In this wild interview, Brian speaks with Melanja Palitta: dancer, filmmaker, painter, photographer, and all-around creative powerhouse. Their conversation about creativity quickly veers off into a thesis on Melanja’s trifocal model of human emotion.
“The law of love is able to go beyond.”
Melanja: So then I was like, okay, what can I do now with this feeling? But let’s say I have it here. I have it in my body because it goes up and down. It goes in the stomach, goes in the heart, goes in the brain.
Brian: Hey, y’all I’m Brian. And welcome to episode one of season one of MindFolk: human creativity and mindful innovation – in a podcast. I’m extremely excited to bring you this first episode of the season. I have a whole bunch of amazing guests and partners lined up for you. And my intention with this podcast is to do something a little different….
…starting with my conversation with Melanja. Basically, everything she does is creative gold. So. I needed to talk to her about how she began her creative career. And to be honest, where our conversation went was totally unexpected to me. This is a much more intimate, vulnerable conversation than I was actually expecting.
And I’m proud to share it with you now. Enjoy!
Melanja: Like my home is also my plants because (they) are kind of the best things I could create in my life. Because emotionally it’s like, an interesting chapter, but, these things I kind of build, I transform and I carry with me. Yeah.
Brian: What do you mean emotionally interesting chapter?
Melanja: Because, aaaah, in my life I’ve been more single than, together with someone.
Yeah. Yeah. So, yeah. And also this place. I also took it in a way to say, okay, let’s also try again to reconnect with myself and, instead of also sharing and see also what can happen after, and also to share my life is also another big desire in my life because yeah. I really want, but, yeah, I don’t want something…
I want something good. So…
What does that look like for you?
Melanja: What does it mean?
Brian: Yeah. Like
Melanja: What does it mean?
Brian: When you say you want something good and you want to share your life and that’s something you desire, how does that, when you imagine it, what does it, what does it look like?
Melanja: Yeah. I want something healthy. This is because so far. I saw myself, being attached to not really good or healthy dynamics or, projecting or, being wanted and not returned the feelings, but also being attached to this stuff. So I really want something… Love and be loved. This is… like that.
Okay. Okay. If the love is there and the let’s let’s see, let’s build. And this was something that suits me because I don’t think I’m really conventional person.
Brian: Which I love about you by the way.
Which I love about you, by the way.
Ah, Thank you. I also want the freedom. So… I also want to feel, safe, you know, that to also keep on doing what I like.
Also like, yeah, okay: there is some base and… so they don’t create this dependency in order to just have a relationship. But anyway, I’m also working on it, on myself and I’m also going once a month to a person. Yeah.
Melanja: I’m really, I’m really happy because, I think everyone should… We don’t receive emotionally education.
Brian: No, it’s true.
Melanja: Yeah. So it’s good to talk with someone that has better knowledge.
Brian: It’s so weird that we don’t teach kids how to deal with these kinds of things. Like…
Melanja: I think it’s the biggest mistake because eh, the world we created so far, because we created is towards productivity. Which I guess maybe is also part of our instinct because we have a talent that we… this talent has to serve.
But there is no emotionally education. And, basically without this, we fucked up a lot of stuff.
Brian: Yeah, it’s true. Yeah. It’s so true!
Melanja: Cause we are not stable or we, we, and we, we moved, we are moved by fears or moved. We are stuck by fears.
Melanja: We are not moved by fear because when you are afraid you froze.
You don’t act, eh, maybe… so then we don’t express totally ourself and also, society push this power. Also Corona… coronavirus is one of the biggest example: we are under fear. So let’s see what they are gonna suggest?
Brian: Yeah. It’s funny how you were talking about the politics of your, of your apartment.
Cause it got me thinking… I was thinking about the same things that you said about the, the politics of inside your old apartment, you could also say about geopolitics now, especially in response to Corona virus. The way that different, some people just want to have benefit of everything and not contribute, some people are kind of waiting off the sidelines.
