This is what I will write: some thoughts, some stories, some of myself. The way I see the way of life. It is just me, my views, my opinions, my way of saying, my way of writing. My spirit, my fire, my love and the freedom of being myself.

Goodbye Virendra

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Good journey, friend, originally uploaded by driek.

There was stillness in the house yesterday. The rhythm of his breath was an invitation to the rhythm of our heart.

Thank you Virendra for letting be in your close circle of friends in such an intimate moment, I said to him couple of weeks ago and again the day before his final departure.

Virendra has many friends and I can't say we knew each other very well on a day to day practical level, but our "connection" started long ago, here in Amsterdam in the faraway 1986.
Three weeks ago we laughed about that. He said do you remember Milena when you paid the Rebalancing Advance Training and you had trouble getting all the "Italian lira" to Holland. At that time he was in charge for the administration of the old Caravansary Osho center in Amsterdam.

And the suddenly it struck me this very gentle man, far away from any power trip of the Commune, looking at me with his wonderful blue eyes trying to help me out on financial things. A detail I had forgotten but that came vividly back in my mind.
Over the years after that, we met again many times in Poona and always he had this gentle beautiful smile as if he was all the time in contact with the secret of life.The giggling laughter of a real sadhu.

I think Virendra knew the art of being watchful, mindful, peaceful with an open heart. I am sure. I tasted his grace in his last days of his life. I breathed into the depth of his meditation, that took me gently deeper inside myself.
He has been facing with an extreme dignity his mortal predicament. He did what he could to help his body recover from the cancer and when there was nothing more to do, he accepted this too.
When in October last year, I found out he was sick, I wrote him an email. He replied:

Cara Milena,

What a nice surprise to receive an email from you, and with so much empathy.
Sometimes I like to look at your Mountain Girl web diary. Not very often, but once in a while. So I have some contact with what is going on in your world.
Yesterday I included you among the people that I sent the latest news about my health, but is was in Dutch and I don't know whether you can read that.
What it comes down to, is that it is still unknown whether the cancer in my chest is curable of incurable. It will probably take a few more weeks to get that clear.
Basically I am in the same situation as everybody: We know that the body is going to die, and we don't know when it is going to happen - could be today, could be in thirty years. But in my case it is now a ? 50% ? chance that it will be within a few months. It is a wake-up call.
In the meantime I got morphine pills, which really help, and that is a big relieve after all these months of gradually increasing pains.

Thank you for offering your help. For now, help is not needed beyond what my friend Prerna is giving, but that may change.


His wonderful friend and wife: Prerna, an angel on earth to relieve him from many of his discomforts, to comfort him with her sweet devotion, to remind him the joy of being loved, to sit with him in silence and much more that only belongs to the sacred-bond they shared.

bella, originally uploaded by driek.

At the beginning of January I found an email from her asking if I could pass by at their house.
My heart jumped in joy. And so it started, ...the beginning of the end. Or maybe a new beginning.

Virendra, yesterday, on his last day he looked peaceful. I told him, "My dear I dreamt about you last night and you were so happy hugging us." He looked at me with smiling eyes and the sweet smile on his face and he said: I am very happy, now, Milena.
These were the last words from him I heard few hours before he left.

The silence deepened.
I was feeling since days a burning aching sensation in my heart. A call of love from the Beloved. The Beloved that Rumi talks about it. Finally that sweet painful longing I was feeling, calmed down and it melted in a cool lake of awareness.
He drew his last breaths.
Only Prerna was next to his bed.
Pratito, Srajan and me were sitting in compassionate stillness in the living room. And yet we felt it.

"Emptiness", Virendra said the day before yesterday. "I feel a great emptiness. No attachment".
Yes, Virendra we never born we never died. The cloud doesn't cease to exist just because it turns into rain. But the cloud is in the rain, in the sun, in the grass, in the piece of paper one holds in his hands. We are a continuation. I was quoting from Thich Naht Hanh's book "No death no fear - comforting wisdom for life".

And certainly Virendra had no fear. It was humbling to watch him leaving us. Suddenly he would open his eyes wide and gave us a wonderful smile. You could only smile back at this utter innocence and love that was pouring out of him. And my heart would melt.

Couple of hours before he asked Prerna to send this email to friends. The subject of the email was: the goose is out.

Lieve vrienden,

Nu gaat het snel.
Ik ben blij.

