on ourselves. After this, it often becomes even harder. It becomes even more painful. But it's not that simple. Difficulty, emptiness, exhaustion, lack of resources for action - all this is about meaning. It is unfortunately revealed through such a tough state, through such a sense of being lost. Now I'll try not to waste such states, not to suffer from them meaninglessly.

What one can do:

  1. First and foremost, one can write. Writing is not just circling the same superficial thoughts in the head. Writing is to delve deeper. By delving deeper, we understand what's going on inside us. By delving deeper, we accept ourselves as we truly are. Writing is creativity - and our complex states are a resource for this creativity.

  2. Secondly, one can relieve oneself of responsibility for things you truly aren't responsible for. Something that might have fallen upon you a long time ago. And it benefits neither you nor anyone else, and you might not even want to deal with it. But without reflection, without a critical look at various aspects of your life, it's impossible to clear the field of your life. By clearing your life of all sorts of things, there's time for rest, there's time for truly important matters.

Success in your relocation. Let's be together.

The Person Who Wants to Sleep

It's the second hour of the night. A sudden flash of light causes me to wake up and quickly orient myself in the space. Ah... everything is fine. It's the children. As we agreed, they would wake me up if they wanted to sleep. They slept in the car today, both in the morning and in the evening. So, at night, they played with Lego while we slept. After waking me, Ksusha asked about reading a book. While Luba instantly fell asleep the moment her head touched the pillow. I'm feeling groggy, my eyes are still not fully open. I'm writing this text and waiting for Ksusha to fall asleep.

Greetings to this world from independent-conscientious children. I've always believed that a person wants to sleep and will sleep when they need to. I'll tell Dasha about this tomorrow.

Together Toward Mysteries

A dirt road. A handrail. The creak of a wooden platform. A key in a rusty lock. The eerie clatter of chains. The oars are released. I was warned that if the locals call the police, just reassure them that everything is fine and that there's an arrangement. However, it feels like Dasha and I are stealing a boat in the middle of the night. Finally, we've unwound the chains. As we climbed in, we realized there's no guarantee the boat won't capsize. The phone flashlight does illuminate somewhat, but mostly blinds us. We decided not to go far. Goosebumps cover our skin. The sound of oars hitting the water. Occasional bubbles. From time to time, a fish jumps out. In the nearby forests, dogs bark. It was supposed to be romantic. Stars in the sky without any light pollution. The stars are beautiful. We even found a candle and lit it. The other one didn’t light. A thermos with hot tea. Small cups. Tasty candies. But through all of this, our vulnerability. Our fears laid bare before each other, that's where the beauty lies. We sat and shared our anxieties and fears, which was comforting. Every now and then, I'd get so engrossed in our conversation. The backdrop against which I saw Dasha (the lake surface, shadows from the dark forest, the dark forest itself, some distant lights, stars) resembled a Zoom or Google Meet background. An unreal backdrop. Another challenge was finding the dock. We'd been carried away by the unnoticed current. Reeds brush against the oars. The boat scrapes against another boat. All these sounds, like whispered human voices. We immediately thought there were people nearby. But it was only the sounds of the night. Such a little journey into the mysteries of our soul.

I'm afraid of many things. But I'd like to live my life facing those fears, with depth, meaning, and true love. True love conquers fear.

Thank you, my beloved, for agreeing to such an adventure.


Faced with a Dilemma!

You know, although I've tried several times to start a scientific career, I must admit: "The scientific path and scientific approach are very distant to me". I somehow get overwhelmed by the depth of research, logical connections, and conclusions. Trying to understand something based on facts, dialectics, and all such other things seems like a waste of my life (considering how much time one needs to spend on all of it).

Yet the quest for truth persists in me. Usually, I'd trust someone exceptionally wise. And everything would go smoothly. It even seems to me that my entire being would comply with this authority, so there was no crack in the emerging worldview. My trust is temporal; I periodically search to see if there's something more suitable to my unspoken vision. And so, it transitions from one thing to another, without intense conflicts.

Almost all the time, I live without dilemmas, and even if they arise, I quickly decide on one of the options. And I continue my life, not lingering on that.

Until today, everything went more or less logically and predictably. But today, a conflict emerged, a crack appeared. I'm faced with profound existential-psychological-religious questions. I am not ready to measure truth. There's a need to delve deeper, to choose, to immerse into specific niches (and to decide precisely which ones). At the same time, I understand that it's beyond me to comprehend the full spectrum of arguments.

I must continue to study the material, listen to myself, and incessantly call out to God. "Lord, guide me to Your truth!"

Why is the dawn so beautiful?

The heat is unbearable.

Only at night does it somewhat relent. I woke up around five, checked on the children. Decided to go sleep in the hammock, while the air is still fresh. Wrapped myself in a blanket and went outside. From the porch, I saw the edge of the blazing dawn. From that moment, I no longer belonged to myself. Determinism. I got dressed quickly, which is always hard when Dasha is sleeping in the room with the wardrobe, and I can't find my socks.

I run in my slippers. About three kilometers to the vantage point in the forest. I keep worrying that the red hue will disappear and I won't catch its full glory. Where does this come from in me? Why did I decide that it's beautiful? Year after year, I recall my impressions.

When Dasha and I went to the sea, we often encountered them, especially in recent years. It was a rule to make breakfast in the twilight and then drive, rush to the loungers, waiting for the sun to rise. And we always hurried, because we were always a bit late.

And even before that, many years earlier. I went mushrooming with my parents. How all this early waking, the joint gathering, the departure to a deserted place. Everything pierced with silence and freshness. Once they decided not to take me because I was sound asleep. I still can't forget that sad incident.

And even earlier than that. In the summer, with my grandmother, I stayed overnight at my great-grandmother's house. And then I was woken up. We went out to the porch. We did something resembling morning gymnastics. And watched the rising sun. I was told that it was very beneficial, but only early in the morning (I didn't know about cortisol back then).

Maybe when I was born, like a little lion king, I was brought out at dawn to greet life?

Who knows when the story of this love began, and which strings of my soul the morning sun touches...

A hidden part of a magical fairy tale

"The one for whom I walked to the cross, carries me in her arms."

Thank you, my love. Meeting you was a turning point in my life. That hidden part of a magical fairy tale, which usually starts from the end and is never voiced, touched me. I live in it. In the fairy tale with you. Where every moment is unpredictable. Where challenges alternate with rewards, solitude with unity, joy with sorrow, tension with relaxation. I feel a deep need for you, and I believe you feel the same need for me.

Let's dance, the dance of our life, and even death will not part us.