And whenever there’s someone that’s trying to do something, or especially if they’re trying to do something different, they get a lot of criticism. And, you mentioned that now in connection with this. Cause I think that those kind of unhealthy reactions, and also unhealthy tendencies in a relationship, come from fear. And a lot of the destruction and the ways that we’re shitty to each other as people just come because we’re afraid for ourselves.
So then people are shitty to someone else to try to help themselves or alleviate their fear or something. It’s… We need more love, right?
Melanja: Yeah. And that’s, what am I researching this period also that the meaning of love. Because, sometimes, in this period I was doing meditation. And then one sentence was coming into my brain.
I don’t know if it ‘s an energy, a spirit. I don’t know. I don’t know, but I believe in a lot of stuff. And I was feeling this sentence, like open your heart, open your heart. And I’m like, wow. Whew – I think my heart is… over open. This is why I feel that I hurt myself easily, but then this open your heart, open your heart. Also lead me to link some, video on YouTube.
And now I bought a book about this French, sensitive is called Annette Jeeva. I don’t know, but she’s able to get out of her body and to do this astral trick.
Melanja: Yeah, she’s a really interesting lady. And of course you don’t know if it’s true or not, but to me let’s say that whatever she says resonates good.
So then I like, okay. At the moment or in the moment I am, (it) sounds okay. So let’s, let’s observe yeah.
Melanja: And, and basically, sometimes I think we confuse heart love and real open heart. Because also she created this distinction about emotion and open your heart. And I was like, what is that?
What is that? I’m figuring it out. But at the moment, I feel that also, when she talks about the emotion… In the emotion, there are good emotions, and bad emotions. And the bad emotions also leads you to, as we were saying before, to move, to freeze to hate. yeah. so then I think this kind of emotion, they are not really like positive, or positive in the growth,… in our growth or like leading us to our really potential.
Melanja: Because I think we, we have a lot of potential, but we are so confused. And as I said, we don’t receive, we don’t encounter the right master in life. I think we need masters. Also like this kind of stuff, this kind of power we all have, but we are so in this society, in this kind of structure, then we just go like a train.
Brian: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Yeah, for sure. Yeah. This reminds me actually of a friend of mine who spent time with Bedouins in the Sinai peninsula. And Bedouins, obviously like they’re nomads, so they live in the desert and they live very close to nature. And they have senses and skills and things that we, we can’t do anymore.
Like they, they can, they can understand the weather, they can understand different patterns in nature that can predict things based on, you know, different signals that they pick up through the sand and through the, through the wood and through water and stuff. And these are, these are skills that we humans could have if we develop them, but we don’t because we’re developing other skills, like how to use computers and how to drive cars and all this kind of thing .Yeah.
Melanja: And especially what she said that also Theodora will say that the words… The words we use create our world constantly, constantly. Yes. And, And, and I think, this is also related with what we think also related to our emotional, like the, the good and the negative also, because she is saying that the negative emotion also feeds kind of bad entity.
So, and with this bad entity, we cannot go further too. So we cannot expand, let’s say. Let’s put it this way. I think it’s easier. And, I’m experienced this, but again, when the quarantine is started, I said, okay, I’m living alone. I’m also forced to be locked. Okay. Let’s dig a little bit more, in these two things, and I’m also trying to clean,
And especially from a… one strong attachment feeling I had with a person, which in this period also, he moved forward with someone. So then I was like, okay, what can I do now with this feeling? That I have it…, let’s say I have it here. I have it in my body because it goes up and down, goes in the stomach, goes in the heart then goes in the brain.
It’s constantly moving. And then when it is in the heart, it’s like, okay. I love him as a, as a human being, he’s he’s flying somewhere else. Okay. Let it go.
Then when it is in the stomach it is like, ARRRRRGH!
Or, when it’s in the brain, I stopped to analyze, but I did this, he did that. So it’s really like a… And this is why also in my painting, in the one you bought, there are three dots all the time. Because the dots for me, are like this mental connection the, heart connection and the let’s call stomach, but that also is called like the instinct.
