Ostatnia aktualizacja: 2020-04-22. Autor: Milena
Portuguese calmness is not as famous in the world as Dutch hygge, although it should be.
But maybe first we would need a separate name for this calmness. After all, the unnamed does not exist.
So let’s use the word calma.
Calma is a Portuguese word for calmness, composure. It is an ability to approach the situation from a distance and accept reality as it is. It is the ability to enjoy life despite the fact that it is far from being perfect.
Portuguese are not Spanish.
Although they live on one continent (well, maybe except islanders), they are different. The Portuguese have a lot of joy, but also a certain amount of melancholy. After all, it was in this country that the famous fado, or Portuguese blues, was born. (In 2011, fado entered the UNESCO list of intangible heritage). It is in this country that saudade is ubiquitous, a mixture of longing and melancholy for what is forever lost.
Saudade and fado have a lot of sadness in them, fado artists are often very dramatic in the message. They sing about a torn heart, longing for homeland, mother, and grief over what will never come back. And at the same time they are reconciled with this loss and longing.
The Portuguese consent to the reality
They accept it as it is. There is a lot of talk about it in all mindfulness movements, it is emphasized during meditation practices – but I have not yet met another European nation that, without lofty words and references to Eastern philosophy, would actually put this idea into practice.
Portuguese consent to reality can sometimes irritate a person like me – brought up and living earlier in a world in which you need to develop, go beyond your comfort zone, go up the ladder rungs.
And here is calma.
A familiar teacher recently lost his job because the person he was replacing appeared for a moment. The Portuguese education system is a bit like the military – you go where they send you. So, that friend lost his job overnight and in January (another „distribution” of jobs) he will find out whether he will return to Terceira or maybe will be sent to Corvo (the smallest island in the Azores, with about 400 people), or maybe somewhere on continent.
In the sense – to mainland Portugal. Here people say: „to the continent”. Or even: „to Portugal”.
He lost his job, was depressed, but he emphasized that maybe it was a chance for him to do something better. Maybe this way he would be sent to where his family is at the moment. Maybe he’ll be thankful to his colleague from work for having appeared.
One girl earned quite a good amount of money in extra work, spent it, and then found out that someone had calculated her salary incorrectly and she had to give back about 300 Euro. She wasn’t happy, but she didn’t argue. She said she was sorry for the guy who had counted everything wrong and was very ashamed that he had to ask for a refund. And she simply gave the money back.
In all workplaces, the only people who rebel against the existing rules are foreigners. Those who are accustomed to working a certain number of hours, and receiving extra pay or extra time for working overtime. Those who demand justice and recognition for their actions.
The Portuguese have their calma and sit quietly.
And they only whisper to each other that something is wrong. And sometimes not. Sometimes they just accept it. On the one hand, the country is not developing as it would develop. Portugal is only now slowly digging out of the crisis that has hit it. On the other hand, people are healthier.
A friend who has been on the island for several months told me about her recent struggles with the local administration. And about the fact that if she wanted to arrange something, she had to fight for it at every step, because nobody was in a hurry with anything, and her dates were chasing her. I listened to her and saw myself two years ago, when the tardiness of the local employees would still upset me.
Today, I still think that you can work a lot better. I like to work and I work intensively. And I still have a deep rooted feeling that this is how work should be done.
But who’s interested in my “it should be”?
Everyone has their own approach to the subject. And their cultural context. And at the moment when I stop demanding from others what they „should” and I simply draw from what they want to give me – I feel calm. I feel that respecting the fact that someone is different reduces my stress level.
What „has to” be „necessarily done today” is not always so urgent. The gentleman who closed the shop ahead of time could have a good reason, and for me the world won’t collapse if I buy a gift tomorrow, not today.
Someone stopped in the middle of the road because they met a friend and stopped all traffic? Doesn’t matter, interpersonal relationships are more important than hurry.
The lady behind the bar instead of serving you, makes a long chat with a friend standing next to you? Instead of getting nervous, smile at the fact that people still value talking and being together.
In Poland we have that saying that only calmness can save us
There is something about it. In this crazy world, in which we don’t have time to enjoy the moment and each other, we rush and get nervous when someone acts not according to our thoughts, it is worth going to Portugal and feel their calma. Be here and now and accept all, even the strongest emotions, but not get carried away. Take advantage of the moment. Live, as you often hear here, one day at a time. Try it! As IT say so, it works for me!