In Portuguese, there is a word “Saudade” that briefly and loosely translates into “Longing,” but it means much more than this. In this one word lays a combination of hope, regret, wishes, desires, hurt, pain, and, most of all, a certain yearning for and of peace.
For the life of me, I do not know how to even say the word and I even had to double check the spelling on Google. I am not 100% sure if I even translated it right and apologize in advance if I am wrong. I learned about the word in a recent book I read which, oddly, took place in India and then France and no mention of Portugal. But, I digress. The author explained that we search for peace, but he interprets peace is “being” in the moment of that place in time anywhere and everywhere even and especially amidst chaos and discord. It is about being true to core of you even when the situation and people will lure you into otherwise.
This past month and, actually, this past year has been very much “Saudade” for me. I’ve done more looking back in order to go forward. I’ve had many wishes, what ifs, and wonderings. I learned long ago to never regret, but that doesn’t make it any easier to ever really forget. The main point of “Saudade” was a place of peace, though, so this one word made me ponder my places of peace. I’m talking about GOOD places of peace—not drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes, binging on food. If I were to take this on a literal context, I have three physical places of peace:
· One is in water when I swim and my body is finally free of pain for a little while
· Second is in the sky at one of my favorite parks where I can stare up at the sky all day from puffy white clouds to a starry night if I dare go out there in the dark
· Third is a recent phenomenon on land, which would be Church
Where are your places of peace?
In this past month, I opened the doors of and stepped foot into the local Church more than I have in 34 years of my life. The Church has become one of my main places of peace because it was the only place that permitted me to practice their piano there. I heard church bells chime. I listened to a pipe organ play. I glowed in fascination at natural light shining through stained glass windows, making a kaleidoscope effect. I sat in silence with complete strangers who clearly have their own crosses to bear from the way they crouched on their knees and clasped their hands in prayer pose.
In all these places of peace, my vision was obscured and I envisioned in my mind and in my spirit everything that has happened in the past to led me here and now to then keep going. In all these places of peace, I closed my eyes to the outside world to look inside myself. Isn’t it funny how we actually ‘see’ and understand more when we close our eyes? I find that we actually look more than we see, we hear more than we listen, and we touch more than we can really feel because things and people in life can hurt too much—even hurts like hell. I think we all need a place of peace not necessarily to escape to when tough times hit, but a place to regroup, rejuvenate, refresh, recharge, and reignite ourselves to better handle and manage the situations at hand and ourselves. It is when we are in our places of peace that we can understand that as bad as it can get, it can get even better. In the meantime, as much as I experience the modge podge collage feeling of “Saudade,” I strive to never lose my core sense of self and to be at peace wherever I may be.
It is the place where our eyes our closed, our inner selves are open, and our minds are free. When have you experienced “Saudade”? How is it possible to be so empty and so full at the same time in a place of peace? Can you be at peace in whatever situation? Tell me about your place(s) of peace. How did it become your place of peace? Where is/are your place(s) of peace?
Keep smilin’ until we meet again,