Yeah, the gut, but also like there is sexual connection. And because I think when these three points are aligned. I think it’s a moment as a beautiful moment. But often with the people we connect only mentally because we have an interest sometimes also with the heart only with the heart, like, think about your mom or this unconditional love or your girlfriend.
Or, sometimes what you connect to just by physical attractions or…
Brian: Also valid. Yeah, nothing wrong with that.
Melanja: No, that’s true, but I think when they are connected, all of them, I think it’s really another level. Let’s say.
Brian: Absolutely. Yeah, can you, cause I feel like the, the, the painting you just mentioned, which I love by the way. Thank you for that. It’s I’m looking at it right now.
It, it, it feels almost like it’s one of a series. Like you have a few paintings that kind of feel similar to each other. Can you tell me about that a little bit?
Melanja: I think there are going to be also more and they are all part of my emotional process.
No? Because as I, as I told you, for me, it’s also a little bit therapy. Because when I paint, I can really, close my brain or my thoughts and just be there with a color, or at least I don’t activate the anger that sometimes, as a human being I have.
So then, and there like, okay, let’s take it out everything. And let’s… So for me, it’s like a moment of therapy, like a meditation. and for sure, I sure I’m going to do more than that stuff because I’m still digging, I am still searching.
So until I’m, maybe I’m going to get, tired or it’s going to transform, I’m sure I’m gonna do. But watching what I’m doing these days, it goes from that direction, to a totally dark and strong color. Yeah. And then again, maybe something light. So…
Brian: What moves these changes for you?
Melanja: Mm, yeah. I think my emotion. Yeah, my emotion. And, so, and I have to say that the, one of the goal, while I painting, it’s always like, okay, let’s try to be honest. And the let’s try to let, to be just that tool so where the creativity can pass through me. Because I don’t believe that I control every everything. Or, or, it’s really that I did that.
Because often I look at them and I’m like, who? Who did that? Yeah. Usually when I see a lot of black and I am like what is this? Where this is coming from? Yeah. Yeah. It’s really funny to observe. And, and another funny thing is when someone say, Oh, I really like it, I want this. I’m like, Oh, Oh, I don’t know how to explain…
Brian: Or I want this to be the cover of my book… Haha
Melanja: But it makes me see, like, okay. So I kind of channeled something and someone connected to that. Because again, I don’t really feel that, I kind of really do totally. Yes, of course. I’m… my hands and I have a style. Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. But I don’t think there is only me controlling this stuff.
Brian: I think I would agree with you. What, what would you say…? Cause it the way you described it now, when, especially when there’s someone who appreciates a piece of your, a piece of work that you’ve done or wants to buy it or like just resonates with it somehow… It feels like you’re both connecting to something that’s apart from both of you. …in the sense that I think that the painting that you created in me, it helps me connect with something that’s separate from myself. Maybe separate from you that maybe we’re both tapping into. And I’m wondering if, if that’s, what do you, how do you feel about that?
Melanja: Okay. According to what I’m also reading. Hm. We are part of the same source and the source is energy. So then maybe this is where maybe we can connect and so then… Or maybe you empathize some emotion that I had… that I have, and and then reproduced in this color or in this lines, and then maybe this is why you would you… you connect.
Because another thing that if you watch my drawings, you can see really clear is a duelism.
Melanja: Cause, I, I feel I’m divided in two. So often I… one part goes in that direction, then another, which is also left and right. d way to connect the left and the right part of your brain or the female and the male part of your… the body, no?
Brian: Yin and yang. Yeah, of course. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Melanja: Yeah, yeah, yeah. And that’s what analyzing the brain that the left part or…. this one is really analytic and this one is really emotional. So we have also the dualism inside. So basically no ?
Brian: Yeah, that’s interesting. And I love that that comes in, that that shows through in your work as well.
Melanja: Yes, I mean also sometimes when I post my stuff, feel like, wow, I’m totally an open book. If someone wants to read me, just go to my Instagram wall and they can see all my emotions.
But then again, I’m like, okay, let go, whatever. And they, if somebody is needs it, good. And if someone also wants to read me, whatever. I mean, I can not understand totally me, me. So, how can another one?