Bye bye,


When the moment arrived he said to Prerna: Bye bye.

He is continuing his journey. He knows the way.

May God bless his traveling to the other shore and beyond that.

I found a book in his house the day before he died, amongst so many Osho books. "The gift" from Hafiz. I started reading it and Prerna ever so generous told me to take it as his present. There was a paper in it, handwritten by Virendra, with many of his favorite poems. I read them all and choose two of them.

I have learned so much

I have learned
So much from God
That I can no longer

A Christian, a Hindu, a Muslim,
A Buddhist, a Jew.

The Truth has shared so much of Itself With me

That I can no longer call myself
A man, a woman, an angel,
Or even pure

Love has
Befriended Hafiz so completely
It has turned to ash
And freed

Of every concept and image
My mind has ever known.

Virendra on Srajan's sailing boat

When You Can Endure

The words stop
And you can endure the silence

That reveals your heart's

Of emptiness
Or that great wrenching-sweet longing,

That is the time to try and listen
To what the Beloved's

Most want


Finally Virendra,
may you rest in the Beloved heart.
Finally at home.

The picture that you kindly sent me 2 years ago, of a smiling Utkantha during the Mystic rose in '88, hangs in my house and will always remind me of your wonderful presence on earth.
With an heart full of gratitude,
With a longing that never dies.
Ma Anand Utkantha.

The body of Virendra has been cremated on Wednesday the 4th of February in Amsterdam.
On the 14 of February we will have a Sufi Dancing event in his dedication in de "Oude Kerk" in Amsterdam.

We created a blog in dedication to Virendra:

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posted by Milena at 12:24 AM 2 comments

A poem for God

Friday, January 23, 2009

A white mantel

Take me snow into your soft mantel
protect my soul from a polluted world
the gentle touch of your flakes
whisper words of love
and His presence lights
a fire in my heart.

I am in rapture
overwhelmed by the beauty of His creation.
How man can forget
to look up and feel part of this immensity?

A white mantel
covering in gentleness the spirit of the Beloved.
And the lover cries
in gratitude to have met a true friend.

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posted by Milena at 8:10 AM 1 comments

A long journey home in Amsterdam

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Driek's blog- entry on our adventurous journey home.

He writes in such a way that you can even laugh wholeheartedly about it all.
And there is no need for me to add anything else.

This is a story that feels a bit like tumbling on ice!
With a lot of thumbs down and few thumbs up!

Driek putting his ice skating as I witness....the fall


posted by Milena at 12:18 AM 0 comments

La mia mamma e la Ciaspolada

Sunday, January 11, 2009

My mother and the Ciaspolada

My mother is a force of nature. The oldest of 4 sisters and 2 brothers and a girl who died at a very young age, she never stopped taking care of others and inspire with her energy and love not only our family but many friends.

For long time she was not able to walk due to much pain in her back and hips, but last year 2008 she proved herself top fit, with long pilgrimage walks with me and the group "Associazione Anaunie Amici del Cammino di Santiago" up to 23 km long.

She knows me deeply and knows my love for the mountains. I would be forever grateful for the immense love she poured on me when I lied in an hospital bed in Aix- en-Provence, where the car accident took place. Without her it would have been horrible to overcome the immense isolation, pain and utter disorientation that were my nagging companions for those long months away from Italy, family and friends.

I already wrote that she gave me as Christmas present a pair of red snowshoes making me so happy.
But the surprises were not over.
She was determined to participate at the annual competition of the Ciaspolada, for the first time in her life at the age of 71.
The Ciaspolada was held this year on the 4th of January (usually is on the 6th of Jan.) and it is a 8 km long trek on snow (to be exact this year it was 7.4 km) starting from the village of Romeno all the way to Fondo.
I helped her to put the ciaspole on

For so many years she saw family and friends as the Ciaspolada passes in front of her house in Fondo. She longed to be one day one of the participants. This year 2009 was finally her turn to do it. She was ready and she prepared her body for it, with long walks with the ciaspole
She was like a kid doing a thing for the first time and I had to keep quiet all my concerns, not to spoil her sense of adventure.
She is incredible and has a very determined and competitive, in a good way, spirit. She left with us and the group "Amici di Santiago" and we didn't see her anymore till the arrival in Fondo.

