Christiania as the Great Equalizer

In ones life, as in many other things (which are invariably included in a life, whether you notice them or not), are indefinable moments. Moments that break beyond the human reality that you’ve become accustomed to seeing. Moments that make you feel like a small child who is looking at the world with fresh eyes. The feeling you get after meditating and reaching a new peak. The feeling that you get after reaching the summit of a tall mountain. The feeling when you finally look up to see the light after hitting rock bottom. The feeling of stillness, of peace….of complete unconditional love towards this gift of life that we’ve been given. It’s always hard for one to put a label on something so infinite. We may call it nirvana, heaven, peace, contentment, umami, the calm etc. etc. It is a moment to be cherished. Maybe you’ve never had a moment like that. Maybe some people only get one moment such as this when they pass on from this world to the next. And if you’re a person lacking in said moments, or just a person in general, I politely urge you to start walking towards Christiania. When your foot crosses over the border, you’ll know exactly why. It’s because the word Christiania is comparable, and belongs in the same class as those others….nirvana, heaven, peace….

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What is Christiania? It is an idea. It is a place. It is a work of art. It is not what it seems to be to outsiders. You can read the articles and look at pictures and think that Christiania is a chaotic commune of drug addict hippies in Copenhagen… but it is so much more. It is a token of warmth in this sometimes cold world. It’s so disorganized to ‘normal’ people that IT IS organized. So, don’t think to yourself ‘Oh that’s cool. I dig that. Maybe I’ll visit it one day after I see the wonders of the world’. No. Absolutely not. There are no other wonders that can compare to Christiania. It is the only wonder of the world worth visiting. It will expand your awareness exponentially. Your perspective will constantly shift. You will walk in facing east, but east will suddenly become west. And how can you find your way once the poles inside your mind have shifted? You’ll just have to turn north until it becomes south…..and this is BEFORE you smoke a joint or eat a space cake. Just as words cannot properly describe the depths of love, beauty or wisdom….my words are a pitiful attempt to describe the feelings that I had when wandering around Christiania. The feelings that I still have. The feelings that we can all have. And if we could just maintain a slice of that, a miniscule sliver…imagine what else we could see. Imagine how we could change ourselves and change the world.

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I went to Christiania thinking it would be a very cool destination to visit, one not to be missed. And, pat myself on the back, I scheduled my trip so as to attend the 43rd birthday party of the inception of Christiania (September 26th for any of you future travelers). I’d been to Tacheles in Berlin, which to my and many others’ disgust has been shut down, bought, sold and reworked under the guise of progress; so I thought I’d get a similar but not identical taste of complete and unbound artistic freedom. What I received, for no admission price might I add, was something similar yet completely different. Putting my artsy ramblings aside… Freetown Christiania is an autonomous community covering 84 acres of a former military compound in Copenhagen. It is a self-governed town with its own set of rules. Artists run wild. Spontaneous performances take place. You can visit an art gallery, grab a dish of the best organic, vegan food you’ll ever eat, have a drink at a bar, smoke some weed, paint a portrait, rave to techno or even go for a nice jog by the river. Anything goes…somewhat (they do have rules ya know….like don’t piss everywhere because you think it’s a big party).

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I watched. I ate. I drank. I sang. I peed on the grass (once, sorry). I watched some more. I cheered. I walked. I smoked. I raved. I saw the lines form. I saw the colors shake. I saw how important and necessary it is for this world to have something like Christiania. It’s as if God reached out his hand and said, ‘Here! I know that shit happens. I know that life can be sad and dark and miserable at times…and I wish I could fix it all. But here! Enjoy this! Right now. See what the world can be. See what you can be. See the facade behind the facade behind the facade. See the great movie as it is created and transpires right in front of your eyes’. It’s an experience. It’s a feeling. It’s not just a hippie town where drugs are legal that needs to be stamped out by the rational side of society. It’s Christiania. It is the great equalizer in a chaotic world. A reminder that control is not the way. That there is no such thing as control. Have you ever had a coincidence that was so strange you felt that the universe was winking at you? That’s Christiania. Have you ever felt what it’s like to be in love? Deep in love? That’s Christiania. Have you ever had a dream so peaceful and so real that when you woke up, you were free from stress or desire or thought? That’s Christiania.