Brian: This is something I think is really interesting, especially when you, when you separate out the three sort of aspects of existence, the, the, the very mental analytical, and then the heart love and sort of the gut instinctual…. yeah, instinct, I think is the best way to put it. Like you put it earlier.
Brian: And I feel maybe like there’s, there are certain connections that our gut and our heart can do very well, but our brain isn’t… it just isn’t good at, or doesn’t understand. And so for me, when I look at a piece of art that inspires me, or if I, whenever I, I really resonate or click with someone, then it’s maybe beyond the cognitive level.
But there’s something that the connection is happening somewhere else, but it just, the cognitive one, can’t see, you know, something like this, or maybe the, you know, the elephant and rider kind of stuff.
Melanja: I mean, I think it also depends on the quality of the connection you are looking for. Because again, if you just wants to go for a physical attraction and you don’t want anything else, I think you can go for that.
But, I think if you really want to connect deeply with someone, I really think that the door is the heart, the main door. And then you see, because the heart I think, is able to accept, to understand, to have compassion, but really to accept also someone is not… has something that is not let’s call good.
For you good because maybe for someone else it.’s good And I think we are only have to do this with the, with the heart. Yeah. if we analyze, under the criterium of ethics or morality or right or wrong with the brain, I mean, we cannot really build up, anything deeper because love is also like to forgive, to accept.
Brian: Yeah. It’s interesting.
Melanja: Eh, think about also a lot of story that they are in the gospel. Did they go beyond the, the, the, the normal. Like, for example, there is this story of the, the son that spent all the money of the father. He goes away, and then he comes back and there is the first brother that he was loyal to the father.
And he doesn’t receive anything and he does bad things. It comes back and the father, instead of punish, he creates a party. So then, and then you’re like, okay, well, this is not fair. But then, but then I think in this example, you really understand that sometimes the law of love is able to go beyond.
Melanja: And. Yeah. And… And I think this is also like this, this love that sometimes, we are talking about when we were talking about open your heart, open your heart. Yeah.
Brian: What’s the role of the gut then in a situation like that?
Melanja: What’s the role, the role is, is the father. The father is the role that also, when he sees… his son, which is, he made a mistakes. He goes towards him. He hugs him and he say, I thought I lost you.
Melanja: I thought I lost you and you are coming back. So, it shows that he goes against the law of, good and bad, but also because he’s coming back to the father. So it’s like, you could… you found back your faith.
Melanja: And there is another story. The story that is, yeah, that is really interesting is like, there is, owner of grape, grape field to make the wine, you know.
Melanja: I don’t know the name. Yeah. The vineyard, it needs people to cut the, the grape. So he found people and divide the day in a schedule. Like, okay: from eight to, 12, from 12 to four from four to six. So, and the last part of group had two hours instead of maybe four of the others.
Melanja: But then when he goes to pay, he pays everyone the same.
Melanja: And then you’re like, okay, so then again is not fair, no? Because everyone is…
Brian: It is a different division. Yeah.
Melanja: Yeah. Everyone worked different, different hours, but everyone gets paid the same.
So then you’re like, okay, what God is trying to, to tell me? Yeah. according to some, interpretation, that, that…that it is not the amount of hours you put, but it’s just that you answer to the call. So you, were… I asked you to work and you came.
Brian: Yeah. Yeah.
Melanja: So you answered to the… to the call and. And I have to say that I’m doing a little bit of research about the gospel, especially about the Gnostics.
So the, one they are not introducing to the Catholic church because there is a lot of Truth or a lot of essence about the story, about the essence of life. And, yeah.
Brian: What do you mean by that?
Melanja: Yeah, I was for example, I was watching a person that made a lot of research about the gospel, but also he did a lot of hypnosis.
And this, yeah, in this says that 400 people, on a deep, deep moment of, hypnosis, to all of them, they were asking, who are you? Who you are? And all of them without knowing the answer, they, all of them, answer: I am Light. So we belongs to the same source of light.
