Thursday, January 17, 2013

Winter Harmony- Welcome Corina Stupu Thomas

The Winter Harmony blog series is our gift to our beautiful community to help inspire and support you to live in harmony with winter. Join us and some amazing guest bloggers M-F during the month of January.
Click here to see all the Winter Harmony posts in one place.

Get your own
Winter Harmony Mandala to bring a little peace and joy to your winter season this year and see what message it has for you.

The Traveling Soul and Winter Journeys!
The art of life lies in a constant readjustment to our surroundings”
- Okakura Kakazo
I’m looking at the fine birch tree in my garden, a tree that reminds me of the many that happily survive harsh winters in the northern wilderness ... it shed its leaves a month ago and the wind can now push easily through it’s wispy branches, twisting and turning but not breaking them. The branches work with the wind, the tree works with the season, it learned a long time ago to adapt, survive, and thrive!
The first word that comes to my mind when I say winter is transformation.... political, emotional, spiritual. At times painful, at times challenging, at times enjoyable, at times confusing, at times upsetting, at times joyful, at times hilarious. The many faces of transformation!
It’s an early, frosty winter morning as I write this. As I’m having my first mug of PG tips of the day I’m ready to go on a journey, a winter journey.
My first winter memory is December 1989 and our Romanian revolution, a time of great challenges and dangers, when the Communist system collapsed bringing with it panic, pain, euphoria, unrealistic dreams, real and imagined opportunities, daily confusion, tears, laughter. That winter shook the lives of 23 million people in Romania. In truth life was never the same! How did I cope then? Just like the rest of my people by living .. one day at a time. Years later I came across Eckhart Tolle and his concept of living in the now, this second, this moment. Somehow we were all doing this back then. I know now that without the changes that arrived in that harsh winter I would have been a bored, useless engineer in a factory, hating my life and my job, another frustrated soul joining the queue of dreamless Romanians living under a grey Communist sky. But I discovered then that the key is to ride on the wave of transformation, to surf it .. not oppose it!

Winter will also be associated in my mind with painting, with the brushes and paints that play such an important part of my life now. That time is also connected with a personal tragedy ......but what is clear to me is that without that tragedy I would never have touched those brushes, I would never have opened a tube of paint, I would never have stepped on my journey of reinvention through art, I would never have enjoyed the sweet taste of inner freedom and the pleasure it brings me every day, I would never have met so many kindred spirits from all around the world.
Silver Lining
In times of great challenges ... look for the silver lining, look for that something that has helped you before, look carefully at what is crossing your road in front of you as you travel, look for the sparkle of light in the middle of the storm and use it, use it all. The truth is that you might not see it in that very instance but ... if need be ... invent it! I really mean it! Invent it ... through the paints, and through the music that it creates in your mind... visualize it, make it happen! If you are too tired, too in pain, too depleted ..... ask others to visualize with you, ask others to hold your hand and step on the journey of transformation and readjustment with you.
One of the great things about winter is that although we cannot see the seeds in the ground, they are there and the earth is keeping them safe and alive .....and as it warms it will help them come to life in a few months time, in their own rhythm, in their own style ..... surprising us as always with their variety, color, shapes.
It really is the same for each and every one of us. 

I am Romanian by birth. My mother is Russian. My story starts in the Steppes of Russia, and my Russian grandparents. Their vaguely Chekov life in a remote village, where winter snows flew in from a thousand miles, was turned to emotional rubble when their home was burned by the Bolsheviks in the Russian Revolution and my grandfather was imprisoned...and in WW2 when the Germans commandeered the rebuilt home, forcing my mother to live in tunnels until the occupiers moved on after burning all that remained.

My early family home was the orderly chaos of a two room flat in central Bucharest, shared with another family of three. Then we moved to the luxury of a new flat in a concrete high-rise in the year of Romania’s biggest earthquake, when so many people in my city lost their lives. Daily life as a young person meant queuing in shifts with my parents in front of the butchers shop, or the baker, for as long as twenty-four hours, even in the cold winter months, to await the delivery truck and the rush to buy.

The revolution in 1989 changed my life forever. I now hate conflict wherever I see it. There is nothing clever about destroying other peoples lives.

In the period since 1989 I have re-invented myself over and over – from being a lover of maths and physics to someone who emerged in free Romania wholly adapted to a new reality, to stage rock concerts on the beaches and in Africa, to make radio and video programmes in support of HIV/Aids prevention, to mentor others in the mountains of Albania, to launch the first women’s colour magazine in Romania and much more....

Nine years ago I picked up a paint brush for the first time. It has transformed my life......imperfection is no-longer a barrier to progress, the past is always obliterated by the joy of what I am creating, wild splashes of colour always lighten my spirit, I find myself motivated by not having to follow other peoples rules and I cherish that side of me that always loves discovering new ways of doing things.

You can find me on my blog, Searching for Happiness.



  1. oh are an amazing spirit! Thank you so much for your Winter Harmony post here. You have lived through such difficult times, yet your spirit is strong, vibrant and loving. I LOVE that you found your JOY in picking up that paintbrush nine years ago...the colors in your creations are radiantly beautiful. I am so very touched by your writing. Thank you for sharing your heart with us. xoxo Sandi

  2. Corina thank you so much for bringing yourself and your Art into this series. I know many people, including myself, are so touched by your words and your stunning Art and I am so glad our paths have intertwined :) I love having Prints of your amazing work fill my home!