My beloved husband, photographer and much more, half way

She actually made it all the way on her own, although there were 6000 other people with us, but she kept her steady footstep without talking to anyone and arrived 15 minutes earlier than us.
We even meet my brother and my nephews half way where they took us over. Gladly he was the one that help mum to take off the "ciaspole" at the arrival. Her two kids helping her at the beginning and at the end.
I was proud of her success and I know she will never forget this experience.
me and my little brother ever so shy

For you mamma

May your spirit know no obstacle,
may you keep spreading your wings
till God grants you His grace.

I am so grateful
you are my beautiful mamma

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posted by Milena at 8:16 AM 0 comments

A second chance

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Life goes on

Very few are granted the gift of a second life. I am one of the blessed one and today I celebrate my 25 anniversary, although my body is 47 years old.
It is a day completely dedicated to my self and the miraculous surviving of a near death experience:
8 January 1984

I called my friend Virendra, to know when I can visit him and spent some precious time before he departs to the other shore. He who exactly 2 years ago on this day sent me a picture of a smiling Milena aka Utkantha, is now facing with an amazing dignity the certainty of his death.

I sat silently in front of my little Buddha, I spread the pictures of the wounds on my body in front of me, taken for legal reason 6 months after the accident. I lit a candle and I dove into the memories of that day.
The loving compassionate energy of the Tonglen meditation, a Buddhist practice on breathing in the pain and breathing out compassion, irradiated a tremendous peace and the mind could rest in a silent lake of awareness. Oh I wish it would always be like this.

It was amazingly blissfully peaceful back then in those moments when I lingered at the door to the beyond.

After the car accident life was never the same any longer. And I wouldn't have desired another life then the one I had.

When I opened my eyes 5 days later I didn’t know what had happened. I was lying in the intensive care bed. I could hardly move my head, only my eyes, I looked down, under the white sheet and didn’t recognize my body. It was not my body.
Nothing could move and everything was covered by white bandage. Both my legs, arms and my belly. My face. There was almost nothing left out.
I asked for a mirror but they didn’t want to bring it to me. I insisted and I saw two big eyes lost and sad, in a face full of the little green stitches, for the many small scars on my face. I got to know later that with my face I kissed the window shield of the car!
I could hear voices I didn’t know, from people who were taking care of my body. I couldn’t understand the language. “Can someone please speak my language?”
Finally it was time for my mother to come inside the intensive care room and explain to me why I was there. I could hardly believe my ears. I thought it didn’t happen to me. I thought I will be up and fit in few weeks. I have to go skiing. It is winter and I need to have my time alone in the mountain. Far I was from that wish, far I was from the truth of my physical conditions.

And the mountain has been always calling.

I know that an angel kissed me to stay here a little longer and whispered many secrets that I hold precious in my heart.

I wrote these words some time ago to the spirit of this mountain girl.

My girl

It is so sweet to remember your innocent heart,
Your warm and brown eyes open to the wonders of life
And the fragrance of your smile
I never met a girl like you
I will be forever grateful for who you were and still you are.

on top of Mount Luco age 17

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posted by Milena at 2:29 AM 2 comments

My red snowshoes

first day with my new red snowshoes

I arrived in Italy on Christmas evening and I was in ecstasy when I opened one of my present.
My mother ever so intuitive of my desire to walk in the mountain gave me my first pair of red snowshoes.
I used to alpine ski before the 8 of January 84.
Little Milena put them on the day after, on Christmas day and for two wonderful weeks hardly took it off.
And no, this tale will not end like the H. C. Anderson The Red shoes. I will not chop my feet because I can't stop dancing. I already interrupted abruptly enough any activities for very long time, even walking was impossible, rather being on a wheel chair and on crutches.
So I enjoyed like a little girl my red snowshoes and explored together with my darling Driek the immaculate snow high up towards the sky.

who could stop me?

It has been long time since I saw so much snow and my eyes were filled with the pure sense of vastness that only a white landscape can inspire. Moreover when the skyline holds the mountains to me so dear.

There is only one word left to say.
Thank you life for being ever so generous and for the grace of being able to walk again.

The Luco stands behind and my eyes are lost in wonder

Gently my feet are loving the snow

as the eyes rise above
and disappear into the blueness of the sky.
Simple prayer in action,
a smile
in gratitude

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posted by Milena at 2:29 AM 1 comments