And also we called, and also if you really read the gospel, what also Jesus was trying to tell you that God is on us. So we are God, we are the Light.
No? But in this one, this lady that can transfer out of her body, she said that the knowledge at the time of Jesus at the time of the essence, in people, it was really high. That now we are backward.
Brian: Like behind -yeah. Yeah. That makes sense.
Melanja: Yeah. Yeah.
Melanja: And also like, one of the stronger person close to Jesus was Maria madalena, where they say also that she had the knowledge or the technique to being contact with Jesus. Because there is another story that to become endless religion, Jesus decide to, to die.
So in this way, because when he went to the sky, if it was the only way to be close to us, to reconnect with us more than, than ever yeah.
Brian: To become to become part of the infinite that we are all connected to?
Melanja: Yes, yes. Yeah.
Brian: Oh, that’s fascinating.
Melanja: It’s really fascinating. Yeah. In fact, when, when you make more research and everything is linked, but I also feel that as soon as you connect your antenna to something you’re linked and lalalalalalalalala.
But any way, I think the fun is really to the search to research it, to discover something. So I think this is really interesting. So maybe in one year, maybe I have a different opinion. I don,’t think so, but who knows?
Brian: Who does nothing wrong with that? We learn, we grow, we evolve. It’s nothing, nothing. no problem. And so, before we started this conversation, actually, you were telling me about how painting has always been a part of your life from the very beginning. And I’m wondering if like what, what that has to do, if anything, with being connected to the source and this, this sort of cosmic, infinite.
Melanja: For sure for example, when my mom was pregnant of me, she made three beautiful paintings that they are still hanging in my house. They are really beautiful, really big. And, and then another thing that I kind of learned is, when I was a child really young, my mom, sometimes she was like drawing because she has also this passion, and she was just giving me color and paper.
So basically this is how I started. No? And this is always for me, something so natural or something that I don’t, I never desire to learn from someone because I was like, okay.
And I always draw. And eh, especially in, on a emotion, like angry or sad, like strong emotion that I couldn’t release with words, then I was putting it in color. Yeah. Till a point that… here after the first breakup of my Dutch boyfriend. Which I was really kapot!
Yeah, I really felt the need again to take the color and the paper. And I was making drawing one per day as a therapy and it was working. So after that, people started seeing and saying, Oh, you should do something. You should do something, blablabla. And then after like two or three years, I got the courage to do my first exhibition and open Instagram account and, yeah.
Brian: Right, right. Yeah. And when did, when did motion become a part of that?
Melanja: Which emotion?
Brian: Motion. Like, do you, you’re a dancer. You also you’re a filmmaker, so it’s it’s pictures, but then in motion, right?
Brian: Moving… I should have said movement actually. Yeah.
Melanja: Yeah. I think that the movement is, you can see, because I don’t try to represent something clean or perfect.
Yeah, except maybe in yours is a little bit more clean, but usually I really try to, to go with a gut, like okay. into put the color without thinking so much and to get the feeling. Because I, because an emotion is never clear,
Melanja: Yeah. It’s true.
It’s clear for the heart, but when it goes to the gut, it moves in something else when it goes to the mind, goes to something else.
Brian: Wow. Yeah. Yeah. Okay.
Melanja: Because for them, for the, for the, for the person I kind of lost. Yeah, of course. I have a big, I feel a bigglove. but sometimes I don’t accept what happened. And then I transform in anger or transform in disappointment. But the emotion is the emotion of love.
Melanja: Yeah. You had a little illumination. What was that?
Brian: Yeah, no, it’s like, it feels as if, I don’t know, it’s like a germ of something that’s kind of growing now, but it felt like there was the idea that a feeling or an emotion can begin in the heart and move through us via one of the two channels.
Like if we try to analyze or intellectualize an emotion, something like writing, for example could come out. But if we want to show that emotion with movement or motion, like, you know, dance or something like this, then it comes out more through the gut, through like the belly.
These are… and the way that we express them are sharper if it’s through the head, but then it’s, it’s fuzzier and more expressive if it’s more through the gut. Something like that. I don’t know.
