Vasko Popa’s angry toned poem begins and ends with the line Vrati mi moje krpice: “Give me back my clothes”.

So I started to think: Is this a demand? A re­quest? A prayer? A plea? An inquiry? A long­ing? A pain? Or just an angry rant? Is it rea­sonable or not at all? And many more thoughts started to race through my head in response. And I started to think about the emperor’s new clothes in the famous folktale by Hans Chris­tian Andersen. A case of extreme vulnerability as I see it.

But aren’t we all vulnerable? How many clothes, other than our own may we be actu­ally wearing? The clothes of our parents, sib­lings, classmates, co-workers, our education, the time we live in, our culture, our race, our beliefs, our job, our position, our finances, our political alliances, and you-name-it. Are we ourselves? Whose clothes do I wear? The reason Popa wants his own clothes back? Are we willing or are we scared to take off all those layers of clothes that basically are suffocating us and finally start looking for our own gar­ments? Where are our clothes; what do they look like? Who hid them?

And I started to think that we could easily make the mistake to assert that the clothes of others look better on us than our own. Perhaps we feel that we need to wear them, because we are told or sadly enough, even forced to do so. Perhaps we have a false sense of unwor­thiness or even a false sense of humility, not knowing how glorious each one of us actually is in their own clothes. May be we are just peo­ple pleasers without standing up for ourselves. So, we hide behind other clothes. True, some­times it may be safer in some circumstances, I understand that, but are we truly happy this way?

When I look at a flower, I think she is wear­ing beautiful clothes. Flowers on plants, trees and shrubs are so gorgeous and fragrant that I cannot think of a more appropriate gift for someone on a special occasion. We clothe weddings and other very special events with them, fall in love with or even grow our own beautiful gardens where we can, and we pro­claim “Say it with flowers!” Giving flowers is the same as giving love. We love flowers so much that we print or embroider them on our clothes, use their patterns in many designs, while some even decorate their cars with them (do you know the humorous car in Belgrade I am hinting at?).

And then I started to think that each one of us is a flower in the eyes of who we truly are as a magnificent creation and being of heart: we are all beautiful, glorious, divine, talented, loving, capable, full of potential, etc. So, those beautiful clothes you seek are indeed inside of you! No real need to demand them back. You got them already!

Isn’t it love that makes us all beautiful? Some­times I see a face I might naughtily describe as not the most pleasing to my eyes, but as soon as I see that face light up with a smile, it’s like darkness turned into light! I think there is not one ugly smiling face! Let’s all smile way more! I think that lightening up and not taking life so seriously is one way to peel off layers of clothes that we really don’t need to wear. Do we really need such an overregulated over­dressed world to be happy as humans?

Peeling them off can be a challenge, but we have to start somewhere! As a wise friend of mine once said “if you find yourself in a hellish place, just keep walking….”. Right! Don’t hang on to negativity, for that will eat you up and prevent others from seeing your own true and magnificent clothes.

The poet’s anger will release his pain tempo­rarily, but then needs to be repeated again and again as the cause hasn’t been eliminated. It treats symptoms but the pain and anger re­mains. As I always advise people who suffer from any type of supposedly understandable negativity and anger: Why not just be grate­ful for both the good and bad in life, taking it as a wonderful challenge to improve yourself, grow your heart and love, and then you will notice that such negativity will truly melt away gradually and open the door to our inner closet where our most precious and beautiful clothes are hanging.

Without going into the painful details, I know that gratitude for the bad in life works wonders from first-hand experience. I would tell our poet above to try the same short-cut trick for all the negatives and hurts in his life as the best opportunity for growth and eventual liberation. That choice is up to each person to restore the joy that comes from spiritual and heartistic growth by “just keep walking” over the hill of negativity.

Actually, while sitting in the park today while the sun started to hide behind the beauti­ful clouds, a kind of tearful review of all the difficulties and heartbreaks in my own life passed through my heart all of a sudden out of nowhere; but then also, a sudden deep soothing realization came over me of how to best look back at all those lingering pains. The affirmation by the spiritualist Su­zanne Giesemann sprung to mind. Take a step back, observe, and say: “Well, wasn’t (or isn’t) that interesting!” That affirmation detached me from my pain, and allowed me to see it all differently. This totally shift­ed my perspective and turned whatever lingered into a wonderful uplifting healing energy and into deep gratitude.

It’s the journey within; that’s where our gold­en palace of self resides. When we were in­vited to “love your neighbor as yourself”, to me it means that loving yourself 100% and wearing your own beautiful clothes must come first. It’s the starting point of reach­ing outwards. I think this is where many of us come short as we either have a low esteem, don’t forgive ourselves, don’t love ourselves enough or allow other people to clothe us with their opinions, criticisms, judgments, etc. For what reason would you possibly wear someone else’s clothes? Such reason is not reasonable at all.

Most fortunately, no one can ever steal your clothes; you can never lose them. This divine radiant garment given to you at the moment of your creation can never ever be damaged either, and never goes out of style.

But then despite all that I wrote above, I was thinking, that yes, occasionally I can wear other people’s clothes, out of love, but just so only temporarily, almost like playing a pretend game with them, as long as I know who I am, and as long as I remain in control, as long as I remain free to be fully myself. I think of them as temporal over­coats. It can be fun and can at times even protect me, as long as this doesn’t become an addiction. No need to hide who I real­ly am! I would loved to tell Vasko Popa all these things to coach him towards finding his own radiant garments and release his anger.

So, in a short summary: Transforming your pain with love and gratitude and saying “Isn’t that interesting!” is the best alchemy to turn any heavy lead heart into one made of gold.

I can’t wait for this amazing fashion show in the future, when we truly live in peace as one loving family.


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