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I’m a weird guy. I know that. But we’re all a little weird aren’t we? Even if you’re a fellow artist, or a cop or a fitness instructor or hell even Barack Obama. We’re all looking for the same thing. A little bit of peace. A little quiet. A little happiness. A few moments of perfection. Just a few. We’re simple creatures with extraordinarily complex minds. We’re little universes bouncing around at incredible speeds inside of an even more infinite universe. But still, we’re human. We have ups. We have downs. And Christiania is an up that you need to explore. It is an up so high that it’s as if you never knew what up was. And if you can’t get there right now….find little Christiania’s elsewhere, because they have to exist. But go you must. One step at a time. Towards a small country called Denmark. To a city called Copenhagen. To another dimension called Christiania. Adventure can be a scary prospect…but it is the only way. Why do I even bother writing this blog given the fact that my words cannot possibly convey what I feel towards Christiania? Because I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity….I’m so in awe of what exists in this life….that I drop to my knees like Joe in Joe vs. The Volcano and say, ‘Dear whatever you are. Thank you. I thought I knew. But I didn’t know anything’. And I’m so passionate about it that I can’t stop thinking about it. It’s a feeling that is so amazing that I want you to feel it too. And I want you to find the same spark that I caught a glimpse of. You’ll probably find something entirely different, unique to your own experience, but I know you’ll be able to see behind the curtain. And that’s what we all need. The great truth revealed. Christiania. The moment where time stands still.

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I hope you’ve enjoyed this M.AV.B.L.O.G. as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it. There are tons of cheap flights available to Copenhagen, Denmark and even more reasonable hostels, hotels and Pensions there. Take a risk. Take a chance. I hope you do. As always. Be good to yourself. Be good to others. Be good to animals. Even plants and rocks. And follow The Golden Rule as best as you can. Have a great day.

Love: A Very Merry Christmas All Life Long

‘Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.’
-Calvin Coolidge

December 25th. A special day for Christians and traditionalists alike. A special day for many others too. Whether you are the kindest person, a bad-ass biker, the softest soul, a disenfranchised misanthrope, a heavy metal rocker, an angry militant, a drunken sailor, a depressed fledgling, a happy go lucky clown or a combination of all of those….you can allow the Christmas spirit into your heart and have it all your life long. This is where some of you call me a softie or a wimp, but that’s not the case. This is what I’m saying. (Click link and watch)

Christmas is not just a time for Santa Clause and superficial shopping. It is a time for giving. And you can give a present to your loved ones. You can give a hug. You can donate some money to the poor. You can buy a homeless person a sandwich. You can call up an old friend just to say ‘hi’ (and I just received a nice call from a great friend I haven’t heard from in a while). You can give a gift to an old friend or enemy of yours and say, ‘I love you. It’s Christmas’.

Look, we’re all human. We’ve all had hard times. We’ve all had bad experiences. We’ve all burned bridges. We’ve all made mistakes. We’ve all failed. We’re all lovers and haters. We all, at times, feel helpless and powerless. That’s the point of life. To have ups and downs. But once you learn, practice and change your perspective, you can have more ups than downs. And no matter how much of a Mr. Scrooge you are, your heart can be warmed by the Christmas Spirit. What is the Christmas Spirit to you?

‘Let us not be satisfied with just giving money. Money is not enough, money can be got, but they need your hearts to love them. So, spread your love everywhere you go.’
-Mother Teresa

If you’re reading this m.a.v.b.l.o.g. post, I love you. And regardless of what God you believe in (if any), I wish you a Merry Christmas. You don’t actually need to be religious to find the miracle of Christmas. It’s about being good, to yourself and others, it’s about forgiving yourself, forgiving others, making amends, spreading joy however you can, being charitable, realizing that you can do good in this world, however large or small, and transforming your life for the better. I keep this poem by my desk and look at it each day. I think it’s something we all would benefit from reading and applying in our lives.

Think what you will, but to me Christmas is a special time where anything is possible. It is a time when dreams can come true. Miracles can happen. Love can break any walls down. And any man or woman, can tap into the Christmas Spirit and utilize it to help them change their lives for the better. My heart has been warmed and cooled and burned and frozen over the years from experiences in my life…….but each Christmas my heart grows and grows and grows. I wish you the very best on this Christmas and for the rest of your life.

‘I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.’ -Charles Dickens