Melanja: Can be, yeah. Yeah. It’s a process. Maybe you should start drawing. Hahaha
Brian: I should start, yeah. Maybe start dancing. When did you start dancing anyway?
Melanja: I remember I had seven years old. And I remember my, that I worked to become a dancer since a long time. And it was the second year of elementary school.
And with one of my best friends, we decided my parents and her parents decided to inscribe to dance school. And the day they, we got the registration, then we went to buy the shoes and the body and the socks. I still remember in print and I was so happy that I remembered the lady in the shop. Saying to my mom, please, calm down your, or your kids because I was jumping of happiness.
I was, I was so happy, so happy. It was the dreaming of a life! Because I remember also this, when people were asking me, what do you want to be when you are older? No, and I was saying, I want to be a dancer. And I, as a child, I was recognize the face of the people… yeah, yeah, yeah. A dancer. And I was like, and that was like inside me: it is the truth.
It’s not like, because it’s Lalala. I was like, take me seriously because I want to be a dancer!
And then my first hero. It was, I had 10 years old and on Sunday they were putting some, dancing on a TV in the national channel, no? RAI Uno. And, and there were so strange, they were really weird, but I was so fascinated. I was like, this is so cool. And growing up, I realized that that dancer was Pina Bausch.
Brian: Hmm. Yeah. Yeah.
Melanja: So could you believe it was so strong that could resonated to a child? I mean, I was watching, there was like, wow, I couldn’t understand. It’s a German lady, totally abstract, but I was watching like, and that was like, I want to do that. I’m…. so it was my first hero. Yeah. Pina Bausch.
Yeah. That is not about the movement in sense of the perfectionist, but it’s the expression of a strong emotion. Yeah.
Brian: Yeah. It’s fantastic.
Brian: Huh wow, that’s cool. You give me a lot to think about now.
Melanja: With the body. We talk more, I think we are more truthful than the mouth, the mouth really. Ooh.
Melanja: We can act easily with the mouth.
Brian: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Yeah. The brain… the brain knows how to lie very well. And I think the heart and gut have trouble, more trouble with that.
Melanja: Hmm. Yeah. So, because it ‘s educated to, because we need to be… part. We need to belong. Let’s go to another. Yeah, we need to belong. And so then we learned that if we behave a certain way, if we also say certain things, we can be accepted or not.
So then it’s really easy to lie.
Brian: Hmm. Yeah. Well, yeah. Wow. Yeah, no…
Melanja: You could have like a bad day, at home with your girlfriend, and then someone call you by work. And then you’re like Hey how is it going?
One second before you were, you were BLOWING UP, arrrrgh! I cannot stand this! I move, I quit!
And then they call you for work: Hey Brian, we have a new project. Oh fantastic! Cool, I am good!
Brian: Yeah. Yeah. We’re at, we’re good at that. We’re good at that for sure. Oh my goodness. Thanks for this. I appreciate it.
Melanja: You’re welcome
Brian: I’m having a great time. What… what’s your, we’ve talked about your Instagram a lot. What’s what’s your Instagram? You have a, you have a bal… You have a website and Instagram, right?
Melanja: Yes… instagram, I have two, because in the beginning I started with BalansLab and then I was also putting my painting and then I felt the need to separate. In fact, @melanjapalitta is the painting and @balanslab is my professional one.
Brian: And Balans is like with an S not with an NCE.
Melanja: Yeah. Yes, because when I went to register, it was already took and they said, yeah, but let’s check in a Dutch way because… yeah. And then they say, Oh, in Dutch it.s not taken. I say, okay, let’s put that. I am in Netherlands so, then it’s okay.
Brian: That’s your website too, right?
Melanja: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
Brian: Melanja, if you’re listening, thank you so much. It’s an honor and a privilege to be your friend.
And everybody else, thanks for listening. Wanna be on this podcast? Get in touch on our website https://mindfolkpod.com or via Twitter and Instagram @mindfolkpod. Let’s talk!